Weekly Axis Of Easy #142
Last Week’s Quote was “It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently” was Fyodor Dostoevsky. Winner was James R who emailed me the answer because there was some confusion around where the blog was last week.
This Week’s Quote: “To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men.” …by ????
THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted to the blog.
The Prize: First person to post the correct answer gets their next domain or hosting renewal on us.
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- Australia considering mandatory Coronavirus app tracking
- Governments roll out systems to report “quarantine breakers”
- Canadian government ponders new laws to fight “pandemic misinformation”
- CBC teaches you how to neutralize your silly parent’s conspiracy theories
- Amazon cuts affiliate revenues amid global economic depression
- Business is booming for surveillance corp Palantir as revenues exceed $1 billion
- Sale of .ORG TLD has been stalled pending inquiries by AG
- Kirikos: The ICANN PDP for Rights Protection Mechanisms has been captured
- High severity unpatched WP widget plugin issue
- Vice takes a bow for getting protestors deplatformed from Facebook
- Jesse Hirsh ponders Social Credit: Post-pandemic Scoring
- Unassailable is now free. Tell all your friends.
Joining the throng of governments (as reported last week) worldwide who are moving to use mobile phone apps to track coronavirus dispersion (and compliance to new social distancing rules), Australia is releasing an app of their own. Aussie PM Scott Morrison told news outlets that in order to be effective, at least 40% of Australians need to voluntarily download and install the app. If that does’t happen, then doing so will become mandatory. (To be clear to the logic impaired: if something is voluntary unless you choose not to do it, then isn’t voluntary).
The PM also said that data gathered by the app would not be used to gather evidence or prosecute citizens for not observing social distancing rules. (I was going to use “Never believe anything until the government officially denies it” in this week’s quote contest, but upon researching it turns out that this is such a universal and historically repeated maxim that the original citation Otto von Bismarck, is possibly apocryphal).
On that note, I meant to include Jesse Hirsh’s The Impending Disaster of App Based Contact Tracing in last week’s edition, but it’s just as relevant, if not more so, this week.
The next phase in governments who seek to clamp down on their respective citizenry are to setup reporting mechanisms for people to report on anybody who isn’t following quarantine and social distancing rules. Just a few data points include:
- The UK
- City of Toronto
- Nova Scotia urges citizens to call their police
- New York City mayor Bill Diblasio urged New Yorkers who see people breaking quarantine rules to “Snap a photo of an offending person or crowd, set the location on the image, and text it to 311-692.” …and then “Action will ensue”
- Not directly related but in the ballpark, the State of Kentucky ordered quarantine breakers to wear ankle monitors.
I’m sure there will be numerous additions to this list. Bear in mind, when Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s wife returned from the UK, with symptoms – the PM’s own doctors told him he was clear to go to work. The PM’s wife subsequently tested positive, and the PM, to his credit, self-isolated instead of following his doctors’ recommendation.
Those recommendations by Canada’s Broadband Telecom Legislative Review (BTLR) from before all this started seem to be gaining a new lease on life as they are reflective of the Federal government’s desire to control discourse around Coronavirus:
Via the CBC, “The federal government is considering introducing legislation to make it an offence to knowingly spread misinformation that could harm people, says Privy Council President Dominic LeBlanc.”
This is where things will really come to a head. Shut down the economy, put countless people out of work, countless businesses out of business and then clamp down on anybody who disagrees with it by calling it misinformation.
I had to write a stand alone article about this here.
Don’t forget our petition into the Canadian House of Commons to shutdown the BTLR is still active and open, if you haven’t already signed it, please help. Learn more about it here and sign the petition here.
This little vignette from the CBC teaches you how to deal with your dopey parents who drop ridiculous misinformation into family group chats. It cautions against telling your out of touch dad, for example, how idiotic he’s being (“he’ll just double down then”).
Instead, hit him with some empathy “you’re right dad, these are scary times”, finally send him some links from credible sources, like maybe the CBC, and established scientists.
I can’t find the original piece on The National website, the tweet is here:
One of the few companies actually experiencing a boom right now is Amazon.
Since it is tough all over, with people scambling to #LearnToCode or somehow eke out a living online, Amazon is doing their bit…. By cutting affiliate revenue shares by up to 80% across certain categories:
Furniture and home improvement products will drop from 8% to 3% percent, while affiliate commissions on groceries and food products will be chopped from 5% to 1%.
We should just start calling them “the company store” from now on.
Surveillance, also bullish. We reported a few weeks ago that Peter Theil’s shadowy Palantir was diving into the coronavirus tracking and monitoring business. We introduced Palantir back in #AxisOfEasy 46.
“Palantir markets its services to governments and corporations like JP Morgan to conduct pervasive surveillance. From vacuuming up emails, GPS locations from corporate smartphones, and transcripts of phone calls, Palantir uses everything it can get its hands on”.
Things are looking up for the privately held company, who is on track to have revenues in excess of $1 billion this year, up 35% from last year.
The sale of the .ORG registry from Internet Society to a private equity firm called Thanos or something, no wait, Ethos, Ethos Capital, has been stalled. The sale is contingent on ICANN approval, which was supposed to render their decision on April 17th.
Xavier Becerra, California’s Attorney General, sent a letter to ICANN asserting that all non-profit trusts in the state come under his jurisdiction and requested various documents about the proposed transaction (we reported on this back in #AxisOfEasy 131). ICANN has pushed the decision out (so far) to May 4th.
Domain policy expert George Kirikos is trying to sound the alarm on a seemingly obscure policy initiative within ICANN that could have far-reaching implications. The policy is called “The Rights Protection Mechanism” (RPM) and is currently in PDP (Policy Development Process). We touched on this in earlier stages of the track to note that George Kirikos had been ejected from the Working Group (WG) for (ostensibly) egregious use of a bad word (that word was “wishlist”) or more realistically, because he was too meddlesome to the Intellectual Property interests dominating the discussion.
According to George we are now looking at an emerging policy that could include such draconian measures as revoking an entire domain portfolio, even domains that do not infringe any trademarks, after losing 2 URS disputes.
He’s writing a series breaking all this down and if you’re a domain investor or just somebody who has an interest in a fair shake for dispute mechanisms, check it out:
If you have this installed, disable and remove it now. If you’re using our easyPress managed WordPress platform then we already took care of it.
The American Revolution 2 Facebook page, which was organizing protests and online dissent against lockdowns has been removed by Facebook after an article in Vice made them look like completely unhinged nutcases (keep in mind, everybody is somebody’s unhinged nutcase).
This is part of a larger initiative within Facebook to contain “misinformation” by, in addition to deplatformings, steering people toward World Health Organization news sources for Coronavirus material (you know the WHO, the same people who refused to declare COVID-19 a pandemic until about 60 days after everybody else knew we had a big problem and who abetted China’s coverup of the issue. Those guys. They have the lock on “objective truth”, according to Facebook).
While I understand why there is an impetus toward stopping the spread of Coronavirus, I still think the place to deal with real world actions is in the real world. People should be free to peaceably dissent online. This coordinated movement toward marginalizing non-conforming speech is setting a bad precedent.
Keep in mind: the economy is shut down, effectively by decree. Countless millions of jobs have been lost, countless businesses have folded. So now we’re going make it so that people cannot voice their grievances online? Call them “Covidiots”? If you want to foment a pressure cooker of social unrest, I’d say that’s a pretty good start.
I wrote this up at length in “What’s the Difference between Fake News and Hypernormalisation?”
Where all this is going, unfortunately, as Metaviews (And AxisOfEasy contributor) Jesse Hirsh describes it: is to “follow China’s lead no matter where it takes us”. That means that as part of the policy response to Coronavirus, we’re all gonna wind up with “social credit scores” that could factor in metrics ranging from your vaccination/immunity status to whether you belong to any Facebook groups that have been making trouble.
The most important point Jesse makes, is that this is not a health crisis as much as it is a political and economic crisis brought on by the failure and rot within the system itself. The pandemic was just the catalyst. It could have been anything. That’s why everything has come unglued so rapidly (and why all efforts to keep the system on the rails appears to be hypernormalisation, as I mentioned above).
Given the direction all this is headed, I’ve decided to make the ebook version of my book, Unassailable: Protect Yourself from Deplatform Attacks, Cancel-culture and other Online Disasters, free for download.
Please help us get the word out and share widely.
If you haven’t checked out the new AxisOfEasy website, you should! It’s not just me sitting in my basement shouting at clouds, we have Jesse Hirsh from Metaviews and Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds looking “way beyond the frame” of our world today and providing analysis and commentary you won’t find anywhere else. Stay tuned for our podcast!