Autonomía digital y tecnológica

Código e ideas para una internet distribuida

Linkoteca. China

The first thing to go was the beloved, clacky, positive-action keyboards, replaced by Macbook-style chiclet keyboards that wore out much faster, but at least the keyboards were easily swapped out when they started to falter. Then came new submicro designs that made swapping keyboards into a one-hour procedure that had to be performed by a professional who would have to virtually totally disassemble the computer.

The same forces made drive-swaps harder and harder. I used to order a Thinkpad with the smallest, cheapest drive available and then throw it away on arrival and replace it with a third-party, 1TB SSD. Now I just order the Thinkpads with 1TB SSDs and pay a premium for them (these custom options can add weeks to the build/delivery time, too) — thankfully, the price-gap on Lenovo’s 1TB SSDs and third party drives has narrowed.

And now, the Thinkpad X-series systems have eliminated their Ethernet ports and require users to carry (and not lose or break) a dongle to use wired internet.

51NB, a group of Chinese enthusiasts buy up classic, pre-Lenovo Thinkpad chassis and manufacturers new motherboards for them with modern CPUs and other hardware. They started with a run of Thinkpad «X62» system (X61s with a new motherboard) and then branched out into Thinkpad «X210″s — an X201 with a Core i7 8550u (4 cores, turbo boost up to 4GHz); 2× DDR4 SODIMM slots; 2× mini PCI Express slots; an M.2 NVMe slot; a 3.5” SATA bay; a 12.6 inch, 2880×1920, 450 nits, wide gamut display; Mini DisplayPort & VGA out; 3× USB 3.1 ports; an SD reader and gigabit Ethernet (no dongle required!).

Hay otros espejos en los que mirarnos, como Corea o Alemania, en los que hay tres claves perfectamente democráticas que acompañan la gestión de la pandemia: mascarillas para todos, información contrastada y tests, muchos tests. Las tecnologías de vigilancia masiva no pueden ser el atajo que sustituya las responsabilidades de un gobierno democrático, que es cuidar a sus ciudadanos antes de castigarlos. No dejemos que esta crisis se convierta en la versión médica del Huracán Katrina, como ha sugerido el sociólogo Mike Davis. No dejemos que la vigilancia masiva se instale en la administración. No seamos víctimas del Capitalismo Desastre que tan oportunamente describe Naomi Klein en Capitalismo Desastre y La Doctrina del Shock. Incluso si las cifras de China son ciertas y su sistema de control ciudadano funciona, una vez se haya instalado en nuestras vidas como herramienta de gobierno, no tenemos anticuerpos para repeler sus efectos secundarios.

Rechacemos la vigilancia y el castigo en favor de la empatía, el diálogo y la solidaridad.

Ostensibly a chat app, WeChat is actually a superapp, because it seamlessly integrates many services and products. It is the way the vast majority of Chinese citizens communicate with friends and family. For some, it is a medical scheduling app, used to make and manage doctor’s appointments. And it is a wallet, the means by which users buy groceries, access their bank accounts, pay their mortgages, and engage in just about any financial transaction.

Shutting down a WeChat account is, in effect, a digital form of banishment for the many users who have opted into its ecosystem. Not only is the user cut off from communicating with friends and family, but in what is increasingly becoming a cashless society, it effectively denies users who have concentrated their money in WeChat Wallet the ability to independently function.

U.S.-based tech companies often deal with these and other wide-ranging country and regional-specific speech restrictions via something known as geo-blocking, which enables them to restrict in one region content that is otherwise permitted by the terms of service and thus accessible elsewhere. Implicit in this approach is a recognition of the obligation to comply with local law, even if it means complying with takedown and keep-off demands that run contrary to free speech commitments elsewhere.

A January investigation by the site Top10VPN found that more than half of the top 20 free VPN apps on the iOS and Android app stores either have Chinese ownership or are based in China. That’s all the more suspicious given that China officially banned VPNs last year. The concern: If China is allowing them to continue operating, it could be because they’re sharing data on their users with the Chinese government. When you use a VPN, you’re trusting that VPN with the same deep level of access to your online activity that you’d normally give your ISP. In other words, now they can see what you’re up to whenever you’re using the internet. VPNs may be more privacy-focused than big, corporate ISPs, but they’re also smaller, more opaque, and less publicly accountable.

Después de décadas de control de la natalidad, algo que hizo que en China haya 30 millones más de hombres que de mujeres, la falta de mujeres ha hecho que las dotes por una novia estén al alza.

En Da’anliu, una aldea agrícola de la provincia de Hubei donde casi todos los vecinos ganan unos 20.000 yuanes (2.500 euros) al año cultivando peras, los precios de las novias han alcanzado más de 200.000 yuanes (25.000 euros). Esto sucedía antes de que las autoridades prohibiesen en agosto pagar más de 20.000 yuanes ante un delito de trata de personas.

Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest.

Documents seen by The Intercept, marked “Google confidential,” say that Google’s Chinese search app will automatically identify and filter websites blocked by the Great Firewall. When a person carries out a search, banned websites will be removed from the first page of results, and a disclaimer will be displayed stating that “some results may have been removed due to statutory requirements.” Examples cited in the documents of websites that will be subject to the censorship include those of British news broadcaster BBC and the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Apple users are seen as the ‘invisible poor’ – those who do not look as poor as their financial circumstances.

Apple iPhone users in China are generally less educated, hard-up and with few valuable assets, compared to users of other mobile phone brands such as Huawei or Xiaomi, according to a report by research agency MobData.