April 24, 2018

Crisis: Privacy Regulations, Big Brother, Trump, Net Neutrality, On May ´68


1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from April 24, 2018

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, April 24, 2018. There also is another file of today, but this is mostly in Dutch, and is about my falling in love, twentyfive years ago, with a young woman named Elise. That file is not a crisis file; this file is.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but since 2010 in English) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will continue with it.

On the moment and since more than two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and I shall continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from April 24, 2018
1. How Looming Privacy Regulations May Strengthen Facebook and Google
2. Big Brother Is Programming Us
3. A History Professor Explains Why Trump's Presidency Appears to Be
     Reaching Its End

4. Urgent Demands for Congress to Act as Net Neutrality's "Slow and
     Insidious" Death Begins

5. 1968: Power to the Imagination
The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. How Looming Privacy Regulations May Strengthen Facebook and Google

This article is by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Adam Satariano on The New York Times. It starts as follows:
In Europe and the United States, the conventional wisdom is that regulation is needed to force Silicon Valley’s digital giants to respect people’s online privacy.

But new rules may instead serve to strengthen Facebook’s and Google’s hegemony and extend their lead on the internet.

That could begin playing out next month, when Europe enacts sweeping new regulations that prioritize people’s data privacy. The new laws, which require tech companies to ask for users’ consent for their data, are likely to hand Google and Facebook an advantage. That’s because wary consumers are more prone to trust recognized names with their information than unfamiliar newcomers. And the laws may deter start-ups that do not have the resources to comply with the rules from competing with the big companies.

In recent years, other regulatory attempts at strengthening online privacy rules have also had little effect at chipping away at the power of the largest tech companies, ultimately aiding internet giants rather than hurting them.

I say, which I do mostly because of this part: ¨wary consumers are more prone to trust recognized names with their information than unfamiliar newcomers¨.

And I do not say this is false. What I say is that it seems quite strange to me that ¨wary consumers¨ would choose the thieves of 600 MB to 6 GB (or more) of - mostly secret - data about themselves over persons or firms they do not know.

Then again, there also is a way to account for that - in my opinion: thoroughly crazy - idea, namely if one realizes how very few of the users of computers know how to program or know how computers do work.

Here is more from the article:

That Facebook and Google may emerge stronger from all of this can seem like a distant prospect. The Silicon Valley companies have been under scrutiny for months for the way they collect and use people’s data, with Facebook reeling from revelations that the political research firm Cambridge Analytica harvested the personal information of up to 87 million of its users. That led Congress to drag Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, to Washington this month for a grilling.

This is mostly true, except for the fact that Zuckerberg had no grilling of any kind, in fact because - I suppose - the rules for discussion were very limited and Senators had no more than five minutes each.

And then there is this bit of degeneracy for the over 2 billion dumb fucks - Zuckerberg´s own term for the people ¨who trusted me":

Facebook last week rolled out a new consent form asking users globally — not just Europeans — to accept its targeted advertising and to allow features like face recognition. It has also limited access to data brokers such as Acxiom, in a concession to privacy advocates.

What a sick sadistic bag of shit is Mark Zuckerberg!

2. Big Brother Is Programming Us

This article is by Julian Vigo on Truthidig. This is from near its beginning:
[I]t came as a surprise when Zuckerberg revealed on April 11 that Facebook collects approximately 29,000 points of data on each of its users, in addition to
the “detailed profiles on people who have never signed up for Facebook.” This means that information is collected on people regardless of their consent or location. And the bigger picture becomes clearer when we understand the interstitial interactions taking place between corporations and governments, especially in light of the recent developments with Cambridge Analytica (an offshoot of the SCL Group) and Facebook.
Well... I hate and despise Facebook and Zuckerberg so much that as soon as I know that Zuckerberg´s sick and degenerate Facebook has a profile on me, I will say he is a degenerate sadofascistic subhuman beast on this site: I do not want to be followed or profiled in any way by his utterly sick corporation of frauds and bullshitters.

Here is more from the article:
The reality is far more sinister. As we are now learning, the 2014 harvesting of the original data set by Kogan’s Global Science Research occurred when the application programming interface was far more porous than today. The data that was scraped afforded access to a total of 87 million Facebook users.

This information was then integrated with other data sets to build the profiles of somewhere between 30 million and 50 million U.S. voters. And it gets worse, as Paul Grewal, vice president and deputy general counsel of Facebook, detailed on March 16, saying that SCL/Cambridge Analytica is “a firm that does political, government and military work around the globe.”

Precisely - and as I said: Each government has its own state terrorists that it calls ¨spies¨, but whose current job seems to be mostly the getting of all the information on anyone who lives in a nation some other nation (such as the USA) is not supposed to gather information on, and then exchange that information with the state´s terrorists of the USA.

Here is some more on Great Britain:

In states such the U.K., where the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA), also known as the Snooper’s Charter, has been in effect since 2017, the government has been granted enormous surveillance powers. As stipulated by the IPA, internet companies must now keep customers’ web traffic history for 12 months. The IPA also authorizes spying agencies and the police to conduct the mass hacking of personal computers, smartphones, information technology infrastructures and any electronic device. This legislation also includes the ability to intercept or unlock
any software protocol that acts as a form of encryption or data protection and to intercept computer systems like
computerized maintenance management system to include other preventative maintenance software. In effect, the IPA allows the British state to monitor, intercept, record and even hack internet communications, granting it sweeping powers to carry out mass digital surveillance, including “bulk hacking,” which enables police and state agencies to access and alter all types of electronic devices “on an industrial scale” even if the owners of these devices are not suspected of a crime.

Yes indeed - and it are these kinds of facts that made me conclude that these enormous powers of the states´ terrorists (who call themselves ¨national security¨ etc.) will eventually bring full neofascism - which then will also be much better defended than were Hitler and Stalin (and may last forever, as long as there are human beings).

And I - still - think that, apart from a major economical crisis that may change many things, this is the most probable outcome of the internet: Full scale neofascism ran by extremely few extremely rich people, all in their own exclusive interests.

There is also this about Europe:

Other European countries, including Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands,
have adopted the IPA framework. Just last month in the Netherlands, a consultative referendum over the Intelligence and Security Services Act of 2017, also known as Sleepwet, was held along with the municipal elections. This act is similar to the U.K.’s Investigatory Powers Act, as it also expands the government’s powers to monitor all data that moves through the country’s internet infrastructure.
Sleepwet has left many Dutch citizens nervous about their privacy and the possibility of bulk acquisition warrants being utilized in the near future.

Yes indeed. I live in Holland, where neofascism is quickly approaching. This is a recommended article.

3. A History Professor Explains Why Trump's Presidency Appears to Be Reaching Its End

This article is by Ronald Feinman on AlterNet and originally on History News Network. It starts as follows:

The scandals surrounding President Donald Trump are metastasizing rapidly, much more than anyone would have thought just a few months ago.

The investigation by Robert Mueller, now 11 months in duration, has been accumulating evidence of possible Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, and the corruption surrounding many members of the Trump circle, including his own children and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

But then the Stormy Daniels scandal, and other related shameful episodes involving other women became part of the equation, and the business dealings of Donald Trump in New York State were added to the complicated situation. And now, the seizure of materials and records of Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen raises the ante on the troubles and turmoil surrounding Donald Trump.
Well... perhaps. Here is some more:
With the midterm congressional elections now less than seven months away, and with the Republicans running scared about potential massive losses, and with more criticism emerging from not only respectable conservatives, but also from some of his own loyalists, Donald Trump’s time in the Presidency seems rapidly coming toward a sudden end.
And if Trump family members were to be indicted, it could put Trump under such pressure that possible resignation, through some form of arranged “deal,” is not beyond imagination. If the Democrats win control of the House of Representatives in November, impeachment action seems highly likely in 2019, although conviction in the US Senate would be nearly impossible.
Actually, I think this is - unfortunately - mostly wishful thinking by a professor of history.

Here is the ending of the article:

So with 15 months down in the Trump Presidency, the chance of his leaving in the next 14 months at the most is on the horizon.
Well... I hope Feinman is right, but I am not as optimistic as he is.

4. Urgent Demands for Congress to Act as Net Neutrality's "Slow and Insidious" Death Begins

This article is by Jake Johnson on Common Dreams. it starts as follows:

Today is the day that net neutrality's "slow and insidious" death at the hands of the Republican-controlled FCC officially begins, and Congress is facing urgent pressure to save the open internet before it's too late.

With Monday marking 60 days after the FCC's net neutrality repeal entered the Federal Register, parts of the GOP-crafted plan—spearheaded by agency chair and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai—will now slowly begin taking effect (...)
Yes, I think this is correct. Here is one more bit:

Net neutrality backers in Congress, meanwhile, are still struggling to compile enough votes to repeal Pai's new rules, despite the fact that they are deeply unpopular among the American public.

The Senate needs just one more vote to pass a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to restore net neutrality protections before it can move to the House, where it would face an uphill battle. An official vote in the Senate has yet to be scheduled, but could come in the next few weeks.

This is also correct (but I am less optimistic about the single vote needed in the Senate). And this is all I will quote from this article, in considerable part because I do not see why I should have to read no less than three Tweets by someone wholly anonymous. I strongly dislike that.

5. 1968: Power to the Imagination

This article is by Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Claus Leggewie on The New York Review of Books. I start with three initial remarks:

First, I have no idea why Cohn-Bendit is credited as the co-author of his own interview, but he is.

Second, Cohn-Bendit says in the interview that what he says in this interview is the only thing he will say about 1968.

And third, the interview is fairly long, but it is not very good. I will quote four bits from it, and this is the first:

Leggewie: All power to the imagination…

Cohn-Bendit: The feeling we had in those days, which has shaped my entire life, really, was: we’re making history. An exalted feeling—suddenly we had become agents in world history. Not an easy thing to process when you’re only twenty-three years old.

Leggewie: The most famous image of May 1968 contains all the ingredients of the myth of revolt. It shows you, the twenty-three-year-old sociology student, face-to-face with a nameless member of the CRS [the reserve of the national police], in front of the Sorbonne…

Well... I am ¨a soixante-huitard¨ as well, but I also think very few ¨soixante-huitards¨ will agree with Cohn-Bendit, that is, after June of 1968, simply because the vast majority of the activists were anonymous, and no one else became remotely as famous as Cohn-Bendit.

Here is some more:

Leggewie: Everything that’s relevant about May 1968 is present in this image: above vs. below, ancien régime vs. youth, system vs. movement, hero vs. villain, power against counterpower, order against anarchy.

Cohn-Bendit: In a way this image is my doctoral thesis—after all, I never went back to university as a student afterward. It made me an icon of revolt. I call it the “sun of ’68” because so many people associate positive things with it: not violence, not the cobblestones that were thrown, but our tongue-in-cheek way of provoking the powers that be. Recently Raphaël Glucksmann did a survey for his Nouveau Magazine Littéraire, and he was astonished at his findings: more than 60 percent of the French associate positive things with ’68—not, as conservatives claim, that our generation has destroyed schools, the ancient institutions of marriage, the family, or the public order. Some two thirds even approve of the slogan “It is forbidden to forbid”; they appreciate its poetical quality and the message of potential it conveys.
I think this - about the mostly positive reception of May ´68 after the fact - is mostly correct (but it started already in the 1970ies and 1980ies).

There is this on the importance of
May ´68:   
Leggewie: Hannah Arendt predicted at the time, “It seems to me that the children of the next century will once learn about 1968 the way we learned about 1848.” But what is it that we’re learning, exactly? In retrospect, Jürgen Habermas believes it caused a “fundamental liberalization” of German society that made it possible even for conservatives to change their views. Children’s rights have found their way into the constitution, cannabis has been legalized not just in California, same-sex marriage is now possible, women hold leadership positions—is that our time’s master narrative?
Well... I am sorry, but if the effects of May ´68 (fifty years ago) are today: ¨children´s rights¨, ¨cannabis has been legalized¨, ¨same-sex marriage is now possible¨ and ¨women hold leader- ship positions¨, then I am sorry, but this seems very little to me, given the fact that in France in 1968 there really was going on a - failed - social revolution.

In fact, I agree with some critics of
May ´68 who said that the events I just mentioned would just as well have arrived without May ´68 if perhaps a little later. Then again, my point is that May ´68 was not just about these relatively minor points: It attempted a social revolution (and failed).

Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Leggewie: 1968” did not begin in Paris or Berlin, though, but in Berkeley, on the American West Coast, around 1965. That’s where the Vietnam protests originated, as well as the Free Speech Movement led by Mario Savio, the teach-ins, the sit-ins, etc.

Cohn-Bendit: Yes, the revolt was far more American in origin than the Europeans cared to admit. I was in the States in 1965–1966 and met Mark Rudd. The American SDS was characterized by a veneration for the US Constitution that was totally foreign to us. The militancy of the Weathermen and the Black Panthers came later, in part as a reaction to their being violently suppressed by the FBI. But essentially the revolt was spurred by the idea of a counterculture, which was mainly carried via rock music. “Woodstock Nation”: that was the myth of a new America, and we were all for it.

Yes and no: Leggewie is right ¨1968¨ started in the USA in 1965, but Cohn-Bendit seems mostly mistaken in his history. In fact, the historical sequence I see is: 1965, the Free Speech Movement; 1967, the Digger movement in San Francisco; and then in 1968 Paris and France. Woodstock happened again a year later.

Anyway. This is a recommended article in case you are interested in May of 1968.


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).

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