In the latest cyber moves by the Dept of Homeland Security against a Canadian on-line gambling outfit, it’s been confirmed that if it’s a .com domain, it falls under US jurisdiction, regardless of where the servers are, where the company is incorporated or who the domain registrar is.
Strangely for the “Land of the Free”, Americans aren’t allowed to gamble on-line but this didn’t stop Bodog, a Canadian-based on-line gambling site with the domain bodog.com, from aggressively marketing its services to US citizens. As a result, Bodog’s four owners have been indicted (pdf) on various internet gambling charges.
Almost everything to do with this organisation was out of harm’s way in Canada – the company, the owners, the servers, the domain registrar – so the DHS took the step of forcing Verisign into doing the dirty work. Verisign manages the .com infrastructure and they removed (pdf) some of the key linking records to the bodog.com domain, thus putting the domain off the net.
In this instance, it can be hard to feel any particular sympathy with Bodog as it appears that they did what they did knowing that it was illegal. Regardless, though the point is now made that a .com can be taken off the internet pretty much because the US doesn’t like it. Selling holidays to Cuba – you’re gone. Trading with Iran – you’re off-line. Evolution is a fact – you’re history.
If you or your organisation has a .com, you’re now under US jurisdiction, and if you think this is bad, imagine what it would have been like if SOPA had been enacted.
In a follow up to our earlier story on ViaSat and NRTC, ViaSat have announced their new 12 Mb/s satellite broadband service, exede. The high speed service will launch on 16 January beginning at $50 per month, offering 12 Mb/s down and 3 Mb/s up, using the new ViaSat-1 satellite.
The exede service will be welcomed by rural communities that have been unable to get high speed Internet connections because of the lack of infrastructure and the distances involved. Satellite broadband overcomes these issues to offer a “feels like fiber” experience.
“With our new exede broadband service, customers across the United States will have a way to get exceptional speed whether they live in a city, suburbs or a more rural area,” said Tom Moore, senior VP of ViaSat. “Our new exede service speeds make us very competitive with both wireless home broadband service as well as legacy DSL and many cable services.”
The exede residential broadband packages all feature the same high speed but with higher data allowances at each price point.
Up to 12 Mbps downloads
and up to 3 Mbps uploads
Data Allowance (monthly)
Package Price (monthly)
Overall, this looks like a great new service for people who were poorly served in the past, but users will have to watch out for those data limits.
The National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative has partnered with ViaSat to offer NRTC members faster 12 Mb/s satellite broadband through ViaSat’s WildBlue service. The NRTC represents the telecommunications and information technology interests of around 1500 rural utilities and affiliates in 48 US states.
The new ViaSat-1 high-capacity Ka-band spot beam satellite was launched back in October and includes coverage over North America and Hawaii, enabling a variety of new, high-speed broadband services for WildBlue in the U.S., Xplornet in Canada, and JetBlue Airways on its domestic U.S. fleet. Capable of 140 Gb/s, this one single satellite has more capacity that all of the other North American satellites put together.
“NRTC’s electric and telephone members were the first distributors of WildBlue service, and they remain committed to ensuring that rural Americans have access to robust broadband,” said Tim Bryan, NRTC CEO. “The enhanced satellite broadband service will make significant contributions to the communities we serve, so we are very happy to continue our relationship with ViaSat and offer the new service.”
Pricing wasn’t announced, but current WildBlue customers pay between $50 and $80 per month depending on service. Outside of ViaSat-1′s coverage area, the NRTC will also offer 5 Mb/s broadband service through a range of delivery mechanisms. Based on figures from WildBlue, between 10 and 20 million American households are unable to get broadband through DSL or cable and for them, fast satellite broadband at a reasonable price will be warmly welcomed.
Todd and his team will try to get a demo of the satellite service at next week’s CES.
What do compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), LCD screens, rechargeable batteries, solar cells and integrated circuit packaging all have in common? They’re all technologies that the USA can no longer produce within the country itself and must rely on companies in Asia, such as Taiwan and China to manufacturer. The technology has effectively been lost to the US, having migrated from West to East as part of major purchasing deals.
These deals might be considered as best business practice too. The way it often works is that a US-based company develops a technology and a product, but a small part is subcontracted out to foreign 3rd party. Say a little daughter board. Time passes and the 3rd party comes back to the US company and offers to build not only the daughter board, but also the motherboard, and more cheaply too. The deal happens, it’s a success and profits are up all round. Time passes and the 3rd party comes back and offers to build not only the motherboard but the whole product and more cheaply too. The deal happens, it’s a success and profits are up all round. It’s all good.
What happens next? The once 3rd party contractor goes to a US-based major distributor or retail chain and offers to make them an own-brand version of the product more cheaply than the market leader, now having access to all the technology required to make the product without any assistance. Surprised? Don’t be; this is what happened between Dell and ASUSTeK but it’s a pattern that has been repeated in many industries and continues to be repeated.
If you want to know more, Forbes are running a series of articles by Steve Denning, starting with Why Amazon Can’t Make a Kindle in the USA, on the loss of technological expertise from the USA. I think they’re an excellent read that explains much of the world today, even if you don’t necessarily see the loss of know-how from the US as a bad thing. It’s also worth browsing some of the comments to see other people’s thoughts on the articles, especially those from other countries.
Mitch Perliss of Sunflex USA (www.snakebyte-usa.com) presents the Snakebyte brand of game controllers. Folks have been having a lot of fun with this one, you can write on the TV with the controller and a host of other fun things.
Interview by Jeffry Powers of Geekazine and Esby Larsen of MrNetCast.com
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Sophos has published its quarterly report into spam and the USA remains top of the league for spam-relaying, being responsible for nearly 19% of all spam messages. India follows with a little under 7% and then Brazil, Russia and the UK finishing the top 5 on 4.5%.
The vast majority of spam does not come directly from spammers’ servers, but rather from PCs that have been compromised by trojans or other malware and are now under the control of the criminals. This allows spam to be passed on by PCs without the owners’ knowledge – this is spam-relaying. Consequently, these figures indicate that huge numbers of PCs in the US are infected and under the control of the spammers.
Sophos also notes that the nature of spam is changing. Previously, pharmaceutical products would have been the mainstay of the spammers’ output but increasingly the spam is spreading malware and phishing for account information. As an aside, an estimated 36 million Americans purchased drugs from unlicensed online sellers.
The top spam relay countries for the last quarter were:
|8. S Korea
“Spam is certainly here to stay, however the motivations and the methods are continuing to change in order to reap the greatest rewards for the spammers,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “What’s becoming even more prevalent is the mailing of links to poisoned webpages – victims are tricked into clicking a link in an email, and then led to a site that attacks their computer with exploits or attempts to implant fake anti-virus software.”
Sophos also warns that social networks are increasingly attracting the attention of criminals through malicious apps, stolen profiles and junk messages.
If you’ve been following Todd and the general back scatter x-ray scanner debacle, then you might be interested in this range of underwear from the Cargo Collective. The undergarments have the 4th Amendment printed in metallic letters so that the text is revealed by the scanner and displayed on the monitor. Genius.
Choose from T-shirts, underwear, socks and children’s clothes, with both plain “4th Amendment” and more provocative “Pervert” versions, though I don’t think the latter shows up on the scanners.
For those not familiar with the US Constitution, the 4th Amendment says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.“ You can read more at Wikipedia.
As our American cousins tuck into their Thanksgiving turkey, the BBC has two quick quizzes to test your knowledge of the holiday. Try the easy version or the hard version.
Enjoy the celebration!
If you want to get away from it all, then this hotel (motel) room in the Grand Canyon Caverns might be just for you. Over 200 ft down in a vast underground cavern, you’ll be pretty much guaranteed to get an undisturbed night’s sleep, even if the bomb goes off. New for 2010 and situated in a cave 200 ft wide, 400 ft long and with a 70 ft ceiling, you’re also unlikely to find a hotel room much bigger.
Rates are a slight pricey $700 per night for two, with additional guests at $100 each but it would be a pretty unforgettably experience. Totally dark and totally quiet. It’s a dry cave system so there’s not even the drip of water to break the silence. Regrettably, if you’re not an early riser, you’ll have to put up with tours coming through the cave while you’re still snoozing.
I visited the caves while on holiday last week, though I didn’t stay overnight. You’ll find the Grand Canyon Caverns on Route 66 between Seligman and Peach Springs, Arizona.
Get your kicks here.
(During the Cuban missile crisis, the caves were designated as bomb shelters by Kennedy. Enough food and water to keep 2000 people alive for 30 days was brought down into the caves….and it’s still there.)