word of the day: guanxi
a comprehensive description and visualization of the interconnections of power in China: connectedchina.reuters.com
cut in half and also double
‘It is “the cause,” after all. That movement that will make the world right, which will correct the horrific injustices you were privy to on a daily basis. It will avenge the friends arrested, tortured, or killed. You live, breathe, eat, feel, touch anything related to it. The moments away from the computer are engaged in phone calls, texts, or in-person meetings and events. My body was in...
Are we going to become North Korea?– China’s media authority has announced new regulations barring news outlets and other organizations from reporting on foreign media coverage without permission. The General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television’s unveiled the tighter controls in a notice released on April...
confident being uncertain
“If there’s heavy haze, experts say close the windows; H7N9 comes, and experts say the window should remain open. I would like to know, should the windows be open or closed?” ‘Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of the public-opinion management over the first week of the bird flu crisis is the hands-off approach to the Internet. So far, there’s been almost no censorship of...
do you mean all your clicks?
“I’m going to start with three data points. One: Some of the Chinese military hackers who were implicated in a broad set of attacks against the U.S. government and corporations were identified because they accessed Facebook from the same network infrastructure they used to carry out their attacks. Two: Hector Monsegur, one of the leaders of the LulzSac hacker movement, was identified...
does freedom have high-speed internet?
‘THE net is getting creaky and old: it is rapidly running out of space and remains fundamentally insecure. And it turns out China is streets ahead of the West in doing anything about it. A report published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society last week details China’s advances in creating a next-generation internet that is on a national level and on a larger scale...
typing is timing
‘Here’s a tip for the 300 million users of China’s Twitter-like microblogging site Sina Weibo: If you don’t want to get censored, post your messages at around 7pm, Beijing-time. In a study released this week, researchers monitoring 3,500 users for 15 days last year, tracking when their posts were deleted. Weibo censors work by deleting the 140 character posts after they’ve been published,...
‘The Pirate Bay has been hunted in many countries around the world. Not for illegal activities but being persecuted for beliefs of freedom of information. Today, a new chapter is written in the history of the movement, as well as the history of the internets. A week ago we could reveal that The Pirate Bay was accessed via Norway and Catalonya. The move was to ensure that these countries and...
the managed citizen
‘After 1,000 days in pretrial detention, Private Bradley Manning yesterday offered a modified guilty plea for passing classified materials to WikiLeaks. But his case is far from over—not for Manning, and not for the rest of the country. To understand what is still at stake, consider an exchange that took place in a military courtroom in Maryland in January. The judge, Col. Denise Lind,...
area code 86
‘In March 2011, Stewart was examining a piece of malware that looked different from the typical handiwork of Russian or Eastern European identity thieves. As he began to explore the command nodes connected to the suspicious code, Stewart noticed that since 2004, about a dozen had been registered under the same one or two names—Tawnya Grilth or Eric Charles—both listing the same Hotmail...
'300,000 pages of code. Or 60 minutes of triple-X...
‘A multinational security firm has secretly developed software capable of tracking people’s movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites. A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an “extreme-scale analytics” system created by Raytheon, the world’s fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of...
privacy by design
‘Back in October, the startup tech firm Silent Circle ruffled governments’ feathers with a “surveillance-proof” smartphone app to allow people to make secure phone calls and send texts easily. Now, the company is pushing things even further—with a groundbreaking encrypted data transfer app that will enable people to send files securelyfrom a smartphone or tablet at the touch of a button. ...
‘Charlottesville, Va., has become the first city in the United States to formally pass an anti-drone resolution. The resolution, passed Monday, “calls on the United States Congress and the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to adopt legislation prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a Federal or State court,” and...
‘A Chinese entrepreneur is selling fresh air in soft drinks cans, similar to bottled drinking water, as north China is once again choking in toxic smog.’ - Canned air for sale in China as smog returns
sources & codes
‘For the last four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked The New York Times, infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees. […] Security experts said that beginning in 2008, Chinese hackers began targeting Western journalists as part of an effort to identify and intimidate their sources and contacts, and to anticipate...
don't make new people
‘China’s first 3D printing museum was opened at the Beijing DRC Industrial Design and Creative Industry Base on Jan. 15th, 2013, giving visitors a chance to experience this amazing 3D technology, according to Beijing Evening News. In a bid to gain some full-on experience, visitors can have their entire body scanned by a shoebox-sized 3D scanner. The multi-dimensional data will then be...
‘A tentative agreement to defuse a newsroom strike by Chinese journalists over censorship controls in this southeastern provincial capital had been reached by early Wednesday, and some reporters working for Southern Weekend, the newspaper at the heart of the dispute, were told that the paper would publish as usual on Thursday, one journalist in the newsroom said. With a number of...
in the age of constant visibility
‘In a move that demonstrates that drones, facial recognition technology, and cellphone snooping are starting to affect the broader culture, the New York-based artist [Adam Harvey] has designed a line of high-tech garments made with sophisticated fabrics that can block signals and thwart cameras. […] The “fashionably paranoid market” is his target demographic, Harvey jokes.’ -...
society must be defended
‘One of Deng’s legacies is China’s current strategy of maximizing “Comprehensive National Power”. This includes economic power (GDP, natural resources, energy, manufacturing, infrastructure, owning America’s national debt), military power (cyberwarfare, anti-aircraft-carrier ballistic missiles, anti-satellite missiles), and ‘soft power’ (cultural...
the irreparability of the past
The Aaron Swartz JSTOR liberator is a tiny bit of civil disobedience, presented to you in clicktivism form. By running this bookmarklet (which you should not do if you are not comfortable potentially violating terms of service), you will visit JSTOR, a keeper of academic articles, be presented with a random paper, and will download a single paper from the site. You will have to click a terms of...
not ready for this data
‘A BJC [Beijing Cream] reader reports that in his high-rise office, he was able to look above and see blue sky, but could not see the building across the street — so if there’s any doubt that this was smog and not fog, put them to rest. It got so bad last night that Beijing’s official air-quality index conveniently went “out of service” from 10 pm to 10 am this morning.’ -...
six past twenty
‘The Internet’s frustration over Swartz’s death echoes indignation over the government’s growing hacker hunt. Cyber security is now one of Washington’s biggest hobgoblins, but in the absence of any real strategy to solve it, the Feds have taken a harsh approach, indicting hackers for data scrapes and handing down draconian sentences in an effort to discourage...
andy warhol mediates
Beijing Censors Mao Portraits
‘China appears to be gearing up for a crackdown on its domestic Internet after a series of online exposés of corruption underscored the growing power of social media there. Senior members of China’s National People’s Congress on Monday began considering a bill that would require users to report their real names to Internet and telecom companies, according to the state-run Xinhua...
highly organized betrayal of reality
“There’s a curious quirk on every official North Korean website. A piece of programming that must be included in each page’s code. Its function is straightforward but important. Whenever leader Kim Jong-un is mentioned, his name is automatically displayed ever so slightly bigger than the text around it. Not by much, but just enough to make it stand out. There’s just one...
totally gross national product
‘China is also home to several charming Dutch villages, at least two of the world’s largest Eiffel Tower replicas, and an opulent copy of the17th-century Château de Maisons-Laffitte (constructed using the original blueprints and imported French Chantilly stone). More eerily, perhaps, a full-scale, no-expense-spared replica of the White House stands outside Hangzhou, while less exacting...
printed in red ink
‘China’s investment prowess and construction know-how is widely on display in this long-congested African capital [Nairobi]. A $200 million ring road is being built and partly financed by Beijing. The international airport is undergoing a $208 million expansion supported by the Chinese, whose loans also paid for a working-class housing complex that residents have nicknamed the Great Wall...
lost in transition
‘Google and many of its most popular subdomains, including Google e-mail, have been blocked by a “DNS poison” in China, according to Chinese Web monitoring site GreatFire.org, an extraordinary step in Web censorship even for the Chinese government. This is the second major outage for Google in China. The first, in 2010, had the site down for about 10 hours. It’s still not clear why or...
‘The implications of literature as resistance to data extend well beyond the mostly irrelevant little preserve of literature and literary analysis. Algorithms are inherently fascistic, because they give the comforting illusion of an alterity to human affairs. “You don’t like this music? The algorithms have worked it out” is not so far from “You don’t like this law? It works objectively.”...
a möbius strip of fuck
‘The Slovenian philosophy professor decries the tyranny of choice and says we now expect long life, a beautiful body, sexual and job satisfaction. But the idea that we can perfect ourselves dooms us to failure and misery.’ - Renata Salecl on Modern Misery
i'm only twenty-free
‘Given all of this, it is clear that most political struggles at the moment amount to a war over time. The generalised debt crisis that hangs over all areas of capitalist life and culture – from banks to housing and student funding – is ultimately about time. Averting the alleged catastrophe (of the end of capitalism) will heighten the apocalyptic temporality of everyday life, as the...
how post is this modernity?
“Ever since the arrest last week of Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm, there has been the usual speculation of who in the United States or Sweden ‘paid off’ Cambodia to make the move. […] Today, in another one of those unusual political coincidences, Cambodian officials announced the “strengthening of bilateral ties” with Sweden – along with a $59 million aid package...
“When I was young there were beatniks. Hippies. Punks. Gangsters. Now you’re a hacktivist. Which I would probably be if I was 20. Shuttin’ down MasterCard. But there’s no look to that lifestyle! Besides just wearing a bad outfit with bad posture. Has WikiLeaks caused a look? No! I’m mad about that. If your kid comes out of the bedroom and says he just shut down the...
the major fall and the minor lift
“Advertising revenue continues to sink at the New York Times Company, which reported a second-quarter net loss of $88.1 million today. But a glimmer of hope can be seen in circulation revenue, which has actually gone up through print subscription price increases and the online paywall. At the company’s big three papers — the Times, International Herald Tribune, and Boston Globe — print...
if people are ruled by numbers, study the numbers
“Like any other map, The Internet map is a scheme displaying objects’ relative position; but unlike on real maps (e.g. the map of the Earth) or virtual maps (e.g. the map of Mordor), the objects shown on it are not aligned on a surface. Mathematically speaking, The Internet map is a bi-dimensional presentation of links between websites on the Internet. Every site is a circle on the...
the falsity is in failing to see alternatives
“…Google is no longer a technology company, it’s basically a search engine. The search technology was developed a decade ago. It’s a bet that there will be no one else who will come up with a better search technology. So, you invest in Google, because you’re betting against technological innovation in search. And it’s like a bank that generates enormous cash flows...
to each according to his greed
A far-reaching new study suggests a staggering $21tn in assets has been lost to global tax havens. If taxed, that could have been enough to put parts of Africa back on its feet – and even solve the euro crisis. - The Guardian
“Starting Tuesday, look out for an unusual warning atop your Gmail inbox, Google home page or Chrome browser. It will not mince words: “Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer.” Google said it planned to issue the warning anytime it picks up malicious–possibly state-sponsored–activity on a user’s account or computer. How does...
speed is the strategy
‘The companies engaged in this relatively new practice, called high-frequency trading, are keenly aware of the importance of timely information about markets. And they use enormously sophisticated technology to wring out every last bit of delay—down to the microsecond level or even less—in getting that information and in executing their trades. A few years ago, hundreds of millions of...
the question: a description
“The limits of online information sources are a challenge both for us and for the people building the next generation of online tools. If we rigorously examine the media we’re encountering online, looking for topics and places we hear little about, we may be able to change our behavior, adding different and dissenting views to our social networks, seeking out new sources of news. But this...
in me, the paradox of liberty
‘A new top-level domain (TLD) in the works for the Internet will bake security in from the outset: The .secure domain will require fully encrypted HTTPS sessions and a comprehensive vetting process for websites and their operators. If the new domain takes off, it could shift the way Web domains are secured. It’s basically a “safe neighborhood” on the Net, its creators say,...
first we take manhattan
‘Critics complain that Google is buying up enormous amounts of virgin digital land in Africa at virtually no cost. Within a couple of decades, without the regulatory oversight of the African Union or African governments, they say, Africa’s internet life will be almost entirely in hock to the Google giant.’ - Google in Africa: It’s a hit | The Economist
Iran’s minister of communications prohibited using ‘foreign’ mail services like Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, and MSN, since he believes ‘they are tools for information leak’. Reza Taghipour has asked Iranian state offices, universities and companies to use Iranian mail services ‘which are hosted in Iran’. - via GlobalVoices