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Internet & Privacy Issues

Date: 08-05-06
Host: Art Bell
Guests: Lauren Weinstein

Art Bell welcomed technology expert Lauren Weinstein, who discussed a variety of Internet- and privacy-related issues. He called censorship of pornographic and other objectionable material on the Internet a "slippery slope" that could easily "spin out of control," resulting in the censorship of other kinds of information. Still, Weinstein believes children should be protected from harmful Internet content, but thinks the answer lies with responsible parents and not with technological solutions, which can easily be circumvented.

Weinstein talked about points of vulnerability on the Internet (specifically, domain name servers), but insisted that major technological failures were unlikely due to the distributed network design of the Internet. He was, however, more concerned with political and legislative changes that could render the Internet much less functional in the years to come. Weinstein detailed the ongoing battles in Congress between large telecommunications companies and people who use their networks but are not customers (i.e. Skype users).

Weinstein shared his thoughts on the broadband over power line (BPL) services currently being tested by utility companies across the country. He said the first duty of the U.S. power grid should be to provide reliable electricity to homes. To use the antiquated grid for Internet access will cause all kinds of collateral damage, Weinstein explained, including RF signal leakage that will interfere with other radio transmissions. He also spoke about government surveillance and the AT&T/NSA spying scandal, RFID passport hacking, online transactions and electronic voting.

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Bumper music from Saturday August 05, 2006

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