The United States typically fell within the top 10, albeit not the top position as you'd expect from the country that invented the damn thing. But that changed with the latest analysis. The US now sits in the 11th position with 25% of US households having access to speeds of up to 25 Mbps or less.
The following was released to the general public on January 6, 2017 by the DNI (Director of National Intelligence). In short, the release accuses Russia of attempting to influence the US's 2016 election using a persona known as Guccifer 2.0 to release stolen (hacked) documents via Wikileaks. Regular readers will not be surprised by the findings as I drew this same conclusion in this article a few weeks ago.
The new Rule 41 dictate is going to be law and it's a doozy, both mind-boggling (for its stupidity) and stomach-churning (for its stupidity) at the same time. Effectively, what the law does is allow any judge, anywhere (including Podunk, Texas), to grant a warrant for electronic surveillance of any US citizen. If you thought the NSA spying fiasco was bad – you ain't seen nothing yet.
People often wonder if their names have somehow made it to the “the list”, that watchlist of US citizens whom the government suspects may be up to something. I would venture to say, the best way to know if you’re on the watchlist would be to recognize how often you find yourself forced into unique situations that fall far beyond the norm.
I suspect this will be big news over the course of the next few days and rightfully so. With the threat of government shutdown looming, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan introduced a 2,000-page “omnibus” budget bill as a last-minute compromise. Most of the bill looks fairly legit until you get to page 1,728 where you find the full text of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act embedded in the bill.
It’s a draft title Task Order Request for Cyberspace Operations Support Services in support of United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM). Oh, brother. That means the U.S. has bungled their cybersecurity so badly they’re now willing to outsource, and trust, this critical national security task to an outside contractor. Even a partner outside of the U.S. if they’re trusted status.
After conclusion of a four-year probe, contractors who worked on U.S. military code are being fined a combined $12.75 million. As it turns out, some contractors outsourced coding tasks to Russian. No words can convey the level of stupidity here (hey, let's get Al-Qaeda to build US airplanes!).
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) pictured above is the United States military truck set to replace the Humvee currently used by the U.S. Army and U.S. Marines. The Oshkosh was selected on August 25, 2015 and awarded a $6.75 billion contract for 16,901 vehicles to be delivered sometime around 2018 (although we all know they are already being tested on the battleground *somewhere*).
The UK government has said it wants to hand out life sentences to anyone found guilty of a cyberattack that results in loss of life, serious illness, serious injury, or serious damage to national security (or a “significant risk thereof”. The plan, which frighteningly, is broadly written, is proposed as an update to Britain’s Computer Misuse Act 1990 and would also hand out harsher sentences to any hacker carrying out industrial (commercial) espionage. Even minor hacking crimes can result in sentences up to 14 years.
The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) is back in the news today, this time after tweets from the @BarrackObama Twitter account and posts to the President’s Facebook fan page contained links to SEA YouTube content. At this time it is not believed that the President’s Twitter nor Facebook page was hacked but rather SEA has gained access to the backend third-party (i.e. customized) link shortener allowing them to redirect the U.S. Organizing for Action links to SEA links. How the link shortener functions and where it is hosted is not known at this time.
Today, NBC News and Esquire magazine released the results of a survey that they conducted to measure the “national sentiment” of Americans. The results of the survey show that the United States may not be as divided as we think. Typically characterized as a nation with beliefs that fall strictly in line with Republican and Democrat ideals, this new survey shows that “at the center of national sentiment there’s no longer a chasm but a common ground where a diverse and growing majority is bound by a surprising set of shared ideas.”
The United States government shutdown, now in its second week, has sparked swarms of angry protesters to descend upon the U.S. Capitol - and that’s not the only place to see protest action. Nearly 100 government employees rallied in downtown Chicago at Federal Plaza to protest the shutdown. Meanwhile, in Lafayette, dozens gathered outside Rep. Todd Rokita’s Lafayette office to protest the government shutdown and thousands crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday to protest the stoppage. Protests were also reported in Dallas, Phoenix, Detroit, Tallahassee, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Denver, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, and other cities across the U.S.
To many Americans, the shutdown of the United States government came out of the blue. Today, the New York Times has revealed that the Republican plan to tie defunding of the federal government to the Affordable Care Act (e.g. Obamacare) has been planned since February 2013 and has been waged by a well-funded “galaxy of conservative groups with more money, organized tactics and interconnections than is commonly known.”
So how does the rest of the world see the United States government shutdown? From the outside, do we appear to be a bunch of buffoons too intent on losing face at the expense of productive legislative discussion? Is the shutdown feared as a threat to the world economy or as a precursor to the apocalypse? Or does the rest of the world simply not care about the private problems of the United States and our government leaders' inability to work together? Below is a collection of news snippets from countries around the world which mention or discuss the shutdown of the United States government.