geek internet law politics security society twitter war


I’ve been watching the internet concerning the Iranian elections lately and I have to say that the information being delivered over the net is far more interesting than what traditional media has to offer, plus it’s a lot faster too.

A few things are quite interesting about this whole thing from an geek point of view on how the so called new media is used in the conflict:

1. Easy channels of information = easy channels for disinformation. As bloggers use blogs, Twitter and facebook to spread instant updates on what’s going on inside Iran, the government sets up fake account to spread disinformation using the same channels. Keeping your bullshit filter up when going through the information spread on the various networks is mandatory to not get suckered into the false news.

2. The firewalls have eyes. While the internet is the medium to spread news in a somewhat anonymous fashion, it’s also being actively monitored and  partially controlled by the government to try and track down protesters. The same goes for cellphone networks and SMS traffic. Public proxies and anonymizers can help to keep the identity of the bloggers safe, but those are being shut down as well. Governments all over the world are lobbying to limit the privacy of their civilians by forcing ISP’s to track their user’s actions on the net under the excuse of increasing security and fighting the terrorist threat. Once this is achieved there is no turning back and these tools can be used for less noble goals which is now being displayed in Iran. Keep this in mind next time politicians talk about forcing your internet provider to keep logs. Tools like Tor, Freenet, proxies and anonymizers are also imported for this reason.

3. Sometimes helping turns out to be not helping. People all over the world are trying to help the Iranian protesters using all sorts of geeky tricks. Unfortunately these tricks seem to be working more against them in some cases. Some people started DDos’ing Iranian websites. This turned out to be blocking overal internet traffic in Iran, including those of the protesters trying to get the word out. Retweeting messages of legit Iranians for example can blow their cover as Boing Boing mentions. Retweeting false information is another. Which brings us to..

4. Who can you trust? Trust is the major issue here. Can the blogger’s information be trusted? Can a website or forum be trusted, or is it a tool set up by the government to lure in the unwary? The gov has been said to set up so-called anonymous twitter-sites which simply log protesters accounts and IP’s for easy tracking. Trusting your Twitter or GMail account to a malicious website which then uses it to spam your friends is one silly mistake to make. But if your life depends on it you better be damn sure that site can be trusted before you hit the submit button.

5. The internet is supportive. All over the net support is being raised (noticed those green icons on Twitter?), rightfully or not. The underdog is always popular online and I frankly don’t have a clue yet who’s right and who’s wrong in this story, but by making such a fuss the government is certainly not looking like the good guys in this one. One thing I do know is that it’s important to allow free speech and that’s what the Iranian government is now trying to stop by blocking access to the net. It’s cool to see the Swedes at Piratebay have set up a forum which Iranians can use in full anonymity for example. I’m not linking directly to it here as it seems to be down at the moment, probably because of the increased traffic it’s getting right now, so they don’t need those few extra clicks coming from here.

Cyberwar is no longer science-fiction.

Photo by MisterArasmus, copyrighted so I’m going for fair-use here :)

politics society war

war ain't cheap

Blackhawks flying towards the setting sun
Photo by SGT Buttler, cc-licensed

3 trillion dollar. That’s what the war on terror has cost the US of A until today. I can’t even imagine how much that is, but if nobel prize winner Joseph Sitglitz says so, I bet he ain’t bullshitting. Check the link and google news for the details but you can image that this is going to cost the US population. Those debts will have to be paid at some point, and hell, the US economy isn’t doing all that great as it is already.

It’s ironic that the war that was to stop international terrorism is actually succeeding in fulfilling the goals set out by those who flattened the twin towers in the first place. With their limited budget they managed to set of a chain of events that eventually brought the US to it’s knees economically. At least, that’s what likely to be happening, unless the next in line manages to turn that ship around before it hits that iceberg head on.

I think I hear champagne popping in a cave in Afghanistan somewhere.

rant society war

life sucks and then you die

No this is not the typicabe a dreamer ironic inspirational posterl teen angst negativist post you might be expecting, cause I’m way passed that teen stage and heading strong for that mid-life crisis we all love. This post is more of a counter reaction to those American dream-like, “be all you can be”, yoga-crap posts like this Be a dreamer I came across a while ago.

I used to be reading stuff like that and think, “Yeah, they’re right, I can realize my dreams, I can be that person.” and went all yoga stylee on myself. I’m not saying it’s bad to try that, hell no, but in a way it’s a bull isn’t it.

The universe doesn’t want to give you everything in abundance, nor the life you dream of. We’d all be pornstars then right? In reality the universe doesn’t give a damn about you, and doesn’t care if you die now or tomorrow. Tell that black kid with the swollen belly in Somalia to “be a dreamer” or the Cambodian teen forced into prostitute. Now that would feel sorta cynical wouldn’t it.

“Dream big, talk big, and work for it”.

Good advice.
If you’re born in a good family, during peace time, in a country with a stable government, with the cash to get you a proper education, and life is kind enough to let you live long enough to enjoy it.

“We are the all singing all dancing crap of the world” Tyler said, and he’s right. So if you’re one of the lucky ones, and since you can read and have an internet connection it looks like you are, maybe it ain’t so bad to be mediocre for a change, and consider yourself lucky that the chance is rather small your town will get raided tonight by renegade soldiers to steal the cattle, execute the men and rape the women.

How about that, you lucky bastard?

politics war

nuclear bunker buster loophole

a nuclear sunset by Michael HeilemannIf there’s one thing thats a scary development in the evolution of the US army it’s the fact that certain nuclear weapons -the nuclear bunker busters- have now become so called conventional weapons.
This means these bombs can be deployed by any 4 star general as he sees fit, without having to go through the complex nuke procedure we’ve all seen in several war and disaster movies before.

I heard about this before by watching a video (torrent or direct link from of Michel Chossudovsky speaking at the Perdana Peace Forum 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, but I didn’t realise at the time he was talking about these bunker busters. Just recently I came across a link with an animation of what those bombs are supposed to be doing, and how they will be causing more damage than they are causing due to nuclear fallout and possibly even spreading biological or toxic agents.

This flash animation gives an overview of what might be happening if these nukes are deployed in Iran (through Hypocrisy weblog).


media politics society tv war

bowling for columbine

I know it’s kinda late, but I saw Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine this weekend and even though a two hour documentary sounded like a boring idea to me at first it turned out to be quite excellent… which was sorta to what people had been telling me about it…

The most interesting part of the whole documentary was the reason that Moore suggested as to why Americans have a tendency to shoot each others brains out, compared to other countries who do not seem to be having those rather violent tendencies.
My guess was that other countries simply don’t have that many guns lying around. Like in Belgium for instance, the government has made it hard to get a gun. Most people don’t bother because of this, even though some would like one anyway.

So logically, with less guns at arms reach we have to resort to fistfights or whatever comes in handy at the moment we get so angry our Neanderthal brain tells us to bash some skulls into a bloody pulp, so evidently less people get blown away by lead beans.

But according to Moore Canadian homes hold about as much weapons as their US counterparts, and mortality rate due to boom sticks is far, far less… which is quite interesting.
Moore blames the media, and the way it sustains fear in the hearts of white America. The “scared white man” southparkish cartoon in the movie is simply brilliant, I wish there was a copy online of that somewhere I could link to, but I can’t find it at the moment. The cartoon is hilariously funny, but shouldn’t be taken too seriously, as some apparently do, but it does hold a certain degree of truth I guess.

a bikini bandit