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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Politicians can be so stupid

12 Feb 2024

Some politicians never fail to disappoint when it comes to their knowledge of science and technology.

To be fair, it's unreasonable to expect that those chosen from a cross-section of society to represent their people and regulate a nation in the best interests of all should be totally versed in the details of science and tech -- but they should know how to consult experts who can advised them on things beyond their own scope of understanding.

When politicians pretend they know more than they do, bad things happen.

As is presently the case in Canada.

Canadia Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has announced his government's intention to roll out the ban-hammer on a piece of technology.

According to multiple reports, including this one from Arstechnica, a Canadian government minister has stated "we are banning the importation, sale and use of consumer hacking devices, like flippers".

Just in case you've been living in a cave for the past year or two, a "Flipper [Zero]" is a little device that contains a range of RF receivers/transmitters and a CPU and is bundled into a neat open source product which can be used for a myriad of purposes. Some of those purposes are nefarious -- such as snooping on security codes, decrypting Wifi passwords, etc.

Indeed, evil little sods have created mayhem, alarm and laughter from time to time by using the Flipper to take over control of things like public billboards, steal cars and circumvent the protections that many public-facing systems use to control access.

This Wired story gives a pretty good summary of the device and its applications.

With its potential to be abused by "bad actors" you might think that a ban is appropriate -- in the name of public safety and security. However, this would be an incrediby naive perspective... given that it's open source and anybody with even half a brain can simply build their own from readily available parts ("and a few household chemicals" :-)

To suggest that a product with real-world practical, positive applications be banned simply because a few idiots are using it for nefarious purposes is kind of like suggesting that we ought to outlaw private motor vehicles because they are used from time to time in the commission of crimes.

I have to wonder what the Canadian politicians will do when they discover that the plans for this evil device are readily availble online to anyone who wants them. Will they try to ban the internet? Perhaps have those plans classified as an "objectionable publication" and therefore illegal to access, publish or possess?

You know that whenever the ban-hammer comes out, someone has probably misunderstood the situation and their ignorance is showing. So it is with the proposed Flipper ban in Canada.

To be honest, Canada shows all the hallmarks of becoming an increasingly fascist nation where the government belives it has no responsibility to regulate or govern in a way that protects the freedoms and rights of its people. This is a government that feels free to abuse its "Emergencies Act" at the drop of a hat and whose PM seems to be in tight with the WEF and its agendas to strip people of their rights.

Good grief, let's hope Trudeau doesn't discover that you can build a software defined radio using a $30 USB device and that a Raspberry Pi fitted with such a device can do a lot of what the Flipper does. Maybe he'll ban all computers!

Carpe Diem folks!

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