Will Obama Read The Writing On The Wall?

As we move farther and farther into the Obama presidency I have noticed that those who make it a point to defend him and his policies & decisions are definitely becoming fewer and farther between.

Oh it’s not like he’s in any danger of not having a significant number of supporters any time soon. Yet it’s also true that more and more people are finding things that they don’t like and they’re much more willing to say so.

While I don’t regularly follow Fox news (or any particular news source really, I tend to skim from several), I ran across a poll today that kind of illustrates what I’m saying.

The question asked was Has Obama Done a Good Job Handling the Libyan Situation?

As I write this there have been 97,418 total votes. Here’s how they break down. Oh, for the record, I voted “No” in this poll.

Not sure — Obama proceeded with caution, but did he wait too long? 3.36% (3,272 votes)

Yes — He was correct to wait. Now it’s time for Plan B. 5.62% (5,473 votes)

No — Obama’s inaction gave Qaddafi a lifeline. 89.23% (86,929 votes)

Other (post a comment) 1.79% (1,744 votes)

I’d say that this is one indicator that the days of people blindly jumping on his bandwagon are about over.

I just hope it means that he will NOT be re-elected.

[tags]president, obama, poll, disatisfied, qaddafi, lybia, foreign policy[/tags]

Some Parents Have NO Sense About Naming Children!

I’m totally serious here. There are some parents (usually only deserving of the term because of biology) that have absolutely zero sense when it comes to their children. This is particularly true when it comes to the names that they saddle these unfortunate young ones with.

While I could present an assortment of generic examples, I’ve got one that’s getting attention on a world wide scale.

In the recent unrest in the Middle East that resulted in Egyptian dictator Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak leaving office and a major change in the Egyptian government, Facebook has been credited for helping to organize regime-ending protests.

So far, so good, right? Here’s where we reach the “WTF?!?” point.

You see, out of gratitude for Facebook’s part in the changes in Egypt, Jamal Ibrahim decided to honor the social networking site by naming his firstborn daughter (are you ready for this?) Facebook Jamal Ibrahim.

Now I’m sure the first thing a lot of people will say is that I’m making this up. Ok. Fine. Read about it yourself in this zdnet story. It really happened.

Now I get that he wanted to honor the site that helped his country change. Great. Wonderful.

Build a monument. A statue. Almost anything. But for the love of God don’t go naming your daughter after it! That’s just insane! Have some consideration for how she’s liable to feel about that name fifteen years from now. She might very well hate you for it.

[tags]egypt, government, change, facebook, father, names, baby, social networking site, baby names, stupid baby names, horrible baby names, insane baby names, wtf, is he nuts, are you crazy[/tags]

Blogging And Job Security

Most people today incorrectly assume that their private lives are in fact private and that what they do on their own time is their business and nobody else’s. Unfortunately, in today’s world if you do not proactively work to maintain your privacy, you have none.

This has been proven true countless times when politicians, teachers, public figures, people in management jobs and countless others have dared to blog about their workplace environments. Sooner or later someone higher up gets wind of what they’ve been writing about and suddenly they’re at risk of losing their jobs or worse simply because they had something to say.

The answer is that when blogging about things that could affect your job or social position in a bad way, or even get you into lawsuit trouble because you’re trying to expose some illegal and or immoral stuff your employer is up to, you should do it anonymously.

But how DO you blog anonymously? Many would be anonymous bloggers have found out the hard way that it’s all to easy for the other side’s lawyers to get a court order and legally force their identity to be handed over.

The one answer I have seen that works is called Freenet Classic Opennet. It’s free software that lets you publish and obtain information without fear of censorship OR of having your identity revealed. Your identity cannot be revealed because nobody but you knows it. It’s a decentralized, fully anonymous network that is designed to allow true freedom of speech in a way that the conventional internet cannot.

When you write a blog on freenet, as long as you are careful about what personally identifying details you include in your writings, you remain 100% anonymous. Not only that, once you insert your newly written blog into the freenet network, nobody can alter it or force it to be taken down.

[tags]blogging, anonymous blogging, blog anonymously, freedom of speech[/tags]

Paranoia, A Modern Fact Of Life

If you think that paranoia is just for “crazy” people, think again. In today’s world there is more paranoia than ever before. Taking a moment to define paranoia, in layman’s terms it means the basically the belief that someone is “out to get you”. Wikipedia defines it as “Paranoia is a thought process heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat towards oneself“.

Before you go assuming that anyone who is paranoid is crazy or delusional, bear in mind an old saying, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you.” -anonymous

It seems that the number of things that people have to be worried or fearful about have been growing a lot, especially in the last ten to fifteen years or so. Everything from international terrorism to whether or not the new guy on the block is some kind of predator.

There’s also the growing and I think more than a little justified paranoia concerning privacy. Not only does it seem that there are more and more security cameras watching our every move but there are so many other things from RFID chips in so many products to more phishing scams than you can shake a stick at from people trying to steal everything that isn’t nailed down.

One of the biggest victims is our privacy. It is fast reaching the point where it’s *almost* impossible to express your opinions about something without having to worry about some lawyer coming after you.

That, among many other things, is why Freenet is needed now more than ever. By publishing something anonymously within freenet you can have your say about anything, expose fraud or other “evil intentions and actions” by an employer, corporation or government.

Honestly though, you don’t need reasons like those to use Freenet, all you really need is that you believe in freedom of speech, the right that we all have to express ourselves without fear of censorship. And if you don’t think that censorship is becoming more and more of a problem take a look around and you’ll see signs of it all over the place.

Like for example, in recent years there have been more and more anonymous bloggers trying to get the truth out about something only to have their anonymity stripped away by a court order and then not only are they exposed to legal trouble and other hassles that they shouldn’t have but their message is usually lost as the blogs that they thought were anonymous get shut down and their message silenced.

By publishing in freenet, not only is the author 100% anonymous (as long as they’re careful about identifying details) but what they write cannot be taken down. Instead other freenet users around the world can republish it all over the regular internet from many different jurisdictions, making for a message that is a LOT harder to silence.

So, if you believe in freedom of speech, why not check out Freenet and contribute something to it. The software is free, all it will cost you is a little bit of time.

[tags]freedom of speech, censorship, anonymous publishing, anonymous blogging, anonymous blogger, anonymous, anonymous internet, takedown notice, whistleblower[/tags]

FCon, THE Answer To Anonymous Publishing

Over the last couple of years there’s been a lot of this kind of story in the news. Some blogger tries to publish something anonymously on a blog, almost always with the intent of exposing something they see as an injustice of some kind, and next thing you know the person, company or government is hauling somebody into court demanding the identity of the blogger. The blog host ends up getting ordered to reveal the blogger’s identity and then the lawsuit hits them and things really get ugly (not to mention expensive!) from there.

I’ve seen people react to these stories and say things like “so much for freedom of speech” or “he/she was just trying to expose something that shouldn’t have been going on in the first place”.

In some countries it’s even worse where blogging about your political beliefs can get you thrown in jail or even just shot if it happens to disagree with those in power.

The point is that I don’t believe that most of these people were guilty of anything but trying to expose a truth that powerful people, corporations and or government agencies didn’t want published because at the very least it embarrasses them and tarnishes their carefully crafted public image as ‘nice guys’ or even exposes them as the actual ‘bad guys’ that they really are by publishing various details about what they’re really up to.

Obviously just setting up a blogspot account isn’t going to cut it because the lawyers almost always get that court order and the identity of the blogger is handed to them on a silver platter. What they need is a publishing platform that is truly anonymous, where their identity cannot be handed over because nobody knows it.

Fortunately there is such a thing. It’s called FCon (Freenet Classic OpenNet). It’s a free program that allows you publish and obtain information on the Internet without fear of censorship. The network is completely decentralized and those who publish or retrieve information using that network are completely anonymous.

(note: That anonymity does of course depend on the person publishing having the sense to be careful about not including details that could provide clues to their identity)

In this post I use “FCon” and “freenet” interchangeably and by “freenet” I mean freenet 0.5 and NOT the newer freenet 0.7.5 which is still a very much UNsecure ALPHA version that in my experience, barely even works most of the time

When an FCon user downloads a file, message, or views a “freesite” from the network it is transmitted between FCon nodes in encrypted form and they are routed through many other nodes (any of which could randomly keep a copy of all or part of the information being requested) which makes it essentially impossible for anyone to determine who is downloading it, or what it is, or who inserted it into the network in the first place.

Freenet Classic OpenNet has other peer to peer networks beat hands down in terms of security AND in terms of file availability.

First, node operators do not control or know the contents of their datastore because it is encrypted. Instead, files are kept or deleted automatically based on popularity. If a file goes long enough without being requested and the datastore is full, then it will be deleted to make room for more popular content.

Because of the way requests for files are handled, there is no way to know if any given request coming from another node originated on that node or is simply being automatically forwarded from a chain of other nodes.

As for availability, with every standard P2P network out there, when the nodes that a file originates from (in P2P terms “is seeded from”) goes offline then that file isn’t available anymore.

In Freenet Classic OpenNet, once a file has been inserted into the network it remains available even after the node that it was inserted from goes offline because copies of it are made randomly around the network every time somebody requests it. The more something is requested, the easier it is to get.

So if you’ve got some big secret you want to spill but you don’t want to have all those nasty legal hassles, or if you just believe in freedom of speech and want to contribute to it, then it would be a good idea to check out http://peculiarplace.com/freenet/.

On that page you will find the files you need along with some basic setup instructions to get you started. Once you have freenet running you can install Frost, which is a messaging and file sharing system where you can communicate anonymously with other freenet users, ask questions and learn more about how to get the most out of it and build freesites which are websites that exist entirely within the network.

If somebody were to anonymously publish something within freenet that they wanted to be exposed to the world they could ask other freenet users to repost it on the regular internet in different jurisdictions. That way it would still get out but anonymity would be perfect and takedown notices are meaningless on freenet.

Now I’m sure that somebody will come along and say something on the order of “but freenet is slower than the regular internet.”

To that I’ll say yes, it is. The reason it’s slower is because it’s first goal is security and that means encryption, on several levels. This takes time to process. Speed was never the first concern, it was intended to be secure.

Freenet is “censorship proof”. Once something is inserted into the network it is not possible to take it down. Given the author is careful about personally identifying details, it is perfectly anonymous. You cannot determine who inserted or who downloaded something.

That said, I have found that once a node has been up and running 24/7 for a day or two that it’s no slower than Tor and in my opinion, it’s often better than Tor when loading freesites.

[tags]freedom of speech, censorship, anonymous publishing, anonymous blogging, anonymous blogger, anonymous, network, anonymous internet, takedown notice, whistleblower[/tags]