Other Important Causes
These images were from several grass-roots initiatives in the 1990's to support — and keep — peace NOW on the whole island of Ireland. The online petition is long since gone, and with the Good Friday agreement, the sharing of power between former foes, and what looks like the beginnings of real prosperity in Northern Ireland, the original need for the petition is long since gone. Maybe they, or other similar efforts, made some small difference.
You've read 1984 by George Orwell? Then the facts behind the so-called trusted computing platform alliance will seem eerily familiar. With this sinister technology, the computers of today become the telescreens of tomorrow. Open Source, Linux, the *BSDs all go by the wayside because you can't run unapproved software on your computer, especially not an unapproved operating system. If you think copy protection, DVD playback and the like is a nightmare now, it'll only get worse. Pay per view will take on a completely new and ominous meaning. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
This is one of the worst and most totalitarian ideas to ever come from what I can only conclude must be the twisted and greedy minds of big corporate entities. Everyone I've talked to, even those who are usually pro-industry and pro-business, see this sort of thing as invasive, unworkable, and a really bad idea. If you think the same way, then Why don't you say so (if you're a webmaster like me, you can say so here). In either case, you can get a banner of your choice for whatever web presence you may have and show the industry giants how far off base they really are.
This one's important. If Freedom means anything to you, then you need to do something.
(Update: Jon Johansen has been cleared of all charges by the Norwegian Supreme Court. Read the Slashdot coverage, or the English language version of the AftenPosten story (Norwegian Daily paper). Maybe there is justice in the world after all...
When I read about the arrest of a 16-year old in Norway (on SlashDot) in connection with the DeCSS code (DVD Descrambler for Linux), I just about lost it. This is nuts. Why is the MPAA (who control the DVD Copy Control Association) bullying a young boy in a foreign country? Why are they trying to sue the whole internet (I'm not joking) and filing subpoenas against anyone found linking to what might be a copy of the code? This is total abuse of power by large corporate entities and an attack on individuals and their rights that ignores international boundaries, and just makes no sense. The About and Journalist's Fact Sheet pages on the now-gone OpenDVD.org server were eye-opening. I'm looking for a site that may have saved them so people can read them and learn.
Update: here's a GNU-zipped tarball called DeCSS that I got from Mr. Bad of Pigdog Journal. It's available under the Artistic License so help yourself. This is a tool to remove Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) from a web page, hence De-CSS. Get it? It has nothing to do with the rest of the content of this paragraph, other than a protest.
And furthermore (I told you this issue got me steamed): In a
just read, Mr. Garbus (Attorney for the Defendant) asks Mr. Schumann
(Attorney for the Plaintiffs: "Can you, through
the DeCSS utility ultimately play the DVD or is its only function to
copy and store?". Answer from Schumann: "Its only function is to copy and store". In my
humble opinion, this is such a distortion as to be verging on an
outright lie. It is my understanding that the DeCSS facility can produce an output stream that
can be fed into a player to show images on the screen and play sound
through the speakers. This does not involve any
copying or storing. Correct me if I'm
wrong, but I'm pretty sure this is accurate.
EFF has championed many causes, some of which I highlight here because I feel strongly about them. They usually find the individual struggling against large corporations, industry "trade" groups, and occasionally governments. Their latest Effector OnLine newsletter is usually worth reading. Their original campaign on the web was, of course, the Blue Ribbon Campaign for Free Speech on the Net.
The Campaign for Audiovisual Free Expression is a response to the latest threat to free expression. I agree fully with the basis for this campaign:
Patrick P. Murphy
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA