Ali Reza Hayati

ARH’s headshot

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.

Always using free software is not being an extremist

I only use free software. There’s not a single proprietary software on my computers, well except for some nonfree blobs on the Linux kernel on my phone which runs LineageOS. The thing is that some people consider me a free software or [GNU+]Linux extremist.

Always and only using free software is not being an extremist. First of all, free software users and advocates don’t use free software to oppose other software, we use free software because it respects us and gives us freedoms.

Using free software puts your computing in your hand so it’s you that controls the computer. Using proprietary software puts your computer in control of you and your computing.

Secondly, there’s always a free software to use instead of a nonfree software. There’s a lot of freedom respecting programs to use instead of proprietary software to satisfy your computing needs.

I always use free software because it’s respecting me. Imagine a person who only has friends who respect that person. Is it being an extremist? Of course not. People won’t call that person an extremist because it has respect for itself.

Using free software and privacy-respecting services is the same. We’re not extremists because we respect ourselves. Instead of nonfree (free as in freedom) and privacy-violating services, we respect ourselves and use free (as in freedom) and privacy-respecting services.

I agree that only using free software has its own problems. For example, completely libre operating systems (such as PureOS GNU+Linux distro) may not be compatible with your hardware or not many people may use Mastodon instead of Twitter and Facebook but for us, at least, it doesn’t matter because we respect ourselves more than we feel need for these services.

I may leave the whole digital life one day but as long as I’m living this digital life, I’m living it with respect and freedom for myself and I believe you should too.

Don’t be neutral

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Desmond Tutu

Most people are neutral in situations of injustice. They say that they’re not political or don’t have anything to do with politics. That’s very wrong.

Politics and politicians affect our lives everyday. Everything we do is affected by politics. Information we receive everyday, news we see, our communications, our movies, our belief, etc. are all affected by politicians and politics.

Everything we do has been reviewed by governments once before to examine its consequences. We created governments to be protected, now we have become slaves of governments.

We created governments to be protected and we ended up protecting governments. Don’t be neutral. Being neutral made this situation. We should act.

Brazil stops publishing coronavirus (COVID-19) stats

Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, ordered end to publication of numbers related to coronavirus. The Brazilian government is trying to censor the facts about the coronavirus situation in Brazil.

Bolsonaro ordered to wipe official site of Brazil government for coronavirus clean of swaths of data.

Health ministry insiders told local media the move was ordered by far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, himself – and was met with widespread outrage in Brazil, one of the world’s worst-hit COVID-19 hotspots, with more deaths than Italy and more cases than Russia and the UK.

This is another reason for people to stop trusting governments. Politicians only think about their own benefits. They only care about looking successful. They kill, lie, censor, and act shamelessly.

People, all around the world, are suffering from the terrible situations governments and regimes have made. We should end this. Together we’re stronger.

Minneapolis lawmakers vow to disband blue pigs department in historic move

The Minneapolis city council has pledged to disband the city’s blue pigs department and replace it with a new system of public safety, a historic move that comes as calls to defund law enforcement are sweeping the US.

Speaking at a community rally on Sunday, a veto-proof majority of councilmembers declared their intent to “dismantle” and “abolish” the embattled blue pigs agency responsible for George Floyd’s death – and build an alternative model of community-led safety.

The decision is a direct response to the massive protests that have taken over American cities in the last two weeks, and is a major victory for abolitionist activists who have long fought to disband blue pigs and prisons.

Accuracy and truth are more important than speed

A wise man once said that if you don’t read the newspapers you’re uninformed, if you read them, you’re misinformed. That’s very true. Newspapers and in general news agencies are focusing on speed, not the truth.

They’re in a competition with other news agencies to deliver news, no matter true or fake, as fast as possible. What we need, however, is truth. People will prefer truth over speed.

You may be the last one who delivers news to us but as long as you tell the truth and we know we can trust you, we’ll want news from you.

Journalists and news companies have responsibility over this. They’re responsible for misinformation in the society and they’re responsible for every consequence of spreading news because words effect people and people effect each other.

What we need is truth, not speed.

Apple’s encryption is not enough

Apple encrypts your data but Apple also can easily look at your files and information, exactly like FBI, CIA, NSA, and other agencies. Apple can look at your photos, read your private notes, save a copy of your messages and chats, and follow up your communications easily.

Apple does encrypt your data but only with its own private key. Your sensitive data are not encrypted with your key. It means whoever encrypts the data (in this case, Apple) can also decrypt them.

Apple is very proud of its privacy and advertises a lot about it but what Apple doesn’t explain about this encryption, is how it works.

Apple dances around the encryption saying that your data are encrypted “in transit” and “on server” but this encryption is as unacceptable as Zoom’s, Facebook’s, or Google’s encryption.

While ago, Zoom announced that it’s going to encrypt users’ data “end-to-end” only for paying users and a lot of people complained about it. If what Zoom does is wrong, so is Apple.

iCloud and our device backups hold a lot more of our sensitive, private data than our video calls do, and over much a longer time span.

Zoom doesn’t end-to-end encrypt the contents of individual calls. Apple fails to end-to-end encrypt your entire device backup (on by default!), which contains your complete message history for every single iMessage and SMS conversation you have ever had on the device, without time limitation.

A group of white men terrorized Philadelphia’s Black Lives Matter supporters

Protesters reported men ripping up signs, yelling homophobic slurs, and spitting on people. And the police greeted them as friends.

As thousands in Philadelphia marched to end police brutality against Black Americans on Monday, a group of white men carrying bats, golf clubs, and other improvised weapons gathered in the city’s Fishtown neighborhood.

Drawing comparisons to brownshirts, the group of about 50 to 70 men were filmed heckling and threatening a small group of protesters in the neighborhood. 

One of the men was recorded ripping up a protester’s Black Lives Matter sign while yelling homophobic slurs. A producer for WHYY, the local public radio station, tweeted that he was beaten up after trying to film the group. A few men were spotted with rifles.

Joshua Potash also tweeted “These white people are now roaming Philly with the blessing of the police. This is what the President of the United States just endorsed.

Read this note on The Guardian.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and protests

There’s a huge concern about recent protests around the world and coronavirus. More than 6.5 million cases of coronavirus are reported and United States has the most cases. Near 2 million people are affected in USA and with current protests regarding the murder of George Floyd, a black human being, by blue pigs there’s a concern that it can lead to more people being affected.

I believe people should not stop protests but they should keep distance with each other in the streets but if you feel your life is in danger or you have symptoms of the virus, please avoid participating in the protests.

Wearing medical/hygienic gloves and mask can help you be safer but it doesn’t make you completely safe.

Our fight goes on but to fight, we need people so put your health first.

Publishers sue Internet Archive over ‘Open Library’ ebook lending

Four major book publishers have filed suit against the Internet Archive for copyright violations relating to the Open Library project, setting the stage for a major legal fight over one of the internet’s longest-running ebook archives.

Launched in 2006, Internet Archive’s Open Library allows users to borrow ebooks scanned from physical copies, according to a theory called “controlled digital lending” (or CDL) that limits how many times a single scan can be borrowed at once.

The project expanded in March with the launch of the National Emergency Library, which suspended waitlists in response to the global pandemic, making all scanned books immediately accessible to anyone with an account.

Reached for comment, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle called the lawsuit “disappointing.”

“As a library, the Internet Archive acquires books and lends them, as libraries have always done,” Kahle told The Verge. “This supports publishing and authors and readers. Publishers suing libraries for lending books — in this case, protected digitized versions, and while schools and libraries are closed — is not in anyone’s interest.”

“We hope this can be resolved quickly,” he continued.