Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Loud MP3s, too much CCTV, a broken darknet, and whos Beer is it?

I have been mulling some of these things over in separate posts for a bit, so I decided to combine them into one post about the current events of our globe.

Copyright law:
The UK "Performing Rights Society" is suing an auto shop for for £200,000 because while working, the mechanics were playing their radio too loud. Not even a CD, their radio. See, if you play music loud enough for others to hear, and it is outside one room, you need a £30,000 license for "public performance." These people need to be stopped! This is not just a UK issue either, not with the woman from Duluth getting a $220,000 fine for making songs "available" to be shared on Kazaa and the RIAA saying that if you rip a CD to MP3 at all - you are stealing it. Aka every ipod owner is a criminal.

Police Surveillance: Speaking of the UK and Big Brother. In the past decade they have decided to place and pay for Close Circuit cameras every where, flying camera drones, auto speed-trap cameras, and so on. The only problem is, they don't seem to stop crime. I am reminded of something Temple Grandin said in her talk a few weeks ago - people always want the technological fix and ignore the management side of things. Even when good management can often do the trick far easier and for less money. She was referring to people wanting the quick fix for cattle - build me a new facility vs. work with the animals better - but I think it can be true across all sorts of things. In this case, good old police work does far better than dumb CCTV cameras. Even if they can talk back now.

Terror: Again and again. Good PR is more important for the Bush administration than good intelligence. Short version, a private intelligence firm who had penetrated the Darknet of Al Qaeda finds the new Bin Laden tape that was to be shown on 9/11/07. They share it with the Bush administration, who promptly leaks it to the Media. Result? Al Qaeda knows they have been infiltrated and shut down/move their entire network. The President gets to talk about how Iraq and Al Qaeda are the same thing on your TeeVee.

Bonus Question! Why does a private intel firm know more than the CIA? And since when are there private intel firms anyway?

Belgium: Did you know that Belgium, that small European country that exports such wonderful Beer, is in crisis mode and there is a chance it will split into two? The Flemish speaking (and rich) north and the French speaking south (see the white line to the left) are distinct culturally but deeply tied economically. They have been with out a working government for months, but the official word on the break up is still, "no."

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