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John K

An old man notices a change in download speeds

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I've just downloaded an update for my Sammy S7 

My domestic broadband is nothing special but it still downloaded 450mb in a little over a minute (and WiFi to the phone)

25 years ago at work I can remember we desperately needed a new version of Oracle and a 500mb version was available on the official web site (this new fangled thing called the Web was starting to get noticed)

So we kicked it off on a Friday night (and this was in the flag ship London HQ that had the best of everything) and when we came in on Monday morning there was still 30mb left to go

And then it failed with 6mb left :bangshead: 

We ended up shipping in a CD version

But still look at the difference in 25 years, from 60 hrs to 60 seconds for the same wodge of data...

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The UK was a long way behind the rest of the world when it came to rolling out reliable/fast internet connectivity.

Back in the late 90's, instead of buying the latest technology, BT purchased the original DSL equipment "used" from America, had it refurbished by a dodgy repair centre in the midlands and rolled it out across the UK by patching it into their existing archaic phone network. Before that we dial up, which ran over the old phone lines and exchange equipment, through very old telecoms relays with dirty noisy contacts, which i'm told used to automatically power cycle/reconnect at 15min intervals, inaudible but enough to screw up an internet connection.

By being cheap, unwilling to adopt new technology and arrogantly trying to remain in the past, the UK has A LOT of catching up to do in terms of internet connectivity, BUT ironically we're ranked up very high in terms of censorship, filtering, monitoring and snooping.

Traffic shaping is a problem now, with it being faster to download a large file from the UK, by using a VPN in Sweden, than it is to download directly from within the UK. The speeds your told your getting, are not always the speeds you actually get.

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When i worked for Comet PLC  all the service team had to do training on the "new" computer system , the OS  was archaic a real dog's whatsits .

We were told Comet had bought it from the Gas board, the gas board service of the time was a laughing stock , no wonder they sold it off , often thought  it was designed to run on gas !

 

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In the part of rural Worcestershire where I live, we still await fibre broadband.  I'm lucky if my download speed hits the dizzy heights of 4Mbps.  But there is a new cabinet in the village, we're just waiting for the fibre cable to be run from the exchange.  Keeps going back, but hopefully we'll be live by March latest :)

On a similar note, my first PC (1989) didn't have a hard drive; ran off those huge floppy things.  My second one (early '90s) was huge and had a 40mb hard drive.  That's about 5 mp3s. 

 

 

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On 11/14/2017 at 10:33, Lyonspride said:

BUT ironically we're ranked up very high in terms of censorship, filtering, monitoring and snooping.

Can you post a link to the authoritative information on that? I'd be interested to read the stats.

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On 14/11/2017 at 10:33, Lyonspride said:

BUT ironically we're ranked up very high in terms of censorship, filtering, monitoring and snooping

What poppycock.  Let me tell you a story which I defy the authorities to censor, involving the Queen, Putin, Piers Morgan, a pound of cocaine and a German Shepherd.  Basically, they rented a Room at the Windsor Premier Inn and they +++CARRIER LOST+++

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19 hours ago, Blatman said:

Can you post a link to the authoritative information on that? I'd be interested to read the stats.

 

The information I saw was on a site that advocates freedom of information and was trying to fight against David Camerons internet filters, whilst the UK press was filling the headlines with stories of piracy, pedos and hackers. I think it got shut down along with several torrenting sites in the second wave of "anti-piracy" crackdowns, because i've searched for it and it's like it never existed.

Youtube might have some mention of it in videos, but Youtube have started censoring too, with many controversial content creators having videos "ghost blocked" (still there but not searchable).

 

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So not authoritative, just a freedom advocacy website and the press, well known for fair and reasonable reporting without an angle.

No wait...

There's every chance the website simply stopped paying for hosting rather than anything sinister. Piracy is illegal and should be stopped. Nothing wrong there.

Whilst it is probably true that the government has the capability to monitor everyone's internet activity, they aren't. They monitor those who come to their attention and for me that's fair enough. And even if they were monitoring all of us all the time, so what? I hope someone is monitoring me and I hope I am able to keep them entertained whilst they're at work :d 

Are HMG censoring "the internet"? I doubt it. They just wouldn't have the time to be able to have any real effect given the vast quantity of content compared to the tiny number of people they could afford to pay to take the action required to block content. 

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IIRC C4 program, Hitler's Favourite Royal, regarding pre WW2 Royal who was a suspected Nazi sympathiser,  told the story of how HMG in those days intercepted vast amounts of Royal Mail and had staff open it. The photo showed a vast warehouse like office, staffed to open mail.

I'm sure it's all innocent, for our own good and much easier now electronic.

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Easier now because they will use key word searches along with many many other tools that help those that need to figure out who is potentially going to do us harm and leave the rest of us alone.

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14 hours ago, Blatman said:

Easier now because they will use key word searches along with many many other tools that help those that need to figure out who is potentially going to do us harm and leave the rest of us alone.

No doubt in 70 years we'll find out when the secrecy timescale is up.

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Sadly none of the measures will effect the determined criminals or terrorists, who will undoubtedly use tools to hide their identity online making them even harder to catch. As a very simple example right now I could virtually move to Sweden across an encrypted connection in less than 30 seconds, I could then chain my connection through servers across the globe or through my own droplet server, paid for using bitcoin, which is an anonymous currency.

Now either the govt are ill informed, being taken for a ride by a big IT company OR they know full well that the only people affected by this are the general public. Previous generations grew up in a world controlled by the media and the media controlled by the authorities. BUT then the internet came along and that control was greatly diminished, they attacked it from the late 90's until the late 2000's and then they changed tactics to start trying to control it. In addition to that, information about the general public is extremely valuable to both political parties AND the big corporate interests that sponsor them.

The idea of monitoring and censorship for our own safety is one of the biggest cons of the last 20 years.

The people that tried to fight this on our behalf, on behalf of future generations, are the people who were at that time being wrongly demonised and labelled as hackers and criminals by the media, in exactly the same way that Brexit supporters were being labelled as far right, racist white supremacists.

 

 

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If you believe that (and if you do then OK) then surely it is also true that Government agencies regularly bury "back door" code into routers used by "people" to allow them to track us. If avoiding being tracked was as easy as setting up a tunnel-bear account or using a TOR browser then there would be no need for governments to bury tracking software in routers because it would be a futile effort. It either isn't true, or isn't futile...

And I'll ask again, although a little more pointedly... Do you believe that IF this is going on, and given that you mention internet censorship, it is directly affecting what you, me and everyone else here can access on the internet? How do you know that content is missing other than not being able to find an old website? Why must the lack of visibility of that content be sinister?

7 hours ago, Lyonspride said:

The idea of monitoring and censorship for our own safety is one of the biggest cons of the last 20 years.

It really isn't. The Security Services victories go unpublished because they must remain secret, a policy that goes back to Enigma and likely beyond. I don't think the government revealed it had broken Enigma until the 1970's (or maybe 2001, I'm not sure) so that those charged with our safety can deliver it to the best of their ability.

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When I started with the GPO with one of these

EM76627_1.jpg

   300baud was an almighty speed for data over copper lines.   I think that relates to 300bits per sec.  thesedays.  

   You youngsters don't realise how lucky you are.

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2 hours ago, Blatman said:

If you believe that (and if you do then OK) then surely it is also true that Government agencies regularly bury "back door" code into routers used by "people" to allow them to track us. If avoiding being tracked was as easy as setting up a tunnel-bear account or using a TOR browser then there would be no need for governments to bury tracking software in routers because it would be a futile effort. It either isn't true, or isn't futile...

And I'll ask again, although a little more pointedly... Do you believe that IF this is going on, and given that you mention internet censorship, it is directly affecting what you, me and everyone else here can access on the internet? How do you know that content is missing other than not being able to find an old website? Why must the lack of visibility of that content be sinister?

It really isn't. The Security Services victories go unpublished because they must remain secret, a policy that goes back to Enigma and likely beyond. I don't think the government revealed it had broken Enigma until the 1970's (or maybe 2001, I'm not sure) so that those charged with our safety can deliver it to the best of their ability.

 

Back doors into routers, I don't think so, although the free routers you get from ISPs, anything is possible and  the reason I abandoned my BT hub was because there is a port left open to allow remote alterations and updating to the firmware, which could in turn lead to a network intrusion. Quite frankly anyone trying to maintain anonymity would be foolish to keep their standard ISP router. A long those lines, it would be wise for anyone using IP cameras, to isolate and firewall block those cameras from outwardly accessing the internet.

Is all this affecting us? yes it is, it's often very subtle, websites that won't load (until you fire up a VPN) but do not show any message to say they're blocked. Most people just assume the site is broken.
Slow internet browsing, caused by the extra load on ISP DNS servers, which are constantly checking every web address entered to see if it should be blocked, and to make sure those do their job we have DNS hijacking, where you may think your using Google DNS (for example) but actually your ISP is routing port 53 traffic into it's own DNS server and spoofing the server your trying to use, it's almost impossible to detect too.
Who controls the filters? it's not the ISPs, it's not the govt, it's some unknown corporate entity and who's to say they don't take backhanders?

European news websites, some are blocked inside the UK, they don't even appear in Google search results. You really see the different political spin that the UK media puts on it's stories, I remember a few years ago a Fire service strike, the UK media was just making them look bad, the European media was saying it was about pay and poor quality/broken equipment. There are other events that have been subjected to a virtual media blackout, "veterans against terrorism" marches, most people don't even know they happened and the media has barely reported on it because a) there was no violence and b) they can't very well accuse a bunch of 90 year olds of being racist.

The effect of all this isn't always obvious, if it were then we'd all be screaming and shouting about it by now.

 

 

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