Chinese law requires registration to access Internet

China may soon require real name registration for access to Internet:

China may soon require real name registration for access to Internet

China may soon require real name registration for access to Internet

 

China may require internet users to register with their real names when signing up to network providers, state media said on Tuesday, extending a policy already in force with microblogs in a bid to curb what officials call rumors and vulgarity. A law being discussed this week would mean people would have to present their government-issued identity cards when signing contracts for fixed line and mobile internet access, state-run newspapers said. “The law should escort the development of the internet to protect people’s interest,” Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily said in a front-page commentary, echoing similar calls carried in state media over the past week. “Only that way can our Internet be healthier, more cultured and safer.” Many users say the restrictions are clearly aimed at further muzzling the often scathing, raucous — and perhaps most significantly, anonymous — online chatter in a country where the Internet offers a rare opportunity for open debate. It could also prevent people from exposing corruption online if they fear retribution from officials, said some users. It was unclear how the rules would be different from existing regulations as state media has provided only vague details and in practice customers have long had to present identity papers when signing contracts with internet providers. Earlier this year, the government began forcing users of Sina Corp.’s wildly successful Weibo microblogging platform to register their real names. The government says such a system is needed to prevent people making malicious and anonymous accusations online and that many other countries already have such rules. “It would also be the biggest step backwards since 1989,” wrote one indignant Weibo user, in apparent reference to the 1989 pro-democracy protests bloodily suppressed by the army. Chinese Internet users have long had to cope with extensive censorship, especially over politically sensitive topics like human rights, and popular foreign sites Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube are blocked. Despite periodic calls for political reform, the ruling Communist Party has shown no sign of loosening its grip on power and brooks no dissent to its authority.

The New Moore’s Law

A New and Improved Moore’s Law:

A New and Improved Moore's Law

A New and Improved Moore’s Law

Researchers have, for the first time, shown that the energy efficiency of computers doubles roughly every 18 months. The conclusion, backed up by six decades of data, mirrors Moore’s law, the observation from Intel founder Gordon Moore that computer processing power doubles about every 18 months. But the power-consumption trend might have even greater relevance than Moore’s law as battery-powered devices—phones, tablets, and sensors—proliferate. “The idea is that at a fixed computing load, the amount of battery you need will fall by a factor of two every year and a half,” says Jonathan Koomey, consulting professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and lead author of the study. More mobile computing and sensing applications become possible, Koomey says, as energy efficiency continues its steady improvement. The research, conducted in collaboration with Intel and Microsoft, examined peak power consumption of electronic computing devices since the construction of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) in 1946. The first general purpose computer, the ENIAC was used to calculate artillery firing tables for the U.S. Army, and it could perform a few hundred calculations per second. It used vacuum tubes rather than transistors, took up 1,800 square feet, and consumed 150 kilowatts of power. Even before the advent of discrete transistors, Koomey says, energy efficiency doubled every 18 months. “This is a fundamental characteristic of information technology that uses electrons for switching,” he says. “It’s not just a function of the components on a chip.” The sort of engineering considerations that go into improving computer performance—reducing component size, capacitance, and the communication time between them, among other things—also improves energy efficiency, Koomey says. In July, Koomey released a report that showed, among other findings, that the electricity used in data centers worldwide increased by about 56 percent from 2005 to 2010—a much lower rate than the doubling that was observed from 2000 to 2005. While better energy efficiency played a part in this change, the total electricity used in data centers was less than the forecast for 2010 in part because fewer new servers were installed than expected due to technologies such as virtualization, which allowed existing systems to run more programs simultaneously. Koomey notes that data center computers rarely run at peak power. Most computers are, in fact, “terribly underutilized,” he says. The information technology world has gradually been shifting its focus from computing capabilities to better energy efficiency, especially as people become more accustomed to using smart phones, laptops, tablets, and other battery-powered devices. Since the Intel Core microarchitecture was introduced in 2006, the company has experienced “a sea change in terms of focus on power consumption,” says Lorie Wigle, general manager of the eco-technology program at Intel. “Historically, we have focused on performance and battery life, and increasingly, we’re seeing those two things come together,” she says. “Everyone’s familiar with Moore’s law and the remarkable improvements in the power of computers, and that’s obviously important,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, professor of the Sloan School of Management at MIT. But people are paying more attention to the battery life of their electronics as well as how fast they can run. “I think that’s more and more the dimension that matters to consumers,” Brynjolfsson says. “And in a sense, ‘Koomey’s law,’ this trend of power consumption, is beginning to eclipse Moore’s law for what matters to consumers in a lot of applications.” To Koomey, the most interesting aspect of the trend is thinking about the possibilities for computing. The theoretical limits are still so far away, he says. In 1985, the physicist Richard Feynman analyzed the electricity needs for computers and estimated that efficiency could theoretically improve by a factor of 100 billion before it hit a limit, excluding new technologies such as quantum computing. Since then, efficiency improvements have been about 40,000. “There’s so far to go,” says Koomey. “It’s only limited by our cleverness, not the physics.”

CEO’s above the law

Studies Show CEOs Not Subject to Same Rule of Law as You:

Super Rich

Super Rich

Recent academic papers begin the formal work of proving that CEOs and giant corporations face a completely different legal system than the rest of us, one in which their vast resources are used to insure that they can safely ignore laws and rules applicable to small fry. One study looked at the influence of corporate lobbying on fraud detection. Corporate Lobbying And Fraud Detection, 46 Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 1865 by Frank Yu of Barclays Global Investors and Xiaoyun Yu of Indiana University available here. From the abstract:

We find that firms’ lobbying activities make a significant difference in fraud detection: compared to non-lobbying firms, firms that lobby on average have a significantly lower hazard rate of being detected for fraud, evade fraud detection 117 days longer, and are 38% less likely to be detected by regulators. In addition, fraudulent firms on average spend 77% more on lobbying than non-fraudulent firms, and spend 29% more on lobbying during their fraudulent periods than during non-fraudulent periods. The delay in detection leads to a greater distortion in resource allocation during fraudulent periods. It also allows managers to sell more of their shares.

This quantifies earlier anecdotal data. For example, look at the collapse of Lincoln Savings and Loan. Five senators intervened to stop an investigation, and the business collapsed two years later at a cost of at least $3 billion. The delay sought by the Keating Five increased the losses, particularly to small savers who bought Lincoln Certificates of Deposit. Yu and Yu show that this hideous perversion never stopped, and not only includes direct campaign contributions but also lobbying. They show that firms increase their lobbying expenses after they commit fraud. During the time they are committing fraud, executives of lobbying firms sell their stock about four times more than firms that aren’t lobbying. Sarah Fulmer and April Knill of Florida State build on that study in their recent paper Political Contributions and the Severity of Government Enforcement, available here, with abstract. Fulmer and Knill examine data on PAC contributions by corporations and CEOs and SEC data on enforcement to show that

…accused executives whose firms have contributed to political campaigns via a PAC are banned as an officer for three fewer years, serve probation for five fewer years, prison for six fewer years and are 75% less likely to be given both prison time and an officer ban (the most severe form of criminal and civil penalties)…

Fulmer and Knill point to Judge Rakoff’s refusal to rubber-stamp the SEC settlement with Citigroup over cheating its investors in a late-stage RMBS deal. They also mention an earlier repulsive settlement between the SEC and Citigroup CFO Gary Crittenden. On an analysts conference call, Crittenden said Citi had reduced its subprime exposure by 45% to $13 billion, not mentioning the other $40 billion in super-senior tranches. Crittenden settled for a meaningless $100K and there was no discussion of the fraud on investors. The SEC Inspector General began an investigation to determine whether, as alleged by Senator Charles Grassley, Robert Khuzami, the SEC Chief of Enforcement, had a secret meeting with Crittenden’s lawyer and good friend of Khuzami, and subsequently told his staff to lighten up. The IG eventually cleared Khuzami. The reporter, Allison Frankel, said the IG report shows the cozy club approach to settlements at the SEC. Friends call friends, there are discussions about whether Crittenden would have to resign from his Church positions and the impact of a fraud settlement on Citi. Marcy Wheeler sees that club in action again in the efforts to cover up the Standard Chartered fraud.

First, you hire Sullivan and Cromwell and act contrite. Then, you pay a consultant to conduct a review and claim the violations involved just $14 million in transactions as opposed to $250 billion shown in your bank records. … Then you bury all the embarrassing details showing willful flouting of the rules, so the proles don’t learn how craven banks really are.

Then there is the latest whitewash of Goldman Sachs. The Department of Justice won’t prosecute for the allegations made in the report of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and the SEC won’t file charges over its subprime mortgage portfolio. One channel for creating these relationships is the personal connections created as people rise through the ranks of government and move into white collar defense in the private sector. Political contributions and lobbying are another channel. Everyone knows that your rise to wealth is dependent on following the rules of connection, and eventually you get to the point where you can do the contributing and lobbying, and use those connections for your personal benefit and the benefit of your clients, which enables you to get even richer. That has now culminated in the capture of the Department of Justice by financial interests. Attorney General Eric Holder is a rich guy from Covington and Burling. He bundled contributions for Obama and served as a co-chair of the campaign. Three other top Justice Department officials played major roles in fundraising and came from white-collar defense firms. It’s worth noting that the right wing is all over these connections. No links from me, but google “holder west perrelli mason” and see for yourself. The prosecutors, the rich, the politicians: all buddies in the rarefied atmosphere of wealth and power. How could such great guys possibly be a lying cheat? And if there is a slip-up, they cover up.

Freedom-killing bill become law – ‘No Speech Zones’

Freedom-killing bill has just become law in USA – say hello to ‘No Speech Zones’:

Freedom-killing bill has just become law in USA - say hello to 'No Speech Zones

Freedom-killing bill has just become law in USA – say hello to ‘No Speech Zones

Those of you who still believe the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, your faith is about to be shattered by a new law that likely will lead to, in essence, “no speech zones.” And, as is the case with most freedom-robbing legislation, this law is being justified in the name of security or, more appropriately, security for a select few. The measure, called the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act, was signed into law by President Obama March 8 after it passed in the Senate following minor modifications made in the House. Critics are knocking the measure because, essentially, it restricts protests near the president. According to a “fact check” of the legislation, the current measure actually updates an original law passed in 1971 that “already restricted access to areas around the president, vice president and any other governmental official protected by the Secret Service, according to Thomas.gov,” the Florida Times-Union reported. The old version made it a federal crime to “willfully and knowingly” violate certain restricted areas, such as the White House grounds and the vice president’s residence and grounds. The updated law changes it to just “knowingly,” and there is where legal analysts differ on the law’s actual meaning and application. A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Thomas J. Rooney, R-Fla., who introduced House Resolution 347, the law’s congressional designation, the Secret Service requested legislation that would clarify some jurisdictional issues for agents assigned to protect the president. For instance, the spokesman said, “[I]f someone were to jump the fence at the White House, the Secret Service would not have jurisdiction over the trespasser.” Critics say that by dropping the term “willfully,” the updated law gives the Secret Service unprecedented power to define what constitutes “restricted areas.” They say the law could chill the free speech rights of Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street protesters who are demonstrating in places where the president is present. “This is the state of mind the government has to prove you had to establish your guilt [the ‘intent standard’]. ‘Willfully and knowingly’ means that you need to know you’re committing a crime. ‘Knowingly’ just means you need to be aware you’re in a restricted zone, but not necessarily that it’s unlawful,” writes Gabe Rottman of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “H.R. 347 doesn’t create any new crimes, or directly apply to the Occupy protests. […]” he said. Not so fast, say the critics. Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano, who is a current legal analyst for Fox News, disagrees. He says he believes the law will directly affect the first amendment rights of Americans who want to peacefully assemble and present their point of view. “Permitting people to express publicly their opinions to the president only at a time and in a place and manner such that he cannot hear them violates the First Amendment because it guarantees the right to useful speech; and unheard political speech is politically useless,” Napolitano said during a recent Fox News segment. Adds Russell Smith, a blogger for the New York Law School‘s Program in Law and Journalism, “[…] Since police can arrest and remove anyone in violation of [someone jumping the White House fence], the government doesn’t need H.R. 347 in order to protect its property from damage and its officials from intruders.” Rottman says that, on the surface, there may not be much to worry about. But the devil, as usual, is in the details. “Any time the government lowers the intent requirement, it makes it easier for a prosecutor to prove her case, and it gives law enforcement more discretion when enforcing the law. To be sure, this is of concern to the ACLU. We will monitor the implementation of H.R. 347 for any abuse or misuse,” he said.