A state of fear

There is no denying it - the world is in a state of fear. Nations in the West and Middle East are ravaged by bombings, kidnappings, murders and more. People are locking their doors, arming themselves - doing all they can to protect those they hold most dear.

But at what price?

The measuring stick by which our civilisation gauges its progress is freedom - freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom from persecution, from pain. The Western world has always prided itself in how well it has measured up. That is until fear - fear of persecution, of pain, of death - has started to erode its place in the standing of Nations.

Freedom is being traded for security. Yet it isn't security that can be guaranteed. At best its a sense of security. Freedom is being bartered away by governments in return for National ID cards, the power to hold suspects without charge, the power to shoot to kill, the power to deport suspects, the power to monitor the public around the clock, and more. All these trades are in the name of security and claim to make our society safer from terrorists. But what protects us then from ourselves?

Consider the Social Security Number (SSN) as it is used in the United States - its the de facto national ID. If you can get your hands on it, along with basic details, you can impersonate some one else. Steal their money, their property, ruin their life. That is the danger of a system that can identify some one absolutely - it allows them to be impersonated absolutely.

This is not a problem restricted to SSN - it is a problem that is applicable to any system with the same capabilities. Any such system can be exploited by criminals and by the very people they are designed to protect against - terrorists.

Identification is a major part of security but it is not served by keeping detail records of individuals and through means of absolute identification. It is best served in my opinion through security questions designed by the user - customised to their private life with details away from the prying eyes of governments and corporations. Aside from increased risk of identity theft it will only serve to provide further means through which people can be discriminated against - and few things breed hatred like discrimination.

The invasion of our private life is not something we tolerate normally, yet we are now willing to give up a significant amount of it - National Identification Cards, public cameras, security reviews. We hoped that such measures will some how make our life styles safer, protect us from suicide bombings. Such is the hope offered by governments and the price demanded - yet where is the result?

How long would it be before the price demanded is that we restrict our life style? How long before we are only travel to certain places, only on approved means of transport, allowed to buy only from "safe" shops - all of which tightly controlled by the powers that be in order to make sure those who comply can do no harm?

How long before we protect ourselves by locking ourselves behind bars?

That is the future we are headed towards if we allow the current state of fear determine the development of our societies - we can not allow it to happen. The cliché phrase "terrorism only works if it forces a change in our life style" is bollocks. That terrorism exists is an indicator that our life style, however indirectly, is affecting the life of others - driving them to extremes. To ignore terrorism is akin to ignoring pain from your body . Terrorism won't go away because we ignore it - it will go away when we have resolved the fundamental issues that fires the hearts of men and women who carry out acts of terrorism. Its however evident that politicians are more interested in destroying the symptoms than cure the cause - poverty, oppression, occupation, suffering.

We can not tolerate terrorism - it is never a mean to a good end. Yet at the same time we can not ignore terrorism and continue to live our life as normal - because something is wrong with the world, something that would cause terrorism to contaminate our life. So instead of "terrorism only works if it forces a change in our life style", I propose "terrorism only works if it forces a reduction in our freedom".

The 2 different phrases illustrate 2 different points of view when dealing with terrorism: one advocates we ignore it and continue as normal, burying our heads in the sand while our freedom is slowly leached away into building bars behind which we can hide. The other proposes we do not give up our freedoms in fear, and change the way we live so the cause of terrorism is resolved. Politicians like the former, I much prefer the latter.

Which do you prefer?




IRC quote of the day

#11397 +(144)- [X]
<zx64> ducktape is merely a physical manifestation of regexps



Same Shit, Different Day

Well, I've just got back and read all the comments re Steve's post about Austnet-exposed. It would have been absolutely hilarious, except that I get the sneaking suspicion tha the ozzinet opers actually - yes, I know, it's difficult to accept - actuallly *believe* the crap they're spouting. And that makes the difference between something that's hilarious and something that's just sad and rather disturbing.

My opinion of humanity just dropped a little.

Ok, so you don't like Austnet. Fine, you are entitled to your opinion. So you made an alternate IRC network where you could have rules you like. Fine, more power to you - more options for users can only be a good thing. And you made a webpage describing the problems you had and the solution (ozzinet) that you've come up with. Fine...

...wait a minute. No, that's not fine. In concept yes. In execution, absolutely not. Have you guys actually read your page? Because I find it difficult to believe that you know what it says and are still happy to attach your names to it. Personally I'd be hiding it in some deep, dark, recess - preferrably /dev/null - out of shame. Ok, let's put aside the blatant immoral and unethical content, because I think it's fairly well established you don't care for either of those. But that aside, that webpage is still a dreadful slur on your dignitiy.

I mean, honestly, do you, the supposedly meant-to-be-respected opers of a newly formed IRC network, really want people to look up this esteemed document you have created, only to realise the content essentially goes along the lines of:

"Ner ner, we are so much better than j00! omgwtfbbq ozzinet = 1337z0r, d00d. We know where you live, hahahaha, oh and my big brother's in Yr 12 and he's gonna come to your house with all his mates and..."

Need I go on?

Don't agree with me? Read it again, I'm sure if you have half the intelligence you attribute to yourselves you will see exactly what I mean.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject of intelligence, or lack thereof: your information gathering about Steve was woefully pathetic. A google search of 'freespace' reveals more. In fact, all of the details you found, including those you state inaccurately, are available on this very site and on other sites linked to from here. You see, your threats - "We will post your picture and details online" - really don't mean much to a person who has nothing to be afraid of. All of this information was already freely available, why? Because Steve is rightfully unashamed of who and what he is. Revealing this does not so much threaten him as simply show his character in a deservedly good light.

By the way, one other small inconsistency that's been bugging me. Talon, if you are going to object to (nonexistent, I might add, but then, basic Year 7 comprehension skills cannot really be expected of you) claims that you do drugs, it's rather stupid to later say you have some cones to smoke. Just thought I'd let you know. Maybe you like showing your hypocrisy. But if not, consider that a tip for the future.

Steve's already discussed what's so wrong about your site. This post is just to let everyone know there's something seriously wrong with you as well. Unless you're in Year 2, in which case your childhood development is proceeding relatively normally.


P.S. Feel free to add me to your hit list. I'd be honoured to be in such good company.

P. P. S. Racial slurs? You resorted to racial slurs? Don't make me laugh...oh wait, you already did. Well I suppose it's a testament to Steve's integrity that you found nothing better to insult him on than the location of his birth.

Interesting observation

Interesting observation as pointed out in a comment:

Quote from a comment by storm:
When something happens, then bother with the posting. btw, im not iCER :)

Your all a bunch of tools and will get what you deserve. That goes for all...

Quote from #freebsd on ozzinet:
17:16] <@iCER> anyways i put an EOF there
[17:16] <@iCER> i wont be reading it again unless i relaly have to / care
[17:16] <@iCER> tell the fag to stop deleting posts
I have this feeling that iCER and st0rm are the same person, but I will let you draw your own conclusions.



AustNET Exposed: A regular and long-time user's response.


Most of you reading this have read AustNET Exposed. This is my response as a regular and long-time user.

Firstly, despite the legal smoke screen the author throws up, the article is clearly slander, as per statements like:

If they stop downloading animal porn then they might get the job done.

Secondly, despite the claim that the site is "used for educational / training purposes only." the article calls on the reader to sell and otherwise abuse personal information supplied on the opers. This is hypocrisy at its finest.

Aside from the self-righteous claims and pathetic attempt to legalise their fear mongering, the authors make it clear why they are banned with golden lines like:

"We dare you, not to remove the glines set on us. "

They preach that DDoS is bad and we shouldn't do it. Yet they make it crystal clear they are prepared to. Hypocrisy pours from this article like water from the sea.

These people express their dissatisfaction for AustNET's service by - wait for it - attacking the netwok. Thats logic for you. Granted, the coders may be ignoring the problems presented, but I fail to see how attacking the servers which host AustNET, or threatening the people who run it will do any good. It only serves to increase the distance between the two groups. These same people then go and get angry - self-righteously angry in fact - because of the fact they are no longer welcome on a network they attacked.

To that I say: good riddance.

I can't stand people who disrupt other people's lives for their own goals, however noble they may be. Good can not be served through evil because then evil is justified. For the same reason AustNET can not be improved by fear, intimidation, disruption, or deception. If the authors genuinely believe in bettering AustNET they should have opened active dialogue with the operators instead of disrupting AustNET's servers and threatening the people who run it.

People who I despise even more than the above are people who attack other people's work. The keyword here is attack not criticise. AustNET is maintained through the work of the operators. It's a not-for-profit network and organisation and like all such organisations, it has its foundation in passion. Passion for an idea, a way of life, a culture, and most importantly, passion for the users. To criticise is accepted and welcomed - this is how Little Things grow into Big Things. To attack is dishonorable and pathetic - no one is being forced to use AustNET, so why do they even bother? Why don't they move on to the millions of other networks like their favorite ozzinet.org? Because they haven't got a life, because they are so pathetic that they must make themselves feel better by ruining other people's fun and gain from it some small sense of power to cover their own insecurities.

I have met some of these people at ruxcon 2004. In real life they are no better. These are the punks of cyberspace, their acts the cyber equivalent of graffiti, defacement, deliberate damage. It's unfortunate then that the only way to stop them is through stricter control - just like in real life. The operators are our cyber police and like real world police, they must from time to time act with an iron fist to ensure peace.

To the operators of AustNET, I extend my gratitude and thanks. I cut my teeth on AustNET - it was the first IRC network I used. I have met great friends online, and these same people taught me things I would never have learned by myself at a young age of 15: networking, coding, philosophy, life. I learned to be humble, to be polite. I found people of like interest, people who are smarter, better, funnier; people who are willing to teach, learn. In short the people I met on IRC helped me to deal with people in real life, for despite the metaphysical avatar we adopt online, our true selves still shine through. Communities have risen from the initial chaos, friendships formed from tentative a/s/l's. All of this would not have been possible without the people behind AustNET and their passion.

So once again ladies and gentlemen, to the operators who keep it running: thank you.