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While the biggest offender of fair economic rules in IT is undisputable (read for example this article), that one is not the only to do so. Below is a list of other methods, companies and even governments/parliaments, who do similar bad things, often illegal, often simply in a manner, which can't fit into a fair economy and free society, at least not for long. In many cases I give you an advice how to (re-)act on these offendings... Maybe the climate in IT is poisened nowadays by the biggest IT gang and luring other companies into similar violations of (economical) laws, that's no real excuse!

  • Since the 11. September 2001 there has built up an even more serious threat to our freedom, than before: now it's much easier for the foes of democracy, to request total control about the Internet, which is in truth just annoying them by the chance for everybody, to use it as an absolute free medium. The abuse of the Internet, which can't be avoided with any media, is only a spearhead argument without any solid base. When they succeed to control all contents and mails in the Internet (luckily this will prove extremely difficult due to technical and juristical reasons), they will take away this first free-for-everybody medium ever created and start to suppress freedom in an unprecedented manner. What should than mean the right of "freedom in word and speech" any more? But the absolute illegal, and already running system, is Echolon, a "service" run by the mighty and extremely dangerous (and most effective of all US) secret service NSA (National Security Agency). They sniff just all electronic communications world wide, regardless, if it's email, chat, usual web, phone, even FAX and so on. It's only possible to understand this freedom hostile act of the Americans, when you consider, that they spy other economies for their own advantage with this total inacceptable system. The only countermeasures are encrypting email (PGP is a good free system, and should be practically usable for everyone in near future, which it isn't yet) and web based TLS/SSL system with sufficient long encryption keys too. Even the NSA will fail to decipher a considerable percentage of such well-encrypted traffic. Phoning and FAX is absolutely useless, it will not hide any facts. The classic snail mail is the only way of information transport, which is largely free of any control/censorship, at least in most free countries!

  • Software patents are still not allowed in the European countries, but the rich and unscrupulous patent lawyer folks in the USA have managed to get this done there. While their buddies here in Europe have few chances, to establish these innovation hostile possibilities (and have no chance at all until autumn 2005) --- also for the sole purpose to gain more money for themselves! ---, it is necessary, that the software patents in USA are reclassified as what they are: monopoly help tools, absolutely not fitting to a truely free economy. Maybe the Supreme Court may discard these rules? At least I hope so. The biggest offenders are Unisys, claiming a patent on the lzw compression mechanism, used normally to compress GIFs especially on the web, but elsewhere too, and this way blocking competition from outside of the USA: for example this feature has to be disabled, when exporting software from outside into the USA. And it's not only a foe of innovation, when software is patented, but it can take ridiculuos forms: the often incompetent patent office responsibles in the USA (they admit themselves, that the level of patent examination is much higher in the European counterpart EPO) sometimes accept patent applications, which are below any common sense, just indisputable. Often even common practises (they are published this way!) are tried to be patented afterwards, which is clearly illegal in the European Union, by the way. Such a trial is on the way by the infamous Amazon company with the obvious sole purpose, to stifle competition by its main rival on the online book sellers' market, Barnes & Noble, for a simple mouse click/cookie combination! Aside from the weird fact, that Amazon stands no chance to get through in this special case --- if theirs would be accepted, another even more general software patent would be acclaimed to, render Amazon as a loser together with Barnes & Noble in this regard! ---, this case is as clear as others on this page: buy nothing from and visit never the web sites of these malevolent companies Unisys and Amazon! And generally speaking all free thinking Americans should try to press a ban of these software patents!

  • The so-called Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) is another action against freedom of all of us, which is solely based on one-sided economical interests of a minority. Besides the ignorance against freedom of the US parliament, expressed in the acclamation of that law, which should be also discarded by the Supreme Court as violating human rights, some companies have already practised legalized injustice this way. The well-known company Adobe, otherwise not to criticize, I guess, because they have introduced important open standards like PostScript and Portable Document Format (PDF), and not abusing it largely in any way (you have only to pay for creation/change tools of themselves for these formats), has abused the DCMA for violating human rights: a Russian developer was illegaly arrested, only because he could show publicly, and in fact did, that one of the usual useless copy protections techniques is feeble as all others presented up to now, despite originally it was requested, that it should be seriously tried to crack it! (go to the pure GNU/LINUX distributors' site DEBIAN to support the fight against this violation of human rights!) Similar problems arose, when other unviversity personnel figured out, how to break several others of these feeble mechanisms. They dare hardly, to travel into the USA therefore! And generally speaking, these feeble mechanisms harm in the first place usual, honest customers, who want nothing else, than a safety copy, but because these techniques are all ill-fated, it will never hamper bandits to rob these copyrighted materials!

  • Another otherwise not bad behaving company, Apple, has abused their rights on the Quicktime since version 3 used Sorenson video codecs, to exclude all others from offering client software to display such clips. You can only get the Quicktime players for their own OSs (Mac OS <= 9.2, the proprietary, and Mac OS X >= 10.0, the UNIX based) and the Redmond gangs' proprietary OSs, and they don't offer it for GNU/LINUX, Solaris, FreeBSD and so on and worse forbid the UNIX people to play these codecs anyway! In my view it's already quite clear, that they made a terrible mistake by this narrow-minded, Redmond monopoly style policy: only with a more open approach the technically fine codecs system of Apple would have had a real chance against the also proprietary Redmond codecs, the DVD system or the MPEG4/divX systems. Meanwhile the acceptance for Sorenson Quicktime systems has dropped considerably due to this wrong approach... Current remark: as I already expected, things have begun to change. The company Codeweavers has co-developed with Apple, which changed the mentioned licensing model to a more liberal and for this sufficient one, a plugin named crossover, which is able to use the M$ Win plugins of Quicktime and Shockwave Director with the help of wine. It works therefore primarily as browser plugin, the wine emulated Quicktime player is barely usable (faulty and slow), but the plugin works well and fast. You have to pay for it (20 US $ at last), either way...

  • There are ISPs and webmasters, who do really annoying invasive things: they let you see any contents only, if you let set them cookies (for example the bandits of fortunecity: another one, which can ignored easily, just deny them cookies, and you will therefore never download anything from them!) or as the newest threat to us internet users there are some, who want to deny the access on sites, if you're not downloading their banner ads together with the page itself! The last would not only render text browsers useless, but also affect blind users and is an hostile action against advertisement blockers like webwasher and junkbuster. Denial of access under these circumstances is not acceptable at all: in other media this would mean, you would have to enter your name and address for getting access to a TV channel for example or you have to pay twice for an undesired advertisement: you have to be longer online due to the longer downloads and to be distracted and annoyed by it --- instead of making it cheaper for us like TV ads it makes it more expensive. Unfair to the power of three, one can easily state. And if they enforce this by these malevolent methods, it would be like disabling the sound switch of your TV, no --- it's even worse... (es gibt eine Firma namens MediaBeam, Ahaus, die ein solch niederträchtiges Mittel Werbefirmen an die Hand geben will --- sowohl Anbieter als auch Nutzer solcher Techniken sollten natürlich von uns boykottiert werden!). Needless to say, that we should buy nothing from such unscrupulous companies and never should visit their web sites!

  • Because only very seldom mails are encrypted, mail servers represent a major threat to your privacy: even more than sniffing not encrypted mails, which are often not easy to assign all together to the same person (several email addresses, at work, at home...) on an email server all mails of all persons are often stored at least for a certain time, so everybody, who masters to read these mail queues, either way, if in principle legally (but checking the contents is criminal without legal allowance to do so!), or illegal in the hacking or related way, this can reveal a lot about persons managed by that mail server. Beware: here in Germany it's strictly forbidden for everyone, without juristic special permission, to read third party mails! Once again only encryption of all of your mails (they are stored encrypted too then) will help you out of this threat to your privacy.

  • Here in Germany the world leading (in distribution and technically, as well for standard compliance) Apache web server won a bad prize: the configuration default is to record all requesting IP addresses, user IDs and so on in the log. In light of the easy way, to switch this off, mostly dynamic IP addresses, security concerns (coordinated web server DoS and other attacks by hacker bandits) and the fact, that most private homepage owners will not see the original logs, this critique is put into some perspective, I think. For myself, I discard always the requesting site informations not only for the sake of the anonymity of my visitors, but too because it's simply to much information to deal with in any real useful manner. --- But another open source product (Squid) and for sure similar proxy products too raise a far bigger threat to privacy: here in Germany it's forbidden in companies to collect personal informations of any kind through electronic systems without a real juristic reason (criminal or unbearable heavy abuse, for example). These proxys are channeling the web traffic of a group or small company with heavy logging of all actions. While this is partly a security issue (better control over attacks from the outside by bundeling all in one channel) and partly a performance matter (caching enables reduction of IP traffic due to delivering once gotten contents from the outside to several people without reloading it), the bad thing is, that first it can't be switched off with a configuration change and second usually the personnel on work uses static IP addresses internally --- that translates into "big brother is watching you illegally"! Because every proxy administrator can see/extract this kind of forbidden personal information. But a little aside from the log configuration itself there is a netmask, which can be used to anonymize the accessors' IP addresses: a client_metmask entry of 255.255.255.0 will mask all different addresses in the last part of the address space for example... Otherwise you have to ignore the logs directly and to configure log analyzers not to report the internal static IP addresses... Acting other way can have serious consequences, not only in Germany, but in a number of other European countries too!

  • Anybody out there, who thinks, that the IT offenders come only from proprietary vendors? You're totally wrong: the well known LINUX distributor RedHat is in my view clearly violating some important rules of the GNU/Linux community. First, they ignore largely the LSB (Linux Standard Base), mainly supported from other distributors like SuSE AG and Caldera Inc. by (ab-)using an own, not LSB conformant rpm package format, and second, they exclude their customers from the usage of the so far only official Kernel released journaled file system ReiserFS for the obvious reason, that it was not developed by them, but mainly by another distributor (SuSE) and rivals their own (ext3), which is the worst of all journaling file systems available for GNU/LINUX (it's only advantage, compatibility with ext2, can't compensate for the big lack of performance and reliability). Third, they used at last a non-official, special version of the gcc (2.96 instead of 2.95.2 or 2.95.3), which often causes trouble while compiling sources yourself. In my view there is a lot of arrogance around, they think, they can rule the GNU/Linux community. We should all prove them wrong! Buy and use either Debian or Mandrake (or maybe SuSE) to avoid such negative tendencies, this is my advice. Concluding remark: now they have even begun to claim software patents (still illegal in Europe, and hopefully will stay so), which raises serious questions regarding their motivations!


 

to UNIX alliance  about the TCPA control threat  stop the biggest offender!

remarks etc. to: stefan.urbat@apastron.lb.shuttle.de

(URL:  http://www.lb.shuttle.de/apastron/itoffend.htm)