the coming war on general computation

The copyright war was just the beginning  The last 20 years of Internet policy have been dominated by the copyright war, but the war turns out only to have been a skirmish. The coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race.     The problem is twofold: first, there is no known general-purpose computer that can execute all the programs we can think of except the naughty ones; second, general-purpose computers have replaced every other device in our world. There are no … Continue reading

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who is exchanged?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #44 Here is a fine noir Cold War scenario. Right at the Iron Curtain government officials are waiting for an exchange of prisoners. But who is exchanged?     Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be … Continue reading

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fun times ahead

According to Kaspersky ↵Stuxnet has ↑an heir. Here are two snippets from Wired’s report on it—mind the rhetorics: “It’s pretty fantastic and incredible in complexity,” said Alexander Gostev, chief security expert at Kaspersky Lab. [...]     “It took us half-a-year to analyze Stuxnet,” he said. “This is 20-times more complicated. It will take us 10 years to fully understand everything.” To my cyberpunk-infested mind this sounds as if some mysterious AI has written the thing, maybe even ↵Colossus himself … And if ↑this is true as well, there for sure are fun times ahead. … Continue reading

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teliasonera’s black boxes

Here’s the timely follow-up to ↵heretics house tripoli, an hour-long feature by the Swedish news show Uppdrag Granskning, investigating the entanglement of Swedish telecom giant ↑TeliaSonera with authoritarian regimes—especially in ex-Soviet states. From ↑Eva Galperin’s write-up at EFF: According to a recent investigation by the Swedish news show Uppdrag Granskning, Sweden’s telecommunications giant Teliasonera is the latest Western country revealed to be colluding with authoritarian regimes by selling them high-tech surveillance gear to spy on its citizens. Teliasonera has allegedly enabled the governments of Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Georgia and Kazakhstan to spy on journalists, union leaders, and members of … Continue reading

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heretics house tripoli

Much has been said and written about the role of social media and the Internet during the Arab Spring. Especially the liberating potentials of these technologies are discussed, even anthropologists are belabouring the topic. But, and that’s the ↵core theme of cyberpunk, technologies are fundamentally ambivalent. Just yesterday ↑Jamming Tripoli: Inside Moammar Gadhafi’s secret surveillance network by Matthieu Aikins was published by Wired: [The] activists would suffer greatly at the hands of Gadhafi’s spy service, whose own capabilities had been heightened by 21st-century technology. By now, it’s well known that the Arab Spring showed the promise of the Internet as … Continue reading

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propaganda war games

In ↵manchurian operations club among other things I mused about the detailled historical naturalism of ↑Kuma Reality Games‘ ‘Kuma\War’ [scroll down a bit]. Now those games seem to have generated a dramatic backlash into empirical reality. The ↑Day 6 Documentary: Propaganda Games by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: You don’t have to be a Middle East expert to recognize the relationship between Iran and its western foes has gotten just a wee bit tense.     There’s been sabre rattling military exercises, threats to slow the flow of oil to a trickle, downed drones and uranium enrichment in a highly protected … Continue reading

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john le carré

As a youth I somehow missed the novels by ↑John le Carré. On television I had seen the iconic movie ↑The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Ritt 1965), starring Richard Burton, but somehow never cared to read the ↑book of the same name (le Carré 1963), or any other of le Carré’s. Meanwhile I am in the process of correcting this lapse. Some weeks ago I read “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold,” which really is haunting, then proceeded to the ↑Karla Trilogy: ↑Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974), ↑The Honourable Schoolboy (1977), and ↑Smiley’s People (1979). … Continue reading

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driver update

The manufacturer’s website offers a diagnostics tool, promising to have a look into the according hardware, detecting if more recent drivers are available and leading you through easy download and installation. All right, just for the fun of it, let’s try. Diagnostics says: “We are sorry, but the updates can not be installed on your system. Please contact your notebook manufacturer.” :-o Ladies and Gentlemen, this is an ATX big tower, not only containing a 700W power supply unit, but also enough free airspace I could stuff half of your company inside. There are mouse and keyboard attached, not to … Continue reading

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keylogger hoax

Tricksterish hoaxing definitely is an integral part of online-culture. At c0x2.de an unidentified individual posing as an electrical engineer and US-citizen ↑reports that he found a keylogging-device similar to the ↑KeyGhost brand inside his Dell-laptop—inserted right between keyboard and ethernet board. The individual wants to have contacted the police, which in turn forwarded him/her to the Department of Homeland Security. He/she wrote to the latter and got the reply: “We have reviewed your Freedom of Information Act request, and have found that the requested records are exempt from being disclosed under FOIA. [...]“ Meanwhile I am socialized enough in here … Continue reading

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