Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Chevron ‘We Agree’ ad campaign hijacked by anti-corporate tricksters

New Chevron ‘We Agree’ ad campaign hijacked by anti-corporate tricksters

By Brett Michael Dykes

Chevron rolled out its latest ad campaign this week with the idea of burnishing the image of the spill-tarnished oil industry. The campaign, called "We Agree,"highlights very broad negative impressions of the oil business, with the leaders of Chevron--the "we" referenced in the spots--chiming in to say that they understand and are taking positive measures to improve things, via initiatives such as clean-energy development.

But the company now is in anything but an agreeable mood over a hoax campaign that draws on far more specific, and damning, complaints over oil company practices.

The meta-pushback campaign is the handiwork of a group called the Yes Men. Joining forces with the environmental groups Amazon Watch and the Rainforest Action Network, the Yes Men released a bogus press release and even put up a phony website for the hijacked version of the "We Agree" campaign.

[Rewind: Rush Limbaugh falls for Wikipedia hoax]

As the New York Times' Stuart Elliott notes: "The main difference between the lampoon and the real one was that the fake release described the ads as addressing environmental issues in which Chevron is embroiled, including a dispute in Ecuador over oil pollution; the real ads do not directly address those matters." Some media outlets, including the digital-business publication Fast Company, were taken in by the prank, the Times says.

So Chevron, which had been expecting to spend much of the week touting its civic-minded achievements, is now embroiled in a pushback campaign against its media-hacking tormentors. "We expected something like this would be done," Chevron spokesman Morgan Crinklaw told the Times, because "there are activist groups whose sole focus is attacking Chevron and not engaging in rational conversations on energy issues."

The perpetrators of the prank claim they are merely truth-squadding the sunny claims of the "We Agree" spots. "The oil giant has prioritized this high-priced glossy ad campaign that attempts to trick us into believing it is of the people, for the people," Maria Ramos of the Rainforest Action Network told Reuters.

This isn't the first time the Yes Men have targeted a major energy company. The group's past campaigns included pranks ridiculing Exxon Mobil and Halliburton, among other international corporations. In boasting about the success of the Chevron prank , the Yes Men also took a shot at the media.

[Related: JetBlue takes shot at competitor in new ad campaign]

"If you really want to snooker the media, it's pretty hard for them to resist," Mike Bonanno of the Yes Men said in a Yes Men press release. "We cobbled together some fake releases with string and thumbtacks and chewing gum, and we fooled the most respectable outlets."

Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum added: "Chevron is doing what we did, a million times over, with a ginormous budget -- and it never reveals its subterfuge. No wonder the media's full of lies."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

There is no Hard Mode 11

In celebration of the end of the semester and my final blog post, I've compiled my Top 11 List of How Law and Computers Changed My Life:

  1. Playing Monopoly has never been the same. Knowledge of Property, Credit Transactions, Land Titles & Deeds, Transportation & Public Utilities Law, Taxation Law and Corporations is recommended.
  2. When going out with law school mates, keep in mind that hunger is always jus cogens.
  3. When you're assigned to read a case, you now ask for the G.R. Number and date of promulgation instead of the SCRA citation.
  4. You dismiss gossip and tsimis as hearsay, but still believe in them.
  5. You still click on "I Agree" without reading the EULA first, despite understanding what a "venue stipulation" means.
  6. Talking to MMDA or other law enforcement officers has never been the same.
  7. You smirk when a food vendor or jeepney driver gives you candy as change instead of coins.
  8. You now begin to think of entering into contracts in electronic form, hoping that the judge won't know any better.
  9. When riding in a classmate's car, you consider paying him so that he or she will be forced to exercise extraordinary diligence.
  10. Reading newspapers and listening to the news has never been the same.
  11. You begin to think about specializing in ICT law.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hard Mode 10: The Myth of the Superuser

"The old-style hackers were renowned and even feared, for their expert knowledge of the workings of communications systems. The mythology surrounding the omnipotent hacker assumes that once the ethical hacker's moral bind has eroded and they go over to the 'darkside' then they become a danger to society."

This week's excerpt is from David S. Wall's article, "Cybercrime, media and insecurity: The shaping of public perceptions of cybercrime" from the International Review of Law, Computers, and Technology.

The author argues in the main, that the popular concept of "cybercrime" is confused, misleading and heavily influenced by media and pop culture. To the point that it has even influenced policymakers, activists and commentators.

Cybercrime misconception and paranoia is fueled by many logs, and one of them is the perpetuation of the myth of the superuser.

The term "superuser" defines a user profile that possesses all the permissions and privileges in a given system -- it is analogous to an "Administrator" account in Windows, needs no passwords, can modify anything. In other words, it is the D_O_G of the OS.

In another sense, "superuser" pertains to a myth popularized in the 80s and 90s, that in a basement or attic or slum somewhere, there exists a programmer or engineer or just a plain genius who knows all the ins and outs of the Internet or any system or network.

The latter of the two was bad news for the policymaker back then, because the superuser could easily foil any attempts to make the Internet secure for ordinary users and for commercial activities. Hence, according to the author, many ambiguous and overbroad laws were passed just so there could be any hope of catching the superuser.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Photoshop Etiquette

Sometime last month, an Egyptian paper have earned the ire of international media when it had been found out to have altered a picture of some world leaders at the Middle East peace talks at the White House. The original photo above have been altered to look like this:

The Egyptian leader was made to look like "leading" the other leaders (including Obama) through the hallway.
While we've heard quite a lot about celebrity sex scandals done through Photoshop, this is the first time I've heard of a scandal of diplomatic proportions brought about by photo editing softwares. And to think, it's a newspaper that did it. Whatever happened to true pride, eh?
My blog posts are all under the tag FGM. :)
I've only made 12 blogs.

Online Communities 2

"Communities rise and fall, and total membership numbers are no longer a good measure of a community's current size and health."

xkcd has updated its classic Online Communities Map, as earlier posted here.

Still absent, as expected, are the near-invisible, undetected or simply unindexed Deep Web, Dark Internet, and darknets, said to be comprising the real bulk of data posted on the Internet.

Although to be fair, these three kinds of Internet "dark matter" are practically impossible to measure.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Not Just in the Movies

Facebook is fast becoming the most popular and widely used networking site of this generation. But just like any networking site, it suffers from serious defects, all the more publicized by criticisms hurled by different interest and socio-civic groups, all lambasting Facebook’s inability to meet and even exceed privacy expectations of users of the site.

An online article headlined “Sex Traffickers Using Facebook to Spot Targets” immediately caught my attention. And the first line that followed completely had me floored. Recent studies showed that the Philippines now ranks 4th in the world in the number of child prostitutes with over 100,000 of them also victims of sex trafficking. In fact, according to the proponents of the study, many traffickers are now exploring social networking sites such as Facebook in search of unsuspecting potential victims. Some kids who regularly post pictures of themselves while in school uniform may be unaware that they have already fallen prey to the malevolent scheme of sex traffickers. Thus, parents are highly advised to monitor their children’s online activities.

Dr. Cindy Romine, president of the advocacy group who initiated the study also shared that the hit movie “Taken” which starred Liam Neeson as a retired special ops agent out to rescue his daughter from Albanian slave traders was inspired by the life story of retired US Army Special Forces Colonel William Hillar. His experience, however, did not share the same gratifying ending as that depicted in the film. Just when he had already closed in on his daughter’s whereabouts, he was informed that she was tortured to death a week earlier.

Hillar’s story should serve as a lesson to parents to constantly be mindful of their children’s activities, whether it be by regularly keeping an eye on their children’s whereabouts or through the trivial task of supervising their children’s online activities. Who knows, slave traders out to victimize unwary minors may be lurking not far behind….

Image courtesy of :

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An Examination of the Rules on Electronic Evidence in Light of the Best Evidence Rule

The Rules on Electronic Evidence can be considered as the most radical measure that the Supreme Court initiated to cope with the pressing need to address far-reaching developments in technology and mass media that have been drastically modifying and continuously evolving the means by which information is stored and distributed. With it also comes the inevitable challenge of providing ways to be able to make electronic document admissible as evidence.

Section 2 of Rule 3 states that: “An electronic document is admissible in evidence if it complies with the rules on admissibility prescribed by the Rules of Court and related laws and is authenticated in the manner prescribed by these Rules.”

Section 1 of Rule 4 further qualifies that: “An electronic document shall be regarded as the equivalent of an original document under the Best Evidence Rule if it is a printout or output readable by sight or other means, shown to reflect the data accurately.”

The aforementioned provisions can only be interpreted to mean that the Rules on Electronic Evidence still requires the presentation of an electronic document, which must be reduced to a readable printout, for it to be admissible as the best evidence in any given case. While it seeks to solve the problem of presenting an electronic evidence in court, there appears to be a considerable lapse in the law as it confines the best electronic evidence to one that must be tangible and readable in form. This prerequisite absolutely defeats the purpose of making it more convenient and practicable to introduce an electronic evidence, say through the use of a mobile phone to show the existence of a text message or a computer device to prove the receipt or transmission of a particular email at so and so date and time. It is imperative that the Supreme Court fills in this discrepancy in the law should it wish to truly achieve the objective of simplicity and expediency in court proceedings.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No Wi-fi, No Fun??! Not!

I was riding the MRT when I looked outside and saw the Jac Bus Liner station in Cubao and saw this huge banner in front of their terminal. The banner said: "With Free On-board Wi-fi. The First in the Country".

I mean, seriously? Why would you need Wi-fi while on board a bus? Then I thought, oh for those with WLAN enabled phones, laptops, Nintendo DS and other peripherals. For the kids esepcially. Okay, it makes sense now..

Heck no, it doesn't!

I remember when I was a little kid and my family would travel for 12 hours to visit relatives in Bicol. How I cherished those times as a kid when I would open the car windows, stick my head outside and feel the wind against my face as we were cruising province after province of mountains, coconut plantations, creeks, rivers, ravines, carabaos, etc. I marveled at the sights around me, compared it to the dusty pollution in Metro Manila and loved every moment of it. During the ride, me and my sisters would also play a game where we would look for every kilometer marker and count down until we reach the next municipality. When we would get bored, we would listen to our parents' stories of growing up, how they escaped Japanese soldiers during World War II, how they fed themselves with just 10 cents as school baon, how they studied at night without electricity. When we were lucky and the car would break down, as it often does, we would stay at a local inn for the night and roam the beaches and barrio, absorbing local culture, while waiting for the local repair shop to get our car fixed. We would sing songs, recite poems, not play board games for I would get dizzy, but talk about EVERYTHING to our heart's desire.

We needed no PSP, no DS Lite, no iPad, no Wi-fi to keep us entertained. And we still had the best time. :)

CyberPsychology 101: Inside the Mind of Flooders and Hackers

Let’s take a look on how the mind of flooders and hackers work.

According to Suller, in his article, Techno-Crimes (Hacking): Managing deviant online behavior, all deliberate flooders are driven by a need to feel powerful. Having to disrupt other people's ability to communicate probably reflects their own inabilities and insecurities about relating to others.
On the other hand, Suller said that hackers are motivated by the challenge and excitement of venturing into forbidden territories. They derive a sense of accomplishment, mastery, and power from doing what others can't. Hackers have a constant need for affirmation of their ego. Impressing other users, especially one's fellow hackers, is a source of self-esteem. Some are motivated by a rebellious nature. Cracking the system of the "institution" reflects a defiant attitude towards authority figures. In extreme cases, a hacker - and especially hacker wannabes - feel pressured to demonstrate that they are better and smarter than anyone. The cat-and-mouse drama of beating the system becomes a tireless, relentless quest to prove oneself.

Understanding how the flooders and hackers think may allow people to think of interventions as how to effectively protect the system and dissuade these flooders and hackers from doing further damage.


List of Previous Entries:















Saturday, October 2, 2010

Link of my posts (17 articles posted in total)

Dear sirs:

As advised, since I used my other classmates' accounts in posting six (6) of my entries, I will post here the links of all of the articles I have written for the blog for easier counting plus my last entry for the blog as well totaling 18 posts written for the semester.

Posted using my account:

1 -

2 -

3 -

4 -

5 -

6 -

7 -

8 -

9 -

10 -

11 -

Posted using my classmate's accounts:

12 -

13 -

14 -

15 -

16 -

17 -

18 - Plus last article : Online Privacy Infringement and Suicide

Deleted last article as I just realized it's our final exam question

CyberPsychology 101: The Online Disinhibition Effect (Part 2)

I’ve summarized some of the factors responsible for the increased online disinhibition of people. The following factors are taken from the book, CyberPsychology and Behavior (2004) by John Suler.

You Don't Know Me (dissociative anonymity)
People can keep their identity hidden in the Internet – they can have no name or at least they can opt not to give their real name. When people have the opportunity to separate their actions from their real world and identity, they feel less vulnerable about opening up. Whatever they say or do can't be directly linked to the rest of their lives.

You Can't See Me (invisibility)
In many online environments, people cannot see each other. Invisibility gives people the courage to go places and do things that they otherwise wouldn't as they won’t have to worry about how they look or sound to others and vice-versa.

See You Later (asynchronicity)
In e-mail and message boards, communication is asynchronous. People don't interact with each other in real time. Others may take minutes, hours, days, or even months to reply to something you say. Not having to deal with someone's immediate reaction can be disinhibiting. In real life, it would be like saying something to someone, magically suspending time before that person can reply, and then returning to the conversation when you're willing and able to hear the response.

It's All in My Head (solipsistic introjection)
Reading another person's message might be experienced as a voice within one's head, as if that person magically has been inserted or "introjected" into one's psyche. In their imagination, where it's safe, people feel free to say and do all sorts of things that they wouldn't in reality. At that moment, reality IS one's imagination.

It's Just a Game (dissociative imagination)
People may feel that the imaginary characters they "created" exist in a different space, that one's online persona along with the online others live in an make-believe dimension, a dream world, separate and apart from the demands and responsibilities of the real world. They split or "dissociate" online fiction from offline fact. Under the influence of anonymity, the person may try to be invisible, to become a non-person, resulting in a reducing or simplifying of identity. During dissociative imagination, the self that is expressed, but split-off, tends to be more elaborate.

We're Equals (minimizing authority)
If people can't see you or your surroundings, they don't know if you are the president of a major corporation sitting in your expensive office, or some "ordinary" person lounging around at home in front of the computer. Everyone - regardless of status, wealth, race, gender, etc. - starts off on a level playing field.



Since watching the movie "Alive" on HBO a couple of months back, I have become quite obsessed with the movie and the novels on which it was based upon. The movie "Alive" is based on the acclaimed book "Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors" written by Piers Paul Read in 1974. The novel tells the story of a Uruguayan Rugby Team, the Old Christians Club, who chartered the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, for an upcoming match in Chile. On the way, the plane experienced engine troubles while flying over the Andes Mountains and crashed, killing a few but leaving most behind. The struggle to survive then becomes apparent as the survivors are faced with the difficulties of living in extreme weather conditions, lack of food and worsening medical conditions while waiting for their rescuers. As days passed and they realized they needed food in order to survive, they make one of the most difficult decisions which was deciding on whether they can eat their dead friends' bodies or not. As depression sets in, they also realize that they cannot lounge in the mountains forever and wait for their rescuers, but they needed to undertake the steps themselves to get rescued. I won't spill any more of the movie's ending as I'm sure some of you would be curious by now and would want to see the movie or read the book.

Their stories made me wonder a lot of times on whether I would have survived the same situation if I was part of that group. The answer always leads me to No, maybe not. I'm a weakling. I easily panic, lose hope and easily give up on tough situations.

But then again, I tend to forget that hey, I survived three years in law school, didn't I? Doesn't that prove otherwise? Maybe it does. I remember my first year in law school when I would cry every night because of stress, fatigue and the thought of quitting this things which I really hated. Then, I changed my perspective and took it one semester at a time. And look at me now. Just waiting for the rescue that I know would inevitably come.

Malcolm Hall, you are my personal Andes Mountains.

The Internet is a Drug Dealer

The internet makes it so easy for people to find anything and everything, which makes it so much easier for people to get addicted to whatever they're looking for. Take me, for instance. When I saw my favorite Spanish singer, Alejandro Sanz, in his Grammy performance with Destiny's Child, I started getting interested in him and I just went ahead and google-ed his name. My search came up with links for his songs, videos, pictures, biography, you name it! As i read more about him, listened to his music and watched his videos, I got to love him more and more. Truly, like a druggie on a binge. And who was my drug dealer? The trusty internet.

*photo not mine, obviously. credits go to owner.

If it's on the Internet...

I was watching Cougar Town and in one of the episodes, Christa Miller's character came across this article on the internet which says that drinking alcohol keeps women skinny. Courtney Cox-Arquette's character then goes ahead and announces the news to all their friends because according to her, "If it's on the internet, it must be true!"

Of course, we all know that isn't true, what with the internet being so accessible to everyone. It has become so open to anyone who can just create a fake site with fake information a la The Yes Men. At this point, we're not even sure which sites are reliable, and which information is true . While allowing so many people to contribute to the internet has enriched it, such that we can find something about anything and anyone under the sun, there is also a risk that not all that is contributed is necessarily legitimate.

Friday, October 1, 2010

On The Shark & Minnow Of "Wall Street: The Money Never Sleeps"

Shrewd and cunning Bretton James, hearing of Winnie Gekko’s modest success in whetting attention and shaping opinion via her nondescript news blog company, instinctively proposed a substantial capital infusion for the latter’s affair. A keen and headstrong player in a securities and money market that drastically moves on the impulse of but a speculation, James was quick to foresee the benefit in acquiring an ostensibly reliable information channel through which he can float rumors and insider tips to suit his interests’ dictates.

But, Gekko politely retorted that it was precisely by reason of her business’ non-profit platform that breathed credibility into its reportage and drew the trust and confidence of its subscribers and patrons. Truly, positioning herself against profit insulated her from the necessary compromises, meanderings and considerations inescapably entwined with a corporatist profit-driven policy. After all, the truth as found in news used to be a public good.

On Gekko’s philosophy can be drawn the unpretentious power of small and simple in delivering the purest of services. Although the obvious inclination is to assume the reliability and credibility of the big media players’ reportage, since profits presumably obtain only so far as institutional reputation is impeccable, it is equally valid to advance that purveying news as accurate and bold as William Tell gets fudged the moment it is touched by the force and allure of profits. Then, free and straight reportage turns circumspect and if needs be, censored; and created and piecemeal facts pass as news on the whole. News is then delivered in shrouded angles and commentaries instead of unobstructed lines and narratives.

In these times, public and individual opinion alike hinge, no longer on one big reputed supplier of news, but on various small sources, informal or otherwise, blogs included. Now, the truth drawn from news depends not on what is heard from the big players, it’s what’s gathered from and compared among the small, scattered players.

Raul S. Grapilon

Entry No. 16