ETECSA Keystone of Computerization in Cuba

The Cuban television show Mesa Redonda, specialized in debates and opinion trends, was recently dedicated to “The Roads of Computerization in Cuba”. Several officials and experts from the Ministry of Computing and Telecommunications in Cuba participated among them was the First Vice Minister, Wilfredo Gonzalez.

In her intervention at the show, Tania Velázquez, Vice-president of ETECSA, reminded the important role of the Cuban telecommunications company in the computerization process, not only with the infrastructure but with the facilitation of services, she pointed out.

She offered a wide report on the achievements in the increase, diversification, and accessibility of these services since the beginning in year 2000 of the Internet access with the prioritized sectors and the boost three years later with the Internet Rooms.

Further on the process of widening the services she specified that in 2013 rates in Internet Rooms was 4.50 CUC per hour, and 0.60 cents for domestic navigation.

For year 2014 access via cell phones to Nauta Mail was introduced thus broadening the reach to more Cubans. That year did not only saw the widening of services to the population, but a drop in the tariff to 70% on the managerial sector because prices were an obstacle for those first steps, she quoted.

She referred that the Nauta mail offered to Cuban citizens in their cell phones at 1 CUC per hour had an important acceptance.

In 2015, ETECSA took an important step with the widening of Wi-Fi spots to wireless Wi-Fi areas, bringing them closer to the neighborhoods. "And when those wireless areas were opened we went from 4.50 CUC per hour to 2 CUC per hour, and the demand went up. Users not only found connections closer, but they also saw well a significant discount".

The vice-president remembered how 2016 was not only particular for continuing with the strategy of diversifying services enlarging Internet rooms and Wi-Fi spots, but also because in that year was ran the pilot test to begin the Nauta Hogar services and were applied tariff discounts up to 1.50 CUC per hour.

The following year the Nauta Hogar offer was broaden and discounts were applied to navigation tariffs, in this case international navigation while it continued the promotion to access to domestic contents.

Year 2018 brought along as important landmark, said Velázquez, the opening of Internet service in cell phones, and also in that year took place a special offer for rural towns in the case of Nauta Hogar.

  

She highlighted that Internet in cell phones was really one of the things that has boosted connectivity in the last few months. “We agree, she added, that people appreciate that it can be cheaper, but in these six months we have had an important use of that service."

The ETECSA official also mentioned the introduction of the 4G technology that not only improves the quality of Internet connection but it also provides a greater level of capacity. In this regard she mentioned that there is already a large number of BTS (Base Transceiver Station) that will continue to increase at some important places like tourist resorts, and economic social sites in general.

She mentioned that in this year the new tariff discount for the corporate sector: a cut down of almost the 50% of all connectivity tariffs, which also accompanies the process of computerization of society.

In her speech she highlighted that "We have already reach 5,5 million mobile lines in Cuba; 2,5 millions of them have data mobile access".

Along with Internet access in mobiles other navigation forms have expanded: by the end of this first semester we will also have a hundred new navigation areas between wired and wireless connections that add up to 1 427 Wi-Fi areas, including those in the neighborhoods, and those on hotels and institutions.

There are at present more than two million Nauta accounts and she expressed that there are more than 87 thousand houses connected by Nauta Hogar. This figure will increase with 40 thousand new Nauta Hogar services this year. Also in companies and institutions connections were increased in about 2 500 for a total of 42 000 connections in the entire managerial system.

As for the topic of mobile access, the vice-president commented that they are working some indicators that allow them a feedback regarding the quality of the service. This allows, she added, to monitor when to make tariff discounts and where to increase BTS, among other actions.

This year 3G BTS have increased in more than 400 and more than sixty 4G BTS. The coverage done so far is substantial in both the population and the territories, but it isn’t enough, she said.

By the end of this first semester nearly 2,5 millions Cubans will have Internet access from their mobiles.

ETECSA offers web hosting services for natural persons

Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) will start marketing, as of today, the service of hosting of websites for natural people.

According to a press release from the entity's Institutional Communication Department, ETECSA's Data Center provides customers with a storage system of information, images or other accessible via web, guaranteeing its Internet presence pages with more direct and economic access from Cuba.

The offers of the service, adjustable to the interests and needs of the client, as well as as well as their characteristics, can be known by calling 118, Commercial Information or by consulting the website www.etecsa.cu, which can be accessed free of charge from the cell phone.

The expansion of Internet access routes for the population and the development of national content sites, as part of the computerisation strategy of the society, have promoted the demand for this service that was initially only available to the business sector.

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Cuba, Internet and the Media Change

Cuba is not foreign to the media change. Several social networks are among the most visited websites by internet users. Much less on the sidelines of disinformation through the ICTs.

Although the existence and consequences of the climatic change are still questioned by some - for example, the United States current administration -, apparently the same doesn't happen with what could be called the media change.

The latter is a fait accompli, if we take into account the results of a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, where they supported that at present it’s more likely that North Americans read news from social networks rather than from newspapers.

According to a survey published on Monday by this institution, 20% of North Americans mentioned the social networks as frequent source for news, in comparison to the 16% who said to read them on newspapers.

According to the AP agency, is the first time that Pew has found websites like Facebook and Twitter to surpass newspapers, a more than proven fact if one keeps in mind that Pew has been monitoring the consumption of news since 1991, when 56% of North Americans still mentioned newspapers when asked where they had obtained yesterday's news.

The survey also demonstrated that not only newspapers suffer the decadence against the muscle of social networks. In the case of television: 81% of people 65 years old and older more frequently consume news from television, in comparison to the 16% of people with ages between 18 and 29.

"Misinformation"

Although, like every change, the use of social networks has its advantages, among them immediacy – we don’t need to wait long hours for the printed edition of newspapers to find out something, because thanks to internet facts are transmitted live from any mobile -, the other side of the coin is misinformation.

Professional intrusiveness, the "sage" with many followers and the uncontrollable wishes of social acceptance (Facebook, therefore I am) has turned social networks into a sort of virtual common ground where are mixed, besides the news produced by newspapers, all type of information. The variety is wide and ranges from the most transcendent and serious event to the most hilarious joke or the broadcasting of private life to the Truman Show style. With such excess of information, it’s not odd that truth gets contaminated of lies, sometimes innocently and others with the worst intentions.

No wonder only a few days back the website Dictionary.com chose "Misinformation" (deceiving information) in opposition to "Disinformation" (disinformation), as word of the year. According to Jane Solomon, linguist of Dictionary.com, the website chose "mis" deliberately instead of "dis" as a "wake-up call", to stay vigilant in the battle against the propagandist ones, those that raise campaigns who believe Earth is flat and other fake news creators.

According to AP, "what the enterprise with base in Oakland, California wanted to highlight was the intention concept, of whether the deceit was unnoticed or on purpose."

For Solomon: "The widespread diffusion of deceiving information generates great challenges to navigate life in 2018. Misleading information exists since long ago, but for over a decade, social networks booming have changed the way to spread information completely. We believe that understanding the concept of deceiving information is essential to identify it when we find it in everyday life, and that would help to dampen down its impact."

The deceiving information, added the linguist: "comprises everything we have experienced in the last 12 months", hence the website with 90 million users per month has been in charge of adding the definitions of “bubble filter”, “fake news”, “post-fact”, “post-truth” and “homophilic”, among others.

The Media Contamination

A leading role in "disinformation" has had it Facebook, where the contamination by fake news seems to have reached levels only comparable to those attained by plastic contaminating oceans. The best example was the crucial role of Facebook in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, as well as the reiterated use of that social network to encourage violence.

Facebook’s disinformative contamination, the hatred speech and the published rumors, according to the expert from Dictionary.com promoted "violence against the rohinya Muslim in Myanmar; there were riots in Sri Lanka after fake news incited the Buddhist majority against Muslims, and false rumors about children kidnappers in WhatsApp raised violence in India."

As for WhatsApp, it is an example of how social networks were used in the recent elections in Brazil. As denounced by newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, that social network worked as platform to Brazilian far-right managers to spread thousands of “fake news” to discredit the candidate for the PT and assure Jair Bolsonaro’s victory.

Task Force or Fake News?

Cuba is not foreign to the media change. Several social networks are among the most visited websites by internet users. Much less on the sidelines of disinformation through ICTs. In the aggression plans against Cuba play a fundamental role the use of social networks with subversive ends. Since the appearance of new technologies in the media field, the propaganda machinery, directed "on purpose" from the United States, has used them to stir their campaigns of lies. Among the antecedents of those intentions the fail attempts of ZunZuneo, Piramideo, Conmmotion and Operation Surf.

The second public meeting of the Task Force for the Internet in Cuba that, under the eye of the U.S. Department of State has as objective to promote "the free flow of information and without regulations toward Cuba and inside the island", has just taken place in Washington, a few weeks after made public in the budget documents of the Internet Diffusion and Adoption in Cuba, part of the Task Force, the purpose of using Facebook Cuban accounts of "native Cubans" and "unmarked" to spread content created by the U.S. government without informing Facebook Cuban users.

According to statements in the aforementioned meeting by the director of the Office of Cuba Broadcast, Tomás Regalado- who was against the meeting to alleviate the technological blockade of the United States, the main cause for Internet limitations in Cuba -: "In United States there are the best brains in the world and the widest range of resources to completely disregard the aid of the Cuban, with the régime of Havana, to offer Internet to Cubans."

The best brains in the USA were a bit slow, if we take into account that, despite the blockade imposed by the U.S. against Cuba, on the same day that took place the Task Force meeting in Washington, in Cuba was taking place another important change: the implementation of Internet access in wireless cell phones.

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How Cuba is boosting access to the Internet

Cuba has lagged behind many Latin American countries in access to the Internet due to technological limitations, U.S. sanctions that restrict its connectivity and lack of financial resources to develop the proper infrastructure.

The situation is changing rapidly. Last year over 4 million Cubans out of a total population of 11 million used the Internet.

Havana is promoting a nationwide plan to equip homes, universities, medical institutions and local government offices with Internet access, and has multiplied the number of public Wi-Fi spots.

The Cuban government is footing the bill for these projects to ensure access is equitable, affordable and widespread.

New initiatives are underway at several state institutions to encourage safe use of the Internet, promote knowledge and culture, and make the lives of Cubans easier.

The Ministry of Public Health, for example, is in the process of computerizing patients' medical records and other administrative areas.

"To achieve that we have to plan and develop the technological infrastructure and the training of human resources. That is what we are doing in this first stage of this process," said Deputy Minister of Public Health Marcia Cobas.

Today, all Cuban health professionals have access to Infomed, one of the most visited sites in the country. The web portal hosts 669 medical sites and receives around 12 million visits a year by Cuban medical personnel on the island and abroad.

A new network called "Cuba Coopera," designed especially for the more than 49,000 Cuban medical professionals working in 63 countries, aims to provide information about the island and direct contact with their family members.

Meanwhile, the Education Ministry opened a site called "Cuba Educa," which provides educational content for students, teachers and parents.

Official figures show that more than 10,600 educational institutions, about 150,000 teachers and 2 million students now have access to computer labs.

Linked to "Cuba Educa" is another site where students can consult and query teachers about different subjects.

"Cuban educational professionals answer the students' questions live and in a quick manner. Through this new technology we are expanding the educational spectrum in the country," said Rolando Forneiro, Cuban deputy minister of education.

E-commerce is also benefiting from the latest technological development. State-run company Artex operates the websites "Soy Cubano" and "Mall Cubano," which make various products available for purchase internationally.

Cuba's state recording company Egrem has developed a mobile application in which users pay a 1-U.S.-dollar fee to download as many as 80 songs by contemporary Cuban artists.

The Culture Ministry now wants to expand online ticket purchase services for cultural shows, concerts and performances at theaters around the nation.

"We must have a contemporary vision of these hi-tech issues ..." said Fernando Rojas, the deputy minister of culture, "especially for young people who are eager to have quick and easy access to our cultural content."

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Trump, the "Fake News" and the Cuba Internet Task Force

Just as it had been announced a week ago the Department of State summoned last Wednesday February 7th the first meeting of the Task Group dedicated to "increase" access to "information" and internet in Cuba.

As the official note reports at the website of the Department of State, the "Internet Team of Cuba made up by government and non-government representatives during next year will examine the technological challenges and opportunities to expand Internet access in Cuba with the objective of helping the Cuban people to enjoy the free and not regulated flow of information".

The new Cuba Internet Task Force is presided over by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Statefor the Western Hemisphere, John S. Creamer, and besides the Department of State, for other entities like the Cuba Broadcasting Office, the Federal Commission for Communications, the National Administration of Telecommunications and Information of the Commerce Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Freedom House and the Information Technology Industry Council. All of them, as it’s known, with backgrounds in the history of subversive war of the United States against Cuba.

According to several sources, to the meeting held under fluorescent illumination at a conferences room in the basement of the Department of State, several representatives of the so-called Cuban opposing groups and local entities that promote the full restitution of diplomatic relationships attended.

As expected, AP reported, the "opposers", responding to the voice of their master, they used the public space to charge against the Cuban government, making comparisons with the Second World War and with governments from Syria and Iran.

However, and according to AFP, the representatives of the American civil society were not very impressed with the outlined objectives.

According to French agency, lawyer Tony Martínez questioned that? There isn’t in the Department of State any specific group on internet on any other country. Why? Do they believe this is the way to attain the expected changes??

The same source highlighted that activist Cheryl LaBash pointed out that in Detroit, her city in 2015 the 40% of the population didn’t have access to internet. I think that the best way of improving access to internet in Cuba would be to negotiate with the Cuban government in a respectful way. Have any of you been in Cuba? LaBash’s question to the members of the group only receive silence for an answer.

The always present topic of the so-called "independent" media on its defense some argued that any North American plan would backfire because it would undermine the independence and credibility that it’s perceived in the flourishing "independent" media in Cuba.

On the other hand, the leader of the group, Undersecretary of State John Creamer who must deliver a final report by late October with recommendations to the Secretary of State and the President, remarked that the Cuban government leaks and blocks websites in an attempt to prevent Cubans from having the opportunity to criticize Cuban institutions and politicians. These sort of aggressive acts have a chilling effect in the exercise of freedom of speech.

Speaking of freedom of speech, the new task force created by the U.S. government for the media subversion against Cuba, it should concentrate its efforts and resources to take care of the problems that in this regard the United States face at present.

As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein alerted in Geneva: "the freedom of press and the integrity of journalists are at stake in the United States under the Administration of President Donald Trump.

"Trump is undermining the freedom of press, while dangerous events already in motion could lead to an increase of violence against journalists", said Zeid in that opportunity.

The official spoke of Trump’s constant accusations that the media produce fake news, the famous term coined by the leader to refer to lies or false news, and his repeated verbal attacks against the newspapers The New York Times, The Washington Post or the television CNN.

On top of that, in January this year, the International Press Institute (IPI) announced that it will carry an international mission to the United States to evaluate the changes in the media and the freedom of press panorama and expose its concerns to the related authorities.

IPI, like the entire world, doesn't see with very good eyes those repeated attacks against journalists and media during Trump’s presidential campaign that included verbal harassment and denial of press credentials.

For anyone with some brains is highly counteractive and paradoxical that the first censor of the United States evaluates in October the "freedom of speech" in Cuba. There isn’t greater machinery of "fake news" than the one usually used by the sort of task force groups like the recently created against Cuba against those countries that don't bend before the imperial hegemony, like the cases of Venezuela, Iran or Syria.

It will certainly be unethical to criticize the fake news at home while they create media machineries to export to other nations.

Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasí Translation Staff

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Cuba: Computerization with an eye on the citizen (+ Infography)

The computerization process of Cuban society consolidates and marked a standard for our economic and social development in the year that has just concluded.

At the end of 2017, Wilfredo González, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communications (MINCOM), reiterated that there’s no limitation from the political point of view for Cubans’ access to the Internet, but a willingness to increase both their access and the basic products and services that use new technologies for the benefit of the population.

He explained that the Policy for the Computerization of the Society approved last February is transversal, requires a national plan and therefore, the responsibility of several national bodies and entities, not only from the MINCOM, governing body that directs the resources of the country towards prioritized bodies and projects. “Within that plan we have 21 projects, which have a general scope (…) There started a computerization process of the public records of the country, a process that is run by the central body, that is, the Ministry of Justice, which we must boost together with the MINCOM (…); in the end, we are talking about the procedures and services for the population.”

“Granma Province, he claims, is a good example of what can be done to computerize a group of services with an eye on the citizen, such as the request of a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, or others offered by the Provincial Office of Justice and that are available in the Internet environment, because at least in this first part of the procedure, the citizen can request it via the digital space, in a website. This is, however, a complex process, because it requires an important organizational design in order to introduce technologies later.”

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The Cuban vice minister highlighted the effort of the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) in terms of institutional connectivity, as a basis for the computerization of the country and how it is working with national entities, Central State Administration bodies and Software development enterprises in creating conditions and infrastructure capacity. This is a step that allows processes that are computerized within these entities not only to benefit them, but the population as well.

He also praised high-impact projects, such as, the Surfing Rooms opened in 2013 and the so-called public WiFi networks in 2015. “This is a project that is worth highlighting, because we will continue developing it in the coming years and in my opinion it also handles a concept, that is, the concept of sharing and not excluding, as an imperative of our society, of our Revolution.”

According to the deputy minister of the Ministry of Communications, it has been necessary to organize and build more infrastructures for the creation of digital contents and there are outstanding actors in that process, such as the Youth Computer and Electronics Clubs across the country or CubaEduca Portal, of the Ministry of Education (MINED), positive experiences that have been widely accepted and that should continue expanding in 2018.

ETECSA: A main axis for development

As Wilfredo González states, the Telecommunications Company of Cuba continued the expansion of its services in the year that has just concluded, dynamically inserting itself into the computerization process and establishing itself as main axis for the development of society as a whole.

In conversation with Mayra Arevich, ETECSA executive president, she reiterated the priority the company grants to the individual wellbeing and development of Cubans. She said that 600,000 mobile phone lines have been activated in 2017 alone, for a total of 4.5 million in the country and works are underway to surpass 50 percent of telephone density with this service.

There are already more than 500 public WiFi hotspots in all municipalities and the marketing of the highly demanded Nauta Home service began last September 9, with more than 11,000 accesses now.

ETECSA worked on the expansion of other services linked to important institutional networks that later become welfare for the population: all universities were connected and their bandwidth was increased by high reliability fiber optic link; the connection to the most important hospitals of the country with their medicine faculties was completed and it was extended to more than 200 polyclinics and 190 pharmacies, 50 of them in the capital.

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For 2018, Mayra Arevich announced the expansion of the access of the educational sector at all levels, the start of Internet marketing via cell phone and the collection and payment gateway jointly with the National Bank of Cuba –what is known in the world as Mobile Bank– so customers can pay for such services as water, electricity, telephone itself, among others, via their cell phones.

“We have a high commitment with the mission the Revolution has given us with telecommunications development, of being able to contribute to the development of the country and the wellbeing of the population. (…) This is a sector that progresses very quickly and there’s a high commitment with the people”, she stated.

The computer of the Cuban family is boosted

The more than 600 Youth Computer and Electronics Clubs (JCCE) that are scattered throughout the country continued bringing the use of new technologies closer to the Cuban family in 2017. Thus, there stood out products like “Mochila” (Backpack), an important entertainment option that operates as a non-traditional TV cannel and that can be acquired in all Youth Clubs facilities free of charge.

The collaborative Encyclopedia Ecured consolidates today as Cuba’s best positioned website on both web 2.0 and the main Internet search engines, and continues to provide universal knowledge in dominium.cu to the largest possible number of customers with a current rate of 250,000 to 300,000 daily visits.

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For its part, “Reflejos” (Reflections) platform, blog creation space with almost 4000 active blogs, more than 23,000 users and 300,000 daily visits, continued providing a large amount of content to Red Cuba (Cuba Network) based on our identity, interests, tastes and demands of the society.

According to Danays Moreno, director of Youth Clubs Programs, the main challenges of these facilities that are celebrating 30 years of their creation, focused on the community and the family, are the modernization of this national network and the continuous boosting of the products that are offered and to make them sustainable over time.

Other important actors of the process: the University of Computer Sciences (UCI) and the Union of Computer Specialists of Cuba (UIC)

The University of Computer Sciences reached its 15th anniversary in 2017 and celebrated it with more than 14,000 high-profile graduates in the area of computing. More than 50 percent of all computing graduates of the country have graduated from this university, created by Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro with the idea that all the country’s territories were represented there.

“We are now in a better position to provide services with an eye on citizens jointly with entities, (…) to take that step more visible, more noticeable by Cubans, and that has to do with infrastructure issues, but we’re in better conditions, along with the institutions, which we’re working with, because we have cleared a path within the institution, in information management. Now, we should continue to consolidate the offers and services to the population”, Rosado specified.

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This year, the Union of Computer Specialists of Cuba has consolidated too and now has more than 8,000 members across the national territory. For its president, Aylin Febles, the entity has achieved important socialization, exchange and learning spaces based on a system of activities carried out throughout the country, has identified more than 100 applications that could have been developed by the individual initiative of a technology professional, private workers, universities, technology companies or from any other sector, but there is already a bank that can be made available for the computerization process.

Regarding the insertion of non-state workers, Febles claimed this is a small force within the UCI, but there are many projects that can be developed from their innovating ideas and an organization that listens to them, gives them prominence and facilities to insert themselves into this process together with other Cuban organizations and institutions. “The biggest challenge for 2018 is that every UIC member has a task, has a mission given by the organization and feels summoned to contribute to the computerization process.”

Present and future challenges

“In 2018, the computerization process of Cuban society will enter, undoubtedly, a higher phase. The application of the policy approved in the cybersecurity field will be an important challenge to protect not only the benefits of the Revolution, but also the data of Cuban citizens who access the Internet”, stated Wilfredo Gonzalez, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communications.

In terms of access capacity, content development and digital services, the deputy minister considers it is necessary to seek greater affordability of the population, a much more agile organization of the process and to work on what constitutes today the main barrier Cubans have, and not only those of our country, but also those from Latin America: the absence of a relevant digital content in the networks.

Citizen participation as part of a principle of the Socialist Revolution, through the so-called e-government is another big challenge, so that citizens can suggest, share and form part of the process of socio-economic construction of the country, by means of their interaction with territorial bodies and governments via online.

Import substitution and export stimulation is something in which we also have to make progress as long as the industry inserts itself into the process –and not only through the state enterprise– to position a larger number of digital services in the Internet environment in our country and to reorganize the industry of computer applications.

“I think this is even a duty we have with the Commander in Chief, with the view the Commander in Chief had regarding this industry”, the Cuban DM summed up.

Cuba progresses in the safe computerization of society, aware that the Internet era and new technologies should be a learning space, with firm development steps, inclusive and safe in order to guarantee the invulnerability of the Revolution, the defense of culture and the prosperous and sustainable socialism that our people are building.

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Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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Imagine! An ‘alternative internet’ not ‘completely in the hands of Facebook & Google’

Having a more alternative internet that is more controlled by its users offers better options to protect ourselves, says Dmytri Kleiner a privacy activist and software developer.

Telecom giants in the US are set for a significant victory if Washington goes ahead with its plan to repeal so-called 'net neutrality' rules. The Obama-era legislation was enacted to prevent internet service providers from potentially cornering parts of the digital market and charging extra fees. As a result, it's likely to have a direct impact on internet speeds in the US and cause a lot of inconvenience for users.

Meanwhile, Google has just been caught secretly collecting location data from Android phone users, even after they turned off location settings and had no SIM card in their devices.

So is there a way to escape from the increasing arbitrariness of the ‘regular internet’?

Kim Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload, who is wanted in America for alleged illegal file sharing, has pledged to create an ‘alternative internet’ to defend rights to privacy and freedom online.

@RT_com Goodbye, IP address: @KimDotcom to launch alternative internet https://on.rt.com/8stq

RT:  What are your thoughts on Kim Dotcom's idea? How is it possible to build an alternative internet?

Dmytri Kleiner: The current internet as it exists right now suffers from a lot of privacy concerns. A lot of those privacy concerns – some of them are inherent to the architecture of the platforms, but a lot of them are related more to the business models of a lot of the kind of companies that make money on the internet. Companies like Google and Facebook make their money by targeting advertising. And targeting advertising requires to know a lot more about you than untargeted advertising. So the more they know about you, the more they can sell these ads for.

Kim Dotcom's proposal is not something that I’ve seen too many details about, although he has been mentioning MegaNet for a few years now I think, as early as 2015. And there are a lot of things that sound pretty good about what he is proposing. Especially the idea of using mobile devices more actively. It is not clear what he means by that – whether he means there will be an overlay network on top of the kind of IP internet that adds anonymity along the lines of something like Tor or Tox; or whether he plans to use Bluetooth, or NFC (Near Field Communication,) or direct Wi-Fi capabilities of the mobile phones themselves to create a so-called mesh network along the lines of Briar or several other applications. But in any case, more development in this area would certainly be good – the better platforms that consumers have that deliver privacy and anonymity – the more we have – the better. But that won’t necessarily affect the actual concerns of data being collected by the likes of Google and Facebook.

@RT_com essential to keep freedom associated with ' - Canadian PM https://on.rt.com/8sxk

RT:  What about the speed at which people can use the internet. With these net neutrality rules being rolled back is Kim Dotcom's idea a way of circumventing those alternative rules that are going to come into force?

DK: We need to know more about the architecture to make a claim either way. If it is planning to use the kind of radio capabilities of mobile phones themselves, and the Bluetooth and NFC and Wi-Fi capabilities those phones have to create another mesh network, then you could have an advantage that it is much more difficult to block than centralized things. So net neutrality wouldn’t affect it directly. However, it is still may be a slower service to what people used to right now, given a neutral internet.

RT:  What would be the drawbacks be to an alternative internet? Some people might say there is too much anonymity, and perhaps there would be sort of fair game for criminals and the like? What’s your response to that argument?

DK: It seems to me the criminals aren’t having a terrible amount of difficulty operating on the internet as it is today. Having a more alternative internet that is more controlled by its users, gives us better options in order to protect ourselves. We can have collaborative moderation, and collaborative block lists and stuff like that that could make user-driven ways to defend against this stuff more effective, rather than being completely in the hands of Facebook and Google and Twitter, and only being able to access the protections that they provide.

@RT_com ‘Govt's most experienced privacy cop’: How the FCC’s reversal of may affect you https://on.rt.com/8ssx

RT:  Can you see the public taking to this alternative internet quickly, or would there be problems for them to connect? What are your thoughts on its accessibility?

DK: There are a lot of questions need to be looked at there. One is how user-friendly and usable this kind of stuff is. We know without a clear business model, like advertising that Facebook and Google have, you have to question where the investments are going to come from to create the kind of rich user experience that users are used to; to market it, to promote it, to support it – and all that kind of stuff. I mean given the right support I definitely think that an alternative could be made and it could be very popular.

However, it is not clear where that support could come from short of public institutions because as a private entrepreneur Kim Dotcom can only spend money that he can earn back. And it is not clear how he would earn money on such a thing, given that advertising and surveillance would not be used.

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US Internet User Data Still Unprotected

Washington, March 29 (Prensa Latina) US Internet access providers still have today the possibility to sell their customers' personal data to third parties without the obligation to obtain explicit permission.

As the Senate did last week, yesterday the House of Representatives approved with 215 votes in favor and 205 against the annulment of a regulation of the Federal Communication Commission that regulated the matter.

The text, which came out in 2016, had not yet come into force, newspaper reports said, adding that the new rule should be signed by President Donald Trump in the coming days.

By its part, civil right defender organizations criticized the decision of Congress because it allows the uncontrolled dissemination of personal data.

Among such information -they exemplified- religious beliefs, political positions, sexual orientation and health states of users can be revealed.

According to Natasha Duarte, from the Center for Democracy and Technology, these issues are among the most intimate in a person's life, and consumers must be able to control what companies do.

Users' data belong to consumers, not to providers, Democrat John Lewis wrote on the social network Twitter.

In his opinion, personal information should not be sold for profit by entities that offer access to the so-called network of networks.

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