Mehrdad Minavand and Ali Ansarian, two of most famous ex-football players in Iran are now dead because of coronavirus. Mehrdad was 45 and Ali was 43; both very young and healthy.

Last time they were with each other, they were presenting at a sports TV show sitting next to each other when Mehrdad said on live TV that he doesn’t feel well and then fell. It is believed that Ali was infected in that TV show. They weren’t wearing masks and were sitting closely.

Sadly, many believe that the virus only affects old people and young people are immune to it. Many think the chances of surviving are high, while it’s only a chance. You may be on that few percent part where people die.

Ali Ansarian and Mehrdad Minavand are just two examples of many many young people who are not among us any more, sadly. Even if you don’t want safety for yourself, please wear a mask and keep your distance from people so you won’t spread the virus.

Some people are infected with it but don’t get ill but this doesn’t mean that the virus is not effective on people, you still can spread the virus and endanger people’s lives.

Think about it, you’ll be a murderer if you spread the virus and people die from it.

Please wash your hands regularly, keep your distance from people, and most importantly wear a N95 mask. Please don’t listen to media that is trying to convince you do otherwise. Instead of media, listen to scientists and doctors.

I know the vaccine is in production and some people are vaccinated but it may take long till we all get vaccinated so please until then, follow the protocols and keep safe.

Black History Month is an annual observance began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.

In the United States and Canada, the month begins/is celebrated in February while in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom it is observed in October.

The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week”.

This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which dates black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century.

Negro History Week was the center of the equation. The thought-process behind the week was never recorded, but scholars acknowledge two reasons for its birth: recognition and importance. Woodson felt deeply that at least one week would allow for the general movement to become something annually celebrated.

Systematic racism and inequality is a problem not only in the United States, but all around the world. We may not face it on a daily basis but there are people who are constantly facing problems simply because of their skin color.

We see blue pigs shooting black people for no reason, companies don’t hire non-white people, people discriminating against race minorities, and many other stuff. We believe, at least in US, racism is systematic because federal agencies and government does not do anything against it.

We believe we have a systematic racism because we see how government is doing nothing to make racism go away. This should stop. The Black History Month may be a good time for us to educate each other about race and culture and our differences as well as demanding an end to racism.

The “capitalism <-> socialism” opposition seems outdated. I prefer to think in terms of “centralization vs decentralization”. Humans have evolved to perform best in small groups of less than 150 people. That’s why wherever there’s centralization and excessive hierarchy, there’s inefficiency and underutilized human potential. Capitalist monopolies and socialist dictatorships are equally bad.

In a natural environment, every small community is able to produce an outstanding leader and an independent thinker. In today’s world of trillion-dollar monopolies and bloated governments, the potential of hundreds of millions of people is suppressed by the limitations imposed by our artificial societal structures.

That is the reason why tens of thousands of people working at big corporations such as Facebook have failed to keep up with what our small team at Telegram has been implementing. That’s also the reason why countries like Russia fail to generate and retain global brands in their jurisdictions. Genuine creativity is rare in organizations and societies built on excessive hierarchies and lack of personal autonomy.

Pavel Durov

After WhatsApp updated its privacy terms and millions of users got angry, people started to move from it to Signal and Telegram. It even caused some problems for Telegram and Signal servers as they didn’t expect that much users.

Signal is known for its encryption and privacy and I think they are doing a very good job but I don’t trust them. The thing against Signal is that it’s not really software libre. Signal has a code/repository that is published with a free (as in freedom) license but the app itself is not libre.

Signal’s app is not on F-Droid. The only way to get Signal’s app is to download it using Google Play Store. When many people complained, they published an APK which is really really hard to find and is still using Google Play Service, if it’s available on your phone.

Signal doesn’t let you connect to Signal using the app you created yourself. Even if you compile their exact source code, it will only be active at most for 90 days.

But what I use instead of Signal and Telegram? I use Matrix and XMPP. They are decentralized messengers and truly free (as in freedom). With Matrix and XMPP, I have true liberty over my computing and messaging. I can run my own server if I don’t trust others and I can make sure encryption works the way I want.

I can compile/build my own app and know for sure that the app works as it is expected. Unlike WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal which have centralized servers, Matrix and XMPP are decentralized and there’s no main server. I know for sure what’s happening on the server (as I can run my own) and I’m sure the app communicates with server exactly how it says so or I want it.

Many intelligence agencies or tech companies try to fool people by telling them that their backdoors are only for good people. I think there’s no need to say that’s a lie.

There’s no meaning in encryption or security when there’s a backdoor. There is no such thing as a backdoor that only lets the good guys in. If there’s a “master key” that unlocks millions of accounts, every hacker on the planet will be after it.

A compromised encryption backdoor could give cyber criminals access to your bank account, your personal messages and other sensitive information.

Don’t think hackers can steal the master key? Think again. Both the CIA and the NSA were breached in 2017 by mysterious organizations that stole and published the spy agencies’ hacking tools. The same year, cyber criminals stole an NSA exploit and used it in a massive, worldwide ransomware attack. The fact is, if the government or anyone else controls a master key, eventually it will get out.

Hackers aren’t the only threat: Governments may also use encryption backdoors for harm. The US government has already revealed its willingness to spy on citizens without a warrant. If liberal democracies cannot be trusted, what about China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, or countless other authoritarian states? Encryption backdoors could be used by repressive regimes to help them persecute journalists, dissidents, religious minorities, the LGBT community, and anyone else they please.

Data Privacy Day

Every year on January 28, we celebrate the international event of Data Privacy Day. The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices.

Privacy is a human right. Many people confuse privacy with secrecy and anonymity. While privacy is a human right, anonymity is a choice. Anonymity is one of choices and rights made possible with privacy.

I’m very careful about my privacy and I take it very seriously while I’m not an anonymous person. I don’t have anything to hide, except for my personal data, but I’m still very cautious about privacy. Privacy is like free speech. I respect my right about it even if I have nothing to say, or hide.

As Data Privacy Day is about raising awareness about best practices of it, I decided to write a note about one of the ways I keep my personal files secure which is encryption.

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On 16 January, Facebook announced that it will be “banning ads that promote weapon accessories and protective equipment in the US at least through January 22”.

To those of us who have been observing the world of the Bully-supporting social media, this announcement is a manipulative piece of whitewashing that obscures how Facebook’s algorithms continue to divide people the world over. The Guardian has reported.

This is a disaster. Imagine a supporter of the Bully who thinks his freedom of choice is taken away and the savior (yeah, ridiculous) is now thrown off the power. Imagine how angry that person is and now when the person logs into Facebook, the person sees ads about weapons and self-defense.

Imagine a supporter of the Bully, angry enough to riot to the Capitol, seeing ads about weapons and tactical military-grade stuff.

Roughly four out of five ads shown to my pro-Bully profiles sell tactical gear clearly intended for combat. This is not a new thing – it has been going on since I started looking at these accounts in 2019 June, and it was probably going on much longer than that.

I’m not on Facebook and I have never liked it. I always promote not using Facebook and other centralized monopolies like it. You should avoid it too.

Access to what the company called “our private Chrome APIs” will be blocked starting March 15. Google plans to revoke others’ Chromium-based browsers’ access to a long list of APIs that power such popular services as bookmark and settings synchronization.

“We discovered that some third-party Chromium-based browsers were able to integrate Google features, such as Chrome Sync and Click to Call, that are only intended for Google’s use,” Jochen Eisinger, Chrome engineering director, wrote in a Jan. 15 post to a company blog.

This is good news. I see many people are considering to move to Firefox and Firefox-based browsers which are by and for the people. What Google does with Chromium and Chrome is to force its own preferences as web standards.

However, Firefox is backed by not-for-profit Mozilla and has a mission to bring back the web to people.

I personally use GNU IceCat as my main browser. It’s software libre and focuses on privacy and freedom. No need to mention that IceCat is based on Firefox.