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In lands I never saw -- they say
Immortal Alps look down --
Whose bonnets touch the firmament --
Whose sandals touch the town --

Meek at whose everlasting feet
A myriad daisy play --
Which, Sir, are you and which am I
Upon an August day?

Emily Dickinson
Learn English in July

The internet and how it is in different countries

mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
I thought this was a very interesting comment on the internet as seen in different countries. How true is it?

The internet, but not as we know it: life online in China, Cuba, India and Russia. What do you think @Practical_Severard, @lisa, @nidhii?

More than half of the world's population is now online, but that does not mean we all see the same thing. From being filtered by the government to being delivered by post, the internet can vary enormously depending on where you live. Here are four illustrated examples



  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    I think the topic is large enough, even though the Guardian decided to limit it with the restrictions issue. So I'll fill the gap
    1. They say that the Internet in Russia is fast comparing to other countries:
    The average speed of Internet connectivity in Russia is faster than in France and Italy. Russia's model of broadband development can be considered a global reference point.

    Source: World bank.
    2. The prices are affordable for everyone. 300 roubles, which is the price of 8 Moscow public transport rides, buy a month of 30 Mbit/s service, 500 roubles buy of 200 Mbit/s. In the urban area people have a choice of several providers, three, five or even more in the cities, service companies managing block of flats don't usually allow more in a building.
    3. The cellular Internet is of the fast LTE protocol. 800 roubles monthly buy the unlimited traffic package. The speed vary on the place, but in more or less populated areas its good enough so you can use online maps and browse Internet along major roads. In my country house I can watch a local online TV service via the cellular Internet, though Netflix appears to load slowly but to be watchable (I haven't watched it for more than for several minutes, since nobody, except me, in this family wants it there). There are also cheaper limited versions and I use one for 150 roubles per month.
    4. Lots of cafes and restaurants offer the Wi-Fi access, usually free of charge.
    5. The Moscow public transport has a free Wi-Fi service too, but you have to watch an annoying amount of ads before you get connected. Or you need to pay a monthly fee. But this sort of Internet access doesn't seem so necessary for me, because anybody has the cellular Internet anyway.

    On the restrictions issue.
    First, the law mandates that on any Internet connection the user must be identified. Any permanent connection means signing a contract, therefore producing an identification, in the case of a public Wi-Fi connection the user has to input a code he has received via SMS, so a mobile phone is always necessary. And, as you might have guessed, obtaining the cellular service requires identification too. Here, unlike in many other countries, people usually buy phones without an included plan, though the other option is available, though not popular. If someone has misconfigured his home Wi-Fi router so it became accessible without an identification then it is an offense, though I haven't heard that a private person has been punished for this. But if someone has broken the law, then the owner is identified as the offender.

    Secondly, any Internet service provider has some spoofing equipment installed. This equipment works remotely and an ISP's personnel can't control its operation. More in a Wikipedia article A new bill, known as "The Yarovaya law" (Mrs Yarovaya is an MP) requires the ISPs to archive all the traffic for half of year, which is costly and very difficult to implement so I'm not sure they will succeed.

    Thirdly, there is a list of banned Internet sites. Any court can add another entry to this list. The ISPs are required to deny access to them, and they obey it. There are "extremist material" and one might argue whether a particular piece is really extremist, online drug pushers, pirated software, music and books (loads of them!), suicide sites and groups. If an overseas hosting provider doesn't comply all its IP addresses may be blocked. Though one can often access these sites via a proxy service, or the TOR network, or a remote access service. Though it may change if the security agencies, the FSB first of all have succeeded in using the Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology.

    Fourthly, any encryption method here should be certified before its use is allowed which implies providing a backdoor opportunity to the FSB. That's the reason why they tried to ban the Telegram messaging application, and didn't succeed, because they would have had the ban the Apple's Google's and Amazon's online services in Russia to succeed.

    But these measures, I guess, aren't far from the US NSA has been doing as Edward Snowden has revealed.

    The Telegram's owner is actually the man who launched the Vkontakte social network, and he had worked for Facebook before it. The dissident public likes Facebook more, considering them reluctant to collaborate with the Russian security services, what is likely true, though not necessary. Vkontakte is indeed especially popular among the teenagers, especially because they can find there lots of free music and films, which are often pirated and the service can't (or doesn't want to) stop it. Though they routinely ban the accounts sharing such stuff.

    Yandex is better than Google in the Russian language Internet search and in the local online maps service. They run a lot of other online services, not only the taxi application, which are generally good, and are a successful business by themselves, not because of a government support. The Guardian should have mentioned the Sputnik Internet search and browser instead. Though nobody uses them, except, maybe government employees during office hours.

    I'm sorry for the long read, but Tu l'as voulu, Georges Dandin!
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    Wow, I am sure that I have no idea how the internet is controlled in the UK or France, as I am sure than some of the restrictions you mention must also apply here too @Practical_Severard.

    I think my internet speed, though not amazingly fast in France, is still better than what I tend to experience when I'm in the UK. But I read somewhere that the UK has one of the poorest speeds in Europe. Still, it will always be infinitely better than in Nepal, where it is really slow.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,701 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2019
    mheredge said:

    Wow, I am sure that I have no idea how the internet is controlled in the UK or France, as I am sure than some of the restrictions you mention must also apply here too @Practical_Severard.

    I think that the question of Internet censorship is quite secondary comparing to the issue how much of the freedom of speech should be there. The USA and some Western European countries show significantly different approaches on the issue. Russia has overstepped the right, as I think them, boundaries, but our bigger problem isn't actually the legal definitions but the lack of the judicial independence and, even more, of the civic responsibility.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    You might find this documentary interesting @Practical_Severard. Called 'Nothing to Hide', it looks at internet security.


    Anytime you go online, you're not alone. Your internet activity is likely being tracked by the prying eyes of corporations and the security branches of government. It's an insidious form of spying that remains invisible to most. Others claim they couldn't care less who is watching or gathering data from their internet searches. After all, they claim, they have no secrets of value. The feature-length documentary Nothing to Hide outlines the flaws behind this common perspective, and reveals why modern online conveniences should not come at the expense of a person's right to privacy.

    Many of those who have expressed grave concerns over online privacy have been dismissed as kooky conspiracy theorists. But according to the film's perspective, their paranoia is firmly grounded in reality. The film features interviews with consumer rights activists, sociologists, a former member of the National Security Agency (NSA), and a series of consumers who have experienced the perils of online surveillance.

    At the center of it all is a young man who sees little harm in the practice. Like many others, he happily breezes through terms and conditions when installing an app, and accepts the risk of having his every online activity monitored in exchange.

    He agrees to participate in a fascinating experiment for the film. His phone and laptop will be tracked for 30 days, and his metadata will be shared with analysts much like those employed by companies and organizations that specialize in monetizing personal data. What will this data reveal about his personal comings and goings, his likes and dislikes, and the building blocks of his daily life and relationships? Will he think differently about online surveillance once he gains a true sense of what he's giving up?

    The film argues that the practice of surveillance, and our willingness to relinquish our private information, is more than just a ploy to target advertising. In fact, it's a gateway to a dystopian future worthy of George Orwell. The information gleaned from our online activities may be used to hinder our employment opportunities, threaten our financial health, and compromise more than just our freedom of speech.
  • nidhiinidhii Posts: 851 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge In india their is a boom in internet and mobile sector from last decade. Here internet is cheap and easily accessible to everyone even to a poor person. What I noticed here that even a illiterate person has learned to use internet .That's a good thing as it make many task easy and save time.

    But most of us don't even know that how companies are eyeing on our activities and using it for making money.There is big market of data collection and then identifying it.Our each activity and search is under surveillance.Like if i even before login here in forum has visited any shopping site then that site add will be showing on my forum screen .

    On every app there is recommendations based on our search activity.
    In our privacy nothing is private

    Whatsapp and Facebook is being used to spread false news ,stories unrealistic viral videos,
    Even there is boom of home remedies on social media for every diseases which is causing harm to every one. Every one is giving advice thinking themself a expert.

    What I believe that this internet thing has blocked thinking power ,for every thing we just search and accept majority opinions.Ridiculous.

    In india government has blocked many sites , recently government took steps to control piracy.

    Two three days before in news prime time it was telecasting that smart phones causing illness in teenagers.

    India is a big market and internet users number is increasing day by day here.And we don't even know that internet has entered in our mind and life and nothing is private our thinking is even spying.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    Whatsapp and Facebook is being used to spread false news ,stories unrealistic viral videos.

    @nidhii I find this the worst concern.

    Do know what sort of sites have been blocked? Maybe this is a stupid question, as if they are blocked, then you can't see what is in them!
  • JuliannaJulianna Posts: 38 Inactive
    Yes, it is true that the Internet in Russia has high speed, has no limit on use and is very, very cheap. I know this because a lot of my relatives live in Russia and I often had them on vacation for a long time. My cousin pays for Internet 600 rubles per month, it is about $ 10
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    That isn't bad @Julianna. I pay about 17€ a month but this is a special deal just for a year. I think the normal monthly rate in France is about 30€. It is possible to change contract with the same provider and benefit from another 'special' price. I'm planning to do this next November when I will probably get set up with a fibre connection.
  • JuliannaJulianna Posts: 38 Inactive
    Here in the USA, especially in the Rocky Mountains where we live, internet connection is very expensive and bad
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    Geography doesn't help when you're in the mountains @Julianna. A friend who lives in Wales tells me that she sometimes has problems there, depending where she is in relation to the towers. In Nepal there are many areas in the hills and mountains where the signal is very poor or non-existent. Everest Base Camp has been connected for a few years however. Trekkers can take selfies and post them on Facebook from there now.
  • mandalaputramandalaputra Posts: 10 ✭✭
    The internet speed in my country is too slow. They can provide better speed internet but i can not afford it. Twitter is also being used to spread hates so a lot of people in my country left Twitter. and also Facebook. they use Facebook to spread hoax.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    It is sad how social media can be used to spread so much harm @mandalaputra. I like it because it helps me see and give notifications of events, keep in touch with friends all over the world and whilst now I rarely look at news stories that appear in my news feed, it still has a lot of positive benefits.

    I have a friend travelling in Japan at the moment who keeps finding the places where he is staying have very slow wifi. He has found that 7/11 has the fastest wifi.

    I have read that South Korea has the fastest wifi in the world. Here in France it seems okay, but in Nepal it is very slow and throwing money at the problem doesn't seem to solve the problem.

    Are you in India? I have found in some places it is diabolically slow, but in other places it is fine.
  • mandalaputramandalaputra Posts: 10 ✭✭
    I am from Indonesia. But now i am living in japan. I am using "Docomo" for my internet provider i do satisfied with the internet speed but the money I'm spending for it is too much. i'm spending almost $100 dollars per month just for Internet connection. @mheredge
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,423 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2019
    Wow @mandalaputra and I complain that I am spending a quarter this amount. Maybe my friends were not paying for such a fast speed. Here in France typically a month's subscription costs around thirty something euros per month. However to try to keep existing customers sweet, if you change to a different package, the first year is usually about half price. I might be running out of options now though, as I recently upgraded to fibre, and I'm not sure that they can offer me any more interesting packages for next year.
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