Welcome to fascism

If there were times when I questioned the usefulness of twitter, believe me, they’re long gone. First I got this video of yet another interview with Assange. It’s overall very interesting, but here’s the real nice bit: “Facebook is the most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented” (1:50 minute mark on the video).

Besides Facebook, he talks about his extradition case, Wikileaks’ relationship with mainstream press (viz. The Guardian and the NYT), but the most interesting bit is the final one: when he’s asked what is his greatest enemy, he replies “ignorance”. For in his view, peoples don’t like wars, so the only way to go to war, is to “fool the people” into going to war. I think he just revealed the true seed behind Wikileaks.

Moving a bit back to Facebook, also via twitter comes this pearl: Facebook’s form to law enforcement. In my most humble opinion, if this shows anything, it is that to Facebook at least, handling data to the authorities is no longer (if it ever has been) an exceptional event; rather, it has become commonplace, a routine task if you will. Adding the fact that this kind of disclosures do not add any value to Facebook’s shareholders, it is then an annoyance that has to be dealt with, preferably with the minimum amount of hassle. And thus Facebook becomes “the most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented”.

Finally, I’d be remiss not to mention today’s main news piece: the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. I’d have much preferred to see him brought to justice and tried according to the rule of law, but then again, he is a (US-)trained Mujahideen, who probably doesn’t really fit the “come peacefully” type. But all that notwithstanding, given all the cheerful and sometimes outright extatic reaction to the death of a human being, one cannot stop and wonder: have we (and US people in particular) become that which we set out to fight against in the first place?

EDIT TO ADD: not even on purpose, Facebook deletes “We’re all Osama Bin Laden page”. I do not wish to moralize on merits or lack thereof of such page (which I have not seen), but just think about the fate of all the data related to it (e.g. the identities of all those who “liked” it). Chilling thought!

Sanidade

À semelhança do Kenny, eu também não gosto de escrever sobre política, mas desta vez tem que ser. Neste post do De Rerum Natura, vem este comentário:

[…]

José Sócrates governou quatro anos com maioria absoluta e agora ano e meio com os orçamentos aprovados. Sempre disse que estava tudo bem. Agora surge de repente a dizer que estamos à beira do naufrágio e é apenas desajeitado? A única solução razoável era mesmo o governo ser demitido. Vai-nos custar caro? Vai. mas mantê-lo seria ainda mais caro. E Sócrates também não queria lá estar sabendo que o dinheiro e o crédito acabaram.

O chumbo do PEC IV foi um dos poucos sinais de sanidade mental na política deste país nos últimos tempos.

Subscrevo por inteiro.

John Pilger

is an Australian journalist, who had this to say about Wikileaks et al:

Both videos add up to just a little over 15 minutes, but both are very much worth seeing.

More two videos

Given the shortage of time, I am yet to finish writing about a bunch of posts that are on the way. But despair not! I leave you with two videos, both muy awesome!:-)

First here’s a great TED talk by none other than Salman Kahn, the man behind Khan Akademy.

Next, for all the privacy nuts out there, here’s the very nice survey on the evolution of the crypto-wars of the 90’s, the current state of affairs, and pointers to future directions. Kudos to Kenny for showing me this!

Wikileaks for Nobel of Peace?

This came as quite the surprise, but it appears that a young left-wing Norwegian legislator nominated Wikileaks for the Nobel Peace Prize. My staunch support for Wikileaks notwithstanding, I’m divided about this. On the one hand, to actually see Wikileaks receive the Peace Nobel seems like that least they could do, after the epic fail two years ago. On the other hand, Wikileaks has only been around since 2006, and been mainstream for a little more than a year. And so far, most of what they have accomplished is to shed a much needed light on the misdeeds of the powerful. It’s my deeply held belief that this is the first step towards worldwide stout peace, instead of the brittle, string-attached, loophole-riddled peace that secrecy and deception gave us so far. But, and this is an important point, such state of affairs is still in the future. Nobel prizes should reward what has already been achieved, not future achievements, no matter how likely they may be. And this is not to say that Wikileaks has so far achieved nothing—such a claim would be grossly unfair—but, notable and extraordinary as they are, said achievements have yet to result in widespread long lasting peace.

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