Guarding Against Terrorism--And Liability

Developers of antiterrorism tools have little to worry about, thanks to a provision of the U.S. Homeland Security Act

6 min read

Remember the Good Housekeeping seal of approval? If a product that bears the seal proves defective within two years of purchase, Good Housekeeping magazine replaces it or refunds the purchase price.

Now there is similar approval (but one that chiefly benefits the seller, instead of the consumer) of products and services developed to protect against terrorist acts--it's the "Approved Product for Homeland Security" list to be posted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on its Web site. If an approved product doesn't work as well as promised and, as a result, people are maimed or killed by an "act of terrorism," no vendor can be held liable for damages--not the company that sold it, those who distributed it, or the subcontractors that helped design and build it.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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