Tag Archive for ISP

Who Rules the Internet?

Who Rules the Internet?Singapore based ISP Vodien published an infographic which lists the 100 highest ranking websites in the U.S. by traffic, according to website analytics company Alexa. There are over 1.1 billion websites on the internet, but the majority of all traffic actually goes to a very small number of firms. Seven companies control 30% of the top 100 web sites and the related web traffic.

100 highest ranking websitesNot surprisingly Alphabet controls the most popular sites on the web, Google and YouTube. Surprisingly, Microsoft controls the most sites in the top 100. Redmond controls seven of the top web properties including recently purchased LinkedIn, Bing and Microsoft.com. For a long time, MSFT’s online efforts were a disaster. That seems to have changed with Azure, but I still hate Bing. According to the Vodien infographic Alphabet controls four of the most popular sites.

The Visual Capitalist points out that Google.com gets an astounding 28 billion visits per month. The next closest is also a Google-owned property, YouTube, brings in 20.5 billion visits.

Facebook (FB) controls two of the most popular web sites; Facebook (#3) and Instagram (#13).

Jeff Bezo’s firm Amazon (AMZN) directs four popular web sites;

The infographic says Verizon (VZ) now controls the Huffington Post (#49) and AOL (#59) and will control Yahoo (#5) and Tumlr (#12) if the deal closes in 2017 Q2.

Reddit.com comes in at #7 and Reddituploads.com is #61.

Online retailer eBay comes in as the #8 website.

POTUS favorite Twitter (TWTR) is the 9th ranked website and t.co is #25.

Video streamer Netflix comes in ranked #10 by Vodien.

Microsoft (MSFT) controls 7 of the top 100 web sites with recently purchased LinkedIn at #11, Live.com #14. so-so search engine Bing is #17, followed by Office.com (#23), Microsoft Online Services (#24), MSN (#37) and Microsoft.com (#41).

100 Websites that Rule the Internet


The consolidation of all of this web traffic is troubling. The current administration is going to allow online firms to sell all the personal information they collect to the government, data aggregators or anybody else to make a buck.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for a while and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Vizio TVs Sell Your Viewing Habits

Vizio TVs Sell Your Viewing Habits– Updated 03-26-2017 –  Vizio will pay $2.2 million to the FTC and the state of New Jersey to settle a lawsuit alleging it collected customers’ TV-watching habits without their permission.

In addition to the $2.2 million in payments, Vizio will now have to get clear consent from viewers before collecting and sharing data on their viewing habits. It’ll also have to delete all data gathered by these methods before March 1st, 2016 according to the Verge.

Just in time for the Black Friday consumerism orgy of spending, Help Net Security reports that you are giving away more than cash when you buy a Smart TV from Best Buy or whoever. It turns out that owners of Smart TVs manufactured by California-based consumer electronics company Vizio (VZIO) viewing habits are being tracked and sold to third parties. The Vizio the privacy policy says;

Vizio… VIZIO will use Viewing Data together with your IP address and other Non-Personal Information in order to inform third party selection and delivery of targeted and re-targeted advertisements … delivered to smartphones, tablets, PCs or other internet-connected devices that share an IP address or other identifier with your Smart TV.

Vizio’s competitors Samsung (005930) and LG Electronics (LGLD) can also track users’ viewing habits via their smart TV offerings, ProPublica‘s Julia Angwin pointed out, but the feature has to be explicitly turned on by the users. The collection of viewing data by Vizio’s Smart TVs is turned on by default, as is the Smart Interactivity feature that manages it.

Data miningAccording to the IEEE, Vizio smart TVs can track data related to whatever TV programming and related commercials you’re watching and link such data with the time, date, channel, and TV service provider. On most of the over 15 million Smart TVs sold, Vizio will also track whether you view TV programs live or later on. Vizio knows what you’re watching even if it’s a DVD being played on a gaming console or show being watched via cable TV. The identification tracking technology can differentiate between 100 billion data points.

While, in theory, IP addresses are not personal information, they actually can be linked to individuals if there is enough information (specific attributes like age, profession, etc.) tied to it.

Data collectionProPublica‘s Angwin’s sources, tell her that Vizio has been working with data broker Neustar to combine viewing data with this type of information about the user.

Even though users can turn off the spy technology, which will not won’t affect the device’s performance, the problem is that many, many users won’t bother reading the privacy policy or change the default settings once they set up the TV and start using them.

LawsuitTechHive reports that backlash against the intrusive spying has started. Two lawsuits (Reed v. Cognitive Media Network, Inc. (PDF) and David Watts et. al. v Vizio Holdings Inc et. al. (PDF)) have been filed in California against Vizio and their partners about their data collection habits.

The suits accuses Vizio and Cognitive of secretly installing tracking software on the former’s smart TVs in a way that violates various federal and state laws.

The suits allege that Vizio violated the Video Privacy Protection Act. The Video Privacy Protection Act prohibits any company engaged in rental, sale or delivery of audio-visual content and not necessarily just video tapes from divulging any personally identifiable information about its customer to a third-party, except where the customer has clearly consented to such data sharing.

Of course, Vizio has previously argued it’s not a video tape service provider at all, and so this particular law doesn’t apply to it.


I pointed out as far back as 2011 that Smart TV’s are a dumb idea for privacy.

Consumer Reports offers tips on how to stop your Smart TV from spying on you here.


Related articles

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

GOP Ordred to Gut FCC Over Net Neutrality

GOP Ordred to Gut FCC Over Net NeutralityThe courts turned down big Telecom’s demands to immediately kill Net Neutrality and some how the Internet still works. In response big Telecom’s House Republican stooges continue their war against consumers and the open Internet. The telecom lackey’s have buried riders in a 156-page budget bill that would stop the FCC from enforcing the Net Neutrally regs until courts decide several challenges to them.

AccordingGOP Ordred to Gut FCC Over Net Neutrality to FierceCable, the GOP’s 2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, unveiled recently, contains three riders buried in the budget are rules that

  1. Prevent the FCC from enforcing its net neutrality rules, pending what could be years of litigation
  2. Cut the FCC budget by $73 million
  3. Prohibits the FCC from regulating rates for both wireline and wireless Internet services

Harold Feld, senior VP at Public Knowledge, in a responding statement told FierceCable:

Political bossWorst of all, the Appropriations Committee ban on FCC enforcement that ‘directly or indirectly’ regulates prices would prevent the FCC from performing even the most basic consumer protection action, such as the recent FCC enforcement against wireless carriers requiring them to refund charges for services customers did not order or had discontinued.

Public Knowledge VP Feld concludes:

The Appropriations Committee would rather declare open season to rob American broadband subscribers with overcharges and ripoffs than allow the FCC to do its job.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.


Romania Leads IPv4 Market as Supply Dwindles

Romania Leads IPv4 Market as Supply DwindlesI first wrote about the grey-market in IPv4 addresses when Microsoft (MSFT) bought Nortel‘s IPv4 IP block back in 2011. A  recent article from CircleID, proves the market has caught up with Bach Seat. In the CircleID article, Doug Madory, Director of Internet Analysis at Dyn reports that the market for IPv4 addresses is heating up especially in Europe.

According to Dyn, statistics from RIPE, the European registrar, show that the IPv4 market has heated up. RIPE’s table of transfers of provider aggregatable (PA) IPv4 address clearly shows a rapidly increasing rate of transfers of IPv4 address blocks and unique IPv4 addresses.  In fact:

– February 2015 saw the most organizational transfers (373)

– November 2014 saw the most unique address transfers (nearly 2 million).

– The number of transfers in the RIPE region far outpaces any other region.

An analysis of the RIPE data by the author finds that Romania is a key player in the IPv4 market.

– During 2014/15 1,069 (58%) transfers came from Romanian organizations.

– 947 (51%) of all the blocks transferred in the RIPE region were from a single Romanian organization, namely, Jump.ro.

– Jump is willing to sell large blocks of IPv4 address space (around $10/address) or lease smaller blocks for $0.50/address/year.

Romamia– Of the 4,656 routed prefixes that currently make up the Saudi Arabian part of the Internet, 1,498 or almost a third of them were Romanian just a few months ago.

– The Syrian state telecom got from Romania’s Nav Telecom last August and

Iranian telecoms bought over 1 million unique IP addresses in 85 transfers over the past year (80% from Jump.ro).

– Saudi Telecom received 17 IPv4 transfers since September last year representing over 1.5 million IP address:  14 were from Romanian sources and the other 3 were from Ukraine.  At $10/address, those addresses would have cost Saudi Telecom $15 million.

A side-effect of the IPv4 gray market is abetting the growth of global routing tables to dangerous levels. The first effects of this were seen in August 2014 when BGP routing tables grew to over 512,000 routes when many older routers could no longer properly track the routes. ZDnet explains that routes are typically kept in a specialized kind of memory called Tertiary Content Addressable Memory (TCAM) which has limited capacity which fails when it is full.

The author asks what are the implications of all this? Now that the Romanians have demonstrated that there is lucrative business to be had in selling off IPv4 address space, will we see ISPs in developing countries rush to sell off their address space for some quick cash?  If such sales result in the IPv4 space getting sliced more and more thinly, we can surely expect the global routing table to increase in size, perhaps dramatically, as a result.

Will this cause more router meltdowns?


Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

A BIG Alternative

A BIG AlternativeA San Diego firm believes it has come up with a high-speed alternative to cable and phone company Internet access services. Nethercomm claims it can send broadband via wireless signals through the gas pipes that deliver the natural gas used to heat homes. The firm sees opportunities for Broadband in Gas (BIG) with pay-TV providers to compete with cable and satellite, cable companies looking for extra bandwidth to feed their high-definition TV channels, phone companies looking to reduce their fiber to the home (FTTH) investments, and gas companies, could use the broadband service to remotely monitor the integrity of their lines and read gas meters.

The firm’s technology is based on ultrawideband wireless. Ultrawideband is a new unlicensed wireless technology, which broadcasts across a very wide range of frequencies that if some data packets are lost through the gas pipes, the rest will make it enough to work.

According to Nethercomm founder and CEO Patrick Nunally, BIG works because federal rules which limit the strength of ultrawideband signals don’t apply in underground pipes. BIG power levels can be increased to provide each household bandwidth of up to 6 gigabits per second, while the power is low enough so that signals can share the pipes with natural gas without starting a fire, according to Nunally.

BIG requires the installation of a ultrawideband transmitter that’s linked to an ISP at a gas company’s network hub. A receiver would be placed at a customer’s gas meter. Nethercomm estimates BIG build-out costs are about $200 per household. By contrast, broadband over power lines costs about $600 per household, while phone and cable TV networks each cost well over $1,000 per home to build, says West Technology Research Solutions.

Freescale Semiconductor, the chip manufacturer that was working with Nethercomm, recently shifted course to focus on its handset business. “It would be hard for anybody to say (BIG) doesn’t have tremendous potential,” says Freescale’s Jon Adams.