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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Iran shuts down country’s internet in the wake of fuel protests

Iran, one of the countries most strongly identified with the rise cyber terrorism and malicious hacking, appears now to be using an iron fist to turn on its own. The country has reportedly shut down nearly all internet access in the country in retaliation to escalating protests that were originally ignited by a rise in fuel prices, according to readings taken by NetBlocks, an NGO that monitors cybersecurity and internet governance around the world.

As of Sunday night, NetBlocks said that the shut-down had slightly grown, to 5% of ordinary levels. Not only is fixed-internet access down, but NetBlocks notes that data connectivity for the largest mobile operators — MCI, Rightel and Irancell — are also offline.

So far, the picture looks pretty bleak. Babak Taghvaee, a defense analyst and historian who is not based in Iran who has been posting some videos of the protest skirmishes, confirms to me that his own internet communication lines with contacts have also been broken, with phones still working, albeit with monitoring from the State.

Internet is completely shut-down and I can’t communicate [with] anyone,” he said. “People just can call abroad (just certain countries) using telephone which is being monitored.”

Currently, using Twitter as one marker, it seems that there are at least some people sending out media and messages from the country, specifically related to the protests, although without specific “messaging” against the government attached to them. This one comes from Tehran, above one of the country’s main highways, showing how traffic has backed up due to streets getting closed down:

And here is another with video from the ground, showing people and police swarming.

And of course the government is still Tweeting, too:

The protests arose in response to a decision by the state to raise the price of gas in the country by 50%.

As this AP article points out, Iran has some of the cheapest gas in the world — in part because it has one of the world’s biggest crude oil reserves — and so residents in the country see cheap gas as a “birthright.”

Many use their cars not just to get around themselves but to provide informal taxi services to others, so — regardless your opinion on whether using fossil fuels is something to be defended or not — hiking up the prices cuts right to ordinary people’s daily lives, and has served as the spark for protest in the country over bigger frustrations with the government and economy, as Iran continues to struggle under the weight of US sanctions.

Clamping down on internet access as a way of trying to contain not just protesters’ communication with each other, but also the outside world, is not an unprecedented move; it is part and parcel of how un-democratic regimes control their people and situations. Alarmingly, its use seems to be growing.

Pakistan in September cut off internet access in specific regions response to protests over conflicts with India. And Russia — which has now approved a bill to be able to shut down internet access should it decide to — is now going to start running a series of drills to ensure its blocks work when they are being used in live responses.

We’ll update this post as we learn more.


Source: TechCrunch

The Crown season 3 review: Long live Queen Olivia Colman – CNET

As the Netflix soap opera about the British royal family continues, Colman is joined by Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret.
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Score these Yeti, Aerolatte and more holiday gifts for coffee lovers – CNET

From good beans to smart mugs, these gifts should perk up any coffee lover.
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Ford v Ferrari review: Bale and Damon in winning form for real-life racing romp – CNET

Christian Bale and Matt Damon keep the pedal to the metal in this race to Le Mans ’66.
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Best Star Wars gifts for young or veteran fans in 2019 – CNET

The perfect Star Wars gift can be hard to find, but we’ve done some of the hard work with our line up of best gifts for Star Wars fans these holidays.
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The best washer and dryer pairs you can buy today – CNET

In the market for a matching washing machine and dryer? Start here.
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Microsoft hires ex-US Attorney General Eric Holder in facial recognition inquiry – CNET

Holder will investigate a company Microsoft invested in, says NBC News, to see if it violated the tech giant’s ethics around surveillance.
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Black Friday may be 2 weeks away, but you can get these Amazon deals right now – CNET

Why wait? Find deals right now on a 65-inch TV, Amazon devices, smart home gear, DNA kits and more. Plus: money-saving secrets!
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Best Buy Black Friday 2019: Get a 13-inch MacBook Air for $900 and other deals – CNET

Plus: The Nike version of the Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS drops back down to $299.
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Army photogrammetry technique makes 3D aerial maps in minutes

Aerial imagery is a common asset in military matters, but 3D maps can be difficult to collect on short notice without specialized equipment. This new photogrammetry technique from the Army Corps of Engineers, however, can make accurate 3D maps from ordinary aerial footage in just minutes.

Photogrammetry is the process of comparing multiple photos of the same location or item to produce a 3D map of it. It’s a well-known method but in some cases is still reliable on human intelligence to determine, for instance, which frames of a video should be used to produce the best results.

Ricky Massaro from the Army’s Geospatial Research Laboratory in Virginia has mitigated that problem and produced a highly efficient photogrammetric method that can turn aerial imagery into accurate 3D surface maps in near real-time without any human oversight.

This image shows the depth map as color – red being higher. It was created from combining multiple 2D images.

The system was tested by the 101st Airborne, which flew a drone over Fort Campbell in Kentucky and mapped a mock city used for training exercises. It was also deployed in Iraq for non-combat purposes. So this isn’t stuck in a lab somewhere — it’s been put to work, and is now being publicized because the patent filing is in and the Army is now negotiating to commercialize the system.

“Whether it’s for soldiers or farmers, this tech delivers usable terrain and intelligence products fast,” said Quinton King, a manager at TechLink, the Defense Department’s commercial tech transfer organization. “And I’m happy to help companies learn how they can leverage Dr. Massaro’s work for their own products or applications.”

The real-time photogrammetry wouldn’t replace lidar or ground-based mapping systems, but act in concert with them. Being able to produce accurate depth from ordinary aerial imagery, and without having to send tons of data to a central location or involve human experts, makes it adaptable to a variety of situations. If you’re curious about the specifics, you can check out the patent application here.


Source: TechCrunch

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