Posts categorized under: rant

Captive Audience: How Florida's Prisons and DRM Made $11.3M Worth of Prisoners' Music Disappear

Original article here.

I'm not even really sure where to start with this piece. Doctorow says it all. Prisoners in Florida bought DRM-locked music at steep rates underneath the company Access Corrections. After realizing that more money is able to be made off of inmates and their families, The Department of Corrections allied with a different proprietary group to force prisoners to repurchase all of their music. The new contracters are already known for charging exorbitant fees on phone calls and emails to prisoners with a "digital stamp" system.

The sad state of the prison complex in America is that it has been privatized. The high arrest rates of minorities is not totally a matter of discrimination, but a symptom of contracted incarceration quotas agreed upon by companies and state governments. We pay taxes on empty prison beds. Some contracts order rates of 97% occupancy in all prisons; it's no surprise that the US has the highest incarceration rates in the world.

Prevent criticism 'stems from ignorance'

Original article here.

This is not a new article, but I decided that I would put it here anyways. The article is an interview with Commander Dean Haydon on the UK's Prevent Program, which attempts to identify kids or teenagers at risk of joining extremist groups. The program has faced criticism for being uneffective and discriminatory against muslim youth. However, Haydon touts it as "a fantastic tool that's here to stay."

The UK is well-known for being aggressive in it's heavy-handed use of policies that regulate the internet. The Prevent Program is just one more tool that can be used for ulterior motives; what should happen when holding any political idealogy against the current administration is considered an extremist view? The only way to keep ourselves save from these programs is to stop them while we still can.

Scottish Government Partners with Yoti For Biometrics Powered Mobile ID

Original article here.

It isn't very frequently that I come across a new propaganda piece. There's not a lot of substance to this article, but I'll do my best anyways. In the UK and Scotland, most citizens are under constant CCTV surveillance. I've covered before the threats that citizens face from their government, so it comes as no surprise that the Scottish Government has announced that they are partnering with Yoti to track and surveill citizens with Biometric ID.

"But John," you might say, "Yoti states that they will take good care of your data." This is true. They really push the concept of having control over your data. Unfortunately, this is a shallow symptom of post-GDPR Europe, and a thinly-veiled attempt to gain privacy enthusiasts favor. The fact remains that having one singular(biometric) identity required to identify you to the internet, your government, and your work is dangerous. Regardless of the standard or company behind it, you cannot trust any government to not abuse biometric identification.

The CEO of Yoti has stated out-right on using normal, non-biometric identification, "that is the wrong way." Yoti is currently only available as a smartphone app, which reveals another lapse in privacy; those who won't own phones(or even smartphones), must. Many people I know acquire smartphones before laptops, cars, or even driver's licenses. Government identification requiring a smartphone is a dangerous road towards 24/7 tracking.

This ended up to be a longer article, but I'm writing out of fear and concern. If you have any correlation with Scotland, call in to all of your representatives and voice your concerns. Look up local anti-surveillance groups who may be staging protests as well, and participate with them. Don't let your government use terrorism as an excuse to strip you of your liberties.

The cameras that know if you're happy - or a threat

Original article here.

I decided to rewrite this piece after I looked over it again. The wording was repetitive and difficult to follow. In all fairness, that's what I get for writing angry.

The BBC published an article on Automated Facial Recognition(AFR), a system that combines common CCTV with "NEC software." The overall tone of the piece was a utopian, upbeat energy that strongly supported the cameras and speculated on the benefits of being able to track people's movements and read their emotions. Intermixed throughout the article were half-hearted warnings to the sinister capabilities of such a system, but these failed to leave a mark on me while reading.

While we can't easily stop surveillance and AFR on a national level, we can work to stop the surveillance in our local government. In the US, many federal governments leverage the surveillance systems of local governments to track people. For example, in Lexington, Kentucky, Michael Maharrey has successfuly fought back against surveillance in his hometown.

Verizon throttled fire department’s “unlimited” data during Calif. wildfire

Original article here.

What can I say? This is only one of the failures of the erasure of Net Neutrality. Many warned that we would see a private and packaged internet that would work against the consumer; they were wrong. The internet without Net Neutrality is an internet where providers won't be held to their promises. Through no claim of mistake, Verizon outright throttled internet to local firefighters in California. Net Neutrality dictated that ISPs cannot pick and choose who to provide quality service to and for, but now Verizon has the power to discriminate without regulation.

I have been working on a few plans for a "new" internet. This new internet will operate on the TCP/IP layer (even though that's what basically defines the internet), but is different from the WWW entirely. Inspired by the early days of AlohaNet, a P2P network of radio and networking enthusiasts will operate a low-capacity network designed to facilitate no more than basic text between peers. Due to bands and FCC regulation, many features may be difficult and require a new approach to radio communication. If you are interested in AlohaNet 2.0, contact me.