Archive for March, 2013
One of the most violent gangs in the United States has begun actively recruiting individuals who show a high aptitude in computer skill. I would advise parents to talk with their children and warn them against joining the ranks of psychopaths such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of
Fatherland Motherland Homeland Security (DHS):
The secretary of that agency, Janet Napolitano, knows she has a problem that will only worsen. Foreign hackers have been attacking her agency’s computer systems. They have also been busy trying to siphon the nation’s wealth and steal valuable trade secrets. And they have begun probing the nation’s infrastructure — the power grid, and water and transportation systems.
So she needs her own hackers — 600, the agency estimates. But potential recruits with the right skills have too often been heading for business, and those who do choose government work often go to the National Security Agency, where they work on offensive digital strategies. At Homeland Security, the emphasis is on keeping hackers out, or playing defense.
“We have to show them how cool and exciting this is,” said Ed Skoudis, one of the nation’s top computer security trainers. “And we have to show them that applying these skills to the public sector is important.”
One answer? Start young, and make it a game, even a contest.
This month, Mr. Jaska and his classmate Collin Berman took top spots at the Virginia Governor’s Cup Cyber Challenge, a veritable smackdown of hacking for high school students that was the brainchild of Alan Paller, a security expert, and others in the field.
With military exercises like NetWars, the competition, the first in a series, had more the feel of a video game. Mr. Paller helped create Cyber Aces, the nonprofit group that was host of the competition, to help Homeland Security, and likens the agency’s need for hackers to the shortage of fighter pilots during World War II.
The job calls for a certain maverick attitude. “I like to break things,” Mr. Berman, 18, said. “I always want to know, ‘How can I change this so it does something else?’ ”
Between drones and these types of competitions it appears that the United States government is continuing its track record of exploiting young children by making war feel like a video game. What the government recruiters don’t talk about are the harsh realities of war. In the case of computer security working for the government means working for the entity that is actively trying to suppress free speech on the Internet. This entity has continued to push legislation such as the Stop Online Piracy Act, Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, and Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. In addition to pushing destructive legislation this entity has also actively worked against free speech by seizing domain names of websites it finds undesirable (without any due process, of course). This entity has even go so far as to relentlessly pursue an individual for being a proponent of free speech and free information. By every definition of the word the United States government is a terrorist organization.
If you or somebody you know is an upcoming computer expert I urge you to urge them to work on projects that help protect Internet users from the psychopaths in the United States government. The Tor Project and I2P are always looking for more developers. Those of us that want to preserve free speech, free information, and privacy online need more advocates of cryptographic tools such as OpenPGP, Off-the-Record Messaging, and encrypted voice communications. Young computer savvy individuals should work on becoming experts in such technology, encourage their friends to use such technology, and work on the next generation of such technology.
Fortunately, for those of us that work against the United States government’s continuous attempts to censor the Internet, most people described by the state as computer hackers are not fond of authority and are therefore more likely to pursue non-state employment instead of working for the monster that labels them criminals.
Popular Mechanics has posted an article asking who has the right to mine asteroids. Those of us in libertarian circles have been passing this article around as a joke. The article points out the fact that states generally maintain monopolies on mining rights and, in addition to those monopolies, implement numerous regulations on the mining industry. What the article appears to be asking is what laws will the lawyers create regarding asteroid mining:
But remember that open question. If you go get an asteroid and bring it back, is it yours? On Earth, of course, no one would open a mine without being sure they owned the land or at least the mineral rights. The same is true in space. But while mining law on Earth is pretty much settled, asteroid-mining law isn’t so clear yet.
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty prevents nations from making territorial claims beyond Earth: “Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means,” it states. But what is “national appropriation”? And what is a “celestial body”?
Those are the kinds of issues that lawyers grapple with. Space law used to be mainly an academic pursuit, but no longer—in fact, the American Bar Association just published a guidebook in the field. Most experts—including me—believe that a ban on “national appropriation” doesn’t prohibit private property rights. The Outer Space Treaty was designed to prevent the winner of the 1960s space race from claiming the moon for itself. The United States and the Soviet Union were each worried about what would happen if the other nation beat it there. They were thinking of missile bases and territorial disputes, not mines or lunar tourist resorts. The “celestial bodies” language was added by way of expansiveness, but the Outer Space Treaty doesn’t define the term, except to make it clear that the moon is one.
Who cares what the lawyers think? The question that should be asked is, who can stop non-state entities from mining asteroids? We must remember that the state accomplishes all of its goals through the use of force. When people are outside of a state’s ability to inflict violence on them they are free to act outside of its law. That is the reason people in the United States don’t comply with Saudi Arabia’s laws, the Saudi Arabian state is unable to inflict violence on those of us living in the United States. Therefore we must ask what kind of violence the states of Earth can wield against those in orbit. As it turns out there likely isn’t a lot of violence Earth-based states can inflict on spacefaring individuals. One need only look at the condition of each state’s space program to see how ineffective they are in space. No state, as far as we know, possesses armed spacecraft capable of inflicting its will off of Terra.
What good are state decrees if they cannot be enforced with violence? They’re pointless, just as every unenforceable law. In fact I would say the key to mining asteroids isn’t just getting to the asteroids but is also preventing the states of Earth from inflict their violence off of the planet’s surface. Even if miners aren’t capable of preventing Earth’s states from getting armed craft off of the planet there is still the fact that space is so vast that no entity can patrol even a fraction of it. Once you’ve escaped Earth the only thing you need to do to keep yourself outside of the state’s grasp is to run a little further than it. This fact renders the question of state regulations of asteroid mining irrelevant.
Frontiers have traditionally been refuges from state power. People fled to the American colonies to escape the British Crown’s prejudice. Eventually the American colonies severed their ties entirely with Britain and established their own government. People wanting to flee the United State’s authority began moving into the western frontier. History gives us a numerous examples of individuals fleeing state persecution in frontiers and we are now seeing the beginning of people fleeing Earth to escape the tyranny of its states.
Whenever the mainstream media uses the term “arsenal” I’m always left baffled. Take the recent “arsenal” uncovered Connecticut shooter’s home:
The young man who killed 27 people in a massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, owned an arsenal of weapons and ammunition, court papers show.
More than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, a bayonet, several swords and knives were among the items found in a search of Adam Lanza’s home.
1,000 rounds of ammunition? I keep more than that around for most of the popular calibers I shoot. A bayonet? I own several. Swords and knives? I do have knives but I must sadly report that I currently own no swords. Still, these stories seems to be written primarily to scare non-gun owners. If somebody doesn’t own any guns and doesn’t shoot competitively I’m sure 1,000 rounds of ammunition sounds like a lot. For those of us that own guns and shoot competitively 1,000 rounds won’t even get us through a season. Honestly, this news item is really not news, the guy owned ammunition, most of which he didn’t use in the shooting (while you can own 10,000 rounds of ammunition you can’t carry it all on your person). Yet mainstream media sources always try to focus their stories on making situation look more dangerous than they really are. The amount of weaponry housed at the home of the Connecticut shooter is irrelevant because he didn’t use any of those weapons to commit his heinous crime. My only explanation is that the media focuses on these things in an underhanded move to demonize gun owners in the eyes of non-gun owners. The implication appears to be that anybody who owns 1,000 rounds of ammunition, a bayonet, swords, and knives is a potential violent murderer and should be turned over to the Stasi immediately.
Wednesday I flew to Phoenix for a work related meeting and ended up back in the Twin Cities around 06:00. After I returned I spent the better part of Thursday sleeping. I learned that trying to stay awake most of a 24-hour period with a cold is a bad idea. The only sleep I managed to get was a few minutes here and there laying across three seats at the airport. Needless to say I felt rather miserable for most of Thursday so I didn’t even manage to haul my lazy ass out of bed long enough to write any blog posts.
Here’s my tip for those of you traveling: if you’re sick don’t try to get to your destination and back home within the same 24-hour period. Give yourself an evening of rest, otherwise you’re going to feel like crap the next day. Also, if you’re in Phoenix, Arizona and looking for a good place to eat I highly recommend Brat Haus. They have plenty of outdoor seating (which feels amazing after being cooped up inside all winter), their brats are great, and their beer selection is pretty decent. I also recommend that you eat before returning to the airport if you’re scheduled for a red eye flight since all the restaurants seem to close sometime before 22:00. The only establishments that were open at that hour were a bar and a convenience store, neither of which sold any real food.
I’m traveling out of town for business so I don’t have the time needed to post more content. This is going to be a fairly brutal trip as I leave Minnesota at 09:00 and return at 06:00. In other words I’ll likely have been awake for almost 24 hours and, barring free time to write posts, I won’t have much for new content today or tomorrow morning. I leave you with an excellent traveling song: Gods of War Arise by Amon Amarth:
The history that is taught to children today leaves out all of the good parts. For instance, the Founding Fathers weren’t law abiding citizens of the British Crown, they were law breakers who became sick of Britain’s shit. Needless to say this video does a better job of portraying the Founding Fathers (and Abraham Lincoln, I’m not sure how he received the title of Founding Father but I don’t care) than any history book I’ve read:
It’s not secret that I’m not a fan of politicians, even politicians such as Rand Paul who are often considered advocates of liberty. Often when I mention my dislike of Rand I’m told by other liberty advocates that one must climb the liberty ladder one rung at a time. My question is always this: why should we climb the ladder? The only thing waiting for us at the top is the sad realization that we’ve spent so much time, money, and effort climbing the ladder that we didn’t have time to partake in things that really matter. If your goal lies at the top of the ladder then don’t waste time climbing up to get it. Instead knock the ladder over and bring your goal to you.
After Aaron Swartz committed suicide several politicians claimed they would make an effort to reduce the penalties of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which was the law being used to nail Swartz to the wall. I’m not surprised to find out that the politicians are planning on doing the exact opposite of what they promised:
So, you know all that talk about things like Aaron’s Law and how Congress needs to fix the CFAA? Apparently, the House Judiciary Committee has decided to raise a giant middle finger to folks who are concerned about abuses of the CFAA. Over the weekend, they began circulating a “draft” of a “cyber-security” bill that is so bad that it almost feels like the Judiciary Committee is doing it on purpose as a dig at online activists who have fought back against things like SOPA, CISPA and the CFAA. Rather than fix the CFAA, it expands it. Rather than rein in the worst parts of the bill, it makes them worse. And, from what we’ve heard, the goal is to try to push this through quickly, with a big effort underway for a “cyberweek” in the middle of April that will force through a bunch of related bills. You can see the draft of the bill here (or embedded below. Let’s go through some of the pieces.
Exploiting the dead to push an agenda is nothing unusual for statists, in fact it’s their standard mode of operation. It’s unfortunate that this is the outcome of Swartz’s death, but we need not worry for there are solutions to state’s encroachment on the Internet.
I think I may have found a contender for the Worst Father of the Year Award. Not surprisingly the father is a state thug:
A policeman has shopped his 13-year-old son for fraud after he ran up a £3,700 bill playing iPad games.
PC Doug Crossan, 48, was horrified when his credit card company informed him that son Cameron had blown a small fortune in the App Store.
He claims the teenager, who now faces the possibility of being arrested and questioned by his father’s colleagues, was unaware he was being charged for the in-game purchases and wants Apple to scrap the charge.
But the technology company has refused and his only way of recouping the money is to report the purchases as being fraudulent.
What kind of father would have his kid charged with fraud to recoup a measly £3,700? By having his kid charged the father has put the son at risk of being kidnapped and caged, not to mention the effect such charges could have on the kid’s future. A father willing to sell his son out in the hopes some nebulous entity will refund his money is no father I’d want to suffer. If I were the father I would make the kid pay back the money he spent. Scratch that, if I was the father I wouldn’t have given the kid a password to my iTunes account. Since app and in-app purchases require a password be entered before a purchase has been confirmed the kid wouldn’t have been able to purchase anything.
The lesson here is that you should understand technology before handing to a teenager. Master your technology less it master you.
Through a combination of illness and starting a new project I didn’t have the energy or time to write any posts last night. Check back later, if I’m feeling better I may get something posted.