Tuesday, November 27, 2012



Leo Tolstoy once said, “Imagine Genghis Khan with a telephone.” Imagine Genghis Khan, or a gaggle of Genghis Khans, running the Internet, and you have a sense of the ideas that will be percolating in Dubai at the World Conference on International Telecommunications in December.
Delegates from 120 countries will gather under the auspices of the United Nations to consider a plan to take administrative control of the Internet away from the United States and hand it over to an international body run by the UN.
In short, governance of cyberspace will pass from the country that has kept it free and accessible since its creation—the United States—to the same organization that gave us the financial scandals at UNESCO, voted to designate Zionism as racism, and seated China, Syria, and Muammur Qaddafi’s Libya on its Commission on Human Rights.
“The Internet stands at a crossroads,” is how Vint Cerf, one of the Web’s founders, put it in a May New York Times opinion piece. What happens in Dubai, he wrote, could “take away the Internet as you and I have known it.” Those who share his concern cross the ideological divide. Rebecca MacKinnon, of the liberal New America Foundation, and former Bush administration officials, such as Ambassador David Gross, similarly see Dubai as a defining moment, especially because the driving forces behind the meeting’s agenda are Russia and China. Those two nations have established themselves as the world’s worst cybercrime offenders and most systematic suppressers of political dissent on the Internet.
Whoever controls the Internet controls the destiny of nations. Ultimately, how Internet governance gets settled in Dubai and afterward could well determine whether freedom or totalitarianism gains the upper hand in the 21st century.
This all began in 2005, when the United Nations sponsored a World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis. That choice of venue was itself rich with irony, since Tunisia’s then dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, was the Arab world’s leading censor of the Internet, and the two sponsors of the summit’s trade fair were China’s biggest network companies, Huawei and ZTE. They are the anchors of China’s Great Firewall that keeps out Western ideas and suppresses dissent—and also leaves it free to hack into the secrets of Western governments and corporations more or less at will.
That is precisely the kind of Internet many other countries would like to have, and China emerged from the Tunis meeting as their chief spokesman. Several belong to the so-called G-77 of developing countries, which includes Pakistan, the Philippines, Brazil, and Argentina, as well as Iran, Syria, and Venezuela. They believe that the administration of the World Wide Web by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), headquartered in Los Angeles, isn’t responsive enough to the needs of developing countries, and so they pushed through a paragraph in the Tunis final report that “underlines the need to maximize the participation of developing countries in decisions regarding Internet governance, which should reflect their interests, as well as in development and capacity building”—in other words, in helping governments control what their citizens can see, and can’t see, on the Internet.
The best way to do that, China proposed in the run-up to the Tunis meeting, was to take administrative control of the Internet away from ICANN and hand it over to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The Union is a branch of the United Nations in which all countries have an equal vote, whether their delegates know anything about the Internet or not. (Most of the calls made by ICANN are done by engineers who have a background in cyber issues, and who are also—inevitably—trained and educated in the West).
A clear agenda was taking shape, with Chinese help. Free and open access to the Internet was being defined as a “Western” or “Eurocentric” priority that should not be imposed on “developing countries” by a Western institution such as ICANN. Accepting censorship as a governing principle was being defined as showing sensitivity to the needs of the developing world—with a UN-based body as the perfect vehicle for doing it.
Some human-rights groups disagreed. “If we have no freedom of speech,” said one WSIS delegate, a dissident from Zimbabwe, “we can’t talk about who is stealing our food.” But what began in Tunis reached a crescendo in September 2011 in Nairobi, where 2,000 delegates from 100 countries met for an Internet Governance Forum (IGF) under UN auspices. There, Russia rallied around the idea of passing control over to the ITU as well. According to President Vladimir Putin, the goal of the IGF should be “establishing international control over the Internet,” meaning that national governments, not users, would have the final say in the “norms and rules…concerning information and cyberspace.” Not only China, but also Iran, India, Brazil, and South Africa have signed on to the International Telecommunication Union plan.
Nor is the ITU’s current secretary general, Hamadoun Touré, opposed. He graduated from the Technical Institute of Leningrad and Moscow Tech in the Soviet era, and he knows the case against free speech only too well. But he also knows how to couch the case for Internet takeover in terms acceptable to Western liberals.
One term is democracy. As Touré told Vanity Fair, “When an invention becomes used by billions across the world, it no longer remains the sole property of one nation”—meaning the United States. “There should be a mechanism where many countries have an opportunity to have a say. I think that’s democratic. Do you think that’s democratic?”
Another buzzword is security. Everyone worries about proliferation of cybercrime and unauthorized hacking. Just before the Nairobi meeting commenced, Russia and China, backed by Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, called for creating an International Code of Conduct for Information Security, ostensibly aimed at curtailing cybercrimes such as hacking and terrorism. One of the code’s provisions would be committing signatories to “curbing the dissemination of information which incites terrorism, secessionism, extremism or undermines other countries’ political, economic, and social stability.”
The goal, in short, will be to force the United States, Canada, and Europe to shut down dissident websites or sites that provide any information another government deems extreme or antisocial. Most Arab countries at the Dubai meeting will go along with this goal, especially in the wake of the Arab Spring, when they learned what can happen if citizens have even limited access to the Web and social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Another key appeal is on multiculturalist grounds. ICANN’s business is largely conducted in English, and until recently the domain names it generated used the Latin alphabet (now they’re available in Arabic, Chinese, and a host of other languages and characters). Critics such as the Internet Governance Project have long argued that the organization has a pro-Western, even pro-American bias. The group even states on its website that “the United States government holds unilateral control of critical Internet resources,” meaning ICANN, “against the will of users and governments in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.”
One could argue, on the other hand, that this alleged tilt toward Western values is something many dissidents in China and Iran might desperately want to increase—just as they probably have a clearer notion of who’s being held against his will, or who’s not, than the IGP does. Still, the diversity argument has many sincere proponents, and the fact is, the United States and Western countries are a major source of the information that authoritarian regimes and others in the developing world find objectionable (as witness the tremendous furor recently over the Innocence of Muslims video).
But handing control over such content to the UN is where even a liberal critic like Rebecca MacKinnon has to draw the line. Former CNN correspondent, author of Consent of the Networked, and an enthusiast for “democratizing” the Internet, MacKinnon is no fan of ICANN or what she sees as the preponderant role corporate sponsors play in its decisions. Still, she recognizes how China has cleverly used the cultural-bias argument to push for replacing the current “multi-stake holder” model of cyberspace—in which governments have no more say than do engineers, activist groups, and the technology companies who own its biggest servers—with one in which governments will dominate. And many of those governments, she notes, don’t have the consent of their own citizens.
“The UN system’s chronic inability to protect and uphold human rights around the world,” she writes, “and its propensity to empower and legitimize dictators within the global governance system—as well as the lack of technical understanding of how the Internet really works among many countries’ ministers of communications—are good reasons that power over the Internet’s critical resources should be kept out of intergovernmental hands,” and in the hands of ICANN.
In fact, contrary to the multicultural critics, one could argue the key to the success of the Internet lies precisely in its original, American, even capitalist, bias.
The widely circulated story that the Pentagon created the Internet to keep vital computer communications open in the event of a nuclear strike is a myth. The original network built by the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the late 1960s had nothing to do with nukes—it was to ease communication among universities doing defense-related research—and was funded, not built, by the government. Nearly all the technology involved, including the first computer hardware and phone lines, was installed by private companies such as Honeywell and AT&T—and when ARPA’s director, Robert Taylor, moved to Xerox, that company developed the first Ethernet to connect different private computer networks.
Indeed, the explosive growth of what had been a government research project has been steadily fueled by U.S. corporations such as CompuServe, universities, and individual engineers such as Stanford’s Vint Cerf, the inventor of the TCP/IP address system, as well as Britain’s Tim Berners-Lee, who in 1990 developed the hyperlink system he dubbed the World Wide Web. The Internet is the one clear, simple, and efficient communications network that everyone depends on, regardless of national origin or ideological orientation. That’s why most American companies who do business on the Internet support the work of open-standards organizations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force and World Wide Web Consortium, as well as ICANN. All three are nonprofit voluntary organizations that answer to no government and state in their charters that they serve the interests of Web users.
By the time ICANN was created in 1998, the Internet had spread from the United States to more than 100 countries. Today it includes some 2 billion users, sharing millions of bytes of data and information every second. Everyone recognizes that it is a truly global institution with no government master. But it also retains its fundamental American character, as a never-ending cascade of what Cerf calls “permissionless innovation.” Users from all over the world are constantly adding to and extending its performance, not to mention its range of services and commodities and new ideas. It is “not merely a radiance of connections; it is a mesh of constant invention,” writes George Gilder in his book Telecosm. “The Internet is yet another demonstration of the triumph of intelligence over time and chaos”—and of the profoundly American principle that freedom is superior to constraint and control.
International bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force are important to keeping the Web strong, efficient, and open, but ICANN is crucial. Its job is to oversee the assignment of the unique identifiers essential for the TCP/IP address system. By making sure every computer server or network has a unique Information Protocol address, ICANN is able to ensure that any user gets access to data emanating from that specific address and no other—and can do so from anywhere he or she enters that address on a Web browser, whether it’s to look at a website, download data, send an email, or buy something.
It also makes sure that the number of available domain names and addresses keeps up with the expansion of the Internet—which is one of the issues that has already led to some friction with governments, including that of the United States.* Indeed, if ICANN has any “bias” at all, it is in expanding the Internet and making it more available to users, no matter who or where they are, according to certain rules of the road called the Internet Technical Regulations, set down in an international conference in Melbourne back in 1988.
With ICANN as umpire, the Internet has become the closest thing to a globalized free market the world has ever seen, where individuals anywhere are able to use a basic and neutral set of rules to match their preferences—including buying and selling goods and services. Like any free market, the Internet is subject to abuse and prey to predators, both governmental and nongovernmental. But as the commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, Robert McDowell, notes, thanks to ICANN, the Internet has become “the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.”
Others, of course, view that deregulatory narrative not as a success story but as a threat—especially the authoritarian governments who would much prefer having an Internet they can directly police. (Iran, for example, has announced plans to create its own “clean” or halal Internet, which will serve individuals and institutions inside Iran in accordance with Sharia law and remain entirely cut off from the World Wide Web.) But they see replacing ICANN outright with a UN agency subject to their control as politically unfeasible—and also too much work. So they’re looking at a different route. Instead of firing the umpire, they want to seize the rulebook by which he operates. And the place they intend to do that is Dubai.
After the December conference, “the governments of the world will have more power over the Internet than ever before,” warns David Gross, who coordinated the State Department’s communications policy under George W. Bush. What Gross expects is the creation of a new framework under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union—in which nation-states will make the important calls on changing the rules of the road, the International Telecommunication Regulations. These are “the most important and sensitive aspects” of how the Internet is organized, or rather, how it runs itself.
One of those changes would be taking dominion over ICANN’s assignment of identities for the origin and destination of Internet traffic. This could allow governments to force ICANN to erase domains or IP addresses they don’t like, thereby cutting them permanently from the Internet and dumping them down the cybersphere’s memory hole.
Another would be inserting the Chinese- and Russian-sponsored International Code of Conduct for Information Security into the Internet’s rules, which would force its international custodians, including ICANN, to cooperate with governments that want to censor what flows into their country.
The third would radically alter who pays for using the Internet. The Dubai conference will weigh proposals that invoke the principle of “sender party pays,” making content providers such as Google and Yahoo! purchase the right to transmit content to users. “It’s a completely new economic concept to the Internet,” says Gross, “and it could have a radical and profound impact on the economics of the Internet, especially in the developing world.”
The example he likes to use is a poor student in a village in Thailand or Nigeria who wants to download a page from a website he found on Google. As the Internet currently works, he gets the information for free: The only cost is paying for the Internet connection in the host country. “But if Google had to pay someone for the right to send that information,” Gross says, that person might decide not to send it at all. “The eyeballs of a rural person in Thailand to an advertiser aren’t probably worth the trouble.” The result would be to shut down or severely limit access to the Internet in the world’s poorest places—something that several governments might not find so objectionable.
Nor would its effects be limited to places like Thailand and Nigeria. Gross anticipates that “sender party pays” would lead to a multitiered World Wide Web, with different data provided to different users based on their levels of income and on advertising rates. That’s not just a crimp to commerce; it spells an end of Internet democracy.
Gross’s fears, like Rebecca MacKinnon’s, are rooted in the Internet’s possible future. But there’s another older story being played out in Dubai, one familiar even to people who still haven’t decided whether the Internet is a good thing for the culture or not.
Given that Russia and China are prime movers in the bid to wrest Internet oversight from the United States; that their allies include Iran, Syria, and Venezuela; and that ITU’s Touré was trained and taught by Soviet apparatchiks, it’s hard to resist the feeling we’re watching a replay of the North–South debates of the 1970s, when totalitarians used the issue of the inequality of nations to push their real agenda of undermining the power of the United States and the West—not because they were barriers to prosperity, democracy, and free expression, but because they were their chief exponents.
As Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote then: “Our policymakers have yet to learn just how dangerous the world [has] become for a nation like ours, or to see that guarding the language of human rights would play no small part in our defense.” Substitute “Internet” for “language of human rights,” and one has a very clear statement of what’s at stake in the Internet-governance debate.
It’s not at all clear that the officials who will handle the Dubai issue for the Obama administration understand this. A memo issued by the State Department on January 23, 2012, after the Nairobi meeting dismissed the idea that a takeover of the Internet was in the offing. “There are no pending proposals to invest the ITU with ICANN-like government authority,” it states—ignoring the fact that the real issue in Dubai will not be whether the UN agency replaces ICANN but whether member governments can use the UN to hijack the Internet agenda and reduce ICANN to a mere administrator of their collective will.
The same memo insists that the Obama administration must continue to support open access to the Internet and stresses that its efforts to push further “liberalization of international telecommunications networks” would be completely successful at Dubai. But it’s not likely that an administration whose response to Muslim outrage over an allegedly derogatory video on YouTube was to seize and detain its producer is going to be a strong advocate for free speech—or for keeping the Internet free from nation-state control.
The Internet has proven that creativity and innovation flourish best when governments govern least. The United States has a solemn duty to protect the legacy it founded. In that sense, he who controls the Internet does control the destiny of nations—and ultimately the destiny of freedom.

About the Author

Arthur Herman is the author of, most recently, Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. His article “How America Got Rich” appeared in the September issue. 


Thursday, November 22, 2012


Lindy Edwards Published: November 21, 2012
AS TONY Abbott dug himself in deeper trying to escape his remarks about ''authentic Aborigines'' last week, his comments were revealing. The way he described Aboriginality had a significance that went beyond rudeness or violating political correctness.
White settlers have described Aboriginal people in a variety of ways over the years, and it has always served a political purpose. Aboriginal people were described as ''dangerous savages'' when a rationale was needed to shoot them to clear them off the land. On the other hand, they were described as ''passive natives'' who had quietly given up their lands and died out due to disease when we needed to justify their decimated numbers to the rest of the world.
The various theories of race have been just as politically loaded. One theory argued that each race came from a different genus, and they were engaged in a Darwinian struggle for survival. The superior races would survive, while the vanquished would be condemned to history. In this logic it was deemed merciful for Australian government policy to ''smooth the pillow of the dying race'' and help along Aboriginal extinction.
Other theories of race argued we all had the same genus, but different races were at different points on a continuum of evolution. The Aboriginal race was deemed to be languishing at the bottom while the white race was at the top having evolved closer to God. It was argued Aboriginal people were being ''liberated'' when they were forcibly assimilated into the ''higher'' white culture.
Contemporary understandings of Aboriginality are just as political. We have moved on from describing race in terms of biology and now we cast it in terms of culture. In the past we argued it was Aborigines' biology that caused their dismal state, and now we argue it is their culture. The common argument goes that Aboriginal culture is ancient and primitive, and cannot be reconciled with modern Western culture.
It is an argument that again lays the blame for the condition of Aboriginal people as being Aboriginality itself. As colonisers we argue that the conditions of the people we defeated are due to the internal flaws of the victims.
Even more poignantly, in this framing, if a person gets educated and becomes professionally successful in white terms, they lose their Aboriginality. They are seen as moving away from the traditional way of life and culture. You can be successful in the white world, or you can be Aboriginal. You can't be both.
It is a line of argument that has been used to delegitimise Aboriginal leaders. Anyone who gains the skills required to be an effective Aboriginal advocate immediately has their authenticity questioned.
So what is the right way for a whitefella to talk about Aboriginality? First, we need to acknowledge the diversity of the experience. There were 500 Aboriginal nations with their own different cultures before European settlers turned up. Different Aboriginal families have then had very different pathways through the colonising experience.
Second, we need to understand it is not our place to describe what Aboriginality is. Each Aboriginal person will come up with their own way of understanding it, and it is likely there will be as many understandings as there are people who tick the box on the forms.
For whitefellas, Aboriginality is perhaps most usefully understood as people whose families went through the experience of dispossession.
That might seem like a small thing, or something that happened a long time ago, but that is not the reality. The frontier wars that took a form of guerilla warfare lasted about 70 years from the 1790s through to the 1860s.
From the 1870s through to the 1960s most Australian states operated a form of apartheid, where Aboriginal people were wards of the state. Many were rounded up on reserves where they lost the right to own property, hold a job, or marry without permission. Their children were not their own and could be removed.
Many outside the reserves were caught in a no man's land, not allowed on the reserves but locked out of the towns by colour bars. Their wages were a fraction of white wages, they had no access to government payments, and their children were not allowed into schools. They were forced to set up slums on the outskirts of towns.
About eight generations lived through these hardships before things started to get better.
If we need a way of thinking about Aboriginality, we need to start by acknowledging that people are just people. Then we need to realise that some of our fellow Australians have had this experience in their families.
Perhaps if we understand Aboriginality that way, things might just start improving.
Dr Lindy Edwards is a political scientist at the University of New South Wales and author of The Passion of Politics: the Role of Ideology and Political Theory in Australia.
Follow the National Times on Twitter
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/whitefellas-fail-to-grasp-reality-20121120-29o13.html

Monday, November 19, 2012


The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has announced that Iran is ready to dispatch humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, as the Israeli regime continues its relentless assault on the besieged territory.

The IRCS sent a letter to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society on Friday, condemning the Israeli aggression against Gaza and expressing readiness to send relief supplies and medical assistance to the coastal sliver, IRNA reported.

At least 30 Palestinians have been killed and over 280 others injured in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since Wednesday.
The Israeli Army says it has hit more than 600 targets across the coastal enclave in the past three days and is reportedly preparing for a ground offensive against the Palestinian territory.

The Israeli military frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the actions are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, disproportionate force is always used, in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured.

Gaza has been blockaded since 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

The apartheid regime of Israel denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs that pay proper wages, and adequate healthcare and education.




PLEASE CONTACT: themikiverse@gmail.com


Senate, House resolutions back Israel’s actions in Gaza


November 17, 2012 "
JTA" -- November 16, 2011 - WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Both Houses of the U.S. Congress unanimously passed resolutions expressing support for Israel's "inherent right to act in self-defense."
The identical non-binding resolutions passed Thursday in the Senate and Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives,
Initiated in the Senate by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.) in the House, each resolution "expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes and strongly supports its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism."
By Thursday evening, the Senate resolution had garnered 64 cosponsors.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee in a statement praised "the leadership of Senators Gillibrand and Kirk, and the extraordinary show of support by the Senate for Israel’s struggle against terrorist attacks on its citizens."
The resolutions are the first such proposed legislation in the wake of Israeli airstrikes launched Wednesday in retaliation for rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip
Unlike statements of support for Israel's actions from the Obama administration, the resolutions do not call on both sides to exercise restraint or express regret at casualties on both sides.
"We strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence," Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, told reporters on Thursday. "There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately in order to allow the situation to de-escalate."
Twenty-eight Palestinians, including at least two children, and three Israelis have been killed in the escalated violence between Israel and Palestinian terrorists. Among the dead Palestinians is a terrorist leader, Ahmed Jabari.
A host of lawmakers have issued statements in support of Israel, and Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on Wednesday briefed five senators from both parties -- Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).
"As a bipartisan group of Senators committed to Israel's security, we express our solidarity with Israel during this deeply challenging period and denounce the reprehensible and indiscriminate rocket attacks launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad against innocent Israeli citizens," the senators said in a joint statement.
AIPAC praised the outpouring of congressional support.
"These statements demonstrate that America continues to firmly stand with Israel and her right to defend herself," it said. "No nation can tolerate constant barrages of rockets against its civilian population."
Note -Image in this article was embedded by ICH, did not appear in the original item.


PLEASE CONTACT: themikiverse@gmail.com


Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on 6/7/11

ASIO abuses hidden and ignored
Surveillance of and interference with Australian analysts, writers and other professionals standard practice
Former Wall Street Analyst (Australian working for SBC Warburg – now part of UBS) Wilson targeted after publishing report touching on US State Department investigation into allegations US copper/gold mining company Freeport McMoran was involved in the killing of indigenous protestors in West Papua, Indonesia.
ASIO interference with Australian “soft” targets includes:
• Black listing – damaging targets’ economic means, and social and professional standing.
• Arbitrary interference with family members including young children, their teachers; and targets’ social and peer networks.
• Intrusive surveillance – eg collection of targets’ medical, financial, academic and tax records; home invasion – placement of video and audio recording devices in living and bedrooms; and correspondence – eg monitoring phone, email and browser.
• Removal of privacy: security clearance provided to targets’ friends, peers and family; ASIO then provides these people with private surveillance video, audio and personal records of targets with the aim to embarrass, humiliate and isolate the target.
• Blocking access to justice through interference and collusion with targets’ lawyers.
• ASIO “payback” constitutes cruel and unusual punishment – practices which IGIS permits – but which are of no value to Australian national security.
IGIS colludes with ASIO; and has failed in its oversight and constraint.
“Any defence lawyer having anything to do with a case involving ASIO will know that its agents habitually act outside their powers and routinely abuse them, always in secret. It is rare indeed for their conduct to be exposed.” Ian Barker, QC
IGIS (Inspector General of Intelligence and Security) – the key agency for oversight of ASIO is ineffective and is not truly independent of ASIO. IGIS colludes with, and is open to ASIO influence in its oversight investigations. As a result, ASIO operates in Australia without effective oversight and constraint, leaving ordinary Australians open to unfettered ASIO abuses.
High profile matters currently requiring investigation by royal commission of ASIO and IGIS abuses include:
• Habib torture in Egypt; recently subject to a settlement by the Australian Government.
• Setup and downfall of Ross Cameron, former Liberal MP for Parramatta, in retribution for his outspoken opposition to the Howard government’s push to war in Iraq.
What you can do: Write to your elected representatives requesting ASIO and IGIS activities be subject to increased oversight scrutiny, in particular a mandatory royal commission every 5 years.
For more information email: moreinfo778@yahoo.com.au


Palestinian resistance fighters continue to fire rockets at Israeli-occupied lands in retaliation for the deadly strikes carried out by the Tel Aviv regime against the blockaded Gaza Strip.

On Saturday, Palestinian missiles targeted several Israeli cities including Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Eshkol, Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva.

Reports say that several Israelis have been wounded in the southern cities of Ashdod and Eshkol.

Hamas resistance movement’s military wing claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on Tel Aviv which caused a massive explosion as air raid sirens went off in the city.
The new wave of Israeli attacks have claimed over 40 lives in the Gaza Strip since November 14, 2012.

The Israeli military frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the actions are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, disproportionate force is always used, in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured.




PLEASE CONTACT: themikiverse@gmail.com


| November 19, 2012
(Gary Merson)  Samsung’s 2012 top-of-the-line plasmas and LED HDTVs offer new features never before available within a television including a built-in, internally wired HD camera, twin microphones, face tracking and speech recognition. While these features give you unprecedented control over an HDTV, the devices themselves, more similar than ever to a personal computer, may allow hackers or even Samsung to see and hear you and your family, and collect extremely personal data.
While Web cameras and Internet connectivity are not new to HDTVs, their complete integration is, and it’s the always connected camera and microphones, combined with the option of third-party apps (not to mention Samsung’s own software) gives us cause for concern regarding the privacy of TV buyers and their friends and families.
Samsung has not released a privacy policy clarifying what data it is collecting and sharing with regard to the new TV sets. And while there is no current evidence of any particular security hole or untoward behavior by Samsung’s app partners, Samsung has only stated that it “assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable” in the event that a product or service is not “appropriate.”
Samsung demoed these features to the press earlier this month. The camera and microphones are built into the top if the screen bezel in the 2012 8000-series plasmas and are permanently attached to the top of the 7500- and 8000ES-series LED TVs. A Samsung representative showed how, once set up and connected to the Internet, these models will automatically talk to the Samsung cloud and enable viewers to use new and exciting apps.
These Samsung TVs locate and make note of registered viewers via sophisticated face recognition software. This means if you tell the TV whose faces belong to which users in your family, it personalizes the experience to each recognized family member. If you have friends over, it could log these faces as well.
In addition, the TV listens and responds to specific voice commands. To use the feature, the microphone is active. What concerns us is the integration of both an active camera and microphone. A Samsung representative tells us you can deactivate the voice feature; however this is done via software, not a hard switch like the one you use to turn a room light on or off.
And unlike other TVs, which have cameras and microphones as add-on accessories connected by a single, easily removable USB cable, you can’t just unplug these sensors.
During our demo, unless the face recognition learning feature was activated, there was no indication as to whether the camera (such as a red light) and audio mics are on. And as far as the microphone is concerned the is no way to physically disconnect it or be assured it is not picking up your voice when you don’t intend it to do so.
Samsung does provide the ability to manually reposition the TV’s camera away from viewers. The LED TV models allow you to manually point it upward, facing the ceiling; the plasma’s camera can be re-aimed to capture objects in the rear of the TV according a Samsung spokesperson.
Privacy concerns
We began to wonder exactly what data Samsung collects from its new “eyes and ears” and how it and other companies intend use it, which raises the following questions
  • Can Samsung or Samsung-authorized companies watch you watching your Samsung TV?
  • Do the televisions send a user ID or the TV’s serial number to the Samsung cloud whenever it has an Internet connection?
  • Does Samsung cross reference a user ID or facial scan to your warranty registration information, such as name, address etc.?
  • Can a person or company listen to you, at will, via the microphone and Internet connection?
  • Does Samsung’s cloud store all this information? How secure is this extremely personal data?
  • Can a hacker intercept this data or view you via the built in camera?
  • Can a third-party app program do any of the above?
  • Exactly what information does the TV send to Samsung or other parties?
  • Does Samsung intend to sell data collected by its Smart TV owners, such as who, what and when one is viewing?
Companies desiring to provide highly targeted advertisements to you via the TV screen or external marketing would find this data extremely valuable. “Hey, you look a little tired, how about some Ambien? I’m seeing a little grey, have you tried Grecian Formula?  Joe, it looks like you packed on a few pounds recently, here’s information from Weight Watchers. Hey kids, you look bored, look at these TOYS!”
So what, if any, privacy does Samsung promise by way of a stated policy?
Weeks have passed since we formally requested answers to these questions from Samsung asking what if any privacy assurances Samsung provides. To date no privacy statement has been furnished to HD Guru or end users. The first models with these features arrived on dealer’s shelves over two weeks ago. All that we’ve been told is that when connecting to the Internet, the TVs first connect to the Samsung cloud, and from there, they connect to the various streaming video services and other apps for activation.
Samsung induces its new Smart TV owners to register online by offering a free three-month extension of the TV’s warranty. This would couple user names and addresses to their TV serial numbers, if the company so desired.
Want to read the owner’s manual for your new Samsung TV? This is accomplished by download, as Samsung stopped including printed owner’s manuals at least two years ago. However, before you may download the manual, you must first agree to the following online statement:
Samsung assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable, in connection with whether any such products or services will be appropriate, functional or supported for the Samsung products or services available in your country.
We asked Samsung to define “appropriate” but to date have not received a response. We will update readers with a response or a privacy statement if and when Samsung chooses to provide one.
Security threats
Don’t assume a TV is an un-hackable island! Samsung does not disclose what operating system is within its TVs, therefore we cannot confirm if it is Android and/or any other that might have a prior history of hacking.
It has been widely reported Android phones have been hacked allowing outside control of phones, via third party apps.
Countless companies have had their networks hacked, causing thousands of customers’ personal data to be released to the world. If this were to happen to Samsung it is theoretically possible hackers could gain access to names, addresses — and images of the faces of entire families.
The TV has a built-in Facebook app. Can the TV make the next connection and access your Facebook account and match other viewers to their Facebook pictures for even more personal data?
A Samsung representative said the company is working on apps that will allow its Smart TV owners to turn their televisions into a silent home-security system by allowing remote viewing on a smartphone or tablet via the TV’s built-in camera. This ability makes us ask, “Who else could gain access this video feed?”
There are  security systems that go over the Internet, however, many are encrypted. Is any [of] Samsung’s data encrypted? The company doesn’t say. Generally security companies let customers know when their data is encrypted, as it is a selling point.
In addition, the Samsung HDTVs come with an external infrared blaster that allows users to control a cable or satellite box via voice, gesture or the Samsung remote. We ask: does the TV send this information over to Samsung’s cloud as well? Does Samsung now know what other equipment you have, when you’re home to use it, what channel you’re viewing and when?
The models with this unprecedented feature set are the 2012 8000 series plasmas PN51E8000, PN60E8000, PN64E8000 and LED models UN46ES7500, UN50ES7500, UN55ES7500, UN46ES8000,  UN55ES8000, UN60ES8000 and UN65ES8000.
Many of these models are now at dealers with the rest scheduled to ship within the next few weeks.
With so many questions raised and no answers provided, HD Guru recommends you weigh the possibilities and decide whether or not you care about its unknown personal privacy risks before purchasing one of these HDTVs.


Thursday, November 15, 2012


Edited: 16 November, 2012,
The latest attacks by Israel against Gaza have been condemned as a violation of international law. However the US and UK have given their unwavering support to the new strikes on Gaza.
US President Barack Obama “reiterated US support for Israel's right to self-defense in light of rocket attacks from Gaza” in a phone call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
Meanwhile UK Foreign Secretary William Hague also stepped forward in Israel’s defense, claiming that Hamas “bears principle responsibility” for the Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Israel has now reportedly hit over 200 “targets” in Gaza, killing 13 and injuring over 120 people.
The unwavering support by the US and the UK is astounding, considering Israel has yet to comply with to any of the resolutions passed (see list) by the United Nations in relation to the Middle East conflict
Hamas and the Palestinians have to share some of the responsibility. Ever since Israel was accused of breaking the 10 year truce in 2006, when an explosion killed eight Palestinian civilians, Hamas have launched a number of rocket strikes into Israel. However their retaliations and attacks are severely outweighed and outmuscled by Israel’s military power.
In addition to the frequent air strikes and shelling, Israel has kept Gaza under blockade since 2010 which is seen as an infringement of the right of the people in Gaza to a decent living, work, health and education.
UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk explained that since the 1967 war, an estimated 750,000 Palestinians, including 23,000 women and 25,000 children, had gone through detention in Israeli jails. This constitutes approximately 20 per cent of the total Palestinian population in the occupied territory or 40 per cent of the Palestinian male population.
In 2008 Israel launched a 3 week offensive against Gaza, which resulted in 1,417 deaths, of them 926 civilians. Israel’s death toll was 9.
Egypt withdrew its ambassador following Israel’s announcement that it would intensify the military campaign and called an emergency UN meeting to discuss the escalating conflict. Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr warned that further aggression from Israel could have “negative repercussions on the security and stability of the region.”
The Palestinian envoy to the UN slammed Israeli aggression during the meeting, decrying it as "vulgarly and publicly boasting about its willful killing of Palestinians.” Following Wednesday’s offensive that killed Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari.
US Ambassador Susan Rice supported Israel saying there is no justification “for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel."
The meeting was adjourned without any conclusion, although the general message was to de-escalate the conflict in order to avert any more civilian casualties.
Maria Portnaya’s correspondent in New York reports that other UN Security Council members including Britain and Russia have called on both sides to exercise restraint and prevent any escalation of violence. Ban ki-moon the UN Secretary General also called for both sides to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.
At least 19 Palestinians have been reported dead so far, among them two children, according to Palestinian authorities.
At least 15 Palestinians have been reported dead so far, among them two children, according to Palestinian authorities.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern at the situation and voiced expectation that "Israeli reactions are measured so as not to provoke a new cycle of bloodshed."
The White House released a transcript of President Obama’s communications with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday night. Obama stressed Israel’s right to defend itself and has decried rocket fire from Gaza into the country.
"The President urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate," the White House statement said. Netanyahu’s office said that he “deeply appreciated” the President’s support.
The US justifies its unwavering support of Israel in its terrorist classification of Hamas. RT correspondent Gayane Chichikyan highlighted what is seen as the US’s double standard policy in its classification of terrorism, stressing they were not so quick to brand opposition attacks in Syria as “terrorism”, in spite the fact the UN condemns them as such.
“There seem to be different interpretations of the term ‘terrorism’ in Washington,” said Chichikyan.

Protester ire against Israeli offensive

Protesters gather outside Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Tel Aviv apartment.(Image from screenshot of youtube video user@SocialTV)
Protesters gather outside Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Tel Aviv apartment.(Image from screenshot of youtube video user@SocialTV)
A protest movement is already gathering momentum in response to the Israeli’s warmongering rhetoric. ‘Hacktavist’ group Anonymous reportedly attacked the Israeli Defense Ministry website.
They claimed to have blocked it, posting the trademark hashtag “tango down” on Twitter.
In Tel Aviv overnight, more than 100 activists turned up outside Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Tel Aviv apartment complex to protest the IDF offensive.
They brandished anti-war banners and chanted slogans against the minister, such as “Defense Minister, Ddefense Minister, how many kids did you kill today?”, “Israel, Palestine, two states for two peoples”, “Money for welfare, not war” and “No war for tycoons.”
Israel’s Meretz Hadash and the newly-formed Pirates Party had a strong presence at the protest.
“This will only bring death to Palestinians and Israelis, and we call on everybody who is able to stand by our side and fight against this step before civilians and soldiers on both sides are killed,” said Amit Ashkenazi, a spokesman for Hadash to the Jerusalem Post.
Palestinian men take part in a candle vigil in support of the people of the Gaza Strip and against Israeli air strikes, on November 14, 2012 in front of the Church of the Nativity at the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (AFP Photo / Musa Al Shaer)
Palestinian men take part in a candle vigil in support of the people of the Gaza Strip and against Israeli air strikes, on November 14, 2012 in front of the Church of the Nativity at the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (AFP Photo / Musa Al Shaer)
Palestenian protesters shout slogans as they march in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 14, 2012 during a demonstration in support of the people of the Gaza Strip and against Israeli air strikes. (AFP Photo / Abbas Momani)
Palestenian protesters shout slogans as they march in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 14, 2012 during a demonstration in support of the people of the Gaza Strip and against Israeli air strikes. (AFP Photo / Abbas Momani)
Meanwhile in Ramallah, hundreds flooded the streets of the West Bank, enraged by Israel’s offensive. They called for revenge for those slain in the rocket strikes and urged Palestinian forces to return fire into Israel.
In the Egyptian capital, crowds gathered outside the Israeli Embassy demanding its immediate closure, while demonstrations in solidarity of Gaza have also reportedly taken place in Istanbul Turkey.
Protests are expected in the Israeli cities of Haifa and Jerusalem on Thursday.
Egyptians protest for the closure of the Israeli embassy in Cairo. (Image from twitter user@EslamX)
Egyptians protest for the closure of the Israeli embassy in Cairo. (Image from twitter user@EslamX)
Egyptians protest for the closure of the Israeli embassy in Cairo. Egypt (Image from twitter user@Mad_Darsh)
Egyptians protest for the closure of the Israeli embassy in Cairo. Egypt (Image from twitter user@Mad_Darsh)


PLEASE CONTACT: themikiverse@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


In the 12 years since Melinda Gates and her husband, Bill, created the Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic organization, she has done a lot of traveling. A reserved woman who has long been wary of the public glare attached to the Gates name, she comes alive, her associates say, when she’s visiting the foundation’s projects in remote corners of the world. “You get her out in the field with a group of women, sitting on a mat or under a tree or in a hut, she is totally in her element, totally comfortable,” says Gary Darmstadt, director of family health at the foundation’s global health program.
Visiting vaccine programs in sub-Saharan Africa, Gates would often ask women at remote clinics what else they needed. Very often, she says, they would speak urgently about birth control. “Women sitting on a bench, 20 of them, immediately they’ll start speaking out and saying, ‘I wish I had that injection I used to get,’” says Gates. “‘I came to this clinic three months ago, and I got my injection. I came last week, and I couldn’t get it, and I’m here again.’”
They were talking about Depo-Provera, which is popular in many poor countries because women need to take it only four times a year, and because they can hide it, if necessary, from unsupportive husbands. As Gates discovered, injectable contraceptives, like many other forms of birth control, are frequently out of stock in clinics in the developing world, a result of both funding shortages and supply-chain problems.
Women would tell her that they’d left their farms and walked for hours, sometimes with children in tow, often without the knowledge of their husbands, in their fruitless search for the shot. “I was just stunned by how vociferous women were about what they wanted,” she says.
Because of those women, Gates made a decision that’s likely to change lives all over the world. As she revealed in an exclusive interview with Newsweek, she has decided to make family planning her signature issue and primary public health a priority. “My goal is to get this back on the global agenda,” she says. She is sitting in an office in the Gates Foundation’s 900,000-square-foot headquarters in downtown Seattle, a pair of airy boomerang-shaped buildings flooded with natural light. It was here at headquarters late last year that she announced her new emphasis on contraception at an all-staff meeting, to thrilled applause.
Nigel Parry for Newsweek
Now the foundation, which is worth almost $34 billion, is putting her agenda into practice. In July it’s teaming up with the British government to cosponsor a summit of world leaders in London, to start raising the $4 billion the foundation says it will cost to get 120 million more women access to contraceptives by 2020. And in a move that could be hugely significant for American women, it is pouring money into the long-neglected field of contraceptive research, seeking entirely new methods of birth control. Ultimately Gates hopes to galvanize a global movement. “When I started to realize that that needed to get done in family planning, I finally said, OK, I’m the person that’s going to do that,” she says.
Despite Gates’s passion, stepping forward wasn’t an easy decision. For one thing, the former Microsoft manager has always shunned the spotlight. The first time she agreed to a magazine profile was in 2008, 14 years after her marriage, when she spoke to Fortune about the foundation’s work. “I was reluctant to speak out on behalf of any foundation issues early on, because I had little kids, and I wanted some privacy in my family life,” she says.
Perhaps more importantly, there’s her Catholic faith, which has always informed her work. “From the very beginning, we said that as a foundation we will not support abortion, because we don’t believe in funding it,” she says. She’s long disagreed with the church’s position on contraception, and the Gates Foundation did some family-planning funding early in its history. Still, she went through a lot of soul-searching before she was ready to champion the issue publicly. “I had to wrestle with which pieces of religion do I use and believe in my life, what would I counsel my daughters to do,” she says. Defying church teachings was difficult, she adds, but also came to seem morally necessary. Otherwise, she says, “we’re not serving the other piece of the Catholic mission, which is social justice.”
Gates believes that by focusing on the lives of women and children, and by making it clear that the agenda is neither coercive population control nor abortion, the controversy over international family-planning programs can be defused. Right now, she points out, 100,000 women annually die in childbirth after unintended pregnancies. Six hundred thousand babies born to women who didn’t want to be pregnant die in the first month of life. “She is somebody who really sees this as a public-health necessity,” says Melanne Verveer, the United States ambassador at large for global women’s issues. “I think she believes, and I hope she is right, that people of different political persuasions can come together on this issue.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Daniel Fogarty, AAP November 14, 2012.

Accused molesting priest blamed God
A former Catholic priest accused of molesting boys at a Victorian school told a colleague that "God made us this way and it's his fault", court documents allege.
David Edwin Rapson, 59, is accused of abusing boys between 1973 and 1990, including at the Salesian College Rupertswood in Sunbury where he was a teacher.
Rapson is facing a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.
In a statement tendered on Wednesday, one of the boys alleges he was molested by Rapson in the school infirmary when he was in year 10.
The boy said he was in the infirmary because he had been stung by a bee.
He alleges there were a number of children in the infirmary at the time and Rapson made each drink a cup of Milo.
The boy said the Milo tasted "a bit strong and quite acrid".
He said he saw Rapson, whom he called Brother Rapson, going to each bed and lifting up the blankets and making derogatory comments about the boys' penises.
He alleges another priest came into to the room and asked Rapson what he was doing.
Rapson replied: "You know what we do here."
To which the other priest said: "You've really got to resist."
Rapson replied: "God made us this way and it's his fault."
The boy's statement said Rapson also told the other priest he was the same as him.
A short time later Rapson allegedly molested the boy.
"While he was assaulting me he was saying things like `You're useless, you're no good' and things like that," the boy said in his statement.
The boy, who is now in his 50s, gave his evidence in camera but his statement was released to the media.
Rapson is facing charges including one count of rape and four counts of indecently assaulting a child under 16.
The committal hearing before magistrate Greg McNamara is continuing.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Published: November 13, 2012
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has touched down in Perth ahead of the annual AUSMIN talks with Australian officials this week.
Mrs Clinton flew into Australia amid tight security, with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to fly in later on Tuesday.
A motorcade of 11 cars and three buses met Mrs Clinton, along with Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Foreign Minister Bob Carr, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett, Australian ambassador to the US Kim Beazley and US ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich.
AUSMIN is the highest-level forum for Australia and US consultation on foreign policy, defence and strategic issues.
This visit could be Mrs Clinton's last to Australia as Secretary of State, with Mrs Clinton expected to step down from the role early in the new year. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is due to meet with Mrs Clinton later today ahead of the formal talks tomorrow.
AUSMIN is expected to cover regional issues important to both nations as well as the American military presence at northern Australian airbases and the future of the war in Afghanistan.
Senator Carr described the talks as "tending" to the relationship with the US.
"You always keep your friendships in good repair," he told Sky News.
Senator Carr said that he expected the talks to go beyond the Asia-Pacific, particularly since Australia had won a seat on the UN Security Council for 2013-14.
He predicted that the civil war in Syria, as was as Myanmar's moves towards democracy would be discussed.
Despite being intrigued about speculation that Mrs Clinton might run for US presidency in 2016, Senator Carr said he would not be quizzing his counterpart on the subject.
"I’d love to but I wouldn't be so rude and it would be quite impolite of me, quite undiplomatic of me," Senator Carr said.
"I think I’ll curb those instincts and be the perfect diplomat throughout these meetings."
On Sunday, Mr Smith told the ABC that the talks would look at ''challenges and opportunities''.
''I suspect one of the challenges that will confront Leon Panetta as the United States looks to implementing the so-called pivot to Asia as it rebalances the disposition of its forces from effectively 50/50 to NATO in the northern hemisphere to 40/60 to the Asia-Pacific,'' Mr Smith said.
Over the weekend, Mr Smith dismissed reports that the US was worried about recent cuts to Australia's defence budget and that the issue would be on the agenda.
After AUSMIN, Mrs Clinton will travel to Adelaide to meet Australian business leaders and visit Techport Australia and pay a visit to family friends.
Mr Beazley was pleased to see the Secretary of State in Australia.
"On a beautiful day in Perth, great to welcome Hillary to my hometown," he posted on Twitter
With Judith Ireland, AAP
This story was found at: http://www.watoday.com.au/opinion/political-news/clinton-touches-down-in-australia-for-security-talks-20121113-299i5.html


Liam Tung Published: November 5, 2012 
 "Ransomware" has been customised to scare Australians. Photo: Botnets.fr
If your computer appears to be taken hostage by local police who demand the payment of a fine to grant you access to your data, would you pay the fee, yank the power cord or recognise a scam and figure out how to neutralise it?
Malicious software that demands payment for the return of access to personal or financial data, known as “ransomware”, has been around in various forms for over a decade, but this year police-themed ransomware has emerged as the scam du jour for online con artists and there is evidence they are ramping up activity in Australia significantly.
The simple con exploits victims' lack of knowledge about online surveillance, enforcement and the law. Victims are told police have detected crimes ranging from copyright infringement to viewing child abuse material and are generally asked to pay a fine of about $100 in the local currency within 72 hours via prepaid services such as UKash, a UK-based voucher payments service.

Another screengrab of what the ransomware - customised for Australia - looks like. Photo: botnets.fr
The first police-themed ransomware arrived in October in Australia, shortly before the Australian Federal Police (AFP) warned that cybercriminals were using its logo in a scam to trick victims into paying a fraudulent $100 fine for “illegal” online activity.
A spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which operates consumer alert service Scamwatch, told Fairfax that it had received 100 complaints of police ransomware since the Australian-targeted scam first emerged.
Another example of what the ransomware looks like. Photo: botnets.frThe number of complaints however is likely to rise significantly in coming months.
According to one malware researcher who goes by the online name Kafeine and has been tracking police ransomware across the world, the number of Australians presented with a fake AFP fine spiked dramatically at the end of October.
Since early October Australian numbers in the operation he’s been tracking have remained below 10 on any given day. But on October 28 that figure jumped over 1600 per cent to 160 and on October 29 it tripled again to 403.
The ransomware is most likely installed after the victim visited a website rigged with a crime toolkit that looks for weaknesses in popular software, such as the browser, or a media player like Adobe Flash or a PDF viewer.
A screengrab of software used by "Kafeine" to keep track of the ransomware. Photo: Supplied
While the same malware is used to target victims from different countries, it is configured to present a message that bears the name and logo of a local law enforcement authority in order to increase the chances of payment.
Kafeine’s figures are drawn from one operation he has gained access to, offering insight the number of PCs the ransomware is installed on in each country and the number of times the message has been presented to victims.
The two main ransomware scams targeting Australians are Reveton and Urausy, which both purport to be the AFP and can be viewed on Kafeine's “gallery” of the localised presentation pages for the malware.
The majority of would-be victims recognise the scam for what it is, but figures from Britain show that criminals are netting around 3 per cent of victims there.
London's Metropolitan Police revealed in August that of 1100 ransomware reports it received, 36 had paid the fake fine of £100 ($155).
The surge in Australians slugged with ransomware messages are still fewer than in the UK, Turkey, and Spain, but larger than other parts of Europe that have been targeted by ransomware gangs for much longer than Australia.
So what should Australians do if they are presented with an online fine purportedly from the AFP?
“The most important thing is not to pay the cybercriminals,” said Sergey Golovanov, a malware expert at the Russian security company Kaspersky Lab.
“Go to another computer and start searching for a solution, which you will always be able to find on the internet. All anti-virus companies post free instructions and utilities to help users unblock their computers.”
Some threats can be resolved by cleaning up a malware infection. However, there are more brutal ransomware attacks that use cryptographic locks to prevent victims from accessing their data.
One Northern Territory-based small business, TDC Refrigeration and Electrical, was recently hit by attackers who encrypted the company's financial system data and threatened to destroy it unless the business forked out $3000. The business did and lived to tell the tale. However, had it backed up its data it might not have had to pay for it.
“When you are hit by a well-done encrypting ransomware, if you have no backup, there is nothing you can do except paying or losing your data,” Kafeine said.
Other security professionals agree. “Automatic online backup is a must,” said Michael McKinnon, a security adviser for AVG Australia. “There are many choices of backup software that can securely copy important files to the 'cloud', ensuring that if disaster strikes – such as ransomware that may encrypt or even delete some of your files – you'll be protected.”
Liam Tung has covered enterprise and consumer technology and security since 2007 for some of the world's leading technology news websites, including CBS Interactive's ZDNet and CNet, IDG's CSO Magazine and has had several of his stories syndicated to the New York Times.
This story was found at: http://www.watoday.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/aussies-held-to-ransom-by-nasty-software-20121029-28etx.html


  • Masked man was tackled by police after disrupting Bristol's parade today -or, a political activist was assaulted by members of a private, corporate policy enforcers for engaging in an act of political protest.
  • Angry crowd shout their disgust at man dressed in pink corset and devil horns -but not charged under the malicious communication act.
  • Jose Paulo Da Silveria, 38, was today charged under the Public Order Act -Wasn't this legislation created to curb 'football violence'?
  • Queen led the nation -The Royal Family doesn't lead the nation. British Parliament does. The obvious question is if I know this in the occupied lands, that is politically known as Australia, then why doesn't a Daily Mail journalist & editor in England not know this??- in honouring the fallen as she lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in London
  • An emotional Duchess of Cambridge also attended the parade in London's Whitehall
By Daily Mail Reporter & Mikiverse Politics

It is meant to be a day of solemn reflection on the sacrifice paid by those who fought and died for their country. This sentence implies that the day failed in it's objections, but is actually an emotional hook designed to lure you into the story, as opposed to facts.
So many of those who lined the streets of Bristol were left outraged when a man dressed as a devil chose to gatecrash a Remembrance Day march to honour the war dead. Another emotional hook that seeks to toy with and define reality for you.
These shocking pictures show a masked man, wearing a pink corset and stockings, skateboarding alongside the parade of marching troops in Bristol today. The devil wears a pink corset and stockings? Wasn't it reported in the last sentence that this guy was dressed as the devil? As me old mate Dicko would say, hmmm.....
The man was seen cutting in and out of the regiments after the formal ceremony had finished, during which wreaths were laid.
His behaviour was in marked contrast to elsewhere across the country, where the war dead were remembered with suitable solemnity -what is "suitable solemnity"? it is an attempt to define your reality, file it in the same cabinet as 'anti-semite' and 'you either support freedom or support the terrorists'- as the Queen led the nation in honouring the fallen with the Duke of Cambridge joining her at the Cenotaph.
Outrage: This picture captures the moment a man dressed as a devil skakeboarding alongside Bristol's Remembrance Sunday parade
Outrage: This picture captures the moment a man dressed as a devil skakeboarding alongside Bristol's Remembrance Sunday parade

Affront: Horrified onlookers shouted at the bearded man as he disrupted the city's Remembrance Sunday parade today
Affront: Horrified onlookers shouted at the bearded man as he disrupted the city's Remembrance Sunday parade today
The Bristol intruder was tackled by a policeman who dragged him through the crowd - as people shouted their disgust at him.
Witnesses say several police officers then had to pin the man down as he initially attempted to resist arrest.
Avon and Somerset Police stayed at the scene and surround him to protect him from a small group of men who threatened to harm him.
Today Jose Paulo Da Silveria, 38, was charged under the Public Order Act, police said.
An Avon and Somerset Police spokeswoman said: 'Police arrested a 38-year-old man at the Remembrance Sunday service in Bristol city centre.
'He was taken into custody.
'Jose Paulo Da Silveria has been charged under the Public Order Act and will appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on December 4.'

As he was bundled into a police car yesterday, officers had to forcefully remove several males who approached him and shouted obscenities and ‘death’s too good for you’. These people do not appear to have been charged under the malicious communication act which is obviously in place to suppress and oppress the people.
Witness Nick Calvert, 51, said: ‘He came down on a skateboard and was wearing a pink outfit and a mask with horns.
Disgrace: The masked skateboarder, who was wearing pink frilly knickers and corset, was quickly stopped in his tracks by police
Disgrace: The masked skateboarder, who was wearing pink frilly knickers and corset, was quickly stopped in his tracks by police

Bundled off: Police grabbed the skateboarder away from the parade as a crowd shouted their disgust at him
Bundled off: Police grabbed the skateboarder away from the parade as a crowd shouted their disgust at him
‘A policeman grabbed him and dragged him through the crowd rather swiftly. When he saw the policeman he tried to get off his board but he got him.
‘There was a general show of disgust from the crowd because he was showing no respect. I have no idea what it was about.’
Ray Turton, 68, said: ‘The police dragged him through the crowd and tried to rip his mask off.
‘He put up a lot of resistance and they had to use quite some force to restrain him. -Ray appears to be well trained. Good dog. Even used the phrase 'had to' which implied a lack of choice on the part of the policy enforcers, which is of course, complete rubbish. Ray is a great example of social engineering or programming.-People were shouting "rip his head off".’
At the Cenotaph memorial in London the monarch laid the first wreath to commemorate members of the Armed Forces who died fighting in all conflicts since the First World War. They are conflicts now, not invasions. And since when has a remembrance day for WW1 or the First Oil War, been about the invasions that have occurred since? Is this a matter of political convenience as well as social programming/engineering?
In brilliant autumn sunshine, senior members of the monarchy joined Prime Minister David Cameron, military chiefs, servicemen and women and thousands of watching spectators in paying their respects.
When the first stroke of 11 sounded from nearby Big Ben, Whitehall observed a two-minute silence only punctuated by the hum of distant London traffic and birds. The Queen laid the first wreath, followed by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Hostile reception: The skateboarding devil is led through the crowd by police after disrupting the Remembrance Sunday parade in Bristol
Hostile reception: The skateboarding devil is led through the crowd by police after disrupting the Remembrance Sunday parade in Bristol
Taken down: Several officers pin the unnamed man to the floor while Bristol's Remembrance Sunday parade passes by
Taken down: Several officers pin the unnamed man to the floor while Bristol's Remembrance Sunday parade passes by

Disgust: Police stayed on the scene to protect the man from a growing number of furious members of the public
Disgust: Police stayed on the scene to protect the man from a growing number of furious members of the public
Then the Duke of Cambridge, wearing his RAF uniform, laid a wreath, under the gaze of the Duchess of Cambridge, who watched from a balcony at the Foreign Office alongside the Countess of Wessex and the Princess Royal's husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Lawrence.
William was followed by the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal, Prince Michael of Kent and Field Marshal Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank.
Wreaths were also laid by Mr Cameron, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, opposition leader Ed Miliband and Westminster Plaid Cymru group leader Elfyn Llwyd, as well as high commissioners from Commonwealth countries and leaders of the Armed Forces.
The crowds watching the service in central London could be the largest yet, the Royal British Legion said.
Tribute: Thousands of people had gathered in Bristol to pay their respects to the millions of people who had fought and died for their country
Tribute: Thousands of people had gathered in Bristol to pay their respects to the millions of people who had fought and died for their country -Did these men engage in war atrocities?

The charity's head of remembrance, Helen Hill, said that numbers were swollen as recent conflicts -read invasions-brought the realities of war home to a new generation and created ‘people who are aged 18-and-a-half who are veterans of recent conflicts’. Again, read invasions. One easy way to spot an idiot, otherwise known as a slave, livestock, sheeple or the well trained obedient class is to be alert to when they spit out the corporate/governmental/military propaganda.
‘Once again the British public has shown its support,’-or rather, how well trained they are- she said, adding that the number of veterans marching had increased by 3,000 in the last five years. Although this is expressed as something to be proud of, it actually isn't. This figure is evidence of warfare. This actually goes against the grain of remembrance day, which, is about never forgetting the 'war to end all wars' and thereby ensuring that it never happens again.
‘The numbers are going up, not down. There are an increasing number of associations looking after the veteran community. More and more people want to participate in the activities.’
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall earlier attended a ceremony in Auckland as part of their Jubilee -60th year of reign- tour of New Zealand.
Under grey skies the royals sat with New Zealand's prime minister John Key, veterans from across the decades, -doesn't the continual attempts at programming make you feel a little nauseous? Still, you could believe in the hype- and members of the public around the Auckland Cenotaph.
Honouring the dead: The Queen lays a wreath at the Cenotaph in London
Solemn: The Duchess of Cambridge appears emotional as she pays her respect to the fallen
Solemn: The Duchess of Cambridge appears emotional as she pays her respect to the fallen
The Duke of Kent was also overseas, representing the Queen at a service in the Falkland Islands.
Thousands of people also respected the two-minute silence on Twitter, abstaining from posting messages during the period of reflection. The idea was spread using the hashtag #2minutesilence.
In Northern Ireland, the prime minister of the Republic of Ireland Taoiseach Enda Kenny attended the remembrance service in Enniskillen. The symbolic visit came as the Co Fermanagh town marked the 25th anniversary of the IRA Poppy Day bomb attack, which claimed the lives of 12 people.
Mr Kenny laid a laurel wreath at the cenotaph, only yards from where the no-warning blast detonated a quarter of a century ago.
Veterans' representatives laid wreaths at the Cenotaph before almost 10,000 ex-servicemen and women marched past to commemorate their fallen comrades.
This year's Remembrance commemoration is the first to take place since the death of the last veteran to serve during the First World War on either side, according to the Royal British Legion.
There was warm applause from the crowd as the parade marched past the giant war memorial, inscribed to The Glorious Dead.
In Scotland, First Minister Alex Salmond joined the Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost of Edinburgh Donald Wilson, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, military leaders, veterans and serving personnel at the Stone of Remembrance at the City Chambers in Edinburgh.
For the fallen: Prince William lays a wreath at The Cenotaph in Whitehall, central London, as he takes part in Remembrance Sunday commemorations
For the fallen: Prince William lays a wreath at The Cenotaph in Whitehall, as he takes part in Remembrance Sunday commemorations

Pride: Chelsea Pensioners march in a parade of veterans during the service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, on Sunday
Pride: Chelsea Pensioners march in a parade of veterans during the service of remembrance

Huge crowds: Members of the public and servicemen filled Whitehall for yesterday's ceremony
Huge crowds: Members of the public and servicemen filled Whitehall for yesterday's ceremony
He observed a two minute silence and laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Scotland. The First Minister then attended a Service of Remembrance at St Giles Cathedral.
Meanwhile, in Yorkshire inspirational war hero Ben Parkinson - the country's most injured serviceman to survive his wounds -they dribble this propaganda with a straight face- - paid his respects to his fallen comrades by bravely walking to lay his wreath at a Remembrance Day Service.
Lance Bombardier Parkinson has become a symbol of the bravery of British war heroes as he battles back after losing both legs and breaking his back, hips and ribs in a landmine blast in Afghanistan in 2006. -Parkinson is a coward and a maggot. He should never have participated in the failing invasion of Afghanistan.
Pride: Wreaths were laid as British war veterans marched past the Cenotaph during yesterday's ceremony
Pride: Wreaths were laid as British war veterans marched past the Cenotaph during yesterday's ceremony

Royal line-up: The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, (right) The Duke of York, Prince Andrew (centre) and Princess Anne (left)
Royal line-up: The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, (right) The Duke of York, Prince Andrew (centre) and Princess Anne (left)
Watched by hundreds of people, Ben rose to his feet from his wheelchair, helped by mum Diane Dernie and stepdad Andy Dernie.
The 28-year-old slowly walked 300 yards, with the aid of crutches, to pay his respects at a war memorial in his hometown of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, as a wreath was laid on his behalf.
He spent about 10 minutes on his short prosthetic 'stubbies', before returning, smiling, to his wheelchair to a raucous applause from the crowd to join in singing the national anthem.
He said: 'I am very proud to be here. It is important for me to pay my respects. I'm doing unbelievably well, but there's still a lot further to go. I want to do even better next year.'
Heroic: Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson walking on his false legs to the Bennetthorpe Cenotaph in Doncaster
Heroic: Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson walking on his false legs to the Bennetthorpe Cenotaph in Doncaster This is what a coward looks like.

Crosses and poppies: Wreaths of remembrance are placed on the war memorial on the High Street of Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, where a service is taking place and two minutes silence is being observed
Crosses and poppies: Wreaths of remembrance on the war memorial on the High Street of Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire
Sorry we are unable to accept comments for legal reasons