Vorratsdatenspeicherung

Auf Heise.de gibt es mittlerweile einige Artikel über die Vorratsdatenspeicherung. Ich kann auch jedem empfehlen täglich heise.de zu lesen oder @heise auf twitter zu folgen um die Headlines zu sehen. Auch könnte man @xyious folgen, da sieht man dann wenigstens wenn hier was passiert.

Hier hat Heise zum Beispiel kurz zusammengefasst wie es zur Vorratsdatenspeicherung überhaupt gekommen ist. Es war, wie es zu erwarten war, ein drängen der Amerikaner der dazu geführt hat, dass einige Politiker denken, dass die ganze Sache eine gute Idee ist. Und natürlich wird die Gefahr des Terrorismus in den Vordergrund gestellt. Fareed Zakaria hat schon sehr viel geschrieben, einer seiner besten Artikel ist aber die Überreaktion auf den 11. September. Vor allem ist die Gefahr des Terrorismus in den letzten Jahren deutlich geringer geworden, ganz ohne die Vorratsdatenspeicherung.

In einem ganz anderen Artikel geht heise.de auf die Abfrage von Kontodaten in relativ großem Umfang ein. Im letzten Absatz “Terrorismus als Türöffner” kritisiert der frühere Bundesbeauftragte für Datenschutz Peter Schaar die Ausweitung der Abfragen. Der Terrorismus wurde auch in diesem Fall dazu benutzt die Daten der Bürger den Strafverfolgern zu übergeben. Und sobald dann das Gesetz wegen der Terrorbekämpfung geschrieben wurde geht’s um Steuerhinterziehung und Leistungsmissbrauch. Da ist klar, dass das Vertrauen in die Politik langsam verloren geht.

Aber zurück zur Vorratsdatenspeicherung. Die europäische Richtlinie dazu wurde Anfang diesen Monats für ungültig erklärt, weil die Vorratsdatenspeicherung in erheblichem Maße in die Grundrechte des Menschen eingreift, ohne dass es spezielle Regelungen für die Verwendung der Daten gibt. Österreich hat die Daten zur Vorratsdatenspeicherung für das Jahr 2012 im Detail veröffentlicht. Aus 326 Anfragen gab es nur eine einzige wegen Terrorismus. Da muss man nicht mehr lange darüber nachdenken was der eigentliche Grund für die Vorratsdatenspeicherung ist. Die CDU/CSU wollen aber so schnell wie möglich ein neues Gesetz auf den Weg bringen um die Vorratsdatenspeicherung trotzdem umzusetzen.

Wenigstens gibt es dafür nicht einmal eine Mehrheit in der Regierungskoalition, von der Mehrheit im Parlament ganz zu schweigen.

Kommen wir aber endlich zum eigentlichen Punkt dieses Artikels. Eine Mehrheit für ein Gesetz dieser Art gibt es in der Bevölkerung schon lange nicht mehr, das war auch schon vor der NSA Affäre so. Jetzt hat sich noch einiges anderes geändert und hat bestimmt nicht dafür gesorgt, dass mehr Leute die Vorratsdatenspeicherung wollen. Der EuGH hat entschieden, dass die Richtlinie so nicht in Ordnung ist, und trotzdem will die CDU, dass das Gesetz umgesetzt wird. Wie passt das alles zusammen? Gar nicht. Ich persönlich habe Angst davor, dass die Daten für vergleichsweise unwichtige Delikte benutzt werden. In diesem Fall liegt es nahe die Daten gleich zu den Abmahnanwälten zu schicken, damit die nur noch einen Click machen müssen um eine Abmahnung wegen Copyright Verstößen zu schicken und den Bürgern Geld aus der Tasche zu ziehen.

Wo wir übrigens beim nächsten Gesetz wären, dass für irrsinnige Sachen missbraucht wird. Das Copyright Gesetz wurde gemacht um Gewerbsmäßige Raubkopierer zu belangen, Leute die damit Geld verdienen, viel Geld. Nicht um normale Leute auszunehmen, die mal einen Song aus dem Internet beziehen. Nicht um Betreiber kleiner Internet Shops abzumahnen weil diese ein falsches Bild für ein Produkt genommen haben…. Ich schweife schon wieder ab.

Die Vorratsdatenspeicherung muss endlich begraben werden.

Jenny McCarthy and Autism

The New York Times just posted a brilliant Opinion yesterday. Brilliant obviously mostly because I agree with it.

The Post, as you may have guessed from the Headline, is about Autism and how Jenny McCarthy so hilariously failed at covering her own ass.

This has been very important to me for a really long time. Everyone knows that vaccinations have saved literally billions of lives and have eradicated diseases and almost eradicated a lot more diseases. Smallpox for one is completely gone. I’m very happy about that fact. And yet there could be so many more diseases completely wiped out. I’m obviously not blaming Jenny McCarthy for that failure, but she is changing minds about vaccinations everywhere.

Think about that for a minute. Someone who has never been to medical school, has no degree whatsoever, has never even read a book about vaccinations, has never read any scientific information about vaccines is somehow the leading authority on vaccines and a link to autism that has been disproved again and again. She somehow is more trustworthy because she posed for playboy than literally hundreds of scientists who spend their lives trying to help people.

So the New York Times Opinion goes on about Jenny McCarthy trying to say that she’s not anti Vaccine when she’s been telling people not to vaccinate their children for years. She went on “Oprah” to say that the MMR Vaccine apparently instantly changed how her son’s brain worked.

Think about that…. instantly. He got the vaccine and he just changed …. right then and there.

How stupid do you have to be to even believe that. So in the millions of vaccines that have been given to kids…. in the BILLIONS of vaccines given to children no one noticed that ? Some doctors vaccinate hundreds of children every year, and they somehow don’t notice something that significant ?

I’m refraining from posting everything she said and linking to everything, but it’s very telling that both sides of the vaccination debate (which really should not exist at all, please read the whole ‘I fucking love science’ post on it) are so focused on her. She has a page named after her called ‘Jenny McCarthy Body Count’.

Now as you may have heard. The person that sparked this whole debate does not even have autism. Think about that…. over a thousand people die because they chose not to get vaccinated in part because of Jenny McCarthy. Who somehow linked autism to vaccines because of her son. Who then turned out not to have autism. That’s pretty ironic if you ask me.

TL:DR; Jenny McCarthy causes incredible amounts of time and money to be spent on disproving a link between autism and vaccines. Which has been disproved as hard as possible. Instead of that time and money being spent on actual research into autism, how you get autism, how to treat autism, how to prevent autism. People have died because of a silly debate when there never has been a link between vaccines and autism (except for one paper that was written because of greed, which has obviously been disproved about 20 times over, retracted and the author lost his license over it). And then it turns out her son doesn’t even have autism. And yet She still is not an advocate for vaccines, even for autism. To my knowledge she hasn’t even apologized for any of it. Not that any of that would undo any of the damage she has done. It would be a start.

Please vaccinate yourself and your children.

How the US is Lagging in Quality of Life

CNN’s incredibly smart and prolific contributor Fareed Zakaria recently posted in his Blog about how the US is lagging in Quality of Life. The post was about an interview with Michael Porter, a professor at the Harvard Business School about why the US is nowhere near the top in the Quality of Life Index. The United States being 16th overall, after Germany, Ireland, Japan, etc. All the way down at 70th place in Health and Wellness.

The whole post mainly just confirms a lot of things that I already knew but couldn’t convince most of my american friends of. I was actually quite surprised how high the US ranks in most of the statistics cited. I really didn’t think the US was doing that well in terms of opportunity and freedom. The Healthcare thing was obvious to me, since I haven’t lived a big part of my life in countries without universal healthcare (there actually aren’t that many of them that I would voluntarily visit). What did surprise me was just how horrible the US is doing in terms of healthcare. I wouldn’t have thought that they couldn’t beat Niger, Nepal or Liberia. I usually cite statistics from the CIA factbook (especially stats on infant mortality and life expectancy) when arguing how bad the American healthcare system is and how badly it had to be reformed before Obama actually had the balls to do it and the stamina to get it done…. eventually. Obviously there still is a lot of room for improvement and I hope that someone will eventually get to it, but I’m losing hope seeing how there was an obvious need to change things, widespread republican support and it still almost didn’t pass at all.

It’s really interesting to see how the countries rank when you play around with the statistics a little. My home country of Germany is actually doing fairly well in pretty much any regard, but we’re quite obviously never at the very top. But that’s a topic for a different time and Post. I have quite a few beefs with the German politics of today.

Spend some time playing around with the statistics and have a look at the CIA factbook (go to Guide to Country Comparisons), both will be surprising in many ways.

Google

Taking over the world…

So it’s the age of the Internet and basically you don’t exist if google doesn’t find you. And they know that, too. I will get to a point eventually, but for now a little back story. When google was founded they wanted to change the way search engines find stuff. And they did, obviously…. kind of.

When google started Alta Vista was huge, and lycos, and AOL. You probably heard about one of those companies, the other two are search engines. Back in the day google had an ‘I feel lucky’ button. Interestingly enough they actually still do, just no one uses it anymore. My point is that that button used to showcase how google just works. You could search for whatever you wanted to find, click the button and actually be on the page you wanted to find. These days ? Not so much. Unless you were looking for a wikipedia article, in which case you actually might get lucky still.

So these days google sucks. Every one knows it, too. So why are they still alive and doing very very well ? The other options suck worse, far worse in some cases. Bing can’t get their market share up, Yahoo just gave up completely and started using Bing…. There actually are a few alternatives to google, which were made because of the huge issues some people have with one company basically having all their data saved on their servers. Here’s a list of Search engines, there actually are quite a few. DuckDuckGo is a name that comes up every time this is brought up, give em a try if you want.

But! The point of this article isn’t to talk about how much google sucks.

Mathias Döpfner said a few very telling things in an open letter published in the FAZ. He said that when google changed their algorithm the traffic to the website of one of the companies they own dropped by as much as 70%. Coincidentally it was a competitor to google. Now if the company I work for lost 70% of their traffic I would not have a job very long because they couldn’t afford having me. And as I mentioned earlier, they know that. They know how much power they have over basically the whole internet. When news publishers wanted search engines to pay for the content they show in previews to the sites they link to they removed them from the index. And obviously things changed a lot. I have to say that I’m with google on that issue (and many others).

In many ways google has already gone beyond the “don’t be evil” motto that they said they go by. In many cases. Take for example the android platform. Arstechnica wrote a very nice article about that one. Long story short they’re forcing manufacturers to stick to google apps and android. When Acer wanted to make a phone that didn’t run on android google told them to stop it or lose access to google’s apps. There were plans (pretty far along, like prototypes already made) for a tablet that runs both android and windows. I think that would be an amazing device. Google didn’t like it so it’s not going to happen.

There actually are many more examples like that, google is just exploiting the power that they have. After fighting against the same power when microsoft had it. It’s a bit hypocritical for my taste.

So to summarize Google is an evil empire that knows how to abuse their power. Google is also a great empire bringing innovation to people everywhere. So we need google. We just don’t like google. We love everything google stood for 10 years ago. We just don’t like what happens when a company is so great at things that they accumulate a great amount of power. So I would like a company with the amount of power google has, with the power of innovation, with the power to buy great companies that make great products. I just would like it if they didn’t abuse that power so blatantly and often.