bitcoin-bruteforce/LICENSE at master · AvalerionV/bitcoin ...

Blue Beelzebub (Final)

Link to Part 1
Link to Part 2
Mortaren’s appointment had left a slim window through which to prep. As a freelancer, I was free to travel across the country or the world for a story, so time off from work wasn’t an issue that vexed me. I opted to fly to Denver then drive I-25 to Walsenburg - a city to the east of the San Luis Valley and a spot my travels made familiar over the years. By week’s end, after a numbing but uneventful commute, I reached the comfort of my hotel days in advance - I wanted that buffer to breathe and to reconnoiter the site of our meeting.
The coordinates pointed to a site too remote for satellites to remap every year. Neither Google nor Bing ever sent cars there to photograph the area. The drive through US-350 was monotonous - mile after mile of farmland parched a uniform yellow. The only excitement, if such were the word, came from the prompts the GPS indicated which eventually took me onto a gravel road.
The route crossed a railroad. To my right was a farm. To my left was the overlook - a weathered and wizened hump of earth a geologist told me had been the remnants of a butte millions and millions of years prior. It stood by itself amid seas of grassy plains. A road lurched onto its peak; there the earth had been pressed into a level (and empty) lot. It felt like the safest place to stop, (hopefully), out of sight and out of mind.
My rented Wrangler was the sole vehicle at the overlook.
For a while I gazed westward. The sky was a vibrant shade of blue that smothered the distance. Across its haze I caught outlines of the Spanish Peaks. I let my eyes wander southward, toward that spot at the horizon where US-350 vanished into a point. I couldn’t see a car anywhere coming or going. A train roared as it approached from the side of the highway.
Eastward and below - at what I gauged may have been a spur of the historical Santa Fe trail, I noted the ruins that had drawn me onto that spot. It had escaped my eyes when I drove by it and then, then I realized why. It was at the top of the overlook that the effect was appreciable. The ruins, through the years, had been smothered to its roof by an orchard of junipers.
The ruin was that of a two-story house which had been built partially into the ground. I gawked at the style of it for it appeared so out of time, so out of place when compared to the architecture typical of the area around La Junta. The closest match was Spanish Colonial. The eeriest aspect of it was that in spite of the juniper’s swallowing it, it didn’t look like it had been abandoned for any lengthy period of time.
I approached the door - a slab of wood impressively resilient to weather - and stuck my head into the shadow beyond its yawning threshold. Its walls were tagged with an eclectic mixture of symbology, some of it Satanic, some of it native. Others defied my erudition.
As I grew bold enough to enter, my advance was stopped by a voice.
“Yeah, figured you’d check it out.”
“Mortaren?” I turned to face the orchard, whose miasma cloaked the figure. “Wanted to see it for myself. Doesn’t strike me as a place to stash a server.”
Mortaren, my erstwhile host, stepped out of the enshadowment and joined my stance at the door’s threshold. I sensed by the immediate familiarity he conveyed to the structure that he wasn’t a stranger to its curiosity. I followed into the abode and almost immediately choked at a waft of putrefaction - urine and feces from sources unknown. Squatters - or worse - I started to suspect may have sought the refuge of its confines. Still, Mortaren was not concerned.
Nor was he curious about the freshly-minted tools strewn about the rubble. Gear that I recognized from my years of hiking had been folded into the mess as if to disguise it. I detected, too, the odor of gasoline - faintly and sublimely - as if it were a suggestion stirred by the train that passed by.
“It hasn’t been a residence since the seventies.”
“Well if that’s so, it’s a mix-up.”
“No! Little of the sort, bub, this,” he said of it, swinging a finger around his head toward the upstairs, “this is the spot. Everything that happened, happened here. All of that was filmed where we stand. ZuZu or whomever they worked for, they chose this site not for the way it looked outside but inside. Then ZuZu embedded those clips of it into the code.”
“Is it booby trapped?”
“In a manner of speaking.”
We worked past the foyer and the library that followed it. We walked: Mortaren at the front and I at the back. Could it be doubted anymore? My host splayed intimate knowledge of the abode which could have come only from a personal investigation. How many times had he stopped by? Perhaps he more than stopped by? Perhaps he more than investigated.
We entered a wide, tall hallway and paused. The chamber was pitch except for a window at the apex of the stairs which blasted a square-shaped spotlight onto the floor at our feet. Behind us the hallway emptied into a kitchen. Light that filtered through its windows lent it a vibrant, green glow. A glow that came from the vegetation clogging that chamber. I noted flickering, whistling lights like fluorescents out of view but not of earshot.
Mortaren refused my help to unroll a tarp; “touch nothing, nothing - don’t leave a print anywhere, kiddo, you gotta trust me, OK”. He revealed a set of tools: pliers, machetes, rakes, and a crowbar. My host took the crowbar and aimed it at the stairs. “Let me give you a word of warning - if you insist you want that game - alright more, more than a word. Yes - I got it. And I’m far from the only sucker, let me say. I suggest, whatever you do, you don’t ever install it, you don’t ever play it, you don’t even stick it into a drive that autoplays, OK?”
We ascended; the stairs were droopy and I struggled to stay upright.
“Not saying that ‘cause of what it’ll do to your rig - you know what it’ll do, I don’t need to tell you what it’ll do. It’s the sort of stuff that’ll bring the FBI to your door faster than you can say Blue Beelzebub. No, damn it, it’s how that abomination tears into your soul. It’ll compromise you and that’s intentional not accidental. It wants to beat you into submission. The fear - that you’ll be found, that you’ll be trapped - imagine every day, every day thinking ‘today’s the day it happens’. It took a year to convince the FBI I didn’t know what that game was about and then it was too late to save my arse.”
Upstairs, my host drew my steps into a chamber whose walls were a faded memory of yellow. Cracks formed like veins running the heights of the walls. The reek of corruption, like that of decay, attacked us fiercely. A hum issued out of the air; it was strongest at the center where the rug that cloaked the floor bulged.
Mortaren applied a streak of coroner’s salve to his upper lip. I added a dab to my face. My host insisted I should be thorough; so I complied.
The chamber was a formal salon, a pit of “opulence and decadence” for the 70s. Furniture lay scattered to rot. An armoire, as tall as the salon, waited at the far end with its doors wide, agape almost like arms outstretched to greet us. It, like the rest of the furniture, soaked the elements and charred into onyx as if burned. Slowly my eyes accustomed to the ambiance and as such I grew cognizant of a trove of esoteric details. Books strewn about. Mounds of salt. Blobs of candles. Pentagrams. All of that competed head-to-head with the scratches etched into the walls.
I found a fingernail embedded into those scratches....
“After I posted the demo, a fan - let’s say they were a fan - contacted my office about it. They offered assistance and I, reluctantly out of curiosity - I complied. I sent them copies of the game. That was my downfall, kiddo.” He stopped to take a breath. “Imagine it. The stuff of nightmares that destroys a man’s life fits so perfectly into a pair of three point five inch floppies. Well, that fan reverse-engineered the executable. Dude sent everything right back to my house with a stack of paper. Never heard of them again. I assumed they were the first to contact the FBI. Can’t blame ‘em.”
Mortaren pointed to the rug that spanned the floor.
“Is that hum under the floor?” I asked - he nodded.
“The sound isn’t from the server, though.” Mortaren lifted the corner of the rug with the crowbar. We cleared the furniture and rolled away the carpet. It decomposed into rubble just by touching it as we did. “It’s a crazy layout. The house was built over a shaft. This room it’s, it’s right over that shaft. The hum comes from the way air works through it.”
“So ... the server is real and it’s here?”
My host nodded; “The game’s cloak and dagger - a virus that turns your rig into a zombie. You work for them, now, now, you’re part of something worse than anything you imagine. The events that created this mess, this wreck that you see - it was filmed right where we stand. ZuZu transferred the footage to AVI clips and used it to create the maze’s layout and texture. My fan, when they broke apart the game, they found the clips embedded right into the code and I had to watch ‘em, didn’t I? I had to watch ‘em. Look, it’s not over, OK. The ritual they started, it doesn’t end, it doesn’t, ever, end.”
I dared not ask what kind of ritual it was. The gaze of his eyes as they relived the video spoke volumes. His whole entire body shook as if the violation were fresh.
“I tell you the strangest part of this business. The people who started it, they’re a crazy kooky sex cult out of NAZI Germany. Yeah, they used Crawley’s sex-magik. They never touched kids, though. It wasn’t about the Cheese Pizza for ‘em. But the Chinese Sandwich wasn’t any better.”
We walked into the center of the salon, to a spot where the rug had bulged. Removed, we saw what it was. A circle had been drilled into the wood and plugged by plate like a manhole.
Mortaren lodged the crowbar into the crack at the circumference of the plate.
“You’ll never get it until you see it from their perspective. Twisted as it is. You gotta see it through their eyes. The game exists to re-create the ritual - to recreate the ritual and make you part of it. Simply by watching it, by playing it, you get tainted and that by itself makes you part of it. Damn it.” He tapped the crowbar to the plate that refused to budge. “Haven’t I tried? It’s not enough, is it? Am I too old, at the end? The server.... It’s at the end of the shaft, a hundred feet below. I donno how it’s powered. Maybe it’s geothermal? I donno. It’s there, idling, watching and waiting for a signal to awaken. It’s what sustains the game and the spreads the ritual. It’s the heart of the beast.”
Cheese Pizza and Chinese Sandwich, to those not aware of 4CHAN and its vernacular, is code for ‘Child Pornography’ and ‘Child Snuff’, respectively. ZuZu and LVN used the dog-whistles of their day to advertize the game to a certain clientele. But the cult that bankrolled Blue Beelzebub abhorred the former as it embraced the latter. And the game itself contained tedious 90s shock - glimpses of death and its like - it never showed the goods, so to speak.
The CD contained the augmented DOS the game installed as well as a thorough, documented unraveling of the game itself. Mortaren’s fan discovered and saved BMPs and AVIs that had been embedded into the code. I slipped that CD into a drive and scanned its contents with my virus and malware checkers. Not a single program detected a problem. Given the sizes of the files, though, I found it disconcerting that my checkers took minutes to complete.
Mortaren’s fan had placed their deconstruction of the game’s executable into a ZIP folder. The majority of it consisted of code that they converted from binary to ML to C. It was fascinating to gawk as the code which appeared so professional. Yet, as C was not a strength of mine, I found it vague and cryptic overall.
I dug into the multi-media directory and extracted images and clips that had been stored there. Saved to my laptop, I selected the largest AVI and played it. That film, whose sights and sounds were equally vivid and jittery, oozed the impression of an 8 mm production. It had been subbed in German and I (mostly) followed it.
Mortaren got it right - the clip had been filmed at the house by US-350, specifically, at its salon. I paused to check the layout and compare it to my notes of how I found the furniture and the other, macabre ancillary. Amazingly, decades after the fact, everything matched.
The clip itself comprised a continuous stream formed of what had to have been a sequence of shorter segments:
1irst Segment:
At a couch sit three women - an older, frailer matron flanked by younger versions of herself. They chat with the cameraman (I assume).
2econd Segment:
The matron walks out of the frame and the cameraman pans to the opposite side of the salon where a man approaches the couch. The man is dressed in a style similar to that of Crowley’s regalia - decked head to toe with shades of violet and onyx. The magik-man approaches the couch with the women and offers them leis that they take and wear.
3hird Segment:
The matron reappears, followed by a pair of Amazonian-like natives - they were naked but their bodies were painted. The lei’ed women at the couch rise as the matron introduces them to the natives. It’s at that juncture that the cameraman reveals the women, too, have been painted. Neither men’s or women’s paints are native-like; rather, the runes are straight out of Thelema.
4ourth Segment:
The magik-man sits at the rug between a pair of circumscribed pentagrams. The magik-man lights a roll of sage (?) - the lack definition masks the identity of the object. Smoke billows out of it as he waves it over the pentagrams. The matron sets lights and sets six candles - three to the left and three to the right of the magik-man.
5ifth Segment:
The cameraman drifts down and to the left, down and to the left, down and to the left, to reveal the orgy. Painted men and women are paired and writhe about the pentagrams. The males lay with their backs to the floor and their heads crowned by the candles. The females lay atop the males. Their limbs intertwine. Their bodies contort. All to the rhythm of the magik-man beats into a drum.
6ixth Segment:
The matron, naked and painted, sits in front of the magik-man and extends a chalice.
7eventh Segment:
The magik-man pours the content of the chalice onto a loaf of bread. The cameraman zooms into that bread - it is shaped like a baby. At that instant the hands of the males and the females, their paint smeared and mingled post-orgy, reach onto the bread and yank it into four-quarters. They eat the bread.
8ighth Segment:
The magik and camera men remain at the salon; it’s night, it’s lit by torches.
They peel away the rug and reveal a circular portal into a shaft.
For a while the magik-man speaks to the cameraman. Subtitles state: “we consecrate the well - are you ready to see it again - to see it as it is enlivened by the spirit of [REDACTED] spurred by the ritual - are you ready - do you think you are ready”, then, “it looks like a hundred feet”, then, “as if a hundred feet were enough”.
9inth Segment:
The bulk of the video consists of the exploration of the mine at the base of the shaft. The magik-man takes turns, sometimes leading, sometimes lagging, always speaking although the German is not translated throughout this segment.
The pair reaches a part of the maze that collapsed. Although their posture is merely suggested by the aim of the camera, the pause and the silence that follows indicate that they are not ready for the obstacle and so struggle to clear a way through it. The viewer notes by the appearance of their hand that the cameraman is at last captured by their own footage.
The pair works through the collapse and discovers a vast, circular chamber.
The chamber is lit, awash by an eerie, hazy blue light. A crack crazes across the chamber. The light filters through that crack. The cameraman savors the chamber - it’s adorned like the salon; it’s a site where the cult practices its rituals. The cameraman sweeps toward the crack, prompted by a sound that startles the magik-man.
The cameraman zooms into the crack - it’s like a well, filled to the brim with water. It’s almost like an abyss, it sinks on and on hundreds if not thousands of feet; the limitations imposed by the film and the pixilation cannot do the reality any justice.
The water is upsettingly transparent through and through - and straight into the blur of light at whereever its bottom lay.
As the magik-man speaks off-screen and the cameraman continues their zoom, it’s apparent that there are things, things of a sort not floating but swimming through the water.
I scream as the view jostles - it is not a jump or a cut, though, it is the cameraman’s shake. Whoever it is that films that site, they had been startled by movement elsewhere. As the camera’s view twists to the side, it pans by where the magik-man stands and captures a glimpse, just, a glimpse of something that had been standing at the other side of the chasm right as it jumps into the water.
The house off US-350 loomed abandoned in appearance only. Nobody occupied it since the 70s; however, it was not derelict. County records verified that its owners - Ache Industrias, SA - paid its taxes year after year. Ache Industrias, named for a tribe of South American natives, was a company from Paraguay famous for its advances (and patents) re: GMOs. They were a partner to Monsanto but not as known outside of agriculture. Ache Industrias owned that house and the farms that engulfed it; a total of 500 acres.
BM: “Word is that the company wants to use this land for research.
“A lobby out of Denver, that represents a lot of cattlemen, filed a lawsuit working its way into the Supreme Court at this rate.” Farmers and ranchers who would be, effectively, neighbors, sharing their grazing rights of the nearby Comanche Grasslands objected to the idea, fearing the consequences to their business if their livestock mixed with the GMO livestock.
“Meanwhile the acreage isn’t dormant; it’s rented and reaps a lot of profit from royalties.”
Ache Industrias wasn’t the first owners, or, as it should be stated, wasn’t the first incarnation of the first owners.
BM: “An occultist, Straniak, was its proprietor of record according to my contacts from Brazil.”
Straniak, in partnership with two other expatriated Germans, formed a company c. 1930 then known as Straniak-West. Although the exact nature of Straniak-West wasn’t advertised, it’s suspected that they profited from the Chaco War and the partners became wealthy in spite of the Great Depression (which had been a world-wide phenomenon). As Europe verged into WWII, Straniak-West changed its moniker to Ache Industrias c. 1940. Around the tail end of 1941 the partners bought a thousand acres around the La Junta area; about half of the original estate was shed through the years.
BM: “Straniak and cohorts summered at their Colorado estate. Right up until they started to rent the land, the house had been the estates only, permanent structure. They used its solitude to mask their rituals.”
The cult / company was especially fond of that house and guarded its secrets.
Mortaren, as an aficionado of the occult, a passion that spurred him to review games of that genre, became aware of Aleister Crowley and the Thules, chieftains of bizarro early 20th mysticism, strands of which wormed their way into the works of Lovecraft, Blackwood, and a slew of other writers.
Straniak, and allies, German mystics intimately linked to the Thules, “a society with their own weird take on Aryanism” whose forays into sex-magik, blood-magik, and sacrifices made them too extreme even for the NAZIs.
“He fled to South America before Hitler, if you believe that sort of stuff.”
The house wasn’t built by Straniak and Co, though. It already existed by the time they hired a crew to survey their property c. 1933.
That area of Colorado had see-sawed between Spain and France before it was ceded to the US after the Mexican-American. Records from two centuries ago were hard to come by. Historians were reduced to combing through diaries and correspondences, however, the ephemera revealed a portion of history that otherwise had been lost.
The house used to be part of a hacienda granted to a patron of great wealth. Disagreements arose re: their identity as the sources used to piecemeal the history were themselves uncertain if the figure was American / English or French. Nevertheless, they built an extensive estate c. 1792. The house used to be larger; an earthquake c. 1820 reduced it more or less to the dimensions that Straniak & Co. found it.
What probably enticed the occultist crew was what legends claimed had been revealed after the earthquake. Namely - that the house had been erected over a mine from prehistory. The earthquake, as it leveled the house, revealed a shaft into that mine – which so happened to contain gold. Tthe patron used its revenue to rebuild the house - albeit to modest proportions - with the novelty that the house hid or capped the entrance into the mine.
BM: “The cavity underfoot itself isn’t the end-all and be-all. The cult was attracted to something else, something else not connected to wealth. Is it a portal into another realm? I donno what but it called to them and they poured resources into it.
“They recorded all of their rituals; the climax of which, which became Blue Beelzebub, if my timeline’s correct, matches an earthquake in 1983. It wasn’t much of an earthquake but it explains part of the video. It ripped a gash through the system. The server’s got to be inside that chasm, drawing power from geothermal. A system designed to work for ages without intervention while their poison spreads through the internet. Ah, but it won’t be there for long, I promise you.”
Night cloaked the house as we descended its rickety, tilted staircase. It felt as if the structure somehow, someway gained a sort of sentience after decades of mysticism echoed through its confines. I fancied it understood Mortaren’s intentions and shook at the foreknowledge.
If it goes, won’t that destroy the evidence? What about the crimes they committed? Won’t they go unpunished?
BM: “Altruism, don’t deny it, kiddo.”
My erstwhile host was adamant about their business and refuted my pleas to reason otherwise.
By destroying the house, they claimed, they would be saving lives, lives yet to be taken.
BM: “Kiddo, you’re talking about people, people who will never be punished never, never, never be punished for anything. Blue Beelzebub, it’s just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. And you know it. It’s always like that. They regroup and reorganize. But they took me down. And I’m gonna take this much, this much if anything away from them. Mark my words, they’ll imagine another way to entrap kids and spread their filth. And that’s where you and those like you continue what I start tonight.”
A stark midnight moon loomed to the south west over the jagged peaks of the Sangre De Cristos. There wasn’t a cloud to mar the sky. Crisp, summery wind stirred a floral scent about the air, then it faded, driven away to the ether by a tide of gasoline then of a char / smoke. I drove by the orchard where I noted how the orange escaped the house. It almost looked like a face, a skeletal face, buried into the junipers. I waved. Maybe the gesture was or wasn’t returned. I didn’t stay.
That was the last I saw of Bobby Mortaren.
I dismantled the laptops’ HDDs; I scraped the platters then I applied a welder’s torch to them, fusing them, melting them, obliterating any trace what so ever of the data they contained. Later I shredded the floppies and the CD and the papers. For all I knew those may have been the last, extant copies of Blue Beelzebub.
My paying job resumed its malaise although I noted that my contacts with the FBI waned. Then my editors shuffled my workload. Cases I had been assigned to were re-directed elsewhere. Leads dried. I was shunned more and more. I could not help but recognize a familiarity to the pattern - to the way I was being isolated and overshadowed. I tried to squash the paranoia that may have transferred to me as I entertained the notion of starting yet another career.
Little had been reported about the explosion south of Timpas that night.
I eked out a single article about the decline and fall of bitcoin. After that I put my thoughts together to form this record of my dealings with Blue Beelzebub. Partly to settle the history of it - as much of it as I understood. Partly to form a defense. I wanted to be transparent; there’s such scant cover for journalists nowadays.
Earlier I received a call from a woman, a former FBI agent who claimed they owed me a favor.
They warned that “I had been flagged by an anti-virus software vendor that works with the government”. Apparently, the anti-virus / malware scan had detected a rare item and reported it to the vendor’s server for analysis. That’s how the NSA discovered “the executable” with “embedded content” that “raised eyebrows”. It wasn’t just the government that started to investigate Blue Beelzebub, they continued, “a third party, a cryptic South American outfit”, long suspected of trafficking and exploiting minors, “sparked a lot of chatter across the deep-web about you. You got enemies, son, lots and lots of enemies.”
I didn’t know of any FBI agent, current and / or former who “owed me a favor”. I stated that in fact I had received a couple of floppies from a source familiar with the game. Naturally, I scanned the media. “I couldn’t get the program to work properly. It needs DOS and there aren’t too many PCs like it anymore. I destroyed all of that ‘cause it gave me the creeps.”
It wasn’t entirely a lie.
submitted by 0fruitjack0 to nosleep [link] [comments]

Any theories on possible nefarious purposes behind BlockSteams Defensive Patent License pledge?

BlockStream seems to approach their work in the Bitcoin space as a chess game. Every decision they make usually ties into a overall strategy of eventually being a keystone in the industry so they are critical in the ecosystem.
Their patent strategy seems uncharacteristically friendly at first glance but my observations of their typical practices make me wary of anything they do that they claim is charitable.
They currently don't have any patents (as a corporation, but some of their employees might have patents themselves) but they say they are going to work with others on building a defensive patent pool.
The use of the Innovator's Patent Agreement would allow patent holders in that pool give licenses to patents individually if Blockstream ever uses the patents for anything other than defensively.
Perhaps I'm just being too paranoid, but does anyone see any secret loopholes? Any indication of potential nefarious plans?
I've thought about, but initially ruled out the following scenarios:
Am I tilting against windmills? Any real threats or are any of the ones they try to explain away in their FAQ still actual threats?
submitted by DeftNerd to btc [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: I'm Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party and subsequent author of "Swarmwise: the tactical manual to changing the world". AMA.

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-10-21
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
American here. A sizable group of us believe that copyright and patent law in America has grown completely out of control. However, most of us would also agree that it is still important for creators to have some window of protection over their creations. So my question is: What form of copyright and patent protection would you like to see established in the future? If you could single-handedly write the law, what would it look like? The more I look at patent monopolies and copyright monopolies and their respective effects, the more I dislike them. The effect always turns out to be the strong opposite to the one claimed (i.e., the framework does not protect the creatoinventor at all, but only the big incumbents who can afford a bigger lawsuit war chest). If I were to write the law entirely myself for a small nation, I'd scrap both of them completely and set up a research/creativity haven. In some 15-20 years, practically all patents monopolies filed in other countries would be a result of research in that country, as - this is important to get - research would not be illegal there. However, I'm not writing the law myself so it's important to be realistic. Shorter-term, I think copyright monopoly law can be scaled back to cover a commercial-only monopoly of 20 years from publication with DRM banned as fraud. When I say "commercial-only", I mean that noncommercial sharing of knowledge and culture should be not just legal, but encouraged. (Patents should still go, though, but it takes longer to explain why to the public at large: unlike with the copyright monopolies, they are not as directly affected - unless you count the millions in the third world who die due to lack of medicine, but they never counted in Western policymaking, sadly)
Could you elaborate more on the research/creativity safe haven? How would this be done? Today, patent and copyright monopolies have the effect that inventing and creating is illegal in most cases. If I could write the laws myself in a reasonably small, reasonably technically literate country, it would be great to create such a haven.
Do you have an essay or an article on this specific point? It's still a bit vague. Edit: grammar. I don't, but I'll make a note to write an article about it and ping you when I've done so.
Cheers, Rick.
Mind putting whatever you write somewhere visible? Many are interested. I'm publishing at as public domain, meaning you could freely republish it anywhere you liked. Is that satisfactory?
Cheers, Rick
How have your political views changed over the last 20 years? 3 years? This year? In general, my views and values have stayed the same (defend freedoms of speech, expression, assembly, and the press; defend the right and duty to share culture and knowledge) but the urgency of defending them has increased with the backlash from the establishment against their loss of power.
I've also come to start favoring a Universal Basic Income as a replacement for all current social safety nets.
But most importantly, I've grown increasingly cynical about the way the world works, the deeper I have gone down the rabbit hole. In essence, the big incumbent economic interests are writing our laws, and I didn't think it was that bad.
We need to return power to the people. In order to be able to do that, we need to defend the freedoms of speech, opinion, and assembly provided by a free, untracked, and uncensored net.
Re: Universal Basic Income (UBI): there's an ongoing European citizens' initiative for basic income which needs a million signatures until 14.01.2013 - 28 countries, including Sweden, are collecting signatures right now and when we succeed, the European Commission has an obligation to organize a public discussion about it in the EU parliament. We have a chance to speed things up regarding the implementation of UBI in Europe. We could appreciate any help with promoting the initiative. An endorsement from a known person such as you would help us a great deal. Would you be willing to endorse us? I'll take a look at it. In the meantime, link to it in your post here?
Won't a universal basic income drive the cost of goods up over time such that the income will be too small to really be effective? Just like how printing more money lowers it's value, rather than giving you more spending power? Well, we effectively already have a minimum income with all our social safety nets (nobody needs to starve). This would be a simplification.
Link to Thanks, I'll take a look at it (but having grown a bit cynical about how the world actually works, I doubt I'd be surprised).
If you really want to head down the rabbit hole, here's a great interview with a former World Bank lawyer, and corruption whistleblower. Cheers, Rick.
Have you read Heinlein's "For us, the living"? There's a focus on a similar economic framework if I remember correctly. I haven't. Heinlein used to be one of my favorite authors while I still allowed myself the time and enjoyment of reading fiction, so I thank you for the tip, and add it to my list of things to look at (and hopefully get around to)!
Cheers, Rick
In your opinion, what's the biggest threat to a free and open Internet (i.e. not controlled/blocked by a government), today and in the future? People and industries that, for some reason, don't like when everybody has the power to speak and express themselves freely without centralized control. (EDIT/ADD: Looking at history, this has always been the key to power - the ability to speak and reach a large audience; the ability to interpret reality. It's basically the #1 power from which all other powers stem.)
This particularly includes the copyright industry, the cable TV industry, the telco industry, and every politician that has ever wanted to control public opinion.
In general, the incumbent industries that claim to embrace the internet are not to be trusted on that matter.
Do you worry that calling your party "The Pirate Party" might be a marketing blunder? Did you use the word "Pirate" to attract a certain type of person or to project a certain image to the masses? Link to (longer)
Link to (shorter)
Cheers, Rick
Are you still invested in bitcoin? If yes, how many % of your original "all in" at $10 do you have left? I originally went all in at $7, went out at the same price on the way down, and went back all in at about $3. I've done extensive (bad) trading, and don't have my entire initial position, and far from enough to make me financially independent, but still a substantial amount (more than a year's average net pay, to give a ballpark number).
I'm currently all in.
How secure do you feel about your investment now with all the events regarding bitcoin this past year? Most recent of these being the recent closure of silkroad and the Chinese search giant Baidu accepting bitcoin for some services. Disclosure: I own some coins. I follow developments on an hour-by-hour basis, and one of my screens is constantly showing Link to
Wait a minute. Yes, that's me. I made a couple of bad assumptions in that piece, and learned a lot from the comments.
Weren't you the one who wrote that long idiotic piece about how way overvalued BTC was only about 2 mo ago? That's one of my primary modus operandi - put a stake in the ground and go from there.
and went back all in at about $3. On the way up, or down? Doesn't really matter now, but on the way up after the bottoming-out at $2ish.
Like Piper67, it was your 2011 article that got me to move all my savings (just savings, not retirement investments) into bitcoin. Thanks for that! I'm happy you read my thoughts in that article and are now quite rich as a result!
Cheers, Rick
Nobody makes the first jump. Very true. Trading is a brutal game.
Where do you see bitcoin/cryptocurrency in general going in the next 5-10-100 years? Bitcoin is going to do to banks, what email did to the postal system. (The first time I sent the value of a cup of coffee to a friend in India on a Sunday, and they had the money instantly, with nobody but me and them seeing the transaction went to them at all, was an absolute blowaway. It was a frogleap 40 years into the future from where the banks have been holding us. They don't stand a chance.)
When did you realize you prefered polyamorous relationships? What are your biggest reasons? When did you realize you were homo-, bi- or heterosexual? It's an orientation, not something you choose.
I have never been jealous, and I have never understood the sentiment. If I would go out with my gf some night, and she'd meet a man while we were at a party together and go home with him, and come back by lunchtime the next day - she'd be shining happy as the sun itself. Assuming I care about her and love her, I absolutely enjoy when she's happy. I don't see a problem. I see reasons to celebrate that somebody I care about is happy. (Note that this is not a theoretical scenario; this has happened.)
It was much later in life that I learned that most people react with resentment that their loved one is happy in this situation, and I have never been able to relate to this, only to learn it at a purely rational level.
EDIT: Actually, let me add a bit of gleeful anecdote here.
When I was living with one of my serious exes a while back, an ex who was equally polyamorous, we'd sometimes bring home one night stands and sleep in the guest room with them. When she did so, and I fixed breakfast the next morning for the three of us, the guy she'd brought home (being introduced to me as the bf she lived with) was almost always unable to deal with the situation as I happily made breakfast for all of us. They just didn't know how to act or react, they had never been in that situation, they were utterly confused. It was hilarious. :)
You mirror my sentiments. What a relief that there are several of us out there. It took me a long time to realize I wasn't alone in this. Check out polyamorous communities.
Because that says you have no desire for power over another person. Wow, I just love you man! Edit: You don't want to rule them, you want to help them. Wow. I don't know what to say to that. Thanks, you almost make me blush! (Edit:) Thinking about it, Swarmwise is full of that very philosophy - that you hold no real power to command any other human being, and can only lead by inspiring them, now that you mention it.
Well I definitely appreciate it! I have followed your work and was really excited when I saw you were doing an AMA, but did not expect random, off-topic questions to be answered. So thanks again! Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate them!
EDIT - also, congratulations on your cake day!
Your reaction when the Icelandic Pirate Party managed to get 4 people into the Icelandic parliament? Three, but still a major achievement.
I was in Reykjavik for the election party - I always try to be present when the movement expects a major victory, just to re-live that amazing election victory night of 2009 when we were elected to the European Parliament. (Seriously, it was the memory of a lifetime. That's a cliché, but that night lives up to it.)
I had a couple of beers with the Icelandic crew, did a writeup on the victory in the night, and went back to my hotel extremely happy.
The election night was a serious cliffhanger - the party failed a technical threshold right after I had fallen asleep that night, going from three to zero seats, and came back on the right side of that technicality just before I woke back up. So I had been happily asleep while all the nail biting had taken place, and my victory article turned out to be far premature, but correct in the end anyway. :)
Iceland was a great case of getting elected on the national level. Meeting the future MPs before their election was equally great.
Cheers, Rick.
Thanks for the respond and thank you for correcting me, thought they had four. It's possible and probable that her being previously known contributed to the election success of PPIS [Pirate Party Iceland].
But on another note, how much of an impact do you think Birgitta Jónsdóttir has on the Pirate party? Shes is heavily criticized in Iceland for being a nut-job, rude and to much "everything is evil except me"-kind of attitude which I find absurd. And having that attitude - being prepared to piss off your colleagues in parliament to do the right thing with the people - can easily get the prerequisite 5% if you do it visibly enough and reasonably often. It's a stand most representatives would never take.
What are your thoughts on the war on drugs? One of the worst humanitarian disasters in policymaking of the 20th century. You'd think people learned something from the U.S. Prohibition of alcohol.
A history professor somewhere in my information flow said that it's easy to predict the future - it's only a matter of looking at what mistakes people have always made and predict they'll keep being repeated over and over.
To wit, look at when coffee was banned in Sweden and was claimed to be a gateway drug to heavier drug use [in this case alcohol].
Link to
Cheers, Rick
What do you think is the biggest challenge to those in the U.S. trying to establish and brand a pirate party? Any tips/tricks for organizing? The first-past-the-post system, in my mind, is the biggest challenge. The Swedish Pirate Party was founded, as I describe in Swarmwise, with the estimate that you could get 225,000 votes, and Sweden has a proportional system. (The math would turn out to be remarkably spot on - we got 225,915 votes in the European elections of 2009.)
A proportional election system means that if you get 5% of the votes at the national level, you get 5% of the seats at the national level. In turn, this means that 19 out of 20 people can hate you, and you still win.
In other words, you can and should take big risks to gain visibility in such a system.
In a first-past-the-post system, you need the most votes in a particular geographic area to become that area's representative. Assuming you enter as a third party and the other two parties are of approximately equal strength, that means you must get 34% of the votes somewhere to get a single seat, compared to 5% nationwide for 5% of the seats.
It's a different ballgame completely.
That said, it can still be done, primarily by recruiting previous non-voters, but it needs to be done with a tenacious eye for the goal and a seriously long-term planning - having run the numbers for the US, I estimate that you'd need about 20% of the votes of the eligible electorate. Looking at the PP numbers from elsewhere, that's doable, but in a 10- or 15-year perspective.
People living inside the system may find ways that I haven't, of course.
Cheers, Rick.
The tips and tricks would be in Swarmwise.
The biggest challenge would be the first-past-the-post election system. It's easier in a proportional system.
What are the best arguments to use when people claim that copying is theft? Link to
You may want to avoid the argument about what the lawbooks look like, though. It can be debated, and you don't want to go down that marsh as the point is to change the lawbooks.
In short - it's exercising control over your property when you manufacture copies that can be regarded as theft; manufacturing something using your own property (network equipment, computer, storage) was never theft.
Link to
Cheers, Rick.
This example would be more like if a person made a documentary costing a million dollars and another person also made a documentary about the same subject, I don't think that is really what Tornada was suggesting. Link to
I am interested in the pirate party and I think that a free internet is vital but I am still not sold on this argument. Would you help me out by explaining the party's logic again? Cheers, Rick
Imagine you spent time and energy starting the Pirate Party. And then, I come along and also also start a Pirate Party, stealing votes therefore ruining your entire investment! Well, a lot of people have done exactly this, so it doesn't really work well as an argument to demonstrate some kind of immorality...
Cheers, Rick.
American here. I contend, like Al Franken and others, that money in our politics is a basic flaw that should be fixed. You only spent $50,000 to get your people elected. I would call that proof positive that publicly funded elections can get people who deserve to be in office in to office. How do we go about getting money out of our politics? Or, in your opinion, should we get money out of politics as a first step towards balancing our government? Finally, are you concerned the tactics in Swarmwise could be used nefariously(or used to get terrible people like the Tea Party elected)? Yes, from what I've understood of the U.S. system, it's very biased toward people with money. However - and this is equally important - this is due to how campaigns have always been run, and the until-now criticalness of TV ads, which are horribly expensive. As for the €50,000 - it's important to realize that those were not public funds. They were small donations from what students had left over at the end of the month. Once you're in office or have a near-office election result, you get public funding for the next election, but for your first, you get nothing. So we had €50k against the incumbents' €6M, which were a lot from public funding (and donations). If you want money out of politics, you need to put politicians' jobs on the line over the issue. They're not going to make that happen voluntarily. However, I feel I have demonstrated that results can be achieved without having access to war chests. I speculated a bit about the possibility of using swarm tactics to spread a hate message, but I sincerely doubt it would work - the swarm organization is optimized for speed, trust, and scalability. You can't have a message of distrust and simultaneously build the org on trust; it would most likely take on its own external values and fall apart in internal turf piss fights.
Thank you for coming here and doing this. As for electing terrible people, I don't think the Tea Party see themselves as terrible. Initially, at least as I understand it, they were U.S. Constitutionalists, diehard about freedom of speech and so on, but naïve enough to let themselves be hijacked by corporate interests. This may be wrong in full or in part, but it's my understanding.
Hi the Freshmaker, thanks for the kind words!
Does it help the artists as much as it claims? Further, it doesn't help artists one bit. Remember that the record labels have never been on the artists' side.
Do you feel it legitimize piracy in Sweden? The blank media levy doesn't really legitimize piracy, though. Sharing knowledge and culture never needed legitimization or justification. Preventing somebody from accessing knowledge does.
What do you think about voluntaryism? I don't think it's feasible to argue for a dismantling of governments at this stage. It's much too far out on the Overton window, even if I did like it.
I'm more of a tactician - I choose short-term goals that cause progress toward my long-term goals. Obviously, getting elected to office assumes the existence of a parliamentary democracy.
Cheers, Rick.
What should be the first step (apart from buying your book of course :P) I should take in order to make change in my world? You don't need to buy the book, you can download Swarmwise for free at Link to - go there first :)
The first thing you should decide on is exactly what you want to change or accomplish. Be laser focused. The second thing you should do is figure out how many people you'd need to be a part of your goal to make it happen.
Then, do it. :)
Cheers, Rick
Hi Rick, I see you're a redditor for a while now, whats your favorite subreddit(s)? technology, /science, /funny, and /bitcoinmarkets, I think.
EDIT: removed /gonewild from the original list as some seem to have not taken the response seriously (the comment is hidden by default) - but this is an AMA, after all; I place value in responding candidly to the questions.
What about /Sweden and /svenskpolitik? Do you spend any time there? Not really - the Swedish political scene is for my successor(s) to deal with; as a former party leader, I should not intervene in how they're doing their job.
Cheers, Rick
Are you of the opinion that global change is possible or even desired? And on what scale? Global change is absolutely both possible and desired. I describe in Swarmwise how to accomplish it. One obstacle is that a swarm of people who set out to change the world must have a razor-sharp focus in order to succeed.
Nobody can change everything, but everybody can change something.
Also, there is a saying: "Politics is the art of making people agree to change something all for their own reasons." That last part is very important to make things happen.
Cheers, Rick
If hypothetically you could only make one change to Swedish legislature what would it be? Kill the FRA law [the Swedish equivalent of the U.S. Patriot act, enabling warrantless bulk wiretapping], probably.
On a close second, insert the single line "this law only applies to commercial, for-profit activity" in the copyright monopoly legislation.
What is your opinion on why the Swedish Pirate Party succeeded, while the German Pirate Party imploded? What led to your initial success? The histories are actually very similar. The Swedish and German parties both had initial huge successes, but then failed to remain at the attained altitude, due to people assuming success would be inevitable.
Getting visibility is hard; keeping it is even harder. Once you start infighting for the inevitable resources that will follow the equally inevitable victory in the future, you've already lost and you're in for a very tough bottoming out before starting to climb back.
I describe this more in chapter 10 in Swarmwise, "Beyond Success".
The German PP is not doing bad by any means, by the way. Getting 2.2% in the federal elections, while not carrying for the Bundestag (German parliament), is still a climb from the last election and too big to ignore.
Cheers, Rick
American here, the eu is mandated to respond to petitions ? The same way the White House has their We The People. "Responding" doesn't even mean "Taking Seriously" - don't read too much into it.
A common argument for internet surveillance and control is the fight against child abuse imagery (and pedophile activity). You argue on the other hand, as seen here and here that surveillance and laws against child abuse imagery is counterproductive. My question is about the argument that surveillance only will make it easier for "internet criminals". Is that your opinion as well? And how is that? There is the saying that "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns".
I argue that any ban on possessing evidence of a crime will be of great help to the perpetrators of that crime, just as you argue.
Also, surveillance is not really a problem for geek-intelligence (meaning technically savvy) criminals; it's the average Joe that gets hit by it. But as the police say, most criminals are stupid, unbelievably stupid.
That saying from the police is not entirely true, of course. The police have a biased selection toward the stupid criminals. The smart ones are never seen, so we can't tell how many there are of them.
Cheers, Rick
Would you rather have a fully transparent society or one with perfect privacy? It's not an either-or; you need privacy for the citizen and transparency in the government.
Essentially, it's a sliding scale - as a purely individual citizen, you should have perfect privacy up until the point where you're formally and individually suspected of an already-committed and serious crime. As you take public office, your right to privacy is gradually replaced with a requirement for transparency of your work depending on the weight of the office, to hold the elected leaders accountable in the next election.
Cheers, Rick
Thank you for the excellent answer! Would not the opening up of government records reveal a lot about citizens however? For example, should you know if someone near you has killed someone (after they have been to prison)? Or is this up to the person to decide how much to reveal. If we employed a public servant, we would be their boss, and they would not be allowed to keep secrets from us, just like you're fired on your own job if you're keeping secrets from your boss that concerns your job performance. Such a transition has implications on what records the government may keep on the citizens, as you correctly point out.
What can I do to help? Help the Pirate Party? Contact your local Pirate Party. You can find it easily by searching for the word(s) "Pirate Party" in your own language and adding your country name.
Examples: Piratenpartei Deutschland, Piratpartiet Norge, Κόμμα Πειρατών Ελλάδας, מפלגת הפיראטים, Пиратская партия Росcии, حزب القراصنة المغربي, etc.
Help the world in general by making it a better place to be in? Read Swarmwise and put a stake in the ground, and form a swarm of volunteers around it to make the cause happen.
Cheers, Rick
Any indication of one in Brazil. We any not very strict in our copyright laws but i can definitely seeing it getting worse in the future. Yes, there is a PP in Brazil trying to get going! I was there at its foundation last summer.
Cheers, Rick.
Rick, do you smoke weed? Thoughts on marijuana in general? I don't, but I think those who do should be free to do so as long as they don't subject others to second-hand smoke.
Mr. Falkvinge, thanks for doing this AMA. This question has already been asked but - what are your thoughts on the NSA spying issue? Do you think the US will become more like China and Russia and begin restricting, or even censoring, opposing popular political opinions? Suppose there were a Pirate Party in the USA. What would that be like? Hi Grimspur, thanks for participating!
NSA spying: I'm happy that it came to light, but shocked at the scale of it. I mean, when us net liberty activists have been shouting, warning, and flailing our arms about the surveillance possible, we have been discarded as unrealistic tinfoil hats.
Now with the facts on the table, it turns out that we have been severely underestimating what has been going on. I'm still not sure how to relate to that.
The US has pretended to be a white knight in shining armor with regards to respect for human rights, and all of a sudden it turns out it's one of the worst crooks out there. This will legitimize a lot of [other] rogue states as they introduce similar wiretapping and mass surveillance: "even the United States and Europe are doing it".
When the Swedish equivalent of the NSA was debated daily in Sweden, we knew that they started each day by visiting the blogs of its critics by using a visitor-IP matcher to their public IP range. Feels safe, sound and cozy, doesn't it?
There are nascent Pirate Parties in some states of the US, but they have a different election system to grapple with (first-past-the-post rather than proportional representation).
Cheers, Rick
Hello Rick! Big fan, long time fan! First off I wanted to let the world know that you have personally helped me in my growth as a citizen of the internet. After reading about how encrypt my personal emails, you gave me some tips and helped me through that process. Thanks! First, thank you for the kind words!
My question is: What do you think of the modern nation-state? What do you think of national sovereignty and borders? Are you a firm proponent of the social contract theory of human relations? What I think the modern nation-state is a rather large question. We can observe that borders are becoming less important within some cultural spheres (say, the US-Canada-Europe-Australia), but increasingly guarded along others (say, US-Mexico). There are many different social contract theories AFAIK, so I can't subscribe to any one of them. But if you want a more politics-based response to the same general idea, I think it's crucial to have the consent of the governed if you are to run a nation-state.
What do you like to do in your spare time? I was about to respond "what spare time?", but I guess I'm rather privileged to have worked myself into a position where I do what I really enjoy doing.
Seeing how I'm currently employed to travel and speak about the pirate political perspectives, I guess spare time is when I do other things.
So, I write code. At the moment, I'm working on generalizing the rather advanced swarm management software the Swedish Pirate Party was using, in order to adapt it for general use. Going to take a while still, but I enjoy coding.
Also, I enjoy cooking for my friends a lot, especially steak dinners, and I love riding really fast motorcycles (I sometimes describe myself as a "low-altitude motorcycle pilot"). Sadly, I haven't had a bike now for a couple of years.
Link to
Cheers, Rick.
EDIT: forgot endquote.
Absolutely gorgeous bike!!! Thanks! It's a Suzuki Hayabusa 1999. The fastest production bike ever built; the year after (or the year after that) the Jap manufacturers entered into an agreement to electronically cap the max speed at 300 km/h.
Thanks for the response. Hope you get a bike soon! This is one of the best things somebody has told me all year!
One more if you get to it: Do you have hope for a utopian post-scarcity world like /futurology tends to point to? As for whenwhere those conversions will happen, that's a different story. For example, the United States is completely bankrupt and overdue for a structural collapse - the only thing pegging it up is the reserve-currency status of the USD, which is crumbling. Collapses tend to be localized, even if they have global knock-on effects. Compare the collapse of the Soviet Union.
What, from your perpective, is the most pressing challenge for the Pirate Party at this moment in time? Learning how to get re-elected, I'd say.
Last updated: 2013-10-25 12:25 UTC
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