Is Meaningful Section 230 Reform Possible?

Politics
Nov 13, 2020
Low angle photograph of courthouse

Large Internet platforms have always moderated the content they allow on their services, and Section 230 of the Federal Communication Act allowed for the growth of user supported platforms, by not holding them to many of the same liabilities a publisher would face. Yet today, we’re seeing unprecedented censorship, editing and moderation of platforms with massive userbases. The Internet of today has corporate super powers, virtual nations, that can effectively dismiss voices and points of view that do not fit their narrative. When Twitter is effectively able to censor the reach of articles from established newspapers, we have to ask what meaningful reform can be made to Section 230, to ensure every American has control over the way their voice is presented to the world. The following are a few proposals for reforming the law, and also the challenges in implementing them.

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The Return of American Corruption

Politics
Nov 7, 2020
Photo by Bill Oxford
Photo by Bill Oxford

All nations are corrupt. All leaders are corrupt. In Orwell’s famous novel Animal Farm, a revolution that started with the best of intentions, and that supported the rights of every animal, eventually led to one class of animals finding ways to convince all the others to let them lead. The goal of the people of any republic should be to try to minimize that corruption, and implement a process that make their leaders beholden to as large a portion of the population as possible. In American, in 2020, that processes is in crisis.

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Who Will Lead Us From War

Politics
Oct 28, 2020
2007 Protest Against the Iraq War - Chattanooga, TN
2007 Protest Against the Iraq War - Chattanooga, TN

When I was a child, my parents took me to India one winter. Upon my return, my sister told me that George H. W. Bush had started bombing Iraqi forces that were invading Kuwait. It was 1991, and the Gulf War had begun. From the time I was young, American presidents have always used our military as tools of war, extracting resources under the guise of promoting freedom. In 2007, I participated in an anti-Iraq war protest in my home town. The following year, I joined the people who were planning the protest. I volunteered my time to create our website and promotional material for the march. War has always been the part of American policy that I despised. The bar for peace is so low that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates noted at “at least” our current president hasn’t started any new wars. The question remains, which presidential candidate is likely to keep America from foreign engagements for the next four years.

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The Solution to Big Tech Isn't Legislation, It's Technology

Technology
Oct 22, 2020
Protester holding sign saying 'Error 404 Demokratie not found'

Over the course of 2020, we’ve seen increased censorship from every major digital content platform. It culminated with both Facebook and Twitter blocking a New York Post article, which alleged Joe Biden’s son was involved in illegal activity and corruption. Meanwhile, the New York Times published a scathing article on Donald Trump’s tax returns. None of the major networks restricted access to the tax story, even though it was likely those tax records were obtained illegally, and nothing in the returns was truly out of the ordinary.

People are calling for reform to Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, the law that keeps Internet platforms from liabilities often reserved for publishers. However, I do not believe more legal restrictions will solve the issues surrounding tech and free speech. The only viable solution is better use of technology. The Internet was not founded by media giants. It was originally hundreds of thousands of small, independent websites and service providers. The solution to our current censorship woes, lies in the archives of Internet next to animated hamsters, under construction GIFs, and bright pink animated Geocities sites.

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Alpine Linux with Full Disk Encryption

Technology
Oct 16, 2020
Alpine Linux
Alpine Linux

I recently built a file server. For the operating system, I decided to use Alpine Linux. As with most of my Linux systems, I wanted to utilize full disk encryption. The following guide is mostly based off the documentation on the Alpine Wiki, and goes through the installation of Alpine on a modern UEFI system, with LUKS full disk encryption.

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Culture War Radio: The Battle Penguin

Miscellaneous
Oct 12, 2020
Culture War Radio: Liberal Values Are Worth Fighting For

On Sunday, October 11th, I had the pleasure of being a guest on William Maggos’s show, the Culture War Radio podcast. We talked about my background, adventures around the planet, political culture and technology.

Culture War Radio Episode 77: The Battle Penguin

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Adding an NVME hard drive caused an iaStorAC.sys SYSTEM THREAD EXCEPTION

Technology
Oct 9, 2020
Windows 10 Bluescreen on Boot for iaStoreAC.sys Driver
Windows 10 Bluescreen on Boot for iaStoreAC.sys Driver

I recently added some high speed storage to my Windows 10 machine, which I use for gaming and video editing. At first, I was going to replace the existing 500GB NVME drive with a 1TB drive, and use the old drive in my storage server. However, I accidentally ordered another 500GB drive. Instead of returning it, I decided to use an older drive that was left over from my laptop upgrade as the operating system disk in the storage server, and install the 500GB as a secondary drive in my Windows machine. What should have been a simple upgrade, led to a blue screen on boot. The message displayed was a SYSTEM THREAD EXCEPTION with the cause being iaStorAC.sys, part of the Intel Rapid Store drivers.

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Building a Small Form Factor Storage Server (NAS)

Technology
Sep 30, 2020

Why I No Longer Hate America

Politics
Sep 27, 2020
Red, White & Blue by Luke Michael
Red, White & Blue by Luke Michael

Years ago, a friend told me he was going to visit his sister in Queensland, Australia. I was living in New Zealand at the time, and we made plans to meet up. We ended up hiking through some spectacular parks and amazing waterfalls. On one of our hikes, my friend asked me, “Why do you hate America?” It’s one of those lines often parodied from early 2000s Fox News broadcasts, during the height of outrage over the Iraq war.

At the time, I did hate a lot of American foreign policy, and found there was little difference between US political parties. I had my reasons for leaving, yet I eventually came back to America. Having traveled through and lived in different places around the world, I saw the trade-offs in the different values held by nationals of various countries. I still take issue with many policies in the United States, but I believe there are many aspects to American law and ideology, that respect individual rights and freedoms in fundamentally unique ways. America may run afoul of letting people slide through the cracks, but it is also a nation suited to help people succeed at their dreams.

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Mexico's Independence Day - Chicago, IL

Miscellaneous
Sep 21, 2020