Tag Archives: Politics

Dotcom’s Bid to Compel Obama to Give Evidence Rejected By High Court

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/dotcoms-bid-to-compel-obama-to-give-evidence-rejected-by-high-court-180321/

With former US president Barack Obama in New Zealand until Friday, the visit provided a golden opportunity for Kim Dotcom to pile on yet more pressure over the strained prosecution of both him and his defunct cloud storage site, Megaupload.

In a statement issued yesterday, Dotcom reiterated his claims that attempts to have him extradited to the United States have no basis in law, chiefly due to the fact that the online dissemination of copyright-protected works by Megaupload’s users is not an extradition offense in New Zealand.

Mainly, however, Dotcom shone yet more light on what he perceives to be the dark politics behind the case, arguing that the Obama administration was under pressure from Hollywood to do something about copyright enforcement or risk losing funding. He says they pulled out all the stops and trampled his rights to prevent that from happening.

In a lengthy affidavit, filed this week to coincide with Obama’s visit, Dotcom called on the High Court to compel the former president to give evidence in the entrepreneur’s retaliatory multi-billion dollar damages claim against the Kiwi government.

This morning, however, Chief High Court Judge, Justice Geoffrey Venning, quickly shut that effort down.

With Obama enjoying a round of golf alongside former Prime Minister and Dotcom nemesis John Key, Justice Venning declined the request to compel Obama to give evidence, whether in New Zealand during the current visit or via letter of request to judicial authorities in the United States.

In his decision, Justice Venning notes that Dotcom’s applications were filed late on March 19 and the matter was only handed to him yesterday. As a result, he convened a telephone conference this morning to “deal with the application as a matter of urgency.”

Dotcom’s legal team argued that in the absence of a Court order it’s unlikely that Obama would give evidence. Equally, given that no date has yet been set for Dotcom’s damages hearing, it will “not be practicable” to serve Obama at a later point in the United States.

Furthermore, absent an order compelling his attendance, Obama would be unlikely to be called as a witness, despite him being the most competent potential witness currently present in New Zealand.

Dotcom counsel Ron Mansfield accepted that there would be practical limitations on what could be achieved between March 21 and March 23 while Obama is in New Zealand. However, he asked that an order be granted so that it could be served while Obama is in the country, even if the examination took place at a later date.

The Judge wasn’t convinced.

“Despite Mr Mansfield’s concession, I consider the application is still premature. The current civil proceedings were only filed on 22 December 2017. The defendants have applied for an order deferring the filing of a statement of defense pending the determination of the hearing of two appeals currently before the Court of Appeal. That application is yet to be determined,” Justice Venning’s decision reads.

The Judge also questions whether evidence Obama could give would be relevant.

He notes that Dotcom’s evidence is based on the fact that Hollywood was a major benefactor of the Democratic Party in the United States and that, in his opinion, the action against Megaupload and him “met the United States’ need to appease the Hollywood lobby” and “that the United States and New Zealand’s interests were perfectly aligned.”

However, Dotcom’s transcripts of his conversations with a lobbyist, which appeared to indicate Obama’s dissatisfaction with the Megaupload prosecution, are dismissed as “hearsay evidence”. Documentation of a private lunch with Obama and the head of the MPAA is also played down.

“Mr Dotcom’s opinion that Mr Obama’s evidence will be relevant to the present claims appears at best speculative,” the Judge notes.

But even if the evidence had been stronger, Justice Venning says that Obama would need to be given time to prepare for an examination, given that it would relate to matters that occurred several years ago.

“He would need to review relevant documents and materials from the time in preparation for any examination. That confirms the current application is premature,” the Judge writes.

In support, it is noted that Dotcom knew as early as February 21 that Obama’s visit would be taking place this week, yet his application was filed just days ago.

With that, the Judge dismissed the application, allowing Obama to play golf in peace. Well, relative peace at least. Dotcom isn’t done yet.

“I am disappointed of course because I believe my affidavit contains compelling evidence of the link between the Obama administration, Hollywood, and my extradition proceeding. However, after seven years of this, I am used to fighting to get to the truth and will keep fighting. Next round!” Dotcom said in response.

“The judgment is no surprise and we’ll get the opportunity to question Obama sooner or later,” he added.

As a further indication of the international nature of Dotcom’s case, the Megaupload founder also reminded people of his former connections to Hong Kong, noting that people in power there are keeping an eye on his case.

“The Chinese Government is watching my case with interest. Expect some bold action in the Hong Kong Courts soon. Never again shall an accusation from the US DOJ be enough to destroy a Hong Kong business. That lesson will soon be learned,” he said.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Dotcom Affidavit Calls For Obama to Give Evidence in Megaupload Case

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/dotcom-affidavit-calls-for-obama-to-give-evidence-in-megaupload-case-180320/

For more than six years since the raid on Megaupload, founder Kim Dotcom has insisted that the case against him, his co-defendants, and his company, was politically motivated.

The serial entrepreneur states unequivocally that former president Barack Obama’s close ties to Hollywood were the driving force.

Later today, Obama will touch down for a visit to New Zealand. In what appears to be a tightly managed affair, with heavy restrictions placed on the media and publicity, it seems clear that Obama wants to maintain control over his social and business engagements in the country.

But of course, New Zealand is home to Kim Dotcom and as someone who feels wronged by the actions of the former administration, he is determined to use this opportunity to shine more light on Obama’s role in the downfall of his company.

In a statement this morning, Dotcom reiterated his claims that attempts to have him extradited to the United States have no basis in law, chiefly due to the fact that the online dissemination of copyright-protected works by Megaupload’s users is not an extradition offense in New Zealand.

But Dotcom also attacks the politics behind his case, arguing that the Obama administration was under pressure from Hollywood to do something about copyright enforcement or risk losing financial support.

In connection with his case, Dotcom is currently suing the New Zealand government for billions of dollars so while Obama is in town, Dotcom is demanding that the former president gives evidence.

Dotcom’s case is laid out in a highly-detailed sworn affidavit dated March 19, 2018. The Megaupload founder explains that Hollywood has historically been a major benefactor of the Democrats so when seeking re-election for a further term, the Democrats were under pressure from the movie companies to make an example of Megaupload and Dotcom.

Dotcom notes that while he was based in Hong Kong, extradition to the US would be challenging. So, with Dotcom seeking residence in New Zealand, a plot was hatched to allow him into the country, despite the New Zealand government knowing that a criminal prosecution lay in wait for him. Dotcom says that by doing a favor for Hollywood, it could mean that New Zealand became a favored destination for US filmmakers.

“The interests of the United States and New Zealand were therefore perfectly aligned. I provided the perfect opportunity for New Zealand to facilitate the United States’ show of force on copyright enforcement,” Dotcom writes.

Citing documents obtained from Open Secrets, Dotcom shows how the Democrats took an 81% share of more than $46m donated to political parties in the US during the 2008 election cycle. In the 2010 cycle, 76% of more than $24m went to the Democrats and in 2012, they scooped up 78% of more than $56m.

Dotcom then recalls the attempts at passing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which would have shifted the enforcement of copyright onto ISPs, assisting Hollywood greatly. Ultimately, Congressional support for the proposed legislation was withdrawn and Dotcom recalls this was followed by a public threat from the MPAA to withdraw campaign contributions on which the Democrats were especially reliant.

“The message to the White House was plain: do not expect funding if you do not advance the MPAA’s legislative agenda. On 20 January 2012, the day after this statement, I was arrested,” Dotcom notes.

Describing Megaupload as a highly profitable and innovative platform that highlighted copyright owners’ failure to keep up with the way in which content is now consumed, Dotcom says it made the perfect target for the Democrats.

Convinced the party was at the root of his prosecution, he utilized his connections in Hong Kong to contact Thomas Hart, a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington, D.C. with strong connections to the Democrats and the White House.

Dotcom said a telephone call between him and Mr Hart revealed that then Vice President Joe Biden was at the center of Dotcom’s prosecution but that Obama was dissatisfied with the way things had been handled.

“Biden did admit to have… you know, kind of started it, you know, along with support from others but it was Biden’s decision…,” Hart allegedly said.

“What he [President Obama] expressed to me was a growing concern about the matter. He indicated an awareness of that it had not gone well, that it was more complicated than he thought, that he will turn his attention to it more prominently after November.”

Dotcom says that Obama was “questioning the whole thing,” a suggestion that he may not have been fully committed to the continuing prosecution.

The affidavit then lists a whole series of meetings in 2011, documented in the White House visitor logs. They include meetings with then United States Attorney Neil McBride, various representatives from Hollywood, MPAA chief Chris Dodd, Mike Ellis of the MPA (who was based in Hong Kong and had met with New Zealand’s then Minister of Justice, Simon Power) and the Obama administration.

In summary, Dotcom suggests there was a highly organized scheme against him, hatched between Hollywood and the Obama administration, that had the provision of funds to win re-election at its heart.

From there, an intertwined agreement was reached at the highest levels of both the US and New Zealand governments where the former would benefit through tax concessions to Hollywood (and a sweetening of relations between the countries) and the latter would benefit financially through investment.

All New Zealand had to do was let Dotcom in for a while and then hand him over to the United States for prosecution. And New Zealand definitely knew that Dotcom was wanted by the US. Emails obtained by Dotcom concerning his residency application show that clearly.

“Kim DOTCOM is not of security concern but is likely to soon become the subject of a joint FBI / NZ Police criminal investigation. We have passed this over to NZ Police,” one of the emails reads. Another, well over a year before the raid, also shows the level of knowledge.

Bad but wealthy, so we have plans for him…

With “political pressure” to grant Dotcom’s application in place, Immigration New Zealand finally gave the Megaupload founder the thumbs-up on November 1, 2010. Dotcom believes that New Zealand was concerned he may have walked away from his application.

“This would have been of grave concern to the Government, which, at that time, was in negotiations with Hollywood lobby,” his affidavit reads.

“The last thing they would have needed at that delicate stage of the negotiations was for me to walk away from New Zealand and return to Hong Kong, where extradition would be more difficult. I believe that this concern is what prompted the ‘political pressure’ that led to my application finally being granted despite the presence of factors that would have caused anyone else’s application to have been rejected.”

Dotcom says that after being granted residency, there were signs things weren’t going to plan for him. The entrepreneur applied to buy his now-famous former mansion for NZ$37m, an application that was initially approved. However, after being passed to Simon Power, the application was denied.

“It would appear that, although my character was apparently good enough for me to be granted residence in November 2010, in July 2011 it was not considered good enough for me to buy property in New Zealand,” Dotcom notes.

“The Honourable Mr Power clearly did not want me purchasing $37 million of real estate, presumably because he knew that the United States was going to seek forfeiture of my assets and he did not want what was then the most expensive property in New Zealand being forfeited to the United States government.”

Of course, Dotcom concludes by highlighting the unlawful spying by New Zealand’s GCSB spy agency and the disproportionate use of force displayed by the police when they raided him in 2010 using dozens of armed officers. This, combined with all of the above, means that questions about his case must now be answered at the highest levels. With Obama in town, there’s no time like the present.

“As the evidence above demonstrates, this improper purpose which was then embraced by the New Zealand authorities, originated in the White House under the Obama administration. It is therefore necessary to examine Mr Obama in this proceeding,” Dotcom concludes.

Press blackouts aside, it appears that Obama has rather a lot of golf lined up for the coming days. Whether he’ll have any time to answer Dotcom’s questions is one thing but whether he’ll even be asked to is perhaps the most important point of all.

The full affidavit and masses of supporting evidence can be found here.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

The Challenges of Opening a Data Center — Part 2

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/factors-for-choosing-data-center/

Rows of storage pods in a data center

This is part two of a series on the factors that an organization needs to consider when opening a data center and the challenges that must be met in the process.

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the different types of data centers, the importance of location in planning a data center, data center certification, and the single most expensive factor in running a data center, power.

In Part 2, we continue to look at factors that need to considered both by those interested in a dedicated data center and those seeking to colocate in an existing center.

Power (continued from Part 1)

In part 1, we began our discussion of the power requirements of data centers.

As we discussed, redundancy and failover is a chief requirement for data center power. A redundantly designed power supply system is also a necessity for maintenance, as it enables repairs to be performed on one network, for example, without having to turn off servers, databases, or electrical equipment.

Power Path

The common critical components of a data center’s power flow are:

  • Utility Supply
  • Generators
  • Transfer Switches
  • Distribution Panels
  • Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)
  • PDUs

Utility Supply is the power that comes from one or more utility grids. While most of us consider the grid to be our primary power supply (hats off to those of you who manage to live off the grid), politics, economics, and distribution make utility supply power susceptible to outages, which is why data centers must have autonomous power available to maintain availability.

Generators are used to supply power when the utility supply is unavailable. They convert mechanical energy, usually from motors, to electrical energy.

Transfer Switches are used to transfer electric load from one source or electrical device to another, such as from one utility line to another, from a generator to a utility, or between generators. The transfer could be manually activated or automatic to ensure continuous electrical power.

Distribution Panels get the power where it needs to go, taking a power feed and dividing it into separate circuits to supply multiple loads.

A UPS, as we touched on earlier, ensures that continuous power is available even when the main power source isn’t. It often consists of batteries that can come online almost instantaneously when the current power ceases. The power from a UPS does not have to last a long time as it is considered an emergency measure until the main power source can be restored. Another function of the UPS is to filter and stabilize the power from the main power supply.

Data Center UPS

Data center UPSs

PDU stands for the Power Distribution Unit and is the device that distributes power to the individual pieces of equipment.


After power, the networking connections to the data center are of prime importance. Can the data center obtain and maintain high-speed networking connections to the building? With networking, as with all aspects of a data center, availability is a primary consideration. Data center designers think of all possible ways service can be interrupted or lost, even briefly. Details such as the vulnerabilities in the route the network connections make from the core network (the backhaul) to the center, and where network connections enter and exit a building, must be taken into consideration in network and data center design.

Routers and switches are used to transport traffic between the servers in the data center and the core network. Just as with power, network redundancy is a prime factor in maintaining availability of data center services. Two or more upstream service providers are required to ensure that availability.

How fast a customer can transfer data to a data center is affected by: 1) the speed of the connections the data center has with the outside world, 2) the quality of the connections between the customer and the data center, and 3) the distance of the route from customer to the data center. The longer the length of the route and the greater the number of packets that must be transferred, the more significant a factor will be played by latency in the data transfer. Latency is the delay before a transfer of data begins following an instruction for its transfer. Generally latency, not speed, will be the most significant factor in transferring data to and from a data center. Packets transferred using the TCP/IP protocol suite, which is the conceptual model and set of communications protocols used on the internet and similar computer networks, must be acknowledged when received (ACK’d) and requires a communications roundtrip for each packet. If the data is in larger packets, the number of ACKs required is reduced, so latency will be a smaller factor in the overall network communications speed.

Latency generally will be less significant for data storage transfers than for cloud computing. Optimizations such as multi-threading, which is used in Backblaze’s Cloud Backup service, will generally improve overall transfer throughput if sufficient bandwidth is available.

Those interested in testing the overall speed and latency of their connection to Backblaze’s data centers can use the Check Your Bandwidth tool on our website.
Data center telecommunications equipment

Data center telecommunications equipment

Data center under floor cable runs

Data center under floor cable runs


Computer, networking, and power generation equipment generates heat, and there are a number of solutions employed to rid a data center of that heat. The location and climate of the data center is of great importance to the data center designer because the climatic conditions dictate to a large degree what cooling technologies should be deployed that in turn affect the power used and the cost of using that power. The power required and cost needed to manage a data center in a warm, humid climate will vary greatly from managing one in a cool, dry climate. Innovation is strong in this area and many new approaches to efficient and cost-effective cooling are used in the latest data centers.

Switch's uninterruptible, multi-system, HVAC Data Center Cooling Units

Switch’s uninterruptible, multi-system, HVAC Data Center Cooling Units

There are three primary ways data center cooling can be achieved:

Room Cooling cools the entire operating area of the data center. This method can be suitable for small data centers, but becomes more difficult and inefficient as IT equipment density and center size increase.

Row Cooling concentrates on cooling a data center on a row by row basis. In its simplest form, hot aisle/cold aisle data center design involves lining up server racks in alternating rows with cold air intakes facing one way and hot air exhausts facing the other. The rows composed of rack fronts are called cold aisles. Typically, cold aisles face air conditioner output ducts. The rows the heated exhausts pour into are called hot aisles. Typically, hot aisles face air conditioner return ducts.

Rack Cooling tackles cooling on a rack by rack basis. Air-conditioning units are dedicated to specific racks. This approach allows for maximum densities to be deployed per rack. This works best in data centers with fully loaded racks, otherwise there would be too much cooling capacity, and the air-conditioning losses alone could exceed the total IT load.


Data Centers are high-security facilities as they house business, government, and other data that contains personal, financial, and other secure information about businesses and individuals.

This list contains the physical-security considerations when opening or co-locating in a data center:

Layered Security Zones. Systems and processes are deployed to allow only authorized personnel in certain areas of the data center. Examples include keycard access, alarm systems, mantraps, secure doors, and staffed checkpoints.

Physical Barriers. Physical barriers, fencing and reinforced walls are used to protect facilities. In a colocation facility, one customers’ racks and servers are often inaccessible to other customers colocating in the same data center.

Backblaze racks secured in the data center

Backblaze racks secured in the data center

Monitoring Systems. Advanced surveillance technology monitors and records activity on approaching driveways, building entrances, exits, loading areas, and equipment areas. These systems also can be used to monitor and detect fire and water emergencies, providing early detection and notification before significant damage results.

Top-tier providers evaluate their data center security and facilities on an ongoing basis. Technology becomes outdated quickly, so providers must stay-on-top of new approaches and technologies in order to protect valuable IT assets.

To pass into high security areas of a data center requires passing through a security checkpoint where credentials are verified.

Data Center security

The gauntlet of cameras and steel bars one must pass before entering this data center

Facilities and Services

Data center colocation providers often differentiate themselves by offering value-added services. In addition to the required space, power, cooling, connectivity and security capabilities, the best solutions provide several on-site amenities. These accommodations include offices and workstations, conference rooms, and access to phones, copy machines, and office equipment.

Additional features may consist of kitchen facilities, break rooms and relaxation lounges, storage facilities for client equipment, and secure loading docks and freight elevators.

Moving into A Data Center

Moving into a data center is a major job for any organization. We wrote a post last year, Desert To Data in 7 Days — Our New Phoenix Data Center, about what it was like to move into our new data center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Desert To Data in 7 Days — Our New Phoenix Data Center

Visiting a Data Center

Our Director of Product Marketing Andy Klein wrote a popular post last year on what it’s like to visit a data center called A Day in the Life of a Data Center.

A Day in the Life of a Data Center

Would you Like to Know More about The Challenges of Opening and Running a Data Center?

That’s it for part 2 of this series. If readers are interested, we could write a post about some of the new technologies and trends affecting data center design and use. Please let us know in the comments.

Here's a tip!Here’s a tip on finding all the posts tagged with data center on our blog. Just follow https://www.backblaze.com/blog/tag/data-center/.

Don’t miss future posts on data centers and other topics, including hard drive stats, cloud storage, and tips and tricks for backing up to the cloud. Use the Join button above to receive notification of future posts on our blog.

The post The Challenges of Opening a Data Center — Part 2 appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Cabinet of Secret Documents from Australia

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2018/02/cabinet_of_secr.html

This story of leaked Australian government secrets is unlike any other I’ve heard:

It begins at a second-hand shop in Canberra, where ex-government furniture is sold off cheaply.

The deals can be even cheaper when the items in question are two heavy filing cabinets to which no-one can find the keys.

They were purchased for small change and sat unopened for some months until the locks were attacked with a drill.

Inside was the trove of documents now known as The Cabinet Files.

The thousands of pages reveal the inner workings of five separate governments and span nearly a decade.

Nearly all the files are classified, some as “top secret” or “AUSTEO”, which means they are to be seen by Australian eyes only.

Yes, that really happened. The person who bought and opened the file cabinets contacted the Australian Broadcasting Corp, who is now publishing a bunch of it.

There’s lots of interesting (and embarassing) stuff in the documents, although most of it is local politics. I am more interested in the government’s reaction to the incident: they’re pushing for a law making it illegal for the press to publish government secrets it received through unofficial channels.

“The one thing I would point out about the legislation that does concern me particularly is that classified information is an element of the offence,” he said.

“That is to say, if you’ve got a filing cabinet that is full of classified information … that means all the Crown has to prove if they’re prosecuting you is that it is classified ­ nothing else.

“They don’t have to prove that you knew it was classified, so knowledge is beside the point.”


Many groups have raised concerns, including media organisations who say they unfairly target journalists trying to do their job.

But really anyone could be prosecuted just for possessing classified information, regardless of whether they know about it.

That might include, for instance, if you stumbled across a folder of secret files in a regular skip bin while walking home and handed it over to a journalist.

This illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the threat. The Australian Broadcasting Corp gets their funding from the government, and was very restrained in what they published. They waited months before publishing as they coordinated with the Australian government. They allowed the government to secure the files, and then returned them. From the government’s perspective, they were the best possible media outlet to receive this information. If the government makes it illegal for the Australian press to publish this sort of material, the next time it will be sent to the BBC, the Guardian, the New York Times, or Wikileaks. And since people no longer read their news from newspapers sold in stores but on the Internet, the result will be just as many people reading the stories with far fewer redactions.

The proposed law is older than this leak, but the leak is giving it new life. The Australian opposition party is being cagey on whether they will support the law. They don’t want to appear weak on national security, so I’m not optimistic.

EDITED TO ADD (2/8): The Australian government backed down on that new security law.

EDITED TO ADD (2/13): Excellent political cartoon.

The problematic Wannacry North Korea attribution

Post Syndicated from Robert Graham original http://blog.erratasec.com/2018/01/the-problematic-wannacry-north-korea.html

Last month, the US government officially “attributed” the Wannacry ransomware worm to North Korea. This attribution has three flaws, which are a good lesson for attribution in general.

It was an accident

The most important fact about Wannacry is that it was an accident. We’ve had 30 years of experience with Internet worms teaching us that worms are always accidents. While launching worms may be intentional, their effects cannot be predicted. While they appear to have targets, like Slammer against South Korea, or Witty against the Pentagon, further analysis shows this was just a random effect that was impossible to predict ahead of time. Only in hindsight are these effects explainable.
We should hold those causing accidents accountable, too, but it’s a different accountability. The U.S. has caused more civilian deaths in its War on Terror than the terrorists caused triggering that war. But we hold these to be morally different: the terrorists targeted the innocent, whereas the U.S. takes great pains to avoid civilian casualties. 
Since we are talking about blaming those responsible for accidents, we also must include the NSA in that mix. The NSA created, then allowed the release of, weaponized exploits. That’s like accidentally dropping a load of unexploded bombs near a village. When those bombs are then used, those having lost the weapons are held guilty along with those using them. Yes, while we should blame the hacker who added ETERNAL BLUE to their ransomware, we should also blame the NSA for losing control of ETERNAL BLUE.

A country and its assets are different

Was it North Korea, or hackers affilliated with North Korea? These aren’t the same.

It’s hard for North Korea to have hackers of its own. It doesn’t have citizens who grow up with computers to pick from. Moreover, an internal hacking corps would create tainted citizens exposed to dangerous outside ideas. Update: Some people have pointed out that Kim Il-sung University in the capital does have some contact with the outside world, with academics granted limited Internet access, so I guess some tainting is allowed. Still, what we know of North Korea hacking efforts largley comes from hackers they employ outside North Korea. It was the Lazurus Group, outside North Korea, that did Wannacry.
Instead, North Korea develops external hacking “assets”, supporting several external hacking groups in China, Japan, and South Korea. This is similar to how intelligence agencies develop human “assets” in foreign countries. While these assets do things for their handlers, they also have normal day jobs, and do many things that are wholly independent and even sometimes against their handler’s interests.
For example, this Muckrock FOIA dump shows how “CIA assets” independently worked for Castro and assassinated a Panamanian president. That they also worked for the CIA does not make the CIA responsible for the Panamanian assassination.
That CIA/intelligence assets work this way is well-known and uncontroversial. The fact that countries use hacker assets like this is the controversial part. These hackers do act independently, yet we refuse to consider this when we want to “attribute” attacks.

Attribution is political

We have far better attribution for the nPetya attacks. It was less accidental (they clearly desired to disrupt Ukraine), and the hackers were much closer to the Russian government (Russian citizens). Yet, the Trump administration isn’t fighting Russia, they are fighting North Korea, so they don’t officially attribute nPetya to Russia, but do attribute Wannacry to North Korea.
Trump is in conflict with North Korea. He is looking for ways to escalate the conflict. Attributing Wannacry helps achieve his political objectives.
That it was blatantly politics is demonstrated by the way it was released to the press. It wasn’t released in the normal way, where the administration can stand behind it, and get challenged on the particulars. Instead, it was pre-released through the normal system of “anonymous government officials” to the NYTimes, and then backed up with op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. The government leaks information like this when it’s weak, not when its strong.

The proper way is to release the evidence upon which the decision was made, so that the public can challenge it. Among the questions the public would ask is whether it they believe it was North Korea’s intention to cause precisely this effect, such as disabling the British NHS. Or, whether it was merely hackers “affiliated” with North Korea, or hackers carrying out North Korea’s orders. We cannot challenge the government this way because the government intentionally holds itself above such accountability.


We believe hacking groups tied to North Korea are responsible for Wannacry. Yet, even if that’s true, we still have three attribution problems. We still don’t know if that was intentional, in pursuit of some political goal, or an accident. We still don’t know if it was at the direction of North Korea, or whether their hacker assets acted independently. We still don’t know if the government has answers to these questions, or whether it’s exploiting this doubt to achieve political support for actions against North Korea.

Optimize Delivery of Trending, Personalized News Using Amazon Kinesis and Related Services

Post Syndicated from Yukinori Koide original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/big-data/optimize-delivery-of-trending-personalized-news-using-amazon-kinesis-and-related-services/

This is a guest post by Yukinori Koide, an the head of development for the Newspass department at Gunosy.

Gunosy is a news curation application that covers a wide range of topics, such as entertainment, sports, politics, and gourmet news. The application has been installed more than 20 million times.

Gunosy aims to provide people with the content they want without the stress of dealing with a large influx of information. We analyze user attributes, such as gender and age, and past activity logs like click-through rate (CTR). We combine this information with article attributes to provide trending, personalized news articles to users.

In this post, I show you how to process user activity logs in real time using Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose, Amazon Kinesis Data Analytics, and related AWS services.

Why does Gunosy need real-time processing?

Users need fresh and personalized news. There are two constraints to consider when delivering appropriate articles:

  • Time: Articles have freshness—that is, they lose value over time. New articles need to reach users as soon as possible.
  • Frequency (volume): Only a limited number of articles can be shown. It’s unreasonable to display all articles in the application, and users can’t read all of them anyway.

To deliver fresh articles with a high probability that the user is interested in them, it’s necessary to include not only past user activity logs and some feature values of articles, but also the most recent (real-time) user activity logs.

We optimize the delivery of articles with these two steps.

  1. Personalization: Deliver articles based on each user’s attributes, past activity logs, and feature values of each article—to account for each user’s interests.
  2. Trends analysis/identification: Optimize delivering articles using recent (real-time) user activity logs—to incorporate the latest trends from all users.

Optimizing the delivery of articles is always a cold start. Initially, we deliver articles based on past logs. We then use real-time data to optimize as quickly as possible. In addition, news has a short freshness time. Specifically, day-old news is past news, and even the news that is three hours old is past news. Therefore, shortening the time between step 1 and step 2 is important.

To tackle this issue, we chose AWS for processing streaming data because of its fully managed services, cost-effectiveness, and so on.


The following diagrams depict the architecture for optimizing article delivery by processing real-time user activity logs

There are three processing flows:

  1. Process real-time user activity logs.
  2. Store and process all user-based and article-based logs.
  3. Execute ad hoc or heavy queries.

In this post, I focus on the first processing flow and explain how it works.

Process real-time user activity logs

The following are the steps for processing user activity logs in real time using Kinesis Data Streams and Kinesis Data Analytics.

  1. The Fluentd server sends the following user activity logs to Kinesis Data Streams:
{"article_id": 12345, "user_id": 12345, "action": "click"}
{"article_id": 12345, "user_id": 12345, "action": "impression"}
  1. Map rows of logs to columns in Kinesis Data Analytics.

  1. Set the reference data to Kinesis Data Analytics from Amazon S3.

a. Gunosy has user attributes such as gender, age, and segment. Prepare the following CSV file (user_id, gender, segment_id) and put it in Amazon S3:


b. Add the application reference data source to Kinesis Data Analytics using the AWS CLI:

$ aws kinesisanalytics add-application-reference-data-source \
  --application-name <my-application-name> \
  --current-application-version-id <version-id> \
  --reference-data-source '{
  "S3ReferenceDataSource": {
    "BucketARN": "arn:aws:s3:::<my-bucket-name>",
    "FileKey": "mydata.csv",
    "ReferenceRoleARN": "arn:aws:iam::<account-id>:role/..."
  "ReferenceSchema": {
    "RecordFormat": {
      "RecordFormatType": "CSV",
      "MappingParameters": {
        "CSVMappingParameters": {"RecordRowDelimiter": "\n", "RecordColumnDelimiter": ","}
    "RecordEncoding": "UTF-8",
    "RecordColumns": [
      {"Name": "USER_ID", "Mapping": "0", "SqlType": "INTEGER"},
      {"Name": "GENDER",  "Mapping": "1", "SqlType": "VARCHAR(32)"},
      {"Name": "SEGMENT_ID", "Mapping": "2", "SqlType": "INTEGER"}

This application reference data source can be referred on Kinesis Data Analytics.

  1. Run a query against the source data stream on Kinesis Data Analytics with the application reference data source.

a. Define the temporary stream named TMP_SQL_STREAM.


b. Insert the joined source stream and application reference data source into the temporary stream.


c. Define the destination stream named DESTINATION_SQL_STREAM.


d. Insert the processed temporary stream, using a tumbling window, into the destination stream per minute.


The results look like the following:

  1. Insert the results into Amazon Elasticsearch Service (Amazon ES).
  2. Batch servers get results from Amazon ES every minute. They then optimize delivering articles with other data sources using a proprietary optimization algorithm.

How to connect a stream to another stream in another AWS Region

When we built the solution, Kinesis Data Analytics was not available in the Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Region, so we used the US West (Oregon) Region. The following shows how we connected a data stream to another data stream in the other Region.

There is no need to continue containing all components in a single AWS Region, unless you have a situation where a response difference at the millisecond level is critical to the service.


The solution provides benefits for both our company and for our users. Benefits for the company are cost savings—including development costs, operational costs, and infrastructure costs—and reducing delivery time. Users can now find articles of interest more quickly. The solution can process more than 500,000 records per minute, and it enables fast and personalized news curating for our users.


In this post, I showed you how we optimize trending user activities to personalize news using Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose, Amazon Kinesis Data Analytics, and related AWS services in Gunosy.

AWS gives us a quick and economical solution and a good experience.

If you have questions or suggestions, please comment below.

Additional Reading

If you found this post useful, be sure to check out Implement Serverless Log Analytics Using Amazon Kinesis Analytics and Joining and Enriching Streaming Data on Amazon Kinesis.

About the Authors

Yukinori Koide is the head of development for the Newspass department at Gunosy. He is working on standardization of provisioning and deployment flow, promoting the utilization of serverless and containers for machine learning and AI services. His favorite AWS services are DynamoDB, Lambda, Kinesis, and ECS.




Akihiro Tsukada is a start-up solutions architect with AWS. He supports start-up companies in Japan technically at many levels, ranging from seed to later-stage.





Yuta Ishii is a solutions architect with AWS. He works with our customers to provide architectural guidance for building media & entertainment services, helping them improve the value of their services when using AWS.






The deal with Bitcoin

Post Syndicated from Michal Zalewski original http://lcamtuf.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-deal-with-bitcoin.html

♪ Used to have a little now I have a lot
I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block
          chain ♪

For all that has been written about Bitcoin and its ilk, it is curious that the focus is almost solely what the cryptocurrencies are supposed to be. Technologists wax lyrical about the potential for blockchains to change almost every aspect of our lives. Libertarians and paleoconservatives ache for the return to “sound money” that can’t be conjured up at the whim of a bureaucrat. Mainstream economists wag their fingers, proclaiming that a proper currency can’t be deflationary, that it must maintain a particular velocity, or that the government must be able to nip crises of confidence in the bud. And so on.

Much of this may be true, but the proponents of cryptocurrencies should recognize that an appeal to consequences is not a guarantee of good results. The critics, on the other hand, would be best served to remember that they are drawing far-reaching conclusions about the effects of modern monetary policies based on a very short and tumultuous period in history.

In this post, my goal is to ditch most of the dogma, talk a bit about the origins of money – and then see how “crypto” fits the bill.

1. The prehistory of currencies

The emergence of money is usually explained in a very straightforward way. You know the story: a farmer raised a pig, a cobbler made a shoe. The cobbler needed to feed his family while the farmer wanted to keep his feet warm – and so they met to exchange the goods on mutually beneficial terms. But as the tale goes, the barter system had a fatal flaw: sometimes, a farmer wanted a cooking pot, a potter wanted a knife, and a blacksmith wanted a pair of pants. To facilitate increasingly complex, multi-step exchanges without requiring dozens of people to meet face to face, we came up with an abstract way to represent value – a shiny coin guaranteed to be accepted by every tradesman.

It is a nice parable, but it probably isn’t very true. It seems far more plausible that early societies relied on the concept of debt long before the advent of currencies: an informal tally or a formal ledger would be used to keep track of who owes what to whom. The concept of debt, closely associated with one’s trustworthiness and standing in the community, would have enabled a wide range of economic activities: debts could be paid back over time, transferred, renegotiated, or forgotten – all without having to engage in spot barter or to mint a single coin. In fact, such non-monetary, trust-based, reciprocal economies are still common in closely-knit communities: among families, neighbors, coworkers, or friends.

In such a setting, primitive currencies probably emerged simply as a consequence of having a system of prices: a cow being worth a particular number of chickens, a chicken being worth a particular number of beaver pelts, and so forth. Formalizing such relationships by settling on a single, widely-known unit of account – say, one chicken – would make it more convenient to transfer, combine, or split debts; or to settle them in alternative goods.

Contrary to popular belief, for communal ledgers, the unit of account probably did not have to be particularly desirable, durable, or easy to carry; it was simply an accounting tool. And indeed, we sometimes run into fairly unusual units of account even in modern times: for example, cigarettes can be the basis of a bustling prison economy even when most inmates don’t smoke and there are not that many packs to go around.

2. The age of commodity money

In the end, the development of coinage might have had relatively little to do with communal trade – and far more with the desire to exchange goods with strangers. When dealing with a unfamiliar or hostile tribe, the concept of a chicken-denominated ledger does not hold up: the other side might be disinclined to honor its obligations – and get away with it, too. To settle such problematic trades, we needed a “spot” medium of exchange that would be easy to carry and authenticate, had a well-defined value, and a near-universal appeal. Throughout much of the recorded history, precious metals – predominantly gold and silver – proved to fit the bill.

In the most basic sense, such commodities could be seen as a tool to reconcile debts across societal boundaries, without necessarily replacing any local units of account. An obligation, denominated in some local currency, would be created on buyer’s side in order to procure the metal for the trade. The proceeds of the completed transaction would in turn allow the seller to settle their own local obligations that arose from having to source the traded goods. In other words, our wondrous chicken-denominated ledgers could coexist peacefully with gold – and when commodity coinage finally took hold, it’s likely that in everyday trade, precious metals served more as a useful abstraction than a precise store of value. A “silver chicken” of sorts.

Still, the emergence of commodity money had one interesting side effect: it decoupled the unit of debt – a “claim on the society”, in a sense – from any moral judgment about its origin. A piece of silver would buy the same amount of food, whether earned through hard labor or won in a drunken bet. This disconnect remains a central theme in many of the debates about social justice and unfairly earned wealth.

3. The State enters the game

If there is one advantage of chicken ledgers over precious metals, it’s that all chickens look and cluck roughly the same – something that can’t be said of every nugget of silver or gold. To cope with this problem, we needed to shape raw commodities into pieces of a more predictable shape and weight; a trusted party could then stamp them with a mark to indicate the value and the quality of the coin.

At first, the task of standardizing coinage rested with private parties – but the responsibility was soon assumed by the State. The advantages of this transition seemed clear: a single, widely-accepted and easily-recognizable currency could be now used to settle virtually all private and official debts.

Alas, in what deserves the dubious distinction of being one of the earliest examples of monetary tomfoolery, some States succumbed to the temptation of fiddling with the coinage to accomplish anything from feeding the poor to waging wars. In particular, it would be common to stamp coins with the same face value but a progressively lower content of silver and gold. Perhaps surprisingly, the strategy worked remarkably well; at least in the times of peace, most people cared about the value stamped on the coin, not its precise composition or weight.

And so, over time, representative money was born: sooner or later, most States opted to mint coins from nearly-worthless metals, or print banknotes on paper and cloth. This radically new currency was accompanied with a simple pledge: the State offered to redeem it at any time for its nominal value in gold.

Of course, the promise was largely illusory: the State did not have enough gold to honor all the promises it had made. Still, as long as people had faith in their rulers and the redemption requests stayed low, the fundamental mechanics of this new representative currency remained roughly the same as before – and in some ways, were an improvement in that they lessened the insatiable demand for a rare commodity. Just as importantly, the new money still enabled international trade – using the underlying gold exchange rate as a reference point.

4. Fractional reserve banking and fiat money

For much of the recorded history, banking was an exceptionally dull affair, not much different from running a communal chicken
ledger of the old. But then, something truly marvelous happened in the 17th century: around that time, many European countries have witnessed
the emergence of fractional-reserve banks.

These private ventures operated according to a simple scheme: they accepted people’s coin
for safekeeping, promising to pay a premium on every deposit made. To meet these obligations and to make a profit, the banks then
used the pooled deposits to make high-interest loans to other folks. The financiers figured out that under normal circumstances
and when operating at a sufficient scale, they needed only a very modest reserve – well under 10% of all deposited money – to be
able to service the usual volume and size of withdrawals requested by their customers. The rest could be loaned out.

The very curious consequence of fractional-reserve banking was that it pulled new money out of thin air.
The funds were simultaneously accounted for in the statements shown to the depositor, evidently available for withdrawal or
transfer at any time; and given to third-party borrowers, who could spend them on just about anything. Heck, the borrowers could
deposit the proceeds in another bank, creating even more money along the way! Whatever they did, the sum of all funds in the monetary
system now appeared much higher than the value of all coins and banknotes issued by the government – let alone the amount of gold
sitting in any vault.

Of course, no new money was being created in any physical sense: all that banks were doing was engaging in a bit of creative accounting – the sort of which would probably land you in jail if you attempted it today in any other comparably vital field of enterprise. If too many depositors were to ask for their money back, or if too many loans were to go bad, the banking system would fold. Fortunes would evaporate in a puff of accounting smoke, and with the disappearance of vast quantities of quasi-fictitious (“broad”) money, the wealth of the entire nation would shrink.

In the early 20th century, the world kept witnessing just that; a series of bank runs and economic contractions forced the governments around the globe to act. At that stage, outlawing fractional-reserve banking was no longer politically or economically tenable; a simpler alternative was to let go of gold and move to fiat money – a currency implemented as an abstract social construct, with no predefined connection to the physical realm. A new breed of economists saw the role of the government not in trying to peg the value of money to an inflexible commodity, but in manipulating its supply to smooth out economic hiccups or to stimulate growth.

(Contrary to popular beliefs, such manipulation is usually not done by printing new banknotes; more sophisticated methods, such as lowering reserve requirements for bank deposits or enticing banks to invest its deposits into government-issued securities, are the preferred route.)

The obvious peril of fiat money is that in the long haul, its value is determined strictly by people’s willingness to accept a piece of paper in exchange for their trouble; that willingness, in turn, is conditioned solely on their belief that the same piece of paper would buy them something nice a week, a month, or a year from now. It follows that a simple crisis of confidence could make a currency nearly worthless overnight. A prolonged period of hyperinflation and subsequent austerity in Germany and Austria was one of the precipitating factors that led to World War II. In more recent times, dramatic episodes of hyperinflation plagued the fiat currencies of Israel (1984), Mexico (1988), Poland (1990), Yugoslavia (1994), Bulgaria (1996), Turkey (2002), Zimbabwe (2009), Venezuela (2016), and several other nations around the globe.

For the United States, the switch to fiat money came relatively late, in 1971. To stop the dollar from plunging like a rock, the Nixon administration employed a clever trick: they ordered the freeze of wages and prices for the 90 days that immediately followed the move. People went on about their lives and paid the usual for eggs or milk – and by the time the freeze ended, they were accustomed to the idea that the “new”, free-floating dollar is worth about the same as the old, gold-backed one. A robust economy and favorable geopolitics did the rest, and so far, the American adventure with fiat currency has been rather uneventful – perhaps except for the fact that the price of gold itself skyrocketed from $35 per troy ounce in 1971 to $850 in 1980 (or, from $210 to $2,500 in today’s dollars).

Well, one thing did change: now better positioned to freely tamper with the supply of money, the regulators in accord with the bankers adopted a policy of creating it at a rate that slightly outstripped the organic growth in economic activity. They did this to induce a small, steady degree of inflation, believing that doing so would discourage people from hoarding cash and force them to reinvest it for the betterment of the society. Some critics like to point out that such a policy functions as a “backdoor” tax on savings that happens to align with the regulators’ less noble interests; still, either way: in the US and most other developed nations, the purchasing power of any money kept under a mattress will drop at a rate of somewhere between 2 to 10% a year.

5. So what’s up with Bitcoin?

Well… countless tomes have been written about the nature and the optimal characteristics of government-issued fiat currencies. Some heterodox economists, notably including Murray Rothbard, have also explored the topic of privately-issued, decentralized, commodity-backed currencies. But Bitcoin is a wholly different animal.

In essence, BTC is a global, decentralized fiat currency: it has no (recoverable) intrinsic value, no central authority to issue it or define its exchange rate, and it has no anchoring to any historical reference point – a combination that until recently seemed nonsensical and escaped any serious scrutiny. It does the unthinkable by employing three clever tricks:

  1. It allows anyone to create new coins, but only by solving brute-force computational challenges that get more difficult as the time goes by,

  2. It prevents unauthorized transfer of coins by employing public key cryptography to sign off transactions, with only the authorized holder of a coin knowing the correct key,

  3. It prevents double-spending by using a distributed public ledger (“blockchain”), recording the chain of custody for coins in a tamper-proof way.

The blockchain is often described as the most important feature of Bitcoin, but in some ways, its importance is overstated. The idea of a currency that does not rely on a centralized transaction clearinghouse is what helped propel the platform into the limelight – mostly because of its novelty and the perception that it is less vulnerable to government meddling (although the government is still free to track down, tax, fine, or arrest any participants). On the flip side, the everyday mechanics of BTC would not be fundamentally different if all the transactions had to go through Bitcoin Bank, LLC.

A more striking feature of the new currency is the incentive structure surrounding the creation of new coins. The underlying design democratized the creation of new coins early on: all you had to do is leave your computer running for a while to acquire a number of tokens. The tokens had no practical value, but obtaining them involved no substantial expense or risk. Just as importantly, because the difficulty of the puzzles would only increase over time, the hope was that if Bitcoin caught on, latecomers would find it easier to purchase BTC on a secondary market than mine their own – paying with a more established currency at a mutually beneficial exchange rate.

The persistent publicity surrounding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies did the rest – and today, with the growing scarcity of coins and the rapidly increasing demand, the price of a single token hovers somewhere south of $15,000.

6. So… is it bad money?

Predicting is hard – especially the future. In some sense, a coin that represents a cryptographic proof of wasted CPU cycles is no better or worse than a currency that relies on cotton decorated with pictures of dead presidents. It is true that Bitcoin suffers from many implementation problems – long transaction processing times, high fees, frequent security breaches of major exchanges – but in principle, such problems can be overcome.

That said, currencies live and die by the lasting willingness of others to accept them in exchange for services or goods – and in that sense, the jury is still out. The use of Bitcoin to settle bona fide purchases is negligible, both in absolute terms and in function of the overall volume of transactions. In fact, because of the technical challenges and limited practical utility, some companies that embraced the currency early on are now backing out.

When the value of an asset is derived almost entirely from its appeal as an ever-appreciating investment vehicle, the situation has all the telltale signs of a speculative bubble. But that does not prove that the asset is destined to collapse, or that a collapse would be its end. Still, the built-in deflationary mechanism of Bitcoin – the increasing difficulty of producing new coins – is probably both a blessing and a curse.

It’s going to go one way or the other; and when it’s all said and done, we’re going to celebrate the people who made the right guess. Because future is actually pretty darn easy to predict — in retrospect.

Libertarians are against net neutrality

Post Syndicated from Robert Graham original http://blog.erratasec.com/2017/12/libertarians-are-against-net-neutrality.html

This post claims to be by a libertarian in support of net neutrality. As a libertarian, I need to debunk this. “Net neutrality” is a case of one-hand clapping, you rarely hear the competing side, and thus, that side may sound attractive. This post is about the other side, from a libertarian point of view.

That post just repeats the common, and wrong, left-wing talking points. I mean, there might be a libertarian case for some broadband regulation, but this isn’t it.

This thing they call “net neutrality” is just left-wing politics masquerading as some sort of principle. It’s no different than how people claim to be “pro-choice”, yet demand forced vaccinations. Or, it’s no different than how people claim to believe in “traditional marriage” even while they are on their third “traditional marriage”.

Properly defined, “net neutrality” means no discrimination of network traffic. But nobody wants that. A classic example is how most internet connections have faster download speeds than uploads. This discriminates against upload traffic, harming innovation in upload-centric applications like DropBox’s cloud backup or BitTorrent’s peer-to-peer file transfer. Yet activists never mention this, or other types of network traffic discrimination, because they no more care about “net neutrality” than Trump or Gingrich care about “traditional marriage”.

Instead, when people say “net neutrality”, they mean “government regulation”. It’s the same old debate between who is the best steward of consumer interest: the free-market or government.

Specifically, in the current debate, they are referring to the Obama-era FCC “Open Internet” order and reclassification of broadband under “Title II” so they can regulate it. Trump’s FCC is putting broadband back to “Title I”, which means the FCC can’t regulate most of its “Open Internet” order.

Don’t be tricked into thinking the “Open Internet” order is anything but intensely politically. The premise behind the order is the Democrat’s firm believe that it’s government who created the Internet, and all innovation, advances, and investment ultimately come from the government. It sees ISPs as inherently deceitful entities who will only serve their own interests, at the expense of consumers, unless the FCC protects consumers.

It says so right in the order itself. It starts with the premise that broadband ISPs are evil, using illegitimate “tactics” to hurt consumers, and continues with similar language throughout the order.

A good contrast to this can be seen in Tim Wu’s non-political original paper in 2003 that coined the term “net neutrality”. Whereas the FCC sees broadband ISPs as enemies of consumers, Wu saw them as allies. His concern was not that ISPs would do evil things, but that they would do stupid things, such as favoring short-term interests over long-term innovation (such as having faster downloads than uploads).

The political depravity of the FCC’s order can be seen in this comment from one of the commissioners who voted for those rules:

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wants to increase the minimum broadband standards far past the new 25Mbps download threshold, up to 100Mbps. “We invented the internet. We can do audacious things if we set big goals, and I think our new threshold, frankly, should be 100Mbps. I think anything short of that shortchanges our children, our future, and our new digital economy,” Commissioner Rosenworcel said.

This is indistinguishable from communist rhetoric that credits the Party for everything, as this booklet from North Korea will explain to you.

But what about monopolies? After all, while the free-market may work when there’s competition, it breaks down where there are fewer competitors, oligopolies, and monopolies.

There is some truth to this, in individual cities, there’s often only only a single credible high-speed broadband provider. But this isn’t the issue at stake here. The FCC isn’t proposing light-handed regulation to keep monopolies in check, but heavy-handed regulation that regulates every last decision.

Advocates of FCC regulation keep pointing how broadband monopolies can exploit their renting-seeking positions in order to screw the customer. They keep coming up with ever more bizarre and unlikely scenarios what monopoly power grants the ISPs.

But the never mention the most simplest: that broadband monopolies can just charge customers more money. They imagine instead that these companies will pursue a string of outrageous, evil, and less profitable behaviors to exploit their monopoly position.

The FCC’s reclassification of broadband under Title II gives it full power to regulate ISPs as utilities, including setting prices. The FCC has stepped back from this, promising it won’t go so far as to set prices, that it’s only regulating these evil conspiracy theories. This is kind of bizarre: either broadband ISPs are evilly exploiting their monopoly power or they aren’t. Why stop at regulating only half the evil?

The answer is that the claim “monopoly” power is a deception. It starts with overstating how many monopolies there are to begin with. When it issued its 2015 “Open Internet” order the FCC simultaneously redefined what they meant by “broadband”, upping the speed from 5-mbps to 25-mbps. That’s because while most consumers have multiple choices at 5-mbps, fewer consumers have multiple choices at 25-mbps. It’s a dirty political trick to convince you there is more of a problem than there is.

In any case, their rules still apply to the slower broadband providers, and equally apply to the mobile (cell phone) providers. The US has four mobile phone providers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint) and plenty of competition between them. That it’s monopolistic power that the FCC cares about here is a lie. As their Open Internet order clearly shows, the fundamental principle that animates the document is that all corporations, monopolies or not, are treacherous and must be regulated.

“But corporations are indeed evil”, people argue, “see here’s a list of evil things they have done in the past!”

No, those things weren’t evil. They were done because they benefited the customers, not as some sort of secret rent seeking behavior.

For example, one of the more common “net neutrality abuses” that people mention is AT&T’s blocking of FaceTime. I’ve debunked this elsewhere on this blog, but the summary is this: there was no network blocking involved (not a “net neutrality” issue), and the FCC analyzed it and decided it was in the best interests of the consumer. It’s disingenuous to claim it’s an evil that justifies FCC actions when the FCC itself declared it not evil and took no action. It’s disingenuous to cite the “net neutrality” principle that all network traffic must be treated when, in fact, the network did treat all the traffic equally.

Another frequently cited abuse is Comcast’s throttling of BitTorrent.Comcast did this because Netflix users were complaining. Like all streaming video, Netflix backs off to slower speed (and poorer quality) when it experiences congestion. BitTorrent, uniquely among applications, never backs off. As most applications become slower and slower, BitTorrent just speeds up, consuming all available bandwidth. This is especially problematic when there’s limited upload bandwidth available. Thus, Comcast throttled BitTorrent during prime time TV viewing hours when the network was already overloaded by Netflix and other streams. BitTorrent users wouldn’t mind this throttling, because it often took days to download a big file anyway.

When the FCC took action, Comcast stopped the throttling and imposed bandwidth caps instead. This was a worse solution for everyone. It penalized heavy Netflix viewers, and prevented BitTorrent users from large downloads. Even though BitTorrent users were seen as the victims of this throttling, they’d vastly prefer the throttling over the bandwidth caps.

In both the FaceTime and BitTorrent cases, the issue was “network management”. AT&T had no competing video calling service, Comcast had no competing download service. They were only reacting to the fact their networks were overloaded, and did appropriate things to solve the problem.

Mobile carriers still struggle with the “network management” issue. While their networks are fast, they are still of low capacity, and quickly degrade under heavy use. They are looking for tricks in order to reduce usage while giving consumers maximum utility.

The biggest concern is video. It’s problematic because it’s designed to consume as much bandwidth as it can, throttling itself only when it experiences congestion. This is what you probably want when watching Netflix at the highest possible quality, but it’s bad when confronted with mobile bandwidth caps.

With small mobile devices, you don’t want as much quality anyway. You want the video degraded to lower quality, and lower bandwidth, all the time.

That’s the reasoning behind T-Mobile’s offerings. They offer an unlimited video plan in conjunction with the biggest video providers (Netflix, YouTube, etc.). The catch is that when congestion occurs, they’ll throttle it to lower quality. In other words, they give their bandwidth to all the other phones in your area first, then give you as much of the leftover bandwidth as you want for video.

While it sounds like T-Mobile is doing something evil, “zero-rating” certain video providers and degrading video quality, the FCC allows this, because they recognize it’s in the customer interest.

Mobile providers especially have great interest in more innovation in this area, in order to conserve precious bandwidth, but they are finding it costly. They can’t just innovate, but must ask the FCC permission first. And with the new heavy handed FCC rules, they’ve become hostile to this innovation. This attitude is highlighted by the statement from the “Open Internet” order:

And consumers must be protected, for example from mobile commercial practices masquerading as “reasonable network management.”

This is a clear declaration that free-market doesn’t work and won’t correct abuses, and that that mobile companies are treacherous and will do evil things without FCC oversight.


Ignoring the rhetoric for the moment, the debate comes down to simple left-wing authoritarianism and libertarian principles. The Obama administration created a regulatory regime under clear Democrat principles, and the Trump administration is rolling it back to more free-market principles. There is no principle at stake here, certainly nothing to do with a technical definition of “net neutrality”.

The 2015 “Open Internet” order is not about “treating network traffic neutrally”, because it doesn’t do that. Instead, it’s purely a left-wing document that claims corporations cannot be trusted, must be regulated, and that innovation and prosperity comes from the regulators and not the free market.

It’s not about monopolistic power. The primary targets of regulation are the mobile broadband providers, where there is plenty of competition, and who have the most “network management” issues. Even if it were just about wired broadband (like Comcast), it’s still ignoring the primary ways monopolies profit (raising prices) and instead focuses on bizarre and unlikely ways of rent seeking.

If you are a libertarian who nonetheless believes in this “net neutrality” slogan, you’ve got to do better than mindlessly repeating the arguments of the left-wing. The term itself, “net neutrality”, is just a slogan, varying from person to person, from moment to moment. You have to be more specific. If you truly believe in the “net neutrality” technical principle that all traffic should be treated equally, then you’ll want a rewrite of the “Open Internet” order.

In the end, while libertarians may still support some form of broadband regulation, it’s impossible to reconcile libertarianism with the 2015 “Open Internet”, or the vague things people mean by the slogan “net neutrality”.

Ислямските терористи – как да ги разпознаем

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2100

Преди няколко дни Ислямска държава извърши пореден терористичен атентат.

Ако не сте следили внимателно медиите, може и да сте го пропуснали – повечето го споменаха, но някак с половин уста. За разлика от атентатите в Европа. И дори от атентата срещу руския самолет, в същата държава и кажи-речи на същото място… Става дума за атентата в Египет, в Синай.

Като начало, да се почуди човек откъде дойде този атентат. В Египет хич нямат толерантност към „меките китки“ и подобни. Нито пък приемат бежанци на тонове. Е кой тогава взе, та изби над триста души? Не би трябвало да има кой. Поне ако съдим по преобладаващото сред българите мнение кой и най-вече защо прави атентати в Европа.

А, то имало. Египет е ислямска държава, следователно Ислямска държава направо царува там. Как няма да има кой?… Само че пък възниква въпросът – кого са избили? Понеже, видите ли, атентатът е извършен в джамия. И избитите са се били събрали да се молят там. Мъчи ме подозрение – дали случайно не са били мюсюлмани?

… Още много горчив сарказъм може да се изсипе върху масовите ни заблуди, но надали ще ни излекува. По-добре нека си кажем нещата право в очите.

Атентати на Ислямска държава в Европа или САЩ се вършат към по веднъж годишно, и обикновено отнемат средно по десетина живота. (Не-мюсюлманските атентати, от сорта на този на Брайвик, този в Лас Вегас, този в Орландо отнемат по доста повече.) Атентатите на Ислямска държава в различни ислямски държави са почти ежедневие, и отнемат средно по повече животи. Към 99% от жертвите на атентати на Ислямска държава са мюсюлмани.

Като изключим по някоя и друга бомбардировка от руски или американски самолети, всички реално воюващи с Ислямска държава – иракчани, кюрди, сирийци, турци, иранци – са мюсюлмани. Почти 100% от тези, които реално се бият и рискуват живота си срещу Ислямска държава са мюсюлмани. (Сред жертвите – също.) Немюсюлманите предимно се тупаме по гърдите и приказваме големи приказки. На маса или пред медиите.

На всеки проведен атентат на Ислямска държава в Европа и САЩ се падат купища успешно осуетени от местните власти. Благодарение на информация откъде, би се запитал разсъдливият? В 95% от случаите информацията за някой радикализиран и подготвящ атентат я подават мюсюлмани. Въпреки че в повечето европейски държави са нищожно малцинство – даже в „тотално ислямизираната“ Франция са едва 5% от населението…

И какво се оказва, като погледнем реалността? Основно – да не кажа почти само – потърпевши от Ислямска държава са обикновените мюсюлмани. И пак те са най-решителният, действен и резултатен враг на Ислямска държава. Този, който изнася на гърба си и плаща с кръвта си войната срещу нея.

При това положение колко умна е пропагандата, че всички мюсюлмани са ислямски екстремисти, и най-вече тези дето бягат от Ислямска държава? И колко мъдро е зорлем да се мъчим да отблъснем обикновените мюсюлмани и насила да ги натикаме в обятията на ислямския тероризъм?… Да го вярват искрено пропагандистите не вярвам. Ако наистина бяха чак такива идиоти, нямаше да могат да говорят. Да не говорим за писане на статии, коментари и прочее.

А другата възможност е само една. Както обича да казва Шерлок Холмс, махнете невъзможното и остава истината, колкото и невероятно да звучи.

Накратко – ето ви начинът да разпознаете ислямските терористи и техните помощници. Те са тези, които твърдят, че всеки мюсюлманин или бежанец е потенциален терорист.


След атентата срещу Шарли Ебдо оставих цветенца пред френското посолство. След атентата срещу руския самолет не смогнах да оставя и пред руското посолство, за мой срам. Дано утре или други ден успея да мина и да оставя пред египетското посолство. (То е на улица „6 септември“, точно срещу градинката на „Кристал“, с паметника на Стефан Стамболов.)

Въпрос на човечност е – а тя е въпрос на самоуважение.

NetNeutrality vs. Verizon censoring Naral

Post Syndicated from Robert Graham original http://blog.erratasec.com/2017/11/netneutrality-vs-verizon-censoring-naral.html

People keep retweeting this ACLU graphic in support of net neutrality. It’s wrong. In this post, I debunk the second item. I debunk other items in other posts [1] [4].

Firstly, it’s not a NetNeutrality issue (which applies only to the Internet), but an issue with text-messages. In other words, it’s something that will continue to happen even with NetNeutrality rules. People relate this to NetNeutrality as an analogy, not because it actually is such an issue.

Secondly, it’s an edge/content issue, not a transit issue. The details in this case is that Verizon provides a program for sending bulk messages to its customers from the edge of the network. Verizon isn’t censoring text messages in transit, but from the edge. You can send a text message to your friend on the Verizon network, and it won’t be censored. Thus the analogy is incorrect — the correct analogy would be with content providers like Twitter and Facebook, not ISPs like Comcast.

Like all cell phone vendors, Verizon polices this content, canceling accounts that abuse the system, like spammers. We all agree such censorship is a good thing, and that such censorship of content providers is not remotely a NetNeutrality issue. Content providers do this not because they disapprove of the content of spam such much as the distaste their customers have for spam.
Content providers that are political, rather than neutral to politics is indeed worrisome. It’s not a NetNeutrality issue per se, but it is a general “neutrality” issue. We free-speech activists want all content providers (Twitter, Facebook, Verizon mass-texting programs) to be free of political censorship — though we don’t want government to mandate such neutrality.
But even here, Verizon may be off the hook. They appear not be to be censoring one political view over another, but the controversial/unsavory way Naral expresses its views. Presumably, Verizon would be okay with less controversial political content.

In other words, as Verizon expresses it’s principles, it wants to block content that drivers away customers, but is otherwise neutral to the content. While this may unfairly target controversial political content, it’s at least basically neutral.

So in conclusion, while activists portray this as a NetNeutrality issue, it isn’t. It’s not even close.

И в България е като в Америка…

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2097

Колкото ме отблъсква горчилката в него, толкова ме е и страх, че е вярно. (И ако смените Америка с коя да е бяла държава, не се променя.)

Авторът му предпочита да остане анонимен.


В България е като в Америка. Във всяко отношение.

В Америка можеш да застанеш пред Белия дом и да ругаеш президента – не те заплашва нищо лошо. В България също можеш да застанеш пред Президентството и да ругаеш американския президент – също не те заплашва нищо лошо.

В Америка можеш свободно да изобличаваш корупцията и мафията във вестниците – ще те публикуват. В България също можеш свободно да изобличаваш американската корупция и мафия във вестниците – ще те публикуват.

Ако в Америка мутри с връзки ти пречат на бизнеса, отиваш където ги няма и си решаваш проблема. Ако в България мутри с връзки ти пречат на бизнеса, отиваш в Америка, където ги няма, и също си решаваш проблема.

Ако в Америка те дадат под съд, можеш да разчиташ на честен съдебен процес. Ако в България те дадат под съд и си американец, също можеш да разчиташ на честен съдебен процес.

Ако в Америка имаш работа в добра фирма, живееш добре. Ако в България имаш работа в добра американска фирма, също живееш добре.

Ако в Америка спазваш закона и имаш гражданство, няма защо да те е страх от органите на реда. Ако в България спазваш закона и имаш американско гражданство, също няма защо да те е страх от органите на реда.

Органът, който е най-вероятно да защити интересите на американския гражданин, е американската държава. Органът, който е най-вероятно да защити интересите на българския гражданин, също е американската държава.

Ако в Америка тръгнеш да говориш пред всички, че управниците в България са мафиоти до един, сигурно доста хора ще те сметнат за луд. Ако в България тръгнеш да говориш пред всички, че управниците ни са мафиоти до един, също сигурно доста хора ще те сметнат за луд.

Американците имат такава държава, каквато са си направили. Българите също имаме такава държава, каквато сме си направили.

Анатомия на соц-типа: Съветският човек в емиграция

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2092

Този запис е превод от блога на Андрей Шипилов – или, както казва той, неговото лично информационно средство. Благодаря на Вени Марковски, че ме насочи към него.

Оригиналът е тук. Ако знаете руски, прочетете него – преводът ми е бледа сянка. Ние нямаме съответствия на руските думи „совок“ и „ватник“, които да носят същите многозначимост и емоционален заряд.

Прав ли е Шипилов? Не зная, нямам много наблюдения върху руски емигранти. Но върху българските имам. Тези, които са успели да попият западната нормалната ценностна система, са изключително читави хора. Има обаче и неуспели – и те с точност покриват описанието тук. Човек лесно можеш да го извадиш от комунизма, но комунизмът от човека – понякога е трудно.

Понеже България с доста точност покрива описанието на Русия тук. Когато четете „Русия“, мислете „България“. Надали ще сбъркате много.


За начало един виц, който отразява до немай-къде точно същността на тези редове:

Затворническа килия. Двама рецидивисти гледат по телевизора юбилейния концерт на Алла Пугачова. Единият отбелязва:

– Кат си помислиш само, Пугачова е на шейсет вече, а как само изглежда! Как ли се поддържа?


– Как как? Цял живот на свобода. И се храни здравословно – сланинка, маргаринче, тортички, пържолки…

И сам се сблъсквам с това, и непрекъснато чувам отвсякъде недоумяващи възгласи. Как така хората, дето са избягали на Запад от СССР и после от Русия, от същия този комунизъм, на Запад се превръщат в негови най-предани поклонници и пропагандисти?

Защо най-възторжените поддръжници на превземането на Крим и руската имперщина са бивши съветски и руски граждани, избягали на Запад? Защо след като избягат от комунизма, те го пренасят със себе си и се опитват да го налагат в сегашното си обкръжение?

(Бележка от преводача: Чувам понякога, че е „понеже там всъщност е зле“. Е като им е толкова зле там, защо не се връщат тук? Нямат пари за път ли, насила ли ги държат там или…?)

На практика всичко е простичко. Сядайте наоколо, ще ви обясня!

Мъдрият сенатор Маккейн беше нарекъл Русия страна-бензиностанция. Прав беше, само че беше сгрешил. Прав в смисъл, че съвременна Русия изобщо не е страна. А сгрешил, понеже я приемаше за бензиностанция.

Какво е бензиностанцията? За разлика от Русия е полезно и нужно нещо. Общото ѝ с Русия е само че и двете търгуват с петролни продукти.

Русия обаче не е бензиностанция. Русия е един огромен концлагер.

Да, да, знам. Често я сравняват с концлагер. Нищо ново не казвам.

Само че не я сравнявам! Не употребявам тази дума като епитет, нито в преносен смисъл. Русия е съвсем истински концлагер, маскиран като страна. В него няма граждани и правителство. Има затворници и лагерна администрация.

Преценете сами! Ако живеете в Русия, всеки от вас може във всеки момент да бъде лишен от собственост, свобода и живот. Просто по прищявка на лагерната администрация, без никаква вина от ваша страна, или пък повод.

Когато си купувате жилище или вила, имате ли каквато и да е гаранция, че те са наистина ваши? Че утре няма да дойдат и да ви кажат, че владеете това незаконно и трябва да се разделите с него? Или няма просто да ви ги съборят, понеже пречат на Някого?

Не сте ли чували от най-високопоставени усти изявления като „Никой няма право да се прикрива зад разни хартийки за собственост!“?

Когато започвате бизнес, убедени ли сте, че той е ваш? Че утре няма да ви го вземат, че няма да ви съборят лавката само защото на нейно място трябва да застане лавката на „по-правилен“ човек?

Убедени ли сте, че ще бъдете в безопасност, ако се окажете на пътя на някой фуражкаджия или друг представител на лагерната администрация?

Че ако такъв „представител“ блъсне детето ви, няма в кръвта на детето да открият огромни количества алкохол? Че родственикът ви, който е бил блъснат на пешеходна пътека от кола „с лампа“, няма да се окаже сам виновен? И че ако потърсите справедливост, няма внезапно да ви претърсят, да открият наркотици и да ви вкарат в затвора?

Вие ли решавате дали ще ядете френски пармезан или турски зеленчуци, или го решава за вас лагерната администрация? Как и на какво ще бъде учено детето ви? От вас ли зависи дали ще бъде платено или не лечението на детето ви, ако не дай боже то се разболее тежко? Можете ли да решите дали ще получава обезболяващи страдащ от хронична болка ваш родител?

Искате да ме убедите, че всичко това са нормални отношения между граждани и правителство на една държава? Не. Нормални са, когато са между концлагеристи и лагерна администрация.

Както във всеки концлагер, и в Русия има неформална йерархия. За разлика от концлагерната, тя не се ограничава с няколко простички нива. Руската концлагерна йерархия е много по-многослойна и разклонена. Само дето това не променя същността ѝ.

В неформалната концлагерна йерархия, която пронизва цялото руско общество, шофьорът на третия заместник на младшия помощник на някой прокурор стои несравнимо по-високо, отколкото някой действителен член на Академията на науките и Нобелов лауреат. Прокурорският шофьор може просто да прегази академика и няма изобщо да бъде наказан за това. А академикът не може дума напреки да каже на шофьора.

Защото шофьорът е член на лагерната администрация, а академикът е просто концлагерист, ако и по-привилегирован от повечето.

Мястото в хранителната екосистема на руския концлагер се определя именно от положението в тази неформална концлагерно-криминална йерархия. Нито заплатата, нито името на длъжността, нито количеството собственост нямат никакво значение на фона на концлагерната йерархия.

Именно затова целият живот на човек в Русия се състои от постоянно отстояване на мястото си в тази йерархия. От ежедневни и ежеминутни опити да демонстрира на околните, че дори само за миг, но точно в този момент и тази точка на времето и пространството, той заема по-високо положение.

Вие дори не го забелязвате!

Тази демонстрация на позиции в лагерната йерархия до такава степен е част от живота на съветския човек (казвам „съветски“, а не „руски“, понеже този типаж е характерен далеч не само за Русия), станала е толкова обикновена и неразделна част от ежедневието, че човек не я осъзнава, не вижда в нея нищо особено и не разбира как би могло да е иначе.

Лекарят в поликлиниката с чувство на гордо удовлетворение ще откаже да ви приеме, понеже сте закъснели десет минути. Не защото е зает или има други пациенти, а защото се е намерил формален повод да ви демонстрира, че той е „по-главният“.

Вие ще тичате към току-що пуснатата каса в супермаркета, разблъсквайки с лакти околните, не защото бързате и е важно да спестите една минута. А защото, когато се окажете пред всички, вие ще демонстрирате „предимство“, и като че ли ще заемете за миг мъничко по-високо стъпало в йерархията.

Касиерът в същия супермаркет високомерно ще ви дръпне лекция по повод… по какъвто и да е повод, който успее да намери, за да ви покаже, че точно тук и в този момент той, като длъжностно лице в супермаркета, стои над вас.

Вие няма да пропуснете другата кола, с която сте се засрещнали на тясна уличка, не защото ви е работа да ѝ попречите да мине, или ще спечелите нещо от това. А защото отстъпите ли път на някого, с това ще принизите в собствените си очи позицията си в концлагерната йерархия.

Ще се хвърляте да „наливате акъл“ на отнелия ви предимство на пътя джигит не защото разчитате с това да му помогнете да се поправи, а за да му покажете, че мястото му в йерархията е под вашето.

Съветските хора почти никога не се извиняват и не признават грешките си. Защото да се окажеш неправ е неприемливо! Признавайки грешката си, ти се съгласяваш с това да заемеш по-ниско място в йерархията!

Съветските хора не съобщават в полицията, когато някой нарушава закона. Не защото те одобряват и поддържат нарушаването на закона, а понеже да донасяш по концлагерните мерки е неприемливо. Концлагеристите трябва да се подкрепят един друг в отношенията с лагерната администрация. Ако съобщиш за престъпление на съседа, ти с това предаваш братството на концлагеристите и минаваш на страната на администрацията, ставаш „слухар“.

И вие живеете в този концлагер и ежедневно и ежеминутно вършите тези идиотски постъпки, без да се замисляте за същността им. Целият ви живот, даже ако не го осъзнавате, е подчинен на тази една цел – да обозначите място в лагерната йерархия и да дадете на околните да разберат, че вие сте в нея по-високо от тях. Повтарям – вие даже не го осъзнавате. Не го осъзнавате, понеже никога не сте живели в общество без концлагерна йерархия и не разбирате, че е възможно иначе.

В западния свят също е пълно с най-различни йерархии – служебни, професионални, корпоративни, семейни. Там обаче няма такава глобална йерархия, която да пронизва цялото общество отгоре додолу. Няма концлагерна йерархия, понеже там е не концлагер, а страна.

Там има не лагерна администрация и концлагеристи, а правителство и граждани. И ако случайно правителството там вземе да реши да определя могат ли гражданите да ядат пармезан или не, тогава… всъщност, няма нищо да стане, понеже на никой и през ум няма да му мине, че подобно нещо е работа на правителството. То не е. Работа е на лагерната администрация.

Проблемът на съветския човек е, че когато се окаже на Запад, той продължава да запазва този си шаблон на поведение. Продължава да демонстрира на околните мястото си в лагерната йерархия. Само че йерархията я няма! Той демонстрира място, а йерархията я няма! И той не разбира какво става. Нали дори не осъзнава, че това което върши, е демонстриране на място в йерархия. Просто се държи така, както е свикнал при соца. И реакцията на околните на неговото поведение го хвърля в смут.

Съветският човек хуква към току-що пуснатата каса в супермаркета, а околните вместо да му преграждат пътя и да се опитват да го изместят, му отстъпват път с любезни усмивки. Те виждат нещо съвсем различно от това, което вижда съветският човек. В Русия публиката, която вижда някой да се прережда, не го пуска – това е неприемливо, който те предреди, те е изместил в йерархията! А западнякът вижда, че човекът бърза, и значи е хубаво да му бъде отстъпен път! Напълно логична реакция.

Съветският човек обаче възприема това като слабост. След като ме пускат, мисли си той, значи са слабаци. значи ми отстъпват място в йерархията, и трябва успехът да бъде закрепен! И започва да „закрепва“ успеха си, и този път получава категоричен отпор. И много болезнен.

Защото като „закрепваш успеха“, е много лесно да прекрачиш границата, която разделя „демонстрация на място в йерархията“ от „нарушаване на правата на другите“. И соц-типът винаги я прекрачва. Той нито разбира местните реалности, нито се опитва да ги разбере. Нито пък, между другото, разбира какво е това „правата на другите“!

Само че западният човек може да не разбира какво е „борба за място в йерархията“, поради липсата на такава в обществото му, но фактът на нарушаване на правата му го разбира отлично. А умението да се сражава за правата си той го е попил с млякото на майка си, която пък е получила това умение от много поколения свободни предци.

Няколко картинки от натура, на които ми се е налагало да бъда свидетел:

Пристига руски юнак на чуждото море да се попече на слънце, и най-напред демонстрира на всички околни мястото си в йерархията по най-простия и достъпен способ – наема яка лимузина за четиристотин евро на денонощие. И я настъпва по местния аутобан.

Кажете обаче, кой мухльо ще се влачи със сто и двайсет по такъв разкошен аутобан с такава яка кола? А пък не можеш да я настъпиш – непрекъснато ти се мотаят отпред таратайките на разни аборигени. И когато един местен съвсем прекалява – не ще да отбие на банкета и да му освободи пътя – нашият герой решава по руски обичай да му преподаде урок. Задминава го, завива рязко пред него и се изправя на спирачките! Дръпне малко напред – пак на спирачките! И е много учуден, когато на изхода на магистралата го спира пътна полиция.

Какво са обаче някакви западни ченгета пред руския герой! Знае си той мястото в йерархията, то е много над разните там нобелови лауреати. За негово учудване обаче, опитът да сложи досадните куки на мястото им приключва с тримесечен престой в кауша. Почти на брега на морето, само дето не на плажа, а зад решетките.

Или пък друга история. Поредният съветски човек взима под наем апартамент на брега на морето, и пристигайки на новото местожителство, първата му работа е да заеме най-удобното паркомясто в комплекса. Само че то си има собственик, който го притежава. Вижда този собственик, че някой използва неговото паркомясто, и оставя под чистачките вежлива записка с молба да паркират другаде. Съветският човек възприема това като атака и опит да го свалят надолу по йерархичната стълбица. Демонстративно накъсва записката на парченца и продължава да паркира там. Собственикът улавя момент, когато съветският човек тъкмо паркира, идва при него и се опитва вежливо да му обясни, че това място е негова собственост и той не е давал разрешение за паркиране. И получава отговор:

– Ти това място не го използваш, значи е свободно и ще паркирам на него аз. Защото така ми е удобно, защо!

Гледа съветският човек как собственикът си тръгва, радва се колко лесно е показал на тоя мухльо къде му е мястото в йерархията, прибира се, но след десет минути покоя му го нарушават полицаи. Дошли да му съставят протокол за незаконно навлизане в частна собственост. Разбирайки, че посещението на полицаите го е свалило по йерархичната стълбица чак додолу, съветският човек отива при собственика на паркомястото, за да възстановява изгубените позиции и да обясни на този урод, че читавите момци не тропат на ченгетата. И отново го навестяват полицаите, но този път след протокола следва посещение в съда и депортиране.

Разбира се, случаи с толкова екстремален завършек като затвор или депортация са редки. Обикновено сраженията, които водят соц-типовете на Запад за място в несъществуващата йерархия, са много по-дребни и получените уроци не са толкова болезнени. Неизменно обаче остава едно. Соц-типът се опитва да заеме място в местната йерархия – и се проваля! Пак се опитва да заеме място – пак се проваля!

Той не разбира, че причината за провала е, че там просто не съществува концлагерна йерархия. Той възприема всеки свой неуспешен опит да заеме място в нея като спускане в нея. И накрая в един момент почва да се чувства на дъното ѝ.

Тогава на него (в представите му) му остава само едно – да се прилепи към някоя яка глутница. Ако не може личният му статут, поне статутът на глутницата му да бъде по-висок. Само че бедата продължава – там не само концлагерни йерархии няма, ама май и вълчи глутници също.

И тогава погледът му се обръща към напуснатата родина. Да, той е избягал от този концлагер, но в него поне е имал някакъв статус, ако и не висок. Все пак е бил малко над дъното, а не точно на него. И… я как само се плашат тук всички от Путин! Я как само Русия огъва де когото свари! Сирия! Крим е наш! Значи Русия е яка глутница! И щом съм руснак, значи съм член на тази глутница!

Ей, вие наоколо, я ме чуйте! Аз не съм ви тукашната последна дупка на кавала, както си мислите! Аз съм член на яка глутница, уважавайте ме! Ама защо пак не ме уважавате? Като дойде Путин, ще ви даде да разберете! Ей, Вова, я ги постави тези тук на място!

Попреувеличено е малко, но тъй като живея на Запад, доста пъти съм виждал този процес. И уверявам ви, в основата на целия този „кримнашизъм“ и „великорусизъм“ сред дошлите на Запад е само желанието да демонстрират на околните принадлежността си към силна глутница. Нищо друго.

Миналия уикенд бях свидетел как един бивш съветски експат, а сега просто емигрирал ватенкаджия, започна да се възхищава в компанията на себеподобни от „великия Путин“ и „Крим е наш“. И изведнъж бая грубичко го сложиха на мястото му: „Ти пък какво отношение имаш към това, нали не си руски гражданин?“

Ще рече простичко: „Не се притривай към силната ни глутница, ти не си неин член!“

IoT Cybersecurity: What’s Plan B?

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/10/iot_cybersecuri.html

In August, four US Senators introduced a bill designed to improve Internet of Things (IoT) security. The IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017 is a modest piece of legislation. It doesn’t regulate the IoT market. It doesn’t single out any industries for particular attention, or force any companies to do anything. It doesn’t even modify the liability laws for embedded software. Companies can continue to sell IoT devices with whatever lousy security they want.

What the bill does do is leverage the government’s buying power to nudge the market: any IoT product that the government buys must meet minimum security standards. It requires vendors to ensure that devices can not only be patched, but are patched in an authenticated and timely manner; don’t have unchangeable default passwords; and are free from known vulnerabilities. It’s about as low a security bar as you can set, and that it will considerably improve security speaks volumes about the current state of IoT security. (Full disclosure: I helped draft some of the bill’s security requirements.)

The bill would also modify the Computer Fraud and Abuse and the Digital Millennium Copyright Acts to allow security researchers to study the security of IoT devices purchased by the government. It’s a far narrower exemption than our industry needs. But it’s a good first step, which is probably the best thing you can say about this legislation.

However, it’s unlikely this first step will even be taken. I am writing this column in August, and have no doubt that the bill will have gone nowhere by the time you read it in October or later. If hearings are held, they won’t matter. The bill won’t have been voted on by any committee, and it won’t be on any legislative calendar. The odds of this bill becoming law are zero. And that’s not just because of current politics — I’d be equally pessimistic under the Obama administration.

But the situation is critical. The Internet is dangerous — and the IoT gives it not just eyes and ears, but also hands and feet. Security vulnerabilities, exploits, and attacks that once affected only bits and bytes now affect flesh and blood.

Markets, as we’ve repeatedly learned over the past century, are terrible mechanisms for improving the safety of products and services. It was true for automobile, food, restaurant, airplane, fire, and financial-instrument safety. The reasons are complicated, but basically, sellers don’t compete on safety features because buyers can’t efficiently differentiate products based on safety considerations. The race-to-the-bottom mechanism that markets use to minimize prices also minimizes quality. Without government intervention, the IoT remains dangerously insecure.

The US government has no appetite for intervention, so we won’t see serious safety and security regulations, a new federal agency, or better liability laws. We might have a better chance in the EU. Depending on how the General Data Protection Regulation on data privacy pans out, the EU might pass a similar security law in 5 years. No other country has a large enough market share to make a difference.

Sometimes we can opt out of the IoT, but that option is becoming increasingly rare. Last year, I tried and failed to purchase a new car without an Internet connection. In a few years, it’s going to be nearly impossible to not be multiply connected to the IoT. And our biggest IoT security risks will stem not from devices we have a market relationship with, but from everyone else’s cars, cameras, routers, drones, and so on.

We can try to shop our ideals and demand more security, but companies don’t compete on IoT safety — and we security experts aren’t a large enough market force to make a difference.

We need a Plan B, although I’m not sure what that is. E-mail me if you have any ideas.

This essay previously appeared in the September/October issue of IEEE Security & Privacy.

Private Torrent Sites Allow Users to Mine Cryptocurrency for Upload Credit

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/private-torrent-sites-allow-users-to-mine-cryptocurrency-for-upload-credit-171008/

Ever since The Pirate Bay crew added a cryptocurrency miner to their site last month, the debate over user mining has sizzled away in the background.

The basic premise is that a piece of software embedded in a website runs on a user’s machine, utilizing its CPU cycles in order to generate revenue for the site in question. But not everyone likes it.

The main problem has centered around consent. While some sites are giving users the option of whether to be involved or not, others simply run the miner without asking. This week, one site operator suggested to TF that since no one asks whether they can run “shitty” ads on a person’s machine, why should they ask permission to mine?

It’s a controversial point, but it would be hard to find users agreeing on either front. They almost universally insist on consent, wherever possible. That’s why when someone comes up with something innovative to solve a problem, it catches the eye.

Earlier this week a user on Reddit posted a screenshot of a fairly well known private tracker. The site had implemented a mining solution not dissimilar to that appearing on other similar platforms. This one, however, gives the user something back.

Mining for coins – with a twist

First of all, it’s important to note the implementation. The decision to mine is completely under the control of the user, with buttons to start or stop mining. There are even additional controls for how many CPU threads to commit alongside a percentage utilization selector. While still early days, that all sounds pretty fair.

Where this gets even more interesting is how this currency mining affects so-called “upload credit”, an important commodity on a private tracker without which users can be prevented from downloading any content at all.

Very quickly: when BitTorrent users download content, they simultaneously upload to other users too. The idea is that they download X megabytes and upload the same number (at least) to other users, to ensure that everyone in a torrent swarm (a number of users sharing together) gets a piece of the action, aka the content in question.

The amount of content downloaded and uploaded on a private tracker is monitored and documented by the site. If a user has 1TB downloaded and 2TB uploaded, for example, he has 1TB in credit. In basic terms, this means he can download at least 1TB of additional content before he goes into deficit, a position undesirable on a private tracker.

Now, getting more “upload credit” can be as simple as uploading more, but some users find that difficult, either due to the way a tracker’s economy works or simply due to not having resources. If this is the case, some sites allow people to donate real money to receive “upload credit”. On the tracker highlighted in the mining example above, however, it’s possible to virtually ‘trade-in’ some of the mining effort instead.

Tracker politics aside (some people believe this is simply a cash grab opportunity), from a technical standpoint the prospect is quite intriguing.

In a way, the current private tracker system allows users to “mine” upload credits by donating bandwidth to other users of the site. Now they have the opportunity to mine an actual cryptocurrency on the tracker and have some of it converted back into the tracker’s native ‘currency’ – upload credit – which can only be ‘spent’ on the site. Meanwhile, the site’s operator can make a few bucks towards site maintenance.

Another example showing how innovative these mining implementations can be was posted by a member of a second private tracker. Although it’s unclear whether mining is forced or optional, there appears to be complete transparency for the benefit of the user.

The mining ‘Top 10’ on a private tracker

In addition to displaying the total number of users mining and the hashes solved per second, the site publishes a ‘Top 10’ list of users mining the most currently, and overall. Again, some people might not like the concept of users mining at all, but psychologically this is a particularly clever implementation.

Utilizing the desire of many private tracker users to be recognizable among their peers due to their contribution to the platform, the charts give a user a measurable status in the community, at least among those who care about such things. Previously these charts would list top uploaders of content but the addition of a ‘Top miner’ category certainly adds some additional spice to the mix.

Mining is a controversial topic which isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. But, for all its faults, it’s still a way for sites to generate revenue, away from the pitfalls of increasingly hostile and easy-to-trace alternative payment systems. The Pirate Bay may have set the cat among the pigeons last month, but it also gave the old gray matter a boost too.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

Признаците на фашизма

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2085

Това е статия, написана през 1995 г. и публикувана във вестник „Невское время“. Авторът ѝ е един от най-мъдрите и дълбоки фантасти – Борис Стругацки.

Превеждам я тук едно към едно. Без никакво зачитане на авторски права. И смятам, че ако Борис Стругацки беше жив, щеше да ми благодари. Защото докато човек го помнят, той е жив. А такива като него трябва да бъдат помнени. Най-малко заради нас самите.

И защото фашизмът не си е тръгнал, и го има предостатъчно – и тук, и в други страни. Иска ли човек да се бори с една болест, трябва да познава симптомите ѝ. (Не зная дали ще събера някой ден смелостта да стъпя в гигантските обувки на Борис Стругацки и да напиша за разпознаването на причинителите на тази болест и лечението ѝ.)


Чумата е в нашия дом. Да я лекуваме не умеем. Нещо повече, масово не умеем дори да поставим правилната диагноза. И заразеният вече често не забелязва, че е болен и сее заразата.

Култ към традицията

Сам по себе си традиционализмът е древно явление и чудесно си съществува без всякакъв фашизъм. Всички известни фашистки движения обаче се опират на идеите на традиционалисти, които търсят смисъл в наследството от миналото. В древни символи, народни ритуали, легенди и митология. Като пример можем да си припомним използването от нацистите на езически символи, включително свастиката, и символите и ритуалите на Свещената римска империя. Възхваляването на мъдростта и традициите на предците до равнището на всенароден култ утвърждава традиционните възгледи, порядки и устои като неоспоримо праведни. Съответно всяко развитие на познанието и убежденията, всяка еволюция на манталитета и на ценностната система биват смятани за априори грешни и вредни явления. За традиционалистите правдата е отдавна очертана, и всяко отклонение от нея може да бъде единствено в посока на неправдата и злото.

Отричане на съвременността

Традиционалистите възприемат враждебно новите технологии и повеи, понеже виждат в тях предизвикателство към традиционните духовни ценности. И макар че и италианските фашисти, и германските нацисти са се гордеели с индустриалните си достижения, цялата им идеология е построена на отричане на съвременния свят. За тях той е плод на западната капиталистическа плутокрация и нравственото разложение на епохата на Възраждането, противопоставила на традиционните ценности такова мерзко нещо като здравия разум.

Действие заради действието

Фашистите от 1930-те са се отнасяли с пренебрежение към интелектуалците, понеже интелектуалното мислене поставя всяко действия под въпроса „защо“. Фашистите упорито не желаят да обосновават действията си, понеже намират прелест в самото действие, даже ако то няма рационално обяснение. Маршове, погроми, смени на символиката, черни ризи, хитлеристки приветствия, помпозни съоръжения без практическо приложение – всичко това трудно може да даде рационален отговор на въпроса „защо“. С поставянето на този въпрос интелигенцията винаги е предизвиквала лютата ненавист на фашистите, и те са я обвинявали в предателство към традиционните ценности.

Несъгласието е предателство

Фашизмът не допуска плурализъм на мненията. За традиционалистите истината е една и всички, които се опитват да я поставят под въпрос, са врагове и предатели.


Този древен животински инстинкт – неприязънта към всичко другородно, чуждестранно, непонятно, непривично, ненормално – е благодатна почва за зараждането на фашизма. То е особено важен признак на фашистката идеология – деленето на хората на „наши“ и „не наши“.

Раздразнение сред масите

Неслучайно фашистките движения винаги са набирали особена популярност когато широките слоеве на обществото са преживявали трудни времена, катаклизми, икономическа стагнация, национални унижения (като например в Германия след Първата световна). Обидата и злобата сред широките маси ги прави възприемчиви към агресивни призиви. Раздразненият човек е по-малко склонен да мисли рационално. На него му се иска да излее агресията си.

Спекулиране с патриотизъм

В общество, което страда от комплекс за непълноценност, фашизмът изглежда като някакъв вид лекарство. Той въздига в основен повод за гордост това, което е свойствено на почти всички – да са се родили в тази страна. Идеята на патриотизма работи ефективно само при наличието на външни врагове. Без тях тя губи какъвто и да е смисъл.

Хората трябва да се чувстват обкръжени от врагове.

Образът на врага

Врагът трябва да изглежда едновременно силен и слаб. Той може да бъде по-богат, по-развит, по-добре въоръжен, но трябва да е също така глупав и страхлив. По такъв начин в самия образ на врага се залага сценарий, който вдъхновява патриотите – как по-слабият, но по-хитър и смел задължително ще победи накрая. Повярват ли в този образ, хората няма да разбират пред колко сериозна заплаха са, тъй като ще вярват в неизбежната победа.

Култ към силата и властта

Идеята за народния елитизъм – принадлежност към най-великия народ на света – сама по себе си подразбира превъзходство на едни над други, на по-добрите над по-лошие, на по-силните над по-слабите. Ако нашият народ е най-силният, героичен и духовно праведен, значи има и народи на обратния край – най-слаби, жалки и гнусни. При такъв подход един народ трябва да предизвиква възхищение, а друг (или всички други) – съответно презрение. Ако обществото допуска такава логика, то и вътре в самото него се формира елитарна йерархия, която култивира силата и презира слабостта. Висшестоящите ги възнасят до небесата, силата и храбростта на вождовете бива прославяна, а в низшестоящите си изтриват краката.

Култ към героизма и смъртта

Във фашисткото общество героизмът е норма. Всеки е длъжен да бъде герой, да извършва подвизи, и ако е необходимо, да даде живота си за Родината. Нещо повече – именно героичната смърт е основният вдъхновяващ образ, който фашистките идеолози транслират към своите последователи. Те възхваляват падналите герои и разпространяват истории за подвизите им. Тази тема е много популярна в съвременните песни от жанра „Бялата сила“.

(Бел. прев. – „Бялата сила“ е популярен песенен жанр в Русия. Типичните му теми са славянско-богатирско-патриотични, паднали герои и т.н.)

Култ към мъжествеността

Фашизмът има мъжко лице. И не само лице. Той е груба и агресивна идеология с лице на брутален мачо и алфа-самец. Фашистите обикновено придават на вождовете си именно такъв образ. Джентълмените не се вписват в него, те биват смятани за женствени и биват презирани. Този образ е силно привлекателен, тъй като се опира на основните животински инстинкти за размножаване и стадно поведение.

Избирателен популизъм

От една страна фашизмът е по начало популистка идеология, която мобилизира мнозинството, като дава прости отговори на вълнуващите го проблеми (които предварително му създава). Дразнят ви мигрантите? Да ги изгоним! Дразнят ви гейовете? Да ги забраним! Омръзнали са ви корупционерите? Ще започнем борба с корупционерите! (Или ще я симулира.)

Фашистите винаги оправдават действията си с „волята на народа“. Ясно е, че няма как да има воля, обща за целия народ. В най-добрия случай може да има воля на мнозинството. Фашистите нямат намерение да се съобразяват с волята на мнозинството по въпроси, които не се вписват във фашистката парадигма, така че си присвояват ролята на „глас на обществото“.

Всеки човек трябва да вярва, че действията на фашистките власти винаги отразяват волята на народа, и че ако той се съмнява, значи е сам и изолиран. Присвоявайки си ролята на глас на народа, фашистите се опитват да дискредитират всички свои противници като предатели и антинародни наемници на външни врагове.

Именно с помощта на такава риторика фашистите успяват да убедят масите, че демократичните институции и парламентът не са в състояние да изпълняват волята на народа, и затова основната власт трябва да бъде поверена на „гласа на народа“. Точно така са протекли нещата в Германия и Италия, където парламентарната демокрация е била заменена с фашизъм именно със съгласието на широките маси.

Подмяна на понятията

Фашизмът може да се върне и под маската на борба с фашизма. Уинстън Чърчил казва: „Фашистите на бъдещето ще се наричат антифашисти.“

Коренът на фашизма и досега живее сред нас и може да се възражда под най-невинен облик. Дори под облика на борба с фашизма. Тъй като думата „фашист“ отдавна вече е нарицателно, съвременните фашисти със сигурност няма да се кичат с нея. Могат обаче в най-добрите традиции на Оруеловия новоезик и подмяна на понятията да лепнат клеймото „фашист“ на враговете си. А както вече знаем, за да станеш враг на фашиста е достатъчно да си несъгласен с политиката му, която той спокойно може да нарече „антифашистка“. Противоречивостта и ирационалността са естествени черти на фашизма.


Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2082

– Тате, тате, какво е това патриотизъм?

– Това, сине, е когато цял народ работи здраво и упорито, за да можем ние политиците да живеем като царе, да сме милиардери без да работим, да имаме купища имоти и тайни сметки в чужбина, и така нататък.

– Тате, абе народът не е ли несъгласен да се гърби за нас? Не протестира ли?

– Понякога да, момчето ми. Когато народът не е съгласен да се гърби за нас, това е екстремизъм. А когато протестира, това е тероризъм.

Играта на доверие

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2081

Напоследък навсякъде – а в България май повече, отколкото на много други места – си струва човек да си зададе няколко прости въпроса.

Кога хората си вярват? Кога не си вярват? Защо си вярват, или не си вярват? И как да направим така, че да могат да си вярват повече?

Достатъчно лъганите почват да имат усещането, че тези въпроси не са по силите на обикновените смъртни, че единствено някое божество може да ги разреши.

Има ли такова божество? За щастие, да. И вярващите, и атеистите си приличат по едно – безусловната вяра в него. За всички неговата воля е непоклатима, и неговото слово е пример за истина от последна инстанция, нерушима при никакви обстоятелства. Името на това божество е математика, а словото му е „2 + 2 = 4“.

Можем ли да призовем математиката на помощ за тези отговори? Оказва се, че да. За пръв път го е направил още през 1984 г. Робърт Акселрод, в книгата си „Еволюцията на сътрудничеството“. По-късно темата също е чоплена от много други учени. Трудовете им обаче често са обемисти и трудносмилаеми за простосмъртните.

Затова се въодушевих толкова, когато един читател тук пусна в коментар един интересен линк. Намерих на него интересна, весела и увлекателна игра, която направо ми грабна вниманието. И пътем обясни на прост човешки език основите на това, което ни кара да се доверяваме или да не се доверяваме на другите.

Идеята ме запали. Скалъпих набързо български превод и го пратих на автора на играта – двайсетинагодишно момче на име Ники Кейс. След няколко дни получих линк към българоезична версия на играта онлайн – и доказателство колко любопитен и дълбок ум има този „младок“.

Препоръчвам играта на всички. Пробвайте я и се учете. И най-вече разпространявайте линковете. Мисля, че всички имаме нужда от нейните простички, ясни и разбираеми обяснения и изводи.

Англоезичната версия можете да откриете на http://ncase.me/trust/. Преведената от мен на български (моля, не ма бийте много) – на http://ncase.me/trust-bg/.

Приятна игра! 🙂

Security Flaw in Estonian National ID Card

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/09/security_flaw_i.html

We have no idea how bad this really is:

On 30 August, an international team of researchers informed the Estonian Information System Authority (RIA) of a vulnerability potentially affecting the digital use of Estonian ID cards. The possible vulnerability affects a total of almost 750,000 ID-cards issued starting from October 2014, including cards issued to e-residents. The ID-cards issued before 16 October 2014 use a different chip and are not affected. Mobile-IDs are also not impacted.

My guess is that it’s worse than the politicians are saying:

According to Peterkop, the current data shows this risk to be theoretical and there is no evidence of anyone’s digital identity being misused. “All ID-card operations are still valid and we will take appropriate actions to secure the functioning of our national digital-ID infrastructure. For example, we have restricted the access to Estonian ID-card public key database to prevent illegal use.”

And because this system is so important in local politics, the effects are significant:

In the light of current events, some Estonian politicians called to postpone the upcoming local elections, due to take place on 16 October. In Estonia, approximately 35% of the voters use digital identity to vote online.

But the Estonian prime minister, Jüri Ratas, said at a press conference on 5 September that “this incident will not affect the course of the Estonian e-state.” Ratas also recommended to use Mobile-IDs where possible. The prime minister said that the State Electoral Office will decide whether it will allow the usage of ID cards at the upcoming local elections.

The Estonian Police and Border Guard estimates it will take approximately two months to fix the issue with faulty cards. The authority will involve as many Estonian experts as possible in the process.

This is exactly the sort of thing I worry about as ID systems become more prevalent and more centralized. Anyone want to place bets on whether a foreign country is going to try to hack the next Estonian election?

Another article.

Имиграционният проектозакон на Котън и Пердю

Post Syndicated from Григор original http://www.gatchev.info/blog/?p=2077

Преди няколко дни един мой познат, който се интересува от имигриране в Америка, се обърна към мен с въпрос. Научил, че Тръмп предлага нова система от имиграционни правила, и се интересуваше какви са те.

Проучих темата и му обясних нещата. След това се замислих – защо да стискам тази информация за себе си? Може би ще е полезна за още някого… Ето я.

Имиграционната система е предложена от американските сенатори Том Котън и Дейвид Пердю, и подкрепена от президента Тръмп. Базирана е на т.нар. RAISE Act, предложен по-рано тази година от същите сенатори. Целта ѝ е „даване на шанс на американските работници и намаляване на легалната имиграция до историческите ѝ нива“. (Към момента САЩ приемат около 1 милион имигранти годишно – целта е намаляване на този брой наполовина.)

Тя все още не е приета от Конгреса и Сената – всъщност, към момента (20 август 2017 г.) дори не е обсъждана там. Няма гаранции, че ще бъде приета. Няма гаранции, че ако бъде приета, няма да бъде променена в каквото и да било отношение. Тук я представям каквато е в първоначалното предложение на двамата сенатори.

По същество тя е точкова система, подобна на тези в Канада и Австралия. Повечето сегашни имиграционни категории се премахват – например лотарията „зелена карта“ и спонсорирането на роднини, с изключение на съпрузи и малолетни деца на американски граждани. Броят на приетите бежанци се ограничава на до 50 000 годишно (към момента са около 100 000, но този брой почти никога не е бил достиган през последните 20 години). Вместо тези се определя годишна квота зелени карти, която в различните източници варира между 125 000 и 140 000. Те ще бъдат запълвани от кандидатите, които събират най-много точки по точковата система.

Критериите, по които ще се оценяват кандидатите, зависят от няколко показателя – образование, възраст, владеене на английски език, обещана работа, инвестирани средства и изключителни постижения. Информацията колко точки носи всеки показател и при какви условия, както и информацията колко е максималният възможен брой точки и минималният необходим за кандидатстване, се различават в различните източници. Описвам тук най-често срещаният вариант.

При него максималният теоретично възможен брой точки е 100. За кандидатстване за имигриране са необходими минимум 30 точки. Получаването им по категории се разпределя както следва:


1. Образование

– Средно образование – 1 точка.
– Бакалавърска степен от извън САЩ – 5 точки.
– Бакалавърско степен от САЩ – 6 точки.
– Master степен от извън САЩ, ако специалността е STEM – 7 точки.
– Master степен от САЩ, ако специалността е STEM – 8 точки.
– Докторат от извън САЩ, в STEM, бизнес-администрация, медицина или право – 10 точки.
– Докторат от САЩ, в STEM, бизнес-администрация, медицина или право – 13 точки.

Всички тези образования трябва да са признати от американското Ministry of Education.

2. Възраст

– до 18 години – 0 точки. (Плюс че кандидатът е непълнолетен и няма право да кандидатства.)
– 18 до 21 години – 6 точки.
– 22 до 25 години – 8 точки.
– 26 до 30 години – 10 точки.
– 31 до 35 години – 8 точки.
– 36 до 40 години – 6 точки.
– 41 до 45 години – 4 точки.
– 46 до 50 години – 2 точки.
– 50 и повече години – 0 точки.

3. Владеене на английски език

Доказва се с резултат от утвърден официален тест по английски език. Засега се предвижда утвърдените да са TOEFL и IELTS.

Точките се определят според това в кой персентил от полагащите теста се пада кандидатът. (Иначе казано – колко процента от тях са по-зле от него, и колко са по-добре. Ако примерно 70% от полагащите теста са по-зле от кандидата, а 30% са по-добре, той се пада в 70 персентил.)

– До 50 персентил – 0 точки.
– 50-70 персентил – 6 точки.
– 71-80 персентил – 10 точки.
– 81-90 персентил – 11 точки.
– 91-100 персентил – 12 точки.

4. Обещана работа

Оценява се според предложената заплата като процент спрямо средната заплата в щата, където е работата.

– 150-200%: 5 точки.
– 200-300%: 8 точки.
– 300% и по-висока заплата: 13 точки.

(Ако не получавате точки по този параграф, е възможно да ви откажат право на кандидатстване.)

5. Инвестирани средства

Средствата трябва да са инвестирани в проект, който е одобрен от местното правителство (щатско, областно или градско, в зависимост от обхвата на проекта). Инвеститорът трябва да поддържа инвестицията поне 3 години и да участва лично в ръководството на проекта.

– Над 1.35 милиона долара: 6 точки.
– Над 1.8 милиона долара: 12 точки.

6. Изключителни постижения

– Нобелова награда, или сравнимо с нея научно постижение: 25 точки.
– Медал от Олимпийски игри, или първо място на световно първенство в олимпийски спорт: 15 точки.


Ако кандидатът е сключил брак, съпругът/съпругата му също трябва да премине оценяване по образование, възраст и езикови умения. Ако съпругът/съпругата получава по-малко точки от кандидата в някоя от тези категории, броят точки на кандидата се намалява – неговите точки се умножават по 70%, а тези на съпруга/съпругата по 30%, и се сумират.

Ако кандидати с еднакъв брой точки са на границата на приемане, предимство ще бъде дадено на тези с по-високи резултати за образование, след това за владеене на език, и след това за възраст.

Имигриралите чрез тази система няма да имат право да използват социални помощи в продължение на пет години.

Събиране на точките

На теория 30 от 100 точки изглежда една съвсем ниска граница. (За кандидатстване за имигриране в Канада например се изискват минимум 67 от 100 възможни точки, но при твърде различни критерии за оценяване.) На практика обаче събирането на брой точки, близък до максималния, е нереалистично:

– Не е възможно едновременно да се получат точки за предложена работа и за инвестиции. (Работата трябва да е предложена от американски работодател, а инвеститорът трябва да работи лично в свой собствен проект).
– Набирането на повече от едно изключително постижение не е реалистично. (Не ми е известен в историята на човечеството случай, когато Нобелов лауреат е едновременно и олимпийски шампион.) От имиграционна гледна точка, дори едно ще е изключителна рядкост – броят на живите Нобелови лауреати и олимпийски шампиони, които не са американски граждани, е около една стотна от ежегодната квота.

Като се вземат предвид тези ограничения, е що-годе реалистично кандидатът да събере максимум от 45 точки. Дали обаче и това ще е възможно на практика?

Представете си, че сте американски работодател. Отчаяно ви е нужен специалист, какъвто сте успели да намерите зад граница – толкова, че сте се съгласили да му плащате заплата в пъти над средната. Какво става?

Принципно вие нямате право да попитате този кандидат за възрастта му – би било нарушение на анти-дискриминационните разпоредби. Нито да проследите дали за отличния английски на писмата му не помага някой друг. Така че нямате как да прецените дали той ще бъде допуснат да имигрира, и така да получи позволение да работи за вас.

Изхитряте се и провеждате интервю онлайн. За щастие кандидатът изглежда на идеална възраст и английският очевидно му е роден език. Решавате да нарушите регулациите и изисквате от него необходимата ви информация. Той не ви издава или съди, предоставя я – наистина е на 28 години, роден в Англия англичанин, завършил е с отличен успех американски технически университет. Заедно с вашето чудесно предложение за работа би бил приет като имигрант с пълна гаранция.

Като начало, трябва да изчакате до края на годината – дотогава кандидатурите за имигриране се събират. След това още поне 3-4 месеца, докато те бъдат обработени и точкувани. След това още поне 2-3 месеца, докато на всичките 140 000 кандидати бъдат проведени интервюта. След това още 2-3 месеца, докато кандидатите бъдат проучени и визите им бъдат издадени. И след това още поне 1-2 месеца, докато кандидатът, уверил се вече че е приет за имигрант, се разпореди с имущество, работа и прочее и се премести… Общо средно към година и половина от момента, в който сте го намерили. Можете ли да си позволите да чакате толкова, ако сте така закъсали за служител?

Затова подозирам, че такава система ще се превърне в по-грозен вариант на това, което става сега с работните визи H-1. Имиграционните квоти ще бъдат обсебени от компании „роботърговци“, които ще внасят специалисти от чужбина, за да ги предлагат под безумен наем на реално нуждаещите се от тях американски компании. Самите специалисти вероятно ще бъдат изнудвани и държани с твърде брутални средства да не напуснат „роботърговеца“, и вероятно ще получават малка част от официалните си заплати. (Като се има предвид, че те ще са вече законни постоянни жители, тези средства вероятно ще са „документи“, че специалистът „е използвал измама при кандидатстване“, или нещо подобно. Иначе казано, ситуацията с трудовата имиграция ще се превърне от корумпирана в престъпна.)

Изгодна ли е тази система за САЩ?

Принципно идеята за пренасочване на имиграцията от предимно семейна основа към предимно професионално-икономическа основа е мъдра и нужна. Дяволът обаче се крие в детайлите.

Като начало, средният годишен брой имигранти за съществуването на САЩ наистина е от този порядък. Реално обаче е бил такъв, когато населението на САЩ е било 40 милиона. За всякакви икономически, трудови, социални и прочее цели е адекватно имигрантите да се преценяват не като абсолютен брой, а като процент от населението. Тоест, адекватният брой визи е не 140 000, а около 800 000 годишно. (Годишният процент имигранти в Канада и Австралия сега е такъв.)

Другата подробност е, че когато се касае за икономически активни имигранти, които носят икономиката на гърба си, максимален допустим брой просто няма. Да бъде установяван е все едно човек да си установи сам личен максимален приход и да отказва суми над него, ако му бъдат предложени.

Не знам дали тази имиграционна система ще бъде разгледана от Конгреса и Сената, дали ще бъде приета и евентуално с какви поправки. Уважаемите сенатори Котън и Пердю обаче имат отчаяна нужда някой да им обясни примера с личния максимален приход. Вероятно и да им го повтори десетина пъти. Тяхната глупост може да е благо за останалия свят, но за родината им би била начало на катастрофа. А пък никой нормален човек няма изгода от това САЩ да катастрофират – поне не и когато алтернативните модели за икономическо и социално развитие са тези на Русия и Китай.