Well, that settles it. I’m not going to see the new batman movie.
You might remember Senator Leahy, he’s still trying to resurrect SOPA. He’s calling it IPAA now as a sort of policy laundering.
The IP Attache Act would use your tax dollars to try to change the copyright, trademark, and patent laws of other sovereign nations to favor the MPAA/RIAA scumbags here at home, and then eventually these laws would make it back to the US in the form of a treaty or “Congressional-Executive Agreement” later on.
The US government won’t stop trying to take over the internet. They don’t want you listening to people like me, they want you to go listen to fake news that they control. Cable TV news channels don’t mention things like SOPA, CISPA, and IPAA, and they lose credibility when they refuse to cover real news stories.
People are finding out just how badly Fox News, NBC, and CNN are lying to them and tuning out. This puts pressure on the US government to shut down sites like Wikipedia and WordPress, and to censor Google.
Back to the MAFIAA (MPAA/RIAA), you shouldn’t give these labels and movie studios any of your money. The more money you give them, the more money they can use to hurt other people and buy laws with.
I’m going to vote for President Obama this year, but I really wish he’d get rid of Joe Biden. It’s obvious why he chose Biden as his VP., because Biden is buddy/buddy with the big Hollywood criminals that want to ram internet censorship laws down our throats.
Obama already had more than enough support in Delaware, and they only have four electoral votes anyway. He could have picked a VP that would have shored up his support in states that were competitive. Evan Bayh from Indiana was on the list.
Obama only won Indiana by about 1% of the vote in 2008 (including mine), but he would have gotten more support here, and maybe even won the state again this year (which is now unlikely and could help cost him his re-election) with Evan Bayh as his VP.
He chose Biden because Biden can go pump campaign donations out of the MAFIAA. Unfortunately, that means they control the Obama administration. Things would not get better in this area under Romney, so I just have to deal with the “yuck” factor when voting for Obama/Biden.
Worth mentioning: That raid on MegaUpload’s file locker site? Joe Biden told them to do it.
For kicks, I loaded up the Windows 8 “Consumer Preview” in VirtualBox.
I was expecting the usual. More crap that nobody asked for. More anti-competitive Microsoft tie-ins. More lock-in with Microsoft services. More EULA mess. More spyware. I found pretty much all of this.
The setup process was much like Windows 7 up to a point, except there are now three entire pages full of toggle switches where the user must agree to sacrifice their privacy to use Windows 8 fully, in addition to a EULA written in legalese that goes on forever, which nobody who isn’t a lawyer will fully understand. If they don’t, then there will be huge swaths of missing features. (And since it is proprietary software, you absolutely cannot trust anything it says or does, so the choice is misleading anyway.)
As Dr. Richard Stallman has said, Windows is malicious software. Their privacy policies open up the user to all kinds of abuse for simply agreeing with the EULAs (which are mandatory if you wish to use Windows), and in the EULA you agree that Microsoft can slip in updates or change the EULA at any point in the future. So, if there is something malicious that Windows currently does not do, then it would be very easy for them to slip that into an update and push it out tomorrow.
They’ve done this sort of thing before, countless times. Anyone remember how “Windows Genuine Annoyance” wasn’t originally part of Windows XP?
Anyone remember when Windows XP and Vista would simply lock you out of your computer and forbid you access to anything even if the software was legally licensed and Microsoft just happened to screw up?
Idiot Exploiter being in Windows 98 without an uninstaller got Microsoft some DOJ attention, but it’s literally EVERYWHERE in Windows 8, and it’s more malicious than ever.
Here’s what you agree to send to Microsoft now to get a fully functional copy of Windows 8 if you take the default settings (Some of these have been a requirement of various Microsoft apps and Windows in the past, some are new. This is in addition to anything mandated by their EULA, so you can’t opt out of all of it even if you tried):
Every site you visit in Internet Explorer.
Everything you download with Internet Explorer.
Every URL you click on in an application from the Windows store, regardless what browser it opens in.
Every web resource that an application loads.
Every application you have installed on your computer, regardless of where it came from.
Your EXACT location. (Via IP geolocation or GPS coordinates.) when you use an app that uses this feature. Note: GPS coordinates are accurate to within a few inches.
Crash data for any application that has a problem, including a memory dump. (Those can include personal information like passwords, site login data, your bank account information, truly any information the app had in memory when it crashed.)
Which parts of Windows Help you have read, and what URLs you clicked on in that.
You agree that they can force application updates on you, silently, even to install malicious features,even if you didn’t want the update.
You agree that they can update Windows, including for the purpose of stuffing in more malicious features, even if you didn’t want the update.
Applications can use your name, account picture, location data, and various Windows Live features, as you.
Perhaps most disturbing at all, the Windows Store and many of the applications that come with Windows that can’t be removed, like their messenger program that censors its users and spies on what they say, require you to sign up with a Microsoft Account (which is, I guess what they’re calling Passport these days), and to fully utilize the software store, you have to link a major credit card/debit card to your account and agree to anything Microsoft or apps you use try to charge to it.
You agree in the EULA that Windows can update things like their Windows Media Digital Restrictions Malware and you won’t try to stop it.
The US DMCA makes it illegal to try to break their Digital Restrictions Malware, even if it’s because it fucked up and you’re just trying to use the content you “bought”. Or because Microsoft’s latest DRM’d music store flops and they take down their license renewal server. Happens.
If you use any of Microsoft’s “Cloud” features, you agree explicitly that they can share your information with advertisers or the federal, state, or local government units with or without a valid search warrant, and you also agree that you hold Microsoft harmless if they fuck up and delete your data. So don’t upload anything expecting to ever get it back out. But, these are problems with most cloud services, which is why you shouldn’t use them.
We live in an age where the government doesn’t even need warrants because people tell them everything they want to know, willingly. How many criminal cases has the government been able to make out of data that Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook have turned over? We might never know.
These reasons, and many more are why it’s time to consider making the move to Free and Open Source software. There’s no 20 page EULAs, no “activation”, no spyware, fewer headaches, and no bullshit.
Big companies have proven time and time again that they are not to be trusted with your information. Why do people agree to give them more and more of it all the time in light of this abuse?
If you need a starting point in learning about Free and Open Source software, what it is, and more reasons you should be replacing your proprietary software with it, here’s some places to read up about it.
In short, there’s probably a suitable free and open source replacement for almost everything you use, even for operating systems such as Ubuntu and Fedora, office suites such as LibreOffice and Caligra Suite, even replacements for Photoshop, like The Gimp. Of course that’s just naming a few.
Switch now, and you will not only have the peace of mind that nobody is using your computer against you or effectively leasing your own computer out to you, or using your software to censor or spy on you, but also that they can’t rack up fraudulent credit card transactions from an app that is targeted to your children which sells them pretend apples and hay to feed imaginary animals with.
One Apple customer was recently in the news, horrified, that his seven year old daughter managed to rack up the equivalent of about $350 US dollars to his credit card, which Apple simply allowed to go through. If you think Microsoft will be treating customers any better, I would suggest that you’re in for a painful life lesson.
One more disturbing trend….
Each version of Windows comes in yet more “editions”. “Edition” is just a nice way of saying they cripple it a bit more and a bit more to segment the market and create price points. This is something else you never see in Free and Open Source Software, because it would be pointless. Nevertheless, Microsoft has decided that Windows 8 will not play a DVD or Blu Ray without the “Media Pack”, which will be an additional fee.
How much? They declined to say. For reference, adding DVD playback to Windows Media Player in Windows XP cost $25, and adding Blu Ray support to Windows has typically meant a MONTHLY RECURRING SUBSCRIPTION fee because it requires downloading the new content restriction keys every month, so if you stop paying, your discs stop playing. Isn’t that cute?
Benjamin Mako Hill wrote about this deliberate software crippling in an essay about Windows NT 4. He called the disabled features anti-features. The point he made, quite concisely, was that if you pay Microsoft for anything other than the most expensive version, you’re literally paying them to remove features from your software. He also made a list with more examples of products with antifeatures.
There’s much more detail I could go into, but this is yet another wake up call that you deserve Freedom, and Free Software gives you the Freedom you deserve. The Free Software Foundation defines “Free” (as in freedom!) Software as giving the user these four freedoms.
- The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
- The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
- The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
In short, you are free to study, modify, redistribute, and use the software, for any purpose, and you are never “under surveillance” by it or unable to help your friend by sharing the software with him or her.
Microsoft and Apple both have something in common; they try to make the user overlook all of the things they have to sacrifice just to use their software, by making it pretty on the surface. That pretty surface is only skin deep, and underneath it, the internals of the system are as bug-ridden and as DRM-encumbered as ever. Just because you paid for a license doesn’t mean they can’t come back later and terminate it, for any or for no reason, without a refund.
What’s most disturbing, above and beyond anything else I’ve talked about, is when the software is so tied to the hardware that the hardware is useless without their software (such as Windows on ARM or the iPad). What do you do if they throw you out? I guess you have a really expensive door stop. (Did someone say, Plasma Active? Yes, you should use Plasma Active.)
Windows 8 gives you a choice. You can keep surrendering more of your freedom to Microsoft and other malicious software companies every year, or you can get off their slippery slope right now.
“Maddox” (George Ouzounian) has an interesting post on SOPA. Unfortunately, he tries to compare the Rodney King incident with SOPA and Occupy Wall Street. So I sent him an email correcting this flawed association. I decided to copy it here in case anyone finds the facts interesting.
I’ve read your site over the years and usually agree with what you write, or at the very least I find myself amused.
The SOPA page is more or less factually correct. I’m not going to argue about most of the points you bring up on that page.
One thing that I did kind of find odd is that you compared the injustice of SOPA to the beating that the scumbag known as Rodney King brought down on himself in 1992.
The facts of the situation, often ignored by the far left and the media in order to stir the usual shit, involve:
A man that was already on probation for drug felonies.
He decided that since the police wanted to pull him over on a freeway, that they might violate his probation, so naturally he did something brilliant…
He led the police on a 115 mile an hour chase, endangering the lives of himself, the police following him, and everyone around him on the freeway.
When the police finally stopped him, it turns out that he was high on crack cocaine, and he proceeded to assault a police officer.
After the police used force to subdue him (maybe a bit too much, but not unprovoked), the minorities decided that the police were profiling him because he was black.
If your definition of “to profile” includes chasing people that run from the police, and/or tasing and whacking them with a baton after they finally get them stopped and after they lunge out to attack a police officer while fueled up on crack cocaine. The police profile a lot of people.
The minorities decided to use the Rodney King incident as an excuse to riot, loot, and torch businesses and homes belonging to people who had nothing to do with the incident at all. Along the way they even managed to shoot and kill each other and innocent bystanders.
Because of these assholes, the police, the National Guard, and active US Army and Marines units declared martial law and illegally curtailed the civil rights of people who hadn’t done anything wrong, to restore order and arrest the criminals.
Since the situation was bad enough for the US government to send in the military to act as civilian law enforcement, they got to set a precedent. Later on, they’d expand the role of the military as civilian law enforcement using the nebulous term “terrorism”, but that is outside the scope of this topic.
The lasting lesson of Rodney King is that any idiot can show up with a video camera halfway into a situation, provide no context, and the media will keep raping the public with clips from the footage.
For what it’s worth, if you thought Rodney King had redeemed himself in the past 20 years and become a productive member of society, you’d be wrong. Here’s what Wikipedia says about him (clarifications in brackets are mine):
“Since the  arrest… King has been arrested at least a further eleven times on a variety of charges, including domestic abuse and hit-and-run.”
Still not following me? Maybe it’s because I’m “white” which means “racist” of course. Take what Chris Rock said instead. “When the police have to chase after you, they’re bringing an ass kicking with them.”
The fact that King was black and got an unscrupulous lawyer were the reasons he got $3.5 million from the tax payers of Los Angeles and the State of California, which he proceeded to lose almost immediately on squandering and lousy investments (including a record label that never produced anything notable)
I’m not sure that SOPA (which is an injustice and an anti-constitutional infringement of civil liberties) compares to the beating that one stupid crackhead brought down on himself or that groups of peaceful Occupy protestors should be compared to an unruly mob of (mostly) minorities who use the situation of the day as an excuse to smash things, steal, and kill innocent people.
You can quote me if you like. I’ve noticed that the people you tend to cite are like something from a mentally retarded 12 year old on AOL (and usually in all caps), it might be refreshing (if not entirely entertaining) to quote someone that is not intellectually inferior to you.
Just a quick post from the “It’s only a recession if you work for a living” department.
SOPA/PIPA would cost US federal taxpayers $45 million dollars a year to enforce.
“Still, Coburn has his concerns with the approach taken in the Senate bill. And he insists, as he does with all legislation, that its costs be offset with cuts elsewhere in the budget; the Senate bill, he said, carries an estimated $45 million in federal enforcement costs. “
It is “interesting” when the resounding answer to everything else is “it’s not in the budget”, that they come up with $450 million in deficit spending over the next 10 years to protect the rich business criminals at the MAFIAA and Fixed News.
Oh well, the lobbyists bribed a pack of corrupt politicians to pass the damned thing. I guess anything is in the budget when corporate lobbyists have worked enough dirty money into the United States Congress.
As corporate welfare goes, SOPA/PIPA is hardly the costliest legislation in recent history, but that’s no excuse for fleecing taxpayers who work for a living to protect billionaires.
Besides, some people like Fox Noise.
PS: Just for fun. If you gave the budget to enforce SOPA for 10 years to NASA, they could do another Mars mission, complete with two more rovers. Hey, it beats giving scum sucking corporate bitch turned Senator turned scum sucking corporate bitch Chris Dodd a handout. Doesn’t it?
This work by Ryan Farmer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
The FBI picked yesterday to raid and take down MegaUpload.
In what was, obviously, intended to say “Fuck you America, we don’t need SOPA to do this”, the jack booted thugs at the FBI, acting upon orders from their commanders at the MAFIAA (A catch all term that is commonly used to refer to RIAA/MPAA/BSA type cartel organizations), seized the MegaUpload domain, arrested the owners and administrators, and replaced it with the standard finger wagging “This domain has been seized” banner.
Anonymous responded by taking out the DoJ, FBI, and some cartel websites with a Distributed Denial of Service attack. (Windows malware-controlled PCs can do something productive I guess.)
Sure, MegaUpload probably had some files that were violating copyright. I know Twitter does. So does Facebook, Google Docs, Amazon “Cloud”, the Ubuntu One skin for “Amazon Cloud”, and many others. Incidentally, they all oppose SOPA, not because it’s the moral and just position to be in (it is), but because it would cause them an undue burden to ceaselessly monitor their users. Under SOPA/PIPA, legitimate websites can be taken down by the government because one of their users posted a link to copyright-infringing material. SOPA/PIPA is clearly designed to discourage sites from allowing user-generated content. (I guess that means that if SOPA/PIPA get passed into law, you won’t be reading any more blogs.)
If you think about it, MegaUpload was in the same “cloud storage” business that companies like Amazon and Microsoft are in, it is my firm belief that the US government only picked on MegaUpload because they made the government come back with a warrant when they wanted private user data, and Amazon and Microsoft are all too eager to comply with them with no court supervision required.
While I’m on the subject of major “cloud” storage sites, I’ve noticed a lot of “pirated software” on Microsoft Windows Skydrive, including materials to crack Microsoft software. Go figure.
The Federal Government has generally left certain “cloud” storage companies alone because they comply with warrantless sneak and peak searches, authorized not by the Constitution, but by anti-terrorism legislation rammed through in the aftermath of 9/11, when people were so frightened that they let the government pass anything and everything that claimed to “protect” them. The legislation hasn’t caught one terrorist in 11 years, it has not stopped a single terrorist attack anywhere in the world.
What it is doing, is enabling the US government agents on the MAFIAA payroll to take down sites without even bothering to give lip service to constitutional “protections” like freedom of speech, freedom against self-incrimination, the right to due process and equal protection of the laws, etc.
If anything is enabling “terrorism” on Americans, it is laws like the PATRIOT ACT, DMCA, proposed SOPA/PIPA, companies like Apple and Microsoft, and products like iTunes.
Companies that write and push these laws are terrorist organizations. Wiktionary defines terrorism as “A psychological strategy of war for gaining political or religious ends by deliberately creating a climate of fear among the population of a state.” The fear inspired by possible SOPA violations is designed to get the population of a state (the United States) to censor themselves. When the day comes that you can’t even talk about things they don’t like, you’re being censored, regardless of what SOPA proponents like MPAA scumbag Chris Dodd will tell you. (Now should we go after the MPAA/RIAA with cruise missiles, or should we take this opportunity to try out Prompt Global Strike? It would be the best use of my tax money in a long time either way.)
When you buy things from Microsoft, Apple, iTunes, RIAA labels, the MPAA, or various other censorship promoters, you’re not supporting American jobs, you’re supporting draconian laws like the PATRIOT ACT, DMCA, and the proposed SOPA. These things don’t just come out of nowhere, the promoters of them use a lot of money (some of it may even be from you) to grease the wheels. I don’t even believe it is just campaign contributions either. I think there’s plenty of cash under the table going to our elected officials from these outfits. Mexican President Felipe Calderon said at one point that part of the reason so many illegal drugs were getting across the border was because American politicians were taking cash money from drug cartels to make sure that certain smugglers got through without any issues at the border. Why would anyone have a hard time believing that American politics works differently elsewhere?
I haven’t bought any new RIAA-labeled music since the RIAA sued Napster. (I have bought some used CDs, mostly of stuff I listened to in the 80s and 90s. In compliance with the First Sale Doctrine.) I have not purchased any MPAA-labeled movies since they got on the lawsuit wagon. I specifically refuse to buy anything from Adobe, Apple, or Microsoft. As these companies started to openly work against my interests, I cut myself away from them. I could ignore them no longer. Will it stop them? No. It will never stop them as long as people think it is socially acceptable to spend money on cartel-promoted intangible items like MP3 files and ebooks and movies. The only thing I can do is apologize for my part of funding them and not do it again.
On so-called “Piracy”? I have no ethical problems with sharing information to help your friends. Unfortunately the MAFIAA has the finest government money can buy in the United States, and sharing information to help your friends can be illegal.
I’ve posted before what my thoughts are on “digital purchases”, they’re just a sneaky way to remove ownership from you and allow the MAFIAA to never let your “purchases” out of their sight. “Content” on “the cloud” is even worse because then you’re not even in possession of the file. It is the ultimate Digital Restrictions Management, cloaked as a kind of convenience.
“What about stores selling files? They got rid of DRM years ago!”
A common misconception exists around that. The only reason Apple doesn’t use DRM on their proprietary AAC files, and why many MP3 stores such as Amazon’s don’t do so either, is due to the obvious argument that the Red Book CD standard never had DRM. The argument can still be made, as long as CDs are still for sale, that the customer could theoretically buy and rip their own CDs. Thus there’s no reason to DRM-cripple the digital stuff until they cease making CDs. (Though it didn’t stop Apple from attempting this, they didn’t back off of it for years, and then they forced all their customers to buy the files all over again to get a clean copy) Then it will be back. Take my word, it’ll be back. Notice how there are precisely ZERO online movie stores with no DRM? Blu Ray has about half a dozen layers of DRM, and you have to crack them all before the disc plays on a non-”authorized” device. Since, barring violation of the DMCA, it’s impossible to make a clean copy of n HD movie, Apple and other stores don’t have to provide you with a clean copy of a movie that you have nominally “bought”. (They can take it away at any time thanks to their Foulplay DRM).
What companies are going for with SOPA and other “anti-piracy” laws is no less than the death of the free and open internet where all (regardless of government and corporate approval) are more or less free to voice their opinion and make their own websites and host their own material, and to turn it into something that more closely resembles America Online or the Microsoft Network from the 1990s. Full of nothing but tons of corporate-controlled push content and advertising, and the pack of pedophiles that lurk around that they’re really not interested in doing anything about. (They never have been interested in stopping pedophiles. Pedophiles don’t cost companies any money and provide a great excuse to raid sites they dislike.)
I don’t disagree with what Anonymous does. They are striking back at an oppressive, extralegal, and anti-constitutional cabal of government gone bad and out of control corporations. If anyone from them reads this, I’d like to put in a request. Next time, DDoS those parasites over at Apple, take down iTunes, do something that stings. Godspeed and good sailing!
This work by Ryan Farmer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.