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Tuesday, July 22 2014 @ 09:00 PM CDT

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Thoughts on Open Innovation

Standards and Society

If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants
                                                 Sir Isaac Newton, 1676

H.F. Helmolt (ed.): History of the World. New York, 1901, Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at AustinIf the phrase “open innovation” has a familiar ring, that’s not surprising.  It’s not only a popular buzz phrase, but it has the type of virtuous ring to it that instinctively inspires a favorable reaction.  But like most simple phrases, it intrigues rather than enlightens. For example, is open innovation feasible in all areas of creative, commercial and scientific endeavor? If so, do the rules, challenges and rewards differ from discipline to discipline, and if it’s not universally feasible, why not?

A new free eBook of essays titled Thoughts on Open Innovation explores these issues, and more.

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Judge Robartís Opinion in Motorola vs. Microsoft and the Future of FRAND

Intellectual property Rights

Dollar closeup, courtesy of Jon Sullivan and Wikimedia CommonsPerhaps the most important term in any standards organization’s Intellectual Property Policy (IPR) policy is the acronym “RAND,” standing for “reasonable and non-discriminatory” (in Europe, they add an “F” – for “fair” - at the front end, yielding “FRAND,” but the meaning is the same). Virtually every other term in such a policy will appear in one of many variations from policy to policy, and these definitions can be quite lengthy and precise.  But the definition of F/RAND is always word for word the same – never is a different term used, nor is any additional elaboration provided to explain exactly what “fair” or “reasonable” are intended to mean.

The result is that when two parties – the owner of a patent claim that an implementer of a standard can’t avoid infringing (an “Essential Claim”) and a party that wants to implement the standard – can’t agree on what the boundaries of these words should be, a third party is needed to settle the dispute.

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The Devilís in the Cloud, Part IV: The Ghost of Christmas (Cyber) Future

Cybersecurity

You can find the first part of this series here

John Leech, The Last Spirit/Dickens' Christmas Carol - Public Domain, courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsIt would be convenient and consoling to pretend that what I’ve described over the last several days is simple science fiction. But sad to say, the only thing that is doubtful about the scenario I have described is that it might be difficult for the perpetrator to build a thousand drones without Western espionage becoming aware of the plan.

But would that really be so hard? Many countries are building drones now; the technology is not complex. Indeed, Germany launched V-1 drones against Britain more than seventy years ago. With GPS today, building and guiding sufficiently reliable drones of the primitive type needed to stage the attack I have described is within the technical ability of every nation that could be imagined to be an enemy. And there are plenty of old ships to go around.

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The Devilís in the Cloud, Part III: The New Dark Ages

Cybersecurity

You can find the first part of this series here

Ruins of French Opera House, New Orleans, public domain/Rembrandt Studios, courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsWhen the New Year’s Day sun rose in Europe and the United States, the reality of what had happened was hidden to almost all. Only a hundred or so targets had been struck, and the smoke from the ruins that remained was already dissipating. What people did immediately realize was that certain things that they were used to working now did not.

The things that no longer functioned included anything that relied on electricity to operate. Which was, of course, virtually everything except automobiles. This was necessarily the case, because all of the elements that coordinated and controlled the power grid had been destroyed. Even many battery powered devices were silent – the cell phones had no dial tones, and the radios generated only static, because the management software and servers that enabled telecommunications had also been annihilated. Perhaps most discomfiting of all, there was no Internet, nor any of the services that relied upon the Internet.

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The Devilís in the Cloud, Part II: New Year's Day, 2023

Cybersecurity

You can read the first part of this series here

Bow of the CSCl ship Jupiter in Rotterdam, CC 3 sharealike, courtesy of Alma Mulalic & Yann Fauché and Wikimedia CommonsAs the sun set on New Year’s Eve, 2022, a dozen anonymous container ships were approaching major ports in the United States and Europe.  Like many carriers nearing the end of their useful life, their histories were mongrel in nature; originally owned by major shipping magnates in Greece, they had passed through multiple hands and were now flagged in Senegal, and chartered by a concern in Amsterdam. Three years ago each had been subchartered by one of several much smaller companies with offices in many out of the way places. 

The terms of each charter contract made the company responsible for the upkeep of the ships it had leased, and in due course over the first year of the engagements each ship had undergone repairs in small ship yards in the Indian Ocean and in Southeast Asia before returning to ply its trade in the various shipping lanes of the world.

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The Devilís in the Cloud: Our Headlong Rush into Ultimate Cybersecurity Vulnerability

Cybersecurity

This is the first part of a four-day series I will post this week highlighting an astonishingly neglected area of cyber-vulnerability. I will be presenting it tomorrow (remotely) at the Jules Verne Corner segment of the ITU's meetings this week in Kyoto, Japan

Cover caricature of Jules Verne, L'Algerie, 15 June 1884, courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsThere appears to be consensus in many quarters today that migrating to the Cloud is highly desirable – indeed, that we have already embarked upon an irresistible and indeed inexorable migration.  Multinational IT vendors view this transition as the next great market opportunity; governments see in it an opportunity to finally rationalize their Byzantine legacy systems without incurring massive up front capital costs; and enterprise users find the value proposition increasingly compelling as their systems become more complex, expensive and difficult to maintain. 

Meanwhile, the data, records, pictures and social relations of individuals (often without their pausing to think about it) move with the tap of a key from hard drives and back up device from the supervision of their owners to who knows where, owned by who knows who, and vulnerable to who knows what?

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OASIS Breaks the Traditional Standards Accreditation Barrier

Intellectual property Rights

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

On Tuesday, OASIS made an extremely rare announcement for an information technology consortium: that it has successfully completed the process of becoming accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).   As a result, it is now able to submit its standards to ANSI for recognition as American National Standards (ANS). And also to directly submit its standards for adoption by ISO and IEC. This is a milestone that’s worthy of note, despite the fact that over 200 standards setting organizations (SSOs) have achieved a similar status in the past.

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Alright, Now - this is Starting to get Really Weird

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

From time to time over the past year I’ve noted that events in the real world involving North Korea have been closely tracking the plot of my book, The Alexandria Project.  Among other events, North Korea has successfully launched a three stage rocket and threatened to use it to strike the U.S.; analysts have begun to speculate that the surprisingly low-yield nuclear weapons the North has tested may not be poor performing designs, but instead small devices purpose-built for missile launch against America. Just yesterday, the U.S. sent a pair of nuclear weapons-capable stealth bombers over South Korea, the same delivery means contemplated in my book.
 
Okay. Most of that could be attributed simply to the fact that I did my research well, and that others might make the same speculations based on past events that I did in developing my plot.  But this morning’s news included a story that makes me seriously wonder whether my book has crossed the divide from predicting events to acting as a “how to” manual for real-world, state-supported cyber attackers.

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Life Imitates Art (Again)

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

North Korea threatened to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on its “aggressors,” including the U.S., ahead of a United Nations vote on tougher sanctions against the totalitarian state for last month’s atomic test. - Bloomberg News, March 7, 2013

Excerpt from The Alexandria Project Chapter 30: The Death Defying, Incredibly Exciting, Final Chapter!

“Do not underestimate the military, my friend. You must leave this in my charge and trust that it will be as I have promised. As soon as the missiles are ready, they will be fired. Approximately twenty minutes later, Washington and another city that will surprise you will be destroyed. There will be utter chaos in the enemy’s ranks, and in that chaos, I will give the order for our troops to attack across the border. Seoul will be ours before nightfall.”

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The Alexandria Project, Chap. 5: So how do ya like them iBalls?

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

Our story so far:  Our hero, Frank Adversego now understands where the name "Alexandria Project" comes from, but hasn't been able to figure out much else yet about the mysterious cracker whose exploit threatens the Library of Congress.  Read the first chapters here.

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic - Thanks to Chris BuechelerFrank fidgeted next to the cheese and crackers, looking helplessly for his daughter in the crowd. He hated social events with a passion, and especially having to speak to people he didn’t know. He was sure that every sentence he uttered came across as a brainless non-sequitur.

But fair was fair. Marla was finishing up an internship with a local high tech company, and at the last minute, her date had come down with the flu. She had kept him company at the Library of Congress holiday party the weekend before, and this time it was his turn.

“Please, Dad,” she’d said over the phone, “There’s this guy at work that’s been hitting on me all week. It’ll do you good to get out of your crummy apartment, and how can you turn down a request to protect your little girl?”