Archive for the ‘Osociala organisationer’ Category

Hasta […] siempre

Only one. Be quick.

The Peruvian Congress has declared free and unrestricted internet access a human right. Free as in gratuito, not as in libre, apparently, and in Spanish there can be no mistake as to whether that concerns beer or speech. The suggestion comes from the center-left party Apra, but is supported by the left government. The President of the Transport Commission Yaneth Cajahuanca says that gratuito should not be interpreted as a future disappearance of rental agreements (monthly fees paid by consumers to get internet access provided), but as the public not making downpayments on infrastructure.

This sounds to me as if the public will not have to invest in infrastructure, which to me appears not too much different from anywhere else. I have yet to determine whether the law also includes a method different from public investment to reach the objective of higher broadband access (currently at 3% of the population).

Further down the gratuito-road is a warning from largest Perúvian telecommunications operator Telefońica dated 2001: AT&T wanted to use Telefonica infrastructure for free (gratuitamente).

As for the unrestricted access part though, the way it’s presented it seems suitably unconditional(!!) and in Perú desperately needed. I wrote in December last year that Telefónica being the hero of the day has both GB download limits and simultaneous connections limits per household in Perú. Download caps were at the time set to between 20 and 60GB/month, and number of simultaneous TCP-connections to 200. I asked around a bit about this, but have as yet not found out whether or not 200 TCP-connections per moment could also be made to apply to UDP. It depends on how the amount of connections are monitored, apparently.

Peru has just came out of their 2011 elections (April 11). Apparently a left coalition has won (far left) the elections for the second time in a row (they now have leftists in power since 2006), and there will be a stand-off between left candidate Ollanta Humala and right candidate Keiko Fujimori on June 5th.

I am cautiously optimistic. Remember that Chile approved a net neutrality law last year that conditioned the unrestricted access on ”legal activities”.

Those Russians…

I’m reading the book The Rasputin File by Edvard Radzinsky, this mythical man made eternal by Boney M and the October Revolution.

Apparently it’s the ”remarkable biography of the mystical monk and bizarre philanderer whose role in the demise of the [last of the] Romanov [tsars]” whose blessings of the only son of Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna of Hesse led him into a power position where ”in all affairs of state he was the man to please”.

Edvard Radzinsky does give a more nuanced picture. He points to Tsarina Alix’s will to believe, her subsequent joining a monastery together with her daughters, and how not only Grigory Rasputin but also people around her manipulated her and her powerful position by, well, essentially sucking up.

Of course, Grigory Rasputin’s role in the demise of the Russian Tsar’s Autocracy seems marginal in comparison with the Russian 1905 Uprising which scared the Tsar into signing a new constitution, essentially giving up the autocratic Russian rule against the will of the Orthodox Church and the Tsarina (which is weird since the Tsarina had a ”distaste for Russian culture, whether it was the food or the manner of dancing”).

Grigory Rasputin did make a big fuss about being treated well in the Russian Court at a time where the Russian Court was intensely disliked by everyone who was in or around it. Aristocrats are probably by nature conspiring and petty individuals, ref. the murder of Erik XIV or the Grand Vizier of Aladdin, Jafar, and especially in a time of turmoil, like vultures they immediately fly over the assets they believe they can pillage from the crumbling houses of wealth (for example bank bosses unless there is a public outcry and threats of a customer boycott of the bailed-out bank.). But he was also from a poor farmer’s village and family. Poor farmers do not make outcries and apart from in the Duma the tsar wasn’t actually much disliked, just a rather distant character who didn’t affect them much. Father Grigory’s comrades in religious arms, Russian Orthodox Bishops, have outfits like the one on the left. A by no means luxurious or particularly note-worthy outfit. On the contrary, quite humble and en par with the wealth of the population at large. At the time, Russian farmers lived in inland, sub-arctic climate without central heating (for reference, Belgium has coastal climate with central heating and it’s still pretty cold here in the winter).

When Grigory Rasputin came to Moscow he made attempts at writing down his thoughts and teachings. Edvard Radzinsky points out several times that he was only semi-literature and that his hand-writing was wretched. Wretched is a word I would normally associate with old crones and I realise I am stingy about this but he was aspiring to be a cultural man of literacy and handwriting and has been villified for trying to remain in a position and environment where he had the opportunities to achieve as much. Because on the Russian countryside, in the beginning of the 20th century, this was not a luxury awarded to farmers. And there was absolutely no way in which Grigory Rasputin could have figured the Bolsheviks would have made education compulsory only 15-20 years later, and even then he would have been well into his 50s and older people don’t get educated since apparently you can’t teach old dogs how to sit.

I wouldn’t make any claims as to his handwriting being particularly aesthetic, or his poetic skills particularly refined, but it’s unfair to call it wretched, and it’s unfair to not appreciate that aspiration. Regardless of his assumed sectism (which may or may not have been inspired by the khlysts: ”They believed in a possibility of direct communication with the Holy Spirit and of His embodiment in living people [and] practiced the attainment of divine grace for sin in ecstatic rituals” apparently reasoning that forgiveness can’t be sought by the virtuous, and forgiveness and repentence is that which marks a true believer) I cannot help but sympathise. The Russians were converted to a Christian belief when the powers that be decided it would be convenient, and Khlystian secterism is one aspect of defiance against forced conversions. For other forced conversions, read about Hernán Cortés, this grateful, Christian saviour of Aztecs who in his quest for their moral salvation was very sałvage, or, and I hate to bring up the dark past of the Crusades but there I did.

Anyway, deep down we all want to believe in sinning.

Of course, you can see it in his photos the intensity of his eyes, these alluring, hypnotic eyes that so intrigued the ladies in a way we would never want to achieve in the 21st century by means of L’Oreal Mascara Triple Brush. .

I am a post-mortem converted follower. I think he is treated unfair by historians, he was mocked for his cultural aspirations by the aristocracy of Moscow who saw him as naught but a quaint, religious wanderer, he is still mocked by historians and artists and is considered to have cause the demise of an aristocracy that was already crumbling under itself and an insane Tsarina. GOOD ON YOU, HISTORIANS.

Put’em on a pole

[Courtesy of sandb]: The post has been given a substantial plastic surgery. There is nothing as weird as Vlad III the Impaler going on.

Apart from having become more civilized, why don’t we hang pirates anymore? Well. It’s cruel, of course. There are many good reasons for why not to hang people, and at that, many good reasons for not having a death penalty at all.

In 2008 the issue of what to do with, or how to punish, pirates caught in the Red Sea was, according to WSJ, uncertain. Now, they shall die! Horribly! They shall now be put in American prisons. For a life time. By American hands! That is certainly [a very] certain [sentence].

South Korea applies very capital measures against pirates. Which may or may not be worse, of course.

put'em on a pole

India, gracefully, just arrests 61 of them. A Seychelle courts has sent some to jail. European countries, it appears, also sentence pirates to jail.

Pirates have previously been sent to neighbouring country Kenya for trials. Kenya is now over-crowded with piracy cases and El País notes that talks of international courts in the UN Security Council are at the same time accompanied by criticism of calling this a war on piracy. They are wrong. Wars are very trendy.

Not only can you impose on Somalis capital measures. You can also capitalise on Somalis.

With recent American measures against African conmen, I wonder quietly what will happen with the Nigerian 410 scammers recently caught in Californa. Although they seem to have ran their operations from the US.

My hearts are extended to the losses for Pirate Families.

Ser inte, får inte, läsa

Jag väljer att hålla mig lite utanför diskussionerna om datalagringsdirektivet, som ju ändå i vilket fall bordlags ett år nu. Det känns som FRA 2008! Ja!

I Europakommissionen tycker kommissionären för den inre marknaden herr Michel Barnier inte att blinda ska få läsa. Världsorganisationen för blinda har tillsammans med Knowledge Ecology International och Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue arbetat i flera år, i Geneve, i Bryssel och i Washington för att få till ett avtal om undantag i licensrätterna för blinda så att tillgängligheten för böcker anpassade för synskadade ska bli mer lättillgängliga. USA och EU har vägrat i sten, gruppen av afrikanska länder i WIPO har varit skeptiska eftersom de tycker att undantagen borde utsträckas till alla former av licenser, och den 26 februari har så Världsorganisationen för blinda slutligen dragit sig ur diskussionerna efter de inte kommer någon vart.

Europaparlamentet har visserligen försökt gå till kamp för blindas rättigheter. David Hammerstein från TACD har arbetat länge med avtalet och anordnat flera konferenser om vikten av tillgång till böcker för blinda. Världsorganisationen för blinda säger att de kommer att fortsätta kämpa för ett avtal som stödjer deras medlemmars rätt till kultur.

Det är lite deprimerande, hela det här boktillgänglighetsprojektet. En man vid namn Mopski [sic!] anser att Google i sin digitalisering av världskulturen inte tar vara på visuella artisters intressen. Vidare är Googles digitaliseringsprojekt inte uppskattat i Frankrike.

Men, materialet går i alla fall att få tag på. Jag läste någonstans, någon gång, att blinda i Uruguay har totalt 19 böcker de kan läsa. I Nicaragua har de 48 böcker. Att dela med sig av böckerna över nationsgränserna går inte för då får man licenseringsproblem. Vill minnas att Norge inte var lika dogmatiska som Europeiska unionen, och EU var i sin tur inte lika dogmatiska som USA. Många länder lät bli att stödja Treaty for the Blind av principskäl för de tycker de har väldigt stora problem med upphovsrätt överlag och behöver bredare undantag. Det är förvisso sant, men det ska man inte använda som skäl att missgynna blinda. BRIC-länderna har i alla fall inte ställt sig helt ogina till avtalet, vilket alltid är nåt, men de är inte ensamma kapabla att driva igenom avtalet. Europaparlamentets ställningstagande kan förhoppningsvis leda till en förändring av EU:s ståndpunkt. Vi får se.

Save yourself from Zombie Laws



As I reported two days ago, and is now noted also by Walter van Holst, a recent South Korean DDoS attack may in fact be a malicious attempt at sneaking through an oppressive law allowing the government to snoop commercial and private traffic alike. The European security agency ENISA published two reports on botnets not long ago, but appears to be supporting the idea of internet service providers notifying their customers of a potential infection instead.

Regardless of which security analyst you talk to, they will say that users are the true compromisors of security. The South Korean authorities appear to have taken this very literally, and while I didn’t check if the strategy pursued by the Austrialian authorities and promoted by ENISA is actually helping users and ISPs it is clear that public authorities feel that users are not inclined and will not be inclined to take responsibility for their own security. Because botnets suck up bandwidth, the ISP is already tried on private initiative in some places although it appears to be a while ago. To my understanding this experience was discontinued since it’s easy to forge being an ISP suggesting that you’re infected..

At least one friend reacted to me in private saying that this proposal is an attack on democracy. It is, but it’s just one among many, and many of the others are already enacted. As I’ve said in many discussions about trade agreements I think that our democratic powers are already quite limited by the fact that decisions are taken way over our heads. South Korea has signed two trade agreements that make mandatory severe repercussions against filesharing only within the last year, so clearly the South Korean government has already outsourced privacy to private actors. The other argument is the loss of free speech online that many other people have brought up in relation to Apple, Facebook, Google and other commercial actors who’s activities with respect to users can’t really be monitored or controlled. Presumably there at least one technical argument against, but nobody I know seems to be able to think of any.

Just like speed cameras though, you would expect there to be lots of fines in South Korea about this, but the danger to users and to the government is not very likely to decrease at all. Internet users, like drivers, are not likely to keep track of everything and update all their software or car tires as often as they should.

The public procurement process is likely to lead to very few, or even just the one, security company getting the entire responsibility for helping the government determine what is dangerous and what is not. Public procurement sadly isn’t as transparent as it should be, and it’s very easy for public authorities to default on a specific vendor because it’s convenient. 98% of all computers in South Korea run Microsoft Windows. Government documents are only available for users running Windows. I’d feel uncomfortable with the same amount of power ending up with a single security company as are, presumably, all former customers of HBGary. So added security from this aspect is unlikely

Even if you, like ENISA suggests, would ”outsource” the responsibility of warning users to an ISP, I simply can’t believe that this is a good solution. I’ve written many angry posts about ISPs and I don’t trust them for squat. Telefónicas business strategies, or for that matter Comcast’s, Verizon’s or even Eircom’s strategies do not fill me with confidence that these people will either warn me or warn me in a way that doesn’t primarily serve their business interests – at the expense of both me and my security. Added security from this aspect is also unlikely.

A counter-proposal would be to introduce computer security as a mandatory subject in basic education. That’s probably the most useful way of spending public money. Everyone should know how to secure a home network, protect themselves against viruses and know the risk of viruses, or encrypt a harddrive. But when I talk to people who stopped studying even five years ago, very few of them remember any of the mathematics they studied so the system is obviously not flawless. Still, it’s the only measure I can think of that’s worth spending any public money on.

If we’re going to digitize our society I think we’re going to have to live with there being a risk crime in all parts of society. Some people break into your car, other people violate your network security. A much larger problem for society is the fact that our backbone infrastructure, our last mile infrastructure, our internet service provision and our online portals are likely to end up getting owned by the very same companies. Vertical monopolies. I noticed that this is already happening in hardware manufacturing which gives the one or two remaining hardware manufacturers a disproportionate amount of influence on what goes into our hardware – the specifications aren’t open, how are we supposed to know? Just because internet service providers are larger than life and people are not, doesn’t mean you should take the easy route and attempt to secure the networks from the parties that aren’t the biggest threat to secure, and primarily reliable, network infrastructure.

Game Players

Being an avid owner of no gaming consoles what so ever I noticed this morning that the prices of gaming consoles are expected to drop this summer. I doubt it will make me buy one, but what else is, regardless of the prices of gaming consoles the companies making them aren’t exactly encouraging any larger console purchasing binges either. IPKat obtained a fresh analysis of the LG/Sony case, straight from a Dutch court (very legal analysis). 300’000 PS3’s that were detained by Dutch customs officers have now been released and the core of the problem seems to be a vendetta-like conflict going on between Sony and LG relating not only to Blu-Ray technology but also to cellular phones. Apparently LG according to the rules of a business alliance of which both LG and Sony are members technically force LG to license their stuff to Sony. Equivalent obligations for Sony to license cellular phone technology patents to LG do not exist and therefore Sony has blocked LG-branded phone imports to the US. Granted, a game console does not compare with a mobile phone, but most people I know use both, for different purposes. This is childish. This should stop.

Speaking of games and children. I took notice of THQ calling second hand games piracy in September last year, which gaming companies, of course, are making sure to remedy through allowing player enabling registration only the one time. But who would have thought six and a half months ago that someone would suspect that insulting a computer game also would cut them off from being able to register to play the game? Well, it appears to have been a glitch in the EA systems but I wonder quietly how the industry must be treating its users if their first reaction is suspecting that they’re exposed to corporate oppression.

On that side-note, I’ve registered that an (¿in?)famous hacker calls the new PS3 firmware secure. Disimularly, YouTube is not at all secure, at least not for users. All people who have visited any homepage, youtube video, tweet or similar relating to GeoHot can now officially be registered by Sony. I don’t understand what they could possibly be suing him for to require that information. Also, there are many other things I don’t understand about this case. Hardware and software that was not to be handed over shall be definitely handed over. User data that cannot be extracted can be definitely extracted.

Religiösa upplevelser

Ibland är mitt liv lite bättre än jag tror.

Jag har just läst ikapp på min El Reg-feed som jag i en månad noggrannt hållit mig borta ifrån. Med min nyfunna energi upptäckte jag omedelbart att det ökända hackerkollektivet Anonymous har hacketihackat Westboro Baptists. Tydligen misstänker nu några av medlemmarna att aktionen egentligen var en fälla uppsatt av församlingen i syfte att spåra IP-adresser som har använts av bedrägliga individer som brukat det likaledes ökända LOIC-verktyget. Ironiskt nog har den portugisiska regeringen nyligen brukat liknande tarvliga fällor för att spåra användare av den jävulusiska fildelningsteknologin. Åtminstone, får man anta, IP-adresser till användare som inte anonymiserar sitt ondsinta uppsåt.

Medan den luriga busen Jester tar åt sig äran för denna illvilliga antibaptistiska handling kan jag inte hjälpa att undra om det här är ett nogsamt planerat ironiskt skämt. I ljuset av mina skriverier om Jesu nekande av demonen Legions frestelser med åtföljande förening med heliga ande under ett dop utfört av Johannes Döparen, väljer jag att leva i tro. Givet att Kristdemokraterna är Sveriges mesta upphovsrättsförespråkare förstärks mitt hopp än mer.

Jag tycker dock fortfarande att Piratpartiet och dess nya evangelistiska linje kräver en baptistisk motvikt. Har man någon som pratar behöver man någon som agerar. Och ja, jag tycker att IT-industrins användning av ordet ”evangelist” för att beskriva en industrisponsrad reklamare är olämplig. Och ja, jag tycker att det är olämpligt att ordet inkluderas i politiken som benämning för politiska förespråkare.