Bill Murray spoke at the Litchfield Rotary Club meeting on 3/15/2012. The topic was Technology Today.
This was his first speaking engagement about technology in today’s world.
MP3 file: Litchfield Rotary-12-03-15
I am Bill Murray , no it’s not. I have been working with Andy for the past several months on a series of articles dealing with the short comings and the insecurity of the technology we all use .
You are fortunate to have someone like Andy in your organization to bring such a variety of people here to speak, such as myself. He is a interesting character to say the least.
In many of the articles we have published, we highlighted the pervasive attitude toward our society and our personal privacy.
We are living in a very exciting time, where you understand it or do not. The world is becoming more global, and there are many forces pushing in either direction to keep their own autonomies.
There are corporations, and both elected and self-appointed governments and of course private individuals, all jockeying for power.
In this brief talk I will discuss some aspects of world globalization, impact on us in the United States and a little glimpse of some of the future to be. My expertise is actually technology, so I will stay on that, because in my opinion, technology and innovation are one of the most important things in our life. And because outside of shelter and food, technology and innovation are what make our lives easier and what make our lives longer.
Just a little history.
The internet was made public in the early 1990’s in the United States. A few years later, an easy to use interface was created, called the web browser. It was first shown at Comdex, a computer trade show by two college students, who then created a small company. That little application changed the way the world does business. I actually met those two guys at Comdex.
AOL shortly came into being, duplicating many of the services that the internet was providing and started charging for access that was already free. The thing AOL did was create an interface or screen to make it easier to use. That is, people who used AOL didn’t have to remember commands of various programs to do things on the net, they just clicked their mouse.
With AOL came something else. It introduced people who didn’t understand computers to the internet.
It also helped introduce crooks. Who better to pray on than a group of people willing to pay for things that the rest of world can access for free. AOL also offered email which introduced new problems such as people passing around rumors, jokes and misinformation.
As websites and databases improved, and people by the thousands flocked to the new frontier called the internet, AOL got bigger. Many online companies emerged as well as major corporations. Bandwidth became the big issue.
In the United States, an act of congress was made to give the major players in telecommunications companies public assistance to update their communication equipment and make the internet the backbone or the base for all communication within the Untied States.
So came email and then came SPAM and people wondered why.
This is a list of the top ten spammers today.
Simply put, some people buy products from the spammers. There really haven’t been that many spammers. A few have been arrested. A couple made millions of dollars, but for the most part, today’s spammer is different than yesterday’s spammer.
Up to 80% of spam targeted at internet users in North America and Europe is generated by a hard-core group of around 100 known professional spam gangs, whose names, aliases and operations are documented in Spamhaus’ Register Of Known Spam Operations.
This top 10 chart of listed spammers is based on those Spamhaus views as the highest threat, the worst of the career spammers causing the most damage on the internet currently. Spamhaus flags these gangs and individuals as a priority for law enforcement agencies to concentrate their efforts on.
Advertising on the internet is different than TV or radio advertising. The ads and their web sites require that you click on the link. Advertisers like Google only get paid if a person responds to an advertisement. The techno word for this is the ”cost per click”.
A link inside an email works the same way, if you click on the link the advertiser pays the e-mailer.
Advertising on the internet has become big business. It also, through the use of social media, becomes cheaper. Even the smallest business can have a web site and advertise almost as effectively as a major company with a much smaller budget.
Small companies world wide can sell direct to consumers today and they do so in droves. Go to eBay sometime and look for anything electronic and you will see links direct to Chinese manufacturers. I personally have purchased and sold goods and services to and from China, India, Pakistan, England, Australia and others.
If you make a product today you can actually have a global marketplace for it at low cost, no state department needed. That fact upsets the some of the very powerful.
This global bazaar has big corporations and our government fuming. Influence purchased directly from the movie and pharmaceutical industries pressured congress to pass two separate bills that were later quashed by us, the consumers. I thought it was particularly funny how the pharma lobby ran and hid as soon as former senator Dodd opened his mouth. By news reports. you wouldn’t have guessed that Eli Lily and Pfizer actually helped draft SOPA and PIPA (H.R. 3261, The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and Senate Bill 968, Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or PIPA).
This proposed legislation was actually a direct threat to free speech and an open marketplace though you would have never known that by major media.
The popularity of the anti SOPA and PIPA rhetoric and the blackout actually scared a number of politicians. Although it was under-reported, people actually stopped legislation for the first time in United States history by advertising and organizing on the internet.
The news of the uprisings in foregone countries is another example of governmental fear. The first thing that gets disconnected during a revolt these days is the internet so twitter can’t be a medium of communication. Twitter has sold out and needs to be replaced by something else that doesn’t require a server that can be monitored. China, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, and Syria all have blacked out the internet due to political uprisings.
Many governments actively monitor Twitter and Facebook, the extent is not publicly available. The FBI recently detained, then deported two people after re-tweeting a ‘Family Guy’ quote. One of your handouts contains this story in detail.
In Mexico, the border towns are currently involved in a bloody war between the government there and the cartels. The best guess of casualties in Mexico since 2008 is 34 or 35,000 people have died. The cartels use technology effectively against the U.S. government. They use disposable cell phones, GPS technology on submarines that are hand built in the jungles, ultra light aircraft and human mules in the deserts of the United States.
The Mexican and Colombian cartels have made inroads to Spain and Italy, distributing their product by totally unconventional methods. Spain seems to be the cartel entry point to Europe.
There is another war that has been going on for a long time. Actually it started before the internet. The virus has been around for a long time. I remember when Microsoft got hit and sent millions of copies of Windows 3.0 out on a floppy complete with a boot virus.
The role of the virus has changed some since its inception as well. In the early days, they were written for proof that you could write code or just to deface or delete data. There was speculation that McAfee actually started writing viruses to sell their antivirus product.
Today, viruses, spyware and malware are everywhere. Intentions vary why a particular virus or malware is created.
Technically speaking, the difference between spyware or malware and a virus, is that a virus can duplicate itself. The payload though is there really isn’t a difference and antivirus vendors for the most part, got caught with their pants down. Approximately 100 new spyware applications are written each day and virtually no organization can keep up.
The people who make these applications vary. Some are simple companies collecting purchase habits or web site history data. Some are loose or very organized gangs looking to steal personal information or banking information. Some are larger intuitions or governments that want to spy on different business sectors-pharmaceutical and aerospace, just to mention two.
Recently, there was a rumor that a virus that ran through the United States payload affected Iran’s nuclear efforts. It was passed around using Facebook.
What I and my associates can do is protect and advise you in technology.
We can remove a virus, install a program, fix a printer, build a web site, as well as many things you never thought were possible. The next time you hear something isn’t possible—
Give me a call.