Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

norway and anders breivik

April 18, 2012

I think Norway is setting a great example with their handling of the case against Anders Breivik. Imprison him and care for him. This is courageous justice. I have sympathy for, but offer no support to, the Lynch-Mob mentality that wants Breivik to suffer and die as “payment” for his crime.

reasons against abortion

May 23, 2011

One opposed to abortion posts to me:

my point is that there is absolutely no reason to grant non-person status to the unborn except to justify killing them

My reply:

How can one bestow nothing yet call it something?

Do you mean, “There are reasons to grant the unborn the status of ‘person’.”? I’ve heard a couple (e.g. “life begins at conception” and “you are killing a soul”), but these are not convincing. Human life is meaningless without personhood. If however, one were to present a case for a “soul”, I would reconsider my thoughts on abortion law. And I don’t mean anecdotal “past lives” stories, I’m talking about verifiable evidence.

Another “argument” I’ve been given is the linking to pictures of a destroyed fetus. Another is pointing out other people (i.e. persons) while implying that we should feel upset because, “See? If he was aborted, he wouldn’t be here now!”. I’ve even had some try to convince me by bringing notice to the fact that I would not be alive if I had been aborted. These are appeal to emotion fallacies.

If you have other reasons I’m not listing, I would like to hear them if you’re willing to offer.

I think I’m missing some. What are other reasons commonly given?

Freedom Box

February 22, 2011

Today I decided to support Freedom Box. Funding for the project is hosted on Kickstarter. I encourage contributions but if that’s not possible, please read the following excerpt below explaining why this software is being written.

Why Freedom Box?

Because social networking and digital communications technologies are now critical to people fighting to make freedom in their societies or simply trying to preserve their privacy where the Web and other parts of the Net are intensively surveilled by profit-seekers and government agencies. Because smartphones, mobile tablets, and other common forms of consumer electronics are being built as “platforms” to control their users and monitor their activity.

Freedom Box exists to counter these unfree “platform” technologies that threaten political freedom. Freedom Box exists to provide people with privacy-respecting technology alternatives in normal times, and to offer ways to collaborate safely and securely with others in building social networks of protest, demonstration, and mobilization for political change in the not-so-normal times.

Freedom Box software is built to run on hardware that already exists, and will soon become much more widely available and much more inexpensive. “Plug servers” and other compact devices are going to become ubiquitous in the next few years, serving as “media centers,” “communications centers,” “wireless routers,” and many other familiar and not-so-familiar roles in office and home.

Freedom Box software images will turn all sorts of such devices into privacy appliances. Taken together, these appliances will afford people around the world options for communicating, publishing, and collaborating that will resist state intervention or disruption. People owning these appliances will be able to restore anonymity in the Net, despite efforts of despotic regimes to keep track of who reads what and who communicates with whom.

free speech, not free пиво

September 12, 2010

Russian authorities are using the pretext of copyright enforcement to suppress dissent. Unfortunately, the dissenters are often using Microsoft’s proprietary software for their activity, giving the police an excuse to hassle them. To solve this problem, the activists should use Free software like the GNU/Linux operating system. While Free software can’t ensure the Russian police won’t forcibly stop acts of free speech, it would serve well to defeat this ostensible reason.

perhaps an american can explain this to me…?

January 22, 2010

I don’t get how restricting corporate spending on political campaigns violates free speech. This is disgraceful. Implied by the freedom to speak is the freedom to think for oneself. A corporation is incapable of personal thought or speech because it is not a real person. Sure, a corporation can release a statement to the press but a corporate statement is always bound by groupthink.

Every CEO, shareholder, and employee of a corporation is already a citizen granted the right to free speech and the right to put personal dollars toward political use. Therefore, I don’t see how restricting corporate spending violates any person’s right to speak freely. The US has taken the idea of corporate “personhood” way too far.

Google says: if it’s private, it’s probably illicit or illegal

December 8, 2009

If you install proprietary software on your computer, you’re putting your privacy at risk. This is but one of several reasons not to. It’s possible however, to run a completely Free system yet forfeit the protection Free software offers. All one needs to do is use “cloud” computing. Essentially, this means crunching your data while it resides on another’s server. In the case of Google (and others), this appears to be an inevitable trend in the coming years.

The idea of having one’s data in another’s hands is nothing new…mainstream Internet users have been doing so with email clients like Hotmail and Yahoo for years. It’s the ubiquity that’s alarming. We’re not talking only of email. We’re talking everything. At least that’s the early idea behind something like Google’s Chromium OS.

It’s alarming (though not surprising) then, to hear Google CEO Eric Schmidt claim that:

If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

This makes clear that Google’s obligation won’t be to take a stand for free speech or privacy rights. It doesn’t take much imagination to think of just uses of cloud storage that certain governments through corrupt law will deem harmful to society and demand the “perpetrators” be outed. Google being a corporation, doesn’t care at all about anyone’s rights or spreading the freedom that comes with Free software (despite many individuals within the organization that may). Google’s top priorities will be to serve local laws (not out of respect for law, but to do business) and their bottom line. Schmidt’s quote is a stark reminder that while systems like Chrome OS help steer us successfully away from the chains of proprietary software, it’s still important for society to have viable, Free, local computing environment options for the sake of privacy rights.

If we do this…if we enable this environment and promote systems like Chrome in tandem, then perhaps we will be working toward something of benefit to computer users around the world.

Free software and behavior

November 18, 2009

Pranav Mistry:

“an era where computing will actually merge with the physical world”

Very cool technology, though at 12:30 comes the most important news: Pranav claims that the software will be “open source“. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out but this form of technology helps make clear why Free software is important to our freedom.

Software controls its users. That is, a user can only do what the user’s software is programmed to do. Computing is an extension of our behavior and communication. Sure, computers are just tools but that extension makes them very different than a hammer or a screwdriver. Perhaps it isn’t so easy to see this when the conduit of our behavior is a mouse and keyboard. Perhaps this isn’t so clear when our computing occurs only when sitting for a session on that “computer”.

So when the day comes when a computer isn’t just that device we turn on, log into, do a few tasks on, log out, and shut down…but a device that is seamlessly woven into our everyday actions, who should dictate its limits and uses?

The Christian Family Lynch Network

November 18, 2009

wants to legalize their hatred in Uganda.

an open question to Skype’s Josh Silverman

November 3, 2009

Mr. Silverman, you wrote in a post regarding TOM Online in collusion with Chinese authority to spy on and censor Skype users:

Skype-to-Skype communications are, and always have been, completely secure and private.

First, it’s my understanding that Skype is proprietary software (and not semi-free software). Please correct me if I’m mistaken. If this is true, how can users come to know that their Skype-to-Skype communications are, and always have been, completely secure and private, given that they are not privy to Skype’s source code?

when DIY shouldn’t cut it

October 28, 2009


The man’s lawyer, Doug Christie, tr[ied] to have the case tossed out on constitutional grounds, saying his religious motive negated any criminal intent.

Thrown out? A legal system has failed if “religious motive” can excuse such an act. I can buy the lack of criminal intent, but that’s only through an insanity defence. At the very least, the man needs to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

On a related but inconsequential note, I don’t understand why (especially in this day and age) some parents have their sons circumcised. I have heard several arguments but don’t find any of them compelling. Perhaps a medical condition could set in necessitating the procedure, but I’m referring to an otherwise healthy child.