Human Rights by Design

Good essay: "Advancing Human-Rights-By-Design In The Dual-Use Technology Industry," by Jonathon Penney, Sarah McKune, Lex Gill, and Ronald J. Deibert:

But businesses can do far more than these basic measures. They could adopt a "human-rights-by-design" principle whereby they commit to designing tools, technologies, and services to respect human rights by default, rather than permit abuse or exploitation as part of their business model. The "privacy-by-design" concept has gained currency today thanks in part to the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which requires it. The overarching principle is that companies must design products and services with the default assumption that they protect privacy, data, and information of data subjects. A similar human-rights-by-design paradigm, for example, would prevent filtering companies from designing their technology with features that enable large-scale, indiscriminate, or inherently disproportionate censorship capabilities­ -- like the Netsweeper feature that allows an ISP to block entire country top level domains (TLDs). DPI devices and systems could be configured to protect against the ability of operators to inject spyware in network traffic or redirect users to malicious code rather than facilitate it. And algorithms incorporated into the design of communications and storage platforms could account for human rights considerations in addition to business objectives. Companies could also join multi-stakeholder efforts like the Global Network Initiative (GNI), through which technology companies (including Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo) have taken the first step toward principles like transparency, privacy, and freedom of expression, as well as to self-reporting requirements and independent compliance assessments.

Posted on December 26, 2018 at 6:27 AM • 54 Comments

Comments

KoenDecember 26, 2018 7:18 AM

The idea sounds very nice, but is seems so far out of reach. We cannot even enforce basic human rights or have them applied in the analog world.
If the digital leaders do not take a lead in this it will only result in a regulatory approach.

FaustusDecember 26, 2018 9:52 AM

Defending freedom sounds like a nice thing but I am worried where this will go. Nobody needs major software to limit connections to certain addresses and top level domains. Maybe it is the analytics that makes Netsweeper worth buying. I, and a million others, could write the blocking code. (No, this isn't an advertisement. My oppression schedule is booked for the next ten years.)

Do oppressors wear signs saying "Oppressor"? Nope, the sign always says "Defender of Freedom". And it works. Remember: A vampire cannot enter your house unless you invite them.

I am (pretty) sure that Bruce is incredibly well intentioned in his social interventions. I love that he is rarely calling hellfire down on the malefactors. I think this forum is the best example of what social media could be, people agreeing and disagreeing without being aholes.

But has recent social intervention actually had the results that we expected?

The Tao Te Ching observes:

Governing a large country
is like frying a small fish.
You spoil it with too much poking.

Impossibly StupidDecember 26, 2018 9:54 AM

Good? It's a laughable pipe dream proposed by people who clearly have no idea how technology works. You can't just wave a wand and create a firewall that won't "enable large-scale, indiscriminate, or inherently disproportionate censorship capabilities­". The simple fact is that a lot of us get a disproportionate amount of attacks coming in from IP ranges in China and Russia (along with a fair number of other less-than-friendly countries). If the people in those countries don't like being cut off from the greater Internet, it is their burden to keep their local criminals from using their network neighbors as human shields on an international stage. Otherwise, the idea that I must allow massive abuse in the name of human rights is thick with irony.

(required)December 26, 2018 11:45 AM

There is no international law of any real toothed value. Even Geneva has gone away.

Design whatever system you want, enforcement and diplomacy are required or it won't work.

FaustusDecember 26, 2018 12:16 PM

If your packet is encrypted the only thing a DPI system sees is the routing information that is required to make the internet work. The IP addresses you connect to and from can't be a secret. It would be like not putting the address on a letter.

The fact that someone might keep track of the to and from addresses on packets is the last thing we need to worry about when we are already dumping our private information on social media sites and giving software and browser addons and even web pages really deep access to our computers.

Do you enable your cameras and microphones? Your whole life is already being deeply inspected. Oh yeah, wipe your chin. There's some schmaltz on it. Nice t-shirt. I like The Clash too! We all love your long-distance romance. Aren't you naughty?!!

GweihirDecember 26, 2018 2:06 PM

Human rights are not an implementation problem or a problem of understanding them. The problem is entirely non-technological and comes from a significant fraction of the human race that wants to deny human rights to some other members of the human race. These people then vote people into power that are willing to implement that inhumane agenda.

Hence any technological solution simply misses the point.

Clive RobinsonDecember 26, 2018 3:05 PM

@ Godel Fishbreath,

Yup 3ve (eve) has been discussed but as it took what is seen by many as the evil side of the disrespectful reasource stealing malware infesting marketing industry that got hit for atleast 29million there was unsurprisingly little to no sympathy for the insufficiently maligned marketers that had got taken. In fact I suspect many would hope it would continue to the point the marketers learned a lesson or three if not went bankrupt.

But manipulating BGP is an international cat and mouse game, where it is easy to make false pronouncments on who is doing what. A mass of traffic heading out of one US-China gateway and back through another US-China gateway... Might make a lot of MSM noise about China stealing US only data, then discover it was caused by priority changes in the US... And it's "oh did it do that" comment long after the event... BGP is "fragile" and easily does bizarre things even though it's about as simple as you can get. This is due to "Many simple things, do complex systems make".

FaustusDecember 26, 2018 3:36 PM

@ Gweihir

The problem with human rights is that we experience them through our bias, that we are OK and the problems lie elsewhere. We are all complicit and there is no easier place to clean then our own backyard but basically nobody is willing to do that.

It doesn't matter if you think that YOU are not close to as bad as THEM. The fact is you are, I am. You and I and whatever moral beast we wish to stick with all of our sins are much more similar than different. We live in a world where disagreements are solved by force, or solved by putting people in torture chambers called prisons. Our soldiers purposefully kill a ton of innocent people because we throw them into a moral vacuum where nothing makes sense and they are angry and want to survive.

We want to be safe so we empower a class of people to be police, then isolate them and train them to see people as the enemy, give them genocidal weapons, and then, not surprisingly, they end up shooting people for no legal reason. Many of us have plenty of excuses for this while we want to jail executives for brazenly using the data we voluntarily gave them knowing exactly what they do with it. We have no sense of moral scale.

Slavery still abounds. Over twenty percent of female US soldiers are sexually assaulted; can you imagine what it like for the women and children of our enemies? Our countries destroyed any indigenous populations that were in the way and we have no intention of restoring what we took.

Even if you agree with all or most of what I say, neither you nor I are going to seriously inconvenience ourselves to do anything about it personally. No, somebody else needs to gagged for free speech, or imprisoned for freedom, or scapegoated for equality. Or we look to professional agitators/politicians who seek money and fame and power by capitalizing on these issues.

We only look at moral issues we can put on somebody else and ignore the rest. We decry global warming while driving around solo in our personal cars, jetting all over, and making pretty wood fires.

In short, we are predatory animals who have no intention of relinquishing our position at the top of the food chain until somebody makes us an offer that personally serves us better. We need to recognize that, or we will play moral hot potato much longer than necessary.

On the good side, we are also mammals, animals that are inclined to empathy and fellow feeling. We also do tons of nice things and we hurt when we see suffering and might even step in and help.

We need to nurture the mammal side of ourselves and focus on our feelings of connection. We have to abandon our punitive instincts because they are the bs factory that keeps the whole predatory cycle going.

I promise you, if we last that long, in 200 years people will look back at us all and wonder how people could be such jerks. And 200 years later people will say that about 200 years in the future. We have gotten better and, barring an existential crisis, we will keep on getting better.

I propose that what drives improvement is not hate and punishment, but love and understanding. If we want to fix the world we should start with ourselves. Our religions teach this approach, but we somehow we twist these consistent teachings into Crusades.

Let's stop.

Sancho_PDecember 26, 2018 5:56 PM

“Human Rights” is an oxymoron.
A right is given from “above” - but we all are equal. We can’t give rights to each other.

So we have only one right: The right to die.
No human can nullify this right given by nature.

JonKnowsNothingDecember 26, 2018 9:38 PM

@Sancho_P

“Human Rights” is an oxymoron.
A right is given from “above” - but we all are equal. We can’t give rights to each other.

So we have only one right: The right to die.
No human can nullify this right given by nature.

Long ago George Carlin explained the difference between Rights and Privileges.*

  • We have No Rights. None at All.
  • We have Privileges and these can be taken away at any time.
  • Rights cannot be taken away ever. Since all items called "Rights" can be taken away they are in fact Privileges and not Rights.

In regard to the "right to die"... we do not have a right to die. We do have biological limitations that currently have lead to death. The folks who want to live forever (see: P Thiel) are working diligently on removing biological restraints that lead to death.

The "right to kill" (as in: inflict death on others) is held firmly by The State. The State being the metaphysical and almighty "they". If you are ordered to kill THOSE_FOLKS you will do so because if you do not you will yourself be killed.

If you take it upon yourself to "inflict death" on someone outside of State Sanctions/Permissions you will end up in prison and still in many locations on the globe be killed By The State as punishment. You might be killed by another State Entity based on agreements between States.

You are prohibited from "self slaughter" because this is a power held only by The State and is in many countries a crime and should you not succeed in self-slaughter you might spend time in jail, prison or institution.

There is no right to die. It's a biologically based condition or an induced transition from breathing to no longer breathing.

You have no rights - none at all. None Yesterday, None Today and Fewer Tomorrow.

* there are many videos of this explanation

NickDecember 27, 2018 2:51 AM

@Faustus

The fact that someone might keep track of the to and from addresses on packets is the last thing we need to worry about when we are already dumping our private information on social media sites
No adult with more working neurons than c. elegans is dumping private information on social media sites any more.

BirchDecember 27, 2018 2:57 AM

@Faustus

Thank you for your eloquent and insightful contribution. It's posts like this that make this blog worth reading (sadly highlighting the [not so] gradual descent in discussion quality that other older favourites (esp. Slashdot) are exhibiting.

Wesley ParishDecember 27, 2018 4:09 AM

If I may be allowed a word, Human Rights are the state's self-restraint; they are also part of the social contract between the elite and the population aka the legitimacy granters.

Some of them happen to be based on a deep anthropological basis - the right to freedom of movement, for example, is based on the habits of millions of humans over the millennia, who reacted to unfavourable circumstances by simply moving away. It's the stuck-in-the-mudness of feudalism that sticks people in a particular place until given the right to change it, that abuses and violates that basic aspect of humanity.

Freedom of expression is based on the necessity of feedback; Hansen's Disease is a rather vivid example of why.

I could go on. Human rights are not a superficial add-on.

I don't know how successful this initiative will be. A lot of course will depend on how many heavy-weight companies throw their weight in; and also how many people decide to think about the topic rather than repeating old chestnuts about Human Rights; I'd say for example, quoting the African American fight for freedom from slavery and then mentioning the African fight for freedom from colonialism, and then mentioning that keeping big companies from selling personal data to oppressors and allowing them to lock one down is the same fight, is likely to get a lot of Developing World attention, more so than merely saying, these are the rules, and we must obey them - particularly as the Democratic West has been disobeying them for as long as they could get away with it: that impresses nobody.

FaustusDecember 27, 2018 8:13 AM

@ Birch

Thank you for your kind words. I agree. This blog is an oasis in a desert of anger and more anger.

It occurs to me to rechristen facebook as "rumpbook" (you can guess what rhyme I would use for Twitter!), as that is what is often presented to its users.

@ Sancho_P

I am sorry that this is your take away from many years of loyally serving Don Q.

@ Sancho_P & Jon

If your rights nihilism is a critique of how little rights are respected, then I get you. But if you really believe that a right like the right not to be arbitrarily killed is not meaningful or important despite not being universally respected, then I think you are allowing words and ideas to blind yourselves to the nose on your face.

@ Nick

Maybe people are being more careful. But simple photos and locations and friend lists and unprivate "private" messages are still too much data to give to facebook in my view.

@ Wesley Parish

I like the genealogy of rights that you started fleshing out. It is useful to see these rights as part of the immune system of human communities. Although they may be expressed as rules, I think human rights are essentially perceptions. The more we feel them, the more we see how they protect us individually, the more we will respect them without the need for coercion. Understanding them principally as LAWS WE HAVE TO FOLLOW - OR ELSE reduces their authority rather than enhancing it.

JonKnowsNothingDecember 27, 2018 9:18 AM

@Faustus

If your rights nihilism is a critique of how little rights are respected, then I get you. But if you really believe that a right like the right not to be arbitrarily killed is not meaningful or important despite not being universally respected, then I think you are allowing words and ideas to blind yourselves to the nose on your face.

There is a universal problem that happens when you use the word "RIGHTS". All rights are revocable and as you pointed out are "not being universally respected".

That in itself ought to say something about the topic because anyone at anytime and on any pretext can revoke or ignore your "rights.

  • People have a "right" to walk on the street -> they get killed.
  • People have a "right" to be safe in their persons and homes -> they get killed, kidnapped, raped and murdered.

These examples are extremes but the fundamental problem is:

OTHERS ARE NOT GOING ALONG WITH THE PROGRAM

And there's the rub... Rights are not Rights if Others can Ignore Them.

So a bit closer to home in the USA check the 19+ NINETEEN Federal Law Enforcement Agencies to find out how many RIGHTS are IGNORED. The generic purpose is to PREVENT someone stomping on YOUR Rights but in practice they Stomp on Anyone they want to.

It's not much different anywhere else on the planet. So where does that leave us? Unless we can figure out a 100% unbreakable method of protecting ALL RIGHTS it's not going to work.

The Proposals on Rights are just ideas written on paper. It's not enough. It's perhaps a good idea or nice ideal but it is not enough.


PhaeteDecember 27, 2018 11:07 AM

Companies could also join multi-stakeholder efforts like the Global Network Initiative (GNI), through which technology companies (including Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo) have taken the first step toward principles like transparency, privacy, and freedom of expression, as well as to self-reporting requirements and independent compliance assessments.

50 years in the technology information era to hear "have taken the first step toward principles like transparency, privacy, and freedom of expression"

First step towards the principle of privacy and freedom of expression?

Those are not a babies first steps, but the first steps in rehabilitation of a 50 year old man after a car crash.

It baffles me how hot air speak like that still manages to give people enough warm fuzzy feelings to actually ignore the words. Emotional context for the win.

albertDecember 27, 2018 11:31 AM

"...Companies could also join multi-stakeholder efforts like the Global Network Initiative (GNI), through which technology companies (including Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo) have taken the first step toward principles like transparency, privacy, and freedom of expression, as well as to self-reporting requirements and independent compliance assessments...."

Is this a joke?r

Do these people know what they're talking about?r

Is this article electron-wasting fodder?r

Those are rhetorical questions,

Reply if you must.

-------------
P.S. Had this been the introductory paragraph, it would have saved me a lot of unnecessary reading.

. .. . .. --- ....

Impossibly StupidDecember 27, 2018 11:57 AM

@JonKnowsNothing

Rights are not Rights if Others can Ignore Them.

Incorrect. In fact, it may be just the opposite. Rights are something we declare about ourselves, involving our own agency and autonomy, and (and this is the part some people ignore) assert that they apply to all people based on a principle of equality. Even some people who claim to be Constitutional scholars mess this up, saying that Bill of Rights grants to those rights when in reality it exists as an assertion by the state that it will not try to take those rights away.

So when @Sancho_P asserts the "right to die", all that means is that he is saying that he doesn't mind if he is arbitrarily killed. I don't assert that right myself (me being a "Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness" kind of guy), so anyone who wants to kill someone should respectfully steer clear of me. There are conflicting values present, but they are self-resolving.

Rights are thus best examined from an inward looking perspective. That's why the whole premise of the linked story is laughable. It's about imposing values (impossible to achieve ones at that!) on other people rather than examining the system of rights that are in play for all parties and resolving them appropriately.

FaustusDecember 27, 2018 3:20 PM

@ Jon

Your understanding of rights does not correspond to how most people use the word.

The source of all knowledge (English language Wikipedia!) quotes the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.

A right doesn't disappear because it is not respected or misadventure causes its assertion to have negative consequences. Your contention is analogous to saying that addition doesn't exist because somebody makes an adding mistake or that you don't exist because somebody calls you by the wrong name.

More directly, the rules of chess do not disappear because someone cheats. They are there to define what cheating is.

bttbDecember 27, 2018 3:46 PM

From the end of Susan Landau's article https://www.lawfareblog.com/exceptional-access-devil-details-0 (26 December) :

"In the U.S., the conversation has often been stymied by a law enforcement refrain of impediments rather than an embrace about acquiring new technological capabilities. Sometimes, indeed, law enforcement says they can't when it turns out that they simply didn't try hard enough.

With this in mind, I have several takeaways from the Levy and Robinson post. The first is that even though some of the principles already fall under U.S. jurisprudence, these principles are useful for developing policy around the tradeoffs in conducting investigations in the Digital Age. I’d like to see these principles explicitly adopted by U.S. law enforcement. Second, the concrete proposal about adding a silent listener to end-to-end encrypted conversations fails the security and trust tests that Levy and Robinson recommend. That does not mean that the principles are inadequate, but rather that this particular proposal for exceptional access doesn’t pass muster. And finally, U.S. law enforcement should take a page from these investigators from across the pond and develop a far more technically sophisticated approach to conducting investigations involving digital technologies. Such advice is not new: the FBI has been told this for over two decades. It's well past time such recommendations were acted upon."

Clive RobinsonDecember 27, 2018 4:51 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

The Proposals on Rights are just ideas written on paper. It's not enough. It's perhaps a good idea or nice ideal but it is not enough.

A journy begins with but a single step, with luck we learn much upon the way. But do journeys ever realy end? Society's mores and morals whilst seen as anchors slowing us down by some are seen as touch stones holding us up by others.

There problem is that whilst nearly everybody believes they personaly have rights, and this can easily be demonstrated some don't feel that way about others, for many reasons. But as with many "isms" it falls into three broad catagories as can be seen with racism,

1, Those who blaim their own personal failings on those they can recognise in some way as different.

2, Those who have suffered harm at the hands of others who are different and blaim not the individual but those who share the differences.

3, Those who quite calculatingly exploit the differences for some kind of personal gain.

History shows that the third category are those who are not just the most dangerous but those who actually care not a jot who they see as different, as long as there is one or more such groups they can feel beter than or have some kind of status or entitlement over.

In essence the "We are better than them" set who themselves get exploited by those who see themselves not necessarily as better but smarter in some way. A simple example is paparazzi journalists following people around 24x365.25 looking for reasons to find fault with them as that will bring in large sums of money.

But for instance take an extream, of a person who sees as acceptable what others later regard as genocide as a solution to social issues. Few admit later that they too were happy to think about such things when they had nice lables like eugenics attached.

This was very definitely the case in America and much of Europe back before the 19th Century through the 1930's and into the 1940s. It gave us pogroms, concentration camps and worse, a lot worse.

When people saw what the "getting your hands dirty" of such policies were then the ideas were declaired abhorant and "Monsters were made" of those who had. Not to serve as a warning to the future but to try and absolve the guilt of such thoughts.

One of the things I caution people about is that as history shows more bad was done in the name of good than ever was through overt evil intent.

As I once said to @Wael on of the most frightening phrases to hear is,

    All for the Greater Good.

Human rights are not there to be ignored, or even obeyed they are there to make people realise that all human life including their own has value.

On mass non of us are any better or any worse, we all have "tooth and claw" it's what we chose to do with what we have that marks us out, our actions show our true humanity not our words or piety.

Killing in the name of God, King, Country or justice is still murder, the only excuse for such behaviour is a genuine not faux "Right of self defence". I don't know how many people have pointed out that murder creates martyrdom and even sainthood, thus historic hate, that leads to more murders down the years untill the real reason for the hate is lost in the mists of time, but it's probably more than we can count.

Similarly tourture of all kinds, there is no defence for it, it is without doubt evil and making up convoluted arguments such as that of the ticking bomb in no way justifies it's use. Because anyone who has set such a bomb is going to lie to you anyway, and in more modern times can see their path to martyrdom any way. People who believe in tourture are the sort who will also make claims of "for the common good" and "the end justifies the means" it does not, it is just a sickness in their head to hurt someone, so they can feel superior in some way.

The next steps on the journy are to hold a light up on those who would take away human rights and show them for what they are, and it's most certainly not our betters in any way, no matter what they might think.

The main part of that will to be to educate people to not be authoritarian followers, or alow authoritarians to gain control of guard labour and similar.

As has been noted not only does this require "eternal vigilance" it also requires us to question as the Roman poet Juvenal pointed out "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?".

But what then? We see that we believe to be false bad or evil, how do we deal with it and what do we do with it?

A two hundred or more years ago the medical profession such as it was, was faced with the issue of "growths" and what to do with them. Do you let them grow and medicate the patient with more and more powerful and dangerous drugs till you kill them before the growth does, or do you do the patient major damage and remove the growth some how knowing that at best you had only a one in four or five chance the patient would survive the surgery[1]?

We now don't hesitate to cut out cancers when they are small and accessable, but still have issues with larger cancers or those that are at best difficult to get to.

The way we are socialy currently is we don't cut out societal cancers we barely acknowledge they exist and have no methods to deal with them. We live under the delusion we are in a democracy thus let tyrants hide just beneath the surface eating away at society from within.

But even if we were to recognize them what would the guards of the guards do? How do you decide if a course of action is good or bad and if bad what do you do with it. The surgeon usually condems the cancer first to death by starvation then to eventually be burned in with the other detritus. We have no issues with this these days for although a cancer is living it is not seen as life.

Not so societal cancers, they are people who almost certainly believe not only do they have entitlements but rights. Any rights we take from them we must be certain need to be taken, not arbitrarily applied out of revenge dressed up as justice. Many years ago a judge made clear, quite rightly, it was better to let many guilty go free rather than unjustly punish but one individual.

We appear to have lost sight of this, and lock up any who do not have the vast resources required to defend themselves from those wielding justice at any cost to society. All supposadly "For the greater good" but they also get rewards from those who run the private prisons that are ever hungry to take in more bodies for further tax dollars in profit...

Incarceration is in most cases not the way to correct societies ills, it achieves little at great expense and inefficiency.

Resolving how we decide who are cancers in the societal body is a hard task, but deciding how to deal with them justly even harder. Unless we start in on talking about it which politicians clearly do not want us doing, we will never ever get to the point where human rights are respected.

But I would argue our first step should be to "take responsability" we should be our own gaurds of the guard labour, we should not shirk or abdicate this responsability or let others do it on our behalf. Brcause as history repeatedly shows that those who will and have guarded the guard labour have in the majority no regards for societies interests even though they might proffess to.

As has been noted in the past "We only have the rights we can defend against those who seek to deny them to us". It should not be a cry to battle, but a reminder of our primary civic duty of "enlightened self interest, jealously guarded from harm by those of ill intent" to be excercised daily and with purpose.

[1] The odds were so low because it would be another fifty years till Joseph Lister published his paper on antiseptics, and thirty five years until Louis Pasteur who's work Lister used as his base showed the "Miasma theory" of disease spreading was incorrect (but in many ways fit the observed facts) and a quater of a century before anesthetics were first used. Alcohol, opiates and bite the stick were what they had for the patient and speed of knife and quickness of stich effectively all they had to offer. As,soap and water and the sterilization of instruments was still distained by many. Because of this their patients were nearly dead anyway and religion of "standing whole before your maker" likewise had strong influence.

Sancho_PDecember 27, 2018 5:56 PM

@JonKnowsNothing

”There is no right to die. It's a biologically based condition or an induced transition from breathing to no longer breathing.”

Nope, your overly complicated construct doesn’t convince me, sorry.
Death, as birth, is part of our life. It is given from above, however you call “it”.
I call it simply nature.
P Thiel and friends will fail. But this discussion is going too far OT now.

Sancho_PDecember 27, 2018 5:58 PM

@Impossibly Stupid

”So when @Sancho_P asserts the "right to die", all that means is that he is saying that he doesn't mind if he is arbitrarily killed.”

I’m not saying that, on the contrary, I see it positive:
No human can revoke my right to die.
But we humans can not give a right to live.
My point is humbleness instead of megalomania.

Sancho_PDecember 27, 2018 6:02 PM

@Faustus

I do not have issues with the term “rights”, but the meaning of “human rights” borders on ludicrousness. “Human Rights by Design” is already there.

”… a right like the right not to be arbitrarily killed …”
is nonsense per se.

A right is something that can be enforced, at least in limits.
The consumer right of revocation and return may be an example.

65535December 27, 2018 9:01 PM

Most commenter’s are basically pointing out that human right are a necessary thing but a hard thing to enforce. I basically agree with no arguments.

I want to point out bttb’s good post below.

@ bttb on December 27, 2018 3:46 PM reference lawfare and logical post from Susan Landau:

“…indeed, law enforcement says they can't when it turns out that they simply didn't try hard enough. - Susan Landau post in Lawfare

It is good.

And, this is well intended statement but Susan Landau is probably behind the curve on Law Enforcement’s ability to access digital device. I short, LE does have the ability to access most devices and cloud providers and LE is down play its ability or even hiding this ability.

The CLOUD Act passed by Trump has given them the ability to do about anything they want legally.

ClOUD act Wikipedia ht tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CLOUD_Act
See lawfare: Ht tps://www.lawfareblog.com/exceptional-access-devil-details-0
[links broken for safety]

The EU rules on data privacy is good start assuming it is actually enforced. I believe that the 5-eye countries including the USA and the UK have the economic, military, and technical power to run over any privacy rules in said EU countries. The 5-eyes simply are too powerful and influential to twist the arms of any of the EU anytime they desire.

Susan Landau statement on update as a vector of spying is probably a signal she is on to a horrible idea. “…proposal that companies should use software update mechanisms to provide ways to unlock devices”.

It is already being done to some degree. We know that M$ has scammed it windows 10 customers with out-going large encrypted data [from meta data to possibly keystroke and even text documents]. Its difficult to stop Windows 10 updates for M$ monetary gain ie., causing customer to use M$’s for pay cloud service – hence, was is to stop M$ from issuing a few backdoors for LE.

Or, maybe LE has the technical ability to already send bogus updates to M$ customers? I would guess M$ is already sell customers data. Why not sell it LE? Its probably happening for income.

To the M$ update issue. See the sudden IE CVE-2018-8653 or the “critical update” issued last week which suddenly appeared on many M$ machines. Short answer is M$ own AV can allow updates through its firewall and most ISPs and probably most upnp routers allow M$ exe’s in also.

See: Squid post and move up or down for post details and all related posts
ht tps://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2018/12/friday_squid_bl_655.html#c6786815

This will be long discussion once people realize the danger of the CLOUD law and the FBI/local law enforcements real capabilities actualy are [akin to the Stingray issue hidden for a time].

Future reference to bttb’s comment linked below:
https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2018/12/human_rights_by.html#c6787028

Clive RobinsonDecember 27, 2018 9:07 PM

@ Bruce and ALL,

To bring the thread a little bit more on track.

Back in 2001 the ACM and IEEE-CS brought out a Code of Ethics and Professional Practice.

https://ethics.acm.org/code-of-ethics/software-engineering-code/

However you certainly get the feeling that many are totally unaware of it...

If people do read it they will find that the subject of this thread is covered by it.

From this it would be fairly safe to conclude that the companies mentioned and those that work for them have most definitely behaved contrary to it, thus in an unethical way.

Whilst the code is not legislation nor is membership mandatory for practitioners, it would carry weight in court as both organisations are viewed as the "professional representative organisation" in their domains. Thus have similar weight as other professional organisations for Accountancy, Law, Medicine and the many branches of engineering.

Impossibly StupidDecember 27, 2018 11:19 PM

@Sancho_P

No human can revoke my right to die.

They absolutely can. There are any number of ways you can be kept alive against your will. Even something basic like a suicide watch is enough to deny someone that silly "right" as you define it.

But we humans can not give a right to live.

Get thee to a biology textbook. Even by your nonsense definitions, your mother and father gave you that "right". But you need to accept that nobody is talking about that sort of thing when they discuss human rights.

My point is humbleness instead of megalomania.

I'm seeing no such point. Rights as discussed by myself and others here are humble. And that's where the authors of the article being discussed have failed.

WaelDecember 27, 2018 11:50 PM

@Clive Robinson,

As I once said to @Wael on of the most frightening phrases to hear is, All for the Greater Good.

Yes, almost two years ago.

Human Rights by Design

Right! Worthless ink on paper. Actions speak louder than words! Take Suleiman al-Halabi's head out of the museum first. General Jean Baptiste Kleber is the criminal, not Suleiman.

Killing in the name of God, King, Country or justice is still murder, the only excuse for such behaviour is a genuine not faux "Right of self defence". I don't know how many people have pointed out that murder creates martyrdom and even sainthood

The right of self-defence! Who makes that judgement? Surely not the invader! What happened to Suleiman is beyond torture. And keeping his head in the museum is an affirmation of approval to what happened to him.

WeatherDecember 28, 2018 1:05 AM

Lost track of the correct thread to post in but,

After 2000 years a law rule book is still having lasting effects, some things don't change from then tell now, but with technology things back then which might have been magic etc, are easy, but why or what is stopping the update, but what filters are keeped ,study wiccan and brought up as Christian, but doing self study, they were allies until something changed,

It some primitive thing, that effects other values, so remain hiding.

Clive RobinsonDecember 28, 2018 6:39 AM

@ Wael,

I'm far from certain about the impartiality of the author of that page. The last sentence is,

    In Farag's interpretation, Al-Halabi's motives have more to do with popular Arab revolt against foreign occupation and tyranny, rather than political assassination for financial gain.

In the rest of it there is no suggestion that "Suleiman of Allepo" was a hired assasin, so why mention it at all, and in a way that suggests thar Farag was in some way trying to "white wash history"?

It's one of the reasons I realy dislike Wikipedia for anything other than independently verifiable technical content. I keep triping over things that make me suspicious. And when I have checked with "primary sources" in the past I've found people have often been highly selective in the slant of the secondary sources they select, suggesting an underlying political agenda.

The second link shows why I've reason to think this way,

    According to the scholar al-Jabarti, whose chronicle is one of the principal sources on this episode, the investigation indicated that Suleiman undertook his mission for no ideology save his family’s desperate need of the purse the Porte was willing to offer

It's the tertiary use of a single secondary source probably based only on biased primary sources seeking to paint a picture for the French Public consumption for political/military reasons. And importantly appears to jibe with other sources, hence my mind flagging it up...

In other areas I've chased down primary sources and taken my own view on what I find, and it has been different to the "current official view". What has ammused is watching the back pedaling of the current view as further primary sources come to light from archives that swing things around some towards where my thinking / interpreting was pointing...

History in the recent past is like a game of high stakes poker, the dealer holds the pack of records, and deals them out to the politicaly motivated players each trying to bluff the other not just for their own gain but to sway the onlookers as well...

WaelDecember 28, 2018 7:07 AM

@Clive Robinson,

In Farag's interpretation

Farag is not a factor in this. What he portrays is irrelevant.

"Suleiman of Allepo" was a hired assasin

Hired assassin or not -- he resisted an invader. That's self-self-defence. He didn't go to France to fight.

It's one of the reasons I realy dislike Wikipedia for anything other than independently verifiable technical content

I don't depend on Wikipedia either. I share it as a reference to things I could verify elsewhere. I had two links. I didn't just find this out from Wikipedia. This is known information. Historically documented in eastern and western sources. The real two questions are:

  1. Is his skull displayed at the museum, with the tag "criminal"?
  2. Was his punishment proportional to what he did?
Forget Wikipedia, and pose the above two questions to those who talk about "human rights". I could "understand" a punishment that sentenced him to death by hanging or a firing squad -- but not burn his hand to the bone, and the rest of the creative things they did to him.

WaelDecember 28, 2018 7:35 AM

@Clive Robinson,

It's one of the reasons I realy dislike Wikipedia

You dislike Encyclopedea Britanica, too?

On the 14th of June Kllber was assassinated by a fanatic named Suleiman of Aleppo, said to have been incited to the deed by a Janissary refugee at Jerusalem, who had brought letters to the sheiks of the Azhar, who, however, refused to give him any encouragement. Three of these, nevertheless, were executed by the French as accessories before the fact, and the y«««c^ himself was impaled, after torture, in spite of a promise of pardon having been made to him on condition of his naming his associates. The command of the army then devolved on General J. F. (Baron de) Menou (1750-1810), a man who had professed Islam, and who endeavoured to conciliate the Moslem population by various measures, such as excluding all Christians (with the exception of one Frenchman) from the divan, replacing the Copts who were in government service by Moslems, and subjecting French residents to taxes. Whatever popularity might have been gained by these measures was counteracted by his declara- tion of a French protectorate over Egypt, which was to count as a French colony.
... was assassinated by a knife-wielding fanatic.

Who's white-washing history here? Stick a label on the guy and justify all actions. Open season - all things go - "human rights" don't apply to everyone. Only to certain humans.

Clive RobinsonDecember 28, 2018 7:42 AM

@ Weather,

After 2000 years a law rule book is still having lasting effects, some things don't change

If you are talking about the Bible, it's nowhere near 2000 years old and it's way more story than history. We can see from old hand illuminated pages that the Bible has had more than a few "face lifts" and "recharacterisations" in the last thousand years many occurring around the times of the fragmentation of Christianity. But even in the first and second centuries it was getting "enhanced" or more correctly "augmented" by "those of the faith". This was and is in some religions "standard practice" for all manner of reasons some of it what you might call "reverse plagiarism" that is later authors passing off their original work as those of a person from an earlier time. Much as famous artists apprentices as part of their apprenticeship would emmulate the masters style, and he would then sell it off in effect as his own work to bring in income to in effect pay for the tutelage.

Some like the mistranslation of a word to "black" has ment much of the behavioir to those who regard themselves as "African-Americans" was based on a compleate false hood abd known at the time to be so. But rather than correct it many have "Just kept using it to their political advantage"...

You see the same still going on with what some consider modern "Social plagues" that need to be eradicated.

So in the words of the song,

    It ain't necessarily so.
    It ain't necessarily so.
    The things that you're liable,
    To read in the Bible.
    It ain't necessarily so.

I could give you a bunch of links, but I would suggest you have a look for your own. But be aware, many are written by those with a political agenda even more so these days...

FaustusDecember 28, 2018 8:34 AM

@ Wael

Simmer down now!! Simmer down!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWxE0-7gnEo

Of course there are hypocrites. Of course there are violations of human rights. That is what makes careful consideration of human rights important, especially vis-a-vis our own actions.

No, I don't mean Human-Rights-By-Design which sounds like another consulting company selling something. I mean actually considering how complicit we are with violations of human rights and personally treating people with care, not running off looking for scapegoats who'll be the next human rights victims.

Why bounce up and down about wikipedia? Every article has a talk page that describes the issues that came up about the article. In this case a guy translated something he barely remembered by memory and then tacked on references that he didn't actually use. So, no, it doesn't appear to be a high quality article. You know, YOU can fix it if it bugs you so much. Wikipedia is a collaboration, a free gift to the world by thousands and thousands of people.

And nobody makes you use it. If you are deeply offended that people have different takes on things than you do, that might be for the best. If you do read it, read the Talk tab too to get other perspectives on the subject of the article, as well as wikipedia's own assessment of the article. In this case it is "Start Class", which is a gentle way of saying it needs a lot of work.

WaelDecember 28, 2018 8:59 AM

@Faustus,

Simmer down now!! Simmer down!!

I am simmered down ;)

Why bounce up and down about wikipedia?

I am not bouncing up and down about Wikipedia! Perhaps I should not have used it as a reference. @Clive Robinson is.

So, no, it doesn't appear to be a high quality article.

How many more links would you like to see? What other sources of information do you respect. This is not about Wikipedia.

You know, YOU can fix it if it bugs you so much.

Where did I say it "bugs me", so much or so little? I am taking about a historical fact documented in many places. By the way, a while back (I think I mentioned this in the deep bowls of this blog) I saw an inaccuracy about Mount Sinai (Called Al-Toor, in Arabic,) you know, where Moses got the tablets? Someone else subsequently changed it. There are paid groups that want to make sure certain pictures are presented to public. Anyway, Wikipedia is not the focus here. The above two questions are.

Is it right to have a human skull in a museum and label it "criminal"? Suppose it was the other way around. Say a European skull in some middle-eastern museum under the same conditions. Would you find that acceptable?

hermanDecember 28, 2018 10:52 AM

Hmm, this is easy. Internet routing software should block access to any country with a name that starts with "Democratic People's Republic" or ends with 'Kingdom", though there may a few minor unintended consequences...

Petre Peter December 28, 2018 10:54 AM

Unfortunately, the environment creates different declarations of Human Rights. Ideally, I want human rights to apply to all humans equally regardless of what the environment is. Having different declarations of Human Rights equals to a denial of Human Rights through the word environment.

FaustusDecember 28, 2018 11:46 AM

@ Wael

The skull is only the evidence of their hypocrisy. They are welcome to mine when I am done with it.

I agree that it is absurd to label people who are fighting back against invaders "terrorists" and "criminals" unless they are wantonly killing non-combatants or torturing, etc. Yes, by this definition, the French were the terrorists in the Egypt situation. And the US and its allies and the Russians and their allies are the terrorists and criminals in the Middle East. I do support these conclusions.

But this is why we should be very careful not to attack the idea of human rights. The idea is fine, it's the hypocritical way we all distort it to fit our predatory purposes that is the problem. And it is nothing new. The ancients didn't usually pretend that they were doing anything except dominating when they tortured and killed. We do the same thing and are all self righteous about it.

The answer isn't nihilism. The answer is trying to be honest about what we really do so we can internalize the fact that we are not really different, and hopefully realize that our "enemies" are people like ourselves and we are simply fighting over power and resources because we are genetically wired to do so. With honesty and seriousness (vs nihilism) comes the option of slowly shifting the momentum of our actions to our better natures, to our mammal empathetic natures.

In short, our main job should be controlling ourselves, not controlling others. Control and rules and laws and prisons are all the tools of the predator. Just because it is hard for our limited predator brains to think of another option doesn't mean there isn't one.

How to incentivize a fair world that works for everyone and doesn't require coercion and scapegoating is today's burning question. Just because the answer isn't as obvious to us as shooting people and putting them in prison doesn't mean there is no answer. It is just counter-intuitive to our predatory natures.

We are all guilty. We can't keep shifting the guilt to someone else. Sure, we should incentivize pro-community behavior and dis-incentivize anti-community behavior, but with restraint, knowing we all have a part in the bad things that go down, and that it is really a question of genetics and physiology and conditioning rather that evil.

The more I think about it the more the Human Right By Design ideas bothers me. Is being an academic a license to be stupid?

Why "It also recommends restricting government procurement of dual-use technology to companies with clean human rights records; mandating stronger corporate transparency; and empowering agencies tasked with investigating Canadian businesses involved in human rights abuses abroad." rather than "Canada should stop going to other countries and killing people"? Because the first recommendation serves the inner predator, giving him power and an excuse to punish people and the second doesn't. We never choose options like the second, because it disempowers our inner predator and the inner predator can't allow that.

Clive RobinsonDecember 28, 2018 1:40 PM

@ Wael,

Hired assassin or not -- he resisted an invader. That's self-self-defence. He didn't go to France to fight.

The point I was making is I don't happen to think on the evidence provided by the two articles he was a hired assasin. The rest of his behaviour did not fit.

Thus I am left with the impression the French basically fabricated a story for political reasons. I'm guessing as an excuse to go on more campaigns to invade the middle east further (France has quite a reputation for invading places and when eventually being shown the door behaving very disgracefully. Some lay the mid to late 20th Century problems of Vietnam firmly at French feet trampling as only invaders can do, then there was Angola...).

What was done to Suleiman was without doubt barbaric as were the other executions. Have a look at the Indian mutiny to see more, or what Hitler did to those who allegedly tried to blow him up, or what Stalin got upto, or well within living memory what went on in Kenya (I've actually talked to people from the three sides of the Mau Mau uprising).

My point was the two articles you gave appear to be toting the French point of view, likewise the Britannica article.

As has been noted in the past "History belongs to the victors" well that is only true if you let it be so. It's why contemporary primary sources are so important.

The question I ask myself on reading the articles is not if they are biased they clearly are but by how much and why.

I have no other knowledge on Suleiman his short life and what led upto his actions. I suspect because the only records of the event are from the French point of view. Which show similarities with the way Cecil Rhodes behaved down in South Africa. There are reasons why such has been known as "The White Mans game" and Kippling urged the US to "take up the white mans burden". What many forget is the original and real meaning of "Terrorism" such is the trick the governments of the countries that practice it have pulled on their citizens. I've pointed out in the past that "One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter" to show the two views of the same actions.

Thus we should consider not for whom a person was fighting, but the purpose of their actions, the place of their actions and the potential consequences of their actions.

The French had invaded that part of the world not just militarily but politically and religiously. Suleiman selected as his target the then military leader of the invading force. If Suleiman was wearing a uniform there would be little doubt he was a hero of his nations people for such a military action. The actual outcome of Suleiman's actions appears to have been to hasten the end of the French occupation, as such Suleiman may well have saved many lives in the region.

Does that make him a hero or a criminal, the answer depends not on what he did or how but on who's point of view you are hearing.

Would it be any less grotesque to have his skull and stiletto on display in any other mueseum? No it would not, the act of display would be the same. What would change it from what you are saying is if it said "hero" not "criminal". If there were a museum in Allepo where it could be displayed then I would be very supprised if the lable were not changed.

What realy counts though is what people belive, and as I've said in this day and age history only belongs to the victor if we let it.

Such behaviour still goes on today, for instance look up the NSA ship Liberty. It was attacked in international waters without provocation by the Israeli Defence Force to cover up the fact the IDF were committing war crimes and potentially genocide. What upsets a number of people in the US is that Israel proudly displays the ships bell of the MTB that torpedoed and machine guned the Liberty in a national mueseum and makes out the idea that the crew behaved heroically. It is still a subject that changes with every new release of documents,

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/but-sir-its-an-american-ship-never-mind-hit-her-1.5492908

Invading others homelands is as old as mankind it's self, so then is defending your land and nation. How do we stop such behaviour? Let alone make amends for the past. I suspect with our current political climate it would at best be near impossible. Why? Because as, many from outside the US would point the finger at the US Government, others the Russian, others China's government. Some would include the Indian and other national governments. All for similar acts. In essence those that could and should stop it for some reason do not wish to, in fact the very opposite, so we should be asking Why?

Sancho_PDecember 28, 2018 6:24 PM

@Impossibly Stupid

Oh, seems you got the whole “right to die” upside down from the very beginning.
It is not about being kept alive “against my will” / suicide. It’s the contrary.
My / our / their will is completely unimportant in nature when it comes to the end.
Humbleness here means to accept that we humans are not above nature. Our clock will stop, with or against someone’s will. It’s nature.
Once you are over the top you will realize how fair that is: This is our (universal) right to die.
Mother and father … What you are talking about may be the obligation to reproduce, which is also part of nature, but not a right.

Again, no problems with rights, only the term “human rights” resembles too much of “upper class” arrogance, especially when you see the whole picture.

gordoDecember 28, 2018 6:28 PM

Here's today's paradox, or maybe not:

Social connection enables dehumanization
Adam Waytz, Nicholas Epley
21 July 2011

Abstract

Being socially connected has considerable benefits for oneself, but may have negative consequences for evaluations of others. In particular, being socially connected to close others satisfies the need for social connection, and creates disconnection from more distant others. We therefore predicted that feeling socially connected would increase the tendency to dehumanize more socially distant others. Four experiments support this prediction. Those led to feel socially connected were less likely to attribute humanlike mental states to members of various social groups (Experiments 1 and 2), particularly distant others compared to close others (Experiment 3), and were also more likely to recommend harsh treatment for dehumanized others (i.e., terrorist detainees, Experiment 4). Discussion addresses the mechanisms by which social connection enables dehumanization, and the varied behavioral implications that result.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103111001958

http://adamwaytz.com/journal-articles/social-connection-enables-dehumanization-pdf

---

See also:

Jacques Derrida
6. The Other
a. Responsibility to the Other

"For Derrida, it seems that the Buddhist desire to have attachment to nobody and equal compassion for everybody is an unattainable ideal. He does, in fact, suggest that a universal community that excludes no one is a contradiction in terms. According to him, this is because: "I am responsible to anyone (that is to say, to any other) only by failing in my responsibility to all the others, to the ethical or political generality. And I can never justify this sacrifice; I must always hold my peace about it... What binds me to this one or that one, remains finally unjustifiable" (GD 70). Derrida hence implies that responsibility to any particular individual is only possible by being irresponsible to the "other others", that is, to the other people and possibilities that haunt any and every existence."

https://www.iep.utm.edu/derrida/#SH6a

tzDecember 28, 2018 6:48 PM

Ask Julian Assange or James DaMore or Edward Snowden about "rights".

Worse or better, Corporations are REQUIRED to answer to their stockholders, and no one else.

That is why Google wants to do a censorship search engine in China. More Money!

A current example is where Wells Fargo just paid a "cost of doing business" fine to the AGs of the states - no one went to prison.

We are BigTech
Resistance is futile
You will be deplatformed (after being doxxed, assuming you aren't dead from SWATting).

What is the monetary cost to supporting human rights v.s. tyranny?

Follow the money.

WaelDecember 28, 2018 10:18 PM

@Faustus, @Clive Robinson,

Too many points to tackle - I'll limit my responce to the point I was trying to get across (other points you made will come up again -- they always do)

The skull is only the evidence of their hypocrisy. They are welcome to mine when I am done with it.

Perhpas true, but your relatives, family and friends won't appreciate it.

The answer isn't nihilism.

Of course not!

The point I was making is I don't happen to think on the evidence provided by the two articles he was a hired assasin. The rest of his behaviour did not fit.

I missunderstood what you wrote. Multi-tasking, lack of sleep (the usual...)

What was done to Suleiman was without doubt barbaric...

He's definitley not a singularity. What makes him different is the topic of this thread.

As has been noted in the past "History belongs to the victors" well that is only true if you let it be so.

There is so much historical forgeries that one has to question and re-examine everything. Not enough years in a lifetime to sort out a fraction of it. Speaking of that: a while back, I replied to one of your comments. I looked at the history again - from several sources. Perhaps there is an element of truth to what you said. I'd say a "bit exaggerated" -- not "Royally Exaggerated". It was certainly true for some periods of time.

Would it be any less grotesque to have his skull and stiletto on display in any other mueseum?

It's not about being grotesque - they're all dead now. They'll be accountable for their actions later (I know you don't believe that, but I go by what I believe.) It's about someone who talks about "Human rights", yet continue to display a human skull in a museum. Hypocrasy is an understatement to describe such behavior. It's the reason I said "worrthless ink on paper", and I haven't read a single line of the essay. Worthless becuase there needs to be a framework to support such efforts. A paper, a procedure, a protocol will be useless without enfrocement and respect. That's not the case today and unlikely to change in the forseeable future. But to @Faustus' points: perhaps (no, definitely) I was too harsh and unfair to give such criticism of an easy I haven't read. The effort is commendable -- that's all I can say, now that you enligntened me.

Clive RobinsonDecember 29, 2018 3:33 AM

@ Wael,

It's about someone who talks about "Human rights", yet continue to display a human skull in a museum. Hypocrasy is an understatement to describe such behavior.

We are talking about "La République Française" yes?

A nation state that has made extrodinary claims about a decade long civil war it once had at the end of the 18th Century, and what that has supposadly done for the rest of the world?

Where "The oppressed peasantry turned on the bourgeois classes"[1][2]. It then if various contemporary reports are to be believed turned in on it's self in a need to feed on the blood of the citizens, thus became a terrorist state. This then gave rise to a dictatorial leader who went on to try and conquer the whole of continental Europe and parts of the Middle East that were then parts of the old Otterman Empire[4]...

In America meanwhile due to that little dictator causing mayhem in Europe opportunistic politicians and merchant venturers saw possabilities of plunder to the north. They attacked their kith and kin and did quite a bit of damage. Before getting routed and their Presedential Palace and other civic buildings raised, and thus as a by product forged the nation of Canada which the Anericans appear to still be extreamly envious if not covetous of to this day.

Yup I can see how this might be seen as greatness, by some, who do not want people looking behind the curtain of The Republic and seeing it's dirty laundry piled high.

So yes hypocritical might be a mild way to put it, or just plain delusional.

As others have been pointing out recently many in France are thinking that Paris and the Politicians are eating to much cake and it has gone to their silly heads, whilst the rest of France has barely enough bread as it is. Will there be a "Le Revolution Deux" some think it's overdue. Will lessons be learned if there is? Well apparently they did not learn then the first time... So who knows.

[1] Depending on who you ask "bourgeois" has various meanings from the simple "property owning", "middle class", "artistic effetes", "decadent depraved behaviour of economically independent".

[2] In essence those without property who were the equivalent of serfs turned on those with property. And in some respects redistributed some fraction of the wealth[3]. Thus created new property owners oh and serfs in all but name...

[3] It is this that the 1% of the 1% appear to believe is the aim and primary purpose of democracy...

[4] The Otterman Empire for various reasons became a target for the so called "Great Powers of Europe" that back then included Russia. As a result of which Britain ended up with a chunk of the Eastern end of the Mediterranean it did not particularly want. The Great War --to end all wars-- was faught, Europe went into major recession as did most of the Western World, eugenics and anti-Semitism became very popular in the self apointed elites of most of the Western World. World War Two happened, the elites then tried to hide their former interests, the state of Israel came about through mainly terrorist behaviour and oh quite a few other things in that century and a half the French nation set great store by.

Impossibly StupidDecember 29, 2018 11:21 AM

@Sancho_P

Oh, seems you got the whole “right to die” upside down from the very beginning.

Yep. I guess I was giving you the benefit of the doubt that you had something interesting to say about the human condition. Instead, it seems like what you really meant made even less sense than what I thought you said.

My / our / their will is completely unimportant in nature when it comes to the end.

Conflating human rights with laws of nature demonstrates a lack of understanding on what is actually being discussed. It just isn't useful to jump into a discussion and assert that something like the law of gravity is a "human right" simply because it inescapably applies to all humans. The whole point about discussing human rights as a separate topic is because we have higher order thinking that has created societies that impose created values on people, so it's important to discuss what those values are and how they should apply to those people. That is where you are upside down here, and if you won't change your way of thinking I don't see how you can add anything to the discussion.

Again, no problems with rights, only the term “human rights” resembles too much of “upper class” arrogance, especially when you see the whole picture.

Uh, yeah; that's exactly why they exist distinctly from the natural order of things that you're talking about. That's why they are properly seen as inward facing rather that outward facing. It's generally the upper class that needs to stop naturally being dolts, and the thoughtful consideration of human rights is what can do that. What you talk about is not a solution to the world's problems, and neither is what the authors of the referenced article are talking about.

Sancho_PDecember 29, 2018 6:30 PM

@Impossibly Stupid

So you did not understand it, no problem, rest assured, you are not alone.
No need to be embarrassed.

TomS.December 30, 2018 1:04 AM

Nothing in the authors' brief biographies indicates any operational experience managing traffic flows or maintaining quality of service delivery. At least 3 of the 4 appear to be attorneys. All are tied to Citizen Lab, whatever that is.

None appear to understand the usefulness of blocking a defunct domain like .su or some garbage filled generic TLDs. I wonder if they understand their own mail servers reject an overwhelming percentage of traffic before delivery is even attempted. And that the rejection is likely performed by one of these "dual use, human rights threatening" technologies.

The authors make "dual use technologies" the scapegoat for oppressive behavior by _people_. They utterly miss the point that transgressions against human rights have to be addressed by and to other _people_, not boxes.

I can agree that the people in companies developing and selling the boxes have the opportunity and the freedom to consider how and where and who the capabilities are sold to.

Wesley ParishDecember 30, 2018 2:17 AM

@Clive Robinson re: France

I'm currently reading Les Miserables - picked it up cheap at an OpShop, always wanted to read it, so in I plunge. I tend to the view that everybody should love France and the French, because only some of us have the fortune, mis- or otherwise, of being French. :) Some of us do include a certain amount of French in our ancestry, and we can all laugh at Hyacinth, desperately Keeping Up Appearances ...

One of France's lowest ebbs in the latter part of the 20C was the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. Which goes to show, bureaucracy and a lack of a vital sense of humour sinks ships. Loose lips may; with bureaucracy and without a sense of humour, it's guaranteed.

Clive RobinsonDecember 30, 2018 6:04 AM

@ TomS.,

The authors make "dual use technologies" the scapegoat for oppressive behavior by _people_. They utterly miss the point that transgressions against human rights have to be addressed by and to other _people_, not boxes.

For some time now I've assumed that all technology is "Dual Use" only I say it is "Agnostic to use" to make it further clear it is not the technology in general that is the peoblem but the use to which it is put. I further elaborate by the use of the "Directing mind" to show not just what is seen as good or evil use, but also show that people have different points of view about what is good and evil use.

As you point out a mail filter is "Dual use" or as I would say "agnostic to use". And the difference can be important, as the world is far from black or white / good or bad. Mail filters will for various reasons pull out valid mail as spam, likewise let some spam through, it's why we have both positive and negative failure rates on even what appear as simple systems.

This is made somewhat worse as humans are somewhat unique individually and what one individual might regards as spam another might not, even though in general they both agree they don't want spam, or more importantly to have to deal with it[1].

However it's also easy to see with mail why points of view can be wildly different. Much of what we regard as spam is some form of marketing. Thus you have one side thinking it's important to keep customers informed, whilst in the main most potential customers are not in the market thus see such information as an intrusion[2]. Thus the marketers point of view is what they are doing is "good" whilst to most of the rest of us it is "bad".

Whilst much ordinary spam is fairly benign people have worked out ways to "weaponise" it and this is where good or bad tends to get polarised. The legal fraternity talk about not just "Directing minds" but "Mens rea" or the "Guilty mind". That is they except bad things do happen but the intent of the person might not be bad. The usual area this gets talked about happens in is deciding between murder, manslaughter and self defence, but applies in all sorts of other areas as well.

But even having a guilty mind and commiting an unlawful act does not make you of necesity guilty under law. Because "self defence" is very dificult to define.

Which gives us the "for the common good" or "we are the good guys" arguments people tend to delude themselves with. In of it's self such arguments are,a "double standard" especiallt when it comes to nation states.

And it's here that the problem lies, you can not have one rule for yourself and a different rule for someone else. If you do, that boils down to "Might is right" and most of us can see where that leads, which amongst other things is "body bags".

But there is another aspect which is differentiating between a tool and a weapon. If I design a kitchen knife it's been designed as a tool to chop vegtables, cut meat and even the packaging the raw food comes in. But it can also cut "live meat" such as another human and this makes it a weapon.

In the UK there is all sorts of strange contorted legislation about knives brought in by politicians that either do not understand the problem at hand, or quite deliberately bring in such poor legislation for other reasons which is never good.

As a designer I can look at a knife and say OK what is it's primary intended roles (cutting and chopping). But also it's secondary unwanted roles (stabing and slashing). Then ask myself if I can change the current design to maximise the intended roles but minimise the unwanted roles. The answer to that is yes, cutting and choping generally do not require a point on a knife. If you look at traditional Chinese food preperation they don't use a European style pointed knife, they use a chopper which whilst it has a cutting edge does not have a point you can stab with. Also the design of the chopper is such that it's no where near as easy to slash with as a european style knife.

What I think the authors were trying to do and failed to do well is bring out the point that tool designers, bare some responsability for what their tool makes possible. The point they appear to not understand is that of the implications of complexity of tools.

Put simply the more complex a tool is the more dificult it is to design to prevent certain uses brcause those uses are closer to "point of view" rather than "usage". Take a jet engine, they are quite complex and have tens of thousands of parts in the larger ones. It has a fairly specialised function thus it's basic usage range is quite limited. The problem is there is no way you can design it to go only in a passenger aircraft. That is it will just as easily work in a military troop carrier, cargo carrier and even a bomber...

Whilst trying to see the world as being full of "general purpose tools" and their "usage problems" they have missed the point that as tools become less general purpose the real problem is "intent" in the "directing mind" and there is nothing the tool or it's designer can do to stop intent. Even if they could the directing mind would just seek out another tool to use... It's why people do get stabbed by screwdrivers or lengths of metal including bits of coat hangers. Any one who has been shown the multitude of improvised weapons in prisons will realise there are no rules and no designs that a Directing mind with intent will not get around...

As an engineer I'm well aware of this and know from it that if I try to design systems to stop intent, I will actually do more harm over all. But that as they say is a chat for another day.

[1] Some years ago I nearly missed going to a workshop on EU regulations with regards bidding for contract work. The subject is at best dull and even describing it is tedious, which is where the problem started... One of those marketing people trying to get people to come tried to make it sound exciting, and in a way they had... They had hit upon the phrase "How the big boys do it" and similar all with "big boys" in. With hindsight it not unexpectedly got caught by the mail server filter and never made it down to the mail client filter, thus it never made it into my spam folder (no I had not set the mail system up, but I would probably have done something similar anyway).

[2] There are various studies done into marketing "Conversion rates" they are all a bit suspect one way or another, but the figure of "one in a thousand" is bandied about for "mail shots" or "leaflets through doors" which have very real costs attached so you can see why spam is so popular with certain types of marketing. Oh and also why there is so much profit to be made in Internet advertising if you are in the right place in the middle (hence the reason various types of fraud are ignored in the chain).

TomS.December 30, 2018 3:46 PM

@ Clive,

Thank you for your well-phrased and clarifying reply.

"Agnostic to use" well-describes my position. For the sake of commenting on the essay, I used the authors' "dual-use" phrasing.

I've got a muddle of thoughts involving the apartheid boycotts, Hacking Team in Italy, tools vs. weapons, stakeholders, ethics, and motives in a firm. As it is, domestic responsibilities must be tended to.

Thank you again for your thoughts.

JohnJanuary 5, 2019 6:10 AM

@Clive Robinson wrote,"As a designer I can look at a knife and say OK what is it's primary intended roles (cutting and chopping). But also it's secondary unwanted roles (stabing and slashing)."

This is where tyranny lives on, from the aspiration of a System Designer.

The System Designer is by default guilt free of unfortunate consequences, only if he or she is allowed to an indefinitive interpretation of Intended Usage.

Such privilege itself is granted circumstantially by the power elite. By default, only an elite has the poewr to bestowed himself or herself such unhinged priviledge.

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