On corporate personhood and limited liability
Sun, Jan 16 2011 8:32 PM
So it is time to clear up some of my thought about corporate personhood by putting them into writing. There seems the be a growing critique against corporate personhood and limited liability in libertarian circles some even claiming that it is incompatible with capitalism and libertarian ethics.

The state guaranteed limited liability corporation is incompatible capitalism and libertarian ethics, because it is protected by a coercive institution and it's regulatory framework has not been designed by the free markets. If we look at the historical origin of the European corporation the concept of a corporation itself also starts to become more dubious. Some of the first corporations in Europe where public entities like the office of the Pope and the municipal government of London and then there was the East India companies which where basically privateer charters with rights to trade monopolies and making war.

Given this background we must be very skeptical about corporate law since at least in it's early stages it seem to have been purely a state device to provide benefits to itself or selected interests. The question is how much of this remains today and how different our modern corporate law is from what the the free market would have produced.

Firstly limited liability without state protection is fully compatible with libertarian ethics as long as it does not extend to third parties. Creditors and trade partners can sign contracts about whatever they want as long as it only affect themselves, including limiting liability in case something goes wrong in their dealing. As for shared ownership it is an essential aspect in many things in a free market, if one hasn't written a contract between the owners it can be a very tricky thing and even lead to infinite disputes over property but if there is a contract there usually isn't much of a problem. So the company would be fine in this regard. Another organisation that might be more questionable is the trust or foundation that isn't owned by anyone or who's owner is long dead, but under the current tax-codes we would do well not to investigate this further.

In other regards then liability there should be no problem for an organisation to have the same rights as an individual. We base all rights in the right to own ourself and the company is just an extension of the property right of the owners that they choose to exercise collectively under a specific agreement. There have been some talk about right to privacy and so forth, but individuals does not really have such a right. Information is free and any private individual is free to spy on me as much as they want as long as they don't violate my property, it is up to myself to not tell people what I don't want them to know.
For "rights" such as privacy this is only relevant in the sense as a right against the state. For there to be any social order at all there are certain things that must illegal for the state to do to us that extends beyond what can be derived from property rights. That is because the state has granted itself certain monopolies and we need special protection against the possibilities for abuse that comes with that. Without these safeguard we degenerate into a situation of total and absolute government like Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.
I see no problem in giving corporations the same protection against government abuse as private individuals so they should also have guarantees for freedom of speech and barriers against government surveillance and such otherwise these protections won't mean much for individuals. They can just go and extract the information on us from the companies we trade with instead.

When it comes to damages against third parties the corporate personhood gets tricker. But we need to consider that just because a physical person is liable for the damage doesn't mean he can actually pay for it, nor is it reasonable to demand that everyone be 100% insured for any damage they might potentially cause to there surroundings. The value of damage that hasn't happened yet must be offset by risk and also it can be argued that every property that is situated amongst other peoples property comes with some degree of accepted risk when you buy it.

In practice I do not think what liability there may be today in regards third parties have much practical meaning. There are rules concerning neglect or criminal behavior today where a physical person will become responsible rather then the corporate entity, and as far as restitution goes most corporations have a higher probability of being able to pay then physical persons anyhow. There are a few cases where limited liability against third parties (often with state granted insurance, like nuclear power or excavation of natural resources) might cause the corporation to become more reckless then it otherwise would. For such activities the government courts protect the corporation from people demanding compensation for the abnormal risk there property might be subjected to by these activities and it might be possible to get away with less expensive safety precautions then it would on a free market.

Still I do not think this is enough to have much of an impact on the economy. I think the larger economic issue with corporate personhood would be in the credit market.

Someone trying to get a loan against a limited liability should of course expect to pay a higher interest rate then someone who is willing to offer full liability for the loan. Today we have central banking and the fractional reserve banking system manipulating the supply of credit and keeping it artificially high. In a free system without this manipulation of credit a limited liability corporation would be worse of in the credit market and it might not be such an attractive form of incorporation if you are looking to borrow capital.

I think this would have an impact for how companies are organised in a free market. We might have some companies who are accepted as limited by all there trade partners and never need to do trade with anyone who wouldn't accept this but I think there would be fewer limited companies. For companies who only need direct investment capital and who's activity will not cause massive damages to there partners if they go under could work very well as limited, while other companies might opt to gain capital by public bond offering then by going public with there ownership and maintain fully liable owners. If trade partners are concerned about getting damages when the limited company mess up they could put demands on liability, one way to solve this and still accept direct investments from owners that don't become fully liable would be for instance to have different owner classed where another entity such as an insurance company guarantees the limited liability for certain owner groups. In general I think we would get a better reflection of the costs involved with the risks of doing business with a limited company if the state protection for corporations where to be removed.

The market will come up with various solutions for contracts that can be made to allow easy investments into companies. Besides the government trying to stimulate investment by limited liability laws is a bit dubious when they stimulate consumption by causing inflation with the other hand.

Ramblings concluded, if some thoughts they are appreciated.
Gudrun eldar och ökar klyftorna.
Wed, Jul 7 2010 5:53 PM
Gudrun Schyman och FI eldade upp 100 000kr, tydligen skulle detta på något sätt symbolisera att kvinnor tjänar mindre?

Fråga mig inte hur den symboliken var tänkt. Vad hon har lyckats med är i alla fall att tillfälligt öka lönegapet mellan de som tjänar mycket och de som tjänar mindre samt ge mer pengar till de som redan har och mindre till de som har lite.

Jo, den totala penningmängdens värde reflekterar nämligen värdet på de varor och tjänster man kan köpa med dem. Om mängden varor och tjänster är konstant och man tillför mer pengar blir de som redan finns värda mindre, tar man bort pengar blir de som finns kvar värda mer.

Den smala penningmängden (M1) är ca 1 515 miljarder kr. Så varje krona borde nu på grund av Schyman stärkas i värde med en summa någonstans i storleksordningen 6,6*10-8 kr.

Detta kan sedan multipliceras med hur mycket pengar man redan har eller hur mycket man tjänar och då kommer de som är rikast och har högst inkomster att ha fått en större del av de eldade pengarna än de som har låga inkomster och inget sparat. Klyftorna och ojämlikheten har alltså ökat.

100 000 kr är förstås för lite för att ha någon praktiskt betydelse, men ironin går inte att undgå.
by hkarnoldson | with no comments
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Some thoughts on free-market banking
Thu, Jun 17 2010 1:10 PM
First of all there are many misinterpretations about what fractional reserve banking actually is. So lets being with sorting out some of our terminology.

A lot of people claim fractional reserve banking isn't fraudulent because everyone can agree on it. Well that is just the thing, they can't. A fractional reserve bank is by very definition a deposit bank which breaks it's promises. A deposit bank takes your money and promises you cash-on-demand, you can have them back anytime you want. If they then don't actually keep that money availiable on demand, but go and lend it to other people, they have broken the contract and it is a fraudulent operation. Most of the time this wouldn't be noticed much but the bank can in fact not keep it's contracts with all of it's client at the same time.

If you on the other hand agree on the bank lending the money to someone else and accept the risk that it may not be availiable if too many people demand money from the bank at the same time, then this is no longer a fractional reserve bank. It is simply a savings & loans bank with a very loose withdrawal policy. The receipt you get for your savings balance in such a bank is not money. It is an IOU or what we call near-money, it will always be traded at a discount (however small) compared to real money.

One interesting question here is if the will be any demand for full reserve banks in a free-market. After all having your money in a full reserve will cost you a storage fee and free-market short-term savings & loans banks will probably be very efficient at making there IOUs redeemable into cash most of the time so they will trade at a very small discount.

I think that in the beginnings of a free-market system there will be plenty of demand for full reserves. This is simply how bills will be issued so that people don't have to carry around gold coins where ever they go (any commodity can be used, but I will go with gold as the most likely example). These bills issued by deposit banks will be the first step money takes from being the actual commodity. They can be used in shops or deposited in savings contracts or whatever. Eventually though savings & loans banks may reach the efficiency and trust level necessary for shops to start accepting IOUs on savings deposits as payment, and the discount could be so small that it costs more to calculate it then the value of the discount. Making these IOUs de facto equal in value to money. This is when it starts getting really complicated to define what money actually is.

We also have several other services which interfere with the demand for real-money. Insurances, promises of credit when I need it (like on most credit cards) and so forth also reduces the amount of real-money that people will need to hold to be 100% sure that they can cover emergency expenses and so forth.

However I think that this isn't really that much of a problem. Even if savings & loans banks reach the extreme levels of trust and efficiency required to have there IOUs trade at the same value as real gold it is not likely that this will cause the same fluctuations in the money supply and subsidised prices on credit that we see today in our State run system. The two main factors behind the destructive business cycle according to Austrian theory.

More likely is that when these banks have reached peak efficiency the money supply will remain fairly constant. They will adjust there interest rates according to the demand and supply for credit to keep there lending levels at the same maximum. As long as only a very small amount of new gold is inserted into the economy the total balance sheet for all these banks should also remain fairly constant. Instead it is the interest rates that will fluctuate but they will do so according to the actual demand and supply of capital (some central banks may be attempting this today but they are in a terrible position to succeed). This will prevent the massive mal-investments that we see during boom cycles today when credit is too cheap and demand for goods overestimated and a lot less capital will be destroyed.

All in all as long as we remove the governments control over the currency, interest rates as well as removing deposit guarantees that remove trust as a competitive advantage for banks it should all work out pretty well. As long as we don't allow fractional reserves, because it is impossible for the market to compensate for the phenomena of money that looks like money but are IOUs.

This subject deserves a much more lengthy analysis naturally. The main purpose of this text is just for me to sort out some of my first glance reflections.
by hkarnoldson | with no comments
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Cameras & Cops
Fri, Jun 4 2010 2:36 AM
So it would appear that lawmakers have already started making it illegal to point cameras at cops.
According to this article it is already illegal in 3 states.

At first glance the only reason they would do this seems to be that they want the police to be able to break the law and abuse it's power. In a court your word is useless against a police officer, videos is basically the only way possible to apply the law to police officers. A lot of witnesses may work too but human perception is tricky, they all need to say the same thing and they need to be there too.

This interpretation might however be a bit to cynical. I think most lawmakers actually want the police to follow the rules they make too. So maybe there is something else that makes them do this?

Cops on tape are appearing all over the internet. The problem is that while filming for private use is legal in most places, makes the movies public is not. Except for certain rules applying to the media, you usually need the permission of the people you filmed before you make it public.
I don't agree with that but it is how the law is written. It may explain why lawmakers take this action. Police officers don't want there faces all over the net and the simplest way to stop that is just to let them arrest people who point cameras at them.

Until we get laws explicitly making it legal to video tape cops people who post police videos online would do themselves and everyone else a favor by blurring out the faces (it is not all that complicated unless you want it to look perfect) of the officers. This would hopefully reduce the officers contempt for cameras and make lawmakers less prone to take rushed stupid actions like banning them.
School massacres happen in China too
Thu, Jun 3 2010 10:21 AM
China's spate of school violence: Lone madmen without guns

Could it really be that gun control or lack there of is not what causes mad people to go on massacres in schools ... no way!
by hkarnoldson | with no comments
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Israel and the war of the worlds.
Wed, Jun 2 2010 2:37 AM
So some ships bound for Gaza (supposedly carrying humanitarian aid) where stopped by the Israeli navy and bringing knifes to a gunfight 19 crew members on the Turkish ship where killed by Israeli commandos.
What the media don't report is that the Freedom Flottila manifestation could only have had one result. Regardless if they had reached Gaza or not, the only thing that could ever have come of this was an escalation of violence and more death on booth dies.

The one sided media and leftists all cry murder. Yes, technically maybe boarding a boat on international water and killing people is murder.
But that doesn't mean you can stop reporting about how despicable the people behind Freedom Flotilla are and only focus on painting Israel in a bad light.

Israel had made it's intentions clear for a very long time. The people on these ships where looking forward to martyrdom.
Sacrificing human life to make a political point is not acceptable. Nor is delivering supplies into the hand of terrorists to have them sold to the highest bidder.

Freedom Flotilla can not in any way be called a humanitarian effort. There reception in Gaza was openly being organized by the Hamas, which no doubt would have taken all the supplies and sold them to the highest bidder to finance terrorism (they have hijacked and sold aid shipments in Gaza before).
This would mean more attacks on Jews which in turn means a tougher response from Israeli military. As I said this manifestation could only bring death and misery.

What should also be noted is that Israel offered to allow them to bring in all the supplies by land thru the aid organizations currently active in Gaza, the Red Cross for instance. These organizations know what they are doing and are fairly good at getting there help out to civilians rather then letting terrorists sell there stuff. Further more that the Turkish ship had Islamic fundamentalists on it (at least I hope regular Muslims don't sing and cheer about the return of Muhammed's Army too often)

I do not condone anything a government does and that goes for Israel too. Violence and murder is the natural conclusion of the state and this conflict is no different.

But when trying to adopt a more pragmatic view it is difficult to see Israel as anything other then a product of desperation. Israel is a high priority target for Islamic fundamentalists all over the world, and Palestinians are being used as there cannon-fodder. Israel can not just up an leave and go home. The terrorism threat to Israel will not subside much if they leave the occupied territories and they would have no buffer-zone to stop attacks against Israeli civilians in.

Islamic terrorism is being empowered by the presence of the American military all over the world.
Lots of people have been thought by there governments to hate the West. But Soviets, North Koreans, the Chinese etc did not go and blow themselves up or crash planes into skyscrapers because of it. The difference is that no matter how well you control information or how much propaganda you use you can not make a lot people actually believe they are under physical attack by the West in places like North Korea. All they have ever seen of the west are rice bags that reads "A gift from the U.S.". They will not believe they are under attack without some tangible proof. As long as they don't believe they are under attack extremists can't brew hatred and a sense of desperation strong enough to make them travel across the world and strap bombs on themselves....

People don't like to be meddled with and in much of the Muslim world America has provided a great many things that can be used by extremists to brainwash the masses into a state of fanatic hate and desperation. Without this they would never be able to raise the support for terrorists organizations that they can today.

This conflict is much bigger then Israel-Palestine and can not be solved without seeing the big picture. Palestine is cannon-fodder for the Islamic community and Israel is just a product of desperation made possible by first the British then the American Empires. Nothing can be changed here. What we can do to make everyone safer is a global withdrawal of American forces and return to non-interventionist foreign policies through the west. This involves not only scrapping the American military complex but also the World bank, IMF and preferably even the United Nations.
Abolish secret ballots.
Wed, Feb 17 2010 1:06 PM

Excerpted from No Treason, No. 6

As all voting is secret (by secret ballot), and as all secret governments are necessarily only secret bands of robbers, tyrants, and murderers, the general fact that our government is practically carried on by means of such voting, only proves that there is among us a secret band of robbers, tyrants, and murderers, whose purpose is to rob, enslave, and, so far as necessary to accomplish their purposes, murder, the rest of the people.

No body of men can be said to authorize a man to act as their agent, to the injury of a third person, unless they do it in so open and authentic a manner as to make themselves personally responsible for his acts. None of the voters in this country appoint their political agents in any open, authentic manner, or in any manner to make themselves responsible for their acts. Therefore these pretended agents cannot legitimately claim to be really agents. Somebody must be responsible for the acts of these pretended agents; and if they cannot show any open and authentic credentials from their principals, they cannot, in law or reason, be said to have any principals. The maxim applies here, that what does not appear, does not exist. If they can show no principals, they have none.

But even these pretended agents do not themselves know who their pretended principals are. These latter act in secret; for acting by secret ballot is acting in secret as much as if they were to meet in secret conclave in the darkness of the night. And they are personally as much unknown to the agents they select, as they are to others. No pretended agent therefore can ever know by whose ballots he is selected, or consequently who his real principles are. Not knowing who his principles are, he has no right to say that he has any. He can, at most, say only that he is the agent of a secret band of robbers and murderers, who are bound by that faith which prevails among confederates in crime, to stand by him, if his acts, done in their name, shall be resisted.

Men honestly engaged in attempting to establish justice in the world, have no occasion thus to act in secret; or to appoint agents to do acts for which they (the principals) are not willing to be responsible.

The secret ballot makes a secret government; and a secret government is a secret band of robbers and murderers. Open despotism is better than this. The single despot stands out in the face of all men, and says: I am the State: My will is law: I am your master: I take the responsibility of my acts: The only arbiter I acknowledge is the sword: If anyone denies my right, let him try conclusions with me.

But a secret government is little less than a government of assassins. Under it, a man knows not who his tyrants are, until they have struck, and perhaps not then. He may GUESS, beforehand, as to some of his immediate neighbors. But he really knows nothing. The man to whom he would most naturally fly for protection, may prove an enemy, when the time of trial comes.

This is the kind of government we have; and it is the only one we are likely to have, until men are ready to say: We will consent to no Constitution, except such an one as we are neither ashamed nor afraid to sign; and we will authorize no government to do anything in our name which we are not willing to be personally responsible for.

What is the motive to the secret ballot? This, and only this: Like other confederates in crime, those who use it are not friends, but enemies; and they are afraid to be known, and to have their individual doings known, even to each other. They can contrive to bring about a sufficient understanding to enable them to act in concert against other persons; but beyond this they have no confidence, and no friendship, among themselves. In fact, they are engaged quite as much in schemes for plundering each other, as in plundering those who are not of them. And it is perfectly well understood among them that the strongest party among them will, in certain contingencies, murder each other by the hundreds of thousands (as they lately did do) to accomplish their purposes against each other. Hence they dare not be known, and have their individual doings known, even to each other. And this is avowedly the only reason for the ballot: for a secret government; a government by secret bands of robbers and murderers. And we are insane enough to call this liberty! To be a member of this secret band of robbers and murderers is esteemed a privilege and an honor! Without this privilege, a man is considered a slave; but with it a free man! With it he is considered a free man, because he has the same power to secretly (by secret ballot) procure the robbery, enslavement, and murder of another man, and that other man has to procure his robbery, enslavement, and murder. And this they call equal rights!

If any number of men, many or few, claim the right to govern the people of this country, let them make and sign an open compact with each other to do so. Let them thus make themselves individually known to those whom they propose to govern. And let them thus openly take the legitimate responsibility of their acts. How many of those who now support the Constitution, will ever do this? How many will ever dare openly proclaim their right to govern? or take the legitimate responsibility of their acts? Not one!

Facebook group

by hkarnoldson | with no comments
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Peter Schiff and Dr. Ron Paul on U.S. Economy.
Mon, Feb 1 2010 5:20 AM

Just had to repost this video it is pretty awesome.

YouTube: Peter Schiff and Dr. Ron Paul on U.S. Economy.

Awesome music and kinda shows which ideas are actually useful to predict reality...

by hkarnoldson | with no comments
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Escaping Leviathan moves
Thu, Jan 28 2010 4:35 PM

I have now moved this blog to the Mises.org community.

First of all I want to thank the Ludwig von Mises Institute for providing this excellent service.

There is still some work left moving the blog roll and such but it will be done shortly.

The benefits of moving the blog is that can now be read with https connection that Blogger didn't support. Also it will be listed in the Mises.org community blogs and posts.
It also have a tag cloud which is much better then the default tag display over at Blogger.

The new address is: https://mises.org/Community/blogs/anti-gov/

Feeds are still processed thru Feedburner so they should be the same
All: http://feeds.feedburner.com/EscapingLeviathan
English: http://feeds.feedburner.com/EscapingLeviathanENG
Svenska: http://feeds.feedburner.com/EscapingLeviathanSV

If you for some reason need secure feeds you can access them directly at:
All: https://mises.org:443/Community/blogs/anti-gov/privaterss.aspx
English: https://mises.org/Community/blogs/anti-gov/rss.aspx?Tags=ENGLISH&AndTags=1
Svenska: https://mises.org/Community/blogs/anti-gov/rss.aspx?Tags=SVENSKA&AndTags=1

by hkarnoldson | with no comments
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The point of paranoid behaviour
Wed, Jan 20 2010 4:31 PM

As you might have noticed from my earlier posts I like encryption and anonymization.

For instance Mises.org now offer their site in HTTPS (end-to-end encryption). They also run a Tor exit-node on their server, which means you can communicate with it without exiting the anonymous Tor network (if your destination runs an exit node Tor will automatically pick that as your exit).

This is of course very useful for people living in oppressive regimes where they need to circumvent censorship and could get shot for visiting sites like Mises.org. But why should the rest of us bother with solutions like this?

For people in the not quite so oppressed part of the world this appears excessive and paranoid at first glance. However I think there are some strong arguments why we should use these solutions even if we really don't need then ... yet.

Most of this stuff is open-source. The development is driven by the community and more users leads to more programmers and more work hours being put into developing this type of software.
Also the software need to be tested, for this to be possible it often needs to be used on a massive scale. It is difficult to evaluate weaknesses in systems like this when they have very few users.

So what this means is that if we use anonymization and encryption software there will be more of it and it will become more secure and easier to use.

Primarily that is very useful to people living in countries where ideas are far from free. Apart from reasons originating from pure empathy for people living under terror states it will also benefit us if the security threats and trade obstacle these regimes are where to fall to domestic opposition.
Tor for instance has been widely used by insurgents in Iran and helped them coordinate their efforts and spread information.

Secondly you can use this type of software to bypass geo-restrictions on places like YouTube and Hulu.

Finally when the day comes that our ponzi-welfare systems goes bankrupt and our states can no longer rely on bribes to suppress any opposition against it we should also be fortunate that we already have this kind of technology in place to help ourselves.

So what can you do?
The first and easiest step is to use HTTPS where ever possible. Just chance the start of the URL from http:// to https:// and see if it works. Many Google services can be used in HTTPS as well as Facebook.
For Facebook to remain on secure browsing you will need this Firefox add-on: Force-TLS. Just add *.facebook.com there and it will automatically rewrite all Facebook URLs to https://.
You can also use it for other places like Google Reader, e-mail, banks and any place that support https.

Another useful add-on for Firefox is FoxyProxy which can be used with Tor for instance to anonymize browsing on specific sites only.

Finally for Firefox there is FireGPG which is basically a OpenPGP/MIME encryption plugin for GMail. It works seamlessly with any mail client with OpenPGP/MIME support installed. It also makes it alot easier to use clear text encryption then doing it via the clipboard with PGP Desktop Free.

Encrypting instant-messages is still in it's infantile state of development so there you can really help by using it. Look into OTR there are OTR plugins for Pidgin and Miranda IM this far that I know of.

by hkarnoldson | with no comments
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OiNK admin walks free
Tue, Jan 19 2010 4:29 PM

Finally a piece of good news.
OiNK admin have been found not guilty in highest appeal.

I particularly liked this part of the article:
University of London professor Birgitte Andersenok gave evidence earlier in the trial, stating that file-sharing didn’t hurt the music industry and led to more sales. Mr Makepeace trashed her evidence. It’s nonsense, it’s flannel, it’s verbiage, it’s garbage, he told the Court. The intellectual height of this defence knows no bounds.

by hkarnoldson | with no comments
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Googlegate? Maybe not...
Sun, Jan 17 2010 4:23 PM

Walter Block just posted A Pretty Good Critiqe of Google on the LRC Blog, the post is basically just a link an article blaming Google for worldwide arbitrary filtering of search results. In this particular case it is about Google supposedly suppressing Climategate but he makes a references that they have done it before.

Note that as I was writing this Walter Block has already amended his post:
Error of mine on google?

I have tried to verify the information in that article:
Search for “Googlegate” on Google and you’ll get a paltry result (my result yesterday was 29,300). Search for “Googlegate” on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine competitor, and the result numbers an eye-popping 72.4 million.
I get
Google: 30600 results
Bing: 3550 results
So 3555=72.4 million I guess...

A search for google-gate on Google even give some 23 million results, while only about 700 on Bing.

Sometime around then, in early December, Google began to minimize the Climategate scandal by hiding Climategate pages from its users. By Dec. 17, the number of climategate pages that a Google search found dropped by almost 10 million, to 22.2 million. One day later Google dropped its find by another 8 million pages, to 14.1 million. By Dec. 23, Google could find only 7.5 million hits and on Dec. 24 just 6 million. And yesterday, when I checked, Google reported a mere 1.8 million climategate pages.

Bing, in contrast, didn’t make climategate pages disappear. As you’d expect from a search engine that wasn’t manipulating data, search results on Bing climbed steadily until they peaked at around 51 million, where they have remained since.
Today I get:
Google: 2680000
Bing: 2280000

I also get "climategate" as the top suggested search after just typing "clim".
The top results except the Wikipedia article are calling global warming a scam. That Wikipedia show up on top at Google is rather usual. The fact that Wikipedia have redirected http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climategate to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_hacking_incident and hidden the original article is hardly Google's fault and the Wikipedia editorial wars is a whole different matter.

There are a understandably idiosyncrasies in Google's algorithms that can make weird things happen, they aren't so secretive about there algorithms without reason. It is cutting edge technology.
People are also actively trying to figure out and manipulate these algorithms constantly which can screw them up.

Google results are also personalised and localized.

The reason why Google would want to cover this up given in the article is also rather lame. Directors and executives have investments in green energy. You really think any risk of loss to Google high-ups would be smaller from Google playing censorship like they want with fully legal sites then the potential damage Climategate can cause any green energy projects?

Yahoo supposedly also have some idiosyncrasies concerning the search term climategate by the way. It sais "Did you mean: climate gate" which generates almost no results in comparison. This must be a global conspiracy of internet search providers and the green energy industry that seems probable...

There are also other reports a specific article has been suppressed. But it still shows up as result 11 for climategate to me.

There has been some fuss about this already it seems and I thought it best stop the nonsense. There are however real concerns about unethical filtering done by Google relating to legally questionable material. Maybe this can shed some light on that?

Further reading:

Skämta inte om att ni skall spränga saker på Facebook - då kommer polisen.
Thu, Jan 14 2010 4:22 PM

Jag snubblade över Bombhotade tentasal – av misstag i Götheborgske Spionen och tyckte den behövde lite uppmärksamhet även om den inte är helt färsk.

Han hade alltså sen på kvällen innan tentan full av tentaångest skrivit i sin Facebook status att han skulle bomba tentasalen.

Jag minns bestämt från min orienteringskurs i straffrätt att det skall finnas konkreta planer osv för att någon skall kunna fällas för sånt här. Nu fälldes han inte men grunden för att polisen skall bry sig är att det skall finnas ett brott. Att skämta om att man skall spränga saker är inte det, såvida vi inte fått en svensk Patriot Act sen jag läste den där kursen.
Är det någon som inte någon gång på skämt sagt att de skall bomba eller förstöra något de inte gillar?

Vad som är skrämmande i den här historien är inte bara att polisen visar sin fullständiga inkompetens genom att följa upp med att gripa personen ifråga utan även hur informationen öht hamnade hos polisen från början.

Övervaknings- och angiverisamhället är visst redan fast etablerat.

Google reevaluates China
Wed, Jan 13 2010 4:21 PM

Google announces a new approach to China.
That Google are unwilling to compromise about the freedom of the internet is most welcome news indeed. Google have exercised some censorship on google.ch since they launched. But with the increasing smackdown on the internet in China and attacks on Google's infrastructure, targeting Chinese human rights activists, Google say that unless they can operate a unfiltered service in China they will pull out.

Perhaps they will eventually say the same thing to the DMCA complaints ... that is probably too much to hope for. But at least we will be able to cry about it without having our protests filtered.

Tor and emerging darknet?
Mon, Jan 11 2010 4:19 PM

The Tor Project may still have several shortcoming that makes it somewhat impractical, but it is an amazing technology and it looks very promising as a technological guarantee for a free and uncensored internet.

Part of it is how easy Tor actually is to use. If you are running Firefox and install the Tor bundle you can toggle anonymous surfing instantly with the included Tor Button add-on, you don't have to do any fiddling with settings.

After recent developments in Iran as well as Chinas attack on free internet the people behind Tor seem to have collected a lot of information on how Tor is used to circumvent censorship and what problems there are.

They have added something called bridges which is basically a hidden non-public entry point to the network, they make it very difficult to block access to the Tor network (it would usually be done by blocking the public list of relays).

They also have something called hidden services now which I tested today and it was also surprisingly easy to use.
You can set up a web-server or any other form of service anonymously within the Tor network and not only access the internet but also publish to it anonymously.
Hidden services are only accessible from within the Tor network, but with the Tor Button active they work like any other URL for the client.

There are some issues with Tor, such as the poor latency and malicious exit nodes. It is also still vulnerable to various forms of traffic pattern analysis.
Exit nodes spying on your traffic can be pretty easily avoided by end-to-end encryption (like SSL). The others problems will take some more resources to solve, more bandwidth for relays in particular.

Still this kind of technology is a shining hope when the freedom of the internet seems to be under constant attack from governments all over the world.

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