Doing The Government’s Work For Them

Internet surveillance, censorship, and avenues of resistance with anonymity with Jacob Appelbaum, Researcher and Hacker, The Tor Project.

Go watch Jacob’s talk here.
Jacob Appelbaum talkPoints I found interesting:

  • The concept of lawful surveillance. We make it compulsory for telecom providers to make their networks buggable. Would there be outrage if a law was passed that every road must have a camera and microphone on it?
  • If you’re not paying for something, you’re the product.
  • Visualize your cellphone as a tracking device that can also make calls, go on the internet and text people. If the government forced you to carry it everywhere, you’d riot in the streets. They don’t need to; you do their work for them. You carry it with you, willingly.

Election Roundup

Colin Craig’s Conservative Party of stock photos

Here’s a selection of where stock photos used in mailer six (pdf) are used elsewhere on the internet. Part one of our stock photo adventure is here.

Conservative Party seniors 1

Conservative Party image

Fidenza Asset Management

Fidenza Asset Management

Conservative Party you want safetyConservative Party image

Wallaby Motorhomes

Wallaby Motorhomes

Conservative Party futureConservative Party image

Life Health Solutions

Quote Alabama Insurance

Medical Center AssociatesMedical Center Associates

The Conservative Party is a bad influence

The ACT Party are using stock images on their Facebook pages. Here’s some from their small business section.

ACT Party 90 day trialACT Party image

Terrace 139 CreativeTerrace 139 Creative

ACT Party economic policiesACT Party image

The Small BusinessThe Small Business

And from the Gen Y section.

ACT Party New ZealanderACT Party image (you’d think they’d actually use a New Zealander)

Indiana Library Federation

Indiana Library Federation

Six reasons not to vote Conservative tomorrow

From their handy ‘How Conservative Are You?’ quiz.

  1. Welfare reform so that there is no pay without work and incentives are toward working and couples staying together. No benefits (“no pay without work”). Concerning that they want to incentivize couples to stay together. Creates a, I assume, financial, incentive to stay in a domestic violence situation. Not everyone wants to have a partner and they shouldn’t be penalized for that.
  2. That the legal drinking age be raised to 21 years of age. War on youth.
  3. That the ban on smacking be removed with a return to parents being able to use reasonable force in correcting their children. The law already has an exception “if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances”. Force shouldn’t be used instead of proper parenting.
  4. Tougher sentences for violent criminals along with a requirement that they work and learn while imprisoned. “Requirement that they work” seems like it would be slavery. Locking people up longer isn’t the magic answer to crime.
  5. In sentencing ‘life’ imprisonment shall actually mean life imprisonment. As above, this isn’t the magic bullet.
  6. That Citizens Initiated referendum should be binding if 67% or more of votes cast favour the proposal. (and apparently we’re having a referendum in 2014 – “That the 2014 election referendum should include the following questions …”) – Referenda are stupid in that questions are often worded in a way that solicits the response desired by the people behind the referendum. Binding referenda could unfairly affect minority groups. Here are some examples of ridiculous referenda we have had:
  • Should the number of professional firefighters employed full time in the New Zealand Fire Service be reduced below the number employed on 1 January 1995? (12.2% yes, 87.8% no – 1995 – 27% turnout)
  • Should there be a reform of our justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences? (91.8% yes, 8.2% no – 1999 – 84.8% turnout, held on day of general election) [emphasis mine, did 91% of New Zealanders who voted really support hard labour? Unlikely. Were they voting for better treatment of victims? Probably.]
  • I vote for compulsory military training. I vote against compulsory military training. (77.9% in favour, 22.1% against – 1949 – 63.5% turnout)

If I have crushed your Conservative Party dreams, and/or you’re not sure who to vote for tomorrow, check this website out.

John Key, John Banks, the Black Bag, and the Tea Tapes

Update: Teapot tapes have been released, here’s the recording.

There’s a little black box bag, yeah,
somewhere in the ocean on the table,
holding all the truth about us.
It’s a little black box bag,
a record of emotion,
everything that ever was.

You may deny it, deny it,
but when I find it, find it,
I’m gonna play it aloud to the world.

–Stan Walker

Two Johns and a black bag

 Oopsie

Invite media to a bit of political theater starring you and Other John, public figures, in a public Newmarket café.

Kick media out of said event. But leave some media close enough they could have “leaned over and touched the prime minister on the shoulder”.

Forget what is normally on a table in a café. Ignore the large black thing that could contain anything.

Have a wee chat. Maybe about Don Brash and how he might be rolled after the election.

Find out the black bag actually contained a radio microphone and the conversation was recorded. Oh no.

How to turn a little oopsie into a big oopsie

Call contents of recording “bland”.

Don’t give permission for the “bland” recording to be released.

Call the police on cameraman Bradley Ambrose, who allegedly accidentally recorded the conversation (which generally wouldn’t be illegal). Even though you’ve said before, regarding privacy, that “anyone who is innocent has nothing to fear”. Police get search warrants to search multiple media outlets.

Storm out of press conference after media ask questions about recording.

Compare what happened to the systemic hacking of murder and suicide victims’ phones in order to sell newspapers, ie. The News of the World.

Set the recording free

Chief High Court judge Justice Helen Winkelmann declined to make a judgement on whether the recording was public or private because it would be a “mini-trial” which would interfere with an ongoing police investigation.

So no tea tapes before election day on Saturday, unless some devious media outlet releases the recording even though they could face legal action(oh [email protected]@).

The Ant and the Grasshopper, Act II (ft. the Wasp)

This is stupid, slightly racist and reads as “welfare recipients are lazy”, but I’ll play along.

Old Version

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

Ants eating grasshopper

Modern Version

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper admires the ant’s work ethic and would like to be like a hard-working ant, but unemployment is at 6.6% and at least three out of 50 people, including himself, can’t find jobs. If unemployment gets below 5%, the wasps who own the factories start to panic. If the wasps had to compete for employees, instead of the employees competing for jobs, the wasps would have to either raise their prices or keep less of the profits they earn from the labor.

There are more ants than grasshoppers, and ants are usually better qualified, because their parents got them access to better schools and healthcare. Some ants went to private schools and when they got sick outside of business hours, there was no hesitation in taking them to an after-hours surgery. Because their parents valued their education, they were encouraged to work hard at school and many ended up going to university. Because the ants have better qualifications, the grasshoppers are the last to get hired and the first to be fired.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

One News, 3 News, PRIME News, and Campbell Live show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The country is stunned by the sharp contrast!

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Sue Bradford appears on Campbell Live with the grasshopper–and everybody cries. The Green Party stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, “We Shall Overcome”. The Green Party leader Metiria Turei condemns the ant and blames John Key, Rob Muldoon, Roger Douglas, capitalism and global warming for the grasshopper’s plight.

Many people on radio, TV, in newspapers and on the internet complain that grasshoppers are lazy and should just get jobs. Michael Laws says something about sterilizing all of them so they can’t have kids. He also says something about taking a shotgun to Sue Bradford and members of the Green Party.

John Minto exclaims in an interview with TV News that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

John further explains that the wasps are avoiding taxes by moving their money offshore, exploiting tax loopholes, and ensuring that the bureaucrats appointed to regulate their industries are their friends. He claims that last year the government found $1.7 billion to bail out the well-off shareholders of South Canterbury Finance, but didn’t want to spend $500 million to pay the minimum wage to caregivers staying the night looking after disabled people. He says that a social safety net pays dividends in the form of lower law enforcement and penal system expenses. He is immediately attacked as engaging in “class warfare”.

Finally, to gain votes to win the election, the government drafts the “Economic Equity and Anti-Ant Act”, retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

Eventually, the grasshopper does in fact manage to find a job, working in the same factory as the ant now does. In fact, the factory started to hire lots of grasshoppers, since they would work more cheaply than the ants, the low wage still being a huge improvement over the welfare cheque that had previously enabled his “carefree” life.

This had unexpected consequences for the ant. One day, the factory foreman came up to him. “I’m sorry, Mr. Ant,” he said, trying to avoid eye contact. “I’m going to have to let you go.” Not long after losing his job, the ant became ill, he’d contracted cancer through exposure at his job. Because of deregulation and tort reform, the ant had no legal recourse.

Unfortunately, his health insurance had lapsed after he lost his job. While on a waiting list, he was last seen hanging out in an alley, filthy and wearing a “will work for food” sign.

This was eventually the fate of the grasshopper as well. One day the wasp who owned the factory decided that he could make even more money by closing the factory and opening a new one overseas, in a developing country, where the grasshoppers will work for even less money and the government environmental and safety regulations are even less “burdensome”. And the wasp lived happily ever after.

The moral of this story? Not everything is as simple as it seems. Also, that analogies with ants and grasshoppers end up being a bit batshit.

Brought to you with the help of Bushknew.

Also, vote smarter this election.

Image credit: Jun-Dai Bates-Kobashigawa

MPAA Propaganda

Look what I found at the end of the Hoyts ticket counter:

Respect Copyrights leaflet 1

Respect Copyrights leaflet 2

Respect Copyrights leaflet 3

Respect Copyrights leaflet 4It contains some interesting content.

“Remove unauthorised material from your computers”

“While not required under the new law, illegally obtained copyright protected material may still be file shared and therefore should be removed.”

Read: buy the files you downloaded illegally in the past. Helpful advice would be to remove peer-to-peer software from your computer if you’re not using it, or to stop sharing illegally obtained material if you’re doing so (eg. stop seeding).

“What are the risks of P2P file sharing?”

“P2P file sharing can expose your computer to harmful viruses, worms and trojan horses as well as annoying pop-up advertisements. There is also a real danger that private information on your computer may be accessible to others on P2P networks.”

Finding files through moderated sites (which can remove harmful torrents), reading the comments on torrents and having up-to-date anti-malware software all reduce this small risk of harm.

The “real danger” of private information being inadvertently shared is practically impossible with torrenting. LimeWire, FrostWire and friends were possibly deceptive about what user’s folders were actually being shared in the past, but now LimeWire is dead and FrostWire exclusively uses torrents, so it shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

But points for including the relatively unbiased URL of NetSafe’s The Copyright Law, albeit in tiny print down the very bottom on the back page.

Respect Copyrights.co.nz

This site is interesting, especially when you compare its list of legitimate places to buy movies and TV shows to the US version‘s list.

Our list for TV shows is basically the On Demand sites for the free-to-air TV stations, plus iSky. On the movies side we have iSky, the console networks and iTunes, which is also listed as having TV shows, but that’s not the case in New Zealand.

Respect Copyrights New Zealand legal alternatives

In comparison, the US site lists 43 legal alternatives, including iTunes (which you can actually get TV shows from in the US, or by using a US iTunes account), Hulu and Netflix.

Respect Copyrights US legal alternatives

And the MPAA wonder why people illegally download movies and TV shows in New Zealand?

On a plus, Respect Copyrights has removed that ridiculous clause from their Terms of Use stating that no one was allowed to link to their site without their “express written permission”. Their grasp of the internet is growing!

Spotify

Good news on the music front though. Music streaming subscription service Spotify is coming to Australia and New Zealand, possibly around February next year. The downside is that they’re now in bed with Facebook, so you’ll need a Facebook account to use it.

NZ Movies

Jonathan Hunt and Lance Wiggs illustrate how inadequate the sites MPAA lists are. MPAA, NZFACT and friends love harping on how people pirating movies like Boy are harming our movie industry in New Zealand.

But you still can’t download it legally from iTunes.

And I wouldn’t count on it being added either. Remember Sione’s Wedding? You know, the movie released in 2006 that cost “its investors an estimated $1 million” because it was pirated?

It’s not in the New Zealand iTunes store five years later.

Sione's Wedding New Zealand iTunes Store

But of course, it’s in the US iTunes store as Samoan Wedding.

Samoan Wedding United States iTunes Store

Nice one. Perhaps more kiwis would support their creative community, if, you know, you actually made it easy for them?

You Seem Confused, Let Me Help

Whaleoil, Catcus Kate and friends have blogged about a letter mailed to prospective voters by Labour.

This is, I assume the abridged version of what someone sent Whaleoil:

“A very ‘classy’ threat from Labour (see attached), it makes me wonder how do they get information about my child… and even if info is accessible, the use of it is rather inappropriate.”

Here it is:

Labour mothers mailer 1

Labour mothers mailer 2

Child’s information

The first time I read it I thought the person meant the child on the front of the mailer was her child, because of the emphasis of her child’s details (careful editing?). That isn’t the case. Labour used the electoral roll’s information on gender, occupation and, I assume age, to target their mailer.

“You won’t be around”

The first time I read the main statement: “Under National you won’t be around to celebrate her 1st birthday”, I thought of death. But in the context of the second page, it becomes apparent that Labour is talking about having to work. If that was intentional, it’s distasteful, but not end of days stuff. Either way it’s a poor choice of words I don’t think illustrates the point well–there’s nothing stopping someone having a birthday party on a weekend instead of a weekday. Mothers who choose to work deal with this already.

One or five?

The second paragraph on the second page is misleading too. “But under National’s new welfare policy, beneficiaries who get pregnant will be forced to find work when their baby turns 1”, but so is Cactus Kate when she says the return to work is actually when the baby is five.

What I think Labour is trying to get at is if someone has a baby and already had a child, under National’s policy they will have to look for part-time or full-time work when the new baby is one.

From National’s fact sheet (pdf):

“Those receiving Sole Parent Support will be expected to look for part-time work when their child is five years old and full-time when their child reaches the age of 14.

Those who have an additional child while on benefit will be exempted from work expectations for 12 months, in line with parental leave provisions. Work obligations will then revert to the age of the youngest child when the parent went on benefit.

For example, a beneficiary with a seven year old, who has another child, will return to a part-time work expectation when their newborn turns one. A sole parent of a fourteen year old who has another child will return to a full-time work expectation after one year.”

More from Cactus Kate

“And lets think from a working parents perspective, if the child has a party during the day they miss the bloody party don’t they as they are WORKING? Imagine picking this out of the letterbox when you know you will miss their birthday as you are working as most parents are. Like they should be guilty for not being there.”

Remember, this is the Solo Parent Support benefit. Why and how as a solo parent would you throw a party you couldn’t attend? If Kate means a couple where one parent is working and the other is throwing the party, it sucks if both parents can’t make it. But there’s nothing stopping the parent trying to get time off of work, or being flexible with the time and date of the party, eg. throwing it on a weekend.

Forced to return to work

I think the key message Labour is trying to push is that there would be no choice for you if you didn’t want to return to work. The intention isn’t to make working parents feel bad for going back to work when their child is one, but that they should have a choice whether to or not.

Christianity and Homophobia Documentary

Turn to Jesus street preaching at Bele Chere 2007

 For The Bible Tells Me So Documentary

“We meet five Christian families, each with a gay or lesbian child. Parents talk about their marriages and church-going, their children’s childhood and coming out, their reactions, and changes over time.

The stories told by these nine parents and four adult children alternate with talking heads – Protestant and Jewish theologians – and with film clips of fundamentalist preachers and pundits and news clips of people in the street.

They discuss scripture and biblical scholarship. A thesis of the film is that much of Christianity’s homophobia represents a misreading of scripture, a denial of science, and an embrace of quack psychology. The families call for love.”

Very interesting documentary. Here’s what one of the people say about the average persons interpretation of the Bible:

“You have to think when you read the Bible… the Roman Catholics are right in saying ordinary people shouldn’t be reading the Bible because usually they get it wrong, and I’m convinced that usually we do.”

Watch

You can watch the full length documentary by downloading Veoh Web Player.

Buy

Image credit: Michael Tracey