19 Oct 2003
Heading out of Bangkok this morning, I came across this interesting article, which colored my perception of everything I had seen in the last few days. Apparently, in preparation for the APEC summit this week, Thailand has been doing a lot of “clean up” in Bangkok: beyond just sweeping the streets and rounding up stray dogs, they’ve been running the homeless out of town, threatening human rights activists, and allegedly committing “extrajudicial executions” in the name of a war on drugs. Unsettling.
Next item: I arrived in downtown Kuala Lumpur just a few hours ago, and am now sitting outside, in the shadow of the Petronas Towers. I was really looking forward to going up the tallest buiding in the world, but I am too late: as of this morning, they are no longer the tallest. A shame.
Third: by the end of the month, the FCC is going to make a ruling on the “broadcast flag” issue—they’re getting a lot of pressure from big media companies to endorse it. But it’s a bad idea, and those who agree should let the FCC know they think so. The EFF has some background on the issue. There are several reaons this is a bad idea. The most important is that it further erodes your ability for fair use of digital content. And even more troubling, it won’t be the government that’s reclaiming portions of your fair use potential, but the government will be handing that control to big business. In practice, that means some company like Time Warner will be able to dictate what your computer is allowed to do with media files, even if what you want to do is perfectly legal. It seems like an esoteric and far-off issue, but it would really be a bad deal. If you agree, I’d suggest taking a second to tell the FCC so. The EFF has a form letter that you can sign and automatically fax in, or write your own.