While the US and much of the world is embroiled in the so-called scandal of US government spying on its citizens, I am left wondering why this is news at all?
The Patriot Act enacted after September 11, 2001 was designed to do exactly that, spy on voice and data communications in the US. Yes there are some subtleties in the act to supposedly protect the constitutional rights of the Americans, but really, who would believe any of that?
I fail to see the uproar on the so-called leak because it's just absurd. What do people think organizations such as the NSA or CIA do all day? They listen to conversations, intercept emails, mine data, and decipher intelligence based on events. That's what they were set up to do.
When I make a phone call to my mother in Iran, the whole time there are pops, hisses, clicks, and various tones. Some may be line issues, but I bet most are a bunch of people or recording devices eavesdropping on the phone call in Iran and the US. Of course in this case, it's a bunch of boring news about family members and who got married or divorced or had a child or passed away.
So Guardian pays some low-level NSA employee in Hong Kong a bunch of money to reveal secrets about the US government spying on its people. Who knows, maybe the Chinese want to divert attention from their own hacking, or perhaps it's just a sham by the US government to serve its own end in some manner.
Whatever the case those secrets were not much of a secret at all. What's next, Iranian government spying on its people? I had no idea, that is shockingly outrageous.
A new Nebraska jail has invited people to act as guinea pigs and test the facility. For $30 participants get a taste of being an inmate for one night plus a couple of meals. Proceeds go to charity.
Strange but wish I could do this. Odd invitation from Nebraska jail: Spend the night for $30
I'm not sure why anyone would see any reason behind Amazon's move to hoard a bunch of gTLDs (global top level domains), other than pure greed.
In a recent open letter (PDF) to ICANN, Association of American Publishers rightfully opposed granting Amazon the control of the .book gTLD. It states:
In short, Amazon makes clear that it seeks exclusive control of the “.book” string solely for its own business purposes, notwithstanding the broad range of other companies, organizations and individuals that have diverse interests in the use of this gTLD or its second-level domains by others or themselves.
Well stated, but does ICANN or anyone else really need a protest letter to recognize Amazon's true motives in hogging as many domains as it can?
So the founder of Megaupload is back with another file-sharing service. Good for him and good for the millions of would be users who use such services.
Let's reserve judgement on what Megaupload is allegedly guilty of but one thing is for sure, American media is but a means to corrupt and bend minds and subdue society, and people pay for it on top of that.
In the US the media is used like a sedative To many, TV, music and movies are like candy to a kid. As long as people are provided with mindless entertainment, they remain passive and controlled. Then commercialism is introduced to sway opinions and move the herd to one direction or another, much like mass hypnosis.
Stealing copyrighted material is illegal, but for the time being we have a choice not to engage in and pay for it. In the end what Megaupload is truly guilty of is giving people a tool to fritter away time with the rubbish called entertainment.
Last week came the news that Target stores will no longer carry Amazon's Kindle readers. The bold move was basically a retaliatory reaction by Target to what is known as showrooming.
Showrooming is how Amazon encourages its users to visit various physical stores, check out or even try out various merchandize and then go back to Amazon to order them for cheaper prices. In a sense Amazon uses the physical stores as showrooms for free and that creates an unfair advantage in favor of Amazon.
Sure, people can visit Amazon's site too to shop around but a page visit costs Amazon a tiny fraction of a penny while a shopper roaming the isles of a store, and specially inspecting and trying various items could cost the stores multiple dollars.
Target may feel good about removing Kindles from its shelves but that maneuver will be but a blip on Amazon's bottom line. Making the playing field fair will be tall order but for starters Amazon should be required to collect sales taxes on all items sold. If there's heavy resistance, then stores should be exempt from collecting sales taxes as Amazon is.
Paying sales taxes on Amazon purchases will not be popular, but if Amazon is allowed to push physical stores out of business through the unfair loopholes, that will result in a monopoly and there's little doubt that its pricing policy will not favorable by any measure once the competition is wiped out.
Here comes another attack on the free and democratic way of life.
the SOPA/PIPA bill sponsored by congressman Lamar Smith is about to be voted on by the legislators. On the surface, the goal is to protect copyrights and intellectual property rights on the Internet.
In reality this law is created to bring the Internet under complete control and censorship of the US government. In other words any site can be blocked and any site owner or user can be charged for almost any reasons.
Let's face it, the proposed rules are so loose that just about everyone is automatically in violation of the potential law already. Who needs to go to China to enjoy arbitrary criminal charges and censorship, when you can have all that fun right in the USA.
Stop American Censorship