Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tories Table Surveillance Bills or: Welcome to 1984, Please Sign in at the Front Desk

Surveillance

Last week, the Government of Canada reintroduced legislation that will strengthen the state's ability to monitor the online activity of its citizens. Ostensibly billed as a means of combating child predators and terrorists, the bills would turn the Internet—once a bastion of freedom and liberty—into a virtual police state.

The legislation would allow police and intelligence agencies to circumvent the court system by intercepting online communications and obtaining personal information about Internet users without obtaining a warrant. It also forces private Internet service providers to install costly monitoring equipment on their networks to facilitate big brother.

The two bills—known as the Investigative Power for the 21st Century Act and the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act—were first introduced in the summer of 2009, but died on the order paper when Parliament was prorogued last Christmas. At the time they were originally introduced, I wrote a series of feature articles for the Western Standard, explaining what the legislation means and how people can protect themselves. The first article takes an in-depth look at the legislation and why freedom loving Canadians should be concerned. The second looks at a number of technologies that allow people to subvert government surveillance.

Although it is possible to take steps to protect your privacy on the Internet, we would all be far better off if this legislation does not become law. The last time it was before Parliament, it did not garner very much media attention. Months after the legislation was introduced, a number of my colleagues who study communications and are concerned with Internet privacy, were completely unaware of the situation. This time around, I have already heard people argue that it doesn't matter, because they have nothing to hide and their personal information is already in the hands of large corporations.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As Thomas Jefferson once said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." While it's true that companies like Google and Facebook collect our personal information, there are fundamental differences between private businesses and the government. First, we have some control over what ends up in the hands of these companies. Second, we know they are using this information for marketing purposes. The government's intentions are always less clear and more nefarious.

And you better believe we have something to worry about when it comes to big brother spying on us. Especially when it enhances the state's ability to track people who think they are speaking anonymously.

This country has seen many attacks on free speech in recent years. Human rights commissions went after Ezra Levant for publishing some cartoons; they persecuted Mark Steyn for publishing an excerpt of his book; they tried to slap an Alberta pastor with a lifetime publication ban for writing an op-ed on gay marriage. Meanwhile, prosecutors in Quebec are charging a horror film maker with violating obscenity laws. Do you really think they won't come after you or I next?

[Cross-posted on jesse.kline.ca]

Posted by Jesse Kline on November 9, 2010 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Death of Internet Freedom

I first started using the Internet in the early 1990s. I remember tying-up our household's one telephone line as I dialled into the Internet and surfed the web with a text-based browser. Back then the possibilities seemed endless. The Evil Empire had fallen and with it, the threat of a communist world had ended. And here we had this new communications medium, which was free from government control. Back then the Internet was often compared with the Wild West. This inspired images of the lone cowboy, at liberty to do as he pleased, to travel wherever the wind may take him, free from any authorities telling him what to do and think. The Internet was something organic, an interconnected world of communities built from the ground-up by individuals acting of their own volition. This was a world where the politicians—who told us how to live, who took our hard-earned money, and who always had their fingers close to the little red button with the power to destroy the world—were no longer needed.

For many years, governments took a hands-off approach to the Internet and the world witnessed technological innovations that were beyond our wildest dreams. From the creation of e-mail and the World Wide Web, to the browser wars of the '90s, to the creation of online payment systems, streaming video, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, and the open source movement, a spirit of competition and innovation created the modern-day Internet. Likewise, personal web pages, blogs, and other technologies have given people around the world the ability to express themselves to a mass audience. The low barriers to entry that the technology provides created a marketplace of ideas that is unparallelled in any other communications medium and at any other point in history.

Yet, all this seems to have changed. Nowadays people portray Internet service providers as the big bad wolf, arguing that government must step-in to save us from the multinational corporations. They say that government must spy on us to protect us from terrorism. That our ideas should be censored because they might offend someone else. They ignore that government is the one entity that can hold a gun to our heads and call it justice; the one entity that can take our money and call it charity; while companies operating in a competitive market have every incentive to provide people with what they want. At the same time, governments are introducing strict laws that prevent people from using the technology to its full potential. Laws that prevent us from sharing our lives and participating in our own culture.

It is now clear that the Wild West is gone and in its place we have something far more tame and much less free. The Internet, however, has become an indispensable tool in many of our lives. People rely on it for business, education, entertainment, and communication. The future of the Internet is, therefore, more important than ever. My new website Fencing the Digital Horizon: How Government Regulations Threaten Internet Freedom, produced as part of my masters thesis, explores the issues of copyright law and net neutrality in Canada from a libertarian perspective.

Posted by Jesse Kline on April 7, 2010 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (21)

Monday, September 14, 2009

TVO's Jesse Brown: "All publicly funded content should be in the public domain"

Jesse Brown, host of TVO's Search Engine podcast has a guest post up at Boing Boing. In it he makes an "unpopular" case:

A few years ago I hosted a mini-series for CBC Radio called The Contrarians, a show about "unpopular ideas that just might be right". Each week I'd take a controversial opinion and try it on for size. Sometimes the show was serious, sometimes it was silly- I rarely agreed with the positions I took, but operated on the principle that no idea is so radical or offensive that we should be forbidden to contemplate it (if only to learn why we should discard it). The CBC brass was incredibly supportive of the project and I was given license to explore a lot of unorthodox subject matter. Topics included:

  • Multiculturalism doesn't work (we just eat each other's sandwiches).
  • Feminism isn't dead, it's just finished (take a bow, ladies- you won!).
  • It's a myth- Canadians aren't funny.
  • Copyright should be abolished.

I'd love to link to these shows now, but I can't. They were never posted online or offered as podcasts. I tried posting them on my personal website, and was instructed to take them down by CBC management. I was told I was violating their copyright. Every now and then I'll get an email from a teacher or listener requesting an episode of The Contrarians, and I have to explain that I'd be breaking the law to send one.

Let's put aside my personal frustration at having my work locked away. The real question here is, since CBC content is funded by the public, shouldn't the public own it? Or at least have access to it? Actually, the CBC archives are just the tip of the iceberg: the overwhelming majority of stuff made for Canadians with Canadians' money is inaccessible to Canadians.

In Canada, movies are supported by Telefilm, TV by the Canadian Television Fund, books and art by The Canada Council for the Arts, and so on. But most of this stuff isn't distributed very well or for very long, and you can only get your hands on a fraction of it.

So I want to put forth one more contrarian position: I think that any publicly funded content should (within, say, 5 years of its creation) be released to the public domain.

Thoughts?

Sounds logical to me. Of course, I'm not convinced that ideas are property that can be owned nor that the government should be even funding media and the arts, but crown copyrights limiting our access to content provided supposedly "for our own good" through money taken from us through coercive taxes--that's just downright silly. The beneficiaries are certainly not the consumers or taxpayers, and the normal argument that copyrights are necessary to incentivise content creation doesn't apply here as in the private sector.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on September 14, 2009 in Media, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Government wants to spy on Internet users: learn how to protect yourself

Surveillance_camera

In my latest series of articles written for the Western Standard, I take a look two pieces of legislation that were introduced in the House of Commons before the summer recess. The proposed legislation would force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to install costly monitoring equipment on their networks and give the government expanded powers to monitor its citizens Internet use.

In the first article, entitled Government of Canada moves to monitor Internet users, I look at what the legislation says and what it means to Canadians:

The legislation would create additional requirements for ISPs and expand police powers. These ISP requirements can be broken down into two components. First, ISPs will be required to install costly surveillance equipment on their networks. Part of the cost will fall to taxpayers while the remainder will be carried by the companies themselves. Some smaller ISPs will be exempt from this requirement for a period of three years, creating an unfair burden on the larger, more successful companies. Second, the legislation would require that all ISPs give personal information to the government, including the names of their customers, as well as their IP, e-mail, and mailing addresses—on demand and without any judicial oversight.

Police will also gain expanded powers under this legislation. First, they will be able to obtain information about Internet-based messaging, including tracking what sites people are visiting and who they are communicating with. This information will be subject to a judicial order. Second, police will be able to order ISPs to preserve data on their customers. Third, police will be able to obtain a warrant to remotely activate tracking devices in technologies such as cellular telephones. Fourth, the legislation also deals with computer viruses and makes it easier for the government to coordinate its efforts with international governments.

There are numerous problems with the proposed legislation that should be alarming to freedom loving Canadians. It forces private business to not only be complicit in the government's attempt to spy on its citizens, it also forces them to shoulder much of the financial responsibility for the new policy. As such, some ISPs may be forced out of business. In addition, the legislation gives law enforcement officials unprecedented access to private communications and forces ISPs to preserve private data and disclose subscribers identities.

In the second article, entitled How to thwart government surveillance and censorship online, I explore the various technologies that are available to protect your privacy and thwart government censors:

The Canadian government recently introduced legislation that would expand its powers to monitor Canadians Internet activity. Even though the legislation has not yet been passed into law, we already know that governments around the world are monitoring Internet communications. Luckily, there is an abundance of ways to help protect your privacy in cyberspace. The main obstacle to many of these technologies becoming commonplace is a lack of users. For example, it is possible to send encrypted e-mails, but unless the other people within your social network are using the technology, no one will be able to read your messages. If enough people are concerned about protecting their privacy, we may see the critical mass of people necessary to seamlessly integrate some of these technologies into our daily computing experience. Detailed below are some of the ways to protect yourself on the Internet.

Both articles are available at westernstandard.ca.

Posted by Jesse Kline on July 15, 2009 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (14)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My introductory post: How people Twittered the Canadian Election

Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Jesse Kline and I am new here at The Shotgun. I am a student entering my final year of the Masters of Journalism program at the University of British Columbia, where I've gained experience blogging and reporting for TheThunderbird.ca. I hope the apply the skills I've acquired through this experience to my work at the Western Standard, where I'll be interning over the summer.

I have many interests, but my formal training is in the areas of public policy analysis and information technology. While these may seem like two very different fields, I strongly believe that using free software technologies in the public service can help reduce government spending and end our reliance on foreign monopolies. There are also many issues relating to online privacy and freedom of information that should be important to any freedom-loving individual.

Most recently, I completed a content analysis of Twitter to find out how people were using the popular micro-blogging service during the 2008 Canadian federal election. From the article:

I signed up for a Twitter account last October and I was determined to figure out what all the fuss was about. One of the first things I did was sit down on election night and watch the stream of tweets posted to the #canadavotes hashtag. I still didn't get it. Many people were twittering the election results, but I could get the same information from the mainstream media and I was pretty sure that most Twitter users were just rebroadcasting the stuff they were seeing on television. So I tried insulting the Green Party, but not too many people took my bait. It didn't appear to be a forum for political debate, not to mention that the sheer volume of tweets flying by made it next to impossible to keep up with everything that was going on.

Read the rest here.

Posted by Jesse Kline on April 19, 2009 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Imagine reading the news on your home computer



(h/t Buzzfeed)

Posted by Kalim Kassam on January 28, 2009 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Robots are everywhere, takin' our jobs!

Over on Reason's Hit & Run, Katherine Mangu-Ward points people to this interesting set of statistics about the distribution of robots in the world. Here's the nifty chart:

Data02

Are robots ready to take over for humans? Not yet, apparently. Here's a robot trying to climb some stairs with limited success:

UPDATE: No, I don't think robots are taking away jobs. The post title was a reference to this bit from South Park:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 9, 2009 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CRTC may bankrupt Canadian online businesses, reduce choice, and censor

I don't really need to offer any commentary. This piece by Michael Geist in the Toronto Star pretty much speaks for itself:

Those promoting a regulatory approach propose a range of measures. For example, SOCAN calls for the introduction of a minimum of 51 per cent Canadian content requirements for Canadian commercial websites. ACTRA argues the commission should licence new media undertakings, arguing ``the commission should also require that those who are making programs available from Canada, through the Internet or to mobile receiving devices, for viewing at a time and place chosen by the user be licensed.'' In fact, ACTRA maintains that the definition of Internet broadcasting should be expansively interpreted to even include user-generated content, which could turn thousands of Canadians into regulated broadcasters.

Posted by Mike Brock on December 17, 2008 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ric Dolphin Writes Again

Although loath to use another of those horrible words  concocted by the geeks  who, sadly, have inherited the world, there seems to be no avoiding it. I now have a "blog" which I shall endeavor to update at least every Monday and which you are invited to visit at, ricdolphin.com
Be aware that, unlike when I wrote for Western Standard magazine, I am not being  censored for language. I am also not specifically writing about politics, although the subject may be broached on occasion.  Be assured, however, that I shall never  use "blog" as  a verb.

Posted by Ric Dolphin on July 9, 2008 in Aboriginal Issues, American History, Books, Canadian Conservative Politics, Canadian History, Canadian Politics, Canadian Provincial Politics, Crime, Current Affairs, Film, Humour, International Affairs, International Politics, Media, Military, Municipal Politics, Religion, Science, Television, Trade, Travel, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Western Standard, WS Radio, WStv | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Copyrights – Qui Bono?

The Government has it all wrong on their new copyright bill. They are blowing a historic opportunity to reach out to young voters over an issue they actually care about and to put the left in a horrible bind. There’s still time – some – to reverse course and make a historic, bold, and utterly ruthless move. Not that I expect it to happen – this government hasn’t shown itself to be much in any of those departments.

Let’s talk about copyright law for the moment – why it exists and why the government wants to strengthen it. Copyright laws were instituted to give authors and creators the exclusive rights to their work in order to make sure that they could make money off of it. These laws, historically, have been far weaker than they are at the present time – a result of intensive lobbying by the entertainment industry over the years. It’s worth remembering that, had they gotten their way in the 1970’s, the VCR would have been banned. The entertainment industry wants restrictive copyright laws which prevent people from stealing their work. That’s an impulse I can understand. They also want to prevent people from modifying the form of their work, so that people are forced to purchase multiple copies of the same – for example, forcing you to buy a song once on a CD and once in MP3 format. That, I would argue, is less defensible.


Now, why does this government want to strengthen copyright laws? The short answer is two-sided. First, they’re under some degree of international pressure to do so, as Canada’s copyright laws are notably weaker than the global average. The second is that, in general, the average age of the Ministers and Bureaucrats in this government (in all governments, for that matter) is high enough that they simply don’t get this stuff and, thus, their natural law and order instincts drive them towards a tougher response to “piracy.”


What this debate misses altogether is the key question about this law – qui bono? Who benefits? Who is seeking these sorts of laws? The answer is: the big entertainment conglomerates, specifically the lazy and disoriented ones.


Internet piracy of media is time-intensive, bandwidth hogging, and places its practitioners at risk for any number of internet-related maladies. I buy my music from iTunes because it is reasonably priced, easy-to-do, and quick. I – and most other people – don’t have the time or inclination to venture either through the Torrents or the aging remnants of the old peer-to-peer networks in search of a song that could otherwise be had for $1.


The same is true for movies and television, though in Canada the alternatives are still in their infancy (iTunes movies having become available only last week with the television selection still limited and with Amazon Unbox and Hulu being inaccessible). I, for one, use a TiVo imported from the United States – a simple, no-fuss solution which delivers the media I want at a reasonable price.


Who will benefit the most from a crackdown on illegal downloading? The answer is obvious – the old-line entertainment bosses who don’t want the world to change. The morons who spend $200 Million making movies that no one wants to watch and millions more signing musicians who no one wants to listen to. A crackdown will slow the impetus on the content providers to sign deals which bring people media the way that they want when they want and instead encourage them to hold-fast to their old strategy of delivering it the way the bosses want when the bosses want.


After all, let’s get real here – the actual evidence that any of this stuff has a major effect on Hollywood’s bottom line is minimal, at best. I have a hard time believing that Evan Almighty tanked because ten million people watched a copy shot by some guy with a handicam in Montreal rather than spending $12 to see it in the theatres. A lot of this whining is a fig leaf to cover up the fact that the entertainment industry spends most of its time lavishing obscene amounts of money on projects without any obvious commercial viability.


More to the point – big entertainment doesn’t support conservatives (small or big C). They don’t give them their votes, their voices, or their money. Screw them.


On the other hand, the left does rely on the entertainment industry for money and support. Less so here in Canada – but that element is still there. Let the left carry water for the MPAA and the RIAA at the risk of alienating the young.


Instead of this nonsense, the government should scrap the copyright bill and replace it on the docket with one which tears down the barriers to Canada’s full ascension to the 21st Century in terms of technology and entertainment. Do away with the laws which prevent international telecommunications providers from entering the market. Let us have HBO, Showtime, and so forth direct from the source. Let Barnes and Noble open up a new mega-store in Vancouver. Let me finally buy the damned Kindle that I’ve been lusting after.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on June 15, 2008 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (65) | TrackBack

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Made in China: It Might be Expensive, But it's Still Junk

One of the downsides of made-in-China stuff is that, while it might be cheap, it's still junk.  It's just that, ten years ago, in general you only got junk if you were buying the same.

In the past week, I've had the following items die on me:

a) My iPhone headset.

b) An adapter plug to use a conventional headset with my iPhone.

c) A Logitech wireless mouse.

d) A wireless router.

None of these items were cheap off-brand knock-offs.  They were all either relatively high-end products or accessories.  None of them was much more than a year old (the router, I believe, was the oldest item at thirteen months).

(Continued after the break, if you want to learn a lot more about my present and future electronics)

The interesting thing is that, for the most part, I replaced these with more or less identical items.  Indeed - I drove literally minutes ahead of the snowstorm which blanketed the Lower Mainland in order to replace my iPhone headset at the AT&T store in Bellingham, WA (yes, I realize that this is probably further evidence that I'm deranged, but I'm cool with that).  The mouse, I bought another Logitech mouse - but actually went up to one of their VX Revolution models.

But, for the most part, that was because of a lack of a reasonable alternative.

My point isn't just to whine - it's that there's a market opening here.  If someone were to manufacture products of a deliberately superior quality - and to advertise touting their relaibility at fairly reasonable prices - I would pay a premium.

Indeed, I'm in the market to consolidate my mess of computers (three in use at present) into a single unit, for reasons of portability.  I'm looking at either getting one of the current-generation MacBook Pro's refurbished from Apple, or waiting for the Penryn-based Pro's to ship.  But, frankly, as an avid reader of Apple forums, I'm a little concerned about the generation-after-generation reliability problems that we've seen in the Pro's (everything in the first gen, and all sorts of LED-related fun in the present gen).  The result is that I'm thinking of a T62 ThinkPad as an alternative which, despite also being Chinese-made, seems to have a much better track record so far as reliability is concerned.

Though, I don't think that will happen - since I'm kind of in love with the MacBook Pro.  More than kind-of, actually.  I want a brand-new one as badly as...  Well, I'll just leave it at that.

Of course, the biggest part of the manufacturing problem is that the Chinese are able to work unbelievably cheaply becuase they've replicated in an economic sense their traditional approach to warfare - the human wave.  When you have a lot of people and don't care too much about their living conditions (don't have to care, for that matter) you can simply throw people into producing notebook computers - or at machine gun nests - and eventually numbers will tell, unless technology offsets mass.

And there's where the West's real chance lies.  Human waves aren't terribly effective against people with fully automatic weapons.  "For we have got the Maxim gun, and they have not," said the British a century ago.  That's the real secret to beating back the Chinese economic threat - we need the economic equivilant of a Maxim gun. 

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on January 30, 2008 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Raving Leftist Steals iPod, Leaves Note

Maybe it's because I'm tired, but I almost fell out of the chair after reading this story.

In summary, a girl opened her iPod box on Christmas to find a note denouncing "capitalist garbage" and encouraging her, instead, to go and read a book.

What happened to the iPod isn't mentioned but, if I was asked to bet, I would guess that whichever freakish doped-up left-wing "culture jammer" decided that it was good enough for me but not for thee.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on December 29, 2007 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Friday, October 05, 2007

iPhone Release in Canada?

The strange rumour of the day: the iPhone at Holt Renfrew?

To say the least, it’s a bit odd.  Though, it’s off-the-wall enough that I can’t help but think that there might be something to it.  The quoted price point of $799 is, of course, twice that of the U.S. – which makes it all the stranger.

My guess, if it’s true, is that Apple might be at some kind of stand-still with Rogers.  In particular, it seems that Apple has made a large and affordable data package a basic requirement for anyone who wishes to market the iPhone and Rogers – the only Canadian cell phone carrier capable of deploying the iPhone – seems disinclined to offer such a deal.

Of course, I already have an unlocked iPhone up on the Rogers/Fido network – as do many others.  Indeed, one can’t visit a mall cell phone kiosk without seeing one at $699 or so.  So, perhaps, Apple’s decided – seeing the number of unlocked iPhones moving in Canada at such a price – to release their own version at a price point which would prevent it from being widely sold internationally.

It goes a lot without saying that this would all be a lot easier if this country had a telecommunications policy which made some semblance of sense.  One might argue that our obscene cell phone rates are tied directly to the resistance against foreign entry into the Canadian telecommunications network.  After all, one of the most popular and competitive US Carriers in T-Mobile, which is German-based.  T-Mobile, I ought to add, also operates in the United Kingdom and numerous other European nations without the world ending.

There’s are reason why the CRTC is persistently the most annoying and upsetting arm of the Canadian Government.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on October 5, 2007 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The CRA in cyberspace

I hope no one thought they could avoid the long arm of the Canadian taxman by setting up shop on Ebay. They're about to get a rude awakening. The Canada Revenue Agency just won a Federal Court order forcing Ebay Canada to hand over all information on high-volume sellers from 2004 and 2005 so the CRA can make sure they paid tax on that income. I guess Ebay's privacy policy isn't much good when the taxman is involved.

Posted by Matthew Stuart on September 27, 2007 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Travels with Marmite

Gee, I can almost hear my ol' gran saying it: They can put a man on the moon, but they still can't stop spam (except that granny [RIP] never used a computer). BCS: Spam still failing to be canned

"Some 95 per cent of all email messages currently being received is spam, new figures have revealed.

Statistics from the latest Spamometer survey by technology firm Ipswitch have shown that this is the highest level since the study began."

It must work, spamming; otherwise they wouldn't do it. (Here's a little evidence of that.) Spam is like the Nigerian scam, it never dies--though I had formed the mistaken impression it was dwindling. As long as there is an Internet there will be spam . . . and the Nigerian scam. At least Scan-o-rama is still having fun. They not only receive, but reply to, interesting scam/spam letters. Note: This time they're toying with some guy in Ivory Coast. Sir Marmite Luny-Binns receives a fabulous offer (Nigerian scam) from a Dannis Attiba.

Posted by Kevin Steel on September 26, 2007 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Parking solutions

Bourque links to this story, about a system that provides motorists real-time information on available parking spaces. My wife and I were in Geneva recently, and we noticed that the city has just such a system in place, using electronic reader boards at various locations to list available spots at four (as I recall) downtown parkades. Just thought I'd mention it.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 22, 2007 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The new model for the Internet is . . . Communist China?

This was how President Clinton viewed Communist China's effort to crackdown on the Internet: "Now, there's no question China has been trying to crack down on the Internet -- good luck.  That's sort of like trying to nail Jello to the wall."

Seven years later, Amnesty International had this to say about said Communist crackdown:

The Chinese model of an internet that allows economic growth but not free speech or privacy is growing in popularity, from a handful of countries five years ago to dozens of governments today who block sites and arrest bloggers.

It appears Jello has become the wallpaper of choice for liberty-haters around the globe.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on June 6, 2007 in International Affairs, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

A new computing 'eco-system'

Nothing political about this blog posting, just a link to four-minute video about some mind-blowing innovations in computer interfaces. (One of my sons emailed me the link with a one-word description: WOW!) Interactive tabletop is one way of describing it. This stuff is really cool.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 6, 2007 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I don't mean to brag (Oh yes I do)

The BBC "broke" a story on the latest example of corruption in Communist China (last item); what makes this more surprising is that it's in the computer sector (where one would expect the cadres would make sure such things did not happen).

So why did I put "broke" in quotes?  Because the BBC was almost two months behind the Epoch Times - and (ahem!) yours truly (last item).

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 16, 2006 in International Affairs, Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Friday, May 12, 2006

Communist phishing expedition

Among the many interesting nuggets of news today was this report about a Communist-owned bank (fifth item):

Regime-owned bank hosts phishing sites targeting Americans: China Construction Bank's website "is hosting phishing sites targeting US banks and financial institutions" (vnunet). Customers of Chase Bank and EBay were specifically targeted. CCB has a history of corruption (sixteenth and seventh items) and bad loans (twenty-first item), for which it needed for tens of billions in bailout money (twenty-fourth item).

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 12, 2006 in International Affairs, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sunday, November 27, 2005

XM Radio's CanCon offering

A first look at some of XM Radio's new Canadian channels which officially launch Nov 29th.

Posted by CharLeBois on November 27, 2005 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Windows Vista

It's official, the first beta of Windows Vista is now available for download. Check here for screenshots, as well as Microsoft's published fact sheet. My first impression is it looks cool. However, keep in mind this OS was basically 5 years in the making. From 1990 to 1995, Microsoft went from Windows 3.0 to Win95. Obviously things have cooled off since 2001. I still think that the "damn kids these days" should have to learn to navigate C:\> before we let them get lazy with a pretty GUI. Damn kids...

HT:NeoWin CP'd:Highway 401 Blog

Posted by CharLeBois on July 27, 2005 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Bring the Fight to the Enemy

Together, we can destroy the spam industry:

In a novel if potentially controversial effort to fight spam, a firm called Blue Security this week begins distributing the beta of a free program that, once installed on your PC, makes it part of a community that works to cripple Web sites run by spammers.

"Most spam fighting tools that filter or block spam are never going to stop spammers from sending more spam," says Eran Reshef, founder and chief executive officer of Blue Security. He believes that fighting back by "inducing loss" against spammers is the only way to eventually stop spam.

Posted by CharLeBois on July 19, 2005 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Eiffel Tower repossessed

Brian Micklethwait reports at Samizdata that SNTE, the company that maintains the Eiffel Tower, "adorned it with a distinctive lighting display, copyrighted the design, and in one feel swoop, reclaimed the nighttime image and likeness of the most popular monument on earth. In short: they changed the actual likeness of the tower, and then copyrighted that. As a result, it's no longer legal to publish current photographs of the Eiffel Tower at night without permission." (More about this here.) Micklethwait then makes a few observations about what it means for the intellectual property rights of open-air photography and internet display. It appears that there will be follow-up, perhaps at CNE Intellectual Property, as he is just beginning to explore this fascinating issue.

Posted by Paul Tuns on February 15, 2005 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Cuz everyone has a website

Even the eccentric cat-loving lil' old ladies have a website now: Crazy Cat Ladies Society. And no, this is not porn.

(Hat tip to Kemmick)

Posted by Paul Tuns on January 23, 2005 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Everything old is new again

Are the baffling and redundant itemized costs on your phone bill pushing you slowly to the brink of apoplexy? Annoyed Canadian Jon Fraser, a Bell Canada customer, is examining one possibility for retaliatory sabotage.

(Via Marc Weisblott's Better Living Centre)

Posted by Colby Cosh on December 4, 2004 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, September 06, 2004

Cracked

"All your password are belong to us."

Posted by Kate McMillan on September 6, 2004 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, July 23, 2004

The news here is that Slate is still around

Howard Kurtz is reporting that both the New York Times and Washington Post, among others, is interested in buying Slate from Microsoft. Now I'm joking about Slate when I say that it is news that it still exists, but other than the Kausfiles, what else is worth reading? Really, what does the money-losing, on-line magazine format bring to either the Times or the Post?

Posted by Paul Tuns on July 23, 2004 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack