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Current Topic: Society

RIAA Lawsuit Decision Matrix
Topic: Society 4:06 pm EDT, Apr  2, 2007

We have obtained secret documents which RIAA lawyers use to determine whether to file a lawsuit against a copyright violator. These documents give insight into the RIAA's decision-making process, and could help people avoid lawsuits in the future. We offer these documents as a public service.

RIAA Lawsuit Decision Matrix

RE: Thought Crime
Topic: Society 11:06 am EST, Feb 19, 2007

Declan reports that Senators McCain and Schumer have proposed the SAFE act, which would create a national database of child porn images - or I'm guessing, simply require that the FBI make their own database public. ISPs would be given access to this database, and would be required to screen traffic and alert the authorities of any user who transmits/hosts an image that matches a fingerprint in this database.

Once the infrastructure is in place for them to compare hashes of child porn, it won't be too difficult for them to start comparing hashes of music, copies of dissident literature, photographs of dead soldiers in Iraq, anti-Scientology documentation, or anything else that someone with their hand in a Senator's pocket doesn't like.

To combat against this evil intrusion into our private Internet behavior, I now introduce 'broken glass'. It is a perl script that when given an image file, will change 1 pixel's red component by /- 1. It's not enough for the human eye to see, but it will make the MD5/SHA1 hash fingerprint of the image be completely different.

This is an interesting idea. The counter attack to this would be break a file into many small pieces and hash each one. Then, for every image that comes across the wire, break it into pieces, hash them, and if a certain threshold of them match, its child porn.

Of course the counter-counter attack would be to randomly select some ratio of pixel locations based on the resolution of the image and toggle the red component on them.

I'm not trying to enable child porn. Those people should all be shot. However, its interesting to think about how data can be modified to survive a hostile network that is looking for certain traffic, and yet still be readable on the other side.

You can randomly toggle image pixels, what about plain text? Well, Spam has shown that the human brain can "correct" misspellings, repeated letters, or words in 1337 speak while reading. And then you have whitespace...

RE: Thought Crime

Teens prosecuted for racy photos
Topic: Society 11:25 pm EST, Feb 10, 2007

Combine unsupervised teenagers, digital cameras and e-mail, and, given sufficient time, you'll end up with risque photographs on a computer somewhere.

There's a problem with that: Technically, those images constitute child pornography.

Amber and Jeremy were arrested. Each was charged with producing, directing or promoting a photograph featuring the sexual conduct of a child. Based on the contents of his e-mail account, Jeremy was charged with an extra count of possession of child pornography.

News Alert to all your 16 and 17 year olds out there: You can bang, but you cannot take pictures of it.

Teens prosecuted for racy photos

The Problem with the Legal Profession
Topic: Society 4:45 am EST, Feb  9, 2007

Life is too sort to spend 2300 hours a year working on someone else's idea of what the right problems are.

This is a hard, hard decision.

The Problem with the Legal Profession

Worldmapper: The world as you've never seen it before
Topic: Society 7:07 pm EST, Jan 30, 2007

Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest.

366 maps and PDF posters will be finished by February 2007. Use the menu above or click on a thumbnail image below to view a map.

Update: for a tour of this dataset, see <a href=

Worldmapper: The world as you've never seen it before

Bakker, Brown: What the hell happened to Christianity? -
Topic: Society 1:18 pm EST, Dec 14, 2006

What the hell happened? Where did we go wrong? How was Christianity co-opted by a political party? Why are Christians supporting laws that force others to live by their standards? The answers to these questions are integral to the survival of Christianity.

While the current state of Christianity might seem normal and business-as-usual to some, most see through the judgment and hypocrisy that has permeated the church for so long. People witness this and say to themselves, "Why would I want to be a part of that?" They are turned off by Christians and eventually, to Christianity altogether. We can't even count the number of times someone has given us a weird stare or completely brushed us off when they discover we work for a church.

It's nice to see some people get it.

Bakker, Brown: What the hell happened to Christianity? -

Link to AOL data release
Topic: Society 7:57 am EDT, Aug  7, 2006

Unbelievable. AOL released a file containing the search engine queries of over 500,000 users during a three month period. It's being mirrored all over.

Here is a screenshot of the download page before it was taken down, complete with a spelling error.. "ananomized"

Link to AOL data release

Tom and Billy: On Border Security
Topic: Society 12:14 am EDT, Aug  1, 2006

Tom: Basically the Supreme Court rules that 4th ammendment doesn't apply to searches that a custom offical does when you come back to the US, because you aren't in the US yet.

Me: So where am I?

Tom:... want do you mean?

Me: If I'm not in the US yet, then I have to be "somewhere." What is that somewhere? Are there laws? There obviously aren't US laws, becase the Courts ruled I'm not in the US yet. Can I just punch the customs offical in the face?

Tom:... I don't recommend punching the customs offical in the face unless you want to be handcuffed to a hospital bed for 3 days getting a chemical enema.

Me: Maybe this whole time everyone thinks there's order in the duty free zones, but its really anarcy. It's like a collective hallucination.

Tom: Thats a good point, what's to keep me going into the duty free store and start stealing stuff?

Conclusion: The customs office is a Temporary Autonomous Zone

RE: Yes they ARE doing random laptop searches at borders
Topic: Society 4:12 pm EDT, Jul 31, 2006

Decius wrote:
Furthermore, the contents of one's laptop are the closest physical thing to the contents of one's head.

All my research notes, thoughts, and ideas are in my laptop. I encrypt it now for good reason. If I lost it at BH, that would be very very bad. But I shouldn't have to hide it as well.

As soon as you have to start hiding things because the government shouldn't have the right to look at them instead of the government simply respecting and understanding that they shouldn't have to look at them, we have lost something fundamental. And thats just so fucking sad.

RE: Yes they ARE doing random laptop searches at borders

Aestetix and TAZ
Topic: Society 11:06 pm EDT, Jun 29, 2006

The Temporary Autonomous Zone

Ever suspect there's more to life than what meets the eye? Or glance at art and wonder what inspired it? The Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ) concept is based on an anarchistic principle of freedom between the cracks of society. As the forerunning ethic behind the rave scene, various conventions, and events like Burning Man, it is highly relevant to understanding where the "hacker ethic" holds root.

Aestetix apparently gave a presentation about Temporary Autonomous Zones.

As I just finished reading the assorted essays of Hakim Bey (and am developing the strange PT desire to blow up a TV tower...) it will be cool to discuss this with him at Phreaknic. Tom also some some insight, with some pretty cool stories about TAZsque commerce zones in the slums of Hong Kong.

Aestetix and TAZ

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