I Am NOT a 'Digital Identity'!
May 30, 2005
1:48 p.m., MT
Cat's Mood: disheartened
Music: Tattoo Vampire/Morning Final, BOC
Yesterday, I spent some time catching up on the recent posts at Real ID Rebellion, as well as several of the articles linked in those posts. Surprise - the following rant resulted... I'm not going to chase down all the various links again to insert them here, as they're all available at the RID blog. Initially this rant was begun as a letter to HP - but then I got to thinking about other corporations undoubtedly hopping on the National ID gravy train, and about other investors finding themselves in similar situations - some of whom may decide to pursue the "shareholder activism" route. In this case, that doesn't feel like the most productive path of action for me - so for other investors who find themselves feeling guilty about reluctance to pursue it, I offer my own thoughts on the subject in hopes that someone might find them helpful...
Several years ago I replaced an older dilapidated desktop computer with a newer HP Pavilion - I am a Hewlett Packard customer. One day in 2004, I noticed that the Hewlett Packard stock price had plummeted sharply in response to some bad news that I recall as seeming relatively minor, and as I had a favorable impression of the company at that time and some cash to invest, I purchased stock in the company - I am a Hewlett Packard investor. I now find it greatly disappointing to realize that as both an shareholder and customer of Hewlett Packard, I should feel indirectly complicit in HP's involvement in the creation and marketing to governments of technology to facilitate implementation of "National ID" systems in cahoots with Microsoft. Am I, as both a Hewlett Packard investor and customer, inadvertently participating in the evolution of a National ID? Ditto, as a Windows user?
Is it progress to subvert human judgment and responsibility to technology, or to delegate authority over human lives and liberties to unthinking data processing machines no matter how "intelligent" those machines may be? Is it good governance to tag and track people like cattle under the guise of protecting their liberties and ensuring their security, or an extemely bad and treacherous joke? When a government seeks to secure the well being of those in power to the detriment of citizens' well being and security, whose government is it - and why should thinking people trust government to safeguard any interests but its own?
Shall the hapless citizen awake one day soon to find his assets frozen on account of a "typo," or a small charitable contribution intended to feed hungry orphans in the wrong geo-political area? Shall an innocent citizen board a train one day, only to find herself detained as a "political dissident" and railroaded toward a government-run gulag instead of a peaceful journey to her intended destination? Shall a peace-loving citizen be labeled as a "terrorist" or "terrorist sympathizer" because he cared enough about his fellow human beings to protest when "his" government declares an unjust war of aggression, or wages one despite the absence of an official declaration of war by congress?
Sigh. I'm trying to enjoy the tail end of a chaotic spring vacation, and have no intention of spending precious time furiously making phone calls or writing emails for the sake of cookie-cutter responses to concerned or disgruntled HP customers and investors - it doesn't feel like a productive use of time to me at present to engage in forms of protest that appear ineffectual. If I was a significantly major shareholder, perhaps I might hope to influence corporate policies with a well placed phone call or email. If a distaste for the obligatory hamster wheel approach for small investors to "reach the top" with comments constitutes laziness on my part, so be it - I'd rather while away the hours reading Lin Yutang's "The Importance of Living," and contemplating the virtues of laziness.
I guess that the lesson for me is to invest more prudently in the future, to look a little more carefully at a company before choosing to buy products or purchase shares. Perhaps, as a rule of thumb, I should adopt a strategy of investing primarily in smaller companies who find themselves adversely affected by the malignant growth of a homeland security state (which grows at the expense of the security of individual citizens) and avoid investing in any corporations who grow large at the federal trough, or appear likely to do so in the future.
A sensible course of action for me now may be to sell my HP shares, and hope that enough others do the same - eventually corporate headquarters might notice slack sales and a plummeting stock price, and rethink policies on that basis. Until that happens, I doubt my next computer will be an HP product - with any luck, by the time I'm ready to replace my current desktop PC it'll be easy to find a machine free of Windows and friendly enough for the non-geek user like me.
Rather than spend a day frantically complaining, I'm quite content to spend it thinking about other ways to invest my dollars for the rest of my life. Ploughing profits from HP shares into some other company - say, an upstart competitor for some of HP's business - sounds pretty tempting, or I may decide to appropriately allocate profits from the sale of HP shares toward a project dedicated toward exposing the treachery of a National ID system. Each idea has a certain appeal...
Replies: 10 people have spoken!
On Monday, May 30th, Sunni said:
You tell 'em, Cat! I keep hearing about Linux distros that are easier and easier ... I may be trying one soon. Watch for kudos or much gnashing of teeth here, depending upon how it goes.
On Monday, May 30th, freeman said:
I'm not nearly enough of a computer geek to give Linux a try yet. It is something that I'd like to do one day though. It's the only alternative to Microsoft products that I haven't switched to yet.
If Microsoft is gonna be shining the government's boots more and more, then I guess I have more of an incentive to learn about Linux and ditch Windows.
On Monday, May 30th, Cat said:
I've heard many good things about Linux from friends, and may take the plunge one of these days... Please let me know how it goes for you, if either of you beat me to it - it's likely you both will, since I'm just getting started on The Importance of Living...
On Monday, May 30th, Happy Curmudgeon said:
If any of y'all decide to try Linux, let me know. I've got a couple of different 'live' CD's (SUSE, Knoppix & Ubuntu), which lets you try it out without changing your hard drive.
On Tuesday, May 31st, Sunni said:
I did try RedHat once, as I believe I've mentioned here, and it was straightforward to install, and worked well. (A dear friend who's very knowledgeable helped me with the dual-boot install, I should point out.) The problem was that my "Linux compatible" machine was anything but -- starting with the Winmodem, which kept me offline on the RH side of my machine.
My advice now would be: 1] Build your new machine yourself (or have a trusted friend do it), to make sure your components meet your specs and don't have spies inside; and 2] for your first foray into Tuxland, have a dual-boot system so you can wade in or dive in, as you wish -- with "land" always at hand should you feel you need it. Brad Spangler provided this link to VectorLinux at the RID blog ... it looks very interesting. I've heard good things about Knoppix and Ubuntu, too.
On Tuesday, May 31st, Happy Curmudgeon said:
My distro of choice is still SUSE (currently 9.2); Red Hat didn't play well with my machine - it didn't recognize some of my specs and I kept having to tinker with the FSTAB in order to access files from my Windows partition, neither of which SUSE had problems with.But I agree with you that dual-booting is the way to go. For all the hype for Linux, there are still some things that are easier to do in Windows.
On Wednesday, June 1st, Mark Odell said:
Cat, time was when some federal agency or other wanted to buy instruments from HP but set forth a list of technical specs and other restrictions these had to comply with, and HP's reply was essentially, "Either buy 'em, or don't buy 'em; but don't tell us how to build our instruments."
I'm guessing all this was before Dave Packard found out who's really running the world.
On Saturday, June 4th, catworld said:
First off, anyone remember those HP TV commercials where an arrow, like a mouse cursor, locates "terrorists" in some backward land, grabs the "perp" and hauls him through the streets and eventually into a waiting police van?
I call that but one example of the NWO "pissing on your corpse." Hollywood is a veritable, endless golden shower, with the likes of "National Treasure."
I bailed on supporting HP about 5 years ago.
Secondly, I have used Mandrake (now Mandriva) Linux EXCLUSIVELY for almost 7 years now. It is magnitudes better in every way over anything Microsoft. I fix computers for some extra jing and have been moving people into Mandriva Linux in droves recently.
If you use Microsoft, you are hopelessly exposed to big brother, by design. I know; I taught a computer course on hardware and Microsoft's software architecture and how it handles your hardware. It was learning what makes MS tick at it's heart (in order to teach this course) that made me run like my hair was on fire over to Linux.
"Insecure" doesn't begin to touch it, long story and one I hope someday to begin spelling out on my presently-idle 'web site.' MS and the anti virus companies are in on the raw deals, I have to conclude. No other explanation for a lot that goes on in the bowels of a machine running Microsoft, none whatsoever. MS is a plain crappy model for running a computer.
For "user friendly," I have tried numerous Linux distros and found Mandrake/Mandriva to be the absolute best, so far as "average joe user" is concerned.
Linux gives me, a mega-techno geek involved in computer security/privacy issues, more powerful tools than are even available to MS users, and all for free.
You would be stunned if you came over here, sat down with a cup of coffee and let me lay out what I have discovered is going on on this here internet. I never would have seen any of it had I not switched to Linux.
I have caught global security forces at work on the 'net with their shorts around their ankles, and have screen shots to prove it. The activity in question was utterly invisible to a Windows user, there would have been no chance in hell of discovering what I did had I not been using Linux.
I almost published those results/screenshots recently until an 'editor' of mine told me I may well get killed were I to name names related to the screenshots and explain what they were up to. I asked those names to comment but got no reply, I guess "former" Israeli "air force and security" personnel are rather busy these days.
Run immediately into Linux at all cost. You will not regret it I assure you. Did I mention it's virtually virus proof? Hack proof? Exploit proof?
Get a geek to install and set up Linux for you, the install is the only 'hard part' about Linux, but once in it will run non stop and truly outlive your hardware. I have had several machines die physically (CPU, motherboard, etc fried) whereupon Linux had run flawlessly to the end. One such machine (a firewall) ran 24 hours a day for over three years and Linux never so much as burped.
ps-hey Cat, hope all's well in your neck of the woods...
On Saturday, June 4th, Cat said:
Hey, Catworld! Thanks for piping up - long time, no hear from you (or you from me, I guess... )
Shoot, I gradually gave up TV altogether years ago and now can't even stand it as noise in the background... I've pretty much given up on radio too - signal reception here has always been horrible anyway.
Your comments about MS and the AV companies may be accurate; I'm about as un-geeky a user as you're likely to find on the internet. Wish I could take you up on that offer to show me what's really going on behind the MS curtain - I'm sure I might be horrified to learn how treacherous much of the "user-friendly" software really is...
Email me privately to say hi, if you would, or I may email you soon. Right now I'm recouping my energies, since I've been feeling burnt out for a while; not necessarily "keeping a low profile," but spending more time on selfish personal needs (like sleep!)
On Tuesday, June 7th, Anton Sherwood said:
I thought I was pretty clever but Linux has given me five years of frustration; whenever I want to do something new, I look in three different books for an even chance of finding the answer. I'm ready to return to Apple's warmer embrace as soon as I can save up the money for a Mini.
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