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Digital rights Law & Freedom

How Orwell’s 1984 novel is very accurate for 2013

Big Brother is watching you

George Orwell published his dystopian novel 1984 in the year 1949 guessing a scary version of what the society might be in the future. His predictions have become so accurate to today’s world that we can almost say that if he was trying to predict the future, he only missed by some decades.

Big Brother is watching you

Telescreens have now taken the form of gadgets like the Xbox One and similar smart TVs that you can operate with gestures are always watching. Even smartphones and tablets can be switched on to be always listening and watching.

War is Peace

President Obama not only continued Bush’s wars on the middle east, but expanded them to more countries, and he’s been awarded with the nobel peace price. In his award acceptance speech, he said that more weapons are needed to preserve peace . The world has been in constant war that we no longer can pin-point on what war happend what. In the past we could say “oh, in Vietnam” or “during the Gulf War” or similar. Today is constant war against a faceless enemy…most times, ourselves.

Freedom is Slavery

Being free is an ideal that most people have forgotten what it means. People are now afraid of free. People prefer monopolies and government control privacy is almost forgotten in the name of safety.

Ignorance is Strength

The press is controlled by very few people, also involved in government and corporate interests. Free press and investigative journalism is very rarely found these days. Most news media only repeat the corporate statements given to them, most times not even checking facts. In the case of Snowden the government said that they revoked his passport and everyone assumed that he couldn’t travel anymore. Well the State Department’s official information says that the only way a passport can be revoked is by entering the United States, a thing Snowden hasn’t done, and that revoking a passport doesn’t affect the citizen to travel to other countries. This is just to name one of many examples of how bad the press is not checking any facts and just passing along the official statements produced by government and corporations PR agencies. In Mexico, ignorance became the president of the country. The proles votes got bought and cheated with $2 dollar gift cards and the most ignorant candidate became president. The old party manipulated the media and used people’s ignorance as their strength.

In case you haven’t read the book, you can buy it from Amazon here
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Here’s a movie adaptation of it from 1954. This adaptation is very accurate to the book.

Categories
GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

Electronic voting machines

Voting

My friend Gunnar Wolf has been tracking the e-voting machines progress in Mexico (and other countries) for quite a while and recently gave a talk about electronic voting in Peru. I share his concerns about using them and I’m completely against their adoption in this or any country.

Recently we just had a very muddy election process in Mexico that is still in dispute (at the time of this writing), and most of it was done with paper ballots (In the new state I’m living in, there were e-voting machines in some places as a trial to test the system). The revolutionary party has had a hard time covering everything up and dealing with all the evidence that is being published everywhere. I can’t imagine how laughable and easy the election rigging process will be if e-voting machines get adopted in this country.

The problem lies with the way the manufacturers want to build and distribute these machines. They want us, the public, to trust them blindly. There is no way for us to analyze the code of the machines to check for vulnerabilities, backdoors or bugs. The linux kernel and many open source applications have been so successful because everyone can contribute and spot bugs and security issues. Why not have all the eyes we can have tracking these machines and their performance? All the current providers of electronic voting machines state that they don’t release their code for review because of patent issues and because “it is safer not to disclose that”. Well, that reminds me of Microsoft’s failed security strategy named “security through obscurity”. All it takes is a curious mind to start poking here and there and will find a way to hack it sooner than later.

Today I found an interesting news report video about electronic voting machines in the US and why Ireland and other countries are ditching them. They also show a brief clip where they show a reporter how easy it is to hack these machines.

Voting image by League of Women Voters of California on Flickr
Categories
Photography

Mexico’s nation-wide protest against presidential elections

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The presidential elections in Mexico had lots of dubious activities mostly from the Revolutionary Party (PRI) and everyone went on the streets to protest against the results that favor that party’s candidate.

Protests like the one photographed in these images took place all over the country in big and medium cities (where the cartels and army counldn’t stop people from going to the streets). These images are only from the one in Guadalajara city, but the same feeling is all around the country.

The media manipulations over the elections and the false statistics have become more and more evident, specially after the advantage numbers resulted in far less difference than what the major statistics publications reported all along.

The march in Guadalajara took several hours and was several kilometers long. I couldn’t reach the end of it, it was really massive.

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Photography wise, I’m happier with the results. I prepared (at least mentally planned) for the images I wanted to capture. I’m still not completely satisfied, I think I can capture more emotions and try different angles of things I see. On the good side, I feel I missed less shots. I still struggle a bit playing with the camera settings on the fly to get the right exposure but I’m getting a hang of it. The article on F8 and be there was a good advice to follow. Also switching lenses while walking in the middle of a protest is very challenging. But in general it is very interesting and fun.

Most photos were shot in RAW this time, which gave me more freedom to play on the editing part. The downside of it is that I took more than 600 pictures and selecting the best shots, then edit the RAW files was a very time consuming and exhausting task. Next time I’ll plan ahead some specific shots I want to get and shoot less “let’s get whatever happens here” pictures. Sometimes I shot because people were expecting me to take their picture when there was really nothing special happening at the scene. I’m sure having the constraint of taking less pictures will make me think better my shots instead of going click-crazy with the shutter button.

As always you can find more photos published on my Flickr set Marcha Anti-Imposicion Guadalajara

Categories
Events Photography

#YoSoy132 protest and Mexico’s 2nd presidential debate events

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Last weekend was Mexico’s 2nd presidential debate in Guadalajara. Lucky for me, I’m now living in this city so I had the opportunity to witness several of the events and protests around this event. On Sunday there was the protest against the PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, the so called anti-EPN protest. Later in the day the second #YoSoy132 protest in Guadalajara took place without regard for the intense sun and heat (well…coming from my hometown and Monterrey city, this was not that bad for me). As always I didn’t miss the opportunity to take my camera and try to get some cool pictures.

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Dogs also joining the cause.

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As in the previous protest, there were lots of signs telling people to get informed and not to vote according to the charismatic television propaganda.

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This sign is asking for an apology from Mexico’s major TV network to the mexican people for publishing information with a bias to a candidate, as The Guardian has published Televisa’s dirty tricks.

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There has been a lot of criticism about the YoSoy132 movement being a left wing supporting movement, but here’s an image that proves that there are also signs against the left wing’s candidate.

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Lastly me and some friends watched the debate in a public space where large screens and speakers were set up by one of the left wing political parties where by the end of the day, that political party’s candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) went on the stage to say a few words on how he felt he won the debate and to encourage his followers to continue supporting him on his campaign.

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It was the first time I attend a political party event and the experience was surprising. I saw it as an opportunity to experience those events, how people get convinced and how euphoric people are about a political view while gathered in masses. One of the things that impressed me the most was that there were two people cheering for the candidate on stage while waiting for him to get to the location. One of them was a young man that cheered the event like any other event host, nothing spectacular. But the other one was a middle aged woman, and she cheered like she was an evangelical priest. The words she shouted and the euphoria with which she shouted reminded me of the chants and shouting prayers of some religions. They were singing the party’s song (where do they learn the song from?!) and they were all very hyped about the fact that they were going to see “their favourite leader”.

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These are a small sample of the pictures I took that day. For more images please visit the photosets Second protest #YoSoy132 and AMLO after debate on my Flickr account.

It always amazes and interests me a lot all these events where people get encouraged to behave in some manner that they normally won’t behave, being a religious event, a musical concert or, as I now learned, a political party event.

It was very difficult for me to get good photographs because it was overcrowded, lots of people getting in my shots and they had lots of signs and flags that also got in my way. I’ll keep trying to get good shots at these events, hopefully someday I’ll master the technique of photography in those circumstances.

Categories
Events Photography

Protest against the media #YoSoy132 in Guadalajara

I haven’t been up to date to what is being published about Mexico in the rest of the world, but at least all mexicans know about this protest gathering. It all started when presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto went to the Ibero university to give a speech to the students. There, the students protested against him, calling him a murderer and questioning him about the killings in the Atenco incident.

Afterwards, national media covered the story and published everywhere that the meeting at the university was a success. The political party published a video (now pulled down) with fake students giving their approval to the candidate. Then the political party leader said that those students were a minority and that they were not students but paid agitators by a rival political party. This was the last drop, after having to stand up for false voters statistics, and other statistics where the totals added over 100%, many covered news and lots of praisals for this candidate from all major news publications in the country.

All this made everyone very pissed off about the matter, and started protests first on video and then the people on the streets. The protests happened on the same day at the same time on all the big cities of Mexico with most of the participants being students. The claim was to expose the media as lyers and that students won’t swallow anymore all their bullshit.

The movement was called 132, because the media said that only 131 students were the ones who protested against the presidential candidate. That being a big fat lie, everyone started protesting stating that we are 132 (actually thousands more) in the same spirit of the occupy movement’s 99%.

Also being fed up with media bullshit since 5 years ago, I joined the protest. Plus it was a perfect opportunity to give my new camera gear a try in the field. The protest started in Chapultepec Ave. and they walked to the Televisa building. There, everyone placed protest banners and signs on the walls. Afterwards, we walked to the Milenio headquarters where one university student was invited to a radio show to talk about the protest going on outside the studios. We listened through a megaphone and people started leaving messages with white chalk on the street. Finally everyone walked back to the starting point.

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It was a very calm protest. There were no agitators or any violence acts.

The funny thing was that that same night, on the daily news, the media minimized the impact and size of the protests. Will they ever get the message?

Categories
Events Photography

Occupy San Francisco images

The 99% is waking up

Last week I went to San Francisco to do some business, and having some extra days I decided to get outside and take a few shots around the city.

Little did I know that there was an Occupy San Francisco movement over at the Federal Reserve bank building. It was an interesting and shocking thing to see all those signs and tents and people camping there. Everyone was in peace and calm. People got close to them to talk and exchange ideas, there were books and publications scattered everywhere and they had some kind of lectures and classes at certain times.

The funny thing was the coincidence that earlier on that same day I went to see the musical Hair, at the Golden Gate theater. It’s sad so see how similar the movement for peace in the 70’s is to the movement for freedom (and many other things) today, because it’s a sign that not much has changed, or a confirmation that history has repeating cycles. One way or the other, it’s not good progress for humanity.

Here are some of the pictures I took of the campings and the signs and some Hair music to accompany them:

01 Let the Sunshine In by Ritter Hanz

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three strikes

occupy

end the fed

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Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Occupy Love

SFPD Police line, do not cross

give something, borrow something, take something

Occupy tents

99 occupy

occupy daylight

no life is illegal

Freedom is a hoax

What do you think about the movement? Have you participated in one? Tell me what you think in the comments, as a foreigner, I’d like to learn more about it.