Monday, February 24, 2014

Escaping to Greener Pastures

Too many people think they can escape to some "greener" pastures by going to live in another country. While that may be true, most everyplace has plenty of positives and negatives. It is easy to take the positives of where you are for granted and ignore the negatives you don't face (until you move).

Getting out is great. But don't expect greener pastures to make everything wonderful. There are certain traits of you and the place that can make getting out the best idea - I don't like cold, other than that I think I would enjoy Banff (mentioned in the post) a great deal.

While there are conflicts between you as a person and where you are not that make people want out - I think often it is a frustration with those negatives you have been dealing with. Some people love the new experiences - so getting out is often close to ideal. But if you don't really figure out what will make you happy wherever you are getting out often just changes one set of frustrations for another.

Political frustrations I think are this time a whole bunch. While your government is likely doing tons of totally annoying and lame stuff. Finding a government anywhere that isn't doing tons of that is very hard (there are a couple, from my perspective, that I find better than most but they tend to be in very cold places - which I don't like). Often you don't care about the lame things done elsewhere until you are stuck directly inside of the consequences. I think getting out with this as a big reason is fine, it just seems lots of these people are frustrated with the new location after a fairly short time.

Thoughts after reading: How to Love Where You Live – Treat it Like a Travel Destination

Related: Living Abroad - Living in Malaysia - Quick Thoughts on the Risks of Violence while Traveling

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Government Intruding Where it Doesn't Belong

This seems like a matter the government should not be involved in, U.S. Targets Buyers of China-Bound Luxury Cars:
The domestic divisions of Mercedes-Benz and BMW say the clampdown by federal authorities is a legitimate attempt to regulate trade and to ensure that American consumers who want to own a car for personal use are not deprived of a chance to buy one. “The BMW Group has been working closely with federal authorities for almost two years to stop illegal exports of our vehicles from the U.S.,” said Kenn Sparks, a spokesman for BMW of North America. “Illegal exports deny legitimate customers here in the U.S. the popular vehicles, which are in high demand.”
I can imagine legitimate reasons for government to be involved (avoiding taxes…). But the inability of companies to match supply to demand is an absolutely stupid reason for the government to be involved. I can see it as the right of companies to make life difficult for customers if they want. So if HP wants to break their products based on where someone tries to use them maybe that should be allowed. If BMW wanted to make getting service on a car purchased and shipped elsewhere maybe that should be allowed. And if China wanted to prevent import for some sensible reasons (maybe imported cars don't meet some safety standards, or they are attempting to avoid taxes). And I would even support government having visibility of transportation across boarders if crime prevention was an issue (lots of stolen cars…). But the heavy handed insertion of government into enforcing silly demands of companies shouldn't be tolerated - even if those companies have purchased the legislators we elect. Related: Protect Yourself from 11 Car Dealer Tricks - Customer Service is Important - Customer Un-service by Automakers - If You Create a System That Includes The Perfect Conditions for Scandals, Expect Scandals to Happen - Bad Customer Service - Leading Economic Freedom: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

USA Encouraging Governments Worldwide to Spy and Hack Globally is Very Dangerous

I think as bad as just the USA governments global spying and actions shredding the US constitution are the even greater damage is the encouragement the USA government policy gives for every other country to spy on every person, business and government across the globe.

I do believe the USA government is unlikely to have a huge amount of criminal information security spun off their massive spying efforts. But you can just look at all the examples of TSA agents (and others - that have been cleared by the TSA to work jobs inside the "security bubble") stealing from people forced to go through security theatre to see it is certainly possible for the USA governments actions are aid criminal enterprises including those by USA government employees.

Those risks are real. They will lead to damage to USA citizens. But they are small, I believe, compared to the damage USA citizens will suffer due to the mass increase in the global surveillance culture the USA has spearheaded the last 10+ years. Granted few countries have government so rich that they can afford to spend so much money on global internet surveillance and hacking (as the USA has done).

But there are at least 10 that have money and or resources that can do a huge amount of damage if they follow the USA's lead (lets just list a few China, UK, Germany, Japan, Korea, Brazil, India, Russia, Turkey, Taiwan). Some countries have more cash, some have large hacking (not just criminal hacking or government sponsored hacking but just software hacking talent in general wether for good, questionable good and/or questionably legal or downright bad definitely illegal) talent pools, some have large experience with large scale surveillance operations. and/or Certainly the USA has no justification to argue that any country can't do what the USA claims it not wrong for it to do. And the number of countries that could do a huge amount of damage with focused global surveillance and hacking is very large indeed and will grow going forward.

The result of the risks to everyone globally, including those in the USA, to the practice of massive government intrusion into private communications, internet activity, etc. of everyone is extremely damaging.

Related: Watching the Watchmen - Disregard for the Rule of Law by Government - NSA Spying on Apps Shows Perils of Google+, ‘Candy Crush’ - Little Watchmen - Freedom Increasingly at Risk