Musings tagged as politics

The EU has fined Google $5.06 billion in an antitrust proceeding regarding the mandatory inclusion of Google apps on other vendors’ Android based phones.

Google started sulking, claiming they might have to close down Android and no longer give it away free of charge. Now this will be funny. Android is Linux based which, in large parts, is protected by the GPL license which basically says that if you use GPL licensed code in your project, you have to publish your source code as well. Good luck Google :)

The European Union is hosting a non-binding vote in order to determine the view of its citizens on keeping or abolishing the daylight savings time. Originally implemented as an energy saver this has long been debunked. More heating during the winter months actually more than offsets the energy savings due to extended daylight time. In addition, the time shift has been known to cause psychological issues with a lot of people. In addition, the rate of accidents spikes each time the clocks are shifted due to people being more tired on average.

The EU vote is non-binding but this is the chance to actually show them your oppinion on the matter!

Trump Beaten by Facts (Again)

Fri, Jun 22, 2018

Trump tweeted that crime in Germany is “way up” and that this is due to all the refugees taken in by my country. While I would quickly run out of hard drive space if I were to comment on every single time that dimwit claims something despite the evidence pointing in the completely other direction, this one - of course - is a bit personal.

Luckily, we Germans love our statistics and cold hard facts. For anyone interested you can check out the official crime statistics of the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. As these only go up to 2016, here are the latest numbers for 2017, you can find these on page 10 in the PDF file, section 3.1. The total number of criminal offenses registered in 2017 is 5,761,984. This is the lowest number since 1992 and a good 10% less than in 2016.

This was way too easy… But then again, if you are Trump you already are your worst enemy anyway. The rest of the world can just sit back, relax, and enjoy some popcorn while the US fade from the world stage.

So the United States decided to quit the United Nations human rights body. They cited bias vs Israel and the presence of countries in the council that are not exactly well known for their adherence to human rights, like Iran.

Now, dear friends from the U.S., who again separates children from their families in order to scare immigrants to stay away? Not to mention you are still running Guantanamo Bay and appointed Gina Haspel as the new director of the CIA. A person who ran a blacksite in Thailand which was used to torture prisoners. She then ordered the destruction of 92 video tapes documenting interrogation sessions. Of course even your own president likes the use of waterboarding. Easier to point the finger at someone else, right?

The snake oil vendor who has fallen from grace in western main stream politics Kaspersky has temporarily halted its cooperation with Europol. This came after a vote in the plenary session of the European Parliament which put forward a motion which advises EU states to exclude and ban programs and equipment that have been confirmed as malicious. (Apparently for most politicians this does not fall under common sense)

The problem is that this motion explicitly mentions Kaspersky, so they have been rather peeved in the process.

The big question is: Will the EU now ban Windows 10, Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and several other malicious pieces of tech? ^^

The German right-wing political party AfD apparently has been offering 50 Euro (German link) to people willing to attend a rally, scheduled for the 27th of May, to protest “for Germany” in Berlin. Overall they apparently wanted to use 1500 EUR to pay for the first 30 protesters to join up.

After a member of the AfD at first denied these allegations, the party’s speaker Robin Classen confirmed the plan to pay off protesters. The sweet sweet irony in this is that numerous members of the AfD claim that the left-wing parties regularly pay people to attend political demonstrations. For a while now I have been getting the feeling that the AfD is trying to immitate Trump to the best of their abilities. Especially his proclivity for fucking up in the most embarrassing of ways ^^

Remember the urgent public safety issue from not too long ago? Turns out the FBI has repeatedly overstated figures in connection to the so-called encryption threat to the Congress and public. Among others the FBI claimed they were locked out of nearly 7,800 devices connected to crimes when, in reality, the actual number was more between 1,000 and 2,000. Apparently a “programming error” is to blame which lead to miscounting of the devices. Yeah … right …

The United States senate has voted to preserve net neutrality. Three Republicans joined all of the Democrats. This is a good first step but this vote is only the beginning. The issue still has to pass the House where supporters have to win over more than 20 Republicans. Of course a few states are already implementing net neutrality rules themselves but this vote sends a nice signal out to the current administration.

The German Supreme Court has published a press release (German) which explains the decision in a recent court case about the adblocking software AdBlock Plus. The digital publishing house Axel Springer, in Germany probably most known for its tabloid BILD which likes to publish fake news, sued the adblocking company behind AdBlock Plus, claiming its software is anticompetitive.

Luckily, the court did not see it that way and ruled that providing and using an adblocker is legal. One of those rare and important wins.

On a side note:

The BILD tabloid is a particularly nasty piece of crap made in Germany and its owner Axel Springer has already been sued numerous times for deffamation and the spreading of lies. They particularly like to focus on people that have to defend themselves in court and prejudge them before their case is even close to being ruled on. Even if they win their case, BILD might still keep on printing articles as if they had been found guilty. The most famous case, against the weather presenter Jörg Kachelmann, who was wrongfully accused of rape by his ex-wife (she was convicted herself for false accusations in the end), ended in BILD having to pay (German) 395,000 EUR to Kachelmann in damages. Note to readers from the US: For Germany this is actually quite a lot. We do not have punitive damages in law, only compensatory. Quite often you never get more than a few thousand EUR if you sue for damages. Those 395k are therefore pretty extreme by German court decision standards.