PhDs, sharing, jail…

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Diego Gómez Hoyos is studying for a master’s degree in conservation and wildlife management. But his thirst for knowledge is also threatening his freedom.

The 26-year-old Colombian biologist faces up to 8 years in prison for posting a copy of another scientist’s thesis online. Colombia, like many other countries, grants strong protections to authors. In 2006, its law was revised to bring it into agreement with a free trade agreement with the United States, lengthening jail times and increasing fines.

“What worries our community is how a relationship of colleagues turned into a tremendous legal affair, with these horrible consequences”, writes Ángela Suárez-Mayorga of the University of the Andes in Bogotá, to ScienceInsider in an e-mail. “Nobody believes that Gómez should go to jail for sharing a document”. (1)

Knowledge should be shared.
Tell the world what you know.
And pray that someone steals it!
It would mean that it was worth something…

And as you “stole” thousands of things – from Newton to Einstein – so other will steal you.

We are all thieves.

And it needs to really be educated in order to admit it…

Law. Surveillance. Dehumanization.

Nine years ago, federal agents stuck a location tracker on a nightclub owner’s car without a warrant. The agents thought their suspect might be dealing drugs, and four weeks of GPS data ultimately proved them right. He countered that the prolonged tracking had violated his privacy, and therefore his constitutional rights. The case fell apart in the Supreme Court, where justices debated the length of time that police could tail citizens before routine investigation became all-out invasion. Was four weeks too long? What about three days, or four hours?

Last week, a high-tech solution was proposed: let algorithms set the guidelines for us. Since computers are able to unearth subtle patterns in data, the thinking goes, they could help lawmakers quantify how much or how little surveillance is fair.

“Some justices think four weeks is too much and they’ve never been able to explain why,” says Steven Bellovin at Columbia University in New York City. “I saw there was a natural way to answer some of the questions by using these techniques.”

Bellovin, along with specialists in computer science and law, analysed previous research on tracking to learn what such data could uncover about an individual’s characteristics and daily habits. They concluded that one week of data would reveal enough information to constitute a threat to privacy, and so would be a reasonable place for the law to draw the line (NYU Journal of Law & Liberty, doi.org/s5d). (1)

We have started trusting computers to determine whether someone should go to jail.
We have started trusting computers for matters of justice.
We have started trusting computers for human matters.

We have stopped being human.
We have started thinking like computers.

So illogical.
So paradox.
So… human.

Give THAT to computer to analyze…

BE AWARE: Pedophilia in modern era… The way to acceptance ?!?

From the child abuse inquiry of the British government (1) (something Thatcher knew) to the child sexual abuse scandal of the Catholic Church (2), the issue is already on our hands: How can we protect the children from assaults like this?

Well, recently a conference held by the University of Cambridge gave the “solution”: Do nothing! Because… pedophilia is something natural!!

Yes, you read correctly.

“Paedophilic interest is natural and normal for human males,” said the presentation. “At least a sizable minority of normal males would like to have sex with children … Normal males are aroused by children”.

Some yellowing tract from the Seventies or early Eighties, era of abusive celebrities and the infamous PIE, the Paedophile Information Exchange? No. Anonymous commenters on some underground website? No again. The statement that paedophilia is “natural and normal” was made not three decades ago but last July. It was made not in private but as one of the central claims of an academic presentation delivered, at the invitation of the organisers, to many of the key experts in the field at a conference held by the University of Cambridge.

Other presentations included “Liberating the paedophile: a discursive analysis”, and “Danger and difference: the stakes of hebephilia”. (3)

One of the attendees and enthusiastic participant from the floor, was one Tom O’Carroll, a multiple child sex offender, long-time campaigner for the legalisation of sex with children and former head of the Paedophile Information Exchange (what is THAT, you might ask…). “Wonderful!” he wrote on his blog afterwards. “It was a rare few days when I could feel relatively popular!”. (3)

And this is not the only case of such a blatant defence of pedophilia.

Ken Plummer is emeritus professor of sociology at Essex University, where he has an office and teaches courses, the most recent scheduled for last month. “The isolation, secrecy, guilt and anguish of many paedophiles”, he wrote in Perspectives on Paedophilia (what is THAT, you might ask…), “are not intrinsic to the phenomen[on] but are derived from the extreme social repression placed on minorities” … “Paedophiles are told they are the seducers and rapists of children; they know their experiences are often loving and tender ones. They are told that children are pure and innocent, devoid of sexuality; they know both from their own experiences of childhood and from the children they meet that this is not the case”. (!) (3)

What is wrong with us? How have we turned into this path? Can just a change in laws (4) prove effective? I am afraid not. We are down a dangerous slope and it is difficult to stop and turn back unless we hit a wall on our way down.

We name other eras as “dark” but it is we who actually live in the darkest era of them all. We have no compass – either in science or in life. We are lost with no where to go. We have flashlights instead of candles, but we do not know where to turn it to…

Just knowing isn’t good enough anymore.

Just analyzing data isn’t good enough anymore.

Just researching isn’t good enough anymore.

There was a time when people were righteous and yet illiterate.

We now have to strive to get to that level again…

Internet, Brazil, freedom via oppression…

Brazil’s internet now has its own bill of rights. On 23 April, the country’s president, Dima Rousseff, signed the Marco Civil da Internet, a bill that sets out new guidelines for freedom of expression, net neutrality and data privacy for the country’s 100 million internet users. (1)

Can freedom be determined by a… law?
Can freedom be determined on the basis of “obligations”?
Can freedom be determined on the bases of “you can’t do that”?

Only when law matures enough that we do not need (not even) one, will we be truly free…

Grant legal rights you… god!

Αn animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) filed a lawsuit in a New York Supreme Court in an attempt to get a judge to declare that chimpanzees are legal persons and should be freed from captivity. (1)

We give legal rights to animals.

But… who gave us the right to give rights?

Are we gods?

Or is there a God somewhere?

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