Saturday, February 16, 2013

Boy, Canada is just begging to be liberated

News today that the IIPA, kinda the global MPAA/RIAA body, is harassing Canada about their new copyright laws.  You can read more detail about it here, but the gist of it is these guys are never going to stop until every country in the world passes laws which guarantee a totally authoritarian internet, where you can be hauled away or sued into oblivion if you download or upload the wrong bits.

Go torrent something "illegal" today, and help save the world.

Be sure to charge for admission, too.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Canada needs to practice critical thinking, too

One characteristic of people that I've noticed over the years is that most folks simply don't even try to see beneath the surface of things.  This is a big mistake, of course, if you really want to understand the world.

For example, when a congresscritter introduces a bill entitled "National Save the Cats Act", you can be quite sure that its main purpose is to eradicate all feline creatures from within the demesnes of the United States.

But you don't call it that.  People like cats.  So you call it something else.

This is what came to mind today when I read about Canada, for the moment, shelving plans to have warrantless internet surveillance of all Canadians.

Interesting that they would want to do this at all.  More interesting was the rationale--child pornography.

So in the United States we have warrantless internet surveillance to protect us from terrorists.  But in Canada it's for kiddie porn.

In China it's for the "good of society".

But what is it really, then?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Injecting into your internet

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging on a daily basis.  I'm not going to kid you--I'm finding it to be a challenge to write about 365 reasons why it's a great idea to expand fair use.  It looks like I started to run out of non-repetitive ammo at only about 200 reasons.  

I'm not going away though, so I hope you'll stick around.  It might just be that I'll post when I think I have something worthwhile to say.  Surely that's not so bad?  But this does count as a fanaticism-fail, so I apologize.  

Today I'm going to talk about injection.  Specifically, your ISP injecting--or removing--things from your internet feed.

First, Cox Cable decided it would be a good idea to inject HTML into your HTML stream to let you know when there is a service outage.  What this means is you are surfing the web, and suddenly you get a popup on whatever web page you're looking at that announces a service outage or whatever.

I spend a lot of time in this space talking about the integrity of information, and the need for integrity in our internet communications (in the sense of not being censored, not candor..although that's good, too).  At first this sounds quite innocuous.  But we know better, don't we?  When I type in the URL to a web page, I expect to have an unaltered communication session with the owner of the server that runs that website.  If my ISP starts injecting stuff in there, I am no longer getting an unfettered and unfiltered internet connection.

Using such technology, an ISP could, for example, make all the text in your browser a different color.   Or alter images and replace them with advertisements.

Slippery slope, that's all I'm saying.

And that dovetails nicely with the report of a French ISP blocking advertisements by default.  Again, sounds fabulous.  Indeed, most malware is served via advertisements, these days.

But it's not what you paid for.  What are they going to block next?

Not to mention, I've already run into a couple sites where all the actual content is served from an ad server--so no ads, no content.  It's another arms race on the internet....

Now, an option to block ads, I think that would be great.

The integrity of our communications must not be threatened, whether it's injection, blocking, or shaping torrent traffic.  Or we're just like China.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Patenting sucking

Amazon has apparently patented the artificial scarcity of digital goods.  Very nice.

So instead of allowing computers and the internet to make information as freely available as possible, we need to go out of our way to limit that potential.

I've gone on and on about this in this space before.  Maybe it's a defensive patent?  I don't know.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mega money mega problems

If you haven't yet seen the footage of the Kim Dotcom copyright raid treat yourself to the beginning of this video.  And keep saying to yourself "this is about copyright infringement, this is about copyright infringement" over and over.

Bizarre.  I'm surprised they didn't just send a Tomohawk missile to blow up his house.

Kim is a huge douche, but you have to admit it takes some balls to continue on with your piracy-supporting ways after having your house raided by SWAT style teams.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Owning vs. renting

A consumer organization in Germany is suing Valve software over the right of resell of digital products.  The issue is that customers who "buy" games via Valve's Steam online service do not have the capability to resell the games they own.

On the one hand, my own argument is that digits are not real and it generally makes little sense to consider them property, per se.  On the other hand, people paid good money to "own" the games according to Valve's own fiction, but then the are denied commonly agreed-on rights of resell.

What to do, what to do.  I did like one Slashdot commenter's (sjones) barb:

"In the west, Communism is decried in part because it doesn't respect the concept of personal property. None of 'your' stuff is owned by you. So why, given that, should we accept for even one second a culture where we only rent and license things from corporate owners? We can't even be said to own the license since there are so many ways a 'permanent' license can just evaporate."

Hahaha.  Love it.  We're going to have to work with that concept some more.

Corporate Communism forever!