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How Spyware Reaches Oppressive Governments

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the appointment-and-business-card dept.

Government 109

New submitter blando writes "Between February and March of 2011, at the height of Egypt's tumultuous revolution, protesters stormed the offices of their feared State Security Investigations Service in Alexandria and Sixth of October city, on the edge of Cairo. It was there, amongst evidence of detentions, torture and surveillance at SSIS's headquarters, that information first came to light regarding a sales pitch by UK-based Gamma Group to Egypt's security agency for their FinFisher spyware."

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109 comments

Faggots! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41284931)

Suck the Linux cock!

Stalin once said ... (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#41284963)

I dunno if Stalin did said the following or not, nevertheless, it does sound valid for this case

Stalin once said: " A Capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him with. "

The creation of spyware and the selling that spyware to governments will only end up with all people in all countries being denied their basic human rights - including England, where the maker of the spyware, the Gamma Group, originated from
 

Re:Stalin once said ... (1)

Formalin (1945560) | about 2 years ago | (#41285061)

Heh, this is the exact quote I had in mind when reading the summary.

Typical cancer, putting profit over all else. Same folks that run the west, more or less. And people wonder why it's getting harder to get by...

Re:Stalin once said ... (4, Insightful)

Evtim (1022085) | about 2 years ago | (#41285097)

Don't want to be obnoxious or flaming, but isn't "putting profit over all else" the very foundation of the free market capitalism? Why this behavior surprises anyone is beyond me...

Re:Stalin once said ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285127)

yes. a pure free market is pure cancer. We don't have a free market, and this behaviour is shameful.

Capitalism is neither good nor evil (4, Insightful)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 2 years ago | (#41285513)

Don't want to be obnoxious or flaming, but isn't "putting profit over all else" the very foundation of the free market capitalism? Why this behavior surprises anyone is beyond me...

Yes, "profit over all else" is one of the cornerstones of free market capitalism, but you have to remember that capitalism is neither good nor evil.

For the situation at hand, it would appear that, at the time Gamma Group made the sales pitch:

1) There was a possibility of short-term profit
2) There was a fair likelihood that the sale would not be discovered
3) If discovered, there was a fair likelihood that it would be so far in the future that the persons responsible would be unaccountable
4) Well-connected companies tend to get lenient, slap-on-the-wrist penalties anyway

It is not capitalism per-se which is the problem here, it is items 2 through 4 which allows capitalism to be used for immoral ends. If we really value morality over profit, then we should strongly discourage immoral acts which use capitalism as a tool.

We don't. Blaming capitalism is avoiding the real issue, which is that morality is more important than capitalism (or rather, it should be).

It's like the old adage - any technology can be used for both good or evil.

Re:Capitalism is neither good nor evil (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285797)

"capitalism is neither good nor evil." says the capitalist who wishes to keep sleeping at night without having to even think about the effect of his/her way of life on his fellow man and the planet as a whole.

Everything from the consumption of resources to the concentration of wealth is both inequitable and distorting of politics and world trade to the detriment of every country and individual in those countries that happen to not be at the top of the chain.

You view the capitalism as it stands is not evil either means you are at the top or the crumbs that fall from the table of those that are have left you smug and contented and intentionally blinkered, (just like me.)

Re:Capitalism is neither good nor evil (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41286339)

"capitalism is neither good nor evil." says the capitalist who wishes to keep sleeping at night without having to even think about the effect of his/her way of life on his fellow man and the planet as a whole.

And that capitalist is right. Let us not forget that the bullshit about holistic thinking is another pseudo-moralistic gimmick. It's an easy way to introduce fairly unprovable statements into an argument.

But it's worth noting that when one actually attempts the exercise, one sees that the rest of the world has seen a remarkable rise in standard of living and wealth, not just for their wealth, but for the rest as well. Capitalism and global trade are far more likely to be responsible for that.

Everything from the consumption of resources to the concentration of wealth is both inequitable and distorting of politics and world trade to the detriment of every country and individual in those countries that happen to not be at the top of the chain.

To the contrary. A lot of those effects from those who claim to be "fixing" capitalism. If there's a lot of regulation, then the big company that can navigate the regulation (say by have a huge legal staff for doing so) and bribe the right people, is going to fare better than the small company that can't.

Distorting politics and world trade? There's a ton of single issue voters out there doing a far better job of political distortion than any bribe. Distorting world trade? That's a traditionally anti-free market job.

You view the capitalism as it stands is not evil either means you are at the top or the crumbs that fall from the table of those that are have left you smug and contented and intentionally blinkered, (just like me.)

And the traditional whining about crumbs from tables. Until you can make those "crumbs" yourself, you'll always be subservient to those who can. It doesn't help your case that all those attempts to regulate and constrain businesses also make it harder to make your own "crumb".

Frankly, I think this is a disease that is mostly a result of the attempted cure rather than of capitalism.

Re:Capitalism is neither good nor evil (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#41286971)

But it's worth noting that when one actually attempts the exercise, one sees that the rest of the world has seen a remarkable rise in standard of living and wealth, not just for their wealth, but for the rest as well. Capitalism and global trade are far more likely to be responsible for that.

You must be referring to the way that capitalism led to a cure for polio. Except that it did not, and Jonas Salk gave the cure away to improve the world. In fact, the improvements in standards of living around the world have more to do with the hard work of scientists and engineers than with capitalism.

No, capitalism did not pay for that research; capitalism is bad at paying for long-term projects that have no clear or immediate profitability. Most of the major scientific breakthroughs that have really improved the standard of living in the world -- cures for diseases, better ways to grow food, etc. -- were paid for either with tax money or with some private endowment/gift money.

A lot of those effects from those who claim to be "fixing" capitalism.

No, those are the effects of unregulated capitalism. Unless you think that everyone is equally ruthless, intelligent, educated, and that they have equal amounts of capital, the "little guy" is going to be crushed by the "big guys" in an unregulated market. That is why, every so often, we break up monopolies (though lately we seem to be forgetting to do that): so that we can reset the market and start the competition again.

If there's a lot of regulation, then the big company that can navigate the regulation (say by have a huge legal staff for doing so) and bribe the right people, is going to fare better than the small company that can't.

If there is no regulation, the big company will crush the little company by selling its products/services at a loss until the little company has no customers left. The big company will also offer grossly inflated salaries to the most intelligent people at the little company. The big company will make deals with other big companies, to lock the little company out of the market.

That is what happens when one player has vastly more capital than the rest.

Until you can make those "crumbs" yourself, you'll always be subservient to those who can

That's funny, because in capitalism, the people who bake the bread are usually subservient to the people who own the oven. The winners in capitalism are those with capital, not the scientists and engineers who solve societies problems and not the workers who put those solutions into action.

Frankly, I think this is a disease that is mostly a result of the attempted cure rather than of capitalism.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the regulations we placed on businesses stopped child laborers from being killed and maimed, gave smaller, more innovative businesses an opportunity to compete, and raised our standard of living.

Re:Capitalism is neither good nor evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41292147)

"Most of the major scientific breakthroughs that have really improved the standard of living in the world -- cures for diseases, better ways to grow food, etc. -- were paid for either with tax money or with some private endowment/gift money"

Where do you think this tax money originates? From people engaged in capitalism. Where do you think Gates got his billions that he is now giving away to charities? Capitalism.

I am tired of useful idiots such as yourself trying to philosophize about things you have no clue about. You read Das Kapital and think you have life's answers. It's quite amusing.

Re:Capitalism is neither good nor evil (1)

deadweight (681827) | about 2 years ago | (#41289263)

Capitalism is like fire, E=MC^2, a 12 gauge shotgun, or gravity. Any of them can be used to great benefit or great harm. They have no intrinsic morality or intelligence to guide them independent of the user. ;)

Re:Capitalism is neither good nor evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41292033)

Yeah Soviet Russia had it right. I would rather be a poor starving serf breaking rocks in Siberia than an evil capitalist. Cool story, bro.

Re:Capitalism is neither good nor evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41290765)

Yes, "profit over all else" is one of the cornerstones of free market capitalism, but you have to remember that capitalism is neither good nor evil.

I remember, and I do hope most nerds on slashdot remember, but we're not that important. We're just nerds.

The people who needs to remember this are the proponents of free market capitalism. Who speak loudly and proudly how they love capitalism (more than most people have love for a mere tool) and hate its "enemies" (tools have enemies?) and thinks anybody who might not love capitalism as much as them are somehow evil (you're evil for not loving or using a tool?). They should remember that free market capitalism is a tool, and not an infallible ideology.

Re:Stalin once said ... (5, Informative)

rohan972 (880586) | about 2 years ago | (#41285985)

isn't "putting profit over all else" the very foundation of the free market capitalism?

No, at least not according to Adam Smith. As with all ideologies practice can vary considerably from the theory. I would guess that not many people who read The Wealth of Nations take the time to first read The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and presumably can not then understand the context it was written in.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Theory_of_Moral_Sentiments [wikipedia.org]
The Theory of Moral Sentiments is a 1759 book by Adam Smith. It provided the ethical, philosophical, psychological, and methodological underpinnings to Smith's later works, including The Wealth of Nations (1776)

Re:Stalin once said ... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#41287335)

Who said it was surprising to anyone worth mentioning? Predictable greed is still greed.

Re:Stalin once said ... (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 2 years ago | (#41287749)

It doesn't have to be. Heard an interview with the chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band, http://oibdc.ca/ [oibdc.ca] One of the most successful bands in Canada and probably N. America. Philosophy was simple, jobs first. They're running a bunch of successful profitable businesses and everyone in the band has a good job as well as a few hundred people outside the band.
Take away the sociopaths (and committees which seem to be social-pathetic be definition) and Capitalism would be really wonderful.

Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285111)

Its getting harder and harder to get by because previous generations of politicians bought votes by offering the voters free goodies. Now the bill is coming due.

Corporations have royally f'd up some things but its harder to get by largely due to gov't actions not corporate actions. Of course politicians would like you to believe otherwise.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury. From that moment on the majority, he said, always vote for the candidate promising the most benefits from the treasury with the result that democracy always collpases over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a dictatorship."
Citation of the quote is disputed.

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (4, Insightful)

Formalin (1945560) | about 2 years ago | (#41285165)

The rich took over the govn't, and then voted to quit taxing themselves and their interests. They even voted to bail out their companies on the backs of middle class citizens. Is that what you are referring to?

Because it sounds to me like you are implying social programs are bleeding us dry, which is a joke. Drop in the bucket.

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41286323)

Government doesn't do anything "on the backs of middle class citizens", because that's not who pays the taxes.
Certainly there are social programs that are a "drop in the bucket", but I assume gp was talking about those that aren't (Social Security and Medicare).

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (0)

dwpro (520418) | about 2 years ago | (#41291555)

"on the backs of middle class citizens", because that's not who pays the taxes.

if you mean the middle class doesn't pay it's share of taxes, you are wrong.

During 2009, ... 36.7 percent (of overall taxes) paid by the top 1 percent (AGI over $343,947).

-citation [taxfoundation.org]

If we're talking about the 99% vs 1%, the 99% is paying a close to 2/3 of the taxes.

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (1, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#41285385)

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury. From that moment on the majority, he said, always vote for the candidate promising the most benefits from the treasury with the result that democracy always collpases over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a dictatorship."

This inevitable outcome sure seems to take a long time in coming. The US has been a democracy for over 200 years, the UK for over 300. Both are still going quite strong, and are nowhere near collapse and dictatorship. Heck, the Iroquois Nations were a democracy for something like 800 years up until the Brits and the French and the Dutch showed up and ruined things.

As it turns out, the mere fact that a given quote is oft repeated doesn't make it true.

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41285447)

The US has been a democracy for over 200 years

This is incorrect.

The US is a representative republic not a democracy, and designed intentionally so, precisely for the reasons outlined in that quote.

Strat

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285461)

The person who posted the quote was clearly implying that western democracies (e.g. the US and the UK) are faltering because people have "voted themselves largess from the treasury" in the form of social programs.

Your pedantic focus on the differences between republics and democracies is irrelevant.

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41285535)

The person who posted the quote was clearly implying that western democracies (e.g. the US and the UK) are faltering because people have "voted themselves largess from the treasury" in the form of social programs.

Your pedantic focus on the differences between republics and democracies is irrelevant.

No, you're not going far enough back in the thread. The original posit was that US politicians used promises of government entitlement programs and other such to buy votes. From there it descended into blaming democracy, which is incorrect.

I mean, if you want to have a discussion without regard to facts or history, we could always talk about how admirably honest politicians are and how Germany won WW2.

Strat

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285623)

You seem to be confused.

There was a post claiming that politicians buy votes with entitlements and that democracies inevitably fall as a result. This was a single post.

Then I pointed out that the democracies that person was referring to are still standing and have been for centuries.

Then you made the irrelevant comment that technically the US is a republic, and therefore the quote used by the person talking about politicians buying votes was accurate.

Then I pointed out that clearly that person has meant his definition of "democracy" to include the American system of government.

Then you got confused and made the post to which I am now replying.

All clear?

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41285767)

Then you made the irrelevant comment that technically the US is a republic, and therefore the quote used by the person talking about politicians buying votes was accurate.

This is where the confusion exists. The politicians buying votes is accurate, but it's not because of democracy, as the US is not and has never been a democracy.

Then I pointed out that clearly that person has meant his definition of "democracy" to include the American system of government.

Which is incorrect as I stated.

We may actually be agreeing, just experiencing semantic confusion.

Strat

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (1)

norpy (1277318) | about 2 years ago | (#41285849)

Stop splitting hairs, there are very few democracies in the world if you are going to stick to Pluto's definition.

There is a list of countries that are considered to be democracies, I only looked at about half the list but they are pretty much all contitutional monarchys or republics. Pepper those terms with "parliamentary" and "presidental" and you cover the lot of them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index [wikipedia.org]

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41286325)

Stop splitting hairs, there are very few democracies in the world if you are going to stick to Pluto's definition.

Words and their meanings matter. They are what carry ideas from one mind to another. Without definite and common word meanings there can be no meaningful or productive dialog possible, because ideas are not communicated accurately. Much propaganda and political rhetoric used to deceive and distract depends on taking advantage of and promoting such distortion in communication between people.

There are many that advocate for and believe that a democracy is the best system of government, and others that seek to remove any hint of democracy in government, and they both use the ambiguousness of the term 'democracy' in popular culture, as you've done, to muddy the waters of discussion and debate in order to further their ideology.

It's important that it's clear that there are no nations that are democracies and that democracies quickly degenerate to chaos/collapse, and then typically transition quickly to tyranny and dictatorship. Democracies are essentially mob-rule and tyranny of the majority.

Strat

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41286805)

Strat, you don't need to sign your posts. Your username appears in the header of each post.
If you do want to sign your post, please use a sig, because my settings have the sigs turned off.

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41289749)

Strat, you don't need to sign your posts. Your username appears in the header of each post.
If you do want to sign your post, please use a sig, because my settings have the sigs turned off.

Thanks, I'll see about adding my sig along with signing my posts in the text area, just to annoy you.

Strat

Modern Progressivism & Liberalism: Ideas so good they have to be mandatory.

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41286137)

Republic: Run by a president, not a king.

Democracy: The rulers are elected, not being instated by the military, or making themselves the rulers after "disappearing" the old government.

You can have a president without having democracy. That's called a dictatorship, and outside people tend to call such a president a dictator.

Re:Democracy as a permanent form of gov't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41289349)

Dude, you are still in high school, right? You do not live in a democracy, when the King gets to decide your life or death with no oversight. Make sure to Hile King Obama, cause he owns your life.

Re:Stalin once said ... (3, Insightful)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about 2 years ago | (#41285843)

Putting profit over all else isn't necessarily evil.

The problem is that those pursuing profits tend to operate a greedy algorithm [wikipedia.org] . They're constantly chasing after short term goals (local optima) at the expense of long term benefits (global optima). You see this at every level of government & corporations where they chase quarterly targets without ever considering that something that might be hugely beneficial in the future may cause pain in the short term.

It's a sad state of affairs when we've spent decades formulating non-greedy algorithms in machine learning when the real world is full of people who operate in a greedy manner. If you ever needed evidence that humanity is doomed come the robot revolution ...

Re:Stalin once said ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285065)

Hey commie, don't feed the trolls!

Re:Stalin once said ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285375)

Remember when McDonald's outbid Alpo on that huge shipment of cow anuses and eyeballs, then brought back the spongy, boneless "McRib"?

Total non sequitur (1)

Josh Coalson (538042) | about 2 years ago | (#41288997)

What the hell does capitalism have to do with it? I hate to break it to you but capitalism is not the only economic system that allows some to sell something to someone else. I suppose you think it is also capitalism's fault that Chinese companies sell weapons to Sudan?

Another revolution? (1)

FrontDoors (2701269) | about 2 years ago | (#41284935)

Another revolution is going to happen in Egypt?

Re:Another revolution? (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#41284999)

Nah, they've had it already. One election and done. MB in charge, with no further need for those pesky campaigns or democracy. Just pure Islamic jurisprudence from now on. They're already replacing America with China is the main foreign sponsor [globalpost.com] as they don't like the strings that come with American foreign aid (i.e. "bribes"). Whatayagonna do? The people apparently genuinely support the MB.

Re:Another revolution? (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 2 years ago | (#41285101)

It's a depressing fact that oppressed people rise up against their oppressors, only to show that what they really wanted was just what the former rulers wanted: to oppress others.

Re:Another revolution? (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#41285457)

That's pretty much how history works. Anytime that doesn't happen is special and different.

Not *op*press, *de*press! (2)

zooblethorpe (686757) | about 2 years ago | (#41285581)

It's a depressing fact that oppressed people rise up against their oppressors, only to show that what they really wanted was just what the former rulers wanted: to oppress others.

When I heard news on the radio about the Egyptian elections, I was utterly baffled why they had elected Morrissey as their new President; I thought they must have taken a turn from oppression to depression.

Then I saw the headlines -- "Oh, Morsi , not Morrissey. Muslim Brotherhood, not Emo. That makes more sense."

:-P

Re:Another revolution? (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41285103)

Except no one really believes the MB is in charge.

Re:Another revolution? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41285549)

Except no one really believes the MB is in charge.

Well, except for the MB and the Egyptians, that is.

But what do they know, right?

Strat

Re:Another revolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285395)

Well at least the US can offer them, er, oil.

Re:Another revolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41289421)

And that is just so surprising, right? I mean, America said MB is bad, so what are those people thinking? And surely they understand how much better Christian jurisprudence is, right? Maybe we should start killing them until they do.

When audiences do the selling. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41284951)

It was there, amongst evidence of detentions, torture and surveillance at SSIS's headquarters, that information first came to light regarding a sales pitch by UK-based Gamma Group to Egypt's security agency for their FinFisher spyware.

So what you're saying is that companies should adopt the same ethics as the reading audience and allow or deny selling based upon that?

Re:When audiences do the selling. (3, Informative)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#41285345)

So what you're saying is that companies should adopt the same ethics as the reading audience ...

How about we individuals adopt the same valueless ethics in our dealings with them for as long as it takes us to take them down? We can then go back to treating other individuals with the respect they deserve. Whatever works? It's basic game theory. I'll treat you like !@#$ until you stop treating me like !@#$, ...

Re:When audiences do the selling. (3, Interesting)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 2 years ago | (#41286311)

The "I'll treat you like !@#$ until you stop treating me like !@#$" theory of life simply results in a whole lot more !@#$, most of it heaped on those who weren't offenders but are presumed guilty due to being part of the same group (i.e. companies or corporations), who in turn are jaded into heaving more !@#$ back at everyone.

Re:When audiences do the selling. (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#41294981)

The "I'll treat you like !@#$ until you stop treating me like !@#$" theory of life simply results in a whole lot more !@#$ ...

No it doesn't. The theory is:

i) First chance, treat them nice.
ii) If they treat you shitilly back, treat them shitilly back.
iii) In theory, they get sick of being treated shitilly at which point they treat you nice, at which point you treat them nice.

That Russian dog figured this out (Cf. Pavlov). Humans ought to be able to too. Yeah, that's kind of tangential, but it sounds nice.

But really, "I'll treat you like !@#$ until you stop treating me like !@#$" makes more sense than anything I've ever seen.

On the other hand, it's only effective/useful in normal situations with non-psychopaths. Drat.

Re:When audiences do the selling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41288353)

What the fuck is !@#$?

Re:When audiences do the selling. (2)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#41290707)

What the fuck is !@#$?

Anything the !@#$ that you want it to be.

It reaches them like software reaches anyone else (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41284997)

How Spyware Reaches Oppressive Governments

It reaches them like software reaches anyone else.
(1) The source code is available.
(2) They buy the software.
(3) They pirate the software.

If (2) is not an option then they will go with (3) just like they do with any other piece of software.

Have sanctions and embargoes worked against such regimes? The ordinary person on the street may suffer from them but are these governments truly denied the things they want?

Re:It reaches them like software reaches anyone el (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285271)

The idea of such sanctions is technically the bleed the populance dry to the point where they uprise against the regime, we see how well that worked in North Korea.

if you are capitalist in a western nation (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41285025)

the fruits of your labors are made possible by, and are protected by, a certain set of ideals

it should not be legal that you be engaged in a business which actively undermines those ideals

you should have your business punished, fined, shut down, or, at best, you, asshole, should have to relocate your business to the kind of country that would use your products against you. if they don't like that idea, maybe they shouldn't be pedaling their products to tyrants

there is a line, that any company will face, when engaging in business in foreign lands with bad attitudes about fundamental human freedoms

if you cross that line, i, and others in your home country, will not forget it, and will not let you get off the hook for your championing of profits over principles that made your riches possible in the first place

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285037)

cute, now what are you going to actually do about it?

yea ... thought so

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41285059)

i'm going to hide my name and lurk on internet forums and cast mindless negativity and hateful judgments at anyone who proposes anything concrete or positive in the world, without knowing anything about the person or what they are doing

what do you think? because i think a person like that is awesome

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (1)

Formalin (1945560) | about 2 years ago | (#41285117)

argh, now how am I going to get the cola-snot out of my keyboard?!

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285177)

Well you would have had a point if you had posted anything concrete. As what you actually posted was equivalent to wanting unicorns and ponies the mocking does seem appropriate.

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41285249)

people have values and principles. if they believe in these values and principles, they enforce them. what happens next is world history, and a contest between values and principles plays out. the strongest values and principles win. these strongest values and principles are known to you as unicorns and ponies

Neo Coloniaism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41286973)

British support US unconditionally, US is neo colonialist in intent, just more sophisticated than days of yore.
What do you think we are doing in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq? Who do you think engineered the destructive civil war in Syria that will most likely lead to more US occupation forces? So, OK, I judge England, the US, so what, PS I'm of Native Anmerican descent, we don't forget, expect us? And all the wealth of the West that you enjoy, if based on past crimes (and current, it's ongoing)? Judgement day is coming and the lake of fire is waiting.

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285057)

... the fruits of your labors are made possible by, and are protected by, a certain set of ideals ... it should not be legal that you be engaged in a business which actively undermines those ideals ... principles that made your riches possible in the first place

The ideals and principles that made the British wealthy were to oppress and exploit places like Egypt. So this particular British company seems to be perfectly aligned with those principles.

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41285089)

some day, certain loudmouthed useless assholes will learn to judge nations as they currently behave, not as they behaved in ancient colonial or cold war history

let's put it this way: in the era of the british empire, whatever nation you are proud of, was doing nasty things you should be ashamed of. i know this for a certainty, because there exists no nation on this planet without a black stain on its past

therefore, randomly picking a dark era and judging a country entirely from that just makes you a useless asshole. because on the measure of a nation's past nasty behavior, all nations suck in this world

how about what the british actually think today, and their actual policy today? how about judging them on that?

i know: crazy, wacky idea

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285143)

... randomly picking a dark era ...

The era was not picked at random. *You* referred to the policies and ideas that made Britain wealthy. Well, those would be the policies and ideals of the colonial era. The post-colonial UK with the improved ethics is not really responsible for much wealth. Apologies for the inconvenient truth.

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (1, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41285233)

if you took all of the economic spoils of the colonial era, of all of the european nations together, it would be a drop in the bucket of today's economy

additionally, this wealth dissipated very quickly over one or two generations. world war i and ii pretty much wasted it all, and then some

no: britain owes its current economic standing to its social values and political institutions that make current business ventures possible

economic might is a sum of current economic efforts and interests, and the values of the country. history means absolutely nothing. really. it is why a country like korea can go from poor farmers to world leader in a generation or two. same with china. country A is rich now because if its institutions and values. country B is poor now because of inept and corrupt government and a society that does not value the kind of work required to create riches

the sheikhs in dubai understand this, that is why they are trying their darnedest to turn oil wealth into permanent structural changes in society and government, because they know the gravy train won't last forever. and when oil dries up, they will be back to herding camels in the sand if they don't have societies and government institutions in place that value and protect the kind of attributes a country needs to succeed

if you took all of the bank accounts in britain and gave them to a poor basket case country, that money in the poor basket case country would dissipate in a matter of years, and britain would be back to being a rich country in a few years as well. due to the good/ bad political institutions and the good/ bad social values of both countries. money isn't some concrete thing that sits in a bank account, money and economics is about an engine with a constant flow of effort and production. if the engine stops, or if the attributes to the engine don't exist, or the engine is clogged and sputters, there is only poverty. history matters NOTHING on that score

but i suppose you believe that country A had wealth X, and britain came and stole X, and now X sits now in london forever. so country A will always be poor now and britain has money X from 200 years ago as its sole representation of riches. this is how it seems you think economics works. you are some sort of simpleton aren't you?

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285329)

if you took all of the economic spoils of the colonial era ... it would be a drop in the bucket of today's economy

Then you need to adjust for inflation.

... additionally, this wealth dissipated very quickly over one or two generations

Not really. A bit of your infrastructure and institutions were funded by that wealth. To convert things into the terminology of the current US presidential race: "You didn't build those roads or ports in the UK, India did".

... britain owes its current economic standing to its social values and political institutions that make current business ventures possible

And to its historical legacy. For example international banking.

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (0, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41285389)

nothing you said refutes what i said. nothing you said supports the ridiculous idea of yours that britain's current riches is something they stole from a country they colonized over a century ago

just admit that one country is poor and another is rich because of a particular country's values. nothing more. nothing less. history matters not one damn bit. any country anywhere can adapt better values (or lose them) and therefore get richer (or poorer)

it is not a zero sum game, where one country is rich because another is poor because it had material stolen from it a long time ago. nothing stops a country, any country, from adapting better values and becoming as rich as the richest country, if not richer. example: korea. example: china. wanna-be-example: dubai

in fact, i will go so far as to say this: the mentality of your lame blame-game is a good example of the kind of bad values that keeps a country poor. blame yourself for your lot in life. then you finally get ahead in life

but spend your whole time blaming someone else for your lot in life, you just sit and rot, stewing in hate and recrimination. that useless thinking creates no riches. if the way you think is an example of the way people think in a country you think is poor because of what britain did over one hundred years ago, then we have found the real reason why this country is poor

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41285219)

how about what the british actually think today, and their actual policy today? how about judging them on that?

For the same reason I never forget anything you've ever screwed up: It comes in handy when there's a fight and you need to lose. Granted, it's a dysfunctional way of doing things, but it's popularity remains unchallenged. If the British pipe up and say "Oi there, over there in the colonies, you sure ronnied that bit up!" we can just shout back "yeah, how's Palestine working out for you?" See? No different than a couple arguing... each side loads up on ammo, and blasts at the other until nobody, not even the participants has a clue what's going on. It's a convenient way of maintaining the status quo -- neither side loses face, and anyone with an emotional interest in the outcome will bury themselves in the rhetoric until exhausted. Problem solved.

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 2 years ago | (#41285401)

Not to mention a lot of countries don't do (nasty deed x overseas) not because they are somehow morally superior to a big country but simply because they were never a major power. It's easier to say, "if I was in power, I would never EVER do X" than to actually not do X if you have power.

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285407)

some day, certain loudmouthed useless assholes will learn to judge nations as they currently behave, not as they behaved in ancient colonial or cold war history

Ok, so "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" is right out the window in your book then, I take it?
and, you appear to have a rather interesting definition of the word 'ancient', you are aware that as late as 1920's we were bombing towns and villages in places like Afghanistan, Somalia, India..?
let's also not forget the Malayan 'Emergency' (1948 to 1960), the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya (1952 to 1960). I have worked with people involved in both the Malay and Kenya episodes, and have heard 'first hand' what they got up to there.
OK, so even if I'm generous and say the last two were more 'cold war' related than colonial, so what?, the mindset that planned the empire, also ran the cold war, and didn't stop existing when the Russians decided 'fuck it'..as part of my previous job, ooh, as historically late as 10 years ago, I had to deal with this 'colonial mindset' brigade every fucking day (cf: comment above about people who actually were involved in both Malaysia and Kenya).

let's put it this way: in the era of the british empire, whatever nation you are proud of, was doing nasty things you should be ashamed of. i know this for a certainty, because there exists no nation on this planet without a black stain on its past

Aye, but with Britain, you're making it sound as if we've been as 'pure as the driven snow' somehow since sometime 'last Tuesday'.

therefore, randomly picking a dark era and judging a country entirely from that just makes you a useless asshole. because on the measure of a nation's past nasty behavior, all nations suck in this world

how about what the british actually think today, and their actual policy today? how about judging them on that?

Oh, lets..
Internal Surveillance society: Internet monitored/filtered under the pretext 'child protection', soon to get worse, cities flooded with surveillance cameras, this program being 'rolled out' to more rural areas. ANPR (British invention), now 'integrated' into private surveillance camera systems so the police can track individual car movements anywhere there's a camera (incidentally, all this surveillance technology trialled here, now being 'rolled out' in our former colony, the US), Biometrics: fingerprinting of schoolchildren under the pretext of 'library and school meals access' (the fact that these databases do not contain the fingerprints but a 'hash' of the fingerprint is irrelevant, if they have these databases, the police can run their fingerprint sample through the same hashing algorithm and still get results.) Police 'Death Squads' who operate with impunity - look at the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, Harry Stanley, etc. etc. etc.
Weapons: the UK arms industry has a long and honourable tradition of selling weapons to 'Johnny Foreigner' for use against each other, and, of course, their own populations, we're the top suppliers of torture, sorry, me bad, I mean 'crowd control' equipment to all your favourite 'repressive-but-valuable-allies-in-the-war-against-terror-and-increasing-profits-for-us' regimes..leading to the increasingly pathetic attempts at the 'militarisation' of British Society, where they're trying to put up our uniformed goons on pedestals as 'heroes' and throwing them in our faces a every available opportunity (cf: the Olympics, Hitler would have been proud of the way they were used there for 'propaganda' purposes)
Won't even touch things like the use of the Military against the general population in the UK, e.g. The Battle of George Square, the 1926 general strike, or, if you want more recent, the miners' strike (1984–1985).
'how about what the british actually think today?'
Hah, firstly, define British (and good luck with that one, learning chinese is an easier task.)
Even if you accept that there is such a beastie as someone who is 'british', are we talking the populace (who don't think much)? or the politicians(see bracketed comment about populace)?
Or are you talking about the people who really run Britain? (Civil servants, multinationals, 'old Money', 'ex-soviet' Mafia...)

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41285465)

yes, the world is an awesome place when you bury yourself in hate and recrimination and resentment. the idea is to learn from history, not be trapped in it. i said it once, i'll say it again: find a country without a black stain and you will have a point. until them you are a useless whiner. everything you wrote tells us more about your own failed mentality than actual reality

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285779)

How do you know that this wont be some other countries ancient time in a few years.

if you are capitalist in a homey nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285113)

So which "home country" should a multinational corporation be beholden to?

Re:if you are capitalist in a homey nation (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41285255)

So which "home country" should a multinational corporation be beholden to?

the proper question in today's world is what multinational corporation should your home country be beholden to?

i say this with sadness, not snark

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285151)

Actually,

Why are companies immune to prosecution for this? The "botnet controller" gets prison time, Why doesn't "Finwhatever" get jail time - I don't see a difference between the two. They install the software without the permission and understanding of the owner and communicate for their own purposes. I mean, if a company installs this software on all of their computers, fine. But if an individual finds this software on their personal system, then the executive of the software company should be liable to the same degree, they are stealing resources that we pay for, performance, bandwidth, electricity. There are measurable damages. These individuals should be held liable for their companies actions. Why is this not law?

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285471)

Actually,

Why are companies immune to prosecution for this? The "botnet controller" gets prison time, Why doesn't "Finwhatever" get jail time - I don't see a difference between the two.

The difference is one of them can make laws, the other can obey (or be punished if/when caught). Whenever something seems a little off, ask yourself "who benefits with this?" and you'll find the reason.

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41286881)

The builders of a rocket powered car do not get the ticket if the driver gets caught exceeding the speed limit.

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285913)

The people in egypt were being punished for undermining ideals. Long live ideals. Punishment FTW.

Re:if you are capitalist in a western nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285931)

If your own country does something wrong, will you fine and shutdown yourselves?

IBM and Nazi Germany (4, Informative)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41285069)

This has been going on for decades.

IBM assisted the Nazi Holocaust by providing the card reading/sorting technology which Nazi Germany used to locate and kill the ethnicities that the Germans wanted wiped out. (Jews, Gypsies, Catholics, etc.) "IBM's German subsidiary (was) known as Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft"

The actual punch card code for each concentration camp were:
Auschwitz — 001; Buchenwald — 002; Dachau — 003; Flossenbürg — 004; Gross-Rosen — 005; Herzogenbusch — 006; Mauthausen — 007; Natzweiler — 008; Neuengamme — 009; Ravensbrück — 010; Sachsenhausen — 011; and Stutthoff — 012.

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (2)

mug funky (910186) | about 2 years ago | (#41285183)

i've heard this.

one thing i've noticed in business, is you are seldom asked by a supplier what you would like the equipment for.

given it took a computer far more sophisticated than IBM's efforts at the time (and Alan Turing himself) to reveal just what the Godwins were doing, one could find a doubt that IBM could be given the benefit of.

just saying - i haven't researched the topic in depth, just seen it referred to in a documentary.

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (1)

Formalin (1945560) | about 2 years ago | (#41285211)

Just vague recollection here, but I seem to recall the german subsidiary solely designed it for this task. How much IBM proper knew, I'm not sure.

This type of profiteering is so common during war... Sweden sent bearings and the like to Britain, while at the same time shipping iron ore to Germany for their tanks, for example. No shame, I guess.

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285281)

Just vague recollection here, but I seem to recall the german subsidiary solely designed it for this task.

I think the opposite is true. The technology in question was developed for the US Census. Germany wanted such equipment for its own census. A census is a quite legitimate thing for a government to undertake. That this census information was useful in locating jews was tragic, but it seems a misuse of the data.

From the wiki article the GP cites: "Richard Bernstein, writing for The New York Times Book Review, wrote that Black's case "is long and heavily documented, and yet he does not demonstrate that IBM bears some unique or decisive responsibility for the evil that was done."

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285499)

From the wiki article the GP cites: "Richard Bernstein, writing for The New York Times Book Review, wrote that Black's case "is long and heavily documented, and yet he does not demonstrate that IBM bears some unique or decisive responsibility for the evil that was done."

Stop it!

You stop that RIGHT NOW, you hear me!?

How DARE you try to ruin the perfectly fine meme we've been using for ages to demonize corporations and the US!!

You, with...with...your FACTS...and...and...your HISTORY!!!

You DISGUST me!!!

BURN THE HERETIC!!!!11one

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41285527)

How much IBM proper knew, I'm not sure.

Good point. Even some German companies didn't know what their stuff was being used for...

Thomas Watson (chairman and CEO) actually went to Germany in 1933 to assist on the deal. We will probably never know how much IBM knew.

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285209)

Something seems odd in your post, the reported numbering. Ordered more for historical notoriety? Dachau as #3, it was up and running in the early 1930s. Auschwitz as #1, it was in Poland so its obvious from the war period.

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (2)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#41285365)

They're obviously in alphabetical order.

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41285533)

Something seems odd in your post, the reported numbering. Ordered more for historical notoriety? Dachau as #3, it was up and running in the early 1930s. Auschwitz as #1, it was in Poland so its obvious from the war period.

I would guess the card implementation happened after all the camps were up and running (or at least this particular coding). That's how they were able to keep it in alphabetical order.

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (3, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 years ago | (#41285243)

But that goes in all directions. Germans were killed using German-made guns and ammo, Americans were killed by Germans using American-made guns and ammo. As a matter of fact, most of the companies that are still around today had some kind of hand in the atrocities of WWII (which was on all sides, concentration camps were in the UK, US, Japan, Russia as well as Germany). Just to throw some names around who were on all sides: Krupp (sold weapons on both sides), IBM, Kodak, Hugo Boss (clothiers), JPMorgan, Chase, Goldman Sachs, Ford, Bayer, Iveco (truck manufacturer, delivered portable gas chambers), Coca-Cola, Standard Oil, Boeing, Mitsubishi.

In the end, the only people benefiting from war are the corporations that sell the goods.

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 2 years ago | (#41285451)

IBM made small arms for the American side. M1 carbines, IIRC... among other things.

If the nazis did one thing right, partnering with hugo boss might have been it. As much as I hate fascists, I have to admit that the black SS uniforms looked pretty sharp.

But yeah, war is a racket. Even the cold war, 'humanitarian missions' and non-war are big money for the military industrial complex. Wonder what sort of ROI they get on their lobby dollars.
Quite the setup... Unless of course, you're the taxpayer footing the bill.

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (2)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41285579)

IBM made small arms for the American side. M1 carbines, IIRC... among other things.

If the nazis did one thing right, partnering with hugo boss might have been it. As much as I hate fascists, I have to admit that the black SS uniforms looked pretty sharp.

But yeah, war is a racket. Even the cold war, 'humanitarian missions' and non-war are big money for the military industrial complex. Wonder what sort of ROI they get on their lobby dollars.
Quite the setup... Unless of course, you're the taxpayer footing the bill.

Great post. Of course, this went on constantly in almost every conflict. During WWII we were selling scrap metal to Japan.

My point was only about how technology and tyrants have been in bed from the beginning.

Great reference to "War Is A Racket." For those of you who've never read it, it's a brilliant skewering of the military industrial complex, before the term even existed.

Written by a U.S. Marine Corps Major General, who received the Medal of Honor twice, and the only man to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions. He is a bad-ass who does NOT mince words.
Read it here:

http://www.scuttlebuttsmallchow.com/racket1.html [scuttlebuttsmallchow.com]

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41285575)

"concentration camps were in the UK, US, Japan, Russia as well as Germany"

uh... the germans had extermination camps for the purpose of mass murder of millions. other countries had internment camps. small difference (as in, a sarcastic way of saying really fucking huge difference)

i'm not excusing the usa's treatment of japanese americans, for example. but i am saying equating camps like those in the same breath with germany's killing machine is pretty lame. the germans were purposefully engaged in the systematic extermination of a race of people. all the other guys were committing various brutal and vile crimes of war. again, it's not excusing the other guys, it's just to note that what germany was doing was uniquely and especially evil, above and beyond

you could bring up european colonist's treatment of native americans, or stalin's soviet atrocities, but now we are leaving the realm of world war ii

IBM were HINDERING Nazi Germany (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285257)

Anyone whose used IBM kit knows that actually they were trying to HINDER Nazi Germany by slowing down the efficient Germans with business speak and Business Process Gurus.

They almost succeeded too, if only they'd held that last six sigma analysis pre-meeting agenda discussion review, they'd have made it through the war!

Have you ever heard of any project IBM has been involved in, that actually HELPED the customer???? ...QED.

Re:IBM were HINDERING Nazi Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41285565)

Have you ever heard of any project IBM has been involved in, that actually HELPED the customer???? ...QED.

Microsoft?

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (4, Informative)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#41285501)

The Hollerith Machine [jewishvirtuallibrary.org] was developed for the task of processing the massive amounts of data for the census in the United States. It was the only solution in the world that could handle the job. Decades later, Germany was using these machines for its own census. Most of the data the Nazis compiled with IBM's technology was between 1934 and 1939. While the Nazis were collecting this information to track "undesirables," IBM was so proud of itself it had a plaque affixed [ibm.com] to greet visitors to its Madison Ave (NY) headquarters in 1938 which read: WORLD PEACE THROUGH WORLD TRADE.

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41285867)

In hindsight, it's easy to see what they were doing was wrong. At the time, not so much.

Here, it would have been easy to see it is wrong before they did it.

When Putin started seizing control of the newly-free media, he hired a US firm to manage them. Another proud moment.

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (1)

moeinvt (851793) | about 2 years ago | (#41286935)

The Dachau concentration camp in Germany was created in 1933 whereas Auschwitz in occupied Poland was not built until 1941.

How did the Germans know in advance that Dachau should be given code '003' to leave room for two camp names that preceded it based on alphabetical order?

Re:IBM and Nazi Germany (1)

smugfunt (8972) | about 2 years ago | (#41292399)

(Jews, Gypsies, Catholics, etc.)

Not Catholics. Most Nazis were Catholics, at least nominally. You're probably thinking of Jehova's Witnesses.

US sent people there to be tortured (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41286037)

but that's OK. The US funded Mubarak and the Egyptian regime, but that's OK.

like everywhere... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41286877)

through porn and shaddy realeases of GTA IV

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