100 dollar laptops available – for 200 dollars

Eric | November 12, 2007

OLPCThe "One Laptop Per Child" program has been in the news since more than a year. Since today, first laptops are available to people in North America in a "Get one, give one" action: You pay $399.- and get two laptops, one for yourself and one is donated to a child in a developing country. – Hold on! Two 100 dollar laptops for $399.- ?? Well, I guess that’s just the basic laws of economy ;-)

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November 9th, in 18 years from freedom to mass surveillance

Eric | November 9, 2007

Berlin Wall fallingToday is November 9th, an important date for all the Germans – for two reasons. The first reason is a very happy one. 18 years ago, the borders of Eastern Germany were opened and for the first time since decades people were allowed to travel freely between both parts of Germany. I got a little nostalgic today and watched a few videos on youtube from back then. It’s just such a moving moment for me. I was only nine years old when it happened but I still remember the day because it changed so much in everybody’s life. From one day to another, millions of people regained their freedom, not only to travel but also to express themselves and their opinion without any fear of pursuit.

SchaeubleIt seems fairly ironic that today, on the very same day, only 18 years later, the German government decided on a law that gives up one of the most basic constituent rights of all Germans: Every person needs to be treated as innocent unless proven otherwise. Today, the CDU/SPD led government decided to implement a country-wide data retention policy. Very soon, German internet providers have to store in advance every connection data (phone and internet) and email headers of any internet account hosted by that provider. This policy makes anybody a suspect – without any allegation whatsoever. Today, the government claims that they will only make use of the data for first class criminal offenses and felonies like a concrete threat of terrorism. The new law however says otherwise: In theory one could even get access to this data if the allegation is as insignificant as for instance insulting someboy over the phone.

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