Monday, December 6, 2010

Feds crack down on copyright infringement

The story about the German kids who managed to hack into the computers of various celebrities is quite fascinating. Obviously the celebs are no better than the rest of us when it comes to "click this link, omg this is too freakin' amazing" -> spyware.

What struck me the most in this article though was this following paragraph:

The alleged crime came to light only when fans of Kelly Clarkson, another targeted singer, tipped her off about unreleased music available on the internet. She informed the police, triggering an investigation involving the FBI and the German Federal Police Service. 

What the hell does FBI have to do with investigating possible copyright infringement? That's like sending fully armed US marines to retrieve a bicycle that the neighbor kid stole. Absolutely fucking ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Data Retention Directive lie

The Swedish politicians have tried to convince the public that the implementation of the Data Retention Directive (DRD), the massive surveillance scheme that would make the DDR blush, is aimed at fighting organized crime, terrorism and such.

Well, the cat's finally out of the bag: Infamous Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask wants the police to be given access to any surveillance data (the positioning of your cell phone, your e-mails, text messages, calls...) on suspicions even of petty crimes that only warrant a fine. That means that the police could use the DRD surveillance machine to track you down and prosecute you for urinating in a public place, littering, or probably more realistically: For illegally downloading music or movies on the Internet.

Is this really the society we want? Don't you wish you didn't vote for a totalitarian government in this year's elections?

Other thoughts on the subject: Sysadminbloggen, opassande, Henrik Alexandersson, Full Mental Straightjacket.

Picture: mandiberg

Friday, September 24, 2010

A double standard is better than no standard

I figured this would be a more cheerful way of presenting news & views, this time the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act", a bill proposing that the US Department of Justice can shut down any site that is accused of being involved in copyright infringement.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Common ground

There we are! Seems Sverigedemokraterna (SD) and the currect Government have even more in common than we thought. SD too, apparently, want to ban art and culture that can be deemed offensive by some.

So up until now we've got:
1. No respect of basic human rights
2. Less artistic freedom (as mentioned above)
3. Harsher punishment for committing victimless crimes
4. Moving away from the assumption that one is innocent until proven guilty
5. Even more surveillance

Plenty of common grounds to build a new government on. I think this might work out very well in the end.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Miljöpartiet selling out

I guess anyone who believed in Miljöpartiet's election promises on surveillance is feeling pretty ashamed today. Only 3 days after the elections a representative of the party, Isabelle Lövin manage to vote - brace yourself - in favor of the positively insane Gallo report, a report named after its equally insane (or completely corrupt) creator, Marielle Gallo. Read Isabelle Lövins pathetic excuse here. Notice how she uses a clearly fake petition signed among others by deceased filmmakers, to justify her vote for increased surveillance and oppression.

The report, for those of you unfamiliar with it, states on one hand that we don't know enough about the effects of file sharing (clearly all the independent research done over the last couple of years is irrelevant, as it doesn't support the view of the entertainment business), and on the other hand that this doesn't matter at all and that ISP's should be forced to monitor the users for illegal file sharing activities, and also risk liability should they not take action in a manner acceptable to the entertainment industry. In other words, legislation first, facts second. My oh my, if every industry could order oppressive legislation just like that...

Oh yeah, and the report also states that file sharing may lead to health risks. Really. That's just  how insane it is, and how dumb Isabelle Lövin and the other pathetic bastards voting in favor of this report are.

So, by voting in favor of this report, let's have a look at how this is honoring  Miljöpartiet's election promises, made only 3 days ago:

Att staten inte ska ha möjlighet att registrera och övervaka all internettrafik i Sverige. Right, we'll let the ISP's do the surveillance instead, and threaten them with liability if they don't cooperate.

Skapa en balanserad upphovsrätt och avkriminalisera fildelning för privat bruk.
Umm, yeah, a balanced copyright legislation is exactly what the Gallo report is all about...

Of course, traditional media refuse to pick up on this. Instead they're publishing a story on how 70% of Swedish voters have confidence in the politicians. Yeah, I wonder why.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The aftermath

This year's election was truly a choice between the bubonic plague and cholera. After four years of suffering we already knew how cholera felt, and the public seemed to think suffering from this disease was better than exchanging it for the bubonic plague. Interestingly enough even the right-wing party Sverigedemokraterna (SD) made it into the Riksdag, probably due to public frustration and great PR by the other parties as well as the media.

The election result gives us a situation where the cholera non-socialist Alliance is forced to cooperate with parties from the bubonic plague socialist coalition or indeed SD, out there on the far right of politics, which the Alliance has already denied.

To be honest I'm not sure I understand why the Alliance is so hesitant to cooperate with SD. Sure there are differences, mostly ideological, but if the last four years have showed us anything it's that the Alliance are experts in leaving their ideology at home before going to work. So, in practical politics the Alliance and SD aren't really that far apart. Sure, whereas SD nurture a fear and loathing of non-European immigrants, the Alliance nurture the same fear and loathing of all Swedish citizens. Equality, although a perverted one. Still, there are plenty of areas where I'm sure these two can cooperate: The views on crime, on human rights...

Looking forward to another four years in the dark ages.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The single most important question that hasn't been answered

Sweden's first Ipred lawsuit ends up in the European Court of Justice. That's hardly a surprise. What is a surprise to me though is that what I consider to be one of the most important questions in this case hasn't even been touched by the courts:

How did the anti-piracy agency, Antipiratbyrån, manage to legally break into a secure server in order to gather evidence? And furthermore, do the courts find illegal activities to be perfectly ok when performed by representatives of the entertainment lobby?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Enforcing hands-free for car phone use is useless

Sweden is the only European country where using a hand-held cell phone while driving isn't illegal. All other countries require hands-free equipment. Now the lobby organization Motormännen demans similar legislation in Sweden. The questions is, why?

According to studies the distraction of talking on the phone is what causes undesirable behavior in traffic, not whether or not you're holding the phone in your hand. There are no facts to support banning the use of hand-held phones in favor of hands-free equipment.

Motormännen point out that between 10-20 people die or are severely injured in car accidents every year because of phone use, both talking and texting. First of all, between 10 and 20? The difference between those number is way to high to tell anything, really. Second, there is a huge difference between talking on the phone while keeping your eyes on the road, and writing a text message. Combining these two activities in the statistics is just plain wrong.

Let me point you guys to this report (PDF) prepared for the European Commission in June 2009:

Hands-free versus hand-held?
Studies indicate that the use of hands-free phones causes as much
important driver distraction as the use of hand-held phones
. Some studies show that in-car telephone
conversations while driving can impair drivers more than listening to the radio or talking to passengers.
An epidemiological study of crash involvement found that mobile phone use was associated with a greater
likelihood of crash than passenger carriage and increasing numbers of passengers


Effects of texting?
Many young drivers admit to the largely illegal activity of texting while driving. Text
messaging has a detrimental effect on safety-critical driving tasks
such as lane-keeping, hazard detection
and the detection and appropriate response to traffic signs.

There we are. So stop with the bullshit and focus on the facts. If you want to ban phone conversations in cars then by all means do so, but stop pretending that everything will be fine if we just use hands-free equipment. In all fairness, Sweden appears to be the only country in Europe that hasn't based a law on pure propaganda. That's probably a first, and they deserve credit for that.

From the mouth of a true populist

The election campaign is drawing to an end, and with the socialist coalition getting increasingly desperate, we're seeing more and more lies, or in this case half-truths, appear. According to Thomas Bodström of Socialdemokraterna a socialist government will tear up the much debated FRA law. That's all good, but he "forgets" to mention that a socialist government will then replace it with another, similar law. He also conveniently "forgot" to mention that he actually came up with this law back in 2005, then it was basically handed over to the current government who implemented it.