House of Squared: Stop Online Censorship!

Today is SOPA resistance day. You may have noticed this when you visited Wikipedia today.

SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act. It is a bill filed in the US congress that will basically give more power to IP (Intellectual Property) holders to block or stop rogue foreign sites that supposedly infringe on their copyrights. Seems like a good idea to stop online piracy right?

Maybe not.

Piratebay, last year’s top bittorrent site, has stated that neither SOPA nor PIPA scares them. What they are afraid of is the future of the internet.

There is also MAFIAAFire which is a plugin for Firefox that redirects you to the alternate domains of seized sites.

So basically, congress is risking the future of the internet for a bill that might not affect the group it is fighting.

Not only that, this bill is giving more power to groups that has been abusing the supposedly limited power that they already have. For example, a group of artist created a song to support Megaupload (a cyberlocker site) which was posted on Youtube. A few days later, it was taken down by request of Universal studio due to copyright infringement. Or when Warner Bros. was given the tool by Hotfile (another cyberlocker site) so that they can manually remove files from Hotfiles that infringes on their IP. So what did Warner Bros. do with this limited power? They also removed files whose IP they do not own. Some of it are files that are not even infringing anyone’s copyright.

In my opinion, it would be utterly stupid to give more power to these groups as they cannot be trusted with the “limited” power they already have.

Below are some sites that I usually visit with links to their article opposing SOPA.


A Warning to Frequent Flyers

Last week, a friend of my brother went to the airport accompanied by their whole household to fetch his dad. His dad, who worked in Hong Kong, was coming home for good.  So he has with him all his stuff from HK like computers and other gadgets.

On the way home, they stopped at a gas station along SLEX to withdraw some cash, probably to pay for the rented car. They exited SLEX via the Southwood Toll Gate. Less than a kilometer away from the toll gate, a car cut them off and stopped in front of their vehicle. From what they can remember, four men with handguns and rifles came out, aiming at them and approached their vehicle.

One of the men commandeered their vehicle while the others “secured” them. The one driving the vehicle drove them around for a while before dropping them off somewhere in Alabang, alive. The armed men took off with everything they have.

The men were armed and were not wearing any mask.

The family suspects that someone from the airport tipped these criminals that they are carrying a bunch of valuables.

Knowing that a lot of my friend’s parents travel abroad a lot, I relayed to them the story. One of them reminded me that his father was an airport police and that he was told of these kind of modus operandi before. According to him, the criminal syndicate inside the airport has people on high places. His dad usually just turn a blind eye on these matters as he has no one to report it to.

Apparently, it’s not just robbery and car-napping but also drug trafficking.

My friend suggests, for your safety, to always travel light and avoid bringing valuables. If you really need to, send them via FedEx or UPS or other freight service that you trust. It’s more expensive but at least it makes you less of a target.

WOW Philippines: Boracay Raffle

Win a Free Boracay Vacation Package by WOW Philippines Travel Agency

WOW Philippines Travel Agency, Inc. is celebrating it’s 5th year in business during July of 2010, and we would like you to have a chance to celebrate with us, so we have decided to give-away a FREE Boracay Package complete with 5 Star accommodations at the luxurious Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel on Boracay Island. The lucky winner will win the following Boracay vacation package.

Vacation Package Inclusions:

– 5 Days / 4 Nights Luxury 5 Star Accommodations at the Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel

– Flights to Boracay from Manila to Caticlan Airport on Philippine Airlines

– Island Transfers – Door-to-Door from Manila to the resort and back to Manila Domestic Airport

– Three (3) Meals each day, Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

– Boracay Activities – Horseback Riding, Island Hopping, Glass Bottom Boat

– PLUS – 5,000 peso Spending Cash

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