Die AAA-Bürger

“So wie Alibaba und Amazon wissen, wofür sich ihre Nutzer interessieren und was sie als Nächstes kaufen könnten, will der chinesische Staat aus den Datenspuren seiner Bürger ableiten, wie sie sich in der Vergangenheit verhalten haben und in der Zukunft verhalten könnten und sie nach einem Punktesystem entsprechend bewerten. Wer zum Beispiel über das Internet gesunde Babynahrung bestellt, soll Pluspunkte erhalten. Wer sich hingegen Pornos ansieht oder zu viel Zeit mit Computerspielen verbringt, muss mit Abzügen rechnen.” Da trifft es sich gut, daß Felix Lee nichts zu verbergen hat und ein solcher Umgang mit Nutzerdaten überhaupt nur in China in Erwägung gezogen wird…
www.zeit.de

With thanks to Michael August

Zur Hölle mit den Reichen

“Das System ist zutiefst krank. Es ist unmoralisch und unanständig. Die Wut darauf wächst. Sie sucht sich nur die falschen Ziele. Der Hass der Betrogenen gilt eher dem Kriegs- als dem Steuerflüchtling. Unser Planet ist ein Paradies für Arschlöcher.” Jacob Augstein bringt es auf den Punkt.
www.spiegel.de

Motor der Ungleichheit

“Das vielleicht spektakulärste Beispiel dafür ist der Google-Mutterkonzern Alphabet. 2003, weniger als ein Jahr vor dem Börsengang, übertrug ‘Google USA’ seine Suchmaschinen- und Werbetechnologie an ‘Google Holdings’, eine in Irland eingetragene Tochter. Dank des irischen Steuerrechts kann das Unternehmen seine Gewinne mit einen Zwischenstopp auf den Bermudas versteuern. 15,5 Milliarden Dollar waren das bei Google im Jahr 2015, der Steuersatz für Unternehmen auf der Inselgruppe: null Prozent.” Gabriel Zucman fordert ein Finanzregister als effektive Waffe gegen die Intransparenz der Weltfinanzen.
www.sueddeutsche.de

End these offshore games or our democracy will die

“These are the fixes, but a real solution is ultimately political. We must accept that Big Finance and runaway inequality are incompatible with either a functioning democracy or a sustainable economy.” Aditya Chakrabortty sees a rotting core at the heart of our democracies.
www.theguardian.com

Terrorists don’t scare city cyclists. We already have to deal with cars.

“If there’s one group of road users virtually immune to being cowed by a lowly act of terrorism involving a motor vehicle, it’s cyclists. We’re reminded every day—through rolled-down car windows, on too-narrow roads, via social media—that we “share” the roads with people who actively hate us and that our interests (including safety) come behind theirs. Every one of us knows what it’s like to stare death in the grille. Daily riders have all had drivers aim their cars at us as if they were about to plow us down, whether because of run-of-the-mill inattention or out-and-out road rage. This reality is priced into our decision to ride.” Eben Weiss alias Bike Snob NYC offers the urban cyclist’s perspective on the latest terrorist threat.
www.washingtonpost.com

You are the product

“What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does—‘connect’, ‘build communities’—and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook.” John Lanchester does not know what will happen should this $450 billion penny ever drop.
www.lrb.co.uk

Teaching humility in an age of arrogance

“Everything from the ads we read to the political news in our Facebook feed is tailored to our preferences. That’s incredibly useful for buying shoes and finding good restaurants. It is easier than ever to get and share information, but the information we get often reflects ourselves as much as it does anything else. Less noticed is that this has an effect not only on how we regard others, but on how we regard ourselves.” Michael Patrick Lynch suggests we take greater care to balance humility and conviction.
www.chronicle.com

Don’t feel sorry for refugees—believe in them

“We take in so few refugees worldwide. We resettle less than .1 percent. That .1 percent benefits us more than them. It dumbfounds me how the word refugee is consided something to be dirty, something to be ashamed of. They have nothing to be ashamed of. We have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity. There are 65.3 million people who have been forced out of their homes because of war. The largest number in history. We are the ones who should be ashamed.”
Luma Mufleh
www.ted.com

Katz-und-Maus-Spiel der Polizei mit dem Rechtsstaat

“Es ist schlicht und ergreifend nicht wahr, dass die Kritik an Hamburgs Polizeiführung nur von einer ‘militanten linken Szene’ komme, wie Innensenator Grote Glauben machen will. Dass es letztere gibt und dass sie extrem gewaltbereit ist, bezweifelt niemand. Doch wenn Grote sagt, es gebe zwar viele, die auch friedlich campen wollten, aber ‘wir können sie nicht von potenziellen Gewalttätern trennen’, dann ist dies schlicht und ergreifend ein Offenbarungseid. Denn genau das ist nun einmal Aufgabe der Polizei. Man stelle sich vor, die Polizei würde mit ähnlicher Begründung Bundesligaspiele verbieten, weil sich im Stadion auch Gewalttäter aufhalten.” Andrej Reisin formuliert seine Kritik an der Vorgehensweise der Polizei vor und während des G20-Gipfels in Hamburg.
www.daserste.de

Why are people so angry? Blame modernity

“The modern world’s cherished ideas of liberty, equality and prosperity are more popular than ever before. The problem is that it is difficult for the vast majority of the human population to realise them.” Pankaj Mishra appearing on yesterday’s Newsnight programme.
www.youtube.com

Senate intelligence committee study on CIA detention and interrogation program

“The CIA provided extensive inaccurate information about the operation of the program and its effectiveness to policymakers and the public.” Senator Dianne Feinstein released the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program just over two years ago. Never has an awareness of its findings on the use of torture been more important than today.
www.feinstein.senate.gov

The swedish kings of cyberwar

“Among the many questions posed by Scandinavia’s embrace of mass surveillance is one that has lingered at the margins throughout the Snowden debate: Are advanced democracies any different than their authoritarian counterparts in seeking to gain broad access into the private lives of citizens?” Hugh Eakin shines a light on the underreported activities of Sweden’s FRA in spying on people everywhere.
www.nybooks.com

With thanks to Michael August

WhatsApp backdoor allows snooping on encrypted messages

​“(Tobias) Boelter reported the backdoor vulnerability to Facebook in April 2016, but was told that Facebook was aware of the issue, that it was ‘expected behaviour’ and wasn’t being actively worked on.”
www.theguardian.com

Earlier, I posted two messages for my friends on Facebook. One with my Threema address, the other with the above quote and link to the article critical of Facebook’s conduct. Within hours, the latter had mysteriously disappeared from view. I don’t routinely use Facebook and now I know why: on this evidence, nobody gets to see much of what I post there, anyway…

Corporate censorship is the process by which editors in corporate media outlets intervene to disrupt the publishing of information that portrays their business or business partners in a negative light.”
wikipedia.org

Human rights for Martians

​“Human rights introduce morality into law and offer limited legal enforcement to moral claims. But as morality is not one and the law is not a simple exercise in reasoning, moral conflict enters the legal archive and legal strictures regiment and control moral responsibility.” For Costas Douzinas, the human rights movement is an ongoing struggle to close the gap between the abstract man of the Declarations and the empirical human being.
www.opendemocracy.net

Corbyn’s critics are hellbent on destroying the party they claim to love

​“Contempt for Corbyn is rivalled only by disdain for the party that elected him. His critics argue that the membership is unrepresentative of the country as a whole. By definition most political memberships are, but that does not mean they represent nothing.” Gary Younge attempts a balanced analysis of the current state of the Labour party.
www.theguardian.com

Egoismus mit rassistischer Nebenwirkung

“Zwar ist jede Form der organisierten Fremdenfeindlichkeit verwerflich—aber im Gegensatz zu vielen sozial abgehängten Pegida-Anhängern sind die Blankeneser wohlhabend, gebildet und gesellschaftlich einflußreich. Und daß ausgerechnet solche Menschen den allerschwächsten Mitgliedern unserer Gesellschaft ihre Unterstützung verwehren, ist schlichtweg unerträglich.” Peter Maxwill stellt fest, daß man kein Rassist sein muß, um rassistisch zu handeln.
www.spiegel.de

How surveillance stifles dissent on the Internet

“People who said they had ‘nothing to hide’ were in fact more likely to censor themselves.” Kaveh Waddell reports on resarch by Elizabeth Stoycheff that, given current practices of government and comercial entities around the world, rules out the Internet as a tool to promote democracy.
www.theatlantic.com

“This structure of surveillance will stop us doing things which are right, that we know we should be doing.”
Anthony Barnett speaking in October 2013