This week we’ve all read how General Petraeus was forced out of his position because the FBI was able to read his emails. I’ll leave the moral question about affairs for you to determine on your own, however, from a technology perspective, he did many things wrong.
I’ve added an update below, since new technical information has become known.
Don’t you just love reading about governments making stupid assumptions about people? No? Me neither.
It seems many people may be terrorists by doing things that are
- perfectly legal
- required due to other stupid government laws
- necessary to ensure privacy
Here’s the news article to provide some background on the FBI and DoJ thoughts.
If wiretaps and intercepting snail-mail both require a court order in the USA, then why doesn’t listening in on internet communications also require a court order?
Whether the Do Not Track settings have any legal support or not, it is worth enabling this for anyone who would like to tell websites not to track them. It may be a worthless effort, but thankfully, it doesn’t take much effort, so why not?
On my Linux system, running Firefox 4.0, the Tell web sites I do not want to be tracked setting, yes, that is the exact wording, is under the Advanced tab of the General tab in the Firefox Preferences.
- then under the Browsing heading, check box to Tell web sites I do not want to be tracked
On other operating systems, it should be easy to find.
Sometimes companies do slimy things. It is usually because they didn’t think through the decision and I suspect Canonical simply didn’t think thru this decision before doing it.
Think again, Canonical.
BTW, Canonical puts together and markets the Ubuntu distribution of the Linux operating system. I have 15+ Ubuntu systems running here – most are servers. Ubuntu is based on FLOSS superheros Debian and Gnome and thousands of other FLOSS project teams, like Banshee. I don’t want to downplay what Canonical has done for Linux and usability, but the Debian guys do a tremendous amount of completely free work that is the base of Ubuntu and many other Linux distributions.
Banshee is a popular audio player on Linux. Banshee has an Amazon MP3 Music affiliate key embedded in their program so MP3 purchases made by users through that interface give them a little finders’ fee. This is common practice in open source software. Firefox earned millions of dollars last year from Google doing this.
Think again, Canonical.
Banshee earned less than $3100 last year from this affiliate program. Further, the Banshee developers give all that money to the Gnome foundation – another critical FLOSS software project that almost every Linux distribution makes use of. Canonical decided to change that affiliate code in the Banshee version released with Ubuntu so that Canonical keeps 75% of the money and passes on 25% to Banshee. Uh … sorry … Canonical. Didn’t your mother teach you that stealing is wrong?
Think again, Canonical.
Ask and Negotiate First
Canonical, if you had contacted the Banshee guys and worked out an agreement, I bet that some win-win solution could be found. Sure, your distribution of Banshee as the default music player will certainly increase the number of users and probably increase the amount of cash the affiliate program makes.
Canonical. You are acting like Facebook and Apple and Microsoft. Stop it.
With the new Debian Squeeze release and Mint-Linux, Ubuntu users have viable alternatives. I hope that Canonical/Ubuntu rethinks this stealing and comes up with a published revenue sharing model that works for all FLOSS projects they distribute. Hummmmm. That has me thinking …
Big, centralized, services like Facebook and Twitter are great when all your friends are there … until there is an outage. If you update or tweet constantly, you can notice when those tools are down. There are alternatives that are not centralized.
Identi.ca, A Twitter Alternative
The guys over at status.net have a free micro-blogging site (i.e. twitter clone) that is both centralized, but also supports federation. Federated services work like email does. Lots and lots of servers communicating using a standard protocol. If any single server goes down, that doesn’t matter, the exchange of ideas keep flowing.
Federation Is Good for Freedom
- 9/10 President of Microsoft’s Business division leaves to become Nokia’s CEO
- 9/14 Nokia World doesn’t mention MeeGo at all
- Nokia Leaves MeeGo Alliance
- 2/10 Nokia and Microsoft form a partnership to push Windows Mobile7 on Nokia phones
A few links
We all know that Microsoft doesn’t like Linux. It is afraid and it should be. Microsoft owns the desktop, but not much else. The millions and millions of uncounted Linux servers and Android cell phones is cleaning Microsoft out of those markets. All that Cloud Computing stuff runs on Linux. For IT professionals, Linux is a joy to use and saves over $100/month in added costs required for a Microsoft solution.
To be fair, Maemo (which I have 3 yrs experience with) wasn’t ever going to be a mainstream mobile platform. It wasn’t sexy and was missing some critical software – the contact manager was a joke. I can’t really blame Nokia for wanted to back out from a business perspective. Most GUI designers, fewer engineeers would have helped.
If this wasn’t carefully planned, I’d be surprised. It was an easy and cheap way to effectively kill Linux at Nokia and turn a competitor into a pawn. Nice job Microsoft. As a stock holder, I’m encouraged. OTOH, I really need to sell those MSFT shares.
Seems the other news media caught on to this.
Stolen from my comment over at LH …
- Launch a Distributed Denial Of Service attack, DDoS
- Setup your own botnet
- Spread spyware
- Release huge password databases
- Release hacks for PS3s
Most of the time, Cloud Computing = Careless Computing.
Just because something is free and easy, doesn’t mean you should actually use it.
OTOH, there are times where using the Cloud makes perfect sense. When you want the widest distribution of data/info possible. In that case, remote, carefree computing is perfect.
When in doubt, don’t put it into the cloud because you can never get it back regardless of what the ToS say. IT security professionals are split on whether anything can be secured in the cloud. Certainly there are ways to accomplish it, but those methods are probably out of reach for individuals. I would have zero expectation of any real security on shared hosts or shared storage, but many people consider me paranoid. If it were your corporate data in the cloud, wouldn’t you want someone who is paranoid validating the security architecture?
You visit a web site and like the article enough to want to post a comment … of some kind. Then the website has a block that prevents you from posting. Comment-blocking. They do this by:
- login required or
- 3rd party service for comments
- non-working captcha
Boo. The internet should be anonymous, if you want it that way. Sometimes you just want to say something without the repercussions to other areas of your life.
If I were not afraid of the repercussions, I’d setup a database of logins to websites that you could use to post with. If I had friends in foreign countries with servers, we could setup a loose federation.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to choose against privacy?
BTW, you can post on-topic comments here without a login.