Namefagging – or why it is so hard to stay anonymus

January 31, 2008 at 12:27 am | Posted in Culture, Internet | Leave a comment
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This is an interesting follow-up to the Privacy/Transparent Human debate this week: The ‘Anonymous’ hacker group who had declared war on Scientology (but had accidentally launched a hacker war in which unrelated individuals were harmed) was apparently made vulnerable because some members had been unable to STAY anonymous, as they too much enjoyed to put their name to what they where doing. Mind Richard’s comment (with which I don’t agree whole-heartedly, yet Anonymous case proves he has got a point): “As soon as you’re registering with a service on the Internet, you should be prepared to being associated with that service sooner or later. And frankly, this is what most people who make ample use of Web2.0 services want.” As a hacker, you BETTER KEEP A LOW PROFILE – but that seems hard to do.

Read this message on Anonymous’ (now hi-jacked and exposed) virtual home 711chan.org:

It has been said before that this raid would fail, and although we do not see that happening at this moment, we as a network have taken a vote and decided that this raid on Church of Scientology was not done correctly.

It has come to our attention that this raid has evolved into more than Anonymous attacking Co$, the raid has turned into namefagging, giving people an area to attack.

This is not what the raid originally started as. Partyvan declares this as a threat to the network, and Anonymous alike. We have been under constant botnet attacks, 711chan hacked, and tons of drama over this. You guys did a very poor job of staying Anonymous. It’s obvious that a lot of you broke rules 1, and 2.

We are sorry to inform you that any more of this Scientology stuff will no longer be allowed on this network due to the epic amounts of spam, namefagging, and bullshit that goes on.

You may feel free to use our Wiki as a base, but 711chan will no longer support the ‘raid’ either.

Long live Anonymous.

TL;DR: Decentralize.

For those who want to continue this, please join this network instead.

/server -m irc.esylum.net -j #xenu

711chan in whole will be back online shortly. Just stick with us guys. We love you.
<3~ plasma

Damn. I fully supported Anonymous’ cause (they were also the originators of that spooky video). Too bad a few namefags brought a beautiful project to its knees. Urban Dictionary’s definition of a namefag:

Term used on 4chan.org for people who post using a name instead of simply post as “anonymous” like most others do. Usually used as in insult.

Namedude: I didn’t really like that movie.

Anonymous: STFU namefag, that movie was awesome!

4chan.org. Another mystery to be solved. Why ‘chan’ is a favourite ending to obscure communities to start with.

Porn Becoming Mainstream in Webvideos? (At the Occasion of the Invention of Smurf Porn)

January 30, 2008 at 9:17 am | Posted in Porn, video | 5 Comments
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It’s not as though it’s breaking news that our visual culture has become increasingly sexed up – yet it is kind of irritating that moving images of people engaging in sexual actions have become part of the web folklore. Yes, we’ve all heard of or seen Two Girls One Cup – which is certainly fake, yet aesthetically still falls into the porn category. The latest movie that is now being blogged about is Smurf porn: Real people dress up as Smurfs (i.e. paint themselves blue, put on white hats) and start romping about. The cast: Smurfette, two regular smurfs, Papa Smurf and Gargamel. Here is the link: You need to copy and paste it if you want to see it, and yes, it really is porn, so don’t watch it in the office or in the presence of minors:* http://www.redtube.com/8399 At least it gives a lot of people a good pretext for watching porn: “I just wanted to see the smurfs!” (At least that was my lame excuse:-)

I wonder whether Donnie Darko inspired them to do this movie? Here is the scene in which Donnie and his friends talk about the sexual life of Smurfs (no saucy scenes included!):

*It IS porn, but not very well done. The art direction sucks – two smurfs take their hats off (which spoils their costume of course), also Gargamel should have stayed partly dressed to not ruin the impression, and they really should have used blue condoms. If it’s to be a real smurf, it’s got to be all blue, from head to toe.

BTW: I wonder whether these movies are manually removed from the viral video chart?

Find Chuck Norris NOW!

January 29, 2008 at 11:13 pm | Posted in Fun | Leave a comment
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1. Go to Google.com
2. Type “find Chuck Norris”
3. Click on I’m Feeling Lucky
4. Enjoy!

Btw, is this a meme or a viral? And why is it so quiet on memepool? Had forgotten about the site for five years at least.

Found here.

P.S.: Just nine days left until the beginning of Lent! I’ll have to design a new Lent logo soon.

Knowing Languages Is Bad for Good Laughs

January 28, 2008 at 10:09 pm | Posted in Fun, Language, video | 2 Comments
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On Realpop, I read about the latest “The Downfall” meme: Take the scene from The Downfall in which Hitler/Bruno Ganz learns that Steiner couldn’t gather enough forces to attack and add new subtitles to it, changing The Downfall of Hitler to The Downfall of HDVD or The Downfall of the Cowboys. While Ganz’ acting features the theatrical type of speech that is known from Hitler speeches – and which is on a phonetic level sufficiently close to Chaplin’s idiom as Hynkel in The Great Dictator – it is certainly good material for being subtitled. Too bad though that the trick won’t work if you know German: It’ impossible to shut out and not understand the words of your mother tongue:-(

The End of Privacy: Transparent Humans, Courtesy of Social Media

January 27, 2008 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Culture, Internet | 1 Comment
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This was a 45-minutes discussion which I hosted at the 4th Barcamp in Vienna. Here is my translation of the summary posted on the Wiki of Barcamp Vienna (where it’s probably going to evolve).

The starting point of the discussion was the observation that the readiness of users to publish information about themselves on the internet has clearly increased over the last years: While web 1.0 communities often struggled with the problem that users – after signing up – were too reluctant to publish their information on their profile (thus limiting opportunities for further social rapport), the same users are now volubly feeding platforms like Facebook/Studivz, Twitter, Xing etc. with their personal information – real names, office addresses, documented conversations with others (e.g. Wall-to-Wall), current place of residence, party photos, etc. The scenario is complemented by services like spock.com, 123people.com or 30boxes.com which allow for the aggregation of information in one place, needing no more than a name or an email address. Anyone can place a request.

The main trajectories of the discussion:

_Discrepancy between immediate user experience and technological consequences: The type of information that is communicated via social media corresponds roughly to that communicated in small talk, in face to face conversations. What we do not take into consideration, however, is that this very information can now a) be stored b) be brought together. By means of this aggregated information much more can be be found out than we believe to have revealed.

_The lack of historicity in digital media: Digitally stored items exist in a permanent present – and that applies also to our digital traces on the net. Old curricula vitae, the little sins of our youth, previous communications are forever returning, over and over again, the fading away of information and recollections which is characteristic of non-digital existence has become impossible.

_Discrepancy between real person and on-line existence: As personal information/communication is turned into data, new online existences come into being that have little to do with real life individuals – and for many business models, these real life individuals are not of import anyway; what counts are micro communities that transform themselves into data.

_Illusion of control: Nonetheless – many users do still foster the believe that one can control the situation – two (absolutely contrary) approaches to regaining (imagined) control are on the one hand the strategy of acquiring many virtual identities (so as to cause confusion – yet as soon as the connection between them is revealed, they are mapped permanently) or the idea to only use one’s real name (so as to make sure that one always ‘behaves’ in way that cannot be turned against oneself).

_We are searchable: Those who engage in social media act similarly, exchange similar information like they would in real life – yet in real life our conversations and our behaviour are not ‘searchable’. Because all things digital have become searchable (and will never fade away, see above) new personality configurations emerge with which we have not yet learned to deal.

_We are aggregable: We have not only become searchable, but also aggregable. Information / communication which was intended only for certain addressees will sooner or later be brought together. Instead of only a small circle of friends/acquaintances, everything reaches a general public. Any form of electronic communication is public – sooner or later.

Evaluations of those taking part in the discussion corresponded in that it was widely believed that we are yet to face the biggest data-related disaster. On a more pragmatic note, it was believed that it lies with the current generation of users to find out how far we can allow ourselves to go with personal data.

See a corresponding article in Austrian daily newspaper Standard [German].

My First Barcamp: The Vienna Session

January 27, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Culture, Internet | 1 Comment
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Yesterday I attended my first Barcamp, a socalled un-conference which took place in Vienna for the fourth time this time. Here’s a brief description of what a Barcamp is, according to its originators:

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. The name BarCamp was inspired as a complement to FooCamp. [Source]

I was dreadfully tired yesterday and would have loved to nod off a couple of times, of course not because of the discussions and presentations which were indeed quite intriguing: fresh, straight-forward, coming from competent folk who abstained from proselytizing. Nearly all sessions that I went to were instant favourites, in particular the ones about blog networks [Lenina, any ideas how to translate ‘Vernetzung’?], the Netvibes Q+A (the chap who presented it had the uttermost modest demeanor, but netvibes rocks), the concluding Web 2.0 discussion and – of course – the brief demonstration of how to turn your beamer projector into a touchscreen/electronic whiteboard using a Wiimote (see a similar video below).

I hosted a discussion myself – wasn’t too keen on it really as I was both tired an unprepared, but was determined to heed Barcamp rule #8: ‘If this is your first time at BarCamp, you HAVE to present.’ Topic of the discussion was ‘Gläserner Mensch dank Social Media’ (something like: Transparant Humans, Courtesy of Social Media). The German version of my summary is available on the Barcamp’s Wiki; I posted an English translation here on my blog.

An Email to Yahoo/Flickr regarding privacy leak

January 26, 2008 at 12:44 am | Posted in privacy | 2 Comments
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Here is a copy of my email to Yahoo (for Flickr) Germany (they automatically forward me to the German site, due the my IP I suppose), addressing the privacy issue raised by the 30boxes mashup (I wrote about that here). I picked the ‘Infringement of Privacy’ label, hopefully I’ll get a response, hopefully they’ll fix that problem.

Dear Yahoo,

I just learned that, due to an open API at Flickr, it is now possible to extract and MATCH ones nickname and email address and make that connection public. That means: Knowing someone’s email address suffices to retrieve that person’s flickr account.

This is currently possible using the services of a website called www.30boxes.com. 30boxes offers a calendar services and claims to allow people to do the following:

* organize your stuff
* plan your day
* keep up with your friends

Unfortunately, in their interpretation, a friend is someone whose email address you know (an unfortunate misunderstanding that could also be witnessed in the recent disclosure of shared items to everyone in your contact list at Googlemail)

Similarly, keeping up with your friends at 30 boxes works the following way: Once you have signed up, you can “Find buddies” by entering the email addresses of people you know (of course, knowing someone’s email address does _not_ mean that you are friends!)

30boxes then attempts to retrieve data from the APIs of – among others – Flickr, Twitter, Myspace.

What is disconcerting here is that it, in the case of flickr – matches nicknames and emailaddresses, meaning that the privacy that the nickname offers is jeopardized.

I, for instance, entered the email of a friend (which I am not going to type in here, as I am also going to publish a copy of this email on my blog) and immediately received a link to her flickr account – I am very sure that she isn’t too pleased about this.

I am probably lucky that 30boxes wasn’t able to match my email address with my flickr account (for which ever reason) – nonetheless, I wonder whether:

a) Flickr knows about this vulnerability of their API

b) this vulnerability is covered by the terms and services (I doubt that I would understand the legal language that defines the use of APIs, hence I haven’t checked myself).

In any case: The fact that one HAS the opportunity to chose a nickname does, in my view, suggest that the connection between nickname and email address should also NOT be revealed to third parties nor made public, e.g. publicized in the 30 boxes mashup.

Furthermore: If a user gives out his or her email address, that does not necessarily mean that he or she also meant to allow this person to see his or her flickr account. This is, however, the consequence of opening your api to third parties like 30 boxes.

Your feedback is very much appreciated.

Best wishes

Anaj Blog

I might have to send emails to Twitter, Myspace etc. as well.

This is spooky – yet I Approve!

January 25, 2008 at 10:55 pm | Posted in video, Viral | 1 Comment
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Anonymous’ message to Scientoloy (currently #2 in the viral video chart):

And this is freaking hilarious!

30boxes – the consummate end of privacy

January 25, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Posted in Internet | 13 Comments
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Ok, we’ve given up privacy a long time ago – Facebook/Studivz probably was the ultimate blow. And here now is the application that brings all the bits and pieces of you on the net together: 30boxes.com. They pretend to be a calendar service, but what disturbs me more is that you can enter anyone’s email, and it’ll tell you where this person has posted data of him or her on the net.

For instance, I typed in my boyfriend’s email address which does NOT give away his real name – and 30boxes gave me his first name and the first letter of his surname. I typed in Lenina’s email address and it produced her flickr account – even though she uses a completely arbitrary user name.

In theory, your email address shouldn’t be visible to anyone on flickr – so how can some shady web application find out whether you’ve got a profile there or not???

Last.fm was founded by Austrians

January 24, 2008 at 11:48 pm | Posted in Austria, music | Leave a comment
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Just in case you didn’t know. Btw, Last.fm have announced to be now playing full-length songs and albums. The only hitch:

Full-length tracks are now available in the US, UK, and Germany, and we’re hard at work broadening our coverage into other countries. During this initial public beta period, each track can be played up to 3 times for free before a notice appears telling you about our upcoming subscription service. The soon-to-be announced subscription service will give you unlimited plays and some other useful things.

Last.fm

Amnesty International against Child Soldiers

January 23, 2008 at 3:36 pm | Posted in Life | 2 Comments
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Yesterday I joined amnesty international, coincidentally 7 days after friend Lenina became a member (maybe I would not have been that susceptible to their message if she hadn’t). It’s only going to cost me a few cents a day, and once I am in a more comfortable financial situation, I am going to increase the amount to donate in a year. They got me with their initiative to rehabilitate child soldiers – but there is not a single cause in their portfolio that I wouldn’t subscribe to.

Still in Germany, I supported an animal rights organization for a while whose board members have now received a six years sentence for the misappropriation (?) of donations. Jeez! I guess I can rule out such a scenario in the case of ai. I am glad to be once again supporting a charity organization – one of the few things one can do as a person who was luckily born in our posh Western civilization.

child execution

R.I.P. Heath Ledger: No More Brokeback Reunions

January 22, 2008 at 11:41 pm | Posted in Entertainment, Film, Life | Leave a comment
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Minutes before going to bed I read that Heath “BrokeBack Mountain” Ledger died – devastating!

Perez Hilton writes:

At 3:31 p.m., a masseuse arrived at Apartment 5A in the building for an appointment with Mr. Ledger, police said.

The masseuse was let in to the home by a housekeeper, who then knocked on the door of Mr. Ledger’s bedroom. When no one answered, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened the bedroom and found Mr. Ledger unconscious.

They shook him, but he did not respond. They immediately called the authorities. The police said they did not suspect foul play and said they found pills near the body.

Read the Google News on his tragic death. He was only 28 – 5 years my junior! It’s been a while that Academy Award winners died that young.

Life’s a to-do-list

January 22, 2008 at 9:30 am | Posted in Life | Leave a comment
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Again today I am lacking the inspiration for a blog post. There are many many things on my to do list today – some of which are related to the fact that I submitted a proposal for a doctoral thesis yesterday. I am now looking for ways to fund myself – either as being self-employed or by taking on a part-time position (one may not work more than 20 hours a week to be able to enroll as a doctoral student in Austria – but thankfully, and as of January 2008, one may simultaneously receive unemployment benefits and pursue one’s studies).

EDIT: It seems as if this 20 hour rule does not apply in Austria, it’s a Germany thing (where there are special types of contracts and tax models for students).

Today I am not going to write a post

January 21, 2008 at 11:35 pm | Posted in Blogging | 1 Comment
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😛

If this is true, Arthur Miller was a douchebag

January 20, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Posted in Entertainment, Literature | 2 Comments
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So Arthur Miller gave the world The Crucible, thank you. He divorced his wife Mary to be able to marry Marilyn Monroe the same month (June 1956), what ever. Happens all over the place. They filmed The Misfits together – I’ve not in any other MM movie seen the camera treat her with such disrespect. The scene where she plays with this ping pong toy (I have no name for it) and where the camera zooms in on nothing but her wiggling bum while (macsuline-voiced) bystanders cheer her on – enraging. Oh well. If Arthur Miller or Norman Mailer or Henry Miller do it, it’s art. Miller himself declared that shooting this film was the lowest point of his life – how is that for a good-bye present to MM whom he divorced before the premiere? MM OD’ed a year later. Not his fault or responsibility, of course.

Yet the thing that eventually makes me want to STRANGLE him if he weren’t dead already is that he had his son Daniel, born in 1966 with Down Syndrome, put in a home immediately and permanently straight after his birth. Arthur Miller is said to be the one who insisted – shame on the mother Inge Morath for agreeing to that as well. Daniel was excluded from their lives entirely – how’s that for a private witch hunt?

According to the Daily Mail, Daniel Day-Lewis, the husband of their daughter Rebecca, made him reunite with Daniel when his son had already turned 40 – although I am not quite sure how that would have worked out, as Daniel Miller turned 40 in 2006 and Arthur Miller died in 2005. In any case, if he saw him at all, it was pretty close to his own death.

By the way, another douchebag who exluded his son from his life is Desmond Dekker, the singer of “The Israelites”. I know because Lenina and I celebrated Christmas with his son Desmond, called Desy, in 2000. Desy is a musician and DJ who needs a wheelchair and the help of a personal assistant to help him get around – seemingly too much for Desmond Snr to cope with. He looks very much like his father who died in 2006. This might be his Myspace-Profile – at least he looks like Desy. Dr Lenina, please advice!

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