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Time Warner Cable is starting it – soon other companies will follow. Charges for using the Internet do not just stop with getting connected. I recommend that you read the Businessweek article and learn more as this will be something that everyone will face with their service provider. I’m sure we will see more creative ways that charges are assessed as the years pass…

timewarnercable_logo_1Time Warner to charge for Internet usage

By Creighton Welch on Apr 01, 2009 9:39 AM

Downloading a lot of “movies” via the Internet these days? Be prepared to pay a little extra for all that high bandwidth downloading.

Businessweek reports that Time Warner Cable this summer will begin charging a premium to the heaviest broadband users in San Antonio. Austin, Rochester, N.Y., and Greensboro, N.C. also are on the list. Time Warner is supposed to start collecting data on customers’ Internet usage this month.

The plan works similar to cell phone plans, where you have to pay more if you exceed your minutes. The article says customers will be charged from $29.95 to $54.90 a month, depending on what gigabyte cap level you want. For each gigabyte over that cap level, you’ll be charged $1. A download of a high-definition movie typically eats up about 8 GB.

Time Warner has been testing the program in Beaumont, the past few months and found that 14 percent of the test group busted their limit and paid an average of $19 more per month.

UPDATE:  4/13/09 ——————————————————————————————–

Time Warner delays meter program in South Texas

Officials with the cable company said Monday they are postponing implementation of a new billing format for San Antonio and Austin customers based on Internet usage until October.

A trial program intended to charge varying rates depending on usage was slated to begin this summer. The decision to delay the meter program was prompted mostly by customer reaction, said Gavino Ramos, Time Warner’s vice president of communication for South Texas.

“What happened as we’re continuing to listen was we worked in some of the comments and ideas that got sent to us,” Ramos said. “We came to the realization, let’s do this in October.”

San Antonians have plenty to say about this “stay in execution”:

Time Warner Delay Comments

UPDATE:  4/17/09______________________________________________________

Time Warner backs off tier-based billing

Amid resounding backlash from customers and lawmakers, Time Warner Cable said Thursday it will shelve a trial tier-based billing system for Internet users in four U.S. cities, including San Antonio and Austin. And while critics of broadband caps claimed victory after the announcement, the cable company gave no indication that it was permanently backing down from the bill-by-the-byte business model.

In fact, Time Warner plans to continue collecting usage data from customers and outfitting them with measurement tools intended to help them understand how much bandwidth they use. A Time Warner spokesman said no date has been set to resume the trials, and the company would reconsider implementing a test program that charges varying rates based on Internet usage after renewed efforts to educate customers.

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Interesting video. I imagine that traffic is not the only thing these little ‘dazzlers’ can be used for…

From Wired

Video: Army Lasers Zap Bikers in Afghanistan

By Sharon Weinberger

March 14, 2008 | 12:45:00 PM

Laser “dazzlers” are becoming increasingly popular as nonlethal devices. This is one of the first videos I’ve seen of the lasers actually being used. It shows a military convoy in Afghanistan zapping bicyclists and motorists as a way to clear traffic.

There’s something peculiarly video game-esque about the video, particularly when they give the score at the end.

Dazzlers are becoming big business: there are several laser manufacturers competing to sell the devices to the military. The lasers used in the video are produced by B.E. Meyers, which has fast become the main supplier to the military. Laser manufacturer L.E. Systems has been involved in a long-fought battle to demonstrate that their laser is safer and more effective than those produced by B.E. Meyers.

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From Flight Global

Video: Miami Police plans urban test of Honeywell’s micro-UAV

20/02/08

Police in Miami, Florida want to find out whether a small unmanned air vehicle able to hover and stare can help law enforcement in urban areas.

To that end, Miami-Dade Police Department plans a four- to six-month evaluation of Honeywell’s ducted-fan Micro Air Vehicle (MAV).

The gasoline-powered gMAV has just received an experimental airworthiness certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration, clearing the way for the ground-breaking experiment. Approval was granted following a demonstration flight for the FAA at a remote site in Laguna, New Mexico.

The wingless gMAV can take off and land vertically, transition to high-speed flight and hover and stare using electro-optical/infrared sensors. Miami-Dade is buying one gMAV and leasing a second for the FAA-sanctioned technology demonstration, says Vaughn Fulton, Honeywell’s small UAS programme manager.

The police department will operate the UAVs, and helicopter pilots from its aviation unit have been trained to fly the gMAV. “The demonstration will be in urban terrain, involving real tactical operations,” he says.

The 8.2kg (18lb) gMAV is Honeywell’s second version of the man-portable UAV. Compared with the original tMAV developed for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the gMAV has a larger outside diameter housing twice the fuel and providing an endurance exceeding 55min at sea level.

Military gMAVs have been used in Iraq to detect improvised explosive devices. The basic UAV has fixed sensors and Honeywell is developing a follow-on version with gimballed payload. The company is also working on diesel-powered dMAV, which it expects to fly in 2008. Another version is in development for the US Army’s Future Combat Systems programme.

Honeywell has begun low-rate initial production of MAVs on a new line in Albuquerque, New Mexico, sized to manufacture up to 100 vehicles a month. “We expect several large contracts in 2008,” says Fulton.

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As the list of potential terrorists increases, and now includes gamers and bloggers, the US Government is hot on the trail of phone tapping at any cost.

As we have been learning, one never knows what 15 year old Tommy, a gamer, may tell his 16 year old blogging buddy Sean on the phone that could help the CIA and FBI in diverting a potential terrorist plot.

Today the National Intelligence group is in a tizzy since the Protect America Act expired. Oh my! US spies don’t know how to conduct their jobs within legal bounds and are concerned that they may be losing valuable information gained by illegal means if the Protect America Act, with additional protection clauses, isn’t set back in place again soon.

Concerned over the lapse of the Protect America Act, Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence J. Michael McConnell, throwing a temper tantrum in a letter to Congress, stated that the United States “is now more vulnerable to terrorist attack and other foreign threats.”

Mukasey further indicated that because the Protect America Act had lapsed valuable information was being lost.

Once again government officials were raising and throwing down the “war on terror” flag to strike fear into the hearts and minds of US citizens.

However, all is not lost!

According to National Intelligence, telecommunications companies agreed to continue to illegally wiretap and spy on US citizens without the Protect America Act.

Whew! Bet you were worried about that one!

One upstanding telecommunications company is refusing to cooperate (name not released) with the illegal action and they are denounced as potential hold-ups to providing information on new suspected terrorists.

Civil rights and privacy advocates are outraged at the continued abuses of wiretapping. “In an attempt to get sweeping powers to wiretap without warrants, Republicans are playing politics with domestic surveillance legislation,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Check out article at Los Angeles Times.

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From Wired 

By Ryan Singel

February 22, 2008 | 2:15:43 PM

Be careful who you frag. Having eliminated all terrorism in the real world, the U.S. intelligence community is working to develop software that will detect violent extremists infiltrating World of Warcraft and other massive multiplayer games, according to a data-mining report from the Director of National Intelligence.

The Reynard project will begin by profiling online gaming behavior, then potentially move on to its ultimate goal of “automatically detecting suspicious behavior and actions in the virtual world.”

  • The cultural and behavioral norms of virtual worlds and gaming are generally unstudied. Therefore, Reynard will seek to identify the emerging social, behavioral and cultural norms in virtual worlds and gaming environments. The project would then apply the lessons learned to determine the feasibility of automatically detecting suspicious behavior and actions in the virtual world.
  • If it shows early promise, this small seedling effort may increase its scope to a full project.

Reynard will conduct unclassified research in a public virtual world environment. The research will use publicly available data and will begin with observational studies to establish baseline normative behaviors.

The publicly available report — which was mandated by Congress following earlier concerns over data-mining programs — also mentions several other data-mining initiatives. These include:

  • Video Analysis and Content Extraction – software to automatically identify faces, events and objects in video
  • Tangram – A system that wants to create surveillance and threat warning system that evaluates known threats and finds unknown threats to issue warnings ahead of an attack
  • Knowledge Discovery and Dissemination – This tool is reminiscent of the supposedly-defunct Total Information Awareness program. It seeks to access disparate databases to find patterns of known bad behavior. The program plans to work with domestic law enforcement and Homeland Security.

The report gives no indication why the find-a-terrorist cell in Sims project is called Reynard, though that is a traditional trickster figure in literature.

Note: This sounds like a foray into the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 a.k.a. HR1955.

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In another disguised move of needing a device for “law enforcement”, DHS (Department of Habitual Screw-ups) awarded an $800,000 contract to Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) to create a “high-powered flashlight” that will blind the target and overload the brain by emitting rapidly flashing led lights at different colors and frequencies. In addition to feeling confused and disoriented, the ‘target’ will likely get a headache and feel sick to his/her stomach.

Of course, DHS feels that this is a great innovation (and so does IOS as they are getting paid $800K) that is basically harmless but very effective in getting the job done (the task of herding resisting Americans into Halliburton camps).

A DHS spokesperson, David Throckmorton, raved about this new product:

“It really doesn’t do any damage to you (so let them do it to YOU first). For them (merc soldiers), it would be to stop a terrorist (American citizen who believes that the Constitution and democracy still exists) –or whoever (regular American citizen) –from advancing (running away)…or somebody who’s out of line on an airplane (like frightened, scared, freaked out American citizens when they realize that they can’t escape) –would be able to stop them from moving forward (running away).”

DHS is hoping to have these little babies on the street in the hands of “law enforcement” types by 2010. By then, any acts of depravity or misconduct being performed by law enforcement will be hidden away from public eye. It will then make using the devices to round up citizens, in as cruel of a manner as they want without pesky citizen intervention, a breeze.

Breyer aspirin for the headaches and a bucket for the puke will not be available. Change of clothing will be standard for all ‘terrorists’ and ‘whoevers’ caught.

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Here we go down the path of the bigger and better way to mass control people by U.S. government departments that can’t keep a check on themselves.

Today the FBI announced the award of a $1 billion, 10-year contract to Lockheed Martin to develop a database that will expand on the FBI’s current database so that it includes biometric information such as finger and palm prints, iris patterns and face images.

Oh goody! Will this be like when you plant your butt on the copy machine and make pictures of it except this time you do it with your face and your eyes open? ? Exciting times ahead!

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At a disarmament conference held on Tuesday, both China and Russia ‘challenged’ the U.S. to keep military weapons out of space. U.S. officials balked, saying that the move will give Russia and China a military advantage. (Only the U.S. can have military advantage in any situation, that’s all part of the world domination theme!)

Russian officials have growing concerns about the U.S.’s intentions as the U.S. works on negotiating and planning anti-ballistic missile sites for Poland and the Czech Republic. The U.S. states that the sites are required to ward off potential attacks from ‘rogue states’ such as Iran. (More U.S. imperialist world domination war on terror bullshit.)

Russia, China challenge US with proposal to ban space weapons

02/12/2008 @ 10:54 am

Filed by David Edwards

China and Russia challenged the United States at a disarmament debate Tuesday by formally presenting a plan to ban weapons in space — a proposal that Washington has called a diplomatic ploy by the two nations to gain a military advantage.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament that “weapons deployment in space by one state” — a reference to the U.S. — could cause a “new spiral in the arms race both in space and on Earth.”

Lavrov’s call came with an implied threat, noting that the Soviet Union caught up with the U.S. after World War II by developing its own nuclear weapons.

“Let us not forget that the nuclear arms race was started with a view to preserving a monopoly of this type of weapon,” Lavrov said. “But this monopoly was to last only four years.”

“Without preventing an arms race in space, international security will be wanting,” Lavrov told the conference. “The task of preventing an arms race in space is on the conference’s agenda. It’s time… to start serious practical work in this field.”

Concerns over a new arms race in space have been growing since China tested an anti-satellite missile last January, sparking a diplomatic outcry.

The United States also has its own anti-satellite programme ranging from laser cannon to satellite destroying missiles.

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 bans the build up or stockage of military weapons — including nuclear arms or weapons of mass destruction — in orbit and their installation on the moon, but not the shooting down of satellites.

“Weapons deployment in space by one state will inevitably result in a chain reaction. And this, in turn, is fraught with a new spiral in the arms race both in space and on the earth,” Lavrov said.

The Russian minister also reiterated his criticisms of the United States’s plans for an anti-missile shield in Europe.

“We cannot but feel concerned over the situation where … there are increasing efforts by the United States to deploy its global ABM (anti-ballistic missile) system,” Lavrov said.

“The desire to acquire an anti-missile ‘shield’ while dismantling the ‘sheath’, where the nuclear ‘sword’ is kept is extremely dangerous,” he added.

Washington is currently negotiating with Warsaw and Prague on the possible installation of 10 interceptor missile sites in Poland by 2012 and associated radar stations in the Czech Republic.

The US says the sites are needed as part of a gradually-developing shield to ward off potential attacks by what it calls “rogue states,” notably Iran.

This video is from BBC, broadcast February 12, 2008.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from rawstory.com posted with vodpod

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Anti-War.com

Behind the Headlines by Justin Raimondo

February 8, 2008

underwater_cable.jpeg

Spies, lies, and “conspiracy theories” – what’s behind the Middle East internet outage

I was skeptical, at first, of speculation over the cutting of two cables linking the Middle East with the Internet, which had it as part of some Vast Neocon Conspiracy to isolate the region prior to a US military assault. However, when two more cables – this time, in the Persian Gulf – were mysteriously cut, I began to wonder ….

In a piece headlined “Cable cutter nutters chase conspiracy theories,” The Register goes out of its way to laugh off the prospect that what we are witnessing is a military operation, or the prelude to one, sniffing “there’s little more than suspicions to work with” since we’ve yet to reach the damaged cables. Yet, given the sort of government we are dealing with – a regime that lied us into one war, and is not-so-subtly trying to finagle us into yet another one – why shouldn’t we be suspicious? We’d have to be crazy not to be.

The Economist follows suit, sneering at “internet conspiracy theories” and denouncing the whole brouhaha as an “online frenzy” that is “way out of line.” Yet one has to wonder: four cable cuts in the past week? I’m with Steven Bellovin, a computer science professor at Columbia University, who avers:

“As a security guy, I’m paranoid, but I don’t understand the threat model here. On the other hand, four accidental failures in a week is a bit hard to swallow, too. Let’s hope there will be close, open examination of the failed parts of the cables.”

First it was supposed to be a ship’s anchor that caused the damage, and yet the Egyptians have said there were no ships in the vicinity, which they regularly monitor: besides which, that entire area near Alexandria is off-limits to all shipping. Another reason to suspect a deliberate act: this politically-sensitive region is an Internet choke-point, as ABC News points out. “The route connecting Europe to Egypt, and from there to the Middle East” is tenuous:

“Today, just three major data cables stretch from Italy to Egypt and run down the Suez Canal, and from there to much of the Middle East. (A separate line connects Italy with Israel.) A serious cut here is immediately obvious across the region, and a double cut can be crippling.”

Yet theories that this incident prefigures a US attack on Iran don’t comport with the facts: Iran, far from being isolated by the cuts, may have enjoyed better connectivity as a result of the events. The areas hardest hit were Kuwait, Egypt, and especially Pakistan – this last being a likelier target for isolation than Iran, and certainly more current

Another, and far more plausible, theory is that the seemingly coordinated cuts resulted from efforts to tap into the cables – a spying operation. Go here for an exhaustive and very convincing case for viewing this as “special warfare.”

The Register cites Prof. Bellovin, but fails to note the real gist of his remarks. While he’s skeptical of the above-cited link, which posits a scenario whereby the USS Jimmy Carter, present whereabouts unknown, uses its specially designed facilities to tap directly into the cables, Bellovin poses an alternative scenario:

“If if wasn’t a direct attempt at eavesdropping, perhaps it was indirect. Several years ago, a colleague and I wrote about link-cutting attacks. In these, you cut some cables, to force traffic past a link you’re monitoring. Link-cutting for such purposes isn’t new; at the start of World War I, the British cut Germany’s overseas telegraph cable to force them to use easily-monitored links. One of the messages they intercepted — and cryptanalyzed — was the Zimmerman telegram, which asked Mexico to join Germany in attacking the US, in exchange for financial support and recovery of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Instead, public outrage in the US contributed to the decision to enter the war against Germany.”

“The problem with this scenario,” he adds, “is that the benefit is short-lived: the cables will be repaired in a few weeks.” Yes, but long enough to have accomplished – what? We can’t know, of course, but Prof. Bellovin certainly raises some interesting possibilities, none of which can be discounted by clueless journalists who sniff at “conspiracy theories” – as if we have no reason whatsoever to suspect covert action, by the US or whomever, in that area of the world. As Prof. Bellovin and a co-author point out in this paper on the subject: “Attacks on the routing system, with the goal of diverting traffic past an enemy-controlled point for purposes of eavesdropping or connection-hijacking, have long been known.”

Given the context in which these cable cuts are occurring – heightened tensions in the region, and not only with Iran – I think it is probable that they are deliberate, and that the diversion of internet traffic for purposes of eavesdropping is clearly the intent. After all, ask yourself this question: which is more plausible, an “accidental” cutting of four cables in one week in an area of the world which is the current focus of US military and diplomatic efforts, or the scenario outlined by Prof. Bellovin?

None of this is at all surprising. The US government currently claims the right to spy on Americans, in their own country, as well as when they’re in communication with overseas individuals. They don’t hide this, but proclaim it from the rooftops: does anyone doubt they are capable of commandeering the world’s internet cable network in order to utilize it for their own purposes? You don’t have to quaff the “conspiracy theorist” Kool-Aid to find this credible: a dose of realism will do.

 

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