Daniel Hannan: Agrarian Boondoggles

Another example where copyright laws are being used to censor one’s critics

Yes, ThunderF00t and William Lane Craig have some serious disagreements on the topic of science.  And both have been speaking up on this topic on YouTube.

ThunferF00t is a bona-fide scientist, with the credentials to prove it.

William Lane Craig is a theologian, self-described philosopher and calls himself ‘Dr.’.

They got into a bit of a spat – ThunderF00t used clips of Craig’s videos in his rebuttal videos:  this is perfectly legal and ‘protected se’ under the DMCA rules.  Despite this, someone has, on behalf of Dr. Craig, filed false DMCA claims against ThunderF00t and others.  (We know they know their claims are false because they have filed these DMCA notifications many times on the same groungs – even after being repeatedly told that this use is not a violation of their copyright – yet they continue filing…)

The purpose of these types of actions is clear:  to force the filer’s critics to spend so much time and energy fighting against these false claims that they will not have the time and energy to criticize him.

The reason we must pay attention to this is because it demonstrates how laws already passed with the good intent to protect copyright are already being abused to stifle speech – and these laws are nowhere near as intrusive as the ailed SOPA bill was…and we all know that those promoting these tools of censorship will not stop.  They will simply try to pass these types of laws more stealthily, a tiny increment at a time.

Constant vigilance!

The Shafia murders: victims of multiculturalism and political correctness

Shafia:  the name has now become known worldwide for the horrific murders of 4 of this family’s members by 3 other family members.

Yesterday, the jury returned a verdict over the father/husband, wife/co-wife, and brother/step-son of the victims:  GUILTY!

Guilty of 4 counts of first degree murder!

And, while this is bound to be appealed (as such verdicts always are), it is a victory for Canada.

Yes, for Canada.

Because with this trial, we are beginning to shake the wool that has been pulled over our eyes by the social engineers who insist that we, Canadians, ought not to be treated as equals but that our rights and protections should depend solely on what special social collective we happen to be members of.

If you are unfamiliar with the back-story, here is an excellent write-up by Christie Blatchford in the Montreal Gazette:

‘“This verdict sends a very clear message about our Canadian values and the core principles in a free and democratic society that all Canadians enjoy, and even visitors to Canada enjoy,” Laarhuis said.

The “visitors” reference was a kind and graceful nod to Rona Amir Mohammad, Shafia’s unacknowledged other wife.

Unlike the rest of the sprawling clan, she was brought to Canada as a domestic servant and was on a visitor’s visa, its renewal held over her head like a axe ready to fall by her co-wife Yahya and [husband] Shafia.’

The victims did all they could to get help.
They told their teachers, who contacted the authorities.
The oldest daughter even sought sanctuary in a women’s shelter.
But, because they came from an immigrant Muslim family, the authorities valued political correctness and multiculturalism’s moral relativism more than their lives.
From The Gazette article linked above:

The parents were called in by school officials a number of times, but Yahya would weep, Shafia would rail furiously, and no action would be taken.

When the school called in child welfare, the same thing would happen: Denials, rage and tears from these affluent parents worked in this country. All their experience with institutional Canada gave them no reason to imagine that a small-city police force wouldn’t be similarly stymied.’

So, nobody helped the victims when they begged for help.  And now they are dead.
The father/husband, mother/co-wife and brother/step-son may have orchestrated and performed the actual murders – and their culpability is in no way to be diminished – but it was the fear that protecting these women and children might be perceived as being politically incorrect that denied them the help which, in a very real way, caused their deaths.
In the very least, this constitutes callous disregard causing death – by all the cowrdly civil servants involved.
The people in authority who were supposed to protect them, whose very positions were set up to protect people in exactly these circumstances, failed to provide this help – help which turned out to be a ‘necessity of life’.
What will happen to each end every person along the line who had failed these women and children?
What will happen to the monsters who valued political correctness higher than human lives?
Will they be charged?
Will the social workers and police officers whose actions (or lack thereof) directly put the victims at risk ever be brought to court, to account for their part in this murder conspiracy?
Will any of them even be fired?
Demoted?
Even reprimanded?
Because if they are not, if we do not insist that they also face the consequences of their actions  – more lives will be lost.
GEETI SHAFIA – 13
SAHAR SHAFIA – 17
ZAINAB SHAFIA – 19
RONA AMIM MOHAMMAD – 52
Let’s not forget them!

C. G. P. Grey: Primary Elections Explained

US Judge orders a person to divulge her password

This is an interesting story with wide-ranging implications.

Police suspected a woman of fraud and, with a warrant, siezed her computers.  One of these computers was password protected and running PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) security software so the police IT experts were not able to ese the usual back doors to crack it.  The police believed that this computer contained data that would incriminate their suspect, Ramona Fricosu.

What to do?

The Colorado police went to a judge and got an order compelling Ms. Fricosu to reveal the password to the police.

This is highly problematic, on several fronts.  The PopSci article quotes the DOJ’s :

“Failing to compel Ms. Fricosu amounts to a concession to her and potential criminals (be it in child exploitation, national security, terrorism, financial crimes or drug trafficking cases) that encrypting all inculpatory digital evidence will serve to defeat the efforts of law enforcement officers to obtain such evidence through judicially authorized search warrants, and thus make their prosecution impossible.”

The other side – both the defense and the civil liberties groups whose attention was turned to this case – has, in my never-humble-opinion, a much more solid position:

“The Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination is not necessarily a right to prevent you from giving bad things over to the government, but you are protected from disclosing your thoughts,” said Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed an amicus brief in this case. “We argued that providing access to the contents is the equivalent to her ‘emptying the thoughts of her mind,’ because it would require her password.”

What a can of worms this one is…

Thoughts?

Tarek Fatah discusses the Burka

I have a fundamental problem with giving the government – any government – the right to regulate clothing.  From public nudity to the burqa – I am not owned by anyone else and therefore, I do not accept anyone else’s authority to dictate what I do or do not wear.

Having said this, I do agree with Mr. Fatah on just about all the important points:  private businesses must retain the right to assert dress codes on their property, even if it is open to the public.  In other words, ‘No shoes, No shirt, No face – No service’ must be at the discretion of the private business or individual (this would include taxis and private transportation firms as well as real property).

In addition, I also agree with Mr. Fatah that the government has the right – I would assert the responsibility – to ensure that people in publicly owned spaces, buildings and receiving publicly operated services (like, say, public transport) reveal their faces for ready identification, much as the Quebec government has asserted.

Perhaps some people think that this is ‘splitting hairs’, that ‘banning the burqa’ and ‘demanding facial visibility while on public property’ are the same thing.

I would beg to disagree:  they may have the same effect in the sense that a person who wishes to partake in our society must show their face to do so.  However, they are very different things because they are rooted in different principles.  (And, contrary to popular belief, that does mean something.)

The banning of a particular piece or style of clothing sets up the precedent that the government has the right to tell us how to dress.  I don’t happen to think it does.  If my neighbour decides to start walking their dog in the buff, that is their own business – I might snigger or gossip, but I certainly do not have the right to demand they ‘cover up’, so I cannot delegate that right to my elected members of parliament:  hence, the government does not have the right to tell us what to wear.

(Yes, I know, as shown in the above link, the Ontario courts of appeal have just recently upheld laws against public nudity:  and I disagree with their belief they have the jurisdiction to rule on this subject.)

Because if we give the government the power to rule over what we may or may not wear, the chador is not far off….just wait for the demographics to change a little bit.  No – we’d be much safer clearly setting the precedent that governments have no jurisdiction whatsoever over what we wear and how we wear it when we are on our own time, as private citizens.

However…

Governments do have a responsibility to deliver citizen and resident services safely and effectively.  This cannot be done if the citizens receiving/delivering the services are not readily identifiable.  Therefore, I recognize the governments’ right to demand that faces be visible for the purposes of receiving/delivering public services (and driving, voting, and so on).

In addition, governments have taken upon themselves the responsibility to deliver services without discrimination, especially without discrimination to disabled individuals.  Many people with hearing impairments partially or fully read lips in order to understand what is being said to them.  It is therefore essential that hearing disabled citizens, whether receiving or providing a government service, must be able to read the lips of all those around them – which is also a valid reason for accommodating the ‘uncovered face in public places’ policy.

So, rather than expanding government powers to cover clothing, we should use already existing laws made in order to have an inclusive society to achieve this end.

To me, there is a huge difference between the two approaches, because, after all, the means define the end!

You’ve got to fight for your right to jailbreak

Imagine you buy a cake mix and then don’t follow the recipe on the box.  You could risk ‘sub-optimal results’ – but that is it.

How different would our world be if you were also facing jail time?

What if not following the manufacturer’s instruction – even just to add chocolate chips to the mix – meant that you could be arrested and criminally charged?

Well, that is actually quite similar to what used to happen to people who used their electronic devices in slightly different ways than what the manufacturer said they should.  For various reasons, the manufacturers of electronic devices argued that even though a person has purchased and 100% owns an electronic device, they are not allowed to add the ‘chocolate chips’ (like, say, Linux) to ‘the cake mix’ in a process so persecuted, it has been dubbed ‘jailbreaking’.

Why are the manufacturers opposed to this?  It really just boils down to a loss of control over their customer, making it harder for the companies to spy on their customers to obtain loads of data they could monetize…

Luckily, consumer (we really should say ‘citizen’) groups have won this battle:  jailbreaking smartphones became OK through an exemption in the DMCA.

A temporary exemption.

Which is about to run out…

bunnie Huang, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has drafted a letter and a petition to extend the jailbreaking exemption, both in time and in scope:

‘Three years ago, the Copyright Office agreed to create an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act so that folks could jailbreak their smartphones. But that exemption is about to expire. We need you to renew that exemption and expand it to cover jailbreaking gadgets with similar computation potential. These are all siblings to the PC, yet unlocking their potential as versatile and powerful computers is burdened with legal murkiness.’

You can sign the petition here.

Unless, of course, you don’t think people should be allowed to add chocolate chips to their cake mix…