Tag Archives: social

ПП „Атака“ злоупотребява с лични данни

Post Syndicated from Yovko Lambrev original https://yovko.net/ataka-zloupotreba-lichni-danni/

Тази сутрин предпразнично реших да погледна дали в ЦИК правилно е отразен подписа ми в подкрепа на регистрацията на „Демократична България“.

И това беше така, но… за моя огромна изненада открих, че мой „подпис“ е внесен и от ПП „Атака“ в тяхна подкрепа, без някога да съм се подписвал изобщо за тях. Разбира се, би ми било любопитно да науча откъде са се сдобили с личните ми данни, за да се разправям и с тези, които са им ги предоставили (без мое позволение), но едва ли ще имам шанс да разбера това.

Но пък жалбата ми до Комисията за защита на личните данни (КЗЛД) е вече написана и подписана.

Проверете и вие в ЦИК дали някоя партия или коалиция не е злоупотребила с личните ви данни и да е внесла ваш „подпис“ в своя подкрепа без да подозирате. Лесно е. Ако пък ви се наложи да пишете жалба до КЗЛД – този линк ще ви е от полза.

P.S. На 11.09.2019 получих от КЗЛД решение, че жалбата ми е приета за допустима и ми беше поискано да предоставя материал за почеркова експертиза. Направих го.

Насрочено е открито заседание през януари 2020 година.

Преди предварителните избори

Post Syndicated from Yovko Lambrev original https://yovko.net/priedi-priedvaritielnitie-izbori/

Десният догматизъм с неговата нетолерантност и догматична вяра в общи поучения ми пречи по същия начин, както и левите предразсъдъци, заблуди и утопии. Отказвам и винаги съм отказвал да се причислявам към десницата или левицата. Стоя извън тези политико-идеологически фронтове и съм независим от тях. Пазя своята свобода дотолкова, че без притеснения да имам за всичко собствено мнение и да не се чувствам ограничен от свои предходни самоограничения. Приемам дадено мое мнение да изглежда „левичарско”, друго пък – „десничарско”. И да си призная – все ми е едно. – Вацлав Хавел

Преди предварителните избори

Преди две години реших да споделя свои политически размишления в блога си. Те са валидни и до днес, защото продължавам да вярвам, че България има нужда от нова политическа генерация в целия спектър на ляво–дясното. И за малките деца е ясно, че БСП е все по-ретрограден динозавър, който си е присвоил левия спектър, но с нищо не заслужава да се олицетворява с него. Центърът и дясното също са обсебени от политически вампири като ДПС и ГЕРБ, а етикетите им служат единствено за маска, с която да заблуждават електората си (и безкритичните водещи на сутрешни блокове).

Напоследък беснея след всяко повторение на мантрата за обединение на „дясното“, защото не се изисква особен интелект, за да бъде осъзнато, че това е още от същото. Обединение с кого? И кое „дясно“? Нима точно безпринципните обединения не доведоха до това десетилетно циклене на място? И историческите компромиси с хора с „плаващ“ морал. Химнът за това лелеяно обединение може да звучи добре единствено в главите на тези, търсещи уютно пенсиониране в политическото блато или подмяна на една олигархия с друга. Само че това ще е провал на поредно поколение от вече безкрайния преход и е равносилно на нищо по-малко от национално предателство.

България има нужда от обединение на хората, които мислят в перспектива. С поглед в бъдещето. На хората с идеи. И ще е чудесно, ако оставим изтърканите заклинания в миналото, заедно с приносителите им.

България има нужда от смяна на поколението в политиката и обществения живот. И да ме прощават тези, родените преди 1970 година, но те вече направиха своите грешки. И някои от тях не бяха нито малки, нито простими. Време е да подкрепят някой 40 или дори 30-годишен кандидат.

През тази година предстоят поне две предизборни кампании – през пролетта за Европейски парламент и през есента за нови общински съветници и кметове. Ако няма междувременно и извънредни парламентарни избори. В рамките на една година България може да получи изцяло нова политическа перспектива. И тя може да е позитивна, с хоризонт за развитие и положителна промяна, ако не позволим на скелетите (отляво и отдясно) и политвампирите да подменят отново дневния ред, да унижават институциите и да разкъсват тъканта на гражданското общество.

В момента тече кампания за предварителни избори в „Да, България!“. Тя ще определи кандидатите на движението, които ще бъдат включени в общата листа на „Демократична България“ за Европейския парламент през май. Номинирани са чудесни хора, много от които млади, разумни, образовани, с идеи, които заслужават шанс и подкрепа. Голяма част са без опит в политиката, но с репутация и професионализъм в своята среда, достойни за уважение в много по-голяма степен от този в света на днешната политика. Момчета и момичета, които могат да бъдат носители на промяна.

Дори да не сте членове или симпатизанти на „Да, България!“, можете да гласувате на тези предварителни избори. Всичко, което е нужно, е предварително да се регистрирате преди 4 февруари 2019 г. Самото гласуване ще бъде електронно чрез мобилното приложение на движението (или пък по пощата, ако предпочитате).

Приканвам ви да го направите! Така ще подкрепите модела, в който кандидатите не се спускат от ръководството на организациите, а се определят в преки избори от всички. Ще участвате и в първите свободни електронни (макар и предварителни) избори в България. Можете да гласувате за повече от един кандидат – има значение реда, в който ще ги подредите.

В унисон със своя призив аз възнамерявам да подкрепя няколко млади хора, които познавам и чиито идеи за бъдещето споделям. Това са Владимир Джувинов (№15 в интегралната бюлетина) – колега, пловдивчанин, чиято номинация лично подкрепих заради амбицията му за електронно управление, компетенциите му в сферата на сигурността и Интернет, които стават все по-необходимо базово знание за всеки евродепутат; Мария Спирова (№2) заради доброто познаване на функционирането на европейските институции, активизма ѝ в защита на гласоподавателите зад граница и равенството на жените, както и журналистическата ѝ чувствителност към несправедливостите; и Емил А. Георгиев (№6) заради компетентността му по темите за авторските права и патентите в днешния дигитален свят, както и заради разбиранията му за значимостта на малкия и средния бизнес и идеите му за облекчаване на бюрокрацията пред съществуването му.

Изборът е труден, защото това вероятно е една от най-стойностните листи, които съм виждал досега на избори в България. Със сигурност бих могъл да подкрепя с открито сърце и още хора от списъка, но за себе си съм решил, че в крайна сметка трябва да направя своя извадка. Това е моята. Вашата може да е напълно различна, но… въпреки това – ГЛАСУВАЙТЕ!

Заглавна снимка: „Да, България!“

2018

Post Syndicated from Yovko Lambrev original https://yovko.net/2018-2/

2018

Тази равносметка ще е кратка.

Със зрелостта осъзнавам, че по-ценни са ми равносметките с поглед напред. Погледът назад се обезценява напълно във време, което се надбягва със себе си. Единственият проблем е усещането, че времето напоследък се движи назад. Но не за хубаво.

От 2018 ще оставя в спомените си само две смислени неща. Едното е Тоест. Другото е, че (най-накрая) приключих взаимоотношенията си с Openintegra. И двете са от списъка с мечтите, но второто остава завинаги в графата с несбъднатите. Уж по „взаимно съгласие“.

Интернет и ерозията на демокрацията

Post Syndicated from Yovko Lambrev original https://yovko.net/internet-democracy-erosion/

Интернет и ерозията на демокрацията

Текстът е написан специално за първия брой на вестник „К“ за критика, дебати и културни удоволствия, който се явява наследник на досегашния вестник Култура, чийто бранд издателят му реши да залепи на ново списание. Добавям го и тук – в своя личен online архив.

Имах късмет да открия интернет в зората на неговото създаване преди повече от 20 години. Днес за много хора би било трудно да си представят как изглеждаше и се използваше мрежата тогава. Буквално всичко беше различно.

Повечето потребители в тогавашното виртуално пространство бяха сякаш от една порода – предимно хора от научните среди, наивни романтици, обединени от идеята за създаване и споделяне най-вече на знания и опит, опиянени от вкуса на свободата да общуваш без граници. Не бяха нужни никакви регулатори или директиви – всички доброволно следваха няколко прости „правила за поведение в мрежата“ (нетикет), които гарантираха реда и добрия тон. Ако някой ги прекрачеше, просто получаваше забележка; и ако не си вземеше поука, попадаше в изолация и затруднения да си намери интересни събеседници. Всеки новопоявил се в интернет първо се оглеждаше тихо и с респект към установените модели, правила и авторитети. И се стараеше да гради репутация, преди да претендира за разпознаваемост и значимост във виртуалното пространство. Меритокрацията беше в пълен ход.

Този нетикет се спазваше дори в най-тъмните ъгълчета на мрежата, обикновено свързвани с не особено легални забавления или бизнес. Да бъдеш част от интернет тогава не бе нито евтино, нито лесно; и сякаш това филтрираше хора с интересно сечение от базисна грамотност, толерантна култура на общуване и нужното желание да инвестират част от доходите си за връзка с мрежата.

Краят на романтиката

Независимо дали гледаме на интернет от академична перспектива (като на библиотека за трупане на познание) или с предприемачески нагласи (като на потенциален необятен пазар), и за двете има нужда от хора. От много хора. Затова и пионерите в мрежата съвсем естествено си поставиха негласна обща цел да я направят по-достъпна за всички останали, снижавайки и техническите, и икономическите бариери пред достъпа до нея.

Недодяланите в началото браузъри, чието първично предназначение бе да се чете почти единствено и само текст, се преработваха многократно, докато се превърнаха в изключително лесни и универсални инструменти за достъп до всякакво съдържание в интернет. Уебсайтовете еволюираха от статични струпвания на документи през интерактивни и дизайнерски оформени творения на изкуството до днес, когато са буквално пълноценни софтуерни приложения, които работят в браузър.

Шум срещу смисъл

Всичко това имаше едничка цел – глобалната мрежа да може да се използва от всички. Цел, едновременно алтруистична и комерсиално-прагматична. Колкото повече потребители има интернет, толкова повече познание ще се трупа в мрежата, беше наивната нагласа на тези, които гледаха на мрежата като на световна библиотека със знание. Колкото повече потребители има интернет, толкова по-бързо ще расте потенциалът на онлайн бизнеса, си казваха предприемачите. И двете групи в пълна симбиоза си помагаха по пътя към общата цел.

Експоненциалното нарастване на интернет населението обаче направи невъзможно запазването на установената култура на общуване в мрежата от зората на възникването ѝ. Днес нетикет е странно звучаща и напълно непозната дума. Онлайн предприемачите нямаха осъзната потребност да ограмотяват новите потребители, нито интерес да изискват каквито и да било допълнителни усилия от тях. Пазарният стремеж да бъдат свалени всички бариери, за да е лесно и удобно на повече хора, доведе до това, че днешният интернет потребител се появява в мрежата с нагласата, че е център на Вселената, а мрежата до днес е тръпнала в очакване да попие и разпространи неговите гениални разсъждения по всяка злободневна тема.

И така, шумът надделя над полезността.

Илюзията за „безплатното“ потребление

Интернет е скъпо начинание. Винаги е било. И с включването на все повече хора, използващи все повече ресурси, то ще става все по-скъпо. Икономията от мащаба може да редуцира себестойността на издръжката на една платформа, разхвърляна върху нарастващия й брой ползватели, но потребителите във времето винаги ще искат повече и то с нагласата да плащат по-малко. Или нищо.

Бяха възпитани така от бурния стремеж на много онлайн начинания да се продадат „на зелено“ на инвеститора, който да плати за разработката му. Моделът на Силициевата долина за финансиране на сурови идеи в зародишна фаза почти единствено на база потенциал за растеж доведе до търсене на такива бизнес модели, които „зарибяват“ потребители, предлагайки им безплатно удобни услуги само за да бъдат привлечени в обсега на една или друга платформа.

Този модел е порочен не само защото възпитава погрешната нагласа, че всичко в Интернет може и трябва да бъде безплатно, а и по две други много ключови причини. Едната е, че класическите пазарни отношения, свързани със заплащането на една или друга услуга, стават неконкурентни, бивайки притискани от „безплатни“ алтернативи. Втората е, че всъщност потребителите плащат много висока цена, в общия случай без дори да подозират.

Потребителят не е клиент, а стока

Предлагайки безплатни услуги, безплатно пространство за файлове и снимки или безплатна електронна поща, различните интернет платформи имат една цел – да привлекат възможно най-много потребители в своята орбита и територия. Тези потребители живеят с илюзията, че са клиенти, но горчивата истина е, че не са. Основната причина те да бъдат ухажвани и техните потребности да бъдат задоволявани е, че докато активно присъстват и използват платформата, те натрупват и съхраняват своя информация в нея. Именно тази информация е цената, с която заплащат използването на „безплатните“ услуги.

Повечето хора не считат, че техните файлове, снимки и лична кореспонденция представляват интерес за някого. Но натрупването на огромни количества подобни данни от множество хора позволява те да бъдат статистически обработвани. Компютърни алгоритми ги анализират, като на тази база са в състояние да правят допускания за нашите интереси, намерения за покупки на стоки или политически симпатии. Изследват взаимоотношенията ни с останалите хора, с които контактуваме, опитват да установят как си влияем едни на други, кои са лидерите на мнения сред нас, дори как да бъдем провокирани да реагираме на едно или друго или да гласуваме по определен начин.

Нашите данни са нашата дигитална проекция и битката на интернет гигантите не е за нас. Обработените ни данни и извлечената от тях информация са стока, която може да бъде продавана скъпо – включително за маркетингови и политически кампании. Нашите данни са чудесен инструмент за манипулация на нас самите.

Данните са новото злато

След земеделската революция най-ценният ресурс беше земята, след индустриалната станаха машините. Започва нова ера, в която най-ценното нещо – новият петрол и новото злато – ще бъдат данните.

Изследване на Facebook, проведено с над 85 хиляди потребители на платформата, показа прецизността, с която алгоритмите на социалната мрежа преценяват хората. Доброволците са помолени да попълнят въпросник за своите предпочитания и вкусове. За същото са запитани техни приятели, колеги, роднини и съпрузи, за да се направи сравнение колко добре ги познават. Алгоритмите на Facebook не разполагат с отговорите на въпросниците, но са активирани да направят същата преценка само на базата на лайковете и информацията в профилите на изследваните потребители. Оказва се, че при едва 10 лайка Facebook има по-точна преценка от колегите, при 70 – от приятелите, при 150 – от роднините, а при 300 – от съпрузите. *

Средната успеваемост на човек за разпознаване на лице по снимка е около 94-95%. Софтуерните алгоритми вече ни надминаха – тяхната успеваемост за същото днес е 97%.

Всичко това и още много други неща са възможни благодарение на нашите данни. Особено като добавим към тях и биометричните, събирани от умните ни часовници, фитнес гривни и все повече други устройства в бъдеще. Живеем на ръба на исторически момент, в който софтуерът (ще) ни познава по-добре от нас самите.

Разбира се, това не е непременно лошо. Ако софтуерът знае какво искам за вечеря, защо да не го оставя да поръча вместо мен? Данни могат да помогнат и за лечение на различни заболявания. Статистически натрупвания за медицински състояния при други хора могат да се използват от нашите устройства за разпознаване и ранна диагностика на тревожни симптоми без намесата на лекар. Умният часовник на Apple вече може да предупреди за отклонения в сърдечния ви ритъм. Това е възможно заради натрупани медицински данни, събрани от много пациенти. Или пък разпознава, че сте паднал, по движението на ръцете ви при падане и ако не реагирате до половин минута, автоматично ще повика помощ, изпращайки географските координати на мястото, където се намирате.

Натрупани данни обаче бяха ползвани умишлено за политически манипулации и въздействие и при избирането на Тръмп за президент, и при референдума за Брекзит. Най-напред, за да бъдат селектирани колебаещи се хора, върху чието мнение по-лесно може да бъде повлияно, след което същите хора да бъдат облъчени с нужните послания, които биха ги побутнали да вземат желаното решение. И всичко това просто е струвало определена сума пари.

Важно е кой притежава и контролира данните

Проблемът е сложен. От една страна, защото има разминавания в разбиранията за това чия собственост са данните, съхранявани в различните интернет платформи. В общите си условия те се опитват да си присвоят съгласието ви да притежават вашите данни, поставяйки това като условие да ползвате услугите им. В добавка към това хората подценяват колко ценни са техните данни – не толкова конкретно, а като част от извадка, определена група или география.

От друга страна, темповете на технологичния прогрес са такива, че ако едно общество си постави твърде строги бариери пред събирането и анализирането на данни, това може да бъде сериозна пречка пред иновациите и да е причина да бъде изпреварено от други държави или общности. Най-тъжното е, че рискът това да се случи е по-голям в западните общества, където човешките права имат по-висока стойност.

Как да бъде намерен балансът, ще бъде въпрос, който ще определи посоката на развитие на човечеството и засяга пряко темата за социалните неравенства, разпределението на богатството и мира на планетата.

Не на последно място остава притеснението, че ако допуснем, че алгоритмите ни познават достатъчно добре, за да взимат решения от наше име, те ще имат и възможността да манипулират желанията ни така, че да пожелаем да последваме техния избор. Или нечий друг. И това отново да струва определена сума пари.

Гравитацията на платформите

Социалните мрежи са девиация в еволюцията на интернет. Подхлъзване. Недоразумение, което бе създадено именно от антипазарните модели на „безплатните“ услуги и съдържание.

Първоначалната идея и техническа реализация на глобалната мрежа бе да свързва компютрите (сървърите) на много хора, компании и държави по света без централна власт, без незаобиколими острови на влияние и даже със защитни механизми мрежата да бъде винаги достъпна, дори ако някое парче от нея временно изчезне или спре. Идеята на интернет бе да бъде максимално разпределена и децентрализирана мрежа.

Стремежът за събиране на потребители и техните данни в няколко глобални платформи като Google, Facebook, Amazon и др., които постепенно парцелираха мрежата, обаче доведе до един твърде централизиран интернет, в който е трудно да се противостои на гравитацията на гигантите.

Човешките навици, инерция и стремеж за приобщаване на роднини и познати усилват още повече тази гравитация. Така гигантските платформи се превърнаха в световен градски мегдан. И в непреодолим фактор, в технологични Голиати, които, за разлика от библейския си първообраз, са твърде големи, за да бъде допусната хипотеза да се провалят, без това да не е твърде болезнено за мнозина. Засега няма и здравословен механизъм, който да провокира платформите да еволюират в нова посока. А потребителите самоволно и безразсъдно се оставят да бъдат техни заложници.

Ерозия на демокрацията

Наивността на пионерите в интернет, че в мрежата разумът, прагматичността, смисълът и фактите някак по подразбиране ще продължат да надделяват над заблудите и глупостите, се оказа фундаментална грешка. Социалните мрежи се превърнаха в комерсиален усилвател без филтър за адекватност и критерии за достоверност. Централизираният около няколко ключови платформи интернет е силно зависим от техните икономически и политически интереси. Медиите също попаднаха в капана на зависимостта от усилващата роля на социалните мрежи и основно Facebook и така загубиха пряката връзка с публиката си. А критичното мислене не се оказа сред силните качества на масовия интернет потребител.

Най-тревожното на това развитие е, че води до сътресения, които се превръщат в систематична заплаха за демокрацията. Комбинацията от ефективни технологични инструменти за манипулация на общественото мнение, зависими от същите инструменти медии и ниското ниво на критично мислене са перфектната буря, която е в състояние да разруши базисни обществени механизми.

Добрата новина е, че технологиите винаги еволюират и вече се забелязват нови усилия за бъдещ децентрализиран и разпределен интернет. Остава без отговор обаче въпросът дали единствено технологиите трябва да виним за заблатяването на днешната глобална мрежа и само на тях ли да възлагаме надеждите за развитие? И ако продължаваме да подценяваме образованието, етикета и хуманизма, кое ни гарантира, че няма да допуснем същата грешка – отново да надценим способностите на човека?

* Ювал Ноа Харари описва това изследване в книгата си „Homo Deus. Кратка история на бъдещето“ (2018, изд. „Изток-Запад“)

Bona diada, Catalunya!

Post Syndicated from Yovko Lambrev original https://yovko.net/bona-diada-catalunya/

Bona diada, Catalunya!

"Хиляди протестираха в Барселона срещу каталунския сепаратизъм", пише вчера привечер "Дневник". Факт е, че това е една от малкото ключови медии у нас, които изобщо следят отблизо темата. Но уви, често пропускат важни детайли.

А важен детайл за всички про-юнионистки демонстрации в Барселона от миналата есен насам е техният екскурзионен характер. Вчерашната също не направи изключение. С което не искам да кажа, че няма каталунци, които подкрепят идеята за единство с Испания, но е добре да е ясно, че юнионистите си осигуряват площадна подкрепа с влакове и автобуси. Дали защото не са убедени в подкрепата на място в каталунската столица, или защото юнионистките демонстрации отблъскват много хора заради хулиганските прояви и фашизоидните изпълнения, с които неизменно са изпъстрени техните прояви… Но за това – малко по-късно.

Първо, нека малко да се вторачим във въпросните хиляди. Полицията твърди, че са били две хиляди, а организаторите се поизхвърлиха с четиристотин хиляди. Една местна медия си направи труда да преброи хората на площада човече по човече от снимка с висока резолюция, направена на сборния пункт малко преди началото на шествието. Преброили са малко под 8000 души. Ето въпросната снимка:

Тревожни са обаче едни други снимки. А най-опасното е, че медиите здраво стискат очи за тях. Например тази:

Или пък тази (като е добре да се забележи не само татуираната свастика на ръката на единия индивид, а и пръстенът на неговата дружка):

Можем, разбира се, да спорим дали точно това е лицето на испанския юнионизъм (или пък задникът – понеже има подходяща снимка, ей тук долу). Но по-наблюдателните ще забележат любопитни гербове, знамена, татуировки, включително сърпочукове и петолъчки. Гмежта е необятна.

Факт е, че организаторите на тези демонстрации не могат (или не искат) да озаптят и да се разграничат от крайнодесните и фашистки елементи, които са неразделна част от техните прояви:

В Италия, в Германия, Франция, Великобритания, Япония и навсякъде ги наричат фашисти. В Испания (и в българските медии) са противници на каталунския сепаратизъм.

Всички тези неща се случват под прикритието на псевдолиберални партии като Гражданите/ALDE (които най-често са съорганизатори на юнионистките манифестации в Каталуния), мълчанието на иначе гръмогласния лидер на Алианса на либералите и демократите в Европа Guy Verhofstadt (има нужда от гласовете на Гражданите в Европарламента човекът и си мълчи, та се късa) и разбира се, широко затворените очи на Европа.

Та не се чудете, че четете за смехотворни манифестацийки, но почти не се споменава, че в Испания, скоро ще стане година, без съд и присъда лежат политически затворници. А други са в изгнание зад граница. Защото са проявили характер и са организирали референдум, на който хората да изразят свободната си воля.

Многохилядна демонстрация в Барселона наистина ще има, но утре, на 11 септември – националния празник на Каталуния. Досега прояви на омраза, сблъсъци и инциденти на тази дата никога не е имало, въпреки участието на наистина стотици хиляди души. И тази година демонстрантите ще са много. Ще бъдат толкова много, че безсилието на испанското централно правителство стигна до там да затвори въздушното пространство над Барселона утре, за да не се види колко много каталунци ще поискат свобода за политическите си затворници.

Bona diada, Catalunya!

Тихо

Post Syndicated from Yovko Lambrev original https://yovko.net/silence/

Тихо

Сънят на разума ражда чудовища. – Франсиско Гоя

Когато започна промяната през 1989-та, бях на 15 години. Нямах право на глас в първите свободни избори, но се чувствах достатъчно зрял да следя и да се интересувам живо от всичко, което се случваше в страната ми. Помня лозунгите на първите митинги, когато сред всички други искания на хората по площадите, беше и вопълът за свободна преса. Помня еуфорията, с която в началото на 1990-та бе посрещнат първият брой на вестник "Демокрация". Чаках на опашка през февруарския ден пред кварталния РЕП, за да се сдобия с една от малкото бройки, които свършиха за минути.

Четиридесет и пет тиранични години и един от най-античовешките режими, които историята разпознава, не бяха унищожили глада на българите за свободна преса и свободно слово. Идеята колко важно е това беше излязла от сферата на рационалното и мнозина я усещаха през кожата си. Обществото ни бе като оголен нерв и проявяваше чувствителност, която не съм предполагал, че толкова лесно ще загуби.

Днес е тихо.

Едва няколко правителства за двойно по-кратко време и един подменен преход успяха да убият това, което 45 години грозен тоталитаризъм не успя. Това, за което мнозина бяха готови да протестират денонощно, да се бият с милицията… сега е отстъпило пред това да заведем децата на английски, да си плащаме ипотеката и да се правим, че проблемите на останалите не ни засягат.

Срещнах се с Лили Маринкова броени дни преди старта на Тоест. Не я познавах, свързахме се чрез общи контакти. Поводът за срещата и това за какво си говорихме нямат значение днес, но никога няма да забравя тъгата, която сякаш бе попила в нея. Не сме общували след това.

Но без значение дали споделям или не нейните гледни точки за едно или друго, аз бих ги чул с интерес. Тя е журналист – крайъгълен камък в тази професия. Такива камъни вече почти няма. Не останаха.

Затова е и тихо.

Тихо е и защото не се чуват нито освирквания, нито тъпани, или друга някаква шумотевица пред Националното радио, която да стресне удобните безгръбначни в администрацията му. Не се виждат тълпи от други журналисти пред сградата. Вярно, някои поне разказаха историята.

Тихо е вероятно и защото колегите ѝ са на море, разнасят деца от балет на английски или са заети да си плащат ипотеката. И забравят, че утре ще е някой от тях. Следващият.

Тихо е, защото ги няма и останалите, които отглеждат деца и плащат ипотеки. Вече не им е тревожно за свободната преса, защото имат Фейсбук. Не се припознават в проблемите на малкия бизнес, защото работят в голям офис. Не са техни грижите на музикантите от БНР, защото слушат Spotify. Няма значение какво се случва по Черноморието, защото те плажуват в Гърция. Не припознават грижите на съседа, защото и той не се вълнува от техните. И между балета, пианото и английския удобно забравяме, че за децата на България (а и за нас, възрастните) е най-важно да не живеем в общество с така разкъсана тъкан.

С почти 20% за последните 10 години е спаднало разбирането, че благополучието на останалите и загрижеността за тях е ключово за едно общество. Индивидуализмът може да ни помогне да оцелеем в криза, да избягаме, да се спасим поединично, но алтруизмът и емпатията са това, което ни държи заедно като общество. Не произходът, нито историите за велико минало или светло бъдеще. Загрижеността за останалите от групата е това, което създава усещането за човечност. Заради чиято липса бягаме другаде или се затваряме в себе си. Но алтруизъм и емпатия не поникват в парка. Те се възпитават. А ние правим обратното.

Унижението в БНР от тази седмица не е за Лили Маринкова – за цялата гилдия е, и за всеки свободен българин. Това е демонстрация как могат да те умножат по нула. Опит за внушение, че справедливостта е недостижима, а стремежът да докажеш правотата – безполезен. Тишината работи точно за това.

И докато не започне да ни пука за останалите… ще става все по-тихо. А тишината ще ражда чудовища.

Електронно гласуване в “Да, България!”

Post Syndicated from Yovko Lambrev original https://yovko.net/e-voting-yes-bulgaria/

Електронно гласуване в

В събота се проведе първата Национална конференция на Движение "Да, България!".

Право на участие в нея имат абсолютно всички членове на организацията (за разлика от други партии, които излъчват делегати за подобни форуми). Но няма да ви занимавам с речи, нито с политически послания, а с един прагматичен нюанс, който е пример за политика, приложена на практика.

Ако не сте разбрали, понеже повечето национални медии се страхуват да отразяват мнения и действия на "Да, България!" и Демократична България, всички присъствали на конференцията гласуваха електронно през мобилното приложение на партията за iOS и Android. На 23 юни 2018 г., за първи път в България, една организация институционализира решенията на най-висшия си форум чрез електронен вот. И това вече е исторически факт! Това е и политика, защото приложено в нужния мащаб би демократизирало още повече процеса по взимане на решения, вкл. дистанционно. А това е от ключово значение за включването и участието на повече хора във взимането на решения.

Приложено в общински или в национален мащаб, подобно решение (не непременно същото) може да се прилага за сондиране на обществени нагласи на гражданите в общината, за участие в местни референдуми и избори, дава възможност за участие на българите зад граница.

Разбира се, има специфични разлики и изисквания при явно гласуване във вътрешно-организационен контекст и при гласуване на национални или местни избори с таен вот. И тези разлики и продробности са важни, но няма непреодолими технологични пречки тези изисквания и особености да бъдат съобразени и реализирани. Стига да има воля за това в държавата ни.

Аз участвах само в бета-тестове преди събитието и помагах по време на конференцията на хора, които срещаха затруднения. Никога няма да бъдат обаче достатъчни овациите и благодарностите за неколцината доброволци от "Да, България!", които направиха тази система и приложенията реалност!

От опита ми в бизнеса и в технологиите зная, че е напълно обичайно да има поне малко съпротива и мрънкане, когато караш хората да ползват нещо ново, особено такова, с което не са свикнали. Огромната ми изненада бе, че в събота такова мрънкане нямаше – дори хората, на които помагах и имаха затруднения, бяха изключително позитивно настроени и с нагласата да свикнат и да се справят, и само след първите няколко гласувания моята помощ вече не им беше нужна.

Електронно гласуване в

За да се пести време и грешки от влизане и излизане в приложението с имена и пароли, на поканите, разпратени до всички, бяха отпечатани QR-кодове (индивидуален за всеки член). Те съдържаха token, с който хората можеха да влязат в системата, като покажат този код на камерата на смартфона си. Токъните бяха анулирани веднага след края на конференцията.

Технологично решението позволява дистанционно и неприсъствено гласуване, но има юридически ограничения да го осъществим, затова беше въведен процес по check-in на място пред залата на конференцията, така че само хора с токъни/кодове, които са минали през вратата, можеха да гласуват по време на конференцията.

Електронно гласуване в

Участниците можеха да наблюдават резултатите от всяко едно гласуване на личните си устройства.

Електронно гласуване в

Вероятно най-полезният момент бе тогава, когато трябваше да попълним състава на един от органите на партията с 31 нови души. За тази цел бяха номинирани 43-ма. В обичайната ситуация това би означавало да гласуваме с вдигане на ръка за всеки един поотделно, да броим гласовете за всеки, да сумираме (в голяма зала са нужни няколко преброители, които да се разпределят по няколко реда) и накрая комисия да сортира кои са тези 31, които имат най-много гласове. Да оставим настрана възможните грешки при броенето.

Друга опция бе да се направи интегрална бюлетина, да се разпечата, да гласуваме с отбелязване върху бюлетината (с възможните грешки и труден контрол дали някой не е гласувал за повече от 31 души), да се обработват бюлетините една по една (при повече от 500 гласуващи), което отнема адски много време, измеримо в часове.

Докато с електронното гласуване на екраните на телефоните се появи списък с имената на номинираните и възможност да се отбележи всяко едно от тях (като автоматично системата следи да не могат да бъдат маркирани повече от 31 имена) – т.е. няма как бюлетината да стане невалидна. Тъй като кандидатите бяха доста и човек не може да познава всички, имаше подготвени малки книжки с кратки представяния на номинираните и гласуващите имаха около 30 минути за това гласуване, за да преценят на кои от тях биха дали доверието си. Резултатите бяха готови до 5 минути след това. Иначе казано, всичко приключи в рамките на около половин час. Бързо, лесно и удобно.

Посланието е ясно – ако една "малка извънпарламентарна партия" (според Б.Б.) може да го направи, при това съвсем без пари, защото определено не разполагаме с много средства… би било далеч по-лесно за големите, които прибират прилични субсидии, да го реализират. Вие си отговорете на въпроса защо дори не се опитват!

Няма какво да коментирам държавата, за която темата продължава да отсъства, дори след ясното произнасяне на гражданите на референдум, че искат електронно гласуване. Единственият валиден въпрос продължава да бъде: докога ще търпим?


Заглавна снимка: Йовко Ламбрев
Снимки в текста: “Да, България!”

Flight Sim Company Threatens Reddit Mods Over “Libelous” DRM Posts

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/flight-sim-company-threatens-reddit-mods-over-libellous-drm-posts-180604/

Earlier this year, in an effort to deal with piracy of their products, flight simulator company FlightSimLabs took drastic action by installing malware on customers’ machines.

The story began when a Reddit user reported something unusual in his download of FlightSimLabs’ A320X module. A file – test.exe – was being flagged up as a ‘Chrome Password Dump’ tool, something which rang alarm bells among flight sim fans.

As additional information was made available, the story became even more sensational. After first dodging the issue with carefully worded statements, FlightSimLabs admitted that it had installed a password dumper onto ALL users’ machines – whether they were pirates or not – in an effort to catch a particular software cracker and launch legal action.

It was an incredible story that no doubt did damage to FlightSimLabs’ reputation. But the now the company is at the center of a new storm, again centered around anti-piracy measures and again focused on Reddit.

Just before the weekend, Reddit user /u/walkday reported finding something unusual in his A320X module, the same module that caused the earlier controversy.

“The latest installer of FSLabs’ A320X puts two cmdhost.exe files under ‘system32\’ and ‘SysWOW64\’ of my Windows directory. Despite the name, they don’t open a command-line window,” he reported.

“They’re a part of the authentication because, if you remove them, the A320X won’t get loaded. Does someone here know more about cmdhost.exe? Why does FSLabs give them such a deceptive name and put them in the system folders? I hate them for polluting my system folder unless, of course, it is a dll used by different applications.”

Needless to say, the news that FSLabs were putting files into system folders named to make them look like system files was not well received.

“Hiding something named to resemble Window’s “Console Window Host” process in system folders is a huge red flag,” one user wrote.

“It’s a malware tactic used to deceive users into thinking the executable is a part of the OS, thus being trusted and not deleted. Really dodgy tactic, don’t trust it and don’t trust them,” opined another.

With a disenchanted Reddit userbase simmering away in the background, FSLabs took to Facebook with a statement to quieten down the masses.

“Over the past few hours we have become aware of rumors circulating on social media about the cmdhost file installed by the A320-X and wanted to clear up any confusion or misunderstanding,” the company wrote.

“cmdhost is part of our eSellerate infrastructure – which communicates between the eSellerate server and our product activation interface. It was designed to reduce the number of product activation issues people were having after the FSX release – which have since been resolved.”

The company noted that the file had been checked by all major anti-virus companies and everything had come back clean, which does indeed appear to be the case. Nevertheless, the critical Reddit thread remained, bemoaning the actions of a company which probably should have known better than to irritate fans after February’s debacle. In response, however, FSLabs did just that once again.

In private messages to the moderators of the /r/flightsim sub-Reddit, FSLabs’ Marketing and PR Manager Simon Kelsey suggested that the mods should do something about the thread in question or face possible legal action.

“Just a gentle reminder of Reddit’s obligations as a publisher in order to ensure that any libelous content is taken down as soon as you become aware of it,” Kelsey wrote.

Noting that FSLabs welcomes “robust fair comment and opinion”, Kelsey gave the following advice.

“The ‘cmdhost.exe’ file in question is an entirely above board part of our anti-piracy protection and has been submitted to numerous anti-virus providers in order to verify that it poses no threat. Therefore, ANY suggestion that current or future products pose any threat to users is absolutely false and libelous,” he wrote, adding:

“As we have already outlined in the past, ANY suggestion that any user’s data was compromised during the events of February is entirely false and therefore libelous.”

Noting that FSLabs would “hate for lawyers to have to get involved in this”, Kelsey advised the /r/flightsim mods to ensure that no such claims were allowed to remain on the sub-Reddit.

But after not receiving the response he would’ve liked, Kelsey wrote once again to the mods. He noted that “a number of unsubstantiated and highly defamatory comments” remained online and warned that if something wasn’t done to clean them up, he would have “no option” than to pass the matter to FSLabs’ legal team.

Like the first message, this second effort also failed to have the desired effect. In fact, the moderators’ response was to post an open letter to Kelsey and FSLabs instead.

“We sincerely disagree that you ‘welcome robust fair comment and opinion’, demonstrated by the censorship on your forums and the attempted censorship on our subreddit,” the mods wrote.

“While what you do on your forum is certainly your prerogative, your rules do not extend to Reddit nor the r/flightsim subreddit. Removing content you disagree with is simply not within our purview.”

The letter, which is worth reading in full, refutes Kelsey’s claims and also suggests that critics of FSLabs may have been subjected to Reddit vote manipulation and coordinated efforts to discredit them.

What will happen next is unclear but the matter has now been placed in the hands of Reddit’s administrators who have agreed to deal with Kelsey and FSLabs’ personally.

It’s a little early to say for sure but it seems unlikely that this will end in a net positive for FSLabs, no matter what decision Reddit’s admins take.

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

Storing Encrypted Credentials In Git

Post Syndicated from Bozho original https://techblog.bozho.net/storing-encrypted-credentials-in-git/

We all know that we should not commit any passwords or keys to the repo with our code (no matter if public or private). Yet, thousands of production passwords can be found on GitHub (and probably thousands more in internal company repositories). Some have tried to fix that by removing the passwords (once they learned it’s not a good idea to store them publicly), but passwords have remained in the git history.

Knowing what not to do is the first and very important step. But how do we store production credentials. Database credentials, system secrets (e.g. for HMACs), access keys for 3rd party services like payment providers or social networks. There doesn’t seem to be an agreed upon solution.

I’ve previously argued with the 12-factor app recommendation to use environment variables – if you have a few that might be okay, but when the number of variables grow (as in any real application), it becomes impractical. And you can set environment variables via a bash script, but you’d have to store it somewhere. And in fact, even separate environment variables should be stored somewhere.

This somewhere could be a local directory (risky), a shared storage, e.g. FTP or S3 bucket with limited access, or a separate git repository. I think I prefer the git repository as it allows versioning (Note: S3 also does, but is provider-specific). So you can store all your environment-specific properties files with all their credentials and environment-specific configurations in a git repo with limited access (only Ops people). And that’s not bad, as long as it’s not the same repo as the source code.

Such a repo would look like this:

project
└─── production
|   |   application.properites
|   |   keystore.jks
└─── staging
|   |   application.properites
|   |   keystore.jks
└─── on-premise-client1
|   |   application.properites
|   |   keystore.jks
└─── on-premise-client2
|   |   application.properites
|   |   keystore.jks

Since many companies are using GitHub or BitBucket for their repositories, storing production credentials on a public provider may still be risky. That’s why it’s a good idea to encrypt the files in the repository. A good way to do it is via git-crypt. It is “transparent” encryption because it supports diff and encryption and decryption on the fly. Once you set it up, you continue working with the repo as if it’s not encrypted. There’s even a fork that works on Windows.

You simply run git-crypt init (after you’ve put the git-crypt binary on your OS Path), which generates a key. Then you specify your .gitattributes, e.g. like that:

secretfile filter=git-crypt diff=git-crypt
*.key filter=git-crypt diff=git-crypt
*.properties filter=git-crypt diff=git-crypt
*.jks filter=git-crypt diff=git-crypt

And you’re done. Well, almost. If this is a fresh repo, everything is good. If it is an existing repo, you’d have to clean up your history which contains the unencrypted files. Following these steps will get you there, with one addition – before calling git commit, you should call git-crypt status -f so that the existing files are actually encrypted.

You’re almost done. We should somehow share and backup the keys. For the sharing part, it’s not a big issue to have a team of 2-3 Ops people share the same key, but you could also use the GPG option of git-crypt (as documented in the README). What’s left is to backup your secret key (that’s generated in the .git/git-crypt directory). You can store it (password-protected) in some other storage, be it a company shared folder, Dropbox/Google Drive, or even your email. Just make sure your computer is not the only place where it’s present and that it’s protected. I don’t think key rotation is necessary, but you can devise some rotation procedure.

git-crypt authors claim to shine when it comes to encrypting just a few files in an otherwise public repo. And recommend looking at git-remote-gcrypt. But as often there are non-sensitive parts of environment-specific configurations, you may not want to encrypt everything. And I think it’s perfectly fine to use git-crypt even in a separate repo scenario. And even though encryption is an okay approach to protect credentials in your source code repo, it’s still not necessarily a good idea to have the environment configurations in the same repo. Especially given that different people/teams manage these credentials. Even in small companies, maybe not all members have production access.

The outstanding questions in this case is – how do you sync the properties with code changes. Sometimes the code adds new properties that should be reflected in the environment configurations. There are two scenarios here – first, properties that could vary across environments, but can have default values (e.g. scheduled job periods), and second, properties that require explicit configuration (e.g. database credentials). The former can have the default values bundled in the code repo and therefore in the release artifact, allowing external files to override them. The latter should be announced to the people who do the deployment so that they can set the proper values.

The whole process of having versioned environment-speific configurations is actually quite simple and logical, even with the encryption added to the picture. And I think it’s a good security practice we should try to follow.

The post Storing Encrypted Credentials In Git appeared first on Bozho's tech blog.

Majority of Canadians Consume Online Content Legally, Survey Finds

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/majority-of-canadians-consume-online-content-legally-survey-finds-180531/

Back in January, a coalition of companies and organizations with ties to the entertainment industries called on local telecoms regulator CRTC to implement a national website blocking regime.

Under the banner of Fairplay Canada, members including Bell, Cineplex, Directors Guild of Canada, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Movie Theatre Association of Canada, and Rogers Media, spoke of an industry under threat from marauding pirates. But just how serious is this threat?

The results of a new survey commissioned by Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) in collaboration with the Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) aims to shine light on the problem by revealing the online content consumption habits of citizens in the Great White North.

While there are interesting findings for those on both sides of the site-blocking debate, the situation seems somewhat removed from the Armageddon scenario predicted by the entertainment industries.

Carried out among 3,301 Canadians aged 12 years and over, the Kantar TNS study aims to cover copyright infringement in six key content areas – music, movies, TV shows, video games, computer software, and eBooks. Attitudes and behaviors are also touched upon while measuring the effectiveness of Canada’s copyright measures.

General Digital Content Consumption

In its introduction, the report notes that 28 million Canadians used the Internet in the three-month study period to November 27, 2017. Of those, 22 million (80%) consumed digital content. Around 20 million (73%) streamed or accessed content, 16 million (59%) downloaded content, while 8 million (28%) shared content.

Music, TV shows and movies all battled for first place in the consumption ranks, with 48%, 48%, and 46% respectively.

Copyright Infringement

According to the study, the majority of Canadians do things completely by the book. An impressive 74% of media-consuming respondents said that they’d only accessed material from legal sources in the preceding three months.

The remaining 26% admitted to accessing at least one illegal file in the same period. Of those, just 5% said that all of their consumption was from illegal sources, with movies (36%), software (36%), TV shows (34%) and video games (33%) the most likely content to be consumed illegally.

Interestingly, the study found that few demographic factors – such as gender, region, rural and urban, income, employment status and language – play a role in illegal content consumption.

“We found that only age and income varied significantly between consumers who infringed by downloading or streaming/accessing content online illegally and consumers who did not consume infringing content online,” the report reads.

“More specifically, the profile of consumers who downloaded or streamed/accessed infringing content skewed slightly younger and towards individuals with household incomes of $100K+.”

Licensed services much more popular than pirate haunts

It will come as no surprise that Netflix was the most popular service with consumers, with 64% having used it in the past three months. Sites like YouTube and Facebook were a big hit too, visited by 36% and 28% of content consumers respectively.

Overall, 74% of online content consumers use licensed services for content while 42% use social networks. Under a third (31%) use a combination of peer-to-peer (BitTorrent), cyberlocker platforms, or linking sites. Stream-ripping services are used by 9% of content consumers.

“Consumers who reported downloading or streaming/accessing infringing content only are less likely to use licensed services and more likely to use peer-to-peer/cyberlocker/linking sites than other consumers of online content,” the report notes.

Attitudes towards legal consumption & infringing content

In common with similar surveys over the years, the Kantar research looked at the reasons why people consume content from various sources, both legal and otherwise.

Convenience (48%), speed (36%) and quality (34%) were the most-cited reasons for using legal sources. An interesting 33% of respondents said they use legal sites to avoid using illegal sources.

On the illicit front, 54% of those who obtained unauthorized content in the previous three months said they did so due to it being free, with 40% citing convenience and 34% mentioning speed.

Almost six out of ten (58%) said lower costs would encourage them to switch to official sources, with 47% saying they’d move if legal availability was improved.

Canada’s ‘Notice-and-Notice’ warning system

People in Canada who share content on peer-to-peer systems like BitTorrent without permission run the risk of receiving an infringement notice warning them to stop. These are sent by copyright holders via users’ ISPs and the hope is that the shock of receiving a warning will turn consumers back to the straight and narrow.

The study reveals that 10% of online content consumers over the age of 12 have received one of these notices but what kind of effect have they had?

“Respondents reported that receiving such a notice resulted in the following: increased awareness of copyright infringement (38%), taking steps to ensure password protected home networks (27%), a household discussion about copyright infringement (27%), and discontinuing illegal downloading or streaming (24%),” the report notes.

While these are all positives for the entertainment industries, Kantar reports that almost a quarter (24%) of people who receive a notice simply ignore them.

Stream-ripping

Once upon a time, people obtaining music via P2P networks was cited as the music industry’s greatest threat but, with the advent of sites like YouTube, so-called stream-ripping is the latest bogeyman.

According to the study, 11% of Internet users say they’ve used a stream-ripping service. They are most likely to be male (62%) and predominantly 18 to 34 (52%) years of age.

“Among Canadians who have used a service to stream-rip music or entertainment, nearly half (48%) have used stream-ripping sites, one-third have used downloader apps (38%), one-in-seven (14%) have used a stream-ripping plug-in, and one-in-ten (10%) have used stream-ripping software,” the report adds.

Set-Top Boxes and VPNs

Few general piracy studies would be complete in 2018 without touching on set-top devices and Virtual Private Networks and this report doesn’t disappoint.

More than one in five (21%) respondents aged 12+ reported using a VPN, with the main purpose of securing communications and Internet browsing (57%).

A relatively modest 36% said they use a VPN to access free content while 32% said the aim was to access geo-blocked content unavailable in Canada. Just over a quarter (27%) said that accessing content from overseas at a reasonable price was the main motivator.

One in ten (10%) of respondents reported using a set-top box, with 78% stating they use them to access paid-for content. Interestingly, only a small number say they use the devices to infringe.

“A minority use set-top boxes to access other content that is not legal or they are unsure if it is legal (16%), or to access live sports that are not legal or they are unsure if it is legal (11%),” the report notes.

“Individuals who consumed a mix of legal and illegal content online are more likely to use VPN services (42%) or TV set-top boxes (21%) than consumers who only downloaded or streamed/accessed legal content.”

Kantar says that the findings of the report will be used to help policymakers evaluate how Canada’s Copyright Act is coping with a changing market and technological developments.

“This research will provide the necessary information required to further develop copyright policy in Canada, as well as to provide a foundation to assess the effectiveness of the measures to address copyright infringement, should future analysis be undertaken,” it concludes.

The full report can be found here (pdf)

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

Fully-Loaded Kodi Box Sellers Receive Hefty Jail Sentences

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/fully-loaded-kodi-box-sellers-receive-hefty-jail-sentences-180524/

While users of older peer-to-peer based file-sharing systems have to work relatively hard to obtain content, users of the Kodi media player have things an awful lot easier.

As standard, Kodi is perfectly legal. However, when augmented with third-party add-ons it becomes a media discovery powerhouse, providing most of the content anyone could desire. A system like this can be set up by the user but for many, buying a so-called “fully-loaded” box from a seller is the easier option.

As a result, hundreds – probably thousands – of cottage industries have sprung up to service this hungry market in the UK, with regular people making a business out of setting up and selling such devices. Until three years ago, that’s what Michael Jarman and Natalie Forber of Colwyn Bay, Wales, found themselves doing.

According to reports in local media, Jarman was arrested in January 2015 when police were called to a disturbance at Jarman and Forber’s home. A large number of devices were spotted and an investigation was launched by Trading Standards officers. The pair were later arrested and charged with fraud offenses.

While 37-year-old Jarman pleaded guilty, 36-year-old Forber initially denied the charges and was due to stand trial. However, she later changed her mind and like Jarman, pleaded guilty to participating in a fraudulent business. Forber also pleaded guilty to transferring criminal property by shifting cash from the scheme through various bank accounts.

The pair attended a sentencing hearing before Judge Niclas Parry at Caernarfon Crown Court yesterday. According to local reporter Eryl Crump, the Court heard that the couple had run their business for about two years, selling around 1,000 fully-loaded Kodi-enabled devices for £100 each via social media.

According to David Birrell for the prosecution, the operation wasn’t particularly sophisticated but it involved Forber programming the devices as well as handling customer service. Forber claimed she was forced into the scheme by Jarman but that claim was rejected by the prosecution.

Between February 2013 and January 2015 the pair banked £105,000 from the business, money that was transferred between bank accounts in an effort to launder the takings.

Reporting from Court via Twitter, Crump said that Jarman’s defense lawyer accepted that a prison sentence was inevitable for his client but asked for the most lenient sentence possible.

Forber’s lawyer pointed out she had no previous convictions. The mother-of-two broke up with Jarman following her arrest and is now back in work and studying at college.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Niclas Parry described the offenses as a “relatively sophisticated fraud” carried out over a significant period. He jailed Jarman for 21 months and Forber for 16 months, suspended for two years. She must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

The pair will also face a Proceeds of Crime investigation which could see them paying large sums to the state, should any assets be recoverable.

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

BPI Wants Piracy Dealt With Under New UK Internet ‘Clean-Up’ Laws

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/bpi-wants-music-piracy-dealt-with-under-uk-internet-clean-up-laws-180523/

For the past several years, the UK Government has expressed a strong desire to “clean up” the Internet.

Strong emphasis has been placed on making the Internet safer for children but that’s just the tip of a much larger iceberg.

This week, the Government published its response to the Internet Safety Strategy green paper, stating unequivocally that more needs to be done to tackle “online harm”.

Noting that six out of ten people report seeing inappropriate or harmful content online, the Government said that work already underway with social media companies to protect users had borne fruit but overall industry response has been less satisfactory.

As a result, the Government will now carry through with its threat to introduce new legislation, albeit with the assistance of technology companies, children’s charities and other stakeholders.

“Digital technology is overwhelmingly a force for good across the world and we must always champion innovation and change for the better,” said Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“At the same time I have been clear that we have to address the Wild West elements of the Internet through legislation, in a way that supports innovation. We strongly support technology companies to start up and grow, and we want to work with them to keep our citizens safe.”

While emphasis is being placed on hot-button topics such as cyberbullying and online child exploitation, the Government is clear that it wishes to tackle “the full range” of online harms. That has been greeted by UK music group BPI with a request that the Government introduces new measures to tackle Internet piracy.

In a statement issued this week, BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor welcomed the move towards legislative change and urged the Government to encompass the music industry and beyond.

“This is a vital opportunity to protect consumers and boost the UK’s music and creative industries. The BPI has long pressed for internet intermediaries and online platforms to take responsibility for the content that they promote to users,” Taylor said.

“Government should now take the power in legislation to require online giants to take effective, proactive measures to clean illegal content from their sites and services. This will keep fans away from dodgy sites full of harmful content and prevent criminals from undermining creative businesses that create UK jobs.”

The BPI has published four initial requests, each of which provides food for thought.

The demand to “establish a new fast-track process for blocking illegal sites” is not entirely unexpected, particularly given the expense of launching applications for blocking injunctions at the High Court.

“The BPI has taken a large number of actions against individual websites – 63 injunctions are in place against sites that are wholly or mainly infringing and whose business is simply to profit from criminal activity,” the BPI says.

Those injunctions can be expanded fairly easily to include new sites operating under similar banners or facilitating access to those already covered, but it’s clear the BPI would like something more streamlined. Voluntary schemes, such as the one in place in Portugal, could be an option but it’s unclear how troublesome that could be for ISPs. New legislation could solve that dilemma, however.

Another big thorn in the side for groups like the BPI are people and entities that post infringing content. The BPI is very good at taking these listings down from sites and search engines in particular (more than 600 million requests to date) but it’s a game of whac-a-mole the group would rather not engage in.

With that in mind, the BPI would like the Government to impose new rules that would compel online platforms to stop content from being re-posted after it’s been taken down while removing the accounts of repeat infringers.

Thirdly, the BPI would like the Government to introduce penalties for “online operators” who do not provide “transparent contact and ownership information.” The music group isn’t any more specific than that, but the suggestion is that operators of some sites have a tendency to hide in the shadows, something which frustrates enforcement activity.

Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, the BPI is calling on the Government to legislate for a new “duty of care” for online intermediaries and platforms. Specifically, the BPI wants “effective action” taken against businesses that use the Internet to “encourage” consumers to access content illegally.

While this could easily encompass pirate sites and services themselves, this proposal has the breadth to include a wide range of offenders, from people posting piracy-focused tutorials on monetized YouTube channels to those selling fully-loaded Kodi devices on eBay or social media.

Overall, the BPI clearly wants to place pressure on intermediaries to take action against piracy when they’re in a position to do so, and particularly those who may not have shown much enthusiasm towards industry collaboration in the past.

“Legislation in this Bill, to take powers to intervene with respect to operators that do not co-operate, would bring focus to the roundtable process and ensure that intermediaries take their responsibilities seriously,” the BPI says.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Home Office will now work on a White Paper, to be published later this year, to set out legislation to tackle “online harms”. The BPI and similar entities will hope that the Government takes their concerns on board.

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

Working with the Scout Association on digital skills for life

Post Syndicated from Philip Colligan original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/working-with-scout-association-digital-skills-for-life/

Today we’re launching a new partnership between the Scouts and the Raspberry Pi Foundation that will help tens of thousands of young people learn crucial digital skills for life. In this blog post, I want to explain what we’ve got planned, why it matters, and how you can get involved.

This is personal

First, let me tell you why this partnership matters to me. As a child growing up in North Wales in the 1980s, Scouting changed my life. My time with 2nd Rhyl provided me with countless opportunities to grow and develop new skills. It taught me about teamwork and community in ways that continue to shape my decisions today.

As my own kids (now seven and ten) have joined Scouting, I’ve seen the same opportunities opening up for them, and like so many parents, I’ve come back to the movement as a volunteer to support their local section. So this is deeply personal for me, and the same is true for many of my colleagues at the Raspberry Pi Foundation who in different ways have been part of the Scouting movement.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Scouting and Raspberry Pi share many of the same values. We are both community-led movements that aim to help young people develop the skills they need for life. We are both powered by an amazing army of volunteers who give their time to support that mission. We both care about inclusiveness, and pride ourselves on combining fun with learning by doing.

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi started life in 2008 as a response to the problem that too many young people were growing up without the skills to create with technology. Our goal is that everyone should be able to harness the power of computing and digital technologies, for work, to solve problems that matter to them, and to express themselves creatively.

In 2012 we launched our first product, the world’s first $35 computer. Just six years on, we have sold over 20 million Raspberry Pi computers and helped kickstart a global movement for digital skills.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation now runs the world’s largest network of volunteer-led computing clubs (Code Clubs and CoderDojos), and creates free educational resources that are used by millions of young people all over the world to learn how to create with digital technologies. And lots of what we are able to achieve is because of partnerships with fantastic organisations that share our goals. For example, through our partnership with the European Space Agency, thousands of young people have written code that has run on two Raspberry Pi computers that Tim Peake took to the International Space Station as part of his Mission Principia.

Digital makers

Today we’re launching the new Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge to help tens of thousands of young people learn how to create with technology through Scouting. Over the past few months, we’ve been working with the Scouts all over the UK to develop and test the new badge requirements, along with guidance, project ideas, and resources that really make them work for Scouting. We know that we need to get two things right: relevance and accessibility.

Relevance is all about making sure that the activities and resources we provide are a really good fit for Scouting and Scouting’s mission to equip young people with skills for life. From the digital compass to nature cameras and the reinvented wide game, we’ve had a lot of fun thinking about ways we can bring to life the crucial role that digital technologies can play in the outdoors and adventure.

Compass Coding with Raspberry Pi

We are beyond excited to be launching a new partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, which will help tens of thousands of young people learn digital skills for life.

We also know that there are great opportunities for Scouts to use digital technologies to solve social problems in their communities, reflecting the movement’s commitment to social action. Today we’re launching the first set of project ideas and resources, with many more to follow over the coming weeks and months.

Accessibility is about providing every Scout leader with the confidence, support, and kit to enable them to offer the Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge to their young people. A lot of work and care has gone into designing activities that require very little equipment: for example, activities at Stages 1 and 2 can be completed with a laptop without access to the internet. For the activities that do require kit, we will be working with Scout Stores and districts to make low-cost kit available to buy or loan.

We’re producing accessible instructions, worksheets, and videos to help leaders run sessions with confidence, and we’ll also be planning training for leaders. We will work with our network of Code Clubs and CoderDojos to connect them with local sections to organise joint activities, bringing both kit and expertise along with them.




Get involved

Today’s launch is just the start. We’ll be developing our partnership over the next few years, and we can’t wait for you to join us in getting more young people making things with technology.

Take a look at the brand-new Raspberry Pi resources designed especially for Scouts, to get young people making and creating right away.

The post Working with the Scout Association on digital skills for life appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

YouTube Won’t Put Up With Blatant Piracy Tutorials Forever

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/youtube-wont-put-up-with-blatant-piracy-tutorials-forever-180506/

Once upon a time, Internet users’ voices would be heard in limited circles, on platforms such as Usenet or other niche platforms.

Then, with the rise of forum platforms such as phpBB in 2000 and Invision Power Board in 2002, thriving communities could gather in public to discuss endless specialist topics, including file-sharing of course.

When dedicated piracy forums began to gain traction, it was pretty much a free-for-all. People discussed obtaining free content absolutely openly. Nothing was taboo and no one considered that there would be any repercussions. As such, moderation was limited to keeping troublemakers in check.

As the years progressed and lawsuits against both sites and services became more commonplace, most sites that weren’t actually serving illegal content began to consider their positions. Run by hobbyists, most didn’t want the hassle of a multi-million dollar lawsuit, so links to pirate content began to diminish and the more overt piracy tutorials began to disappear underground.

Those that remained in plain sight became much more considered. Tutorials on how to pirate specific Hollywood blockbusters were no longer needed, a plain general tutorial would suffice. And, as communities matured and took time to understand the implications of their actions, those without political motivations realized that drawing attention to potential criminality was neither required nor necessary.

Then YouTube and social media happened and almost overnight, no one was in charge and anyone could say whatever they liked.

In this new reality, there were no irritating moderator-type figures removing links to this and that, and nobody warning people against breaking rules that suddenly didn’t exist anymore. In essence, previously tight-knit and street-wise file-sharing and piracy communities not only became fragmented, but also chaotic.

This meant that anyone could become a leader and in some cases, this was the utopia that many had hoped for. Not only couldn’t the record labels or Hollywood tell people what to do anymore, discussion site operators couldn’t either. For those who didn’t abuse the power and for those who knew no better, this was a much-needed breath of fresh air. But, like all good things, it was unlikely to last forever.

Where most file-sharing of yesterday was carried out by hobbyist enthusiasts, many of today’s pirates are far more casual. They’re just as thirsty for content, but they don’t want to spend hours hunting for it. They want it all on a plate, at the flick of a switch, delivered to their TV with a minimum of hassle.

With online discussions increasingly seen as laborious and old-fashioned, many mainstream pirates have turned to easy-to-consume videos. In support of their Kodi media player habits, YouTube has become the educational platform of choice for millions.

As a result, there is now a long line of self-declared Kodi piracy specialists scooping up millions of views on YouTube. Their videos – which in many cases are thinly veiled advertisements for third party addons, Kodi ‘builds’, illegal IPTV services, and obscure Android APKs – are now the main way for a new generation to obtain direct advice on pirating.

Many of the videos are incredibly blatant, like the past 15 years of litigation never happened. All the lessons learned by the phpBB board operators of yesteryear, of how to achieve their goals of sharing information without getting shut down, have been long forgotten. In their place, a barrage of daily videos designed to generate clicks and affiliate revenue, no matter what the cost, no matter what the risk.

It’s pretty clear that these videos are at least partly responsible for the phenomenal uptick in Kodi and Android-based piracy over the past few years. In that respect, many lovers of free content will be eternally grateful for the service they’ve provided. But like many piracy movements over the years, people shouldn’t get too attached to them, at least in their current form.

Thanks to the devil-may-care approach of many influential YouTubers, it won’t be long before a whole new set of moderators begin flexing their muscles. While your average phpBB moderator could be reasoned with in order to get a second chance, a determined and largely faceless YouTube will eject offenders without so much as a clear explanation.

When this happens (and it’s only a question of time given the growing blatancy of many tutorials) YouTubers will not only lose their voices but their revenue streams too. While YouTube’s partner programs bring in some welcome cash, the profitable affiliate schemes touted on these channels for external products will also be under threat.

Perhaps the most surprising thing in this drama-waiting-to-happen is that many of the most popular YouTubers can hardly be considered young and naive. While some are of more tender years, most – with their undoubted skill, knowledge and work ethic – should know better for their 30 or 40 years on this planet. Yet not only do they make their names public, they feature their faces heavily in their videos too.

Still, it’s likely that it will take some big YouTube accounts to fall before YouTubers respond by shaving the sharp edges off their blatant promotion of illegal activity. And there’s little doubt that those advertising products (which is most of them) will have to do so sooner rather than later.

Just this week, YouTube made it clear that it won’t tolerate people making money from the promotion of illegal activities.

“YouTube creators may include paid endorsements as part of their content only if the product or service they are endorsing complies with our advertising policies,” YouTube told the BBC.

“We will be working with creators going forward so they better understand that in video promotions [they] must not promote dishonest activity.”

That being said, like many other players in the piracy and file-sharing space over the past 18 years, YouTubers will eventually begin to learn that not only can the smart survive, they can flourish too.

Sure, there will be people out there who’ll protest that free speech allows citizens to express themselves in a manner of their choosing. But try PM’ing that to YouTube in response to a strike, and see how that fares.

When they say you’re done, the road back is a long one.

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

Danish Traffic to Pirate Sites Increases 67% in Just a Year

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/danish-traffic-to-pirate-sites-increases-67-in-just-a-year-180501/

For close to 20 years, rightsholders have tried to stem the tide of mainstream Internet piracy. Yet despite increasingly powerful enforcement tools, infringement continues on a grand scale.

While the problem is global, rightsholder groups often zoom in on their home turf, to see how the fight is progressing locally. Covering Denmark, the Rights Alliance Data Report 2017 paints a fairly pessimistic picture.

Published this week, the industry study – which uses SimilarWeb and MarkMonitor data – finds that Danes visited 2,000 leading pirate sites 596 million times in 2017. That represents a 67% increase over the 356 million visits to unlicensed platforms made by citizens during 2016.

The report notes that, at least in part, this explosive growth can be attributed to mobile-compatible sites and services, which make it easier than ever to consume illicit content on the move, as well as at home.

In a sea of unauthorized streaming sites, Rights Alliance highlights one platform above all the others as a particularly bad influence in 2017 – 123movies (also known as GoMovies and GoStream, among others).

“The popularity of this service rose sharply in 2017 from 40 million visits in 2016 to 175 million visits in 2017 – an increase of 337 percent, of which most of the traffic originates from mobile devices,” the report notes.

123movies recently announced its closure but before that the platform was subjected to web-blocking in several jurisdictions.

Rights Alliance says that Denmark has one of the most effective blocking systems in the world but that still doesn’t stop huge numbers of people from consuming pirate content from sites that aren’t yet blocked.

“Traffic to infringing sites is overwhelming, and therefore blocking a few sites merely takes the top of the illegal activities,” Rights Alliance chief Maria Fredenslund informs TorrentFreak.

“Blocking is effective by stopping 75% of traffic to blocked sites but certainly, an upscaled effort is necessary.”

Rights Alliance also views the promotion of legal services as crucial to its anti-piracy strategy so when people visit a blocked site, they’re also directed towards legitimate platforms.

“That is why we are working at the moment with Denmark’s Ministry of Culture and ISPs on a campaign ‘Share With Care 2′ which promotes legal services e.g. by offering a search function for legal services which will be placed in combination with the signs that are put on blocked websites,” the anti-piracy group notes.

But even with such measures in place, the thirst for unlicensed content is great. In 2017 alone, 500 of the most popular films and TV shows were downloaded from P2P networks like BitTorrent more than 15 million times from Danish IP addresses, that’s up from 11.9 million in 2016.

Given the dramatic rise in visits to pirate sites overall, the suggestion is that plenty of consumers are still getting through. Rights Alliance says that the number of people being restricted is also hampered by people who don’t use their ISP’s DNS service, which is the method used to block sites in Denmark.

Additionally, interest in VPNs and similar anonymization and bypass-capable technologies is on the increase. Between 3.5% and 5% of Danish Internet users currently use a VPN, a number that’s expected to go up. Furthermore, Rights Alliance reports greater interest in “closed” pirate communities.

“The data is based on closed [BitTorrent] networks. We also address the challenges with private communities on Facebook and other [social media] platforms,” Fredenslund explains.

“Due to the closed doors of these platforms it is not possible for us to say anything precisely about the amount of infringing activities there. However, we receive an increasing number of notices from our members who discover that their products are distributed illegally and also we do an increased monitoring of these platforms.”

But while more established technologies such as torrents and regular web-streaming continue in considerable volumes, newer IPTV-style services accessible via apps and dedicated platforms are also gaining traction.

“The volume of visitors to these services’ websites has been sharply rising in 2017 – an increase of 84 percent from January to December,” Rights Alliance notes.

“Even though the number of visitors does not say anything about actual consumption, as users usually only visit pages one time to download the program, the number gives an indication that the interest in IPTV is increasing.”

To combat this growth market, Rights Alliance says it wants to establish web-blockades against sites hosting the software applications.

Also on the up are visits to platforms offering live sports illegally. In 2017, Danish IP addresses made 2.96 million visits to these services, corresponding to almost 250,000 visits per month and representing an annual increase of 28%.

Rights Alliance informs TF that in future a ‘live’ blocking mechanism similar to the one used by the Premier League in the UK could be deployed in Denmark.

“We already have a dynamic blocking system, and we see an increasing demand for illegal TV products, so this could be a natural next step,” Fredenslund explains.

Another small but perhaps significant detail is how users are accessing pirate sites. According to the report, large volumes of people are now visiting platforms directly, with more than 50% doing so in preference to referrals from search engines such as Google.

In terms of deterrence, the Rights Alliance report sticks to the tried-and-tested approaches seen so often in the anti-piracy arena.

Firstly, the group notes that it’s increasingly encountering people who are paying for legal services such as Netflix and Spotify so believe that allows them to grab something extra from a pirate site. However, in common with similar organizations globally, the group counters that pirate sites can serve malware or have other nefarious business interests behind the scenes, so people should stay away.

Whether significant volumes will heed this advice will remain to be seen but if a 67% increase last year is any predictor of the future, piracy is here to stay – and then some. Rights Alliance says it is ready for the challenge but will need some assistance to achieve its goals.

“As it is evident from the traffic data, criminal activities are not something that we, private companies (right holders in cooperation with ISPs), can handle alone,” Fredenslund says.

“Therefore, we are very pleased that DK Government recently announced that the IP taskforce which was set down as a trial period has now been made permanent. In that regard it is important and necessary that the police will also obtain the authority to handle blocking of massively infringing websites. Police do not have the authority to carry out blocking as it is today.”

The full report is available here (Danish, pdf)

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

Under-Fire “Kodi Box” Company “Sold to Chinese Investor” For US$8.82m

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/under-fire-kodi-box-company-sold-to-chinese-investor-for-us8-82m-180426/

Back in 2016, an article appeared in Kiwi media discussing the rise of a new company pledging to beat media giant Sky TV at its own game.

My Box NZ owner Krish Reddy told the publication he was selling Android boxes loaded with Kodi software and augmented with third-party addons.

Without any hint of fear, he stated that these devices enabled customers to access movies, TV shows and live channels for free, after shelling out a substantial US$182 for the box first, that is.

“Why pay $80 minimum per month for Sky when for one payment you can have it free for good?” a claim on the company’s website asked.

Noting that he’d been importing the boxes from China, Reddy suggested that his lawyers hadn’t found any problem with the business plan.

“I don’t see why [Sky] would contact me but if they do contact me and … if there’s something of theirs that they feel I’ve unlawfully taken then yeah … but as it stands I don’t [have any concerns],” he said.

At this point, Reddy said he’d been selling the boxes for just six weeks and had shifted around 80 units. To get coverage from a national newspaper at this stage of the game must’ve been very much appreciated but Reddy didn’t stop there.

In a bulk advertising email sent out to 50,000 people, Reddy described his boxes as “better than Sky”. However, by design or misfortune, the email managed to land in the inboxes of 50 Sky TV staff and directors, something that didn’t go unnoticed by the TV giant.

With Reddy claiming sales of 8,000 units, Sky ran out of patience last April. In a letter from its lawyers, the pay-TV company said Reddy’s devices breached copyright law and the Fair Trading Act. Reddy responded by calling the TV giant “a playground bully”, again denying that he was breaking the law.

“From a legal perspective, what we do is completely within the law. We advertise Sky television channels being available through our website and social media platforms as these are available via streams which you can find through My Box,” he said.

“The content is already available, I’m not going out there and bringing the content so how am I infringing the copyright… the content is already there, if someone uses the box to search for the content, that’s what it is.”

The initial compensation demand from Sky against Reddy’s company My Box ran to NZD$1.4m, around US$1m. It was an amount that had the potential rise by millions if matters got drawn out and/or escalated. But despite picking a terrible opponent in a battle he was unlikely to win, Reddy refused to give up.

“[Sky’s] point of view is they own copyright and I’m destroying the market by giving people content for free. To me it is business; I have got something that is new … that’s competition,” he said.

The Auckland High Court heard the case against My Box last month with Judge Warwick Smith reserving his judgment and Reddy still maintaining that his business is entirely legal. Sales were fantastic, he said, with 20,000 devices sold to customers in 12 countries.

Then something truly amazing happened.

A company up to its eyeballs in litigation, selling a commodity product that an amateur can buy and configure at home for US$40, reportedly got a chance of a lifetime. Reddy revealed to Stuff that a Chinese investor had offered to buy his company for an eye-watering NZ$10 million (US$7.06m).

“We have to thank Sky,” he said. “If they had left us alone we would just have been selling a few boxes, but the controversy made us world famous.”

Reddy noted he’d been given 21 days to respond to the offer, but refused to name the company. Interestingly, he also acknowledged that if My Box lost its case, the company would be liable for damages. However, that wouldn’t bother the potential investor.

“It makes no difference to them whether we win or lose, because their operations won’t be in New Zealand,” Reddy said.

According to the entrepreneur, that’s how things are playing out.

The Chinese firm – which Reddy is still refusing to name – has apparently accepted a counter offer from Reddy of US$8.8m for My Box. As a result, Reddy will wrap up his New Zealand operations within the next 90 days and his six employees will be rendered unemployed.

Given that anyone with the ability to install Kodi and a few addons before putting a box in the mail could replicate Reddy’s business model, the multi-million dollar offer for My Box was never anything less than a bewildering business proposition. That someone carried through with it an even higher price is so fantastic as to be almost unbelievable.

In a sea of unhappy endings for piracy-enabled Kodi box sellers globally, this is the only big win to ever grace the headlines. Assuming this really is the end of the story (and that might not be the case) it will almost certainly be the last.

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

Continued: the answers to your questions for Eben Upton

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/eben-q-a-2/

Last week, we shared the first half of our Q&A with Raspberry Pi Trading CEO and Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton. Today we follow up with all your other questions, including your expectations for a Raspberry Pi 4, Eben’s dream add-ons, and whether we really could go smaller than the Zero.

Live Q&A with Eben Upton, creator of the Raspberry Pi

Get your questions to us now using #AskRaspberryPi on Twitter

With internet security becoming more necessary, will there be automated versions of VPN on an SD card?

There are already third-party tools which turn your Raspberry Pi into a VPN endpoint. Would we do it ourselves? Like the power button, it’s one of those cases where there are a million things we could do and so it’s more efficient to let the community get on with it.

Just to give a counterexample, while we don’t generally invest in optimising for particular use cases, we did invest a bunch of money into optimising Kodi to run well on Raspberry Pi, because we found that very large numbers of people were using it. So, if we find that we get half a million people a year using a Raspberry Pi as a VPN endpoint, then we’ll probably invest money into optimising it and feature it on the website as we’ve done with Kodi. But I don’t think we’re there today.

Have you ever seen any Pis running and doing important jobs in the wild, and if so, how does it feel?

It’s amazing how often you see them driving displays, for example in radio and TV studios. Of course, it feels great. There’s something wonderful about the geographic spread as well. The Raspberry Pi desktop is quite distinctive, both in its previous incarnation with the grey background and logo, and the current one where we have Greg Annandale’s road picture.

The PIXEL desktop on Raspberry Pi

And so it’s funny when you see it in places. Somebody sent me a video of them teaching in a classroom in rural Pakistan and in the background was Greg’s picture.

Raspberry Pi 4!?!

There will be a Raspberry Pi 4, obviously. We get asked about it a lot. I’m sticking to the guidance that I gave people that they shouldn’t expect to see a Raspberry Pi 4 this year. To some extent, the opportunity to do the 3B+ was a surprise: we were surprised that we’ve been able to get 200MHz more clock speed, triple the wireless and wired throughput, and better thermals, and still stick to the $35 price point.

We’re up against the wall from a silicon perspective; we’re at the end of what you can do with the 40nm process. It’s not that you couldn’t clock the processor faster, or put a larger processor which can execute more instructions per clock in there, it’s simply about the energy consumption and the fact that you can’t dissipate the heat. So we’ve got to go to a smaller process node and that’s an order of magnitude more challenging from an engineering perspective. There’s more effort, more risk, more cost, and all of those things are challenging.

With 3B+ out of the way, we’re going to start looking at this now. For the first six months or so we’re going to be figuring out exactly what people want from a Raspberry Pi 4. We’re listening to people’s comments about what they’d like to see in a new Raspberry Pi, and I’m hoping by early autumn we should have an idea of what we want to put in it and a strategy for how we might achieve that.

Could you go smaller than the Zero?

The challenge with Zero as that we’re periphery-limited. If you run your hand around the unit, there is no edge of that board that doesn’t have something there. So the question is: “If you want to go smaller than Zero, what feature are you willing to throw out?”

It’s a single-sided board, so you could certainly halve the PCB area if you fold the circuitry and use both sides, though you’d have to lose something. You could give up some GPIO and go back to 26 pins like the first Raspberry Pi. You could give up the camera connector, you could go to micro HDMI from mini HDMI. You could remove the SD card and just do USB boot. I’m inventing a product live on air! But really, you could get down to two thirds and lose a bunch of GPIO – it’s hard to imagine you could get to half the size.

What’s the one feature that you wish you could outfit on the Raspberry Pi that isn’t cost effective at this time? Your dream feature.

Well, more memory. There are obviously technical reasons why we don’t have more memory on there, but there are also market reasons. People ask “why doesn’t the Raspberry Pi have more memory?”, and my response is typically “go and Google ‘DRAM price’”. We’re used to the price of memory going down. And currently, we’re going through a phase where this has turned around and memory is getting more expensive again.

Machine learning would be interesting. There are machine learning accelerators which would be interesting to put on a piece of hardware. But again, they are not going to be used by everyone, so according to our method of pricing what we might add to a board, machine learning gets treated like a $50 chip. But that would be lovely to do.

Which citizen science projects using the Pi have most caught your attention?

I like the wildlife camera projects. We live out in the countryside in a little village, and we’re conscious of being surrounded by nature but we don’t see a lot of it on a day-to-day basis. So I like the nature cam projects, though, to my everlasting shame, I haven’t set one up yet. There’s a range of them, from very professional products to people taking a Raspberry Pi and a camera and putting them in a plastic box. So those are good fun.

Raspberry Shake seismometer

The Raspberry Shake seismometer

And there’s Meteor Pi from the Cambridge Science Centre, that’s a lot of fun. And the seismometer Raspberry Shake – that sort of thing is really nice. We missed the recent South Wales earthquake; perhaps we should set one up at our Californian office.

How does it feel to go to bed every day knowing you’ve changed the world for the better in such a massive way?

What feels really good is that when we started this in 2006 nobody else was talking about it, but now we’re part of a very broad movement.

We were in a really bad way: we’d seen a collapse in the number of applicants applying to study Computer Science at Cambridge and elsewhere. In our view, this reflected a move away from seeing technology as ‘a thing you do’ to seeing it as a ‘thing that you have done to you’. It is problematic from the point of view of the economy, industry, and academia, but most importantly it damages the life prospects of individual children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The great thing about STEM subjects is that you can’t fake being good at them. There are a lot of industries where your Dad can get you a job based on who he knows and then you can kind of muddle along. But if your dad gets you a job building bridges and you suck at it, after the first or second bridge falls down, then you probably aren’t going to be building bridges anymore. So access to STEM education can be a great driver of social mobility.

By the time we were launching the Raspberry Pi in 2012, there was this wonderful movement going on. Code Club, for example, and CoderDojo came along. Lots of different ways of trying to solve the same problem. What feels really, really good is that we’ve been able to do this as part of an enormous community. And some parts of that community became part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation – we merged with Code Club, we merged with CoderDojo, and we continue to work alongside a lot of these other organisations. So in the two seconds it takes me to fall asleep after my face hits the pillow, that’s what I think about.

We’re currently advertising a Programme Manager role in New Delhi, India. Did you ever think that Raspberry Pi would be advertising a role like this when you were bringing together the Foundation?

No, I didn’t.

But if you told me we were going to be hiring somewhere, India probably would have been top of my list because there’s a massive IT industry in India. When we think about our interaction with emerging markets, India, in a lot of ways, is the poster child for how we would like it to work. There have already been some wonderful deployments of Raspberry Pi, for example in Kerala, without our direct involvement. And we think we’ve got something that’s useful for the Indian market. We have a product, we have clubs, we have teacher training. And we have a body of experience in how to teach people, so we have a physical commercial product as well as a charitable offering that we think are a good fit.

It’s going to be massive.

What is your favourite BBC type-in listing?

There was a game called Codename: Druid. There is a famous game called Codename: Droid which was the sequel to Stryker’s Run, which was an awesome, awesome game. And there was a type-in game called Codename: Druid, which was at the bottom end of what you would consider a commercial game.

codename druid

And I remember typing that in. And what was really cool about it was that the next month, the guy who wrote it did another article that talks about the memory map and which operating system functions used which bits of memory. So if you weren’t going to do disc access, which bits of memory could you trample on and know the operating system would survive.

babbage versus bugs Raspberry Pi annual

See the full listing for Babbage versus Bugs in the Raspberry Pi 2018 Annual

I still like type-in listings. The Raspberry Pi 2018 Annual has a type-in listing that I wrote for a Babbage versus Bugs game. I will say that’s not the last type-in listing you will see from me in the next twelve months. And if you download the PDF, you could probably copy and paste it into your favourite text editor to save yourself some time.

The post Continued: the answers to your questions for Eben Upton appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Serverless Architectures with AWS Lambda: Overview and Best Practices

Post Syndicated from Andrew Baird original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/serverless-architectures-with-aws-lambda-overview-and-best-practices/

For some organizations, the idea of “going serverless” can be daunting. But with an understanding of best practices – and the right tools — many serverless applications can be fully functional with only a few lines of code and little else.

Examples of fully-serverless-application use cases include:

  • Web or mobile backends – Create fully-serverless, mobile applications or websites by creating user-facing content in a native mobile application or static web content in an S3 bucket. Then have your front-end content integrate with Amazon API Gateway as a backend service API. Lambda functions will then execute the business logic you’ve written for each of the API Gateway methods in your backend API.
  • Chatbots and virtual assistants – Build new serverless ways to interact with your customers, like customer support assistants and bots ready to engage customers on your company-run social media pages. The Amazon Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and Amazon Lex have the ability to apply natural-language understanding to user-voice and freeform-text input so that a Lambda function you write can intelligently respond and engage with them.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) backends – AWS IoT has direct-integration for device messages to be routed to and processed by Lambda functions. That means you can implement serverless backends for highly secure, scalable IoT applications for uses like connected consumer appliances and intelligent manufacturing facilities.

Using AWS Lambda as the logic layer of a serverless application can enable faster development speed and greater experimentation – and innovation — than in a traditional, server-based environment.

We recently published the “Serverless Architectures with AWS Lambda: Overview and Best Practices” whitepaper to provide the guidance and best practices you need to write better Lambda functions and build better serverless architectures.

Once you’ve finished reading the whitepaper, below are a couple additional resources I recommend as your next step:

  1. If you would like to better understand some of the architecture pattern possibilities for serverless applications: Thirty Serverless Architectures in 30 Minutes (re:Invent 2017 video)
  2. If you’re ready to get hands-on and build a sample serverless application: AWS Serverless Workshops (GitHub Repository)
  3. If you’ve already built a serverless application and you’d like to ensure your application has been Well Architected: The Serverless Application Lens: AWS Well Architected Framework (Whitepaper)

About the Author

 

Andrew Baird is a Sr. Solutions Architect for AWS. Prior to becoming a Solutions Architect, Andrew was a developer, including time as an SDE with Amazon.com. He has worked on large-scale distributed systems, public-facing APIs, and operations automation.