War Against TRUTH: WikiLeaks’ Month of Hell

March 28, 2009

Source: WikiLeaks

wikileak.jpg

Information longs to be free. Setting it free, that’s the tough part.

March Madness. When WikiLeaks first started as a “whistle-blowing” site not long ago, they knew they would be in for some major fights in their quest to to get the truth out in the form of leaked documents. Somehow, despite lawsuit-happy suits, government thugs, and technical glitches, they managed to survive and even thrive to get privileged insider information out. But March 2009 is becoming a major test for the sunshine site because of lists of “banned” sites that they posted.

Things actually started last December when they published Denmark’s secret censorship site list, which includes some 3863 sites as of February 2009, with some legitimate sites being caught in the anti-child porn hysteria.

The list is generated without judicial or public oversight and is kept secret by the ISPs using it. Unaccountability is intrinsic to such a secret censorship system.

The list has been leaked because cases such as Thailand and Finland demonstrate that once a secret censorship system is established for pornographic content the same system can rapidly expand to cover other material, including political material, at the worst possible moment — when government needs reform.

On March 18, they published Norway’s blacklist for the same reason. Then Australia chimed in, and things started getting nasty…

 

Down Under Lowdown. Australia is preparing its own Internet “filtering” scam… scheme… whatever, and already the dingo-do is hitting the fans. The Australian Communications and Media Authority, or ACMA, said that it would fine anyone who hyperlinked to a banned site $11K/day. They threatened the host of an Internet forum with the fine for a link to a US anti-abortion site (link) to flex their muscles, then added WikiLeaks to their blacklist. WikiLeaks then published the ACMA’s blacklist (Latest version).

Things started to get personal Australia’s Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Steven Conroy, threaten to go after WikiLeaks and their source. WikiLeaks’ response:

“Under the Swedish Constitution’s Press Freedom Act, the right of a confidential press source to anonymity is protected, and criminal penalties apply to anyone acting to breach that right.

Wikileaks source documents are received in Sweden and published from Sweden so as to derive maximum benefit from this legal protection. Should the Senator or anyone else attempt to discover our source we will refer the matter to the Constitutional Police for prosecution, and, if necessary, ask that the Senator and anyone else involved be extradited to face justice for breaching fundamental rights.”

Senator Conroy may wish to consider the position of the South African Competition Commission, which decided to cancel its own high profile leak investigation in January after being advised of the legal ramifications of interfering with Sunshine Press sources.

For the record, WikiLeaks is based in Stockholm.

 

Gestapo Tactics. Given the leaks of the censorship blacklists so far, it seems that the German police raid of the home of the WikiLeaks.de domain owner is more than just a coincidence. “Distribution of pornography”… “Discovery of evidence” … Rrrrriiiiiggggghhhhhttttt! You can see the documents about the raid here.

This may only be the beginning of a war against WikiLeaks. We’ll keep you advised of any major developments to come… assuming Cyberpunk Review hasn’t been added to some super-secret NSAT&T/RIAA/MPAA/UN blacklist…

This post has been filed under Internet Find by Mr. Roboto.

No Privacy Without Piracy

February 19, 2009

Source: Julian Togelius’ Blog

Julian Togelius

Julian’s Blogger profile shows he’s into technology, but has he come across something with a slogan he just pulled out of the ether?

Julian Togelius normally blogs about his work in artificial intelligence. However, on Monday 16-February-2009, he posted something that came to him completely out of the blue… or it got knocked loose from watching/reading/hearing about the currently in-progress Sweden vs. The Pirate Bay trial. It came to him in the form of a “slogan:”

NO PRIVACY WITHOUT PIRACY

Julian’s explanation:

The idea is that any method I’ve ever heard of for eradicating piracy, and indeed any conceivable method for doing so, build on also eradicating (or at least severely curtailing) privacy.

If you follow technology in the past few years, any anti-pirating tech has always come with anti-privacy issues whether it is DRM spyware or ISP wiretaps. In one simple slogan, Julian hopes to take the piracy-privacy connection to a new level, make people think more about the two, and possibly spread the word around viral-meme style.

So, is it an “All Your Base…” worthy battle cry, or something to be forgotten like Goatse and Tubgirl?

This post has been filed under Internet Find by Mr. Roboto.

The Unwillingness to Think for Ourselves

January 14, 2009

Source: The Student Operated Press (SOP)

A little something to tweak your brain. One thing I like about cyberpunk is how it makes you think about how technology is taking over our lives, and what good or harm that does. Consider this little essay a subtle hint about the “harm” part.

Actually, it’s about the author’s preference of Faulkner over Hemingway; A rejection of media-for-the-masses in favor of more intellectual fare, and why this may have saved his brain from mutating into sheeple-think:

We didn`t know it then, but the age of instant gratification and horse-race criticism was aborning. From there on fiction would be adjudged by whether it was a page-turner or a beach read. The best-seller list would reflect not literary quality but marketing expertise.

So, how does this relate to cyberpunk? This op-ed piece seems to touch on two cyberpunk themes: Control over society, and access to information. You control the information, you control what the sheeple think, and therefore, you control the society. You REALLY think that all those national firewalls and “filters” going up is to combat porn and piracy?

What happens to a society that can’t think for itself?

Clarity and forward motion would become buzz words for an underlying unwillingness to embark on the adventure that Proust`s marvelous powers of observation posed, just as the Republican Southern Strategy of the 1960s was actually a buzz term for license to keep on hating and oppressing. It was assumed that Crane had tied a mass of knots that were not worth untying, whereas in fact he had pressed the language into service for a voyage, much like fitting a spaceship. The critics were licensing the public to dumb down. The marketers were supplanting the editors. Such a society was bound sooner or later to accept a George W. Bush or Dick Cheney as leaders, because it had given up its intellectual future without a whimper.

We have allowed taste-making apparatchiks to turn literature into a horse race in which someone has to win and someone has to lose, a fundamentally silly idea. The winners of course will be the worst books, the worst minds, and, it goes without saying, the most venal.

Still need a clue? Check this Guidespot.com post called “SHEEPLE” things we LOVE because we can’t think for ourselves.

This is mass-media on your brain. Any Questions?

Cyberpunk, the cure for non-functional brains. Fortunately for us, cyberpunk has managed to stay out of the mass-media spotlight enough to not be co-opted into a propaganda brain-cell killer, though not from the lack of trying. Despite Time Magazine’s best efforts in 1993, cyberpunk survived the limelight and remained mostly underground. This kept the genre vital and interesting to inspire newer generations of CP fans and artists.

So next time you feel your brain-cells being anesthetized by mass-media, reach for a cyberpunk book, movie, or CD, and reboot your brain.

This post has been filed under Internet Find, Essays by Mr. Roboto.

First recorded usage of “Hacker” from MIT paper in 1963

October 4, 2008

Source: Gustavo Duarte

For the record… My day-job has me working at a document-to-data conversion company. That means we take physical paper documents, run them through various types of scanners connected to computers, and crunch the images to make files that can be indexed for searches and/or burned to optical media. Such operations are important to save possibly historical documents that could be lost over time as paper rots away.

Because you never know when you might come across gems like this…

Scan of 1963 MIT Paper where 'hacker' was 1st used

An scanned image of the MIT “The Tech” newspaper where “hacker” is reportedly first used.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology newspaper, and Professor Calton Tucker specifically, has the claim of first using the term “hacker” in recorded media. This information was found via Yale University’s Dictionary of Quotations.

 

Colored Connotations. As you can see from the article, “hacker” has had black-hat connotations from the start, so the mainstream media really can’t be blamed for that, though white-hats have been working hard at correcting that.

What’s not mentioned is how Professor Tucker came up with the term, especially since what’s being described is considered “phreaking” (though the use of the PDP-11 is definitely war dialing).

 

Too soon? Or not soon enough? There’s nothing that says this is officialy the first use of “hacker;” This is the earliest recording of the term so far. There’s still old documents out there waiting to be scanned, maybe something with an earlier use of “hacker” not yet discovered. Though with a couple of the the comments suggesting that “hacker” need not be limited to computers and technology, such a discovery could complicate matters.

A few bytes for interested cyberpunk historians to “nybble” on.

This post has been filed under Internet Find by Mr. Roboto.

Manna

September 13, 2008

Book Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2003-2004 (?)

Arthur: Marshall Brain

Category: Online Cyberpunk Books

READ IT ONLINE!


Marshall Brain

‘How Stuff Works,’ Cyberpunk edition. Perhaps better known for his “How Stuff Works” website, Mr. Marshall Brain has since started his own site with some essays and stories. Out of curiosity, I did a search for “cyberpunk” on HowStuffWorks.com and they returned an article on “How Hackers Work,” so he/they seem to have an idea about cyberpunk. Manna also reflects this.

 

Synopsis. The story is told first-person by Jacob Lewis105, a burger-flipper at Burger-G when, on May 17, 2010, the end began. A simple PC in a back corner of the Burger-G had software installed on it called “Manna” (as in manage) that could micro-manage the workers via voice synthesis through headsets. Before long, other businesses replaced managers with Manna and clones. Eventually, this lead to a two-tiered society of the uber-rich execs and the minimum-wage slaves… until robotic technology advanced to the point where the slavers are no longer required, and a good portion of the human population ended up in unemployment tenement “projects.”

 

Short, but sweet. Brain’s story is surprisingly good, but the ending did leave me wanting more. I wanted to see if the Manna-net would try to take over the paradise Jacob finds. But for eight “chapters” of 2-3 pages each, it is a good, easy read. If only it was in PDF or some e-text form…

This post has been filed under Internet Find, Cyberpunk Books by Mr. Roboto.