India Pushes Back Against Tech ‘Colonization’ by Internet Giants

Found on New York Times on Monday, 03 September 2018
Browse Politics

In recent months, regulators and ministers across India’s government have declared their intention to impose tough new rules on the technology industry. Collectively, the regulations would end the free rein that American tech giants have long enjoyed in this country of 1.3 billion people, which is the world’s fastest-growing market for new internet users.

“It’s not about protectionism. It’s about saying if 10 laws apply to me, the 10 laws should also apply to someone else operating in India,” said Rameesh Kailasam, chief executive of, a newly formed lobbying group that represents local investors and start-ups, including MakeMyTrip and the ride-hailing company Ola.

That's an idea more countries should embrace to increase competition and fairness.

Kim Prepared to Cede Nuclear Weapons if U.S. Pledges Not to Invade

Found on New York Times on Sunday, 29 April 2018
Browse Politics

In a confidence-building gesture ahead of a proposed summit meeting with President Trump, a suddenly loquacious and conciliatory Mr. Kim also said he would invite experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States to watch the shutdown next month of his country’s only known underground nuclear test site.

But skeptics warned that North Korea previously made similar pledges of denuclearization on numerous occasions, with little or no intention of abiding by them. Mr. Kim’s friendly gestures, they said, could turn out to be nothing more than empty promises aimed at lifting sanctions on his isolated country.

Kim must be aware that a peace treaty, along with the opening of the borders, will soon bring his regime to an end. The political and military system in North Korea will collapse when the people get unfettered access to global information.

Germany coalition talks: SPD backs talks with Merkel

Found on BBC News on Sunday, 21 January 2018
Browse Politics

Mrs Merkel's centre-right CDU and its Bavarian CSU ally have been unable to form a government since September's inconclusive election.

Initially the SPD ruled out governing with Mrs Merkel in charge again. But leader Martin Schulz changed his mind after CDU/CSU coalition talks with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens broke down.

At least the politicians are not completely unable to act: NRW has decided to increase the parliamentary allowance by 90%.

German government wants ‘backdoor’ access to every digital device: report

Found on The Local on Tuesday, 05 December 2017
Browse Politics

Germany’s Interior Minister wants to force tech and car companies to provide the German security services with hidden digital access to cars, computers, phones and more, according to a media report from Friday.

De Maizière also wants the security services to have the ability to spy on any device connected to the internet. Tech companies would have to give the state "back door" access to private tablets and computers, and even to smart TVs and digital kitchen systems.

Good luck with that after the experiences with the Stasi.

Russian military cites game screenshot as “evidence” of US ISIS support

Found on Ars Technica on Wednesday, 15 November 2017
Browse Politics

In now-deleted social media images, the Russian Ministry of Defense used what is almost certainly a screenshot from a mobile game as part of its supposed evidence that the United States military was supporting ISIS troops in Syria.

As games continue to become more realistic (especially at a cursory glance), it's going to become easier and easier to intentionally use their imagery as a stand-in for reality to less observant viewers.

It's not like that has not happened before. Those who remember the US invasion of Iraq also remember that it turned out that the satellite images used as evidence never existed and were faked to justify a first strike.

Google: This may shock you, but we also banked thousands of dollars to run Russian propaganda

Found on The Register on Tuesday, 10 October 2017
Browse Politics

Joining Facebook and Twitter, Google has now been sucked into an investigation into how Russia influenced the US presidential elections last year.

The social media giants have based their estimates on spending from obvious Russian government accounts, but it would not be difficult for a state actor to create dozens or hundreds of profiles using different countries and currencies. So far, we have yet to see the total ad spending on the types of articles the Russian government paid money to promote.

That entire ruckus about Russia trying to nudge US elections is pretty hypocritical, considering that the US has been doing the same before; and not only in Russia. This is nothing more than a giant case about the pot calling the kettle black.

Google is losing allies across the political spectrum

Found on Ars Technica on Thursday, 31 August 2017
Browse Politics

With so many Googlers in government, Google had an outsized influence on policymaking during the Obama years. But today, Google is in a different situation. Most obviously, Schmidt worked hard to get Hillary Clinton elected president, and Clinton lost.

The combination of Bernie Sanders-style populism on the left and Donald Trump-style populism on the right could lead to a future where Google faces hostility from policymakers across parties.

Conservative skepticism of Google has only intensified in 2017. The high-profile August firing of James Damore was one key moment here.

Google has abandoned its "do no evil" mantra years ago, and now people start to realize this. It's not a neutral search engine anymore and now starts to meddle with politics. That's not Google's job.

Don't panic, Chicago, but 1.8 million of your voters' records leaked from a weak AWS silo

Found on The Register on Thursday, 17 August 2017
Browse Politics

A voting machine supplier for dozens of US states left records on 1.8 million Americans unsecured, in public view for anyone to download, in a misconfigured AWS storage system.

"We have been in steady contact with ES&S to order and review the steps that must be taken, including the investigation of ES&S’s AWS server," said Chicago Election Board chairwoman Marisel Hernandez in a statement.

"We will continue reviewing our contract, policies and practices with ES&S. We are taking steps to make certain this can never happen again.”

It will happen. Again, and again, and again. That's what you get for relying on the cloud.

GoDaddy expels neo-Nazi site over article on Charlottesville victim

Found on BBC News on Monday, 14 August 2017
Browse Politics

"We informed the Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service," GoDaddy said in a statement on Twitter.

"It's very unusual for a host to remove a website because they've got immunity in the US under the First Amendment," said Niri Shan, a media and freedom of speech lawyer at Taylor Wessing.

Funny how GoDaddy had no problems providing domain services in the past years, but as soon as things get hot, they suddenly notice there's a violation of their TOS.

Why People Can’t Stop Talking About Zuckerberg 2020

Found on Wired on Sunday, 06 August 2017
Browse Politics

Very quickly, though, the public and the press began to interpret the highly-choreographed whistlestop tour as foregrounding a Zuckerberg 2020 presidential campaign. The 33-year-old billionaire hired a former White House photographer, whose images depict him, Obama-like, as a man of the people.

A recent poll showed Zuckerberg and Trump tying for 40 percent of the vote in 2020. It, but it also found that 47 percent of voters have no opinion about Zuckerberg and 29 percent have a negative one.

Zucky would be even worse than Trump.