The libs aren’t even running a libertarian (small L) this year? So which of these three folk who want to strip away my fair use rights am I supposed to vote for again? Bad year for IP counter-reform. Bad year for privacy rights. Bad year for consumer rights. Bad year for folk who’d like to survive doing business with the police. (By the way, here’s a good free read.)

Now both mainstream candidates want to break out everyone’s favorite dead horse, instead of dealing with timely national issues in which it’s possible to enact real, meaningful change? This when American workers and employers are already struggling to meet increasing demands for stringent privacy policies in the global marketplace?

Bad campaign year all around.

OpenDNS no panacea

The entire technical community needs to be a great deal more careful and cautious about promoting OpenDNS as a cure-all for security concerns in DNS. I used their service in the States for quite some time, and, while there were several major problems, it actually would have been an adequate solution for the security concerns we face today.

Not here, though: I, and probably most people in the third world, now have no choice but to use my ISP’s DNS servers for the bulk of my DNS requests, due to NATing and, more importantly, transparent proxies hardwired to keep DNS requests local. Even if I were able to use it, though, I’d be caught by parental filters that have configured so aggressively by other customers that it would prevent me from hitting many legitimate sites (this includes multiple news sites). OpenDNS authenticates users and saves preferences by IP address (often dynamically updated via ddclient or something of the sort), making it very, very easy for one ignorant sumbitch on a network like this to greatly limit the network’s utility to all users.

In other words, even without the proxy/even if we could reliably use 3rd party DNS servers for the bulk of our DNS requests, it still wouldn’t do the user much good on a small NAT’d ISP like this one.

As long as they’re secure, we’re probably much better off supporting the use of publicly accessible DNS servers like and, as long as they remain as such and reasonably secure, or going straight to the root with secure, locally hosted DNS. That said, this is still only an option for users that aren’t trapped in this very, very common predicament. This hits numerous coffee shops, universities, 3rd world ISPs, 1st world free ISPs, anyone using ISP-side “accelerators” (ie caching proxies – can’t believe some ISPs have the gaul to make you pay for this), etc.

Death to the transparent proxy!

Running with the first draft, eh?

Just a quick note – I just saw the much anticipated Hillary Clinton speech, and I must say, that was the most unprofessional, poorly written mess of a speech I’ve seen in a long time. Everyone’s hero Mike Gravel could have done better.

Did anyone else notice how it turned from a concession speech to a self-serving 2012 campaign rally after the first 5 minutes? Did anyone else notice the frequency with which she strayed off topic? Did anyone else notice how she was bringing up tiny little tidbits about a fellow who died in Alabama without any real context, expecting everyone to be fully versed in Alabamian party maneuvering?

With the frequent topic changes and the incoherent language (how did the incoherent “No way, no how, No McCain” get a standing ovation?), this speech was structured in a way that one must imagine only an intern’s first draft of a State of the Union can best.

Transcript: NYTimes

Update: Saw the second half of the speech again, and, though the language was still rather jilted and infantile, it was a great deal more focused than the introduction. Guess I oughta make a partial redaction.

Biden’s anti-privacy, anti-personal rights stance on technology getting some press

Joe Biden’s pro-RIAA, pro-FBI tech voting record

I’ll be shocked if this news breaks outside of technical circles, but at least there’s some vibrant discussion on CNet, /., et al about this man’s frequent attempts to do substantial damage to our basic fundamental human right to privacy. Any chance at all that the Republicans might do less damage?

Speaking of Seattle’s hip hop scene

I’m not normally a huge hip-hop person, but I was introduced to a new scene with several creative, original lyricists that are well worth your attention. What did the trick was having the track “45” by The Saturday Knights, bundled on an old 512MB RCA MP3 player w/free eMusic subscription. That track and several others are free on this release of their new full-length album Mingle. Considering the price, this is well, well worth a quick download. Every track on their self-titled EP appears to be present here as well.

Related link:
Indie Study: The Saturday Knights’ hip-hop – MSNBC

Big, big problems a-comin’ (Aka Rick Boucher for President)

Obama’s choice of veep is far from comforting. An active opponent of our basic fair use priveleges, Senator Joe Biden introduced and actively promoted legislation that would have criminalized far more than the already-rather-wretched Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1996. The “bill would [have? – is it dead?] make it a federal felony to try and trick certain types of devices into playing your music or running your computer program. Breaking this law–even if it’s to share music by your own garage band–could land you in prison for up to five years. And that’s not counting the civil penalties of up to $25,000 per offense.” Aren’t Democrats supposed to be gung-ho for consumer rights? May this man’s vision never be implemented – The last thing any knowledgeable consumer wants is crippled hardware that, to hack/fix would be a criminal act.

The law could have conceivably outlawed or prevented development of any number of unendorsed/unsigned applications for a number of different devices:

  • Rockbox – Open Source Jukebox – Firmware replacement for iPods et al
  • All the iPhone/iPod Touch jailbreaks
  • Ports of Linux to myriad architectures – Xboxes, Dreamcasts, Gamecubes, Wiis, etc, etc (to say nothing of XBMC)

Actively undermining consumer rights, creative fair use, and open source development sure as hell ain’t change I can believe in.

Now if only the Republicans were any better. *le sigh* – I guess I might just end up throwing my vote away on a third party candidate again – Biden’s worse than Bush, Kerry, and Gore combined in this respect. (Update: Lawrence Lessig might not write off McCain too quickly.)

Related articles:

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