The Internet looks worse and worse


More and more people are backing off from the Internet, frightened of cybercrime, privacy violations and very valid fears about the ever-more-glaring inadequacies of cybersecurity.

The Guardian reported: “When cybersecurity professionals converged in Las Vegas last week to expose vulnerabilities and swap hacking techniques at Black Hat and Defcon, a consistent theme emerged: The Internet is broken, and if we don’t do something soon, we risk permanent damage to our economy.”

“Half of all Americans are backing away from the net due to fears regarding security and privacy,” longtime tech security guru Dan Kaminsky said in his Black Hat keynote speech, citing a July 2015 study by the {U.S.} National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

“We need to go ahead and get the Internet fixed or risk losing this engine of beauty.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports: “The online crooks’ weapon of choice: crypto-ransomware, which encrypts all the data files on a user’s machine, making them inaccessible. The malware, which accounts for nearly 60% of all infections, according to research firm Malwarebytes, then displays a screen demanding hundreds of dollars. If victims don’t pay up in time, the files are destroyed.

“’Over the last few years attackers realized that instead of going through these elaborate hacks – phishing for passwords, breaking into accounts, stealing information, and then selling the data on the internet’s black market for pennies per record – they could simply target individuals and businesses and treat them like an ATM,’ says Brian Beyer, CEO and founder of enterprise security firm Red Canary.”

To read a Guardian article on this, please hit this link.

A regency for Japan?


Japanese Emperor Akihito, in a rare televised address to the nation, talked about his ill health and cast doubts on his ability to carry out his duties as emperor  much longer. He said that he wanted an orderly imperial family succession. Observers speculated that perhaps a regent might be appointed.

But Japanese law says the emperor must serve until death and is barred from appealing directly to be allowed to retire or abdicate. Thus legal changes may be needed for Emperor Akihito to step aside.

To read The Guardian’s story on this, please hit this link.

Chinese regime hurts itself in show trials


This week’s show trials  of lawyers who had the courage to defend those campaigning for human rights in the increasingly tough dictatorship of Chinese President Xi Jinping may be in the short-term interest of the Chinese government, but it will hurt the regime in the long term, writes the BBC’s Carrie Gracie.

“With many of the bravest and most defiant in China’s legal community now humiliated, cowed, discredited and jailed, who will represent the child poisoned by toxic milk powder, the ethnic minority academic accused of separatism, the feminist protesting sexual harassment or the citizen maimed by unaccountable thugs? In a world full of danger and drama, the Tianjin {show} trials have won little attention at home or abroad.

“Only China watchers and human rights campaigners freeze to attention as a mighty country, one which says it is ruled by law, holds a group of lawyers for a year without access to family or representation, and then convicts them in trials unworthy of a great nation.”

To read the essay, please hit this link.