You may not be watching this blog, but this blog is watching you.
(Keep watching. Keeeeeeeeep watching... An old one, but refreshed by a recent post at BoingBoing.)
Am feeling somewhat alcoholled out. This is Saturday morning. This last week and a half have been non-stop, except for when it stopped, like Thursday - but then it started again. Friends in town, must-catch-up people caught up with, a friend jumping off the wagon after 2 months of waking up not feeling alcoholled out who needed a hand to hold as he tumbled... All of things require food and drink and heavy soialising in general.
Of the three kilograms I had lost in two months, two have been found and feted like the prodigious son. (Prodigal = prodigious, right?)
My stomach feels it is being scrubbed with steel-wool from the inside. I sense its revolt, black and green...
What is with DRM and patents and tethering bull-shit lately.
Then Apple sue Samsung for, cue the Dr Evil horizontal-pinkie-in-teeth expression, a billion dollars. They had the anti-trust temerity to make a rectangular smart-phone it seems, which goes against (speaking of inheritance) the late Steve Jobs express wishes.
Now we hear of a woman in Norway who bought an eBook from Amazon UK, allegedly (which means she did it) using a friend's account in England. Somehow she managed to get the book into Norway and read it on her own Kindle. Wrong on so many ways, correct? Fraud, theft(?), crossing a digital frontier without a valid eVisa.
So Amazon wiped her account, taking all her other LEGIT eBooks with it. She had paid real money for most of those unreal books, in apparently legal transactions, using her own cards, and now they are gone forever. It seems she broke those fine ePrint rules that they set (recollect all those boxes you click that ask if you've read their rules? - now you know what they are for), and it's bye-bye solid customer.
Those codes of conduct ain't just guidelines fellow readers.
But what gets me is that for an infringement on just one of the books she uploaded to read, she has to forfeit ALL her own (we would have thought) eTomes.
The equivalent action in non-virtual reality, would be her friend in England popping into a Waterstones, buying a real book and posting it to her in Norway, in exchange for quid pro liber. When Waterstones find out about this, they go to Norway and take back the book, as well as every other book she has ever bought, legally or otherwise, from them.
What the fuck?
Point being, we don't own anything any more. Over this digital frontier we are leasing everything, borrowing everything, holding everything we think we have for someone else. There is nothing of substance in the substance of the wires and cables and servers and power grids that make up the web. Or as they say in binary - "001010100101010110101110010101010010101010101001010001101100110010101001" ("I'll have my library back now, thanks.")
And I do own lots of stuff. In fact I own shitloads of stuff, shitloads of things, like books, particularly books. My books. Real books. Some of these books I had shipped over from Amazon UK and Amazon USA.
But I have a Kindle too. (Two actually: With one in a coma, I found a Paperwhite in Singapore - a "parallel" import.)
Now, while I can buy real books from Amazon USA or UK in Singapore, theoretically I can't buy eBooks from anywhere on my Amazon account because the Kindle eStore isn't available in Singapore.
So clever me gets my Amazonian eBooks through Kindle Australia on a different Amazon account, where my mother in Australia pays for them (whether she remembers agreeing to this or not, hey!) with her credit card. Thanks for the books for Christmas, mum. You have brilliant taste in literature!
Even when I am in Singapore, so long as I am logged in with that Amazon account, I can buy Kindle books - something I can't do with my Singaporean credit card account.
Now, if Amazon/Kindle find that this sort of nefarious ne'er-do-welling goes on in the E@L family, they could wipe my account (to say nothing of my mother's) and take back all those "legitimately" purchased eBooks away. Zap, woosh, gone, a cyber-fizzle and not even the smell of burning plastic to mourn their electronic virtual passing.
As they also might do for those Singaporeans who have set up a virtual credit card address in the USA (and someone did get caught, I recall...)
It just doesn't make sense. Legally (at least to me - they get their fucking money) and logically.
And the other thing is that they could be bothered doing this.
And the other other thing is they are losing potential future income by not allowing that Norwegian lass to buy books from them any more. Ha! If I were their lawyer I might sue her for opportunity loses - all the money Amazon don't make from her because they have stopped her from buying from them. Double whammy!
So if I (or she) can't buy legally from them anymore, what is my alternative? I still want to read the latest pot-belly-boilers, dan-vinci-thrillers, shady-gray-jillers and of course ponder the learned biographies of the great men and women of history. But what can I do if they won't let me? If Amazon call me a criminal for buying books from them, then hey *thinks*, if I don't buy from them at all, I am safe and legal, right?
So where, oh where, should I go to get my Kindle eBooks, eh? Anyone got any less illegal ideas?
I mean, Bezos, if you intend to call me a criminal for buying "legally" from you, you merely force me to become one.
Fuck DRM. Fuck stupidity.
Keep your eyes open, people: Don't blink: You are under surveillance.
(Newton MRT Station, Singapore)
[Drafted this last week - finally got around to getting the links together and putting it up! Sorry.]