SOPA and the Denmark historical perspective.

I just spotted this on Techdirt

“What happened in Denmark.
Ole Husgaard, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 11:17am

7 years ago we got a child pornography filter on the Internet in Denmark. Some people said that it was a bad idea, but others said these people were just paedophiles, or trying to help paedophiles. Some people said that it was against our constitution, which it was. So the censorship was implemented in a way so it was formally (but not in reality) voluntary, which ensured that it was not formally a violation of our constitution.

Some people warned that once the censorship infrastructure was in place, it would most likely be used to censor other things. But they were told “Never! This is ONLY to prevent this horrible crime, and will never be used for other censorship.”

Fast-forward a few years, and the Danish recording industry did not like, so they went to court to get a court order against the Danish ISPs to start censoring allofmp3 off the Danish Internet. The judge basically said “ahh, you already have the infrastructure in place, so there will be no extra cost”, and issued the order to censor It was not a violation of our constitution because it was ordered by a judge.

Since then other “pirate” sites have been censored. Most notably The Pirate Bay, which found out that the court would not even allow them to speak their case in court, or even submit a written brief.

Then our politicians found out that they wanted to protect and expand income from taxes. In particular the high taxes gambling providers pay. The official excuse was to limit the horrible disease of ludomania. So they decided that foreign gambling providers had to pay the taxes in Denmark too if they were on the Internet and could be seen in Denmark. If they refused to pay taxes, they should be censored off the Danish internet. So they passed a law saying that if a foreign gambling provider refused to pay taxes in Denmark, a court would – on the request of our government – have to order ISPs to censor its sites off the net, and payment processors to block all payments to it. If an ISP does not censor, or a payment processor or bank does not block payment, hefty fines are issued.

Now our politicians worry that some foreign companies selling medicines on the net are not licensed to sell medicines in Denmark. So they are preparing new legislation that will censor these sites off the net, and block payments to them.

So our Internet censorship started a few years ago with a very limited purpose and good intentions. And it was solemnly promised that nothing else than child pornography would be censored.

But once the infrastructure for censorship was in place, the censorship started spreading to other areas. And the censorship is getting more and more widespread.”

All these technical solutions that are put in place with the “best intentions” end up being able to be abused in many ways, even if the politicians that implement them promise us that they will “only be used for good”. Well I for one don’t trust them as far as I can throw them, and will keep objecting to censorship and “technical solutions” on the internet as they will be able to be used and will be used to silence certain parts of society.

Don’t annoy Immigration Officers…

From Risks Digest:

UK Immigration Officer Puts Wife on the No-Fly List

Bruce Schneier
Tue, 15 Feb 2011 00:03:31 -0600

[From CRYPTO-GRAM, 15 Feb 2011. PGN]

A UK immigration officer decided to get rid of his wife by putting her on
the no-fly list, ensuring that she could not return to the UK from abroad.
This worked for three years, until he put in for a promotion and—during
the routine background check—someone investigated why his wife was on the
no-fly list.

Okay, so he’s an idiot. And a bastard. But the real piece of news here is
how easy it is for a UK immigration officer to put someone on the no-fly
list with *absolutely no evidence* that that person belongs there. And how
little auditing is done on that list. Once someone is on, they’re on for

That’s simply no way to run a free country.

Newport state of mind.

I’m not sure how I missed this the first time round, maybe I should watch RudeTube more often.
Newport state of mind was pulled from YouTube because the original artists didn’t like the parody. Unfortunately, as Weird Al will tell you, parody is generally considered fair use in the USA and is also allowable under UK law, and anyway, once it’s on the internet it’s out there and not likely to be able to be removed in the long run. I was a little confused by some of the references to things like the Millennium stadium and LlanfairPG, but was kinda willing to let it slide as the accents are so nice.

However, The GLC took it upon themselves to put together Newport State of Mind (you’re not from Newport) which whilst not quite as funny, does have more accurate references to local Newport sights and actually mentions the Ryder Cup.

What do you get from your ISP in India?

50 days in the slammer if you’re unlucky!

Lakshmana Kailash K. who is described as a 26 year old techie was arrested and held for 50 days. Apparently he was fingered by google and his ISP for posting unflattering pictures of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who is apperently a revered figure in India on orkut (google’s social networking site). Google coughed up the IP address, and the ISP traced it back to his account. Unfortunately they got it wrong somewhere, and he was released 50 days later when the caught the real culprits.

The UK apparently still has a way to go to erode freedom of speech to level in India – but I think the politicians are taking leads from various places. 😉

09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0

It’s a fairly hot number – decimalists may prefer 13256278887989457651018865901401704640

Actually it’s really old news, but I’ve not had a takedown notice for a while… Of course, if I do get a takedown notice similar to the ones that have been issued, then it’ll contain the URL of this page, which incidentally is
and that of course, has the number in it, so I can reasonably post about it as it’s the title of a web page that was taken down.

The genie has been out of the bottle for a while now. When will these people realise that we want to be able to use things that we pay for in ways that they haven’t thought of yet. We don’t like DRM, because it stops us from using Macs and Linux boxes, not to mention my old Amigas. Their bully boy tactics just irritate the savvy punters, and are they not usually the early adopters – the ones that pay the premiums to prove the new tech before the prices come down to consumer level?

There’s some rather nice designs for shirts with it on at Cafe Press

And don’t forget to get your very own number at Freedom to tinker

Gatso and bikes

This story really made me chuckle a little today.
v sign biker take by gatso
Basically a guy on a bike had been regularly passing a speed camera above the posted limit, but it was one of those cameras that face the front of the vehicle. Because motorbikes don’t have number plates on the front, this guy thought that he was safe, and at one point even felt cool enough to flick the ‘V’s at the camera while doing 105mph.

This annoyed the local Bedfordshire constabulary, to the extent that they identified the model of the bike with the assistance of BMW, then trawled the DVLA registration database to find out that there were only three of that model of bike locally in the area. (A reasonable assumption from the repeat offences)

They then proceeded to look at each of those and identified Philip Coffey by his leathers and the extra headlights that he had added to the bike.

He was given a years ban from driving for the 10 offences, was let off the 72 penalty points given the ban, and was fined £900 and ordered to pay £600 costs. Of course, as he made his crust by driving buses, he’s lost that job as well.

Now I do consider myself lucky to live in a county where there are no fixed cameras – we have mobile units, but they’re in published locations, and pretty sensible ones if you ask me, well except for the one at Southgate junction, which usually has stationary traffic at any times when I’m going through it. We also have some of the best biking roads in the country, but then most people already know that as attested by the 300+ bikes on the prom every weekend during the summer.

Mind you, auntie beeb has been scaremongering again with her typical tabloid reporting on Week In Week Out this week. They appear to enjoy finding the most extreme, irresponsible arseholes and promoting their antics on television, giving a very distorted view of the biking community.

They also appeared to present a picture which indicates that the number of fatalities was on the increase over a number of years, yet BikeSafe Dyfed-Powys indicates a reduction in fatalities over a number of years.

And one last thing that has been annoying me for a while now:
Birdbox or fake gatso.
(Apologies for the rubbish photo)
It has been vandalised, but it keeps reappearing. Apparently it’s a birdbox…come on – what self respecting bird is going to nest in that thing, that close to the road.

Stupid Security

I’ve written before about my dislike for certain countries ideas about security, and I picked up a link to Stupid Security blog from Joe.

I started reading about Peter Kaiser’s experiences dating back to 2003 when he got refused entry to the USA. This guy is a UN aid worker, holding three passports, on his way to Chair a meeting about aid at the UN, and was refused entry.
Mark Shuttleworth also has a tale of how he now gets detained every time he enters the USA

I’ve had one or two brushes with immigration in the past, once being detained for a while re-entering Singapore from Malaysia, and once re-entering the UK from Dubai – “You have a beard, are you a Muslim convert” – ooh that makes me feel so confident in the security of our country if that is the line of questioning of British Immigration officials.

Standing in line for immigration entering the USA a few months ago, I felt somewhat nervous. Fortunately, there was no problem other than the obligitary hour long wait, which almost caused me to miss my connecting flight. Oh, and the over zealous security on the way out of the country. It wasn’t actually much quicker getting back into the UK when my flight landed – at least they get one right in the USA – if you’re a citizen you’re given priority at immigration. When I landed, everyone went through together, which resulted in very long lines and waits as it appeared that half the desks weren’t manned most of the time as well.

This guy had a real problem when he came back into the UK, mind you he did appear not to have all the paperwork that he should have in place.

Yes, I am off travelling again later this week, but this time I’m only off a short distance to the Isle of Man, and I’m taking the ferry – some of my colleagues suggested that I might fly, but apart from the nastiness that causes in the upper atmosphere, I think the ferry will be more enjoyable, and I get to take my car to somewhere with no national speed limit.

Of course, I should be taking the bike, but due to double booking with the Corris Railway training weekend, I will be away from home for a reasonable time, and will have to be taking railway related paraphernalia, plus I don’t really trust the weather at this time of the year.

I did start the bike over the weekend, after a couple of months it needed the battery charging – yes I know I’m a fair weather biker, but hey, I can be so why not? I still need to do a service on it, and then it’ll be ready to get back on the road regularly for the summer.

Enough brain dump for now.

Homeland Security

The US Dept of Homeland Security put together its wonderful threat level avisory system as a result of the undeniably horrific attacks 5 years ago.

As a result, we’re not allowed to take drinks onto planes, we are forced to use plastic cutlery, unless we’re in first class, and a tee shirt is a security risk!

Now, call me a radical thinker, but doesn’t this mean that the terrorists have actually won, they’ve managed to take away a lot of our freedom, certainly in air travel, but are you really going to die as a result of terrorism?

Some of the nice folks over at Wired News have put together a nice survey of the things that threaten ongoing life in the 11 year period 1995 to 2005 and have come up with the following nice little graphic – it really puts things into perspective – especially the fact that being shot by law enforcement is more likely to kill you than terrorism…

Driving off the road: 254,419
Falling: 146,542
Accidental poisoning: 140,327
Dying from work: 59,730
Walking down the street: 52,000.
Accidentally drowning: 38,302
Killed by the flu: 19,415
Dying from a hernia: 16,742
Accidental firing of a gun: 8,536
Electrocution: 5,171
Being shot by law enforcement: 3,949
Terrorism: 3147
Carbon monoxide in products: 1,554