Around the World USA

Verdict in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset

In the second trial against Jammie Thomas-Rasset, mother of four children, the jury awarded the recording companies $1.92 million, $80,000 per uploaded song for 24 songs.

Naturally the representative of the recording industry from the RIAA was happy about the hight of the penalty and took this as a sign that the court took the violation of copyrights as serious as the recording industry.

If they would have punished her for all 1,700 songs found on her harddrive the penalty would have been $136,000,000 😉

I had to think a little bit about this verdict and started to calculate my expenses into music and film during the last 25 years. I could only make an estimation but I had around 150 music discs before I started to collect my about 1,200 CDs and around 200 VHS films and several hundered DVDs. Lets say a total value of around $28,000 in 25 years, not counting about 30 to 40 films I watch in a cinema every year or at least over 100 concerts I have seen.

I always thought that a penalty has to be spoken according to the commensurability of the delict but in this case I cannot find any proportions which makes me believe that behind the curtains there might be more agreement between the plaintiffs, the jury and the judge than obvious.

I think that this verdict is a slap into the face of everybody who supported the recording industry during the last 20-30 years by legally buying records so that they could become that powerful.

My reaction to this will be that I have to think about my collecting habits.

Misc Politics

Practical Experience with Internet Censorship

As stated before I am a german computer scientist living in China at the moment. Therefore I am especially ashamed about the current ruling parties in germany who just agreed to establish internet censorship against all expert knowledge brought into the discussion and against a huge part of the internet citizens which stood up against this bill and filed an e-petition with the biggest attendance ever for a german e-petition.

I would like to invite the german politicians to come to China to practically see how internet censorship is working. They can go to the chinese government if they want to see what it costs to maintain the Chinese Firewall and then they can come to me when they want to see how much it costs to dig a hole into it because that’s my daily business. As collateral damage of the aggressive censorship many pure development sites which I need for my programming are blocked, like, …

I have a proxy Addon installed in my Firefox and it takes me exactly 2 seconds to view the blocked site through the proxy. Every now and then I have to search for a new proxy because the government found and blocked the one I am using but there are so many proxy lists in the internet that you can easily google for them, test for 2 minutes and have a new running proxy.

From my side it is annoying to see so many programming blogs and websites blocked but the total additional costs in a month may come up to be around 1 hour.

What does your internet censorship cost during a month? Can you really tell your electors that they have to pay millions of Euros every month for an infrastructure which can be bypassed within seconds and they will reelect you? Specially in times of a global financial crisis ???

Misc Politics

Serious Security Holes in Green Dam Software discovered

The University of Michigan has analysed the Green Dam – Youth Escort Software which will be istalled on every chinese Computer due to an policy from the Chinese Government.

It is very doubtful that this is in the intentions of the Chinese Government to expose chinese computers security in this way. This can happen only because of the secrecy in which such projects are accomplished in China where no additional control from independant organisations is possible.

If you read the article of the University of Michigan carefully you have to stumble over the following:

We examined the Green Dam software and found that it contains serious security vulnerabilities due to programming errors.

Green Dam makes frequent use of unsafe and outdated programming practices that likely introduce numerous other vulnerabilities.

In my eyes this shows one of the pricipal problems in the chinese software industry. The newest and most up-to-date programming information nowadays is communicated in blogs and wiki’s and spread by services like twitter and RSS Feeds. But these are the most controlled and blocked services and websites in China. For me as computer scientist it is an unsustainable situation when you want to do programming work in China and have to fight for each bit of up-to-date information because programming blogs and websites are blocked and you always have to find a way around to get to the important content. There must be a measurable collateral damage in the software industry in China from this blocking politics.

Misc Politics

The Green Dam – Youth Escort

As you can read on Rebecca MacKinnon’s blog the chinese Government published a new directive according to which all PC’s sold in China have to come with the pre-installed internet filtering software “Green Dam – Youth Escort” from Jinhui Corp.. The original document can be downloaded at here.

Whereas the Chinese Government insists that the software is only for blocking porn web content and first tests seemed to confirm this statement, detailed analysis uncovered that the Green Dam software also blocks dangerous political content. Additionally it seems that the software sends reports back to Jinhui Corp. which leaves the question open that if the software’s intention is only to secure the youth from unintentional surfing to porn websites, why do they need to send reports about this back to the government? Do they really want to criminalize youth which wants to see sexual content? Or is the intention more to control who wants to inform himself about dangerous political content?

When you listen to our politician all they do seem to be for our best. Why does it always turn out that what they say is completely different from what they intend to do which you find out once you make a detailed analysis about what they are really doing?

Misc Politics

How China clears his past

Today, twenty years ago a big massacre took place on the Tiananmen place in Beijing to suppress a student riot which was held against corruption in China and for more democratic rights.

Tiananmen Place

The way the chinese government deals with this special day is that since more than a week they block internet communication like blogs, Twitter, YouTube or even Flickr. I believe that if they could, they would erase this date from the calendar. In many countries you can find articles in the newspapers in memory of this day. I the chinese news like CCTV or Xinhua … not a single word.

Even though I think that many of the chinese politicians nowadays think by themselves that the reaction of the government has been too extreme and the massacre should have been avoided, the chinese government has that much fear that things might run out of control that they block everything, from dissidents who have to stay in their homes to the place and the streets around it and finally the internet where we could discuss this event.

In my eyes this shows a very low self-esteem of chinese politicians about their actual politics. Where does this come from? Perhaps they should have done more against the corruption during the last 20 years, which is still a big problem in China today? Or they should have worked harder on a better social system? Perhaps they should simply have more confidence in their people.

I think, at least they should stop to deny Chinas past in the fear that they might loose their faces or that things are leaping out of control.

Around the World China

One Child Policy Enforcement

I wrote already about the “One Child Policy” in China. What I want to make absolute clear is that this is a policy of the Kommunist Party of China (KPC) and not a chinese law! There is no law in China which forbids families to have more then one child and so nobody can be forced by law to make an abortion when a woman is expecting her second child.

That much to the legal situation. But in China a policy of the KPC is much stronger than any law.

There is the Birth Control Bureau in China which is controlling the compliance of the One Child Policy. This Bureau has its own tactics to force people to obey the One Child Policy. It convinces women who are pregnant with their second Child to make an abortion, even in a state where the unborn child is already considered to be a human being in the western countries.

I just heard about one case where a worker from the Birth Control Bureau said:

This was an easy case, it took me only 20 days of talking to get the agreement for an abortion.

The woman was already high in her seventh month !

In another case the woman insisted in refusing to take an abortion but her younger brother was working for the government so they simply lowered his job until the woman finally agreed with an abortion.

Politicians, Churches and Human Rights Organisation criticize the situation of the human rights in China emphasizing on Tibet or the death penalty of criminals. But where is the lobby for an unknown number of unborn babies which are killed like this every year in China?

Misc Politics

Internet Barrier marks first innocent Victim

In France the Internet Barrier has marked its first innocent victim.

As can be read at in France the Webdesigner JĂ©rĂŽme Bourreau-Guggenheim lost his job at TF1 on of the biggest french TV enterprises after he privately criticised the bill for internet barriers (Loi HADOPI).

Mid of February he sent a private mail to his elected representative Françoise de Panafieu who forwarded the mail to the administration which is in charge of the HADOPI bill. Two month later he was called into the office of his boss who read his mail word by word in front of him and opened him that he was fired.

At the same time in Germany a Petition against the Internet Barrier bill is open for signature and was attended by nearly 70.000 signers within the first of three weeks. The comment of one politician was:

We know that there are about 200.000 pedophiles in Germany. This petition cannot stop our law.

At the same time the second reading of the bill in the Bundestag took place in a nearly empty plenum.

Let me ask only one question:

What has all this still to do with Democracy ?

Misc Politics

What Germany should have learned from the 60’s !

The 60’s of the last century have been a time of breakup in Germany and many other countries in the world. Young people didn’t agree any more with the moral and political ideas of the elder generation and cried for radical changes in the society.

In my eyes this was only natural regarding that they were born after the second world war in a fast changing time with nearly overwhelming progress in natural but also social sciences which has left them with the feeling that their parent generation was left far behind in its understanding of the new generation, which has perhaps in fact been so.

In this time in germany the young political activists gathered together in the APO (Außerparlamentarische Opposition) a political opposition apart from the normal circus of political parties, elections and government because they had the feeling that not a single of the existing parties represented their political positions. The reaction of the establishment was high pressure and control of the activists by police forces and other measures. This extreme course of action from the authorities split the APO and the sympathisers in their surrounding into two parts. The majority could be silenced and later found themselves in other activities and finally a political home in the Green Party but a minority was driven into the political underground which established the base for the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion) a terror organisation which threw her dark shadow over Germany from the 70’s up into the 90’s.

When I read the articles about the new laws for control and law enforcement in Germany which are against all democratic and federalistic rules as you can read in the latest articles on (Warum wir dem BKA nicht vertrauen können und was das mit dem Föderalismus zu tun hat) which describes why the BKA laws are against the german federal constitution and from Jens Scholz Warum es um Zensur geht which analyses why the new anti child pornography law is not established to fight against child pornography, as it is not the right instrument for this goal anyway, but only to establish a control infrastructure in the german part of the internet, I have to ask myself:

Is there not a single politician in Germany who has learned anything from the german History?

Before you go and start to criminalise our youth which grew up with technology as internet, handy, copies of music and films in original quality … only because you don’t understand them and get yourself heared by them, you should be exchanged by a younger generation of politicians as fast as possible! You cannot put everyone in germany under suspect of crime without thinking that this will not have far reaching consequences for our future.

Misc Politics

Catch 22

Does anybody recall the novel Catch 22 from Joseph Heller? One of the main characters in the novel is the army B-25 bombardier Yossarian who tries to escape the war by playing crazy which is the reason why he is found to be perfectly healthy by the doctors and qualified to attend the war.

In one word:

Within the book, “Catch-22” is a military rule, the self-contradictory circular logic that, for example, prevents anyone from avoiding combat missions.

Why do I refer to this book?

In Germany the authorities are exactly playing a Catch 22 against all internet users!

With the argument to fight against child pornography german authorities forced the biggest internet providers in germany to sign a contract according to which they have to establish internet filters according to a list from the german BKA (highest police in germany) as stated in BKA filtert das Web on Spiegel Online. As everybody in this circus knows, all arguments why these measures are not leading to the desired results and are therefore only duped to establish a control mechanism can be read in the article Die Argumente fĂŒr Kinderporno-Sperren laufen ins Leere.

Now the content of a draft of the bill for the fight against child pornography is published in Kinderporno-Sperren: Provider sollen Nutzerzugriffe loggen dĂŒrfen. Further thoughts about this subject are expressed in Zensursula: Gesetzentwurf am Mittwoch & Gedanken zur medialen Wahrnehmung.

The Catch 22 in this is: Not only the criminal content is targeted in this new law but also the filter lists are secret because the content of the domains on these lists is criminal and because the filter lists are secret nobody is allowed to check if the content which shall be filtered is really about child pornography because as soon as you try to check the doing of the BKA you are a criminal too!

To go further, the internet providers are allowed to store all connection data concerning the domains on these lists which means when you are stumbling on such a website, automatically you are under suspicion to be a criminal.

The german constitution stipulates the separation of executive, judicial power and legislation. This means that normally measures which effect the basic law of the people in Germany cannot be decreed by the police without the agreement of a judge. Now the basic law of information and free communication can be restricted by the police without control by the judicial powers or anybody else! This especially because only the police decides about which domain is set on its list. In my eyes this is a violation of the german constitution!

Please keep in mind:

  • The filtering of the internet does not prevent a single case of child abuse!
  • The filtering of the internet does not erase the criminal content!

To make this clear, I am the first one to fight against child pornography or abuse for I have children on my own! Therefore it is even more horrible for me that this argumentation is used to suppress the opposition against establishing internet control mechanisms.

Sometimes I ask myself if in the fight for a political position nowadays everything is allowed because in my eyes a major part of all this is already the fight for the next election.

Misc Politics

Pandora’s Box

As I mentioned earlier, once the possibilities for gathering informations about you over the internet are established, they will be used!

I just read an article in the New York Times about the NSA: N.S.A.’s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress. This fits very well together with the plans in Germany about data retention which can be found under and which is explained in the Heise article Entwurf zur technischen Umsetzung der Vorratsdatenspeicherung veröffentlicht.

The British Telekom even tested their Phorm-System which does Deep Packet Inspection to analyse the user behaviour of their internet customers without even asking them what they should have done according to the law, as can be read at in EU geht wegen Phorm gegen Großbritannien vor.

And South Corea just implemented a “three-strikes law” even for web forums, to punish internet users when attending filesharing as can be read on in the article: SĂŒdkorea implementiert “3 Strikes” – auch fĂŒr Webforen.

When we assemble all these informations we get the following image:

  1. We will have the technical conditions for the control of the internet established
  2. There will always be someone, even in good intent, who will use these instruments to their maximum possibility
  3. And the punishment will be at least to be kicked out of the internet which means the loss of the basic democratic right of information or even more

Once Pandora’s Box is opened it cannot be closed again!

Now is the moment to stop all these things or one day we will find ourselves in a world where all informations and all our doing is controlled. I don’t think that then we will still be able to diskuss these things open.