- Indian government blocks programming web sites, including archive.org and Github gists – TechCrunch – As if to illustrate why it’s bad to allow anyone the power to block web sites arbitrarily, the Indian government has blocked entire slices of web infrastructure because one of their functionaries found something about ISIS somewhere on it. More on the blog.
- Marriott wants to block your devices so you have to pay for their wifi – Boing Boing – Marriott clearly does not want anyone from the technology industry to stay at their hotels or to use them for events. Best to respect their wishes and avoid them like the plague.
- End-user adoption of open source is a lousy metric – RRW – Open source is primarily a collaboration technique, leveraging the permission-in-advance arising from software freedom to unlock innovation in many unrelated deployers. For many reasons, enterprise end-user deployment of unmodified open source software is thus a lousy metric for gauging the influence of open source.
- Perfect slapdown to a bogus takedown – TechDirt – The monkey selfie is resoundingly in the public domain, your jurisdiction has no say in mine and my use is fair use. Otherwise, do you have any questions?
- If the Supreme Court tackles the NSA in 2015, it’ll be one of these five cases — Ars Technica — This is a great test for the separation of powers. US law very clearly needs an update for the meshed society and signalling it is a job for SCOTUS. I’m also interested to see if the court is willing to clarify the Third Party Doctrine. It seems obvious to me that if I have a relationship with a telco as a customer, that telco can’t truly be considered a “third party”.
Next time you see your government proposing internet censorship laws of any kind, remember this incident where the Indian government crippled their own software industry so they could be seen to be doing something about terrorism. Their department of telecommunications has blocked 32 web sites — including archive.org and Github — as if to illustrate why it’s bad to allow anyone the power to block web sites arbitrarily (ETI claims it’s 60+). They’ve blocked entire slices of multi-purpose web infrastructure because one of their functionaries found something about ISIS somewhere on it, according to TechCrunch.
Perhaps it is happening because a person tasked with being seen to be doing something about terrorism found a broad and badly-drafted regulation with no checks, balances or oversight that she could use to satisfy her instructions at no personal cost. As a result, vast numbers of Internet uses that are neutral or positive to Indian culture and society are being inhibited in pursuit of a tiny number of cases that are negative. Certainly the sources ETI cites have no clue the damage they’re causing.
Laws and regulations don’t just get used for their intended purpose; they get used by anyone that is permitted to do so for any purpose that is not proscribed. So broad rules permitting censorship for open-ended durations and purposes can and will be used to silence opposition, score points and prove some functionary is tough on terrorism or paedophiles. Who cares if businesses, research and culture are harmed? Think of the children!