An “out of this world” response to censorship

First, a quick sidenote: I’m glad to see this year finally come to a close, for various reasons. However, I’d still like to end it on a high note at least as this blog is concerned.

And so with that I bring forth this BBC News article, regarding an ambitious anti-censorship plan that’s truly out of this world: the use of satellite communications to circumvent the primarily land- and sea-based Internet we’ve come to know.

It is unfortunate on one hand that this is necessary. But it goes to illustrate the nearly boundless ingenuity of the hacker culture. We’ve seen anonymous remailers (the original cypherpunk Type I, then the Mixmaster or Type II), Freenet, Tor, GNUNet, and myriad other end-runs around overzealous censors, whether they be government-based or corporate-based. This is a logical next step, though satellites are not without their limits: a geostationary satellite introduces a huge latency, while lower orbits result in communication links only available in short bursts. With enough funding, though, I think this strategy has potential to be a winner.

And with that, my posts for 2011 are done. See you on the flip side.

“14 years” followup

I did some more research on a┬áprevious entry regarding the Dale Duke case, and found this Pegasus News story, which confirms that indeed it was a discharge from a psychological “treatment” program that triggered Dale’s probation revocation and resentencing:

In 1997 Duke was discharged from sex offender treatment because he would not admit to committing the sexual assault against his stepdaughter. A judge sentenced Duke to 20 years in prison because he did not complete the ordered treatment program.

This highlights the risk of “rubber stamp” conditions of psychological counseling as a condition of probation. There is always the possibility of the accused actually being innocent, in which case staying in denial would be expected, and any result otherwise would in fact be the result of successful brainwashing. (Normally I don’t use that term to describe what people in the mental health profession do, but in this case it’s quite accurate.)

Counseling can be a useful tool in rehabilitation. However, there is a huge difference between a real offender staying in denial and someone who is actually innocent, who is agreeing to probation just to put the entire ordeal behind them. I recognize finding the difference between the two is not easy, and is a problem that may well take years if not decades to solve, if ever.