Français | English | Español | Português

United Kingdom Politics

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri returned to Beirut Saturday evening after a trip to the United Kingdom, a statement from his office reported, with still no apparent solution on the horizon to the monthslong government formation crisis.

On December 6th, the Australian Internet Parliament formally passed the "Assistance and Access Bill." This package includes a series of provisions which require tech firms to help the country's security agencies bypass encrypted communications in their systems. i2Coalition Executive Director Christian Dawson issued the following statement.

* * *

"The i2Coalition is disappointed to see this problematic bill pass. i2Coalition worked with a coalition of tech organizations to voice our concerns to the Australian Government's Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Parliament in a series of letters earlier this year, warning them of the ill-effects this bill could have to Internet safety as well as the digital economy, globally.

Strong, uncompromised encryption is the most vital tool we have to ensure the safety and security of Internet users, and governments should not require companies to undermine those critical tools. While we do acknowledge that the Australian Parliament made note that they will restrict requests to areas in which subverting cryptography will not create "systemic weaknesses" in the service's security, we are troubled by the lack of understanding that the core provisions of the bill itself create systemic weaknesses in our most important systems. At worst this bill creates a disaster for cybersecurity, and at best it causes extreme business uncertainty as to what constitutes their requirements under the law.

This is the first country within the Five-Eyes intelligence alliance, made up of Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, to take this kind of dangerous step. We need to fight diligently to make sure that the kind of wrong thinking that led to this bill's passage doesn't spread to other countries. As an industry, we will continue to work with legislators worldwide, law enforcement, security professionals, and associations around the world to find smarter ways to address the problems of law enforcement, without putting the security and stability of the Internet as a whole at risk." | 12/13/18
Brexit: The UK's insult to democracy The government of the United Kingdom is hell-bent on leading its lemmings off the cliff, taking a leap into the unknown, ingorant of the disaster Brexit will be The British have brought us many quirky delights and many wonderful moments of entertainment. Good examples of these are the wonderful English breakfast, which is a bowl of cereals and milk, fried bacon and eggs and sausages, baked beans and mushrooms, toast, orange juice and coffee, a blast of calories which sends you way over your needs before you hit the bathroom for a shower and a shave.

Terry Rossio, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of “Shrek,” “Aladdin” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, was lambasted on Twitter on Friday for using the n-word in a tweet.

In the tweet, Rossio said that calling people who are opposed to vaccinating their kids “anti-vax” is like calling someone the n-word.

“My heart goes out to all the parents of vaccine damaged children, who have to not only endure the sadness of their loss, but also the vitriol of ill-informed and insensitive people (such as those here). Anti-Vax is equivalent to calling someone a n—er and makes as little sense,” Rossio wrote. (He did not dash out the letters.)

Also Read: 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Writer to Pen Movie About Vaccine Scandal Surrounding Autism

My heart goes out to all the parents of vaccine damaged children, who have to not only endure the sadness of their loss, but also the vitriol of ill-informed and insensitive people (such as those here). Anti-Vax is equivalent to calling someone a nigger and makes as little sense.

— Terry Rossio (@TerryRossio) November 23, 2018

Birth.Movies.Death news editor Scott Wampler was among those who weighed in, tweeting: “Guess who’s probably not writing the next ‘Pirates of the Caribbean'”

Disney did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. Rossio, who was credited on the 1992 version of “Aladdin,” is also credited on the upcoming live-action remake, as well as Warner Bros.’s “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

Warner Bros. also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Over the summer, Disney fired “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn after conservative critics surfaced old tweets in which he had joked about rape and pedophilia.

Rossio, in 2016, teamed with Dr. Jocelyn Stamat to acquire the film rights to “Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines — the Truth Behind a Tragedy,” by Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

The book, published in 2010, details the events surrounding a 1998 paper in the British medical journal The Lancet, co-authored by Wakefield, that investigated whether there was a link between chronic enterocolitis and neuropsychiatric dysfunction in 12 children, most of whom had received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

In 2010, The Lancet retracted the paper after accusations of misconduct were leveled against the co-authors. That same year, the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council, in the lengthiest trial in its history, revoked Wakefield’s medical license.

God, this is such a good point. I remember how American founders and citizens enslaved vaccine skeptics for decades. And then, even after freeing them, the government enshrined laws to marginalize vaccine deniers and to deny them wealth and opportunity. That's just history.

— Jeffrey Grubb (@JeffGrubb) November 23, 2018

Not just ignorant, but also racist (and with a super-heavy dose of whiny oblivious victimhood to boot). Reported and blocked.

— Shanvoter Loftis (@shannonloftis) November 23, 2018

There is no equivalent to the n word. None. Not in this country.

— Cara Berg Powers (@clbergpowers) November 23, 2018

Related stories from TheWrap:

Disney's 'Aladdin' Teaser Introduces Mena Massoud as Lamp-Grabbing Hero (Video)

Disney Slammed for Adding White Character to 'Aladdin'

'The Lego Batman Movie' Director Chris McKay to Direct 'Jonny Quest' for Warner Bros (Exclusive) | 11/24/18
The Windrush scandal engulfing Theresa May's United Kingdom government is a major self-made embarrassment because of its hostile environment immigration policy, according to Dr Desmond Jaddoo, co-chairman for the United Kingdom (UK) political... | 11/16/18
Jamaican High Commissioner to London George Ramocan says he will be holding Theresa May's United Kingdom (UK) government to promises it made to thoroughly investigate wrongs committed by the State against persons of Jamaican heritage who have been... | 10/11/18

Thanksgiving is just around the corner in Canada. It's a time of year when the harvest is in, the weather grows colder and families gather to give thanks for all they have.

It is in this moment of gratitude that I want to highlight one of the most valuable and unique offerings in our industry: the ways in which country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) give back. Canadians who choose to use a ccTLD, which for us is .CA, help contribute to investments in the internet community.

CIRA believes that it is important to give back to the internet, whether that be the Canadian internet community or the global internet in which we operate the .CA TLD and participate as a strong contributor. Further, as a not-for-profit organization, CIRA invests its resources into our aspirational goal of building a better online Canada. In fact, we believe so much in this goal that we've invested $6 million dollars over the last five years toward this goal, outside of the investment in our core mandate of bringing .CA to more Canadians and operating a safe, secure and trusted top-level domain.

Many of our ccTLD peers contribute to the internet ecosystem as well. While each organization's program is a little bit different, the intent is the same: to invest in a purpose greater than profit with a return on investment that benefits the communities we serve.

With the exception of a handful of generic TLDs, you won't find this from our more profit-driven peers.

It's a cycle: From community to ccTLD and back

At CIRA, we hold ourselves to high standards in stewarding .CA, which includes providing a safe, secure and stable .CA and underlying domain name system (DNS). We make every effort to provide the best service possible for our customers — .CA holders and others who subscribe to our cybersecurity services.

A portion of the revenue we make, thanks to our customers' trust in us, is funneled back into the Canadian internet community. Here's how:

  • We invest in internet exchange points (IXPs) that provide greater resiliency, data sovereignty and a higher-performing internet in our country. There are 10 IXPs across Canada and we've recently been a catalyst to an additional one in development in the Arctic community of Iqaluit, Nunavut. This will revolutionize the internet there, where right now the community is reliant on satellite connections resulting in slow and expensive internet service.
  • Through our Community Investment Program, we provide grants to organizations across Canada working on the frontlines of the internet. We've contributed $5.45 million over five years through that program. This has included 130 projects from across Canada including one underway now through an organization called Compucorps that will work with Indigenous women to increase their knowledge of website building and online branding to help them engage more in e-commerce. Or the Ragged edge community network stabilization and expansion project that focused on internet infrastructure in Northern Vancouver Island.
  • We're developing and investing in innovative products and services that secure the internet for its users, including our cybersecurity services (our D-Zone suite of products) that keep Canadian schoolchildren safe and add layers of protection to critical healthcare and municipal infrastructure.
  • We encourage Canadians to learn more about their internet by testing its speed and performance through CIRA's Internet Performance Test. There have been over 100,000 tests conducted across the country.
  • We fund, organize and participate in events and forums in Canada and globally where important topics are discussed, which influence internet policy, including an upcoming Canadian Internet Forum, a multistakeholder event being organized for early 2019.

All of that investment improves and expands the internet, gets more Canadians online, safely and securely, and makes it easier and more practical for them to participate in the digital economy. It also creates more opportunities to choose a .CA. Thus, the cycle starts again.

And it's global. We've long shared "giving back" experiences with our European peers — but examples are found around the globe. A recent visit to Brazil showed me a ccTLD highly committed to this cycle of giving back. I was impressed with all they do with their resources and encourage others to learn more from them.

Thanks for making a choice to give back

In Canada, as we gather around the dinner table for our Thanksgiving dinners, I want to give thanks to CIRA's customers for making it possible for our organization to give back. Consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to domain names. They can choose to go with .com or .net, or one of nearly a thousand new domain extensions. But what sets CIRA apart, alongside some of our ccTLD peers, is the determination to give back to the internet ecosystem in our countries. To invest what we earn into a higher purpose.

Thank you to those consumers who chose a ccTLD over others — because of you we're getting closer to a stronger, higher performing and more secure internet every day.

* * *

There are several ccTLDs that give back to the internet community. Here are a few examples.

Sweden: The Internet Foundation in Sweden, IIS invests funds to improve the stability of internet infrastructure in Sweden and to promote internet-focused research, training and education. For example, IIS invested 1 million SEK (about $145,000 CAD) roughly one year ago into Foo Café, a meeting place for developers, which sponsors meetups and events to help developers grow their competence and share knowledge.

Brazil: The Brazilian Internet Steering Committee — a multi-sectoral configuration of 21 members from civil society, the government, the business sector and the academic community — guide the healthy growth of the network in Brazil. One of their initiatives is the Web Technologies Study Center (, created to help the Brazilian public participate in the global development of the web and public policymaking.

The Netherlands: SIDN not only operates .nl, it also provides funding support to ideas and projects that aim to make the internet stronger or that use the internet in innovative ways. For example, SIDN funded AI for GOOD, a project that aims to use artificial intelligence to improve the world. This online platform presents AI programming challenges to students, start-ups, hackers and developers to solve.

United Kingdom: Nominet funded a granting program for 10 years under the name Nominet Trust. In 2017, that fund began independent operation as the Social Tech Trust and Nominet is now focusing funding on connection, inclusivity and security. For example, they are working with Scouts UK to develop a cybersecurity curriculum and with the Prince's Trust on a digital platform to mentor troubled youth online.

Written by Byron Holland, President and CEO of CIRA | 10/4/18
A court in Thailand has convicted a local businessman of fraud for selling fake bomb detectors to the Thai government, five years after a court in the United Kingdom sentenced the British head of the company that supplied them to seven years in prison in a scandal that was worldwide in scale. | 9/27/18
[This Day] The United Kingdom has promised to support efforts of the Nigerian government to secure the release of Leah Sharibu who has remained in Boko Haram captivity since she was abducted in February. | 7/6/18
During mid-April, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the United Kingdom presented detailed plans to government departments about the priority areas where the NCSC will work with the government, industry and law enforcement to improve the cyber resilience of the UK’s most important systems. This is part of a drive by the UK and [&hellip

The Barbados Government has praised Britain’s decision to offer free citizenship to members of the Windrush Generation who arrived in the United Kingdom (UK) before 1973 and to formally recognise June...

Glorious moments are few and far between in Gilead, but Oprah Winfrey’s soothing voice coming over the airwaves to reassure Offred/June (Elisabeth Moss) that there is still hope on Wednesday’s episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale” was definitely one for the record books.

Winfrey made an unnamed and uncredited voice cameo on the latest installment of Bruce Miller’s Hulu series based on Margaret Atwood dystopian novel of the same name.

When Moss’ character discovered a potential getaway car early in the episode, titled “Holly,” she turned on the radio to tune into “Radio Free America,” a resistance radio station that was broadcasting from a location “in the Great White North.” And, of course, it was hosted by Winfrey.

Also Read: Samira Wiley on Why 'Handmaid's Tale' Season 2 Is 'a Little Sad' Despite Escape From Gilead (Video)

Here’s the transcript of Winfrey’s entire voice cameo:

And now, this news. The American Government in Anchorage today received promises of economic aid from India and China. In the United Kingdom, additional sanctions on Gilead were announced, as well as plans to raise the cap on American refugees relocating from Canada. Now, a tune to remind everyone who’s listening, American patriot or Gilead traitor; we are still here. Stars and stripes forever, baby.

“We’d heard Oprah was a fan of the show, and had a story idea, and thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if … So we asked and she said yes, and it was a lovely, easy process,” Miller said in a statement to TheWrap Wednesday. “The radio segment she recorded was inspired by the free radio of the Allies from World War II. It was an absolute honor to have Oprah featured on the show, and especially thrilling as she was the one who presented us with the Emmy last year.”

Praise be to Miller for making that happen.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Hulu Orders Drama Pilot 'Reprisal' From 'Handmaid's Tale' Producer Warren Littlefield

Samira Wiley on Why 'Handmaid's Tale' Season 2 Is 'a Little Sad' Despite Escape From Gilead (Video)

'The Handmaid's Tale': Does June Escape Gilead in the Novel?

'Handmaid's Tale' Star O-T Fagbenle Loves Luke and June's Oh-So Messy Backstory (Video) | 6/27/18
[Vanguard] Special Presidential Investigation Panel, SPIP, for Recovery of Public Property has informed that the Federal Government is working with the United Kingdom to ensure that identified treasury looters are no longer issued visa. | 6/14/18
[Zimbabwe Independent] Government's red tape has cost the City of Bulawayo (BCC) an investment worth US$68 million after policy changes scuttled the implementation of a fuel-from-waste project by a United Kingdom-based company, it has emerged. | 6/1/18

Video games were listed among the many online spaces being scrutinized by the United Kingdom government ahead of new laws that would aim to make the internet and social media safer for UK citizens. ... | 5/22/18
[The Herald] The United Kingdom and the Standard Chartered Bank have partnered to lend Zimbabwean companies in the private sector US$100 million in a move described by Government as a sign of confidence in its policies aimed at transforming the economy into a middle income by 2030. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya confirmed the development saying the facility would go a long way in improving the firms' competitiveness. | 5/17/18, considered the world’s biggest marketplace to hire DDoS services, has been taken down according to an announcement issued today by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement (Europol). had reached over 136 000 registered users and responsible for 4 million attacks by April 2018. Targets included banks, government institutions, police forces, as well as the gaming industry.

From Europol: "The administrators of the DDoS marketplace were arrested on 24 April 2018 as a result of Operation Power Off, a complex investigation led by the Dutch Police and the UK’s National Crime Agency with the support of Europol and a dozen law enforcement agencies from around the world. The administrators were located in the United Kingdom, Croatia, Canada and Serbia. Further measures were taken against the top users of this marketplace in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Croatia, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong. The illegal service was shut down and its infrastructure seized in the Netherlands, the US and Germany." | 4/26/18
[Malawi News Agency] London -President Prof. Peter Mutharika on Sunday assured Malawians living in United Kingdom (UK) that his government would soon sort out the issue of visa and dual citizenship for Malawians living in diaspora. | 4/24/18
[Monitor] I only got seriously aware of the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in London when I saw a photo of two of the Heads of State attending the biennial meeting, soundly sleeping through the speech of HM Elizabeth II, The Queen of United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. | 4/24/18
[Nyasa Times] President Prof. Peter Mutharika on Sunday assured Malawians living in United Kingdom (UK) that his government would soon sort out the issue of visa and dual citizenship for Malawians living in diaspora. | 4/24/18
[Govt of SA] The South African Government has noted with grave concern the airstrikes conducted by the United Kingdom, the United States and French military in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. | 4/23/18
Jamaicans and other Caribbean nationals dubbed the Windrush Generation who have been aggrieved by the actions of the United Kingdom (UK) government should immediately take steps to seek redress, advised Diana Baxter, solicitor in Britain.At the...
[Nyasa Times] President Peter Mutharika who left Malawi on Friday - with a stop over in South Africa - on Monday arrived in the United Kingdom (UK) for the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018. | 4/17/18
[Ghana Govt.] President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Saturday left Ghana for London, United Kingdom, to attend the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). | 4/17/18
[Capital FM] London -President Uhuru Kenyatta this evening arrived in the United Kingdom for a five-day visit during which he will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and hold talks to market Kenya as a preferred investment destination. | 4/17/18
[Nation] President Uhuru Kenyatta Monday evening arrived in the United Kingdom for a five-day visit during which he will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and hold talks to market Kenya as a preferred investment destination. | 4/17/18
[Govt of SA] President Cyril Ramaphosa has today, Tuesday, 17 April 2018, arrived in London in the United Kingdom where he is leading a South African Delegation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2018) under the theme "Towards a Common Future" between 19th and 20th April 2018. | 4/17/18

The Russian trolls are racing out from under their digital bridges, the Pentagon warned on Saturday.

After the U.S., France and United Kingdom hit Syria with airstrikes late Friday night in response to a chemical weapons attack ordered by al-Assad against civilians, Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana W. White said Russia has already started to beef up its misinformation game on social media.

“The Russian disinformation campaign has already begun,” said White during a press briefing. “There has been a 2,000 percent increase in Russian trolls in the last 24 hours. Therefore, we will keep you all abreast of the facts moving forward.”

Also Read: White Nationalist Richard Spencer Was Booted From Facebook

White did not say which platforms the trolls have been active on, but the Russian government has actively fostered the spreading of fake news. The Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency spread misinformation before and after the 2016 U.S. election, leveraging both Facebook and Twitter to hit users.

The platforms have taken steps to weed out Russian trolls since then, with Facebook booting hundreds of IRA-tied accounts within the last two weeks. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress last week it was one of his “greatest regrets” the social network was unable to block more trolls in 2016.

The airstrikes drew the ire of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has backed Syrian leader President Bashar al-Assad.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg Says His Info Was Leaked to Cambridge Analytica

“Russia condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack against Syria, where Russian military personnel are assisting the legitimate government in its counterterrorism efforts,” Putin said in the statement.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg: Russian Trolls Among His 'Greatest Regrets'

Kremlin Cries 'Censorship' Over Facebook's Purge of Russian 'Troll Factory'

Hundreds of Russia-Linked Trolls Ejected From Facebook, Instagram | 4/15/18
Modi will visit the United Kingdom from April 17-20 for a bilateral visit as well as to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). | 4/13/18
[Government of Mauritius] Lord David Neuberger, judge and President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from 2012 to 2017, paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, yesterday afternoon at the New Treasury Building in Port Louis. | 4/12/18
[Vanguard] The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), the Federal Government agency with the mandate of developing indigenous human capacity and petroleum technology to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry, invites applications from suitably qualified candidates for Overseas MSc and PhD Scholarships to specific programmes at selected Institutions in the United Kingdom. | 4/3/18

After the Brexit vote, I wrote that there could be an impact on EU registrants based in the UK.

Over the past year, the UK government has been engaged in negotiations with the EU to navigate the application of Article 50 and the UK's exit from the European Union. While there has been a lot of focus on issues like the customs union and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the eventual departure of the UK from the EU will have a tangible impact on the European digital economy.

In the case of the .eu ccTLD, the situation was unclear. Under the current policies, an individual or organisation needs to have an address in the EU and a couple of neighbouring countries to qualify for registration:

(i) an undertaking having its registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, or

(ii) an organisation established within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein without prejudice to the application of national law, or

(iii) a natural person resident within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

While the UK leaving the EU could be seen as having a clear impact on future registrations of .eu domain names, one would have expected the European Commission not to want to disrupt existing domain names and their registrants. When other domain spaces have updated their policies, they've usually offered some form of "grandfathering" for existing registrations to minimise the negative impact.

However, it appears that the European Commission isn't going to take that approach. In an announcement earlier this week they've made it very clear that they have no intention of allowing existing registrants to keep their EU domain names if they are in the UK.

The document does give a very slight glimmer of hope, but it's only a tiny one. It is hypothetically possible for the UK and EU to reach some form of agreement that would allow for the continued use of .eu domains by UK registrants, but it's looking highly unlikely. Here's the full text of the notice they issued.

As you can see it's highly legalistic and makes lots of references to various bits of legislation and treaties, but the bottom line is summed up in this:

As of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organisations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names or, if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date.

But what about businesses and individuals in Northern Ireland? Under the Irish constitution they're considered in many realms to be entitled to the same rights and entitlements as Irish citizens and residents:


It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.


1 It is the firm will of the Irish Nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland, in all the diversity of their identities and traditions, recognising that a united Ireland shall be brought about only by peaceful means with the consent of a majority of the people, democratically expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island. Until then, the laws enacted by the Parliament established by this Constitution shall have the like area and extent of application as the laws enacted by the Parliament that existed immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution.

2 Institutions with executive powers and functions that are shared between those jurisdictions may be established by their respective responsible authorities for stated purposes and may exercise powers and functions in respect of all or any part of the island.

Does this mean that businesses and individuals north of the border will lose their .eu domain names, or is there a chance of some form of derogation for them?

How can registrars and their clients lodge their concerns with the EU about this move?

Is EURid in a position to do anything?

At the moment there are more questions than answers, but what is sure is that the options are not looking anyway positive.

According to the most recent EURid quarterly report registrants in the UK account a significant chunk of the .eu registration base and weigh in as the 4th largest country for .eu registrations behind Germany, Netherlands and France:

Wiping out this number of registrations will have a negative impact on the .eu ccTLD as a whole, as well as a negative impact on many European based businesses serving the registrants of the 300 thousand plus names.

Is this unavoidable?

For now, as I mentioned above, there are more questions than answers.

Disclosure: my company is a .eu accredited registrar and I previously served two terms on the .EU Registrar Advisory Board.

Written by Michele Neylon, MD of Blacknight Solutions | 3/29/18
Ecuador has cut off the internet connection to Julian Assange at its London Embassy after the WikiLeaks founder criticized the United Kingdom and its allies for expelling Russian diplomats following the poisoning of a former Russian spy. | 3/28/18
[Nairobi News] National Resistance Movement self-declared 'general' Miguna Miguna claims that British authorities blocked him from entering the United Kingdom when he arrived at Heathrow International Airport in London on Thursday. | 3/26/18
Right-wing journalist Lauren Southern was barred from entering the United Kingdom on Monday, purportedly over a poster she made about Islam in February -- making her the latest international right-wing figure to fall afoul of the U.K. government for criticizing Islam. | 3/12/18

I've been prompted to write this brief opinion piece in response to a recent article posted on CircleID by Tony Rutkowski, where he characterises the IETF as a collection of "crypto zealots." He offers the view that the IETF is behaving irresponsibly in attempting to place as much of the Internet's protocols behind session level encryption as it possibly can. He argues that ETSI's work on middlebox security protocols is a more responsible approach, and the enthusiastic application of TLS in IETF protocol standards will only provide impetus for regulators to coerce network operators to actively block TLS sessions in their networks.

Has the IETF got it wrong? Is there a core of crypto zealots in the IETF that are pushing an extreme agenda about encryption?

It appears that in retrospect we were all somewhat naive some decades ago when we designed and used protocols that passed their information in the clear. But perhaps that's a somewhat unfair characterisation. For many years the Internet was not seen as the new global communications protocol. It was a far less auspicious experiment in packet switched network design. Its escape from the laboratory into the environment at large was perhaps more because of the lack of credible alternatives that enjoyed the support of the computer industry as it was to the simplicity and inherent scalability of its design. Nevertheless, encryption of either the payload or even the protocols was not a big thing at the time.

Yes, we knew that it was possible in the days of Ethernet common bus networks to turn on promiscuous mode and listen to all traffic on the wire, but we all thought that only network administrators held the information on how to do that, and if you couldn't trust a net admin, then who could you trust? The shift to WiFi heralded another rude awakening. Now my data, including all my passwords, was being openly broadcast for anyone savvy enough to listen to, and it all began to feel a little more uncomfortable. But there was the reassurance that the motives of the folk listening in on my traffic were both noble and pure. They twiddled with my TCP control settings on the fly so that I could not be too greedy in using the resources of their precious network. They intercepted my web traffic and served it from a local cache only to make my browsing experience faster. They listened in to my DNS queries and selectively altered the responses only to protect me. Yes, folk were listening in on me, but evidently, that was because they wanted to make my life better, faster, and more efficient. As Hal Varian, the Chief Economist of Google, once said, spam is only the result of incomplete information about the user. If the originator of the annoying message really knew all about you it would not be spam, but a friendly, timely and very helpful suggestion. Or at least that's what we were told. All this was making the Internet faster, more helpful and, presumably by a very twisted logic, more secure.

However, all this naive trust in the network was to change forever with just two words.

Those words were, of course, "Edward Snowden."

The material released by Edward Snowden painted the shades of a world that was based on comprehensive digital surveillance by agencies of the United States Government. It's one thing to try and eavesdrop on the bad people, but it's quite another to take this approach to dizzying new heights and turn eavesdropping into a huge covert exercise that gathers literally everyone into its net. Like George Orwell's 1984, the vision espoused within these agencies seemed to be heading towards capturing not only every person and every deed, but even every thought.

It was unsurprising to see the IETF voice a more widespread concern about the erosion of the norms of each individual's sense of personal privacy as a consequence of these disclosures. From RFC 7258:

"Pervasive Monitoring (PM) is widespread (and often covert) surveillance through intrusive gathering of protocol artefacts, including application content, or protocol metadata such as headers. Active or passive wiretaps and traffic analysis, (e.g., correlation, timing or measuring packet sizes), or subverting the cryptographic keys used to secure protocols can also be used as part of pervasive monitoring. PM is distinguished by being indiscriminate and very large scale, rather than by introducing new types of technical compromise. The IETF community's technical assessment is that PM is an attack on the privacy of Internet users and organisations."

The IETF took the stance that it "will strive to produce specifications that mitigate pervasive monitoring attacks."

Strong stuff indeed. It certainly seems as if the Internet is sealing up its once very loose seams. The network that carries our packets is no longer a trusted associate that enables communications. It is instead viewed as a toxic, hostile environment that simply cannot be trusted. And if it cannot be trusted, then no information should be exposed to it, and all transactions should be verified by the user.

It also seems that this message is finding receptive ears. We've seen programs such as Let's Encrypt that bring the price of domain name public key certificates down to a base of free. As a consequence, secure web services are no longer an esoteric luxury but an affordable commodity. And we are now seeing one of the most popular browser in today's Internet voicing an intention to emblazon open web pages as "insecure". The same browser will also prefer to use an encrypted transport wherever and whenever possible (QUIC) concealing not only the payload but also the entirety of the transport protocol from the network. It seems to be the case that about the only protocol that has a hope of passing a packet across the Internet lies in the secure payload of a TLS session, and this has not escaped anyone's attention. A good starting position is to use port 443 (HTTPS). A better position is to use QUIC. Not only is the payload encrypted, but the entire transport flow control is covered by the veil of encryption.

But the chorus is not one of universal acclaim for these measures. Some folk have not only become accustomed to a network that spewed out information, but they rely on it. As Tony Rutkowski's article points out, there is an entire world of middleware in our networks that relies on visibility into user traffic that extends right into individual sessions. Even so-called secure sessions are vulnerable. Various network-level DDOS mitigation methods rely on the ability to identify malicious or otherwise hostile traffic patterns within the network. It seems that many network operators see it as some kind to right to be able to inspect network traffic.

Side note: This is not a recent development. When Australia was first connected to Europe in 1872 via the overland telegraph, telegrams to and from the United Kingdom were outrageously expensive. A thirty-word telegram cost the same as three weeks average wages. Little wonder that the press, a major user of the service, took to using code to improve the compression rate and at the same time attempt to hide their messages from their press rivals. The reaction was perhaps entirely predictable: all codes and ciphertext were banned from the Australian telegraph service.

Will the widespread use of robust encryption destroy any form of content caching in the network? This seems unlikely. For example, while it's true that third-party content caching is frustrated by session encryption, that does not mean that content is no longer cached. What has happened is the rise of the content distribution network, where the content caches are operated by the original content publisher or their accredited agents. The user has a result of local content delivery coupled with carriage encryption and the ability to validate that the material being provided is genuine.

Perhaps the more critical question is whether the uptake of encryption implies some dire predicament for government security agencies? It seems unlikely. There is little doubt in my mind that those who have a need to worry about eavesdropping use encryption as a matter of course. It seems that the concern from these agencies is not about having a clear window on the online activities of obvious targets, but the desire to see across the entire online environment and harvest from this larger pool of data patterns and inferences that can be analysed.

And therein lies the tension. Individually, we still value some semblance of personal privacy. We'd like to protect our digital credentials if only to secure ourselves against theft and other forms of personal damage. At the same time, we'd like to ensure that agencies who have a protective role in our society are able to operate effectively and gather intelligence from online activities. But where do we draw the line? Should we be forced to eschew online encryption and revert to open protocols simply to feed the unquenchable thirst of these agencies for more and more data about each and every online transaction? Or should we be in a position to trust that our communications are not openly available to anyone which the means and motivation to peer into the network?

There is no doubt that the current technology stance, as espoused in the IETF, is weighted heavily on the side of privacy. We can expect more use of TLS, more use of obscured transport protocols such as QUIC, and far more paranoid behaviour from applications which no longer trust the network. Trust, once eroded, is fiendishly difficult to restore, and in this case, the network has lost the trust of the applications that operate across it and the trust of the users that drive these applications. I suspect that the case for winding back the level of encryption at the network layer is long gone, and it's not coming back anytime soon!

However, I also suspect that the intelligence agencies are already focussing elsewhere. If the network is no longer the rich vein of data that it used to be, then the data collected by content servers is a more than ample replacement. If the large content factories have collected such a rich profile of my activities, then it seems entirely logical that they will be placed under considerable pressure to selectively share that profile with others. So I'm not optimistic that I have any greater level of personal privacy than I had before. Probably less.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Side note: The Who's classic song, written by Pete Townshend, "Won't Get Fooled Again" was first recorded as part of the aborted LifeHouse project in early 1971. It was re-recorded with a synthesizer track in April 1971 and released as a single and on the Who's Next album in August 1971. This song formed the climax of their stage set. This song is about as old as the Internet!

Written by Geoff Huston, Author & Chief Scientist at APNIC | 3/8/18
[Vanguard] The Lagos State Government and a United Kingdom firm, Low Energy Designs (LED) Limited on Monday entered into partnership to construct 10,000 LED street lights covering 300kilometres across the State. | 3/6/18
[The Point] As part of activities marking The Gambia's re-entry into the Commonwealth, and, in order to showcase the re-emergence of The Gambia in the international community, Cabinet in a meeting on Thursday February 22 has decided to hold Gambia Day Celebrations during the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting CHOGM scheduled to hold in the United Kingdom in April 2018. | 2/26/18
[Independent (Kampala)] Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Judiciary has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Kingdom government for the design and pilot of an 18 months automation project aimed at consolidating Uganda's efforts in fighting corruption. | 2/26/18
[Monitor] The government of the United Kingdom (UK) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which it has pledged to give Ugandan courts $500,000 (about Shs2b) to fight the rampant corruption. | 2/26/18

The participating U.S. Airmen and hackers at the conclusion of h1-212 in New York City on Dec 9, 2017

HackerOne has announced the results of the second Hack the Air Force bug bounty challenge which invited trusted hackers from all over the world to participate in its second bug bounty challenge in less than a year. The 20-day bug bounty challenge was the most inclusive government program to-date, with 26 countries invited to participate. From the report: "Hack the Air Force 2.0 is part of the Department of Defense's (DoD) Hack the Pentagon crowd-sourced security initiative. Twenty-seven trusted hackers successfully participated in the Hack the Air Force bug bounty challenge — reporting 106 valid vulnerabilities and earning $103,883. Hackers from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, and Latvia participated in the challenge. The Air Force awarded hackers the highest single bounty award of any Federal program to-date, $12,500." | 2/16/18
[This Day] In a bid to further support trade and investment between United Kingdom (UK) and Nigeria, the UK government, has announced that it will now to support finance in Naira to Nigerian projects procuring from the UK and also, increase the UK-Nigeria trade with competitive financing package. | 2/14/18
[Premium Times] Officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, involved in Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS, said they have been inundated with calls from Nigerians in the United Kingdom seeking to inquire about how the new UK government Unexplained Wealth Orders, UWOs would affect their property in that country. | 2/12/18
[Vanguard] The Diaspora Voting Right Movement, a Nigerian Group based in the United Kingdom, on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to legalise Diaspora voting. | 2/8/18

Black's Law Dictionary defines it as "the extraterritorial operation of laws; that is, their operation upon persons, rights or jural relations, existing beyond the limits of the enacting state, but still amenable to its laws. The term is used to indicate jurisdiction exercised by a nation in other countries, by treaty..." Extraterritoriality is also the most significant emerging development today in the law shaping virtual network architectures and services that includes OTT and NFV-SDN. The related developments extend from the development of the new public international law to the imposition of forensic handover requirements to local law enforcement officials. The latter is now centered on a landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court for which the briefs have been recently filed. Case. No. 17-2, United States, Petitioner v. Microsoft Corporation is set to be argued on 27 February and decided this term ending in June. The Court's docket is available online.

This case has been coursing its way through the U.S. appellate system now for the past four years since the initial Microsoft search warrant was served in December 2013. Although there are other similar cases, this one was selected by the U.S. Supreme Court at the beginning of its term in October 2017 for consideration. The case has also disgorged a plethora of lobbying, pundit views, and hyperventilating on the streets of Washington DC, notwithstanding the essentially simple facts of the case and the application of law that has existed for hundreds of years.

Whether a United States provider of email services must comply with a probable-cause-based warrant issued under 18 U.S.C. 2703 by making disclosure in the United States of electronic communications within that provider's control, even if the provider has decided to store that material abroad.

An amazing 29 amicus curiae briefs were submitted to the Supreme Court from almost anyone who had a view on the matter and some kind of theory to advance. Perhaps not unexpectedly, every brief raised extraterritoriality as an issue.

What was rather mind-boggling, however, is that the 27 parties — basically supporting the refusal to comply with the warrant — raised the subject of extraterritoriality, ignorant of 167 years of public international telecommunication law dealing with the subject. It was rather obvious that for most of them, the topic was only recently discovered as a "me too" devise to advance for some perceived organizational benefit or mantra. Only two amicus briefs — the States Attorney Generals, and the typically always-practical UK Government noted the obvious.

In today's global communications environment that does not respect geographic boundaries, the U.K. believes that the location of data should not be solely determinative of access for law enforcement purposes. Such an approach would remove the ability of sovereign nations to protect life and prevent and detect crime within their jurisdiction. [Brief of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland]

The reality is that ever since communication internets across multiple borders were first treated in multilateral instruments in 1850, the need to obtain evidence has existed. Then as now, law enforcement authorities obtain that evidence via a lawful order compelling a communication provider within their jurisdiction to hand it over. Indeed, the technical interfaces are called "Handover Interfaces" and global eWarrants standards exist for this purpose. At a fundamental level, the requirements and the networks remain the same, notwithstanding every new generation arguing that their new technology Kool-Aid is fundamentally different.

What remains almost untreated in the commentaries on this case, however, are the potential collateral effects of the case itself — including a likely decision in favour of U.S. law enforcement — on the evolution of public international cybersecurity and infrastructure protection law and the architectures of rapidly emerging transnational network virtualization platforms.

The extraterritorial considerations of schlepping an eMail message among data centers are trivial compared to those same data centers orchestrating entire network architectures and services autonomously across national borders among unidentified endpoints including IoT devices using multiple encrypted data streams. Over the Top (OTT) services are vexing precursors; but it is the new Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) provisioning now at the threshold of deployment that is the real concern. Put another way, what rational sovereign State is going to allow this to occur without effective multilateral instruments?

So the Microsoft eMail case is only a mere "sneak peek" at the fascinating realm of extraterritoriality that will be emerging in the brave new world of virtual networks today. A hundred years ago, the major industry providers enlisted the U.S. government to develop the multilateral instruments necessary to roll out their radio-based transnational virtual internets from data centers a hundred years ago to avoid redundant implementations in every nation. Will history repeat itself?

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC | 1/23/18

LONDON — The new U.S. Embassy in London, criticized last week by President Donald Trump as too expensive and poorly located, opened its doors to the public Tuesday for the first time.

The gleaming embassy, in the formerly industrial Nine Elms neighborhood in south London, replaces the embassy in Grosvenor Square that had for decades been associated with the U.S. presence in the United Kingdom. That building has been sold to a Qatari government investment fund planning to turn it into a luxury hotel.

LONDON — The new U.S. Embassy in London, denigrated last week by President Donald Trump as too expensive and poorly located, opened its doors to the public Tuesday for the first time.

The gleaming embassy, in the formerly industrial Nine Elms neighborhood in south London, replaces the embassy in Grosvenor Square that had for decades been associated with the U.S. presence in the United Kingdom. That building has been sold to a Qatari government investment fund planning to turn it into a luxury hotel.

The United Kingdom has joined Canada and the United States in warning citizens who may be travelling to Barbados about the potential health hazards of the leaking South Coast sewage system. The British... | 1/11/18
[Observer] Members of parliament have approved government's request to borrow Shs 1.3 trillion from two separate financial institutions in the United Kingdom for the construction of an airport in the oil area of Kabaale. | 12/18/17