I’ve had many blogs in my digital life. I don’t remember my first blog but it was the time that only famous websites could have a SSL certificate. I remember people were talking about how writing blogs is dying and people are moving to social networks. Back then FriendFeed was rising and It was the first year of Twitter.

I remember tech people people were obsessed with 140 character writing. Since then, many people joined social media and many left their blogs. Facebook and Twitter were new blogging platforms but no matter what people say, they can’t compete with blogs.

I still search between blogs if I want to learn something. I still check people’s blogs if I want to know them. I’ll never take a tweet or toot as serious as a blog post. I’ll accept a blog post by someone as a reference but I’ll never accept a tweet or toot as a reliable reference.

Even social networks such as Mastodon, Twitter, and Facebook own a blog. They know if they want to announce something officially, they have to write a blog post about it. I don’t think blogging is dead. What I do think is that blogging is much more important than social networks.

That’s why I’m beginning the #100DaysToOffload suggested by @kev@fosstodon.org.

UPDATE: I Moved to WordPress

Since few years ago, I’m building my blogs using Jekyll static site generator. Now, after some years, I’m deciding to move to a WordPress blog as I travel a lot and I want to be able to update my blog using different devices. As I explained on some toots, I can’t pay for a service based outside of Iran as my homeland is under heavy sanctions from U.S. and its allies. We can’t even open a bank account outside of Iran.

I don’t want to use a hosting service based in Iran as all of the providers have to follow rules/laws and it can be led to closing my blog if I write something that the government doesn’t like. I’m searching for someone or a foundation that can provide a host that I can install WordPress on and connect my domains to it.

My current website is kindly hosted by amazing Autistici/Inventati and they’re privacy-focused and use software libre. It’s important to that the hosting service uses software libre and doesn’t violate people’s rights about privacy.

If you’re interested in helping me, please drop me a message.

In a stunning victory for nonprofits and NGOs around the world working in the public interest, ICANN today roundly rejected Ethos Capital’s plan to transform the .ORG domain registry into a heavily indebted for-profit entity. This is an important victory that recognizes the registry’s long legacy as a mission-based, non-for-profit entity protecting the interests of thousands of organizations and the people they serve.

We’re glad ICANN listened to the many voices in the nonprofit world urging it not to support the sale of Public Interest Registry, which runs .ORG, to private equity firm Ethos Capital. The proposed buyout was an attempt by domain name industry insiders to profit off of thousands of nonprofits and NGOs around the world. Saying the sale would fundamentally change PIR into an “entity bound to serve the interests of its corporate stakeholders” with “no meaningful plan to protect or serve the .ORG community,” ICANN made clear that it saw the proposal for what it was, regardless of Ethos’ claims that nonprofits would continue to have a say in their future.

The sale threatened to bring censorship and increased operating costs to the nonprofit world. As EFF warned, a private equity-owned registry would have a financial incentive to suspend domain names—causing websites to go dark—at the request of powerful corporate interests and governments.

In a blog post about its decision, ICANN also pointed out how the deal risked the registry’s financial stability. They noted that the $1.1 billion proposed sale would change PIR “from a viable not-for-profit entity to a for-profit entity with a US$360 million debt obligation.” The debt was not for the benefit of PIR or the .ORG community, but for the financial interests of Ethos and its investors. And Ethos failed to convince ICANN that it would not drain PIR of its financial resources, putting the stability and security of the .ORG registry at risk.

“ICANN entrusted to PIR the responsibility to serve the public interest in its operation of the .ORG registry, and now ICANN is being asked to transfer that trust to a new entity without a public interest mandate.”

ICANN was not convinced by the token “stewardship council” that Ethos proposed in an attempt to add an appearance of accountability. Echoing EFF’s own letter, they noted that “the membership of the Stewardship Council is subject to the approval of PIR’s board of directors and, as a result, could become captured by or beholden to the for-profit interests of PIR’s owners and therefore are unlikely to be truly independent of Ethos Capital or PIR’s board.”

Many organizations worked hard to persuade ICANN to reject the sale. We were joined by the National Council of Nonprofits, NTEN, Access Now, The Girl Scouts of America, Consumer Reports, the YMCA, Demand Progress, OpenMedia, Fight for the Future, Wikimedia, Oxfam, Greenpeace, Consumer Reports, FarmAid, NPR, the American Red Cross, and dozens of other household names. Nonprofit professionals and technologists even gathered in Los Angeles in January to tell ICANN their concerns in person. The coalition defending the .ORG domain was as diverse as .ORG registrants themselves, encompassing all areas of public interest: aid organizations, corporate watchdogs, museums, clubs, theater companies, religious organizations, and much, much more. Petitions to reject the sale received over 64,000 signatures, and nearly 900 organizations signed on. Joining them in their concerns were Members of Congress, UN Special Rapporteurs, and state charity regulators [pdf].

A late development that affected ICANN’s decision was the letter [pdf] from California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra. Citing EFF and other members of the coalition, Becerra’s letter urged ICANN to reject the sale. Although ICANN received many last-minute appeals from some parts of its policymaking community urging the organization to ignore Becerra’s letter, ICANN acknowledged that as it is a California nonprofit, it could not afford to ignore its state regulator.

Because PIR is incorporated in Pennsylvania, that state’s courts must approve its conversion into a for-profit company. Pennsylvania’s attorney general is investigating the sale, and may also weigh in. In its rationale, ICANN states that it will allow PIR and Ethos to submit a new application if they are able to get the approval of this other body with authority over the deal. But all of the reasons behind ICANN’s rejection of the sale will confront Ethos in Pennsylvania, as well.

This decision by ICANN is a hard-fought victory for nonprofit Internet users. But the .ORG registry still needs a faithful steward, because the Internet Society has made clear it no longer wants that responsibility. ICANN should hold an open consultation, as they did in 2002, to select a new operator of the .ORG domain that will give nonprofits a real voice in its governance, and a real guarantee against censorship and financial exploitation.

(original post)

Don’t watch TV coverage of Covid-19! (Or “social media”; the details are different.) Watching repetitive coverage of something frightening can interfere with clear thinking, even traumatize people.

TV news coverage of a crisis struggles to fill 24 hours a day with “information”, notwithstanding the fact that the actual flow of new information about the crisis is nowhere near sufficient to fill that time. What do they do? They repeat. They present tangential and minor details. They make the same points in different ways. They belabor the obvious. They repeat.

If your goal is to be informed, you don’t need to dwell on the crisis for hours every day. Not even one hour a day. Getting your news in this inefficient matter will waste a lot of time — and worse.

In addition, it will make you more and more anxious. Someone I knew in 2001, who lived in California. spent all day on Sep 11 and following days watching the TV coverage. Afterward perse was afraid to go outside, watching for terrorist airplanes. TV made it possible for per to be traumatized by events 3000 miles away.

That was an unusually strong case. Most people did not get so traumatized as that. That does not imply it did not affect them. I suspect that the TV coverage may have shifted millions of people’s perceptions, so that they overestimated the danger of terrorism while downplaying the danger of laws that take away freedom. This would have smoothed the path for careless passage of the dangerous USA PAT RIOT Act and its massive surveillance.

In any a good, general textual news site, you can read the things you really want to know about Covid-19 in 10 or 20 minutes a day. Then you won’t fall behind on your work, and you won’t be brainwashed into panic.

Keep calm and carry on!

(original post)

There’s daily reports about violating people’s privacy during Cornoavirus pandemic and some of these violations are happening because of proprietary apps provided by governments which keep track of people to control them. The idea of government keeping people safe by forcing them to stay home is something I can’t disagree with but governments are not trustworthy and there’s a high risk that they (governments) keep these data/profiles even after pandemic.

Continue reading

Criticism of violating people’s privacy is not limited to a particular organization or individual. If any service (etc.) violates users’ privacy rights, it should be criticized. Doesn’t matter if it’s libre, proprietary, governmental, or private. People’s privacy should be respected no matter what service you’re providing or how your service is working. If you can’t respect people, change your service and if you can’t change it then stop.

We should all agree that most people in the world don’t know how their private life and privacy is being violated and there’s some people that spread disinformation in support of these services. We should also stop calling these data-hungry companies “services” because what they provide is a platform to steal people’s data and it’s not a service.

We don’t encourage people to stop using Google because we don’t like Google (I mean we don’t like it but it’s not the point), we tell people stop using Google because Google and other similar evil corporations are violating people’s rights (and that’s why we don’t like it). If a software libre service tracks people or violates people’s privacy rights in any way, it should be criticized too. We should not have double standards or differentiate between services; specially when it comes to libre services as such services may create a bad impression of software libre among users.

I’ve talked about it before many times but as I see this happening again and again, I write it here too. Most of software libre services are provided by individuals or small teams/collectives that are generous enough to spend their time and money to help society be more free and secure. We should know that nothing is free; we may not pay for these services but the maintainers are paying to keep their software/serivce up. They pay for servers, domain names, developing costs, and some other stuff.

Some people may not be able to donate or help developing these libre software/services but the thing we can do is to avoid causing more costs for the maintainers. It’s actually pretty simple. Just don’t create an account on a libre service/software if you don’t need it. This can reduce the amount of data that those maintainers should store/handle on their paid server and this can help their service cost less.

I encourage you to share this note (or a similar one) with your friends to help these service providers.

This is a response to the blog post by Kev Quirk

I don’t know how many hello worlds I’ve ever had but I know it’s enough to make it hard to count! The reason I have a blog is that I like expressing my point of view. The thing about social networks is that we write for our followers and it’s what I don’t like about it. People with more followers are the ones who feel they own other people and last thing I want as a free human is to be defined by my followers count.

However, in my blog, I’m free to write whatever I want, without fear of being judged or attacked by others. My blog is the place I can write stuff and be sure that nobody has anything to do with it. Unlike social networks, there’s no moderator but me, and there’s no person who I have to care about but me.

I write for myself and people who really think my opinions are worth reading; not for people who followed me just because of a stupid number on their profile/page.

You’ll not be safe if others are not as clean as they should be, to fight Coronavirus. Please help others to access health supplies. Even if you survive this, if others don’t, you’ll live alone for rest of your life.

You should be worried about this virus but you got to be smart too. Please spread the word and help people to stay healthy. Keep social distancing, don’t touch your face, wash your hands and body regularly, and help others do the same.

The EARN IT Act was introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (Republican of South Carolina) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Democrat of Connecticut), along with Sen. Josh Hawley (Republican of Missouri) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Democrat of California) on March 5.

The premise of the bill is that technology companies have to earn Section 230 protections rather than being granted immunity by default, as the Communications Decency Act has provided for over two decades.

For starters, it’s not clear that companies have to “earn” what are already protections provided under the First Amendment: to publish, and to allow their users to publish, with very few legal restrictions. But if the EARN IT Act were passed, tech companies could be held liable if their users posted illegal content.

If you’re an American, please call your senator and ask to vote no to this. This can end users’ privacy rights. This law can be used to limit users’ freedom and make government more strong in censoring free speech.