Linux, Food, and Kilts: What more could I ask for?

Fireball? In the bowel of the ship? NO!!!!

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Email Relay in the modern era
Linux Peng
Egypt Egypt Egypt.... I'm really tired of hearing about Egypt. I understand what is going on, but do I have to hear about it every 5 minutes? Even on PBS?

Well all this Egypt talk has me thinking about what happens when someone has the keys to the Internet and shuts it down. In Egypt, Mubarak was able to really limit access by having close ties to the four major ISP and just telling them to "SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING!!"
Here in the US, there is a call by our wonderful congress-critters to give the president the ability to shut the Internet down with a switch. Really? Are you kidding me? From a regulation perspective, we saw how easily it was to get government monitoring in place at the major distribution points of the Internet. Carnivore with it disturbing name is the system used by our government to monitor email and electronic communication. Isn't that neat? No. It's scary. Orwellian scary. Even if Bruce Schneier thinks it's ok, I think it's bad. Add to that the ability to shut down the Internet and you have yourself the ability to do some scary Fascist shit.
Cory Doctorow has some great techy type of writing that talks about what would happen if sysadmins were one of the few people left after a world wide attack that brought civilization to it's knees by a global terrorist attack using airborne biological agents. In that story the sysadmins are saved because they work in server farms with their own power (generators), filtered air and small food supplies. They have control of the Internet and try to begin rebuilding civilization after a large percentage of the population is wiped out.
How would that even happen if the leaders of our land had control of the Internet when the crisis first emerged? I mean, think about September 11th, do you thing George Bush would have shut down the Internet immediately after the attack? How long would it have been down? Hours? Days? Weeks?

Ultimately I think that this demands that someone come up with a way to deal with this. Wireless mesh networks are an emerging technology that may offer a solution. But to be honest, WMN's seem like they are designed with the idea that a connection out exists. It looks like in Internet Kill Switch scenarios that no connection to the Internet may exist for days.


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