I’m out and about in America. I’m in a little area that was once a small town, but now it’s being overrun by developers. Out of control development. It’s actually rather sad to see nature destroyed in such a manner. I ended up needing to spend an extra day in this area on my trip. Unfortunate, but had to be done.
The interesting thing is, the internet. While here last night, I found out that my internet connection was being filtered and watched. Let me back up a moment. In the afternoon, I stopped by a coffee shop to get a drink and a sandwich. No, not Starbucks. A mom & pop type of place that had a very cool vibe. The people there were very nice too. It’s a wireless hotspot. I didn’t take my lappy with me at that point, however, I did read a little notice they had next to the cash register about their wireless, or rather their available net connection.
On that little sign was a list of things that were against the law via the internet. Some of the things I saw there were: Pornography (shocker there), hate oriented websites, profanity, naked pictures (wouldn’t that be porn in some respect?), and lude behavior. The list was a bit longer than that after which it listed the local laws that made such things illegal.
At the moment I saw and read it, I have to smile internally and snicker. I couldn’t actually imagine that here in the United States of America I was reading a memo to the public that was saying that you’re doing something illegal if you use the wrong words. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is America isn’t it? At what point is it illegal to use words in this country? Fucking Hell!! Oh wait, I mean gosh darn.
Mind you, I’ve been hearing how China filters it’s net connections to it’s citizens. Scary right? Well guess what. It’s happening here in America too. In the land of the brave and the home of the free. That’s right, about 15 minutes after reading that sign, I opened my lappy in the hotel room. Then decided to hit the swimming pool. I had iChat open so I was going to put up an away message. I selected my message and boom it kicked me offline then relogged in as connected.
A feeling of confusion came over me. I couldn’t figure out why it did that, so I tried it again. Oddly enough I got the same result. Then I tried a different away message and it worked fine. Then I tried my first away message and again it kicked me off and logged me back in. Then I realized that there was a word in the away message that must be getting filtered and flagged. The word in question was ‘naked’. Now I got a chill. I suddenly realized that my net connection was being watched.
That’s a truly naked feeling when you realize that private conversations and e-mails are being scrubbed and looked at while you’re on a network. It dawned on me how ignorant so many internet users are – and I’ll lump myself in on that one. To an extent. I’ve got a Thawte certificate for e-mail. I have all of one person that also has one. So getting people to learn to send encrypted e-mail isn’t easy. I also have a means for encrypting iChat, though only two friends of mine also have that. So there’s not many encrypted chats I do yet.
Why do I care? Why should I care? Should you care?
While I’m pretty open about things, I do care about privacy. Especially as it relates to my contacts and my friends. That is not something I want prying eyes looking at. Additionally, I have files for my creations of music and lyrics that aren’t ready from primetime. So when I’m dealing with that, I want to make sure they’re staying as safe as possible.
So yesterday afternoon, after swimming, I decided to do some browsing on the net and digging into some things that I had delved into in the past. I already had my e-mail set up with SSL connections. I already had that one. However, I was now concerned with my wireless connections to the net in general. There had to be a way to secure that or possibly encrypt it. And by george, I found some interesting things.
First I learned how to get OS X on the mac to do SSH. So I set that up. Then I found TOR. TOR is a little method of smearing your internet tracks to be a bit more anonymous as you browse. What did I learn at this point? Well, incorporating the SSH allowed me to use my away message as I saw fit. Thus it somehow bypassed some filter that was looking at me. However, I’m not sure if it keeps my chats safe yet. At least I feel a little better knowing I’ve escaped some filter. TOR on the other hand is cool, but I’m not sure how or if I’ll stick with it. Why? Because it slows things down. The reason for that is because you’re connection ends up getting passed thru a lot of hops along the way to scrub the tracks.
So, I know that I’m now very interested in lappy and online security. I guess it will help me be more aware before I’m a star. Which brings me to a band that I know I’ve featured here before – Extreme. Well, as it turns out yesterday a friend of mine who is an Extreme fan mentioned they had a new album out, so of course being the guitar slut I am, I had to go listen. Bingo, I got the song Star. It’s the first single off the CD I guess. The first thing that ran thru my head as my ears got the audio onslaught was Queen.
History lesson on Extreme: They are huge Queen fans. However, this is taking that influence a little too directly. It didn’t stop me from liking the song. Which is why I’m presenting it to you now. I’m betting a lot of older metal heads are going to jump on this because Nuno was a guitar god. Actually he’s still a very talented guitar player. Which is my main reason to listen. I also think that they can come up with some cool arrangements.
The song is about getting what you wish for. Obviously Extreme probably got that. They probably wanted to be stars when they started. Then they got it and lost it. I’m sure there’s a lot of security issues for stars. Hence the reason why I’m going off about net security and how I connected it to this song…
Digging the new Extreme with the last Extreme sound? Then head on over to one of the sites above and pick it up legally. And watch your net tracks!