Net Neutrality – USA’s Version of the GFW – Death of Freedom and Information

If you can understand the title you can probably guess where this article is going.  This is both my personal and professional opinion on a blindingly, obvious and simple issue that only benefits extremely large and powerful organizations and individuals.

What is really happening in a one-liner is the US is implementing it’s own Great Firewall Policy to rival and surpass China’s by far in terms of surveillance and censorship.

This is really a no-argument, argument the latest move in the US to get rid of Net Neutrality legally gives the ISPs the right to block, filter, throttle and censor content for any reason.  Obviously the primary and initial reasons will be for business and competitive reasons, this means if your ISP has an issue with Google you could have issues reaching Google services.  It could be if your healthcare provider is suing your ISP or vice versa that you’ll have trouble accessing their website.  It could be that your less than mainstream news sources are competing or disliked by management at your local ISP and you won’t be able to visit anymore.

Some of the first to be impacted may be services like Netflix, Hulu etc which most local cable or telco companies have lost a lot of revenue to.

But it can become so much more than this, access to certain banking portals, including cryptocurrency could be restricted.  In fact another huge implication is that if a US government agency orders an ISP to block access to content, both the government and ISP would be legally absolved.

Since the majority of internet traffic still transits the US and a huge number of services are hosted there, the impact is really the whole internet.

However, we can already see legal challenges on the way.  If they are successful then things will continue as normal but if they are not successful, the internet could enter a dark age.

In fact this should be interpreted more as the USA’s version of the Great Firewall masked as a good thing with ill-intentions that will harm virtually all people and businesses.

I don’t believe we will see massive changes overnight, the system will be implemented gradually to reduce the blowback.

With this insecurity there is also the chance that this could backfire and could create an alternative internet or secondary network that operates independently out of Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.  There is simply too much at stake to risk the USA Great Firewall from impacting business and freedom of access and information.  There is also the unintended risk that the USA could be isolating itself if other countries develop countermeasures.

Can VPN’s help get around this throttling?  Yes, and no as now the ISPs could legally block or throttle access to VPN providers’ websites, service or even the protocols themselves.  There is very little that can be done against these measures, it depends how the USA’s firewall is implemented though.  It may be possible to use a variety of protocols and proxy your traffic through hundreds of thousands of IPs collectively to try to avoid blockages and throttling, but it all depends on how aggressive their policies are.  Only the stakeholders who have unleashed this policy know what they really intend to achieve but it certainly isn’t of any benefit to us.

From my standpoint there is no benefit from me as an internet user or business person in having a censored, throttled and firewalled internet.

All speculation aside, it would be wise for both users and businesses to hedge and place their business IT assets overseas at least in backup or secondary mode.  this is the best way to insure against the risk that your business could be severely impacted or inaccessible due to the USA GFW 5.0 as I dub it.  Certainly Asia and Europe are locations that look attractive.  One of the top destinations in Asia to me would be Hong Kong’s internet, in fact I predict Hong Kong and other areas will see a surge in demand as a result of the current firewall policy in the US.

Countries where cryptocurrency, coins, tokens and ICOs are banned

There has been a lot of activity lately in the world with governments banning cryptocurrency and ICOs but this should come as no surprise as there has been strongly worded messaging about this for some time.

China bans ICOs and shuts down Exchanges
This had a massive impact on the valuations of coins such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Etherum, Dash etc.. but things have since recovered since the 2017/09/04 law passed in China but serves as a warning and example of what government intervention can and cannot do.

http://en.people.cn/n3/2017/0904/c90000-9264331.html

Chinese authorities on Monday ordered a ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a nascent form of fundraising in which technology start-ups issue their own digital coins, or “tokens”, to investors to access funds as the rapidly expanding market spawned concerns over financial risks.

Starting Monday, ICO activities should be halted, and ICO platforms should not engage in exchange services between fiat currencies, virtual coins and tokens, said a statement from the People’s Bank of China.

South Korea Bans ICOs

The good news is that while ICOs are banned it does not appear that trading in the currencies themselves is banned.
http://www.nasdaq.com/article/south-koreas-ico-ban-a-reaction-to-serious-concerns-over-cryptocurrency-investment-practices-cm854236

In fact it appears South Korea plans to allow trading but wants more regulation and safeguards:

South Korea Makes it Legal to Transfer Cryptocurrencies Internationally

Singapore

Although not by law, many companies in Singapore dealing in cryptocurrency have had their accounts closed:

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2017/september/singapore-banks-closing-accounts-of-cryptocurrency-firms/

Countries subject to strict or promising strict regulations

Nearly every country has taken a similar line where they are making a legal framework and claiming that ICOs are subject to the same laws and rules as IPOs. However this doesn’t appear to have been translated into law. It also doesn’t address the question of how holders on the coins will be impacted but one would guess that in the future they may be subject to capital gains tax and treated like traditional stock investments.

This list of countries includes:
EU, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore and many other countries around the world.

Hong Kong Regulators Warn ICO Tokens May be Securities Under the Law

SEC: ICO Tokens Like Those of The DAO are Securities Subject to Regulations

Canadian Regulators Say Cryptocurrency ICO/ITO May be Subject to Securities Law

Is the regulation valid, practical and legal?

This is a hard call for me to understand in the sense that these cryptocurrencies are just that, digital currency and currently people are not taxed or penalized for simply exchanging, buying and/or holding different currencies.

It may also be interesting to see what the large exchanges, businesses and users do in response such as unprecedented regulation and laws. It may be that some of the regulations and laws imposed around the world may be found invalid or unenforceable in the end.

What are your thoughts and as always please let me know if I’ve missed any new developments around the laws of cryptocurrency.

Why I Founded Techrich Corporation of Hong Kong, China

This is a question that I’ve been asked a lot considering that people ask if there is any duplication of overlap with compevo.  Techrich is an extension and complement to compevo and allows possibilities for our clients.

Being incorporated and based in Hong Kong allows us to provide more leverage and advantages and fills any gap that compevo may not have been able to fulfill.  In terms of data storage, security and connectivity Hong Kong cannot be beat.  It has the best of nearly all worlds.

Why Hong Kong?

This is the next, natural question that follows.  Hong Kong is economically, politically, and technically stable in terms of both IT infrastructure, ecosystem and most importantly its link to the outside world is fast and neutral.  Hong Kong itself is still the internet gateway to China, being directly connected to Mainland China.

Hong Kong is also has a large Big Data industry and demand due its reputation as a financial hub of the world which is a perfect ecosystem and fit for Techrich’s goals.

Contrary to some common belief, Hong Kong is not in the Asian Ring of Fire and is relatively free of any natural disasters, making it not only an ideal location on a world scale but perfect within Asia too.  Hong Kong does experience typhoons but they are rarely devastating and have little to no impact on IT or datacenter operations in Hong Kong. In fact Hong Kong’s power grid is known to be one of the most reliable and stable in the world.

In terms of internet routing Hong Kong is quite neutral with excellent connectivity to all of Asia, North America and Europe, but of particular importance is the capability of very low ping times into Mainland China that only Hong Kong can provide.

Personal Best Hosting Advice for Shared, VPS and Dedicated Servers

Since one of our product offerings is offering hosting I’m often asked by friends and family which company they should use and where they should host, and which host is the best for their shared hosting, VPS or Dedicated Server.

Surprising to some the answer is not always, host with compevo but based on their actual needs and goals.   If someone needs to host their site in Australia or another location we do not offer, I’m not going to suggest they host elsewhere unless there is a good reason or actual business case for it, or if they have a niche we don’t cover, I always recommend they find a niche provider for their industry and usually the company I recommend will not be the typical one most have heard of.

The biggest issue I find trying to help people is getting friends and family to understand what they need and to get the actual requirements from them.  In the case that they can’t describe what they want then I’ll try to guide them.

For example I have a friend from Australia who has clients that are mainly from North America and Europe but said he wanted to host in Australia.  I told him not to host in Australia as things tend to load a bit slower to most areas from Australia as its not on a main fiber route (eg. multiple routes with lots of traffic transiting since Australia is isolated by the ocean and has no other country physically connected to it).  It would only make sense to host in Australia if most of your clientel were from Australia.  I suggested he host in North America because it was a middle ground compared to Europe, specifically the mid or east which can provide low ping to most of Europe (in many cases around 100ms), and yet Asia and the rest of the world has excellent connectivity here too.

What surprises me about the questions I get is that a lot of people incorrectly assume they need a powerhouse of a server with loads of RAM to host their website.  Unless you have a large amount of traffic that’s not going to be an issue for most sites so I try to save them money.  In a case like the above I would normally recommend a VPS in Canada or the US as long as privacy is not a primary concern.  If data security and privacy is of the utmost concern I usually recommend Hong Kong, China or Russia depending on the type of the business and if it has fierce competitors in the region it will be hosting.

Depending on what they are after and what they need,when I recommend compevo here’s where I’ve usually sent them:

compevo.cn for VPS in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Dedicated Servers in China

compevo.com for VPS in Hong Kong near Mainland China

compevo.com Dedicated Servers on Linux and Windows in the USA with premium bandwidth