Categories
Internet Misc

Big Brother is watching You

It is about 4 week ago that I switched from my favorite browser Firefox to Googles Chrome. On my Windows 7 system Firefox simply used too many resources.

Today I updated my Spybot installation which protects my registry and made a system scan. What shall I tell you it found 26 tracking cookies on my computer which I caught during only the last 4 weeks. My main usage of the internet is to search for programming informations.

Perhaps I am a little naive but I see no evidence that a session cookie must remain on the computer of a surfer after the user is logged out. Personalization of a website like on Amazon is a nice thing but I think that I should be able to surf in the internet anonymously and only get a personalized view once I reveal my identity intentionally as by logging in.

Instead of anonymity even the browsers reveal more and more informations so that these can already be used as identifying fingerprint as shown in the EFF Panopticlick project.

If you think that all this doesn’t matter to you it is perfectly OK with me but be aware that the companies who are tracking you and your behavior are making a lot of money with your data. What do you get in return? Databases full of tracking data which, connected to a real person, will make you and your doings completely transparent.

What will be the logical next step after connecting you as a person with the sampled data …. ? I don’t think that needs much inspiration.

Be aware when you surf in the internet that many eyes are watching you!

Categories
Around the World China Misc Politics

Joke about EU request to stop internet filtering in China

This can only be a political joke!

I was pointed by the german netzpolitik.org and Die Neuen Menschen blogs to an article you can read in the news at N24 or Deutschlandradio about a statement from Viviane Reding, commissioner for media of the European Union, about the chinese internet filters.

“Das Blockieren oder Filtern bestimmter Internet-Inhalte ist für die Europäische Union völlig inakzeptabel.”

or in english translation:

“The blocking or filtering of certain internet content is completely inacceptable for the European Union.”

I mean the enforced distribution of the “Green Dam – Youth Escort” software is discussed in China as well and the installation is not mandatory any more as stated by the chinese government.

But I would suggest the European Union to first stop all internet filtering within the Union before pointing out that they think that internet filtering is inacceptable !!!

The internet citizens in Europe are laughing about this sentence. 😀

Categories
Germany Politics

SPD und CDU wenden sich gegen ihre jungen Wähler

Eigentlich hatte ich meinen Blog begonnen weil ich meine Freunde und Verwandte in der ganzen Welt ein wenig auf dem Laufenden halten wollte wie es mir in China so ergeht und sie mit Bildern und Geschichten vom anderen Ende der Welt versorgen wollte.

Leider haben die aktuellen politischen Ereignisse aus Deutschland mich eingeholt und ich bin fast Sprachlos was die grosse Koalition da gerade anrichtet. Ich hatte diese Koalition sogar einmal befürwortet da sie in meinen Augen damals die einzige reelle Chance darstellte in dieser sich gegenseitig blockierenden politischen Landschaft noch einen Schritt nach vorne zu tun und gemeinsam die wirklich notwendigen Reformen anzustossen. Stattdessen ist der Kleinkrieg hinter dem Vorhang weitergegangen und die Ergebnisse dieser Politik sind eher erschreckend als positiv.

Es war in meinen Augen schon immer etwas zweifelhaft wenn Menschen plötzlich Ressorts regieren von denen sie überhaupt nichts verstehen. Da gab es Verkehrminister die nicht einmal einen Führerschein besaßen, Lehrer die plötzlich Finanzminister wurden und ähnliche Dinge. Trotzdem haben sich diese Politiker in meinen Augen noch wacker geschlagen da sie auf ihre, auf diesem Gebiet spezialisierten, Berater gehört haben.

Diese Legislaturperiode ist allerdings gekennzeichnet von einer absoluten Sinnfreiheit, besonders der Massnahmen um das Internet. Da brockt uns eine Justizministerin die Vorratsdatenspeicherung ein die nicht einmal weiß was ein Browser ist und die Familienministerin besiegelt dieses Tun dann durch die Einrichtung einer Zensur Infrastruktur für das Internet. Dem Wirtschaftsminister, dem eigentlich bei diesem Tun die Haare zu Berge stehen müssten, begreift scheinbar die langfristigen Folgen dieser Maßnahmen ebensowenig wie die meinsten Mitglieder des Bundestages und unterstützt diesen Unsinn auch noch.

Die Politiker scheinen zu glauben das eine Zensur des Internet zu Stabilität führt, wobei sie sich wahrscheinlich die plötzliche Einführung von Recht und Ordnung im Internet darunter vorstellen. Die Geschichte sollte ihnen allerdings gezeigt habe das solche Maßnahmen im besten Fall zur Stagnation führen. Wenn sie dies als Stabilität definieren haben sie natürlich Recht. In einer sich rasch vorwärts bewegenden Welt bedeutet Stagnation allerdings stetiger Rückschritt!

Wer glaubt das eine Zensur des Internet keinen Einfluss auf die Wirtschaft haben wird, der glaubt wahrscheinlich auch noch an den Weihnachtsmann. Zumindest auf die Software Industrie wird diese Maßnahme einen Einfluß haben, wie mir ein Jahr in China deutlich gemacht habt. Die vorderste Front in Technologien wird heutzutage in Blogs und Foren diskutiert und allenfalls noch in Wiki’s festgehalten. Von China aus habe ich täglich mit dem Kollateralschaden der Internetzensur zu kämpfen. Ungefähr jeder zweite Blog und Forum sind gesperrt und wenn ich an die Informationen heran kommen möchte muss ich erst einige technische Tricks nutzen. Geht man nach den Politikern hier in China suche ich anscheinend permanent nach Porno Inhalten oder extremistischen politischen Ansichten! Wie die praktischen Auswirkungen sind kann jeder sehen der die Analysen der “Green Dam” Filter Software der Firma Jinhui gelesen hat! Die Programmierer dieser Firma sind in die typischen Fallen geraten die schon seit Jahren in Foren und Blogs diskutiert werden und inzwischen als nicht nur überholte sondern sogar gefährliche Programmiertechniken angesehen werden.

Und der Unsinn geht sogar noch weiter! Natürlich sind die nächsten Schritte bereits Forderungen nach Zensur von Gewaltspielen oder das die Netzsperren Europaweit eingeführt werden. Gleichzeitig stellen einige Politiker einmal deutlich klar das sie unfähig zu seinen scheinen logisch zu denken und von sich ausgehend dies scheinbar auch bei ihren Wählern vermuten.

Besonders geschockt hat mich allerdings das Verhalten der SPD die ich seit über 20 Jahren wähle. Ich habe mich schon gefragt wie es mit dem rechtstaatlichen Verständnis innerhalb der SPD aussieht als die Anzeige gegen Herrn Tauss erhoben wurde. Eigentlich gilt in unserem Rechtstaat die Unschuldsvermutung. Davon war allerdings bei den Genossen des Herrn Tauss in der SPD wenig zu sehen. Und dann diese Katastrophe mit der Vorratsdatenspeicherung und der Internetzensur.

Ich muss gestehen, auch wenn ich nach wie vor nicht weiss wem ich im September noch guten Gewissens meine Stimme geben kann, für die SPD werde ich nach über 20 Jahren diesmal nicht stimmen.

Bewundernswert ist für mich die junge Generation von Demokraten die jetzt die Konsequenzen zieht und der SPD den Rücken kehrt wie Torben Friedrich und Julia Reda. Aber auch eingefleischten Demokraten wie Jörg Kantel kehren der SPD gerade den Rücken. Da verbleibt eigentlich kaum technischer Sachverstand in dieser Partei das diese noch zukunftsorientierte Politik betreiben kann.

Wie eigentlich mit dem Thema Kinderpornographie umgegangen werden sollte kann sich Frau von der Laien vielleicht einmal in Italien beispielhaft anschauen. Dort wird etwas dagegen getan anstatt den Mantel des Schweigens über diese absheulichen Verbrechen zu hängen. Bezeichnender Weise scheint ein nicht unerheblicher Teil des strafbaren Materials von einem deutschen Server herunter geladen worden zu sein. Wo waren Frau Zypries und Frau von der Laien denn da wieder? Im Wahlkampf?

[Nachtrag]
Hier noch ein kleiner Ausblick drauf was als nächstes aus dem Internet gefiltert wird.

[Nachtrag]
Der nächste Austritt aus der SPD, Manuela Schauerhammer.

Solange es Menschen gibt die erkennen das die Politik der großen Parteien mit einem demokratischen Verständnis längst nicht mehr vereinbar ist und daraus die Konsequenzen ziehen gebe ich die Hoffnung nicht auf! Die Politiker in Deutschland, die auf so einem hohen moralischen Ross gegenüber den politischen Systemen hier in Asien sitzen, sind gerade dabei diese System auf der äußerst rechten Spur zu überholen.

Categories
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.

Categories
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 jruby.org, …

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 ???

Categories
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.

Categories
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?

Categories
Misc Politics

Uprising of the Internt Citizens in Germany

During the last weeks it could be seen that the rift between the “internet generation” which grew up with computers, internet and mobile communication and the elder generation which rules the country and tries to control these modern communication facilities to death, even when they violate the democratic basic law as colateral damage, is much deeper than expected.

Statements of politicians which reveal their lack of technical understanding like the one of the minister of justice Zypries: “Browser? What is still a browser?” or that the minister for economic affairs von Guttenberg in an TV interview declared the over 100.000 signers of a petition against internet filtering as near child abusers, shows clearly the ignorance of the politicians in Germany towards about 20% of the german population (by rule of thumb from the article Die Generation C64 schlägt zurück).

I want to express my kudos to the internet community in Germany which, in contrast to the german politicians, discussed the situation based on facts (and didn’t invent them!), realized that the internet filtering in the form the politicians requested is absolutely against the german basic laws and stood up and started a democratic process to fight this plan to establish uncontrolled internet filtering even in the danger to be moved close to criminals by the politicians who want to defend this bill.

There is no place for internet agnostic politicians in the modern world any more. This could be seen in the election of Barak Obama in the USA and this should be learned from the fast organisation of opposition against this bill as well. The young generation is uprising, claims its democratic rights and is ready to stand for these rights also for the internet.

Categories
Misc Politics

Demagogy in Germany

In Germany the bill to establish internet filtering against child pornography has started a big dispute between politicians and several organisations and a huge part of internet users.

As could be expected an emotional highly charded issue like child pornography was the right vehicle to suppress an unemotional democratic discussion about internet filtering when drawn into the same context. As a result the media is full of demagogic statements from involved politicians which act already with one eye onto the upcoming elections in september this year as can be read on netzpolitik.org.

As demagogy has a long history in Germany I wanted to add two quotes from one of the internationally most recognized experts in this domain:

“It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.”

Dr. Joseph Göbbels, Minister of propaganda for the German Third Reich

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political,
economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Dr. Joseph Göbbels, Minister of propaganda for the German Third Reich

Categories
Misc Politics

Internet Barrier marks first innocent Victim

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

As can be read at golem.de in France the Webdesigner Jérôme 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 ?