The 2016 election is over, and done with. We have a new President and
Food For Thought
many people have been, or will be appointed, or otherwise approved, to fill
important positions in the upper levels of our government. I am done with that, except with my thirty or more years of computer experience I noticed something about a variety of events haven taken place during the last year or so, in the government, that can be explained while knowing the history of computer technology.
Originally, I became excited about computers around 1976 when I purchased one of the first Tandy computers made available to the public. With limited 128K random access memory (RAM) and a tape recorder, for saving basic programs, I first had the computer print on the screen "Hello World", as part of the Tandy basic language programming tutorial. I did have an ancient electronic teletype I wired on a current loop so I could print my programs.
Later, Tandy made available a disk drive which I had to have. The disk was about 8" in diameter and had sufficient space to save more extensive basic programs. I created a number of programs to do certain things but they weren't quit what I realized a computer could do. To make the disk drive work properly I had to learn ASCII programming.
Then Tandy made a telephone modem. I purchased one and began connecting to other computers. It was the kind where the telephone hand set had to be placed on the modem to work over a telephone line. Tandy had a project where a few (1-5) computer enthusiasts could dial in on what was called a BBS, Bulletin Board System. One could login on another persons computer and do various things like chat, exchange programs, and so on.
I think the BBS was an off-shoot from the IBM, and GM in-house communication systems (Intranet) their employees used, which eventually became the foundation for the internet as we know it today.
In the 1980's I ran onto a customized BBS named Wildcat which was professionally produced, in basic, and worked much better than the ones I wrote in basic.
I didn't do much with my computer during late 1980's, however, when I went to work for the State of Oklahoma to implement the Oklahoma Mechanical Licensing Act, I became very familiar with an IBM AS400, and the IBM Office software.
In the 1990's, outside the government and large corporations, printers and graphics was lousy at best. I completed my patent drawings by hand, also using a really tricky graphics program called DCWBasic I used my computer to print patent documents and then mail them to my patent attorney. "Very Time Consuming".
Sometime around 1994, all of a sudden there came available ADSL Static IP Addresses from ATT. I got a DSL Modem and converted my Wildcat BBS to a Santronics Winserver (santronics.com). Once Online I could then email to my patent attorney saving unbelievable amounts of time. I registered a domain name, I learned HTML, and began publishing web pages on my own Internet Server, even to this day. It's my server, and I can post whatever I want.
Why I am writing this?
IP (Internet Provider) addresses are similar to telephone numbers, area-prefix-number. long distance is 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx. I'm not going to spend any time here explaining IP numbers because you can google the definition yourself.
Anyone can, and registering a domain name at networksolutions.com is easy and inexpensive. When you type a domain name (e.g. johnkidwell.com) in the input field of a browser the browser connects to a Domain Name Server (DNS) which translates the domain name to an IP Address. xxx-xxx-xxx-xxx(x). A search begins to locate another DNS which will translate to IP number back to a domain name, and the server dedicated to that domain name will respond by returning a webpage back to you.
My domain is a ".com" domain. There are a large number of domain types: .com, .tv, .net, and some are foreign specific like ".ru, .mx, .ca, etc." One is specific to US Government communication systems, ".gov".
I'm sure the government was using domain names long before the public was opened up to domain name registrations. Many military, government officials, and employees were trained and knew the differences in national security levels and how that kind of information was to be handled. However, I am getting the feeling that government officials and employees were not so savy about internet domains until later in the 1990's. Remember the Y2K scare?
My guess is that in the 1990's and early 2000's the .gov system was a absolute mess because internet security was not a big issue, YET, and most of the elected officials were older people not necessarily internet savy people.
My guess is that a number of these people bought a computer, registered a domain name and hired some younger person to set up an email server. By mid 2000's AOL, Yahoo, Google, and others were offering email services like email and chat rooms that don't require a server to logon to.
Any IP address can be connected to. You connected to my server or you couldn't read this web page.
However, the key issue I am trying to disclose here is; in the 2000's rarely did I come across people who knew anything about the actual workings of the internet. Some knew how to run internet software but didn't know why they were able to do that. They could start a computer and follow instructions on programs created by someone else to receive, read, create, and send email.
A large portion of the population, usually older retired people (over 50), didn't care, and perhaps most didn't know how to type, and some were virtually illiterate. And, don't forget aliens who didn't assimilate learning the English language, or American culture.
Now, it's 2017 and nearly everyone has a cell phone, and perhaps a computer. They have to know how to type and are basically suffering from information overload.
My main point is that our government may still be suffering from internet infrastructure ignorance, and information overload. Government officials can't even have a private conversation without it being published across the entire world.
The Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) was supposed to protect .gov servers from unauthorized access to government information.
People who thought that circumventing the .gov domains would give them the opportunity to privately communicate on the internet, conducting government and private business was uninformed about internet security, and consequently exposed their communications to the entire internet world of educated, computer technologists, ("Hackers and NSA"). "A very stupid move".
From 2000 to 2010 some people providing assistance to government officials planning to circumvent the .gov domains were not as smart as they held themselves out to be. It was just an easy way to make a lot of money from uninformed customers in a short period of time using limited internet knowledge.
There are two flavors of circumvention related to the .gov domains. One is a simple open network server handling email, like gmail.com, and others without affecting or changing access to the .gov email system.
Secondly, there is the act of gaining VPN password, or physical, access to the government computer terminals and adding internal programs to forward, then erase, .gov email from a certain .gov email address(s) to another email server, such as cxyzmail.com, is a breach of US security laws, and may even be a Treasonous Act against all US Citizens, for which all involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Virtual Private Network (VPN), means that having the correct IP address and password, a person can gain access to another computer over the internet, or a wired in-house computer system.
Every time a .gov system is accessed a logging text file (.txt) should be either added to or created. There are other text log files created for examining what the system is doing, who was accessing it, and what emails were sent and/or received over the course of certain time periods. Usually on a daily, monthly, and in some cases annually.
The NSA should be accessing and recording all of the logged information to satisfy its requirements under the FOIA laws.
It makes one wonder what the hell was going on in the past, before the internet issues came into focus in the last few years.