Jul 29, 2011 0
Jul 23, 2011 0
so in yesterday’s news we learned not only of much more hacking by and awareness of hacking on the part of news corp (i doubt we’ve even scratched the surface–what i want to know is how widely dispersed these techniques are and where knowledge about them comes from, because they all impinge on national security issues that remain for me the most serious political issues related to information openness… but i digress), not only that small firms as well as large are active targets of hackers, and not only that “LulzSec’s goodbye letter,” issued yesterday, “included links to data from AOL, AT&T, online game Battlefield Heroes, the FBI, NATO, the Navy, and more.”
no, that’s not all. members of the nettime-l “mailing list for networked cultures, politics, and tactics,” have also been paying close attention to the world of hackers.
on jul 19 one Mayo Fuster posted:
Hi! Aaron Swartz Internet activist (and friend) has been arrested for downloading too many journal articles from the Library. Please sign the petition of suport and help to spread the word, Mayo
//// Aaron Swartz charged for downloading too many journal articles from the Library ////
Shocking news: Moments ago former Demand Progress Executive Director Aaron Swartz was indicted by the US government. As best as we can tell, he is being charged with allegedly downloading too many journal articles from the Web. The government contends that downloading so many journal articles constitutes felony computer hacking and should be punished with time in prison. We disagree.
Will you click here to sign our petition of support for Aaron?
the next day, Patrice Riemens informed us, with great sensitivity:
On one hand there is the commercial corruption of big academic presses and academic journals publishers making obscene profits on basis of publicly financed information resources and then gouging the public, and every year more (*). The facts are well established and well known. And things are slowly – too slowly – changing.
Then there is what you could call moral corruption, and that is alas much more difficult to combat since it is happening from within academia itself. At the Commons Conference in Berlin, where I hold an agitated (my trademark elevator pitch for radical open access, I learned with some surprise from the (German) chair of our working group that he knew many academics who were quite attached to the ‘closed shop’ system of academic publishing. Because its financial wall ‘protected’ them against the great unwashed…
It’s a funny world. But not for Aaron. Do sign!
I’ll sign. Why not? What joie de vivre and respect for other poeple’s views! What an open democracy!!! The guy is a super-principled crusader AGAINST criminal behavior on hte part of a Mafia-like cartel, JSTOR! and wanted to give away practically everything I’ve done for free without asking me for the obvious cause of socialist revolution!
then one or two people started to think for just a second. fortunately poster Glendon Jones quickly replied this morning, demonstrating that the case against the activist SWARTZ is totally misguided!
Pretty much every comment that you can find on Aaron Swartz’s arrest, both those that praise him for “sticking it to the man” and those that think he a criminal, is based on the assumption that he intended to illegally redistribute these articles, that he was trying to “liberate” information. Few have acknowledged the possibility that he was doing actual research that simply pushed JSTOR past its technical limits (so yes, he clearly violated section 2.2 f of the ToS) and that he had no intention of sharing the content he downloaded. After a half hour of very basic web research I believe that this is the case for two main reasons.
Except that in the same post he adds a PS: “After writing the above, I found this: http://gigaom.com/2011/07/21/
You know what it tells us about? that the default assumption of “internet political theorists” is that the way to openness and freedom is through massive theft of property and identity from the middling everyday people and workers who laughably think that their middle-class wages are just payment for the training, time, and skill they try to bring to their work.
Replace the word “hackers” with “thieves who use computers.” It’s accurate to 99%. Now re-read the last few years of internet politics discussion. Or should I say “politics,” because what they really are is bullshit. They have no idea what politics is, what computers are, or how computers and the world fit together. But they already know that the rest of us have nothing to contribute and “need to be educated.”
Jul 21, 2011 0
today the Wall Street Journal gives us even more on hackers, under the title “Hackers Shift Attacks to Small Firms” (GEOFFREY A. FOWLER And BEN WORTHEN, July 21, 2011). They write:
Hacking at small businesses “is a prolific problem,” says Dean Kinsman, a special agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s cyber division, which has more than 400 active investigations into these crimes. “It’s going to get much worse before it gets better.”
In the time it takes to break into a major company like Citigroup Inc., a hacker could steal data from dozens of small businesses and not get detected, says Bryce Case Jr., a former hacker who broke into several government and corporate websites a decade ago and now runs an online message board for hackers called Digital Gangster. Now that small companies use computers, “the juice has become worth the squeeze,” he says. “Even a pizza place has addresses, names and credit-card information.”
Now unless you believe that either (a) the WSJ is in the business of remotely trying to influence academic discussions of computing politics, or (b) there is an elaborate disinformation campaign being conducted to disempower social revolutionaries like LulzSec and Anonymous, there is certainly a stark contrast between the repeated coverage of hacking in the press and the repeated discussions of hacking on any net.politics list, in which hackers remain portrayed just about exclusively as heroes.
Yet one commentator even on this story has to chime in on the blemish placed on the word “hackers” by the WSJ’s reportage:
john ziegler wrote:
just because the name “hacker” is applicable to both groups: those who use software and computer science to intentionally exploit the computer security of large companies and governments for the sake of public humiliation or economic damage…
and one of many 100s of thousands of low level hackers who steal credit card numbers, spam with virii, etc.
they are totally different.
given the huge amount of money made by the security industry, and the public stories of traffic between the “two” activities, it seems that hacking of computer systems is 99% carried out by criminal groups directly attempting to steal information or property (usually cash), and 1% of it is carried out for “altruistic” reasons and/or by very young people who have not (yet) been hired by either the criminal cartels, foreign governments, or security firms.
the romanticization of hackers is one thing. the bizarre certainty on people in the academic world that the 1% of “white hat” hackers are doing anything with political meaning is what i find unfathomable.
neither LulzSec nor anonymous, for example, were doing anything that anyone should admire politically. but not only do some admire: that is pretty much the default position. what heroes! they shut down mastercard and later Sony because their feelings were hurt.
yet even this story about obvious criminal activity–and i for one could not be any more impressed by computer-using criminals than by any other thieves–raises hackles in computational evangelists by daring to use the literal word “hacking” to describe how it was done. there should definitely have been an asterisk next to Hackers*
* the bad kind of hackers, we mean, as opposed to the good kind who randomly expose innocent customer data when a company makes them mad. And steal a ton of stuff from NATO but promise, promise, promise not to expose it! WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS!!! TRUST US.
Jul 9, 2011 0
posted in response to a response by michael gurstein to his response to a critique by someone from an “open” organization of a very smart post by gurstein in the first place that responds to his sage and well-observed discussion of the politics of “open source” in an earlier post:
Michael, you are fighting the good fight here, and it’s a hard battle to take on. My diagnosis is that people who become deeply attached to memes (not specifically directed to PM-R in the quotations above, whom i don’t know from adam)–especially very simple ones like the word “open”–have typically invested very little in the interrogation of the terms out of which the memes are constructed. “Open” is a wonderful word. It sounds so good. Who could argue with it? Out of context, that sounds good. But (1) get into the guts of real Constitutional law, political practice, corporate practice, and so on, and in my opinion, “open” stops being a useful regulative ideal (i am specifically mentioning Kant). It doesn’t describe with enough detail. “build this in an open way” or don’t. i have been in many production contexts in which “open” stuff is advocated wtih so much force and with so little specific justifictiaon that it’s almost like deliberately staged propaganda. “open above all.” in corporations this often conflicts with “profit above all” for obvious and non-obvious reasons, and programmers who keep saying “open” often don’t hold their positions for long. Overall, it isn’t enough to hang your hat on and it can be used by any side for justification.
(2) its service as a default response to the request for “real” political engagement is deeply troubling. When I say that I see the same people who used to care about politics (meaning smart people in their 20s) now having hairtrigger responses that mention “open source” I get very worried.
the conversation i’ve had many times, typically with a gr***** st**** who has not published a book or perhaps anything at all, goes:
enthusiast: “you’ve pointed out many destructive things computers do in the world and many ways that their overall deployment debilitates parts of society. but what about open source?”
me: “what specific social problems are you saying open source addresses?”
enthusiast: “well, but, you point at destruction…”
me: “i didn’t say open source was destructive. you said it counters my argument that computers have destructive effects. which ones, and how?”
enthusiast: [reddening stare]
i see blood in their eyes, and i can hear the sacred cows mooing, but i can’t say much, can i? not that i’ll get the job anyway. you can hear the post-interview discussion: “crazy! he says computers do so many bad things, but he has nothing to say about open source!”
my last words on “open government”: show me one and we’ll talk about it.
Jul 6, 2011 0
Jul 2, 2011 1
it’s not just creepy. it’s part of the evil that google is now chartered to do.
see, when they put that thing together, they may have forgotten how evil is almost always done in the US: under cover of saying what’s being done is not evil. we have an entire political party/movement based around it now. the problem is that capital itself is evil, and so is the pursuit of power. even if once power and capital are attained they are used for good (relatively speaking). you can’t get there from here. of course google is a monopoly. and of course they will do everything in their power to defend their fundamentally evil (and fundamentally like every other evil concentration of capital) practices. where is the history of discussion of “how big should google get?” and the related, “how can we not maximize profit under contemporary rules of corporate governance”? it is a real paradox. i don’t blame them. i don’t see the solution. but the problem is as big as can be.
reject every offer to join google+. if it was possible to explain why in layman’s terms, the software wouldn’t be worth the billions of dollars it is. you and i do not understand what it is for and what they are doing with it. period. and don’t tell me you do. you don’t.
Joining any social network introduces a balancing act of sharing versus privacy. Is Google testing these limits? Going back to when I joined Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn life online was different. None of these services took over my online life in the same way Google+ has. Google has its Google+ tentacles wrapped around many popular Google services.
On one level, the integration of Google+ with the rest of the Google-verse is a benefit for the social network. But, on another level it is sort of creepy and difficult to manage.
Once you join Google+, it is instantaneously ubiquitous. Go to Gmail, and there it is–that ‘+Tony’ at the upper left on the menu of links with the other Google services. Go to Documents, there it is again. Go to Photos, and…well, it’s there, but now it says ‘+You’ instead of ‘+Tony’. Go to Calendar, and…well, it’s not there–but, you get the idea.
read the rest
i find the vitriol (based not on knowledge of what Google + is for, unless they are Google execs, which I doubt) of the comments especially telling:
the good thing about google is CHOICE. you need not use it. on the other hand, compare to adobe, install acro-reader, and the greedy idiots have programmed it to overtake all your resources, and put itself at the top of the most used programs. hope they get exactly the negative of what they want.
This from the guy who has obvious distaste for Google+ and already wrote an article advising us to ‘stay away’, lol.
I am using Google+ and maintaining security is far from a nightmare. Its one click heaven.
This guy is the reason Bloggers should not pretend to be Journalists.
borrows liberally? Creepy? why won’t you look into web development trends and stop talking trash. Facebook was NOT the first nor the last to use a 3 column layout. Google suggests people who are not on google, but who are in your contacts. Facebook has that service as well, but it needs to authenticate into your email in order to retrieve the contacts. What’s so damn creepy about having a link accessible from most other google service to google + , do you find the top bar menu creepy in general because other services appear on each others page as well. Oh well you are i suppose paid by fb to write a paranoid privacy article. Remember it was facebook that kept getting hacked not gmail blah