The site been blacklisted by Twitter, Facebook, and major email providers as malicious/spam. Over the last week, nobody has been able to post the website on social networks, or send any emails with their URL. Lyon has posted a summary of the relevant details on Reddit in the hope of obtaining useful feedback regarding what the cause might be. However, none of the answers there right now seem particularly useful, so I'm hoping the slashdot community can help him out by posting here.
Lyon indicates that the blackout has occurred at a particularly crucial point in the campaign to kill the TPP, as most members of the House of Representatives would likely vote against it were it brought to a vote now, and as pro-TPP interests have started to escalate their lobbying efforts on the House to counteract what would otherwise be a no vote.
so.dan writes: Canadian copyright guru Michael Geist reports that the "File sharing lawsuits involving the movie the Hurt Locker [that] have been big news in the United States for months... are coming to Canada as the Federal Court of Canada has paved the way for the identification of subscribers at Bell Canada, Cogeco, and Videotron who are alleged to have copied the movie." This is the first I've ever heard of MAFIAA lawsuits beginning to succeed in Canada. The move seems to target larger ISPs. Are subscribers of smaller ISPs — who must lease their lines from the larger ones such as Bell — relatively protected from such invasions of privacy due to some sort of technical difficulty in determining the names of subscribers? (Please excuse my technical ignorance). And if so, should Canadians opt for smaller ISPs to aid the protection of their privacy?
so.dan writes: Wikipedia will be using a $1.2M grant donated by the Stanton Foundation — founded by Frank Stanton, ex-chairman of the policy think-tank The RAND Corporation — to "improve" articles dealing with public policy. The Stanton Foundation still sponsors RAND and other research institutions. It frightens me that such a large donation would be accepted by a single donor to change articles which educate the public on political issues from a group which is itself so focused on these issues. I thought that Wikipedia's political articles gained some credibility from the extent to which contributions to these pages were decentralized.
so.dan writes: The CBC is reporting that Elections Canada will push for legislation to allow online voting and voter registration to increase the percentage of Canadians who vote. Is there any way to make such a system secure, both from "hackers" and from corruption in government? Is it possible to make it transparently secure, at least to those with some basic knowledge of electronic security?
The CBC notes one argument in favor of such a change to the electoral process in a recent report by Elections Canada: "only 58.8 per cent of registered voters actually cast ballots during last October's federal election — the worst-ever voter turnout in Canadian history". Aside from the fact many I knew didn't vote for the (irrational) reason that they felt they had "just voted" for the previous federal government (which was prematurely "dissolved" by our Governor General), this argument seems flawed for another reason: High voter turnout in a country is a substantial piece of evidence that the population feels their vote will make a difference, and thus is a testament to the extent to which the country is democratic. So long as everyone who wants to vote has the means to do so (note that in Canada employers are required by law to give employees time off to vote), high voter turnout is not, however, (much of) a cause of democracy. Accordingly, increasing voter turnout in a manner other than through real increased enfranchisement of a population, when the method of increase involves (what I fear is) a substantial threat to democracy, seems wrong-headed in the extreme.
Even if the elections process can be made transparently secure, there is also the frightening prospect that some time after electronic voting has become accepted in the general population as normal and nothing to worry about, some change could be made to the system which (unintentionally or not) undermines its security or transparency.
so.dan writes: The deadline is quickly approaching to respond to a Request for Information (RFI) from the Government of Canada on creating adoption policies on "no charge licensed software" (which includes OSS) for use across federal agencies. The RFI includes a questionnaire and asks for comments on the how well such software meets the specific criteria which the Government considers when evaluating commercial software. It might benefit us Canadians if some members of the knowledgeable Slashdot community could respond to the RFI. Ars technica has more details. The deadline, according to Michael Geist, is February 19th, 2009.
so.dan writes: The Government of Canada has apparently put out a "Request For Information" on the development of "common guidelines" for the use of Open Source Software within the Govt of Canada.
From the article (via Digg): "The objective of the RFI is to provide an opportunity for those interested to provide information they feel Canada should be aware of when developing internal guidelines related to the planning, usage and disposal of No Charge Licensed Software" within the Government of Canada.
The government has put out a list of specific questions, the answers to which will be used to come up with the guidelines. It would be great if the knowledgeable folks at Slashdot could provide some feedback.