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Efforts to combat ‘online harms’ are either futile or overreaching

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Ten big issues – 3: local social media regulations to combat ‘online harms’ are either futile (UK) or overreaching (Australia) as there is unlikely ever to be international agreement on its definition or jurisdiction.

Individual countries are also facing the challenge of how to regulate “social media platforms, file hosting sites, public discussion forums, messaging services, and search engines” as the UK recently set out in its white paper on ‘online harms.’ The UK’s definition of online harms included revenge porn, hate crime, harassment, promotion of self-harm, content uploaded by prisoners, disinformation, trolling, and the sale of illegal goods as well as “online abuse of public figures” – the intimidations, insults, and threats levelled at politicians, celebrities, or journalists on Twitter and elsewhere.

It was, however, telling that the very same week that the UK launched its paper, one of its citizens was arrested in Dubai under controversial cybercrime laws out there for a post she had made back in the UK several years earlier. This exposed the different cultural interpretations of online harms that in some countries can include any perceived insult to religious figures, members of the royal family or even ordinary individuals. Which of these cultural interpretations applies, and also which jurisdiction applies is open to question? Does the content fall under the jurisdiction of the country where the post was made, where it is hosted, where the poster resides or where the subject of the post resides?

Also do the regulations apply only to one-to-many platforms, like Facebook or Twitter, or also to one-to-one personal communications tools, like Whatsapp, as well? Should a different level of privacy apply for personal communications? Would a Whatsapp group of up to 250 people be treated as personal communications? Would a post on Facebook restricted to the same number of people be treated in the same way?

And how can the social networks be held to account when executives like Mark Zuckerberg have spurned request after to request to appear before parliamentary committees.

An even more draconian new law in Australia threatens imprisonment for up to three years or fines of AU$2.1 million (around $1.5 million) for posting, hosting or failing to “expeditiously” remove “abhorrent violent material”. However, the law was riddled with ambiguities, such as the definition of “expeditiously” or a “terrorist act.”

And It is claimed that the law endangers freedom of expression by incentivizing companies to err on the side of caution and take material down to avoid liability. On top of this the exception for journalistic purposes apply only to people “working in a professional capacity as a journalist” and would not apply to the citizens who have been vital in documenting war crimes in places like Syria and Myanmar who would fall under the law’s extraterritorial provisions.

With even Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg now calling for greater oversight from government in dealing with problems posed by internet platforms, the tide of regulations is spreading, but many argue that they cast their net (and enforcement) too widely. Not only does the new Australian law have extraterritorial reach, covering the global social networks and their users, but it also covers the whole value chain – from the blogger who posts material, to the hosting provider that hosts the site to the ISP that lets you access it – all of whom could face jail time.

Also, with more networks adopting encryption, it is not clear how the ISPs and others are expected to know when they are carrying content that infringes these laws. It’s all a bit of a mess.

Cloud

DBA and the Cloud: Not Never, Always, All, or Nothing!

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As more and more data is pumped into the cloud the necessity of the DBA is being questioned. Of course, not by DBAs, but by almost everybody else. Most DBAs are, more than likely, shaking their heads and trying to figure out why folks think they are now dispensable.

You see, the typical extolled value proposition of cloud computing is to reduce cost and minimise work. And sure, if you implement your cloud computing strategy effectively, it is possible to achieve both of these objectives. But wise organisations will not be eliminating all of their DBAs even as they move more work and data to the cloud.

So let’s say your organisation has moved one of its large enterprise databases to a managed cloud service. Doesn’t matter which one, just that the cloud database will be managed by the cloud service provider. Management looks at this and inevitably thinks “If the cloud provider is managing the database why do I need DBAs? That was their job.”

Certainly this is an understandable position unless you review what is actually going on. It gets to a basic point — one highlighted in the title of this post — that I frequently make: “Almost never say always or never or all or nothing!” Yes, the promise of cloud database is to remove tedious, rote processes like backups (note I did NOT say recovery), upgrades, and other simple administrative efforts. But it does not remove ALL of them. There are still many things that require DBA attention and you will want your DBA staff to be there to ensure that they are handled.

First, look at backup and recovery. It is definitely possible for a remote managed service provider to perform some standard backups on your databases. That said, based on your application needs and recovery time objectives, you may need more than a simple daily backup. DBAs will know this and be able to work with the cloud provider to either provide customised backup scheduling or to do it themselves.

From a recovery perspective, the cloud service provider is certainly capable of performing recovery from a catastrophic hardware failure. After all, the hardware is their responsibility, too. But what about an application recovery, where only certain transactions need to be backed out? Or what is an application process encounters an issue that requires only certain objects to be recovered? It is unlikely that your cloud provider has this level of intimate knowledge of your applications’ but your DBAs will.

And recovery is just one example. Think about software upgrades and patches. Most DBAs will be thrilled to rid themselves of this laborious and tedious task. Turning it over to the cloud service provider makes sense. But even then there are things that your DBAs must get involved with. Why is that?

Well, most cloud service providers are unwilling to take on understanding your applications. But it is not uncommon for a new DBMS version (or even a patch) to change things like reserved words or even SQL functionality. So what if an application is using one of the new reserved words as a variable? Or what if the results of an SQL statement changes because of a tweak to the results that a built-in function returns? Or what if a problem is corrected in the new version that stops some SQL from working? All of these are real examples of issues that I have faced as a DBA over the years. And they are things that your cloud service provider will not fix for you.

And one final example: most cloud service providers will put the onus of application performance on you. Sure, they will offer monitoring solutions, but interpreting the performance reports and identifying what needs to change in the application typically remains the responsibility of the client. And when it comes to database applications, that is the responsibility of DBAs (in tandem with developers at times).

There are many technical reasons that this is not so. And there are non-technical reasons, too. If you get rid of your DBAs then the only folks who will know your databases in any reasonable detail will be at your cloud service provider. This can be a recipe for disaster because the service provider will always put their companies’ best interests first, as they should. You need DBAs who put your companies’ best interests first!

So pump the brakes before saying that the cloud will make DBAs obsolete!

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Cloud

VMware Container Solution Tanzu: Evolve Event 2

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VMware Tanzu Container Solutions

On October 26th at 4 pm AEST, I hosted & moderated the 2nd in our “Evolve” series of live-stream expert panel discussions.

Evolve is a series of live stream panel discussions and briefings focused on expert-driven. It offers thought leadership to partners and customers on their most pressing challenges and how HPE and their alliance partners can help with these challenges.

Evolve Event #2 Overview:

This event kicks off with a quick market update on significant trends in the world of Cloud Computing and the adoption of VMware containers in the Enterprise market by Harris Schneiderman. He is the Director of the Hybrid Cloud Practice at HPE.

Following Harris’ opening market update, we continued our “main stage” expert panel discussion. Today, we focused on VMware container Tanzu where our expert panel delves into crucial topics,

  • Challenges and Opportunities.
  • The Technology and Solution Fit
  • The Journey: Trials & Deployment to Operational.

This events panel includes::

Host & Moderator:

Dez Blanchfield ( connecting from Sydney )

+ Founder / CEO

+ Sociaall Inc.

Panellist #1:

Harris Schneiderman ( connecting from Melbourne )

+ Enterprise Sales Director for the Hybrid Cloud Practice

+ HPE SouthPac ( South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand )

Panellist #2:

Murali TS (connecting from Singapore )

+ HPE Pointnext APAC

+ Director of Technology for Containers & DevSecOps

Panellist #3:

David Kari ( connecting from Sydney )

+ Head of Solution Engineering

+ VMware Tanzu

Key Panel Topics

Topic #1 – Challenge & Opportunity

At the very beginning, we focused on how & where to implement VMware container solutions; they shared their insights and expertise and real-world instances of where containers can help earn business value.

Topic #2 – Technology & Solution 

Further, the panel addressed how & where to combine them in a business environment and shared knowledge and consumer stories/anecdotes of real-world applications and illustrations on obtaining a competitive benefit with VMware container Tanzu.

Topic #3 – The Journey: Trials & Deployment to Operational

We ask our panel to share their experience and illustrations of where to begin. They explained VMware containers with real-world examples, especially those where their organisations and teams have led or been part. Later, we dive into who companies and organisations must be looking to obtain the support they need from partners who can help them reach thriving results by taking advantage of Container technologies, platforms, and tools like the VMware Tanzu offering.

Q & A Section

We wind up with a brief Q&A section, where our live audience & attendees get to hop into the consolidated experience and brainpower of today’s wonderful panel.

Thank you to the fantastic teams at HPE APAC, HPE Pointnext, and VMware Tanzu. for making it achievable.

For more information, visit:

HPE Australia – http://bit.ly/hpeaustralia
HPE Pointnext – http://bit.ly/hpepointnext 
VMware – http://bit.ly/vmwareaustralia

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Cloud

Huawei Joins Internet Society initiative to Boost Global Internet Security

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Huawei joins Internet Society Initiative (ISOC)

Huawei has announced that it is to be a founding member of a new program backed by the Internet Society (ISOC) to actively improve global Internet security.

The global economy has never been as interconnected or as reliant on the internet as it is now. And while it may appear to some that the internet is a single coherent entity, it is in fact a massively devolved array of interconnected networks managed by numerous different entities and running on equipment from a variety of different vendors. International cooperation is essential to ensure that is it able to combat the many threats that is faces.

The routing foundations on which the internet is built is relied upon to transport exponentially increasing volumes of digital traffic, but this infrastructure has cracks, and they are growing. Every day goes dozens of incidents affect this routing system. Route hijacking, route leaks, IP address spoofing, and other harmful activities often leading to DDoS attacks, traffic inspection, lost revenue, reputational damage, and more. These incidents not only occur on a global scale, but they are hyper-infectious by nature, with the routing problems faced by one operator rapidly cascading to impact others.

Huawei joins MANRS to strengthen global internet security

To provides crucial fixes to reduce the most common routing threats, the Internet Society has instigated a global initiative called Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS). Critical to its success is the participation of the router vendors, such as Huawei, which have joined its Equipment Vendor Program (EVP).

Huawei is seeking to lead by example through its active contributions to the new MANRS Equipment Vendor Program, explained Andrei Robachevsky, Senior Director, Technology Programs for the ISOC: “Along with other founding participants in the program, Huawei’s involvement shows the importance network equipment vendors have in Internet routing security, and we hope it will motivate more members of the Internet infrastructure community to continue to make advancements to a more secure Internet for everyone.”

“Routing security is crucial to Internet security, and that includes network devices (e.g., routers and IXP switches), the foundation of the Internet,” added Hank Chen, President of Router Domain, Data Communication Product Line, Huawei. “Over the years, Huawei has dedicated itself to building secure and reliable network devices and has extensive capabilities and experience in the field.” He also stated that Huawei was honored to join MANRS as an active contributor to Internet security.

This kind of contribution and collaboration will be essential if the Internet Society’s MANRS program is to stand any chance of succeeding. All of us who rely so heavily on the internet must hope that it does.

Source: https://www.huawei.com/en/news/

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