Drones attacks

Apple Feels Reporting Drone Strikes ‘Objectionable And Crude’ And Rejects App | Techdirt. 31 August 2012

I have to say that I was gobsmacked by the logic of it all. The app is not the issue: the use of the drones is the problem. Drones are ‘objectionable and crude’ because the technology automates killing without safeguards re ‘collateral damage’ to use the infamous GW Bush’s euphemism for civilians being killed as if they were worth nothing.

Posted in Countries - US, Cyberwar, Drones | Leave a comment

US sanctions against Iran: WoW ban

Blizzard Blocking Iranian WoW Players Due To US Sanctions | Techdirt. 31 August 2012

The US asked Blizzard (delivering World of Warcraft) to block Iranian customers/users/players. On a purely economic rationale of those types of sanctions, it makes sense: the US company conducts business with Iranians: that business is about providing them with a service, that of playing a game, like they would if they were sending a tangible version (say like Monopoly, for the sake of the argument). In that sense, the link with the freedom of internet is quite tenuous.

however, the logic would extend the ban to any US companies with a presence on the web, i.e. at a guess at least 60% of them. Google, Yahoo etc… should stop appearing on Iranian screens. Hum, not sure it is the best approach then… or is it? Given the predominance of US companies linked with the internet, if their Government bans their interaction with countries it black-listed, what happen to the medium of communication that is internet? To take an analogy: the telephone. Imagine that the telephone worldwide is predominantly courtesy of the US companies; banning trade would mean no telephone for Iran. So what would happen? Iran setting up its own telephone that allows contact with the US? I know, in a way, for the telephone, it is exactly what happened; many countries have their own telephone companies. And China does it for the internet: it even created its Baidu search engine to compensate for having blocked google.

Posted in censorship, Countries - China, Countries - US, Freedom of speech, Gaming | Leave a comment

the republicans (US) and internet censorship 2012

GOP Platform May Include Internet Freedom Language… But Also Wants Crackdown On Internet Porn | Techdirt. 28 August 2012

The Republicans (GOP stands for Grand Old Party), at their Convention, are supposed to talk/refer to internet freedom, but it seems that the wording is very similar to that of their manifesto which called for filtering softwares mandatory in all computers regarding porn.

The point of the TechDirt post is that internet freedom is incompatible with mandatory (vs voluntary) filtering, which made me think of the ALCU case in the early 2000s. I don’t dispute the point, but rather I am concerned about the rationale for calling for filtering computers because of (adult) porn. Adult porn is not illegal as such, on the basis that normally the people engaged in it have freely consented (I know, some dispute that, but it is still the rationale), in contrast to ‘child porn’ which is not porn but visual recording of rape of children. So I find it difficult to reconcile the legality of porn with the alleged need for filtering. There is a contradiction here in legal terms. The story reveals what is purely a moral agenda that should lead to the ban of porn if the Republicans were at least consistent.

Posted in censorship, Countries - US | Leave a comment

Justice File management in the Information age

DEA Gets Lawsuit Dismissed Because It Couldn’t Cope With Two Terabytes Of Evidence | Techdirt. 28 August 2012

This post is not so much about the case above than a more general comment on managing files at trial in complex cases.

apparently, here the US DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) found it difficult to manage 2 terabytes of info and 400,000 documents. Apart that, like Mr Masnik, I found the rationale rather unconvincing (it’s not much today 2 terabytes, and it does not cost much to buy a mobile hard drive of that size compared to even one year ago), it made me think of justice file management of big cases. There was always a problem in dealing with a huge amount of documents for one case. Paper versions – the only version for centuries until very recently – took space and time to go through them. Computers can ease the reading and filing, but there is still the issue of security and reliability of the information kept. 400,000 documents for a case are not necessarily much today, but one still needs time and security


Posted in Trial - Evidence | Leave a comment

Protection of privacy

Justice Department Sues Telco For Daring To Challenge Its Secret Demands For Private Information | Techdirt.19 July 2012

To compare with the opinion on the new cybersecurity bill 2012 in the US: “New Cybersecurity Bill May Actually Take Privacy Concerns Seriously” TechDirt 19 July 2012

Posted in Countries - US, Investigation-2- Interception of communication, Privacy, Providers as law enforcement agents | Leave a comment

Alternatives to censorship: trolling?

State Department Wants To Troll Terrorists Online | Techdirt.19 July 2012

an interesting report about a person in the US State Department trolling terrorists to ‘turn’ them around. Would be interesting to know if it works, but more importantly the freedom of speech and discussion that it embedes is at the heart of a democratic society.


Posted in censorship, Countries - US, Freedom of speech | Leave a comment

Private “prosecution” in France triggers investigation

Business & Human Rights : Links.25 July 2012

The post is in English, but the orignal text is in French.

The Fédération internationale des droits de l’Homme (FIDH) (the International Human Rights Federation) and the Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH) (The Human Rights League) have presented a claim before the criminal court in France regarding the activities of the French Company Qosmos who sold surveillance technology to Syria.

I can’t find the exact offence which they use to put forward this claim, but I suspect it is one of the articles in the French criminal code that deal with the computer offences. What readers should know is that companies can be criminally liable for any offence present in the criminal code; so the fact that Qosmos is a corporation is certainly no obstacle to criminal liability.

the procedural bit is that a complaint by a private party triggers an investigation that may thereafter lead to prosecution.

Posted in censorship, Corporate Responsibility, Countries - France, Surveillance, Technology - neither good or bad but never neutral | Leave a comment

Russian censorship at work since new 2012 legislation

Not Long After Passing Censorship Legislation, Russian Government Censors All of LiveJournal | Techdirt. 26 July 2012


the facts are interesting: the court agreed to have a neo-nazi blog blocked… with an IP adress that is used by other (legal) blogs. so everybody gets blocked.

Posted in censorship, Filtering, Freedom of speech | Leave a comment

Delegating power: constitutional interpretation

Wyden Traps Feds In Their Own Words: ACTA Explanation Opens Up Big Hole In Cybersecurity Bill | Techdirt. 26 July 2012
I am always puzzled how the US State Department can defend such interpretation of legislative texts. Delegation of power from Congress to the Executive can only be narrowly interpreted or otherwise, the separation of power would be meaningless. That is the basis of democratic societies. At least, the French constitution of 1958 is far more explicit, maybe because it took France 150 years to get it about right on the matter!

Posted in Countries - France, Countries - US, Surveillance | Leave a comment

gaming and violence

Press Speculates Batman Shooter Must Have Played Video Games; They’re Right: He Loved Guitar Hero | Techdirt. 24 July 2012

Posted in Gaming | Leave a comment