It’s worth repeating. The law is an ass.
A fundamental purpose of law is to protect the individual. Sadly, this purpose has long since been appropriated by big business – the purpose of the law is now to pander for business at the expense of the citizen through the collusion of politicians.
The result is that the law has become ridiculous.
In the past it used to be an unwritten rule in the UK that parliament would not pass unenforceable laws. The reason is that a law that cannot be enforced makes the law look an ass. Worse, it makes parliament look as big an ass as the law that cannot be enforced.
Here’s an example. Parliament has created the laws that made the courts attempt to block The Pirate Bay (TPB) at the behest of the music industry (and film and video and video gaming etcetera). Parliament has become the pimp of the music industry (ironic, really, since neither prostitution nor the employment of prostitutes is illegal – because it is unenforceable – but pimping is illegal).
But back to The Pirate Bay. The courts have been forced by the alliance of parliament and the music industry to order the ISPs to block TPB. But blocking TPB is so unenforceable it is absurd; confirming that the law and parliament has become a collective ass.
The easiest way to get round the block is to use a proxy service. You go to a site in a country that doesn’t operate a block, and that website redirects you to TPB. A quick search on Google turned up at least 150 TPB proxies.
But you don’t even need to look for them. There’s a Chrome add-on and an Android app that will do it for you automatically.
If you don’t use Chrome and don’t have Android you could use TOR, which will both provide anonymity and bypass the block. Or use a VPN. Both of these require some effort and a little knowledge.
So you could simply switch to the Opera browser and turn on Turbo mode. Turbo mode is designed for users with slow connections. It speeds things up by going via Opera’s own servers. But since you are going to Opera rather than TPB, you don’t get blocked when you go through Opera Turbo to get to TPB.
This is TPB via Opera Turbo from the UK today. Note that although I asked for thepiratebay.se (Sweden), I automatically got redirected to TPB’s latest home at dotSX. TPB moved from Sweden to “Sint Maarten, a tiny island in the northeast Caribbean located 190 miles east of Puerto Rico,” a few days ago (TorrentFreak). This follows the latest court case in Sweden against TPB by the music industry. Incidentally, TPB also has an Icelandic domain. The music industry case in Sweden is trying to get the Icelandic domain closed because it is registered to a man of Swedish nationality. I salute Marius Olafsson of Iceland’s domain registry ISNIC, who told TorrentFreak: “ISNIC will legally fight attempts to use the domain name registry system to police/censor the net. We believe that to be ineffective, wrong and dangerous to the stability of the DNS as a whole.”
Or you could simply use the Google cache. Chrome direct:
The long and the short of it is that the UK blockade of The Pirate Bay (or any other website) is unenforceable.
Only about 30% of the UK electorate bothered to vote in last Thursday’s local elections. Pompous political spinners try to tell us that it’s mid-term and people are more concerned with national rather than local issues. I give them an alternative – the people are totally disillusioned with politics and politicians and the whole political process because the law and parliament has become an ass in the pocket of big business.
And that’s a tragedy.
I wish it related to something other than the right to bear arms, but I wholeheartedly support and applaud the stance being taken by Kansas. “The Obama Administration,” wrote Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, to US Attorney General Eric Holder, “has repeatedly violated the United States Constitution for the past four-and-a-half years. That abuse cannot continue. The State of Kansas is determined to restore the Constitution.”
On 4 April the Kansas legislature passed SB102: The Second Amendment Protection Act. The Second Amendment is a difficult one, with academic debate on whether it provides a right to bear arms, or restricts Congress from preventing citizens from carrying arms, or whether it relates to individuals or a collective militia. It is, however, generally considered the right to bear arms.
There is a current debate in the US on whether this right should be restricted. Obama wants it restricted. Kansas does not. Its new law states:
Any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the second amendment to the constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas.
It goes further in authorizing Kansas law enforcement to arrest and prosecute any federal agents seeking to enforce unconstitutional laws within Kansas.
Attorney General Eric Holder is not amused. He wrote to Governor Brownback in no uncertain terms:
I am writing to inform you that federal law enforcement agencies… will continue to execute their duties to enforce all federal firearms laws and regulations. Moreover, the United States will take all appropriate action, including litigation if necessary, to prevent the State of Kansas from interfering with the activities of federal officials enforcing federal law.
He claims in the letter that SB102 “directly conflicts with federal law and is therefore unconstitutional.” That is, the Feds trump the States every time.
Not so, responds Kobach (a former professor of constitutional law); not every time:
It was drafted with the intent to assert Kansas’s authority as a co-equal sovereign under the United States Constitution to regulate a subject matter that is outside of Congress’s jurisdiction under the Interstate Commerce Clause of Article 1, Section 8.
That is, the Feds cannot interfere with commerce inside and confined to an individual State; and this law refers to “a firearm that is assembled in Kansas, that is stamped ‘Made in Kansas’, and that never leaves the State of Kansas.”
If you want to bear arms regardless of anything that Obama might say or do, get thee to Kansas and buy a Kansas gun. Not sure if you can buy a Russian or Israeli flat-pack and assemble it in Kansas, but it will be tested by someone sooner or later.
That more US States take a similarly pro-active stance to protect the US Constitution whenever the Obama (or any other) Administration arbitrarily acts against it; because once freedom and liberty has gone from the United States, there will be little to prevent other Western governments doing the same.
Lisa Vaas, a journalist I respect, has an interesting post on NakedSecurity. It discusses the problem of revenge porn sites, and the distress and harm they can cause.
In particular, it highlights the cases of Holly Jacobs and a separate class action by 17 women against one particular site, and GoDaddy for hosting the site. Lisa is right in that something must be done about revenge porn – nobody has the right to inflict pain on any other person. But what to do is the problem.
Lisa supports the action against GoDaddy:
The notion of GoDaddy being taken to task hardly seems confused. It seems appropriate, the hosting provider being an accessory to the alleged crimes and having profited off them, to boot.
This is an understandable but dangerous reaction. ISPs and hosting companies must not become tasked with censoring what they host unless it is clearly and plainly illegal (and even then the alleged criminal site should have clear legal recourse to appeal and be reinstated if it is not illegal).
If GoDaddy is found liable for the content of the websites it hosts, where will it stop? There’s a conceptually similar case in Belgium, where the music rights group SABAM is suing ISPs for lost revenue through illegal music downloads, and also demanding a general 3.4% tax levy on users to pay for illegal downloads.
If cases like these succeed, then ISPs will become afraid of legal action against them whenever a hosted site publishes material that might offend or upset powerful vested interests: ISPs will err on the side of bland to protect their revenue, and freedom and liberty will take a serious hit. ISPs must be protected conduits, like snail mail, and not be responsible for what they carry.
Lisa is right that something needs to be done about revenge porn sites – but the target must be the people who post the material, not the sites themselves and most certainly not the ISPs and hosting companies.