Four short links: 12 April 2010

Cloud Privacy, Copyright Quirks, Checklist Mania, and Phone Phacts

  1. Freedom in the Cloud — great talk by Eben Moglen on privacy and freedom in an age of networked services with centralised logs. What do we need? We need a really good webserver you can put in your pocket and plug in any place. In other words, it shouldn’t be any larger than the charger for your cell phone and you should be able to plug it in to any power jack in the world and any wire near it or sync it up to any wifi router that happens to be in its neighborhood. It should have a couple of USB ports that attach it to things. It should know how to bring itself up. It should know how to start its web server, how to collect all your stuff out of the social networking places where you’ve got it. It should know how to send an encrypted backup of everything to your friends’ servers. It should know how to microblog. It should know how to make some noise that’s like tweet but not going to infringe anybody’s trademark. In other words, it should know how to be you …oh excuse me I need to use a dangerous word – avatar – in a free net that works for you and keeps the logs. You can always tell what’s happening in your server and if anybody wants to know what’s happening in your server they can get a search warrant.
  2. An Observation on the Copyright Battles — this line from a comment on that blog is very good: What a pity international governments don’t seem to be able to make an agreement to ration finite resources like tuna, atmospheric carbon or fossil fuels, but instead devote their time to making an international agreement enforcing controls over something that costs no resources to copy. (via Glynn Moody)
  3. Definitive PHP Security Checklist — I’ve been in love with checklists since reading Atul Gawande’s fantastic essay on the subject (now a book) . Now I’m seeing them everywhere.
  4. Small, Cheap, and Not American (NY Times) — article about the future of the phone, pointing to the flowering powerful applications in the developing world; applications that the US does not have. Notable mainly for this factoid: The number of mobile subscriptions in the world is expected to pass five billion this year, according to the International Telecommunication Union, a trade group. That would mean more human beings today have access to a cellphone than the United Nations says have access to a clean toilet. (via the wonderful BoingBoing)
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