Weekly Axis Of Easy #144
Last Week’s Quote was “There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors” was Robert Oppenheimer. Winner was Lucien Pan.
This Week’s Quote: “The bulk of “misinformation” still comes from the class of people calling for censorship; they want their monopoly back” …by ????
THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted to the blog.
The Prize: First person to post the correct answer gets their next domain or hosting renewal on us.
Podcast: Axis Of Easy #144
In this issue:
- Apple, Google release first SDKs and APIs for COVID contact tracing
- Kevin Kelly’s 68 bits of unsolicited advice for happiness
- ICANN tanks dotORG sale
- Cimate activists call for Michael Moore film to be deplatformed
- Amazon used data from third-party sellers to create knock-off products
- China arrests volunteers who uploaded coronavirus data to Github
- Ex-Aussie high ranking public servant refuses to install COVID tracking app
- Update on the easyDNS Fold@Home team
- AxisOfEasy this week: Our second e-salon and more
The beta 3 version of Apple’s iOS (version 13.5) contains the initial version of the exposure notification API for COVID-19. Google has also released their endpoints and SDK,
The system works like this:
“When two people are in close range, with proximity detected by Bluetooth, their phones will exchange anonymous identifiers. If an individual gets diagnosed with COVID-19, they can have their device transmit a list of everybody they’ve been in contact with to the cloud.
The second person’s phone will periodically download a list of everyone that has tested positive in their area. If a match occurs, they will be notified and prompted to contact health authorities.”
Both Apple and Google are only making the API and SDK available to public health entities, and will open access to additional developers later
Kevin Kelly is the founding editor of Wired magazine who authored numerous books about the new digital landscape. 1994 Out of Control had a deep effect on me. 1999’s New Rules for the New Economy I read but disagreed with most of it. In retrospect, from my vantage point of possibly the only guy who co-founded a business at exactly the right moment in internet history who still managed to not become a billionaire, perhaps I did so to my own detriment.
At any rate, Mr. Kelly turned 68 years old last week and he took the occasion to blog 68 bits of unsolicited advice. Including:
“I’m positive that in 100 years much of what I take to be true today will be proved to be wrong, maybe even embarrassingly wrong, and I try really hard to identify what it is that I am wrong about today.”
Overall, a pretty good list of aphorisms and a bit of optimism amid this deluge of negativity and craziness.
It looks as if the #savedotorg initiative has been successful, at least for now. As we’ve been following, after getting an offer for so much money they couldn’t turn it down, The Internet Society entered into an agreement to sell the Public Interest Registry (PIR) to a private equity firm called Ethos Capital.
Certain aspects of the deal did smell funny, and the California Attorney General started asking questions.
This all culminated in ICANN’s decision last week to refuse the request for a change in control of the registry.
“After completing extensive due diligence, the ICANN Board finds that withholding consent of the transfer of PIR from the Internet Society (ISOC) to Ethos Capital is reasonable, and the right thing to do.”
That means deal’s off, at least for now.
(H/t to Richard Perritt)
Also ICANN: The public comment period for the new Rights and Protection Mechanism PDP ended yesterday. According to resident domain policy expert George Kirikos, the process was largely rigged, captured by special interests, and opens the door to add draconian takedown remedies in the UDRP and URS domain dispute mechanisms. See: https://freespeech.com/2020/05/02/icann-rpm-pdp-phase-1-comment-period-is-another-sham-part-5/
This year’s Earth Day saw the release of a new Michael Moore backed documentary Planet of the Humans (directed by Jeff Gibbs). The left-leaning filmmaker, whose previous works included withering criticism of corporate pillaging, the gun industry, the Iraq War, not to mention capitalism itself this time turned his criticism toward the alternative energy industry and more tenuous aspects when it comes to the business of being green.
“ the film argues that electric cars and solar energy are unreliable and rely upon fossil fuels to function. It also attacks figures including Al Gore for bolstering corporations that push flawed technologies over real solutions to the climate crisis.”
You’ll never guess what happened next. Environmentalists have roundly attacked the film for being riddled with “half-truth”, “misinformation” and “oil industry talking points”, and times being what they are, they demand that the film be taken down entirely.
Josh Fox, another documentarist who made the anti-fracking film Gasland, penned a letter, signed by many, demanding that the film be removed. At one point the online documentary library Films for Action did remove the video, but later reinstated it because “they did not want accusations of censorship to give the film more power” (too late! The film has over three million views on Youtube. We’ve placed a copy of it on AxisOfEasy just in case Moore gets the same treatment as the two California doctors who committed heresy by criticizing the national lockdown).
One of the double-edged realities of being a successful retailer through Amazon, is that if you’re too successful, the giant will knock off your product and make their own version of it. Then undercut you on their own platform.
Seems, somehow… unfair and it’s brought them scrutiny from US Congress and EU antitrust investigators. Last year they admitted to Congress that they only use aggregated data from across the third-party resellers and that they don’t look at individual reseller data when devising exactly how they will knock off their product.
But a Wall Street Journal investigation found that at least 20 employees within Amazon’s private label division did exactly that, looking at how individual third-party retailers were pricing their products, how much it cost them for shipping and what their return rates were in order to craft Amazon’s own, competing knock offs more effectively.
Read: https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-scooped-up-data-from-its-own-sellers-to-launch-competing-products-11587650015 (paywall)
As per Quartz, dissidents in China are using Github project called Terminus2049 nto preserve Coronavirus data that they are worried would otherwise be deleted by authorities:
“A group of volunteers in China who worked to prevent digital records of the coronavirus outbreak from being scrubbed by censors are now targets of a crackdown.“
One of the rogue uploaders was arrested and accused with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, a charge is frequently used against dissidents.
The repository includes an interview with Ai Fen, a Wuhan doctor claiming to be the first to reveal the existence of COVID-19 and was reprimanded for her trouble.
Last week we reported on how Australia’s new COVID contact tracing app will be voluntary to download, unless not enough of the population actually volunteers, at which point it will become mandatory.
Among the first prominent resisters to mandatory app downloads is former senior advisor to Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency. Professor Lesley Seebeck currently heads the Australian National University Cyber Institute and he says he will not install the app. He cites the Aussie government’s long track record in overreach and grabbing as much data as possible, whenever possible.
“ I am concerned because once these things are taken you don’t get them back. The government does not have a record of rolling any of these things back.”
Yet another data point toward the old adage, “There is no such thing as a temporary government program”.
Update on the easyDNS Fold@Home team
Thanks to everybody pitching in to supply computing power for crunching Coronavirus data via Fold@Home.
The easyDNS team rank is now up at 1,338, across 6,451 Work Units. We have 9 nodes contributing more than 1 million credits:
Thanks to all of you. If you’re interested in joining in, head to: https://foldingathome.org/
AxisOfEasy this week: Our second e-salon and more
This week on the new AxisOfEasy website we posted our second e-salon with Jesse Hirsh and myself discussing Amazon as the company store, kleptrocracy as the central organizing principle of our society, deplatfoming all non-conforming thought as misinformation, the attraction of authoritarianism and are the Big Tech mavens modern day philosopher kings, or just self-indulgent narcissists?
Listen / Watch: https://axisofeasy.com/podcast/axisofeasy-salon-2-coronavirus-didnt-kill-our-privacy-it-just-exposed-the-corpse/
Charles couldn’t make it but he was on Kunstlercast around the same time.
Jesse wrote a great a pair of great articles about the value of free speech during and the role of surveillance in a pandemic:
While Charles chimed in with why we can’t solve a systemic crisis with more money printing and how Coronavirus is exacerbating societal divides:
For my part I wrote a piece over on Guerrilla Capitalism about the collision between conspiracy theory and Radical Uncertainty as part of my ongoing Jackpot Chronicles series.