Why Political Liberty Depends on Software Freedom More Than Ever

When Dwight Eisenhower was leaving the presidency in 1961 he made a famous farewell speech to the American people in which he warned them against the power of the military-industrial complex, a phrase that became so commonplace in discussion that people stopped thinking seriously about what it meant.

The general who had run the largest military activity of the 20th century, the invasion of Europe, the general who had become the President of America at the height of the cold war, was warning Americans about the permanent changes to their society that would result from the interaction of industrial capitalism with American military might. And since the time of that speech, as you all know, the United States has spent on defense more than the rest of the world combined.

Now, in the 21st century, which we can define as after the latter part of September 2001, the United States began to build a new thing, a surveillance-industrial-military complex.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

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Angry students pour abuse, scorn on Ecstasy teens

Two of the Fairfield College girls who took tainted Ecstasy turned up at their school yesterday – and were rounded on by angry schoolmates.

Students from the Hamilton school told the Herald the two suspended girls were at the school gates at break and lunchtime to talk to friends.

But they found little sympathy from students, who say the girls have dragged the college’s name through the mud.

>>> While sympathetic to the victims of this bullying (or is it?) it’s a good demonstration that peer pressure is often a much more effective deterrent than legislative approaches.

France Wants To Tax ISPs To Fund Music, Add Streaming To Three-Strikes Law | paidContent:UK

This is not the first time that France has proposed taxes on online business to fund the music industry. Last year, the Zelnik report, masterminded by music industry executive Patrick Zelnik, proposed taxes on online ads and ISPs, with the proceeds to be used for special cards to be distributed to the French public to spend on ???legitimate content.???

>>> Corporate welfare via hypothecation, is there no end to the extent the incumbents will go to to maintain their lifestyle?

Official Google Blog: More spring cleaning out of season

This is our third blog post in our off-season spring cleaning series. To recap, we’re in the process of shutting a number of products which haven’t had the impact we’d hoped for, integrating others as features into our broader product efforts, and ending several which have shown us a different path forward. Overall, our aim is to build a simpler, more intuitive, truly beautiful Google user experience.

>>> Tidy up time, not sorry to see Knol go.

Guest Post: Superheroes and the Right of Publicity

If real, ???superhero celebrities??? would possess a right to capitalize on their fame, their commercial value ??? just as real celebrities capitalize on their fame by endorsing products. And just as with real celebrities, superheroes would likely demand monetary compensation for the unpermitted use, or ???appropriation,??? of their image. They consequently could look to the courts for redress by filing a ???right of publicity??? claim.

>>> “If?”

???Indecent??? book seized from Wellington bookshop | Booksellers New Zealand

Book Haven???s owner Don Hollander (pictured right) was shocked when his store manager Sam Duckor-Jones told him that Phil Priest of Internal Affairs had called to say a complaint had been received that Book Haven had the banned book in stock and that he would come and seize it.

>>> Isn’t that sweet, they called Don to advise they’d be seizing it.

Free Speech is Only As Strong As the Weakest Link

Speech on the Internet requires a series of intermediaries to reach its audience. Each intermediary is vulnerable to some degree to pressure from those who want to silence the speaker. Even though the Internet is decentralized and distributed, “weak links” in this chain can operate as choke points to accomplish widespread censorship.

>>> The Internet is really a series of chains…

How Facebook is ruining sharing | Molly Wood

In search of “frictionless” sharing, Facebook is putting up a barrier to entry on items your friends want you to see–that is, they’re creating friction. Even if it’s just a onetime inconvenience, any barrier to sharing breaks sharing. The barriers will keep popping up as more content publishers create social apps that have to be authorized before you can view their content. For every five people who authorize an app, I’d guess five will turn away, and eventually get annoyed enough to stop clicking links at all, and maybe eventually annoyed enough to stop visiting Facebook so often, and go searching for somewhere easier and less invasive to simply post a link and have fun with your friends.

>>> There have been stories I haven’t read due to this.

Pakistan Stalls on Ban of Obscene Words in Text Messages | Geekosystem

Pakistan recently announced a bold plan to start filtering text messages and censoring them for obscene words. In addition to censoring the obscene words, it seemed like it was part of the plan to censor words that might be obscene in a weird parallel universe, filthy slurs like ???mango,??? ???athlete???s foot,??? and the dreaded ???kmart.??? Of course, in addition to the funny ones, Pakistan intended to ban some more truly controversial (but understandble) words such as ???Jesus Christ??? and any reference to sexual orientation or sex in general. That includes ???deeper.???

>>> There’s always someone stupid enough to propose this “solution.” From schools to sovereign states. Pathetic.