Weekend Reads 122019: Last Call for the Year

I probably won’t be posting much after this edition of the weekend reads until after the turn of the new year. I have a few projects I need to go “heads down” on in order to be set for the beginning of next year, and it’s time to spend time with family and friends. I’ve “supersized” this list of stuff worth reading so you won’t get too bored over the break, however.

This was an entertaining and interesting live stream, full of really good questions and answers.

On December 18, 2019, the Packet Pushers hosted a livestream gathering on YouTube where the Packet Pushers and special guests answered audience questions.

Anyone that has attended a meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) will know that the somewhat dry topic of internet protocols is often the source of passionate disagreement. But rarely does that debate extend beyond the confines of internet engineers. —Kieren McCarthy

The trade war between China and the US has centered largely on escalating tariffs. But in many rural communities, the focus has shifted to the security of networks for which Chinese giants Huawei and ZTE have long provided equipment. As the 5G future approaches, the US is pushing small carriers to rip out and replace whatever parts of their infrastructure come from China, no matter the cost. —Lily Hay Newman

“RISC” was an important architecture from the 1980s when CPUs had fewer than 100,000 transistors. By simplifying the instruction set, they free up transistors for more registers and better pipelining. It meant executing more instructions, but more than making up for this by executing them faster. —Robert Graham

Chances are, you’re reading this in Google’s Chrome browser. As of October 2019, Chrome owned 67% of the market, and there are several good reasons. Chrome is fast, it has tons of extensions, and it runs on every platform. —Mark Coppock

AT&T doesn’t want its home Internet speeds to be measured by the Federal Communications Commission anymore, and it already convinced the FCC to exclude its worst speed-test results from an annual government report. —Jon Brodkin

The question of just how fast your home internet service is seems pretty straightforward. Unfortunately, how the broadband industry gets at the answer is messy and complicated, and over the last few weeks, that’s caused controversy. —Marguerite Reardon

Data privacy hardliners are pretty jazzed about the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), which is slated to take effect on the first of the next year. While many outside of the Golden State may not have heard of this bold foray into computing regulation, activists hope that it will soon effectively control how much of the country is allowed to process data. —Andrea O’Sullivan

CES last January marked the first time the Consumer Tech Association recognized cybersecurity and personal privacy as a product category, highlighting antivirus and smart home security systems at the annual trade show. —Alfred Ng

Security professionals recommend against clicking links in emails like this. Instead, go to your bank account’s website directly and sign in. Similarly, if someone claiming to be from your bank calls you on the phone, it’s a good idea to hang up and call your bank’s customer service number directly to see if the call is legitimate. —Chris Hoffman

ICANN is reviewing the pending sale of the .org domain manager from a nonprofit to a private equity firm and says it could try to block the transfer. The .org domain is managed by the Public Internet Registry (PIR), which is a subsidiary of the Internet Society, a nonprofit. The Internet Society is trying to sell PIR to private equity firm Ethos Capital. —Jon Brodkin

In November, President Donald Trump called Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, to talk about spectrum. At the time, the FCC was considering a proposal to allow four satellite operators to privately sell a massively valuable swath of public airwaves directly to the U.S. wireless carriers. The carriers said they needed it to “win the race” to deploy 5G mobile networks. —Michael Calbrese and Amir Nasr

Crowdsourcing is fast emerging as a mainstream innovation channel for companies. It seems like the crowd has an answer to all sorts of innovation problems – they can come up with ideas for new toys and generate solutions to pressing scientific challenges. In theory, the crowd holds tremendous potential: A large, diverse group of people, consisting of experts and others from all over the world, should have fresh perspectives to bring about breakthrough insights on a given problem. —Ogux A. Acar

IIJ (AS2497) is a Japanese ISP that also provides CDN services, including live video streaming. Among the live-streaming events hosted at IIJ, by far the biggest is ‘Summer Koshien‘, the National High School Baseball Championship held at Koshien Stadium. The biannual championships started more than 100 years ago, and have become a symbolic amateur sporting event in Japan. —Kenjiro Cho

As if the scourge of ransomware wasn’t bad enough already: Several prominent purveyors of ransomware have signaled they plan to start publishing data stolen from victims who refuse to pay up. To make matters worse, one ransomware gang has now created a public Web site identifying recent victim companies that have chosen to rebuild their operations instead of quietly acquiescing to their tormentors. —Krebs

The conduct that reverse domain name hijacking (RDNH) was crafted to punish is “using the [Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy] in bad faith to attempt to deprive a registered domain-name holder of a domain name.” —Gerald M. Levine

In March 2019, in a move described in one news report as a “government-imposed Internet shutdown,” the president of Sri Lanka temporarily blocked Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Viber, and other services. In this case, limited access to a class of applications was inaccurately painted as a full-scale Internet shutdown. Unfortunately, this isn’t unusual. Media coverage and general discussion of Internet disruptions often misclassify what happened. The confusion is likely unintentional. Many journalists, as well as the general public, are not well-versed in the various ways Internet access and access to content can be disrupted. —David Belson

Major European legislation, the General Data Protection Regulation, evoked substantial change in the way we deal with the visibility of domain name registration information, and understandably those that use that data to solve problems are concerned about these changes, and some have even called for a U.S. legislative fix. —Christian Dawson

Just a week after hackers broke into a Ring camera in a child’s bedroom, taunting the child and sparking serious concerns about the company’s security practices, Buzzfeed News is reporting that over 3,600 Ring owners’ email addresses, passwords, camera locations, and camera names were dumped online. This includes cameras recording private spaces inside homes. —Cooper Quintin and Bill Budington