A little while ago I was talking about network neutrality and Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technologies with a person interested in the issue (shocking, I know), and one of the comments that I made went something like this: given the inability of DPI technologies to effectively crack encrypted payloads, it’s only a matter of time until websites start to move towards secure transactions – in other words, it’s only a matter of time until accessing websites will involve sending encrypted data between client computers and servers.
The Pirate Bay and Beyond
Recently, Sweden passed a bill that allows for the wiretapping of electronic communications without a court order. This caused the Pirates Bay, a well-known BitTorrent index site, to announce that it was adding SSL encryption to their website as well as VPN solutions for native Swedes who wanted to avoid the possibility of having their network traffic surveyed. Recently, isohunt.com has done the same, and other major torrent sites are expected to follow the lead. The groups who are running these websites are technically savvy, allowing them to implement encrypted access rapidly and with little technical difficulty, but as more and more sites move to SSL there will be an increasing demand amongst tech-savvy users that their favorite sites similarly protect them from various corporate and government oversight methods.
Lawrence Lessig is the founder of the Creative Commons, which effectively allows for a more nuanced (and reasonable) approach to copyright – it establishes particularized rights for different audiences to use your work in different ways. The aim is to allow people to license work so that citizens can use facets of their culture to create new parts of their culture – as an example they can modify images and songs to produce something new, without their modification being labeled a copyright infringement. You’ll note that this blog is under a CC license.
Music, Mashup, and Meaning
There have been a number of particularly stunning documentaries in the past few years that attempt to grapple with the notion of copyright. Of the ones that I’ve seen, Good Copy, Bad Copy(and it’s a free download!) is likely about the best – it examines the role of mashup in music and the role of copyright as it applies to film. Mashups tend to involve taking multiple tracks of music and overlaying them in new and interesting ways – this also tends to act as a method of ‘culture jamming’, insofar as messages are playfully appropriated and modulated in ways that diverge from the cultural direction of the original works of music. As an example, you might hear a song about war with deep and potent lyrics laid atop an electronic dance beat, transforming both of the works in important and substantial ways.
I’ve begun shifting away from using my file server to store media/files to a drive enclosure holding 1TB of storage – I’ve moved over about 600GB of data, which will probably increase to at least 850-900GB by the time that I leave for Victoria. Then it’ll be time to get more file storage space, I guess *grin*. The shift to a drive enclosure has been brought on by the fact that I need to move my stuff halfway across the country, and don’t want to be bringing any more computers that we need to.
In the process of trying to redirect my home theatre PC to the new networked drives in my drive enclosure, I ran into a problem: there is no way to delete all of the file location information in Windows Vista Home Premium’s Media Center (WVHPMC; isn’t that an ugly acronym!). This meant that, when I pointed the Media Center to the new location of all of my files, I was left with duplicate entries of my files, only half of which actually led anywhere (once the server was turned off).
I get strange looks from some of my friends and colleagues sometimes. On the one hand, I strongly advance the idea that people’s privacy should be protected, by default, and at the same time I blog, use social networking sites (though somewhat uncomfortably), own a cell phone, use credit cards, etc. This week I’ve ‘stepped things up’ by syndicating my del.icio.us bookmarks with my blog – you’ll now be treated (or spammed, I guess, depending on how you see things) with the articles that I’ve tagged in the past 24 hours that I think are interesting.
I’ll start by stating this: I don’t think that the links you’ll be seeing are Spam. I think that I’m tagging good, solid, helpful links for people that might be interested in surveillance, privacy, and (typically) how either of those topics intersects with technology in some fashion. You’ll note that, for the next little while at least, you’ll see links to articles on Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and behavioral advertising. I expect some WiMAX stuff as well. There are a couple reasons why I’m syndicating this kind of content: