The US Is An “Endemic Surveillance Society”

According to Privacy International, the United States has dropped from Extensive to Endemic, now tied with China, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, and the UK(with the UK being more-or-less the worst in the free world). But never fear! We are still number one in a few things. They are:
* Legal protections
* Privacy enforcement
* Use of identity cards and biometrics
* Visual surveillance
* Communications interception
* Workplace monitoring
* Medical, financial and movement surveillance
* Border and trans-border issues

By number one I, of course, mean we are the worst. Go America!


DMCA – The Shoe Argument


First, you have the shoe manufacturers (SM1, SM2, and SM3). SM1 and SM2 get together and form the SMAA (Shoe Makers Association of America). The SMAA is an organization concerned with one thing only–self preservation–it uses private contracts and proprietary specifications to lock out competitors.

SM1 and SM2 start selling all of their shoes with a technology, provided by MasterSoft (MS), that allows SM1 and SM2 to dictate how the shoe can be worn and what surfaces are compatible with the shoe–they call this the “Smart Shoe”. If a “Smart Shoe” ever detects improper wearage or an unauthorized surface, the shoe activates the proprietary SLP or “Shoe Lockdown Protocol” which causes the shoe to forcibly adhere to the surface, preventing further unauthorized usage–this is what happens when shoes have DRM.

The “Smart Shoe” technology works like this. The “Smart Shoe” talks to SLP-enabled socks and SLP-enabled surfaces–this is how the “Smart Shoe” determines if the shoe is being worn properly on authorized surfaces. The sock manufacturer wants to sell socks but in order to sell “Smart Shoe Capable” socks, they have to sign an agreement with MS and the SMAA that says that their “Smart Shoe Capable” socks can only work with “Smart Shoes” and that if they want to continue making legacy socks, they can only do so in completely separate factories. Even without building new factories, there is a lot of extra cost and effort involved to make these “Smart Shoe Capable” socks–the sock manufacturer has to decide between making legacy socks and “Smart Shoe Capable” socks; it costs too much money to do both. The same thing happens to the surface manufacturers.

SM3 is faced with quite the dilemma now. SM3 knows that most customers will probably buy “Smart Shoes” without ever knowing that they are buying SLP limited shoes because of the huge marketing campaign behind “Smart Shoes”. SM3 must choose: 1) pay the large SLP licensing fee so that their shoes would be SLP compatible 2) mount a large marketing campaign informing consumers that “Smart Shoes” are really dumb 3) risk their entire business by ignoring the “Smart Shoe” thing and continuing to just make comfortable shoes, hoping the consumer is smart enough to figure things out.

Now, take the consumers (C1, C2, and C3). C1 buys a pair of “Smart Shoes” and then buys a pair of “Smart Shoe Capable” socks–this is exactly what SM1 has in mind and the world works as intended until C1 noticed that the “Smart Shoe” doesn’t know what grass is and often activates SLP when the surface is known and authorized, so C1 ends up buying a pair of SM3 brand shoes.

C2 decides that they like the feel of SM3 brand shoes better. C2 does some research and knows to avoid the “Smart Shoe Capable” socks. So, C2 goes out looking for some legacy socks. Great, now that new mall has a policy that only supports “Smart Shoes”, so, despite C2’s preference for the SM3 shoes, C2 must either find another mall or carry a pair of “Smart Shoes” and “Smart Shoe Capable” socks with them if they intend to go to the new mall. C3 avoids the “Smart Shoe” and “Smart Shoe Capable” socks completely and just buys legacy shoes and legacy socks and has no problems; no need to go to that silly new mall as Internet shopping is way more convenient.

C2 goes to the new mall one day, having forgot his “Smart Shoe Capable” socks. He tries to get his “Smart Shoes” to work with his legacy socks and gets arrested because the DMCA makes it felony to even attempt to disable SLP for any reason. Meanwhile, C1 realizes that he already paid a lot of money for all this “Smart” crap and his “Smart Shoe Capable” socks are still just socks so he tries to wear his SM3 brand shoes with them. C2 knows that he must work around SLP so that the socks that he purchased will work with the shoes that he purchased but he gets arrested because the DMCA makes it a felony to do any sort of reverse engineering even for the sake of interoperability.

Most socks just got more expensive. Wood floors, concrete, and pavement all just got more expensive. Those that do buy “Smart Shoes” run into bugs and compatibility problems. SM1, SM2, and MS are encouraged because 2/3 of consumers bought the new “Smart Shoe”. MS is out fixing compatibility problems trying to make normal grass work with SLP. SM3 is a little encouraged because 2/3 of consumers still bought their shoe. C1 and C2 are in jail on felony charges so they won’t be buying anything anytime soon. C3 will never buy “Smart” crap. All because SM1 and SM2 decided to sell “Smart Shoes”; the DMCA granted them all the power they needed to ensure that as long as they were the first to do it, they would have absolute control.

Why can’t the shoe and sock makers just go back to making quality socks and shoes that work like all socks and shoes should work? Their lobbyists bombard Congress and want everyone to believe that without DRM protections, their whole industry is doomed–sounds to me like they are dooming their industry just fine with DRM and are taking a lot innocent consumers down with them because of the DMCA.

Without the DMCA, C1 and C2 wouldn’t be in jail and could therefore, if they didn’t learn their lesson, buy more crap from SM1 and SM2. SM3 would have had a fourth option to reverse engineer SLP thereby ensuring that “Smart Shoe Capable” socks would work with their shoes.

Wouldn’t all the money spent on SLP be better spent on something actually related to making shoes better for the consumer, instead of being spent on ways to control how the consumer uses an uncomfortable, over-priced shoe?

Tasered For A Question

A man was tasered for asking why he was pulled over at a traffic stop September 15th. The full story is here and the video is below.

We had 150 taser-related ‘incidents’ last year and an incredible amount of unresolved cases. There was the tasering of a 6 year old, a 9 year old, a 14 year old that caused a cardiac arrest, a 92 year old, a man who didn’t show ID in his school, a man who was in his own house, the death of a Polish immigrant, the death of a 54 year old, the death of a 63 year old, and I’m sure I could find more links.

The truth is, this has been going on for a long time and it is happening all over our once-great country. Can we restore it? We have the ability, but do the people have the will? Only time will tell.

Great Political Quizes

I have added two links on the right side of my page for your perusal. One of them being the acclaimed Political Compass website, which rejects the traditional left-right scale and adds another, and the more in depth 3-Line Quiz, which adds another dimension to the scale. If you don’t really know your own ‘alignment’ if you will, then I suggest you try the Political Compass, whereas if you are looking for a more technical quiz, try the 3-Line Quiz.

Congress.Org – See What YOUR Officials Are Voting On Now is a website that tracks what each individual Congressman is voting on, recording every vote. On the link to the right of my page(under politics), you can have these votes emailed to you. I personally see it as a great way to determine the track record of your representatives and senators, without more than an email address from you. They also have what they call a Power Ranking, which shows, more or less, they approximate power an individual holds, whether it be as a member of a certain committee or position, influence on other members, or whether they helped shape a (un)popular bill. I’ve signed up for details on what both my representative and my senators have voted for. Have you?

Chinese Sub Surfaces Undetected Next to USS Kitty Hawk

Unfortunately, our military seems to underestimate the Chinese, especially their technology. Deployed with a battle fleet during exercises, the 160 ft Song Class slipped through a contingency of at least a dozen warships and 2 of our own submarines undetected, then proceeded to go into visible attack range before surfacing. The U.S.S. Kitty Hawk is a 1,000 ft. US super-carrier with 4,500 personnel on-board.

Read the rest here.

It disturbs me greatly that we can’t detect a sub when we have 14 ships looking for it.

FBI Raids Sunshine Mint for Liberty Dollars

At 8 AM Wednesday, November 14, the FBI assaulted the Sunshine Mint in an effort to control the distribution of the massively-popular Liberty Dollar. In short, the Liberty Dollar is money which is completely inflation-proof, and 100% backed by gold and/or silver. Their main goal is education of the Federal Reserve and the distribution of real, gold-backed currency.

In the raid, the FBI stole the plates from the mint, the dies, the paper, all the money in-house, and the gold and silver it was backed with, essentially neutering them. They are currently setting up a defense fund, as they are effectivly broke now, and have gotten major support in their efforts for justice.

Please support the Liberty Dollar and the cause they represent.