Petter Reinholdtsen

Entries from March 2018.

Self-appointed leaders of the Free World
22nd March 2018

The leaders of the worlds have started to congratulate the re-elected Russian head of state, and this causes some criticism. I am though a little fascinated by a comment from USA senator John McCain, sited by The Hill and others:

"An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections."

While I totally agree with the senator here, the way the quote is phrased make me suspect that he is unaware of the simple fact that USA have not lead the Free World since at least before its government kidnapped a completely innocent Canadian citizen in transit on his way home to Canada via John F. Kennedy International Airport in September 2002 and sent him to be tortured in Syria for a year.

USA might be running ahead, but the path they are taking is not the one taken by any Free World.

Tags: english.
Facebooks ability to sell your personal information is the real Cambridge Analytica scandal
21st March 2018

So, Cambridge Analytica is getting some well deserved criticism for (mis)using information it got from Facebook about 50 million people, mostly in the USA. What I find a bit surprising, is how little criticism Facebook is getting for handing the information over to Cambridge Analytica and others in the first place. And what about the people handing their private and personal information to Facebook? And last, but not least, what about the government offices who are handing information about the visitors of their web pages to Facebook? No-one who looked at the terms of use of Facebook should be surprised that information about peoples interests, political views, personal lifes and whereabouts would be sold by Facebook.

What I find to be the real scandal is the fact that Facebook is selling your personal information, not that one of the buyers used it in a way Facebook did not approve when exposed. It is well known that Facebook is selling out their users privacy, but a scandal nevertheless. Of course the information provided to them by Facebook would be misused by one of the parties given access to personal information about the millions of Facebook users. Collected information will be misused sooner or later. The only way to avoid such misuse, is to not collect the information in the first place. If you do not want Facebook to hand out information about yourself for the use and misuse of its customers, do not give Facebook the information.

Personally, I would recommend to completely remove your Facebook account, and take back some control of your personal information. According to The Guardian, it is a bit hard to find out how to request account removal (and not just 'disabling'). You need to visit a specific Facebook page and click on 'let us know' on that page to get to the real account deletion screen. Perhaps something to consider? I would not trust the information to really be deleted (who knows, perhaps NSA, GCHQ and FRA already got a copy), but it might reduce the exposure a bit.

If you want to learn more about the capabilities of Cambridge Analytica, I recommend to see the video recording of the one hour talk Paul-Olivier Dehaye gave to NUUG last april about Data collection, psychometric profiling and their impact on politics.

And if you want to communicate with your friends and loved ones, use some end-to-end encrypted method like Signal or Ring, and stop sharing your private messages with strangers like Facebook and Google.

Tags: english, personvern.
H, Ap, Frp og Venstre går for DNA-innsamling av hele befolkningen
14th March 2018

I går kom det nok et argument for å holde seg unna det norske helsevesenet. Da annonserte et stortingsflertall, bestående av Høyre, Arbeiderpartiet, Fremskrittspartiet og Venstre, at de går inn for å samle inn og lagre DNA-prøver fra hele befolkningen i Norge til evig tid. Endringen gjelder innsamlede blodprøver fra nyfødte i Norge. Det vil dermed ta litt tid før en har hele befolkningen, men det er dit vi havner gitt nok tid. I dag er det nesten hundre prosent oppslutning om undersøkelsen som gjøres like etter fødselen, på bakgrunn av blodprøven det er snakk om å lagre, for å oppdage endel medfødte sykdommer. Blodprøven lagres i dag i inntil seks år. Stortingets flertallsinnstilling er at tidsbegrensingen skal fjernes, og mener at tidsubegrenset lagring ikke vil påvirke oppslutningen om undersøkelsen.

Datatilsynet har ikke akkurat applaudert forslaget:

«Datatilsynet mener forslaget ikke i tilstrekkelig grad synliggjør hvilke etiske og personvernmessige utfordringer som må diskuteres før en etablerer en nasjonal biobank med blodprøver fra hele befolkningen.»

Det er flere historier om hvordan innsamlet biologisk materiale har blitt brukt til andre formål enn de ble innsamlet til, og historien om folkehelseinstituttets lagring på vegne av politiet (Kripos) av innsamlet biologisk materiale og DNA-informasjon i strid med loven viser at en ikke kan være trygg på at lover og intensjoner beskytter de som blir berørt mot misbruk av slik privat og personlig informasjon.

Det er verdt å merke seg at det kan forskes på de innsamlede blodprøvene uten samtykke fra den det gjelder (eller foreldre når det gjelder barn), etter en lovendring for en stund tilbake, med mindre det er sendt inn skjema der en reserverer seg mot forskning uten samtykke. Skjemaet er tilgjengelig fra folkehelseinstituttets websider, og jeg anbefaler, uavhengig av denne saken, varmt alle å sende inn skjemaet for å dokumentere hvor mange som ikke synes det er greit å fjerne krav om samtykke.

I tillegg bør en kreve destruering av alt biologisk materiale som er samlet inn om en selv, for å redusere eventuelle negative konsekvenser i fremtiden når materialet kommer på avveie eller blir brukt uten samtykke, men det er så vidt jeg vet ikke noe system for dette i dag.

Som vanlig, hvis du bruker Bitcoin og ønsker å vise din støtte til det jeg driver med, setter jeg pris på om du sender Bitcoin-donasjoner til min adresse 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Oppdatering 2023-09-21: FHI har flyttet skjemaet for å reservere seg mot forskning uten samtykke.

Tags: norsk, personvern, surveillance.
First rough draft Norwegian and Spanish edition of the book Made with Creative Commons
13th March 2018

I am working on publishing yet another book related to Creative Commons. This time it is a book filled with interviews and histories from those around the globe making a living using Creative Commons.

Yesterday, after many months of hard work by several volunteer translators, the first draft of a Norwegian Bokmål edition of the book Made with Creative Commons from 2017 was complete. The Spanish translation is also complete, while the Dutch, Polish, German and Ukraine edition need a lot of work. Get in touch if you want to help make those happen, or would like to translate into your mother tongue.

The whole book project started when Gunnar Wolf announced that he was going to make a Spanish edition of the book. I noticed, and offered some input on how to make a book, based on my experience with translating the Free Culture and The Debian Administrator's Handbook books to Norwegian Bokmål. To make a long story short, we ended up working on a Bokmål edition, and now the first rough translation is complete, thanks to the hard work of Ole-Erik Yrvin, Ingrid Yrvin, Allan Nordhøy and myself. The first proof reading is almost done, and only the second and third proof reading remains. We will also need to translate the 14 figures and create a book cover. Once it is done we will publish the book on paper, as well as in PDF, ePub and possibly Mobi formats.

The book itself originates as a manuscript on Google Docs, is downloaded as ODT from there and converted to Markdown using pandoc. The Markdown is modified by a script before is converted to DocBook using pandoc. The DocBook is modified again using a script before it is used to create a Gettext POT file for translators. The translated PO file is then combined with the earlier mentioned DocBook file to create a translated DocBook file, which finally is given to dblatex to create the final PDF. The end result is a set of editions of the manuscript, one English and one for each of the translations.

The translation is conducted using the Weblate web based translation system. Please have a look there and get in touch if you would like to help out with proof reading. :)

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Tags: docbook, english, madewithcc.
Debian used in the subway info screens in Oslo, Norway
2nd March 2018

Today I was pleasantly surprised to discover my operating system of choice, Debian, was used in the info screens on the subway stations. While passing Nydalen subway station in Oslo, Norway, I discovered the info screen booting with some text scrolling. I was not quick enough with my camera to be able to record a video of the scrolling boot screen, but I did get a photo from when the boot got stuck with a corrupt file system:

[photo of subway info screen]

While I am happy to see Debian used more places, some details of the content on the screen worries me.

The image show the version booting is 'Debian GNU/Linux lenny/sid', indicating that this is based on code taken from Debian Unstable/Sid after Debian Etch (version 4) was released 2007-04-08 and before Debian Lenny (version 5) was released 2009-02-14. Since Lenny Debian has released version 6 (Squeeze) 2011-02-06, 7 (Wheezy) 2013-05-04, 8 (Jessie) 2015-04-25 and 9 (Stretch) 2017-06-15, according to a Debian version history on Wikpedia. This mean the system is running around 10 year old code, with no security fixes from the vendor for many years.

This is not the first time I discover the Oslo subway company, Ruter, running outdated software. In 2012, I discovered the ticket vending machines were running Windows 2000, and this was still the case in 2016. Given the response from the responsible people in 2016, I would assume the machines are still running unpatched Windows 2000. Thus, an unpatched Debian setup come as no surprise.

The photo is made available under the license terms Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution International (CC BY 4.0).

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Tags: english, ruter.

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