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Thread: Weaponised Interdependence

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    Administrator Cara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weaponised Interdependence

    A very old network of interdependence: the Postal Service .... now being weaponised?

    Quote Postal rates: Why is the US threatening to leave the UN system?


    A United States Postal Service employee sorts packages at the Lincoln Park Carriers Annex in Chicago, November 29, 2012.Getty Images

    The US says the system for global postage charges puts the US at a disadvantage

    Emergency talks are being held at the UN this week over threats from the US to withdraw from a 145-year-old postal treaty.

    The agreement sets rates for sending packages between 192 countries.

    But the US says discounted prices for countries like China are putting its businesses at a massive disadvantage.

    It says it will pull out of the agreement next month unless the specialised body, the Universal Postal Union (UPU), reaches a deal this week.

    Should this happen, the US will become the first country ever to withdraw, and it's unclear what impact this will have on international trade and commerce.

    "It is really a nightmare scenario," UPU secretary-general, Bishar Hussein, told a news conference on Tuesday.

    How does the system currently work?

    International mailing rates are governed by the UPU, a unit of the United Nations that traces its roots back to 1874.

    The current deal is signed by 192 countries, and sets the cost of delivery between the postal operator of the origin country and the postal operator of the destination country.

    Each nation is placed into one of four categories based on their economic and postal development.

    The most industrialised countries, like the US, are placed in Group 1 while the least developed fall under Group 4. Higher rates are set for wealthier nations, and lower rates for poorer countries.

    The system is reviewed every four years during a quadrennial congress, and the UPU says it ultimately aims for every country to fall under the same rules.

    Why is the US opposed to the current system?

    Several countries have expressed their opposition, but last October the US became the first to threaten withdrawal.

    It argues that China, a major global exporter, is now the biggest beneficiary of the system because it is a major economic power but still pays lower rates than the US.

    US firms say that, as a result, it can cost significantly more to post an item within the US than shipping it from abroad. Officials say this is unfair to US manufacturers and facilitates the shipment of counterfeit goods.


    White House trade adviser Peter Navarro (left) says the UPU's system is "broken"

    The US wants changes to the postal treaty to allow countries to set their own rates for parcels weighing under 2kg (4.4lb). They are already allowed to do so for bigger packages.

    During talks on Tuesday, President Donald Trump's hardline trade adviser Peter Navarro called for changes to the system "that everyone in this room knows is broken".

    "The mission here today is to retool this system for the brave new world of e-commerce," he told delegates on Tuesday.

    What happens now?

    The three-day conference will end on Thursday, and unless a deal is reached, the US says it will make good on its threat to withdraw.

    The process of withdrawing from the treaty will take at least a year, and would require the US to set up its own bilateral agreements with countries around the world.

    During talks, the US has signalled that it is willing to accept a two-phased option allowing it to impose new rates immediately, while giving other countries five years to do the same.


    UPU director general Bishar Abdirahman Hussein has warned of "major disruption" if the US were to withdraw

    Mr Navarro said Washington could quit without any problems, and UPU spokesperson David Dadge told the BBC that the UN body had a plan of action should the US decide to withdraw.

    Speaking to reporters, Mr Hussein warned that "major disruption is on the way if we don't solve the problem today".

    He said every country would have to "figure out how to send mail to the United States".
    From: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49816654
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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  3. Link to Post #22
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    Default Re: Weaponised Interdependence

    The Russian government has been making and announcing plans for a separate Internet for quite some time (at least 3 years by my memory). It seems they are now ready to test whether they can disconnect from a potentially weaponised Internet. (The story - being from a western media outlet - has the usual Russia=bad biased narrative overlay).

    Quote Russia Will Test Its Ability to Disconnect from the Internet


    Demonstrators shout during the Free Internet rally in response to a bill making its way through parliament calling for all internet traffic to be routed through servers in Russia — making VPNs ineffective, March 10, Moscow.

    Russia will test its internal RuNet network to see whether the country can function without the global internet, the Russian government announced Monday. The tests will begin after Nov. 1, recur at least annually, and possibly more frequently. It’s the latest move in a series of technical and policy steps intended to allow the Russian government to cut its citizens off from the rest of the world.

    “On Monday, the government approved the provision on conducting exercises to ensure the stable, safe and holistic functioning of the Internet and public communications networks in the Russian Federation,” notes an article in D-Russia. (The original article is in Russian. We verified a translation with the help of a native Russian speaker.) “The exercises are held at the federal (in the territory of the Russian Federation) and regional (in the territory of one or more constituent entities of the Russian Federation) levels.”

    The word “holistic” shows that the exercises follow April’s passage of the sovereign internet law that will require all internet traffic in Russia to pass through official chokepoints, allowing the government to shut down outside access, block websites that they don’t like, and monitor traffic.

    In 2016, Russia launched the Closed Data Transfer Segment: basically, a big military intranet for classified data, similar to the Pentagon’s Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System. The following year, Russia announced that it intends to build its own domain name directory, which would allow it to re-route traffic intended for one website to another. And last year, Putin’s top IT advisor Herman Klimenko and others suggested that the military intranet, properly expanded, might be able to carry the rest of the country’s internet traffic. Klimenko cautioned that moving to the new system would be painful — and as recently as March, Gen. Paul Nakasone, director of U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA, expressed skepticism that Russia would succeed.

    Samuel Bendett, an adviser at the CNA Corporation and a fellow in Russia studies at the American Foreign Policy Council, said the announcement shows that the Russian government is eager to address what it sees as a strategic vulnerability: reliance on Western IT. “The larger context is Russia’s dependence as a nation on imported/foreign hi-tech and the perceived vulnerabilities that Russia sees in such technology use. With so many government, public, and private-sector nodes using such foreign tech, the Russian government is seeking to impose a measure of control over how Internet communication over this technology is conducted,” Bendett said. “In the event of what the government sees as outside influence affecting RuNet, the state can act — hence the annual exercise.”

    RuNet isn’t expected to improve the online experience for Russian people or companies. It’s all about control, making the country more technologically independent, and reducing the Putin regime’s vulnerability to popular uprising.

    “The Russian government, particularly since seeing the role social media played in the Arab Spring, has wanted over the last decade to exert tight control over the online information space within Russia’s borders,” said Justin Sherman, a cybersecurity policy fellow at New America who studies internet governance and digital authoritarianism. “Free information flows are a threat to regime stability, and they need to be controlled, the narrative goes.”

    As the Russian government has built infrastructure that can disconnect Russia from the global internet, it has also worked to limit Russian citizens’ access to sites and services that allow citizens to mobilize and protest. Access to services such as LinkedIn, Zello, and Telegram is limited by a 2006 Russian law (27.07.2006 number 149-FZ) that requires foreign companies to open their software to Russian security services and to hand user data to law enforcement agencies. Sherman said the passage of the sovereign internet law is one more item in this trend.

    “When Russia passed its domestic internet bill into law, it wasn’t clear how much the government would actually work to make it happen, but now it’s clear they do intend to modify systems so the internet within Russian borders can be cut off from the global net at will,” Sherman said. “These disconnection tests which Russia has planned for the near future—as well as, according to documents, annually going forward—are steps in the direction of making this so-called RuNet work. They also line up with a series of international pushes by authoritarian governments to make ‘cyber sovereignty’ of this kind more palatable to the global community.”
    From: https://www.defenseone.com/technolog...ternet/160861/
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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