US government report recommends blocking popular internet websites during pandemic flu outbreak

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(NaturalNews) The US government has issued a new report that recommends blocking access to popular websites during a pandemic outbreak in order to preserve internet bandwidth for investors, day traders and securities clearing house operations. The concern is that a pandemic would cause too many people to stay at home and download YouTube videos and porn, hogging all the internet bandwidth and blocking throughput for investment activities, thereby causing a stock market meltdown.

This isn’t an April Fool’s joke. It’s all based on a public report issued by the Government Accounting Office (GAO), available from their website at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d108.pdf

In this article, I’m going to explain how a pandemic outbreak could theoretically bring down Wall Street. But to get to that, you’ll first need to find out what the GAO said in its curious report (see below). Parts of this article are presented as satire, but the underlying facts quoted here are all true and verifiable (links are provided to all sources).

This report in question is entitled, “GAO Report to Congressional Requesters, INFLUENZA PANDEMIC” and includes this subtitle: Key Securities Market Participants Are Making Progress, but Agencies Could Do More to Address Potential Internet Congestion and Encourage Readiness.

As the report explains:

In a severe pandemic, governments may close schools, shut down public transportation systems, and ban public gatherings such as concerts or sporting events. In such scenarios, many more people than usual may be at home during the day, and Internet use in residential neighborhoods could increase significantly as a result of people seeking news, entertainment, or social contact from home computers. Concerns have been raised that this additional traffic could lead to congestion on the Internet that would significantly affect businesses in local neighborhoods, such as small doctors’ offices or business employees attempting to telework by connecting to their employers’ enterprise networks.

Can Hulu, Twitter and porn destroy Wall Street?

Read moreUS government report recommends blocking popular internet websites during pandemic flu outbreak

US Spy Agencies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Twitter and Even Amazon Book Reviews

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America’s spy agencies want to read your blog posts, keep track of your Twitter updates – even check out your book reviews on Amazon.

In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media. It’s part of a larger movement within the spy services to get better at using “open source intelligence” – information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the flood of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports generated every day.

Visible crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. (It doesn’t touch closed social networks, like Facebook, at the moment.) Customers get customized, real-time feeds of what’s being said on these sites, based on a series of keywords.

“That’s kind of the basic step – get in and monitor,” says company senior vice president Blake Cahill.

Read moreUS Spy Agencies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Twitter and Even Amazon Book Reviews

Helen Thomas slams White House for lack of transparency

At the White House presser on Wednesday, several correspondents questioned the way the Oval Office selected questions from the public for today’s virtual town hall.

President Barack Obama answered pre-selected questions Wednesday afternoon about health care sent in from emails, Facebook and Twitter. CBS’ Chip Reid and columnist Helen Thomas thought this reflected a lack of transparency at the White House.

“It feels like the concept of a town hall, I think, is to have an open public forum. And this sounds like a very tightly controlled audience and list of questions. Why do it that way?” asked Reid.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs deflected the question, but that only raised the ire of Helen Thomas, UPI’s veteran correspondent who has long been at the top of the White House press corps totem pole.

“We have never had that in the White House,” Thomas said, referring to the degree that press events are pre-scripted in the Obama administration. “I’m amazed, I’m amazed at you people who called for openness and transparency…”

That’s when things got testy, and Gibbs looked very uncomfortable as Reid and Thomas took turns attacking his evasive answers.

“Calling reporters the night before, telling them they’re going to be called on – that’s shocking,” Thomas said, referring to an incident last week when Huffington Post blogger Nico Pitney was given advance warning that he would be called on to ask a question on behalf of the Iranian public.

This video is from C-SPAN, broadcast July 1, 2009.

Read moreHelen Thomas slams White House for lack of transparency

Germany Prepares For Internet Censorship

Germany is on the verge of censoring its Internet: The government – a grand coalition between the German social democrats and conservative party – seems united in its decision: On Thursday the parliament is to vote on the erection of an internet censorship architecture.

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The Minister for Family Affairs Ursula von der Leyen kicked off and lead the discussions within the German Federal Government to block Internet sites in order to fight child pornography. The general idea is to build a censorship architecture enabling the government to block content containing child pornography. The Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) is to administer the lists of sites to be blocked and the internet providers obliged to erect the secret censorship architecture for the government.

A strong and still growing network opposing these ideas quickly formed within the German internet community. The protest has not been limited to hackers and digital activist but rather a mainstreamed effort widely supported by bloggers and twitter-users. The HashTag used by the protesters is #zensursula – a German mesh up of the Ministers name and the word censorship equivalent to #censursula.

As part of the public’s protest an official e-Petition directed at the German parliament was launched. Within three days 50,000 persons signed the petition – – the number required for the petition titled „No indexing and blocking of Internet sites” to be heard by the parliament. The running time of an e-Petition in Germany is 6 weeks – within this time over 130,000 people signed making this e-Petition the most signed and most successful ever.

During the past weeks, protests became more and more creative – countless blogs and twitter-users followed and commented the discussions within governments and opposing arguments. Many mainstream media picked up on this and reported about the protest taking place on-line. A working group on censorship was founded and the protest coordinated with a wiki, mailing lists, chats and of course employing twitter and blogs. One website „Zeichnemit.de” created a landing page explaining the complicated petitioning system and making signing the petition easier and more accessible for non net-experts.

Read moreGermany Prepares For Internet Censorship

China censors all home computers

The Chinese government wants all computers sold in China after July to come with software that automatically censors the internet.

Chinese citizens at a computer shop: China moves to censor home computers
The Chinese government wants all computers sold in China after July to come with software that automatically censors the internet Photo: REUTERS

The move will give the government unprecedented control over what can and cannot be seen on the internet. In recent weeks, China blocked access to a host of websites, including Hotmail and Twitter, and expressed worries that the internet was becoming a tool of protest.

An issue of the state-controlled magazine, Outlook Weekly, strongly criticised local officials for not paying more attention to the internet, saying that online debate forums in China are not just “ordinary chit chat in free time” but could also be stirring trouble.

Under the directives from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which declined to comment on the topic, computer-manufacturers will be asked to install blocking software from a company with ties to the country’s military.

The program, called Green Dam, is designed primarily to stop access to pornography, according to its makers, Jinhui Computer System Engineering company. “From July 1, every PC will be shipped with the software before it is sold to customers,” said a member of the company’s marketing department, who identified herself only as Miss Zhou.

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