politics

On the political

India to Impose eMail Restrictions

Thursday, October 31, 2013 

The cloud is public and ephemeral. Never trust important data to anyone else’s hardware.

India and Brazil are getting it. Finally.

The USG is still moving data to the cloud. It will be an interesting day when it is realized the US isn’t the only country companies like Google and Amazon do business in that have national security data access requirements.

India to impose email restrictions

Posted at 00:33:10 UTC

Category: politicstechnology

Yahoo account PSA

Sunday, March 17, 2013 

Yahoo.

It seems that if you have a yahoo mail account it either already has or  will soon be hacked. There’s some news out there about this…..

Yes, how could you not be sure that when somebody offers to host your  personal data for free on their servers that nothing could possib-lie go  wrong. Uh, PossibLY go wrong.

Posted at 08:08:01 UTC

Category: politicsself-publishingtechnology

Iraq Blocked For Many Android Apps

Sunday, March 3, 2013 

I’m not sure who decides what apps are blocked on a country by country basis, but an awful lot of apps are blocked in Iraq and it seems like more and more.

iraq_blocked_play_viber.JPG

OTT apps like Whatsapp and Viber sort of make sense. These apps are at war with the carriers, who claim the app is making money somehow on the backs of the carriers*, and they seem to be largely blocked from install in Iraq. One would imagine that was Asiacell’s doing, but I changed SIMs and that didn’t help.

Iraq_blocked_whatsapp.JPG

But then I noticed that weird apps like Angry Birds are not allowed in Iraq—apps that makes no sense for a carrier to block.  The advertising model actually works and ad-supported apps show (some) relevant, regional ads, as they should, in theory generating at least some revenue for the developers. Part of the problem may be that there’s no way for in-app payments to be processed out of Iraq and therefore developers of even “freemium” apps may choose to block their apps in the country reasoning that if they can’t make money, why let people use the app?

Iraq_blocked_angry_birds.JPG

If so, it seems short sighted: ultimately payment processing will be worked out and even if it isn’t, Iraqis are allowed to travel to countries where in-app payments do work. Establishing a beachhead in the market, even without revenue seems prudent. Blocking users who represent neither revenue nor cost seems arbitrarily punitive.

* The carrier’s business should be to transport bits agnostically.  They have no business caring what we do with our bits; no bit costs more than any other bit to carry.  If they can’t figure out how to make money carrying bits, they have no business being in the bit carrying business. When they whine about a business like WhatsApp or Viber or Free Conference Call or Skype or Google hurting their profits what they really mean is that these new businesses have obviated a parasitic business that was profitable due to a de facto monopoly over what people could do with their bit carrying business.

If the bit carriers were competent application layer developers, they’d have developed their own versions of these “OTT” applications.  But they’re not competent developers and so they have not and they’ve squandered the expertise and market control they once had and are now crying that they can’t even make the core bit carrying business work. This should not inspire sympathy or legislative support.
Dear telco, I will pay you a fair market price for carrying my bits.  You have no right to worry about what bits I choose to send after I’ve paid my bit toll.  If you can’t do that, we the people have every right to build our own information highways collectively without you.  And we probably should anyway.

Posted at 05:29:54 UTC

Category: cell phonesplacespoliticstechnology

Google APIs Suck

Friday, January 4, 2013 

Off-Site scripts are annoying.

To explain – I use noscript (as everyone should) with Firefox (it doesn’t work with Chrome: I might consider trusting Google’s browser for some mainstream websites when it does, but I don’t really like that Chrome logs every keystroke back to Google and I’m not sure why anyone would tolerate that).  NoScript enables me to give per-site permission to execute scripts.

The best sites don’t need any scripts to give me the information I need.  It is OK if the whizzy experience is degraded somewhat for security’s sake, as long as that is my choice. Offsite scripting can add useful functionality, but the visitor should be able to opt out.

Most sites use offsite scripting for privacy invasion – generally they have made a deal with some heinous data aggregator who’s business model is to compile dossiers of every petty interest and quirk you might personally have and sell them to whoever can make money off them: advertisers, insurance companies, potential employers, national governments, anyone who can pay.  In return for letting them scrounge your data off the site, they give the site operator some slick graphs (and who doesn’t love slick graphs). But you lose.  Or you block google analytics with noscript.  This was easy – block offsite scripts if you’re not using private browsing or switch to private browsing (and Chrome’s private browsing mode is probably fine) and enjoy the fully scripted experience.

But I’ve noticed recently a lot of sites are borrowing basic functionality from Google APIs.  Simple things, for which there are plenty of open source scripts to use like uploading images – this basic functionality is being sold to them in an easy to integrate form in exchange for your personal information: in effect, you’re paying for their code with your privacy. And you either have to temporarily allow Google APIs to execute scripts in your browser and suck up your personal information or you can’t use the site.

Posted at 07:34:36 UTC

Category: politicstechnology

Ending Free Speech to Protect Obsolete Industries

Thursday, March 15, 2012 

In 1998 I gave a talk at DefCon 6 titled “Copyright vs. Free Speech,” the gist of which was that in order to protect the profits of the publishing industry in the face of technology which obsoleted centralized publishing, publishers had begun to buy from congress increasingly draconian legislation to protect their obsolete business model.

They have been patient and effective, implementing a long-term program of carefully designed disinformation to turn an effective method of promoting the progress of science and the useful arts into a weapon to aid extorting profit from the people’s commons.

Due to the success of their propaganda campaigns, it bears repeating that authors have no right to profit from their works. They do not “own” ideas. They, nor their assignees, have any right to control the reproduction, reuse, or dissemination of ideas and inventions once they’ve chosen to make them public. We the people have chosen to gift them with a temporary monopoly on commercial exploitation of their inventions as a mechanism the founding fathers thought would serve to maximize the availability of freely usable ideas in the public domain; that is, to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. A premise they have utterly perverted.

Any law which expands copyright steals from the public domain and gives exclusive right to commercial exploitation to the beneficiary. The copyright industry has been incredibly successful in bribing politicians into allowing them to graze their cattle in our public parks without any additional compensation to the public. Indeed, new copyright laws don’t even pay lip service to the public good and focus entirely on maximizing profits at the expense of the public domain. These legislative disasters are prima facia unconstitutional.

A new agreement, endorsed by the White House, effectively implements the dystopian warnings I gave in my 1998 talk: ISPs will begin to directly enforce copyright, acting as the muscle for the new business model the copyright industry has turned to now that publishing is obsolete: direct shakedowns.

It was clear in 1998 that if our economy was turning to the then touted model of an “information economy” (and not making things) it would become necessary to police the flow of information to block the unauthorized exchanges of ideas lest someone freely share an idea for which a private entity has been granted a monopoly and undermine the profitability of the imaginary economy.

Aside from the loss of privacy and retarding progress and the useful arts, a problematic consequence of the monitoring necessary to ensure the exchange of ideas is taxed is that citizens must always be monitored, and now directly and intrusively by their ISPs. Monitoring has a chilling effect on free speech as people are naturally disinclined to openly dissent, to only speak privately of ideas that challenge entrenched interests. Intrusive monitoring is an effective tool of totalitarianism by destroying the privacy in which informed dissent grows strong enough to overcome the entrenched.

There is no practical way to implement an effective monopoly enforcement scheme at the ISP level without active monitoring of every digital interaction, from every website visited to every message exchanged, lest one hide a privatized bit. ISP monitoring undermines the foundations of democracy, at least the significant portion which has migrated to digital forums. This is a massive implementation of the same monitoring technology and concepts used in Syria and China to control dissidents, applied here merely to further enrich a few petty plutocrats.

Posted at 19:10:48 UTC

Category: politicstechnology

Keep the Pitchforks Sharp

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 

While David Pogue’s opinion piece “Put Down the Pitchforks” makes a valid point about the alliance of varied views on the utility and validity of copyright that have come together to oppose SOPA/PIPA, the differences are more subtle than his language indicates.

Everyone, even those characterized (somewhat fairly) as the “we want our illegal movies” crowd, is horrified that the United States would contemplate outright censorship of the web à la North Korea or Iran, something we actively fight quite vigorously, and with USAID and State Department support, to ensure that dissidents can circumvent similar blocking schemes.

There is no way to fix the language of the bills to rule out those abuses. Universal filling a flagrantly illegal DMCA takedown request with YouTube to censor the MegaUploads advertisement video, the pernicious use of malicious prosecution by the RIAA, and the recent MPAA/Chris Dodd bribery flap all demonstrate incontrovertibly how the entertainment industry has been utterly shameless to date and there is no basis for the belief that they would voluntarily refrain from an aggressive and likely illegal extension of whatever new powers they are offered. If anything, we need stronger legislation to discourage the current abuse of litigation and take-down powers.

Thus everyone, including those that believe that copyright needs to be extended (again, further), recognizes that the premise of SOPA/PIPA—that parts of the international internet have to be blocked in the US—are fundamentally flawed and cannot be repaired.

The differentiation between the “ignorant mechanism” and “ignorant goal” camps is, however, unfairly characterized by Pogue when he draws an analogy to shoplifting. Copyright is not a property right—it is a privilege that is granted by we the people, an exchange where we the people voluntarily relinquish our right to copy, and we gift the inventor with a temporary monopoly as an incentive to promote the progress of science and the useful arts.

It is not “stealing” to copy a movie; it may be illegal, but it is not stealing. There is no legal basis to consider such an act theft—not in natural law, not in “denial of utility.”

“If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.”

– Thomas Jefferson, 1813

(A letter that should be read in its entirety by anyone electing to weigh in on copyright.)

The basis and purpose of copyright is codified in the constitution: it is an agreement between we the people and inventors to promote the progress of science and the useful arts, it is neither a property right nor a human right. If any copyright legislation fails to advance the cause of promoting the progress of science and the useful arts it is simply prima facia unconstitutional. And not a single extension of copyright law, back to and including the Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act, has even bothered to pay lip service to the obligation to promote the progress of science and the useful arts.

The problem is that these bills retard progress by hampering important and economically relevant industries for economically irrelevant ones (regardless of how nostalgic they might be). It is fair, still, to frame copyright protections and copyright modifications with respect to the expected actual net contribution to the progress of science and the useful arts, as the constitution requires. It is unlikely that such an analysis would favor complete abolition of copyright but it is clear that only a mechanism closer to the patent model makes sense: a very limited and carefully regulated temporary monopoly granted to inventors and creators in return for fully contributing their efforts to the public domain promptly thereafter.

(Edited and enhanced by Carolyn Anhalt)

Posted at 14:42:48 UTC

Category: politicstechnology

The SOPA/PIPA Fight is Not Over

Friday, January 20, 2012 

Megaupload, the company that enables easy file transfer used by 50,000,000 people every day, was sized by the DOJ. Check www.megaupload.com

This is an illegal, unconstitutional seizure. It is an example of the scum who run entertainment companies like Universal (who illegally got MegaUpload’s video yanked from youtube by filing a false DMCA takedown) turning US law enforcement and the US judicial system into criminal enforcers to create a business model around theft and intimidation to replace their obsolete and irrelevant role as gate keepers and toll collectors between artists and their audiences.

If SOPA/PIPA pass, links to the sized domain would have to be expunged from any site even talking about them. This is intolerable. It is a subversion of democracy and outright theft of the public domain by those who would retard or even reverse progress to protect their profits and wealth.

The constitution grants the privilege of a temporary copyright to artists and inventors as a mechanism to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. Laws that extend this privilege in a manner that fails to promote the progress of science and the useful arts are plainly unconstitutional. Record companies have no natural right to stop you from using your hardware, your devices, to rearrange the bits on your systems in any way you like. They have turned the discussion to claim they have a property right to your data through manipulation and outright lies. The only fair response to their illegal and heinous acts is to revoke their privilege and drive them swiftly into bankruptcy so they no longer have the resources to bribe our representatives into ignoring the constitution.

The DOJ should be using RICO to shut down entertainment companies that use intimidation to protect profits, not innovative companies acting to expand the public domain in a manner clearly consistent with the goals of the framers of the constitution.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9caPFPQUNs[/youtube]

Posted at 19:03:59 UTC

Category: filmsNegativepoliticstechnology

SOPA/Protect IP: Retarding Progress

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 

If you have ever found the internet useful for anything other than browsing corporate web sites, for example if you’ve ever looked up an independent review or enjoyed a post like this one by anyone at all, then you must contact your representative and insist they reject SOPA and Protect IP.

This act is the most inane, repressive, anti-progress, anti-civil-rights, special interest protecting, bought and paid for legislation I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading.  Every site that has an opinion that might offend anyone with an in-house lawyer will be erased from the DNS system.  The primary opponents of the bill point out that sites like Google and Youtube are targets, but the tactic will not be to strike at targets that can afford lawyers, the tactic will be to wipe out small sites that aren’t generating much revenue first and establish precedent before taking out the big guys.  First all the fun sites will go, then youtube, but, hey, you’ll still have Hulu and Microsoft.com.

Anyone who is favorable to this bill does not understand the constitution and is not fit to stand in office.  It is an absolute rejection of the constitutional mandate to “promote progress and the useful arts” solely to enable short-term profiteering by absurdly wealthy studio execs.

The bills primary sponsors, Patrick Leahy and Lamar Smith: whatever you can do to get these tools of the studio execs out of office, please do.  They’re not from my state, but if they were I’d back anyone who challenged them.

Co spononsors must also be ejected as forcefully as possible.

Protect IP Cosponsors

Sen Alexander, Lamar [TN] – 5/25/2011
Sen Ayotte, Kelly [NH] – 6/27/2011
Sen Bennet, Michael F. [CO] – 7/25/2011
Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM] – 10/19/2011
Sen Blumenthal, Richard [CT] – 5/12/2011
Sen Blunt, Roy [MO] – 5/23/2011
Sen Boozman, John [AR] – 6/15/2011
Sen Brown, Sherrod [OH] – 10/20/2011
Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD] – 7/13/2011
Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] – 9/7/2011
Sen Chambliss, Saxby [GA] – 11/2/2011
Sen Cochran, Thad [MS] – 6/23/2011
Sen Coons, Christopher A. [DE] – 5/12/2011
Sen Corker, Bob [TN] – 6/9/2011
Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] – 6/30/2011
Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] – 9/7/2011
Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] – 5/12/2011
Sen Franken, Al [MN] – 5/12/2011
Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY] – 5/26/2011
Sen Graham, Lindsey [SC] – 5/12/2011
Sen Grassley, Chuck [IA] – 5/12/2011
Sen Hagan, Kay [NC] – 7/5/2011
Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] – 5/12/2011
Sen Isakson, Johnny [GA] – 11/2/2011
Sen Johnson, Tim [SD] – 10/3/2011
Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN] – 5/12/2011
Sen Kohl, Herb [WI] – 5/12/2011
Sen Landrieu, Mary L. [LA] – 10/17/2011
Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT] – 7/7/2011
Sen McCain, John [AZ] – 7/26/2011
Sen Menendez, Robert [NJ] – 10/31/2011
Sen Nelson, Bill [FL] – 9/23/2011
Sen Risch, James E. [ID] – 11/7/2011
Sen Rubio, Marco [FL] – 5/26/2011
Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] – 5/12/2011
Sen Shaheen, Jeanne [NH] – 6/30/2011
Sen Udall, Tom [NM] – 7/7/2011
Sen Vitter, David [LA] – 11/7/2011
Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI] – 5/12/2011

SOPA Cosponsors

Rep Amodei, Mark E. [NV-2] – 11/3/2011
Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] – 11/14/2011
Rep Bass, Karen [CA-33] – 11/3/2011
Rep Berman, Howard L. [CA-28] – 10/26/2011
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] – 10/26/2011
Rep Bono Mack, Mary [CA-45] – 10/26/2011
Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] – 11/3/2011
Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] – 10/26/2011
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] – 10/26/2011
Rep Deutch, Theodore E. [FL-19] – 10/26/2011
Rep Gallegly, Elton [CA-24] – 10/26/2011
Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6] – 10/26/2011
Rep Griffin, Tim [AR-2] – 10/26/2011
Rep King, Peter T. [NY-3] – 11/3/2011
Rep Lujan, Ben Ray [NM-3] – 11/14/2011
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 11/3/2011
Rep Nunnelee, Alan [MS-1] – 11/3/2011
Rep Owens, William L. [NY-23] – 11/14/2011
Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12] – 10/26/2011
Rep Scalise, Steve [LA-1] – 11/14/2011
Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] – 10/26/2011
Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] – 10/26/2011
Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-20] – 11/3/2011
Rep Watt, Melvin L. [NC-12] – 11/3/2011

Posted at 07:54:21 UTC

Category: politics

Oh Google… you’re so cute.

Friday, November 4, 2011 

Sure you’re the largest data harvester in the world and you’ve convinced more people than even microsoft to migrate their personal and business data away from their relatively secure and relatively private personal computers and company servers onto your public, ephemeral servers where you make their data to every government in the world you do business with and all the hackers in China, and even in those circumstances where you do actually provide some measure of security, your services have helped eliminate any residual rational discomfort people might have had about giving Big Brother direct editorial review of every communication they have, every document they create, every question they think about. More than any other company, if only by dint of your scale, you have made an Orwellian informational panopticon reality.

But who can stay mad when you’re so damn cute.  Barrel roll 🙂

Posted at 03:51:05 UTC

Category: funnypolitics

Fight ProtectIP/SOPA

Thursday, October 27, 2011 

I am a constituent and I urge you to reject the Internet Blacklist Bills (PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House).

This bill is deeply, deeply flawed and fails completely to live up to the fundamental constitutional basis for copyright: “to promote the progress of science and the useful arts.”

I am deeply concerned by the danger these bills pose to Internet security, free speech online, and innovation. The Internet Blacklist Legislation is dangerous and short-sighted, and I urge you to join Senator Wyden and other members of Congress in opposing it.

If this bill passes, those entire “middle class” of moderately successful collaborative and user-generated sites will be driven out of the internet. The 1% sites like Google or Facebook can afford tier one lawyers to protect themselves from the prima facia unconstitutionality of this absurdly ill-considered bill, but the vast 99% can’t afford the legal resources or the infrastructure resources this bill mandates and they will vanish, hobbling the internet as the most fruitful incubator of science and the useful arts so far created.

Promote science and the useful arts by blocking ProtectIP/SOPA.

Posted at 16:19:49 UTC

Category: Negativepolitics