Westboro Baptist vs the Bible

Photo credit: Planting Peace Planting Peace has acquired a house across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church and painted it in rainbow colors to protest the Church’s anti-homosexual stance. According to the Washington Post, Margie Phelps, second daughter of WBC founder Fred Phelps (and apparently the WBC’s legal counsel) called it “the sodomite house”, a clear reference to Genesis 17-19; the article also quotes her younger sister Shirley Phelps-Roper, spokesperson for the WBC, who in a bizarre case of reverse psychology claims to love the paint job because, and I paraphrase, it reminds people that God hates fags.

WBC founder Fred Phelps clearly hasn’t done a good job of raising his daughters, as they are showing no sign of performing their biblical duty, which according to Genesis 19 is to first offer themselves to said sodomites, and then date-rape their own father and bear his children.

Dear Members of Congress

The Internet’s resilience and ability to heal itself and work around intentional or unintentional damage are the stuff of legends. As with most legends, however, it is only partly true. Key components of the Internet’s technical infrastructure are still, to a large degree, and despite repeated efforts to decentralize them, concentrated in and controlled by the United States.

As a non-US resident who makes his living largely from the Internet, I am extremely pleased to see that the United States House of Representatives has recognized this weakness and is considering decisive measures to remedy the situation. Continue reading “Dear Members of Congress”

Unanimiter et constanter

Today, there are no roses to be had in Oslo, for love nor money.

* * *

I am standing by the fountain outside the City Hall. With me around the fountain are hundreds of others. Around them are thousands more, and beyond those, tens of thousands. I do not know precisely how many, and to be honest, I do not think anyone does. A hundred thousand? Two hundred thousand? Three hundred thousand? Most of them with a rose in their hand, many with two or more.

This is our finest hour. Continue reading “Unanimiter et constanter”

Haystack II

According to this story in Fast Company, it seems Iranian authorities were well aware of Haystack and exploited its numerous flaws to monitor the (alleged) dissidents who had swallowed Heap’s snake oil.

I told you so.

The author of the piece, Niel Ungerleider, asks: “Can someone make a Haystack that works?” My answer remains unchanged: an unconditional, resounding “no”. Haystack is profoundly, fundamentally, conceptually flawed, because of a little thing called traffic analysis. In the words of Jacob Appelbaum, quoted in the Fast Company piece: Haystack “effectively alerts authorities that you are trying to use it.”


This is actually old news; Haystack was shut down permanently about two weeks ago, shortly after I read about it. However, this has been nagging me ever since, so I’ll write it down anyway, just to get it out of my head.

The thing that struck me the most about the articles I read about Haystack is that, although some people have questioned the strength of its crypto, no-one pointed out what seems obvious to me:

Haystack cannot possibly work, for reasons which have little to do with cryptography. Continue reading “Haystack”