Links: Kissing, Crunching, and Mozilla Pwning

We start with an update to a story that appeared last week.

If you recall, last week I mentioned that police had arrested Geremi Adam purely as a favour to a Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association official.  That story was on Torrent Freak.  Now, Ars Technica comes out with a story showing the other side of that: the Royal Canadian Mounted Police aren't happy about "becoming the 'copyright police' for private rightsholders."

It's a fascinating turn; a clear reminder that some cops just want to do their jobs, and for the RCMP, enforcing the whims of the entertainment industry is not a part of that.


Despite politicians and their puppets journalists' claims to the contrary, WikiLeaks has become an important, even critical, source of information.  Of course, it's no surprise that politicians are intimidated and angered by its continued existence - the organisation endeavours to make their lives difficult.  One part of that is exposing secrets they'd prefer to, well, keep hidden.  And one of those secrets is the role of the United States government in the fight against file-sharing (I'm not saying piracy because we're not talking about a bunch of Somalians stalking the high seas for dubloons).

Although the U.S. has been trying to impose its will on the rest of the world for so long it's stopped being a surprise, the fact that they're pursuing this cause so relentlessly is still something of a shock.

According to WikiLeaks cables, the U.S. spent a huge amount of effort in trying to persuade the Canadian government to pass copyright legislation, going as far as "the repeated use of the Special 301 process to 'embarrass' Canada into action."  Michael Geist discusses this issue and more in the above-linked article, so head on over there to read all about it.

Now, we get word that while that was happening in Canada, the same was occurring in New Zealand.  Not only did it try to nudge the country to pass similar legislation, the U.S. "also offered to help NZ with drafting its three-strikes legislation, a form of which was recently made law under urgency."  That law, you may recall, was highly controversial.  Despite protests from citizens and fellow politicians, it was rushed through without a second thought.

With the copyright industry's efforts extending beyond U.S. borders, one has to wonder: just how long is Hollywood's lobbying arm?  That answer is most likely not a pleasing one, and with the evident power of the lobbyist, one can only conclude that democracy, whatever that means in the 21st century, is failing us. 


While we're on the subject of governments imposing their will, the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) recently asked Mozilla to pull an add-on enabling users to circumvent the ICE's domains seizures.  This add-on, MAFIAAFire, redirects users to an alternate domain when encountering a seized one - e.g. will redirect to - thus, in the case of websites just registering a new domain, rendering the seizure ineffective (not that they were effective in the first place).

So, what what did Mozilla do?
Instead of merely complying with the unlawful request, Mozilla sent a letter with 11 questions asking why they should remove the add-on:

Mozilla never got a reply.  How awesome is Mozilla right now?  Very.


Unfortunately for people that aren't interested in copyright matters, every link so far has dealt with that subject.  To make up for it, I have two interviews for you.

The first is with James Hanover Thompson, who, in 1958, was accused of raping a white girl that had kissed him and a friend on the cheeks.  The "Kissing Case", as it is known, ruined both young boys' lives, and not only from the harsh penalty that came with an innocent peck from one child to another, as Thomson explains:
"They uh... took us down in the bottom of the police station to a cell. And they had us handcuffed — they started beating us," James says. "They was beating us to our body, you know? They didn't beat us to the face, where nobody could see it; they just punched us all in the stomach, and back and legs. We was hollering and screaming. We thought they was gonna kill us."
You can listen to the interview here.

The second is with the legendary John Draper, in the latest episode of Leo Laporte and Tom Merritt's Triangulation.  They discuss various topics, from how Draper started out to meeting Steve Wozniak and calling the Pope, and finally what he's up to now.  It's a great listen and one can see (or hear; both options are available) that Captain Crunch is still as sharp as ever.

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