It's been ages since I've blogged. I guess now is a nice time to get back on track, both here and on indiebiotech.com. I have been far from idle! However, much of my work has been biotech-related, which belongs yonder on indiebiotech, so I'll just share some of my non-biotech pet projects here for now. TinyStatus In response to ongoing attempts to regulate “Unfettered Commentary” in Ireland, I wrote a peer-to-peer microstatus server/client in 30 lines of Python, in the hopes of making a similar point to the 15-line TinyP2P app written in response to P2P regulation attempts in 2004.
So, our great and glorious Minister Sean Sherlock just signed SOPA into law in Ireland, despite a huge civil outcry. The poorly defined statutory instrument will allow anyone claiming “Copyright Infringement” to seek a court injunction against any website, without having to present evidence and without a consultation with the accused website. The form of the resulting censorship is unclear, but will probably require ISP-level DNS censorship of websites outside Ireland, or direct seizing of those within the Irish jurisdiction.
Google, I'm Leaving You. Somewhere over five years ago, I gratefully accepted an invite to Gmail and rejoiced: it was a wonderful new paradigm in web-based email, and a huge improvement over Yahoo Mail. It's still one of the best email services online, and still miles ahead of the nearest competition by number of users. At the time, it was a straightforward social contract; Google would host and provide a great email service, and in exchange, non-human agents (robots!
Dear Mr. Bruton, I am writing to you (and simultaneously to my blog, where further correspondence will be forwarded) to ask that you reconsider your support of a Three-Strikes policy on internet use in Ireland. There are many reasons for you to do so. Chiefly among them, I feel, is the threat to our judicial system if this system becomes part of Irish law. By legitimising the surveillance of corporate bodies on Irish citizens, and by permitting these foreign corporate bodies to realise a powerful ability normally reserved for state agencies (the power to effectively silence a citizen of Ireland), the Three-Strikes policy will set a precedent whereby privatisation of legal power becomes acceptable.
The following is an open letter to ICANN, spurred by the suggestion that they might capitulate to demands from lobbyists to help cripple one of the main Top-Level-Domains (TLD) of the internet, the “.net” domain. Dear ICANN, I am writing to you to plead that you discard the unreasonable demands of copyright lobby organisations that the .net TLD be subject to unreasonable and unnecessary oversight. Fitstly, a privatised agreement that supersedes and even expands the already potent DMCA is unnecessary, as a legal route to takedown of infringing content is already well established and, some would say, overused.
Dear Mr. Crowley, As one of your constituents, and as an aspiring writer with a vested interest in intellectual property structures, I am writing (publicly) to you to ask that you please consider opposing the proposed Copyright Term Extension in the European Parliament this week and going forward. Copyright term extension does not protect general artists, for whom a creative work is almost never going to be commercially viable after 50 years in any case.
Well, I promised a post on Privacy and Security online, and it's been long in coming. I'll admit that's because for all that I'd love to waffle on ad infinitum, I haven't done enough research to know that everything I'm saying is up-to-date. So, to strike a nice middle ground I'll split the post instead. In this installment, rather than offering “active” advice (such as what to install and how to browse), I'll offer the groundwork and the basics of how to “passively” be more secure online and how to preserve your security.
I have a personal interest in my privacy both online and in the physical world. There's no real reason behind it besides a knowledge that it is my right not to have my privacy invaded, and a feeling of insult that it is invaded anyway on probably a daily basis. Sources of this invasion include my ISP, Marketing Widgets on the internet, Possibly the odd hacker and the NSA, who are doubtless running programs that scan my email and monitor browsing statistics to identify them terrur-wrists at work on the internet.