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A new year has begun, but will it be better than the previous one? A few years back Bruce Schneier  wrote an essay titled "Refuse to be terrorized ". Since the idea of terrorism is to cause terror, to scare people, to frighten them, terrorists do indeed win if you give in and are frightened by anything that may be the least bit out of the ordinary. And if people refuse to board a plane just because one of the passengers looks somehow similar to their personal imagination of a super villain, then the terrorists have won. You think that is not going to happen? Where do you live?

And just in case you think something like that is only going to happen in the US or Australia: Sorry, even countries claiming to be civilized, democratic and open, countries like Germany, are no exception.

Evil people may now claim that some governments actually like this situation, because their citizens will allow them almost anything to "protect" them. About ten years back, would you have allowed people to see you basically naked  or even fondle your buttocks  just so you can get on an airplane, especially on a domestic flight? And what for?

For an illusion. What sense does it make to restrict the liquids people can carry on board to let's say 50ml? If 55ml are indeed dangerous, then all I need is a second person with another 50ml and voila - 100ml! Or why may a person not board a plane after detectors found traces of a "dangerous" substance on his body, even though a search did not yield anything? Especially when said same person may board a flight the next day...

It's security theatre , as Bruce Schneier put it. Most "security" people are no "highly trained professionals" - those would be too expensive. You see, after all, your safety is not worth that  much, it's rather about making money...

So don't let them scare you, refuse to be frightened, refuse to be terrorized, and enjoy the new year...

There are two sides to every situation - and Amazon finally found a way to get rid of customers more efficiently. In case you do not know Wikileaks (only few people here in Taiwan do), just google it up. (Allow me the question though: Do you read any news?) After publishing the diplomatic cables (which happened in sync with a number of newspapers who received the cables in advance, among them Guardian and New York Times ), a few things happened in a rather short time frame.

Paypal closed the Wikileaks donation account , as did Visa and Mastercard . And Amazon dropped Wikileaks from its cloud services, where the site was hosted. Please observe that there was no court order, from any country, that would have stated any illegal activity on behalf of Wikileaks. Please also remember that the cables had also been published by "traditional newspapers", none of which experienced any sanctions.

But the best is yet to come: Amazon cited as reason for canceling Wikileaks hosting that they had published "illegal content". Miraculously, said content only seems to be illegal as long as it is free, the way Wikileaks offered it. If you need to pay for the same content, it seems perfectly legal - to Amazon, who is now selling the cables . You can, btw, use your Visa or Mastercard to pay...

As I said in the beginning, Amazon finally found a way to reduce their customer base, just read the reviews . Oh, btw: A Danish newspaper is now uploading the cables to Amazon cloud hosting. Let's see when/if Amazon will take down that...