Revolution in Kiev, Ukraine

Ilya Varlamov shows the world what happened in Kiev between January 22 to 23.

I came to Kiev. I came to see for myself what is happening here. Of course, an hour after arriving at Maidan, you begin to understand that everything what you’ve read in dozens of articles, saw in TV news reports is total crap. In the upcoming reports I will try to, as objectively as possible, to sort out this new wave of Kiev revolution.

Judge rules in favor of Spamhaus

The spam sending company e360Insight lost the court case where they filed a suit against Spamhaus, after they have been included in their block lists. On their website, they have posted the following:

“Today’s ruling is a devastating loss of personal freedom for all U.S. citizens. If the court cannot prevent Spamhaus from violating its order, then Spamhaus will continue to censor and control the email messages Americans can receive.”

Since Spamhaus is based in UK and e360Insight in the US makes it even more amusing. It’s nice to see that good things actually happens these days.

The importance of open document formats

For years and years big companies have accumulated vast amounts of documents and other types of information. It is of course assumed that the documents will remain readable for a long period of time, but since most companies use a proprietary document format where the Microsoft Word document is the leading standard, one can not be certain of being able to read these documents further down the road.

Document management for an individual or a small company is probably a minor issue, and should it be necessary to convert documents down the road it can probably be done given enough manual labor and time set aside for it. Big companies however, have a vast amount of documents which makes this inconceivable as a reasonable approach.

Other services throughout the society does not have this deficiency, and take chocolate ice-cream for example. If one is not satisfied with the current supplier of chocolate ice-cream, just switch to one who can provide a more appealing option while still retaining the o-so-delicious chocolate flavor. Running Microsoft Windows on a computer is very common, and if a computer does not meet one’s standards, it is just a matter of acquiring another computer and continue running Windows on the new machine as usual.

Why can this not be the case with documents?

Why is it impossible for me to write a document in Microsoft Office and if I later find out that I no longer have access to Office or can’t use it, not be able to open the document using another word processor?

Of course you can, using the standardized OpenDocument format. The problem is that its support is not widespread enough and the number one reason is that Microsoft Office does not currently support it out of the box. This will probably not change anytime soon, but it is still important to get the word out to people. These people in turn affect more people, which in turn may affect businesses, public working groups and the government.

In time we will hopefully have a widespread format in use which anyone can read, regardless of their software platform or having enough money to pay for licenses and software.

USA bans online gambling

The US has just passed a bill banning banks to approve payments to online gambling sites.

Shares in PartyGaming, which rakes in nearly $4 million a day from its 19 million customers, fell 58 percent by 0905 GMT.

Read more at ABC news.

Member lists of the Swedish Pirate party stolen?

A journalist at the Swedish news website Aftonbladet has just published an article stating that the member lists of the Swedish pirate party has been leaked. The spokesman Rickard Falkvine could not confirm or deny the accusations, but if they are true, it could lead to a fallout of members and a general distrust of the party. The author of the article on Aftonbladet states that the server may have been hacked, but there is still no proof of this fact. Other news papers have contacted Rickard and asked about this list. They have said that Mikael Viborg had this list on a computer seized by the police in the recent raid on the PRQ premises. If this is true, those lists have been leaked from the police which could make this an even greater scandal.

According to Swedish law, stealing member lists from a political party is extremely serious and may lead to a prison sentence. That is of course a very good thing, since if these lists really have leaked, they will contain names, social security number, phone number, address etc. of all members. There is a thread on the Pirate party forum where this is discussed.

I will update the post when there is more information available.

The servers at The Pirate Bay seized

Earlier today, the servers at The Pirate Bay were seized by the police.

…The police right now is taking all of our servers, to check if there is a crime there or not (they are actually not sure),” ThePirateBay.org spokesperson “brokep” told Slyck.com.

More can be read at the following sites:

I will post an update later when I have more information.

Real ID Act approved – The end of privacy?

In the United States a new kind of driver’s license will be designed to comply with the federal antiterrorist standards. It will be a reality in 2008, and may have lot of embedded data on the card since it contains a large memory. Among the possibilities are biometric information such as fingerprints, retina scans and DNA data.

It is said to be used to make Americans safer from terrorists, but it will certainly not make the United States much safer. On the contrary, it will limit the freedom and in fact make the US a police state.

The Real ID card

It will contain an RFID chip to make authorities able to track people without even looking at their identifications. It may also be harvested by the private sector to track habits to direct commercials among other things.

Supporters claim it is not a national ID because it is voluntary,” Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, one of the eight Republicans to object to the measure, said during the floor debate this week. “However, any state that opts out will automatically make nonpersons out of its citizens. They will not be able to fly or to take a train.

If this will be a reality, Americans will be stripped of their right to privacy and other civil liberties. The big problem is that if some people refuse to participate in this, they will be cut off all federal benefits or rights. There has even been talk about tying the card together with the right to vote, which is really like going out on thin ice.

If you are an American, you may wish to take action and other people may want to help spread the word.