interweb freedom

(formerly Stop Usage Based Billing)

Posts Tagged ‘internet’

President Obama Tells FCC Chairman He Expects Real Net Neutrality

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on October 10, 2014

American Flag

WASHINGTON — During a question-and-answer session in Santa Monica, Calif., on Thursday, President Barack Obama voiced his strong support for Net Neutrality and his opposition to the sort of pay-for-priority plan put forward by his appointed chair to the Federal Communications Commission. The remarks were the strongest statement yet from the president against the FCC’s current proposal, which 99 percent of those who submitted public comments to the agency oppose.

“I made a commitment very early on that I am unequivocally committed to Net Neutrality,” Obama said to applause from the audience. “I think it is what has unleashed the power of the Internet, and we don’t want to lose that or clog up the pipes.

“I know that one of the things people are most concerned about is paid prioritization, the notion that somehow some folks can pay a little more money and get better service, more exclusive access to customers through the Internet: That is something I’m opposed to.

“My appointee, Tom Wheeler, knows my position. I can’t — now that he’s there — I can’t just call him up and tell him exactly what to do. But what I’ve been clear about, what the White House has been clear about, is that we expect that whatever final rules emerge, to make sure that we’re not creating two or three or four tiers of Internet. That ends up being a big priority of mine.”

Obama’s position clearly contradicts Wheeler’s proposal, which would allow Internet access providers to favor the content of a few wealthy companies over other websites and services. More than 3.7 million people have commented on the issue at the FCC, with the vast majority rejecting Wheeler’s plan and calling on the agency to implement real Net Neutrality rules that would prevent Internet service providers from interfering with online content.

Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

“President Obama made a clear and unmistakable call for real Net Neutrality. Now Chairman Wheeler must answer. And the only way to accomplish the president’s goals and meet the public’s demands is by restoring the FCC’s authority under Title II of the Communications Act.

“Title II is what we need, not another convoluted compromise or not-so-clever scheme that will never survive a court challenge. Title II is the only way to prevent the sort of discrimination and tiered Internet the president warned us about. Yet thus far Wheeler seems afraid to take this essential step, favoring an approach that would clearly encourage online discrimination and strand startups, small businesses and everyday Internet users in the slow lane.

“There’s no doubt that Wheeler has lost political support for his proposal. He is opposed by the president, leaders in Congress and millions and millions of Americans. It’s time for Wheeler to abandon his plan and commit to using the agency’s Title II authority to protect real Net Neutrality.”



President Obama Tells FCC Chairman He Expects Real Net Neutrality” is reprinted here under the Free Press Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike license ~ Contact Info: Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838



American, Canadian and British Flags fly over the Walper Hotel, Kitchener, Ontario

Does the American Flag fly over the whole world?

Although I didn’t even know what “Net Neutrality” meant when I began this blog, it is the reason I began this blog. Even though I am not myself a tech person, I am very much aware of the importance of technology in modern life. And the importance of the Internet is incalculable.

The United States has assumed credit for and asserted ownership and legal oversight for the Internet.

The governments of the rest of the world have accepted this by sutting on their hands, effectively disenfrancising most of the world’s citizens from any say in the governance of this thing that affects us all, whether or not we even use the Internet.

Does the United States of America have a “government of the people, by the people, for the people” ?

How is it possible for a regulatory body like the FCC to ignore 99% feedback of the population? If the United States was an actual democracy, this should not be able to happen.

This press release makes much of President Obama’s claims of support for Net Neutrality. Does he really? Oh, he says he does. but does he really? He has been saying this for quite some time. Why is this debate still going on if that is true? Obama appointed the FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler. Why would President Obama appoint anyone who did not supprt Net Neutrality if he himself actually supports Net Neutrality? That makes zero sense to me.

People say that the office of the President of the United States is the most powerful job in the world. But is it? In a democracy, I would expect the holder of the office would derive his power from the backing of the citizens who gave him the job. What I have to wonder why the President’s wishes should be more important than those of the majority of the citizens?

If it is the most powerful job, why isn’t he actually doing what 99% of the citizens want?

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EU: Public Consultation on “Open Internet”

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on October 11, 2012

Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle that advocates government regulation of Internet service providers[1], preventing ISPs from restricting consumers’ access to networks that participate in the Internet. Specifically, network neutrality would prevent restrictions on content, sites, platforms, types of equipment that may be attached, and modes of communication. Network owners can’t interfere with content, applications, services, and devices of users’ choice and remains open to all users and uses.[2][3][4]

Wikipedia, Network Neutrality

Here in Canada I first became aware of the idea of Net Neutrality when I began the StopUBB blog. Because I believe in free speech, I oppose censorship, and since the Internet has become so terribly important to us all, we all need to be able to access it.   Net Neutrality seems like a no-brainer to me, but those who want to harvest the Internet don’t agree.

Canadians have not been well served by out telecom regulator, CRTC, which blithely granted permission to the legacy carrier, Bell, to utilize Deep Packet Inspection without even a pretence of oversight.  Although our Canadian Privacy Commissioner warned about it, but most people didn’t hear about it, or understand it.  Most of us still don’t realize that everything Canadians post to the Internet was legally opened to the scrutiny of a private corporation when the CRTC essentially handed Bell the keys to our online privacy.

This ruling gave Bell the legal wherewithal to use its technical DPI capability to look at everything we put online that is not encrypted.

That means they can read our unencrypted email.  Bell employees with access can look at the DMs we send on Twitter or Identica, or what we believe to be “private chats” on Facebook or forums.  They can peruse the “private” baby pictures we post to Flickr, or home movies we post on YouTube, even when set as “private”.

Most of us don’t use encryption because we don’t know how and/or we don’t understand why it’s necessary.

EU Public Consultation

Currently the EU is looking at ISPs and Net Neutrality, by holding a public consultation.  Just to see, I took a look at it, and discovered that the questionaire was huge.  Cumbersome.  It asks the same kinds of questions over and over again, possibly in an effort to get people to eventually provide the desired answers.

Or perhaps the goal is to reduce the number of responses that will have to be dealt with.  If people start the thing but leave half the answers blank, there will be a lot of room to fiddle with the results.

In some ways, it looks very much as though this questionaire is really an instrument of propaganda.  It utilizes biased phraseology and presupposes consumer privacy invasion is both necessary and beneficial.  The questions posed don’t exactly support “Net Neutrality” or an “Open Internet.”

Just Do It!

Everyone in the EU has an opportunity to submit their own answers to this consultation.

If you live in the EU, I very much urge you to fill in this questionaire, so you don’t end up under a regime like ours.

It seems I have a pretty good grounding in all of this, so I thought I would share my answers with you here.  Since I have this blog licensed directly into the Public Domain, please feel free to make use of any of my answers that may help you fill this epic out.

Public consultation on specific aspects of transparency, traffic management and switching in an Open Internet

Questionnaire on one page

Question 1:

a) Please provide a brief description of your interest in open Internet issues.

Answer:  Free speech and a free exchange of ideas is important both for healthy culture and democracy. the protection of privacy, including anonymity is also important for the security of citizens.

b) Please provide your name, postal and e-mail address and if you wish, your telephone number for any questions on your contribution.

[On this I used my name and email address; all you need do is include your own name]

c) In which Member State(s) do you live?

Answer:  Canada … not a member state; but Canada has already started down the slippery slope and I hope to warn the UK against this dreadful error

Does your answer to this question (a,b or c) contain confidential information?

Answer: No

1. Traffic management

Question 2:

Please provide your views on the following ways/situations where traffic management may be applied by ISPs.

Are traffic management measures:

a) applied to deliver managed services (e.g. to ensure a guaranteed quality of service for a specific content/applications)

Answer:  problematic
If this means interfering with other packet traffic to give preferential treatment to some, it is wrong.

b) taking into account the sensitivity of the service to delay or packet loss

Answer: problematic
Neutrality means that all Internet traffic is treated neutralluy … equally. Preferential treatment is inappropriate.

c) used to implement or manage compliance with the explicit contractual restrictions (e.g. on P2P or VoIP) of the Internet access product accepted by the user

Answer: problematic
Contractual agreements between users and 3rd party services are simply none of the ISPs business. If the ISP is providing such services it ought to fall under conflict of interest.

d) targeting types/classes of traffic contributing most to congestion

Answer: problematic
This is not net neutrality, this is the carrier choosing which customers/traffic to discriminate against.

e) targeting heavy users whose use is excessive to the extent that it impacts on other users

Answer: problematic
If heavy users use is impacting on Internet service, the ISP needs to invest in infrastructure. No discriminatory traffic management processes are appropririate. Until the ISP improves the infrastructure, the only appropriate response would be across the board slow downs.

f) applied during busy times and places, when and where congestion occurs

Answer: problematic

This appears to continue the theme of targetting specific Internet traffic.   When and where congestion *actually* appears (not where the ISP alleges it will appear) in conjunction with g) affecting ALL applications/content providers in the same way (application-agnostic) would be acceptable. Targetting specific traffic is always inappropriate.

g) affecting all applications/content providers in the same way (application-agnostic)

Answer: Appropriate

All Internet traffic should be treated equally. (application-agnostic)

h) affecting (similar) applications/content providers of the same category in the same way

Answer: problematic

all traffic should be treated equally

i) used, without other grounds, against services competing with the ISP’s own services

Answer: problematic

Are you serious? Is an explanation actually required to explain that ISPs should not be allowed to discriminate against its competitors? See: Conflict of Interest, Anti-Trust

j) implemented at the full discretion of the ISP

Answer: problematic

Full discretion of the ISP is legally far too both broad and far too dangerous. What about human rights? Human Rights don’t just stop because we’re on the Internet.

k) other differentiation criteria (please specify)

Answer: The very same human rights citizens enjoy in the real world should be enjoyed on the Internet. Citizen privacy should never be legally breached without a warrant, certainly not by a wholly unaccountable corporate entity or quasi governmental service.

Real Net Neutrality means ISP accountability.

Does your answer to this question (a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j or k) contain confidential information?

Answer: No

1.2 Traffic management and privacy issues

Question 3:

Where the user’s consent is required for traffic management measures, particularly where such measures might entail access to and analysis of certain personal data by ISPs, please explain how (e.g. in which format) this consent should be sought by the ISP, what prior information needs to be provided by the ISP to the user, and how the user consent should be given, in order to optimise user awareness and user convenience.

Answer:   It is a fallacy that blanket user consent is necessary for traffic management measures. Police can direct traffic without seeing people’s Identification documents, Internet Traffic can be managed in much the same way … that is what neutrality *is*.

There is no reasonable need for this kind of access.  If this access is demanded, it is not for user convenience, but for ISP convenience.  It weakens our personal privacy, by making it easier to spy on Internet users, as well as  improving the ISPs ability to provide preferential treatment to some Internet traffic and discriminate against other Internet traffic.

Does your answer to this question contain confidential information?

Answer: No


2. Transparency and switching (consumer choice)

Transparency is a key tool in the EU electronic communications framework to protect users and to ensure competition. Transparency enables consumers to optimise their informed choices and thus benefit fully from competition, in particular at a time when ISPs are developing new business models.

The BEREC investigation has revealed that many consumers have Internet access subscriptions with a number of restrictions. Moreover, the development of new business models is likely to lead to a broad range of offers which may contain different traffic management restrictions. These may address the needs or interests of specific consumers at prices which might not otherwise be available. It is, however, not clear whether ISPs are sufficiently transparent about such restrictions allowing consumers to make a deliberate choice. Customers, therefore, need clear, meaningful and comparable information on any limitations of their subscriptions comprehensible to all.

These requirements raise the question whether a restricted Internet access product may still be described, without qualification, as “Internet access” or whether the unqualified label “Internet access” should be reserved to (largely) unrestricted access offers. This debate has already been opened in some Member States and this public consultation seeks also views on this issue.

Another aspect of transparency concerns broadband speed, and in particular possible discrepancies between advertised speeds and actual speeds.

Transparency should be complemented with measures aimed at ensuring easy switching from one provider to another, and from one offer to another offer of the same service provider, to empower consumers to choose the service which best matches their individual needs. The electronic communications framework facilitates switching of operators by imposing the obligation to implement number portability within one day, by limiting the initial commitment period in contracts with consumers or by specifying that the conditions and procedures for contract termination shall not act as a disincentive against changing service provider.

It further specifies that subscribers have a right to withdraw from their contract without penalty upon notice of modification to the contractual conditions. It is also important to ensure that barriers do not arise as a result of the growing trend towards bundled services. This may require that switching processes and contractual arrangements are consistent between services offered in bundled packages, e.g. the most common “triple play” package of fixed voice, broadband and pay-TV.

Question 4:

In order to allow consumers to make informed choices, on the basis of clear, meaningful, and comparable information, which elements should be communicated to consumers?

- Elements related to traffic management practices:

a) Contractual restrictions (blocking, throttling, other restrictions on application use)

Answer: Important
Totally inappropriate.  Unacceptable.  Certainly not Net Neutrality.

This presupposes the right of an ISP to deliberately degrade the service it offers consumers. Why should consumers be forced to accept such restrictions?

b) Traffic management policy applied to prioritise certain traffic in specific circumstances

Answer: Important

Totally inappropriate. Unacceptable. Certainly not Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality can only exist if traffic management is application-agnostic.

c) Whether and to what extent managed services may affect the quality of the best effort Internet (e.g. the possibility of the Internet connection being affected when watching IP-TV or when using other managed services)

Answer: Totally inappropriate. Unacceptable. Certainly not Net Neutrality.

e) Data allowances (caps), download limits

Answer: No. This artificial way to disproportionately increase revenue is both inappropriate and unacceptable.

f) What these data allowances enable customers to do in practice (download x hours of video; upload y photos etc.)

Answer:  Important
Calling this kind of restriction a “data allowance” would make Big Brother proud. These are nothing more than “data RESTRICTIONS” which have the effect of gouging consumers

Elements related to speed and quality:

a) Average speed, typical speed ranges and speed at peak times (upload and download)

Answer: Government needs to ensure that advertised speeds are accurate. After all, if they are not, the ISP is committing fraud. Fraud on the Internet should be just as illegal as fraud in the real world.

b) Respect of guaranteed minimum speed (if applicable)

Answer: Important
If an ISP offers a “guaranteed minimum speed” consumers must have a reliable simple way of measuring, and remedies if such speed is not delivered.

c) What these speeds allow customers to do in practice (video-streaming, audio-download, video-conferences etc.)

Answer: Important
If these speeds are being bought by discriminatory treatment of other Internet traffic, the price is too high. ISPs must have adequate infrastructure to supply advertised bandwidth speed.

d) Latency/network responsiveness (a measure of traffic delay) and which services would be affected thereby (e.g. certain applications such as IP-TV or videoconferencing would be more seriously impacted by higher traffic delays in the network of the provider)

Answer: Important
ISPs must have adequate infrastructure to supply advertised service.

e) Jitter (a measure of the variability over time of latency) and which services would be affected thereby (e.g. echoing in VoIP calls)

Answer: Important
ISPs must have adequate infrastructure to supply advertised service.

f) Packet loss rate (share of packets lost in the network) and which services would be affected thereby (e.g. VoIP)

Answer: Important
ISPs must have adequate infrastructure to supply advertised service.

g) Reliability of the service (network accessibility and retainability), i.e. measure for successful start and completion of data sessions

Answer: Important
ISPs must have adequate infrastructure to supply advertised service.

h) Quality parameters for (mobile) voice telephony (call setup success rate, dropped calls, speech quality, other)

Answer: Important
ISPs must have adequate infrastructure to supply advertised service.

i) Other, please specify:

Answer: If the “traffic management” requires taking bandwidth from one customer to supply the needs of another, it is never appropriate.

The real world equivalent would be a Hotel claiming to provide “first class service” by snatching a sandwich from the mouth of the customer in the coffee shop so it can fill the order of the VIP guest seated in the candlelit dining room.

Does your answer to question 12 (or to any of its sub-questions) contain confidential information?

Answer: No

Question 5:

Some ISPs currently apply ‘fair use policies’, which give them wide discretion to apply restrictions on traffic generated by users whose usage they consider excessive. Do you consider that, in case of contractual restrictions of data consumption, quantified data allowances (e.g. monthly caps of x MB or GB) are more transparent for consumers than discretionary fair use clauses?

Answer: No

Calling a policy “fair use” does not make it so.

Restrictions do not reult in fair use, but in restricted use. These restrictions are not beneficial to consumers, and making them transparent will not make them beneficial to consumers.

Another real world analogy: when I turn on the tap to fill my sink so I can wash dishes, I would be unhappy my flow of water stopped so the public utility could give my neighbor’s dishwashing machine preferential treatment.

Does your answer to this question contain confidential information?

Answer: No

Question 6:

a) When should the elements of information referred to in question 4 be provided to the consumer by the ISP?

Answer:  before signing the contract
IF these elements are going to be allowed under law, consumers must be informed well enough that they can make a reasonable assessment BEFORE signing any contract. Any changes to a legally binding contract necessarily require a new contract, and the ISP should be liable to penalties should the consumer not agree to such after-the-fact changes.

This is not Net Neutrality, but Net Restriction.

Communication to consumers is called “advertising,” and is not the same as contract negotiation.

If the ISP wants to change the contract, the contract needs to be renegotiated. Announcing unilateral changes to a legal contract during the term of such a contract is not acceptable.

b) Which format (e.g. contract, general terms and conditions, separate and specific information, other (please specify)) do you consider appropriate to communicate this information to consumers?

Answer: Communication to consumers is called “advertising,” and is not the same as contract negotiation.

If the ISP wants to change the contract, the contract needs to be renegotiated. Announcing unilateral changes to a legal contract during the term of such a contract is not acceptable.

Does your answer to this question contain confidential information?

Answer: No

Question 7:

a) In order to promote transparency and consumer choice, do you consider it necessary that comparable data on the Internet access provided by ISPs is collected and published by NRAs or another independent organisation?

Answer: Consumers need real data to be able to make informed choices.

Do you think this information should be broken down by geographic areas or different data plans?

Answer: Certainly.

b) What are the advantages and corresponding costs of this data collection and publication being undertaken by NRAs or by another type of organisation (please specify which one). Please provide an estimate at EU-level or for an EU Member State of your choice.

Answer: The advantage is that consumers can make informed choices. That ought to be of great value to any democratic state.

Does your answer to this question contain confidential information?

Answer: No

Question 8:

a) Do you consider it necessary to regulate the labelling as “Internet access” of subscriptions that restrict access to some Internet services, content or applications?

Answer: Yes.
Truth in advertising should be policed and enforced by all governments

b) If yes, which restrictions would be acceptable before a subscription could no longer be marketed, without qualification, as an “Internet access” product”?

Answer: None

c) What would be the consequences (including the cost) for ISPs if they were not allowed to market as ‘Internet access’ an offer with certain restrictions, or if such marketing was subject to mandatory qualification? Please provide quantification for your own company or an ISP of your choice explaining your assumptions and methodology.

Answer: Perhaps consumers would look more kindly on ISPs that employed honesty in marketing.

Does your answer to this question contain confidential information?

Answer: No

2.2 Switching

Question 9:

a) Please explain what barriers to switching ISPs still exist (if any) and how they can be overcome. Please mention in your reply all direct and indirect factors dissuading consumers from switching (e.g. obstacles linked to the terminal equipment, burden of proof regarding a possible breach of contract, etc.)

Answer: If the ISP has not lived up to its end of the contract, it is in breach of contract, no barrier to switching should exist.

b) How should an ISP inform consumers of changes to their packages?

Answer:  After the current contract expires. If the ISP changes the terms during the contract term, but fails to procure consumer acceptance of such change, the ISP is in breach of contract.

c) What actions by an ISP would constitute a breach of contract or modifications to the contractual conditions which would enable a consumer to be released from a contract?

Answer:  The same actions that would trigger breach of contract in the real world; not living up to the terms, and/or changing the terms without the consumer’s agreement.

d) Should customers be able to easily opt out from certain contractual restrictions (up to a completely unrestricted offer) by the same operator?

Answer:  Yes
Consumers should not be compelled to accept restrictions.

If yes, how could this be facilitated?

Answer: That would be up to the ISP to determine, under government oversight, of course.

e) Do you think that a customer should be allowed to switch to another operator within a reduced contract termination period in case his/her current operator does not at all offer an unrestricted Internet access product or does not allow switching to such unrestricted offer?

Answer: Yes, absolutely.
If the consumer’s ISP does not offer unrestricted Internet access, but another ISP does, the consumer should not be penalized for choosing Net Neutrality.

Does your answer to this question contain confidential information?

Answer: No

Question 10:

While there may be valid (technical) reasons why consumers do not always get the advertised service speed or quality, should there be a limit on the discrepancy between advertised and actual service parameters (e.g. speed)?

Answer: Yes
Truth in advertising. Consumer protection.

If you consider that there should be a limit on the discrepancy, how should this limit be defined?

Answer: I would put the question to I would put the question to Christopher Parsons (@caparsons) [http://www.christopher-parsons.com/blog/]

Does your answer to this question contain confidential information?

Answer: No

Question 11:

Pursuant to Article 30 (6) of the Universal Service Directive conditions and procedures for contract termination shall not act as a disincentive against changing service providers. How could changing of operators be facilitated? Please provide examples and explain your response.

Answer: Governments must enact appropriate legislation to protect consumers.

Question 12:

How could the transparency of bundles (packages including telephony, Internet, TV) be improved for consumers and how could switching be facilitated in the presence of bundles?

Answer: Consumers want — and would be better served by being able — to buy what they want without being forced to take (and thus subsidize) services they do not want.  If ISPs want to mess about with bundles, this is the ISPs decision as part of its business model.  If an ISP doesn’t offer consumers what they want,  it may well fail.  That is the cost of doing business.

Does your answer to this question contain confidential information?

Answer: No

Question 13:

a) How important would be the benefits for end-users of improved transparency and facilitated switching?

Answer: Very important.
Consumer choice is always best for consumers when it is both informed and unrestricted.

b) What would be the expected benefits in terms of innovation by new businesses (content or applications) as a consequence of improved consumer choice and increased competition between ISPs?

Answer: Businesses that cater to consumers and offer real Net Neutrality would prosper, while those seeking to discriminate, throttle and restrict consumers would not.

Does your answer to this question contain confidential information?

Answer: No

3. Process
Question 14:

a) Do you consider that intervention by public authorities is necessary at this stage?

Answer: Yes

If so, what would be the appropriate level of such intervention?

Answer: Get some laws in place to guarantee citizens access to real Net Neutrality.

b) What would be the consequences of divergent interventions by public authorities in the EU Member States?

Answer: If necessary, governments could take over ISPs that do not follow the law.

Does your answer to this question contain confidential information?

Answer: No

Question 15:

Under article 22(3) USD NRAs have the power to set minimum quality of service requirements on undertakings providing public communications networks. In a scenario where in a given MemberState no unrestricted offer is available (for instance because all operators actually block VoIP), do you consider that the “minimum quality of service tool” should be applied by the NRA to require operators to provide certain unrestricted offers?

Answer: Yes
Doesn’t the law (as stated) provide for this?

Does your answer to this question contain confidential information?

Answer: No

Your response must reach the Commission by 15 October 2012!

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ACTA remix: What is the Trans Pacific Partnership ?

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on August 23, 2012

ACTA logo

I’ve fought against ACTA for a long time in this very blog.

Often it seemed futile, as much as anything because no one outside a very small group of people even knew it was happening.

The secrecy was such that Canada’s elected representatives — our Members of Parliament — were not allowed to know anything about what was being negotiated. It was most certainly a very secret treaty. An indication of how abysmal ACTA was is that even under the threat of draconian penalties, the various drafts were too scary not to leak — all the way through the process.

In the Polish Parliament members of the libertarian ‘Ruch Palikota’ donning Guy Fawkes masks

With source material in hand, legal scholars like Michael Geist were able to study various ACTA drafts, and explain the legal language online so that people could understand the ramifications of this treaty that would change our lives. Concerned citizens formed organizations like the excellent La Quadrature du Net which served as a European clearing house for ACTA news. There was an Identica group where I learned about the latest ACTA news and I posted whatever I found there. Like many other ordinary people, I talked to people in my real life as well as sharing ACTA drafts and information on websites and blogs.

And so, over time, many of the worst bits were cut out of ACTA in the face of the negative opinion and outcry. Even so, after the last negotiation, there remained a few irreconcilable differences, and so it went unsigned.

Reasonable people might expect that to have been the end of it, but some months later, after what had to be a good deal of truly secret negotiations, some countries — including Canada — quietly signed the ACTA agreement. But it wasn’t over yet, it still required Europe.

Fortunately for the rest of the world, the European Union did not follow suit. Unlike North America — where most politicians had been kept entirely in the dark with the secrecy provisions in the heavy duty non-disclosure agreement — some EU politicans had been paying attention to ACTA, and enough awareness had been raised to generate an amazing outcry led by Poland.

“A demonstration was to be held there against a secret attempt to sign the ‘ACTA treaty’ by the Polish government, ostensibly to prevent piracy on the web, but in reality, to enable the introduction of the kind of censorship we had in the communist era, and now have in China, (the reading of private e-mails, the tracking of correspondence, the registration of visited web pages visited and network surveillance). Whilst these earlier forms of censorship were designed to perpetuate Communist ideology, those that ACTA would impose have been designed in the U.S. to allow the gradual takeover of states and governments by global corporations.”

— Paweł Łyszczyk, Szczecinian: Opinion: ‘Szczecin says ‘No’ to ACTA’

And amazingly, all the information sharing and Anti-Acta hullabaloo ultimately led the European Union to decline ACTA. Again, this should have been the end of the story, except that the special interests behind these oppressive laws are not about to give up so easily.

What makes the onslaught even worse is that many people are complacent, believing that ACTA—like the US SOPA— has been defeated.

But SOPA was remixed into CISPA and speedily passed into American law. And now, much of the ACTA language is coming back into the shape of other trade agreements, like CETA and the TPP.

The Ghost of ACTA?

Screen Shot : @laurelrusswurm  @majoleink Much ACTA language is being reused - parcelled out in other agreements... look at CETA, TPP

When I said that on Identi.ca the other day I was surprised to be challenged by a Twitter user called @ACTAwebcare:

@ACTAwebcare said:  @laurelrusswurm It's not true. Can you please remove this tweet?

Although I knew it was true, @ACTAwebcare may well have gone to Twitter with a complaint against me to get the Tweet removed. Since I always feel the best way to counter misinformation is with the truth, I responded with some back-up links, quoting reputable sources like:

TechDirt: Son Of ACTA (But Worse): Meet TPP, The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Michael Geist: U.S. Intellectual Property Demands for TPP Leak: Everything it Wanted in ACTA But Didn’t Get

But the best was this line by line comparison of ACTA and TPP language done by infojustice.org TPP vs. ACTA – Line by Line

Setting up a Twitter account in an attempt to rehabilitate ACTA (and spread misinformation about it) is quite telling. Although ACTA may be officially gone, it is anything but forgotten. And we need to understand and fight  the dangers of its new incarnations.

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has created the following Infographic to explain just what is wrong with the TPP.  It’s from an American perspective, but the consequences will be just as dire for the rest of the world.   Canada is clamoring to jump on this bandwagon, so we Canadians can write letters to our MPs too.

EFF infographic

In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake’s final words on ACTA


What is the Trans Pacific Partnership Infographic by Electronic Frontier Foundation and Lumin Consulting released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States (CC BY 3.0) license

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The Internet is a Fundamental Human Right

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on June 6, 2011

Embossed United Nations symbol engraved or etched on white on a copper colored plaque,

United Nations HQ, behind the podium in the General Assembly Hall

A little more than a year ago I blogged that The Internet IS a Necessity of Life in my Oh! Canada blog.

It is very gratifying to me that now the UN has backed me up, with the declaration that the Internet to be a fundamental Human Right.

You can download the UN pdf here

Being deprived of Internet access is the same as being deprived of the ability to engage in full participation in society, resulting in serious economic disadvantages.



Image Credits:

UN crest photo by Sunil Garg on Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License

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An Open Letter against UBB

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on January 28, 2011

No Usage Based Billing

As Canada gets closer to having the Internet squeezed out of us, more people are finding out about it.
I’ve just received a letter from Lynda Fraser, another Canadian concerned about Usage Based Billing, who is active on the FaceBook Stop UBB in Canada page

Hello fellow Canadians,

Was wondering if you would be interested in looking at the recent CRTC decision to allow Bell Canada to basically kill all of us for wanting to use the internet. Sorry but that’s the way I feel about this whole decision.

Basically most Canadians will see
their internet bill double effective March 1/11
especially if they have signed up to watch television over the internet.

I am not a super user by any means, I do the normal banking, occasional shopping, email and Face Book. I will be affected by this as will the majority of internet users in Canada.

CRTC logo
One of the articles that I read said a spokesperson from CRTC said the decision was made so you pay for what you use to void throttling and caps on internet usage.

The throttling will continue and the caps are ridiculous. Most people I know will end up with an internet bill around $100.00 per month.

I thought Canada was a country that promotes healthy competition with it’s suppliers, the CRTC has ensured that Bell will end up being our only provider of internet services. Bell has even admitted in a recent statement to the public that their system for determining usage may not calculate properly and customers usage could be double counted.

And, on top of it all the announcement of large tax cuts for large corporations just tops it all off.

Not only will Bell raise prices, they will save on their corporate taxes.

The following information about costs and caps are directly from Bell Canada/Bell Aliant for Ontario and Quebec and this was all approved by the CRTC.

Old logo with text: The Bell Telephone Company of Canada - in a circle around a Bell which has the text: Local and Long Distance Telephone

Ontario:
Lite Residence – cap of 2GB, $2.13 charge per GB if you go over your 2GB to a maximum charge of an extra $51.00/month
Lite Plus Residence is the same as above
Basic Residence – cap of 25GB, $1.70 charge per GB if you go over 25GB to a maximum of $51.00/month

Quebec:
Lite Residence – cap of 1GB, $2.13 charge per GB if you go over your 1GB to a maximum charge of an extra $51.00/month
Lite Plus Residence – cap of 5GB, $2.13 charge per GB if you go over your 5GB to a maximum charge of an extra $51.00/month
Basic Residence – cap of 60GB, $2.13 charge per GB if you go over 25GB to a maximum of $51.00/month

Each of the above plans have a excessive usage charge as well. If you go over 300GB it is an additional $0.85/GB with no maximum.
They are offering for you to purchase an additional block of 40 GB for a monthly cost of $5.00 each and you can get a maximum of 3 of these per residence.

I could go on forever about this, actually feel like Rick Mercer doing one of his rants Smile emoticon

Please check into the media coverage on this for more information.

Here are a few of the links to the current articles:

Vancouver Sun: Consumer backlash over usage-based Internet billing goes viral

Globe and Mail: How much is that data plan going to cost you?

David Beers: A metered Internet is a regulatory failure

CBC: Extra billing for internet use a ‘ripoff': NDP

YouTube: Do You Know
“…the Top 10 in demand jobs in 2010…did not exist in 2004 …
We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist …
using technologies that haven’t been invented …
in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet …”

For those with accessibility issues, I am also hosting the OGG version here.

Georgia Straight: CRTC ruling on usage-based billing threatens affordable Internet access, critics say

and the Face Book group that is organizing a rally of protest

You can also check out the stat on internet usage that has been collected by Stats Can which shows that 74% of Canadians are internet users and the study was from September of 2009.

more details of how we use the internet

Regards from a very unhappy Canadian internet user,

Lynda Fraser

There are still so many things to be said about Usage Based Billing.

NOTE: When UBB is implemented, Canadians will be charged for all the bandwidth they consume. That means that watching videos like the excellent “Did You Know” video from YouTube I’ve embedded above will cost much more. Don’t ask me how much, because I have no idea. From the sound of it, Bell gets to make up the figures as they go along.

Regulating Canada into the last century will not help our digital economy survive in this one.
We need to Stop Usage Based Billing before it starts.



If you haven’t already, sign the petition. There are only 11946 signatures.

If you have already signed, who else should you be asking to sign?

That’s easy: anyone who uses the Internet.
Because Usage Based Billing will harm not only Canadians, but our Economy.

http://dissolvethecrtc.ca/

You can also call or write your MP, MP postal code look-up

Heritage Minister James Moore – email: Moore.J@parl.gc.ca

Industry Minister Tony Clement – email: Clemet1@parl.gc.ca

Prime Minister Stephen Harper – email: Harper.S@parl.gc.ca

After all, they work for us, don’t they?

STOP Usage Based Billing

STOP Usage Based Billing



CREDITS:
OGG conversion via Tiny Ogg Thanks!

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DDoS?

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on December 18, 2010

No Usage Based Billing

Words chosen to mislead have long been a potent tool in the arsenal of political repression.

Title Panel from Nina Paley's minute meme
As technology changes our lives in ways we struggle to understand and special interests with power and large budgets push for sweeping changes detrimental to our interests, people can’t protest if they don’t understand what the conversation is about.  That’s been a huge problem in the area of copyright law reform; the copyright lobby has tried to make people believe that culture shouldn’t be freely shared by equating copying with theft.

Yet copyright infringement and theft are very different things under law. To push back against this misinformation campaign, Nina Paley regularly deploys both her great talent and intelligence to say the same thing over and over again: copying is not theft.

Like most people, I wasn’t paying the slightest bit of attention to the Internet while I was busy raising my child, but the Internet was itself evolving from a marvelous toy into a necessity of life. Today the Internet has become incredibly important to the economies of the world. In Canada UBB needs to be stopped because it unreasonably inflates the cost of Internet access purely to satisfy corporate greed, at a time when it is increasing important for all citizens to have Internet access in order to function. As important as that is, it is a little thing compared to the importance of Internet freedom.

top left Julian Assange, top right "Keep Us Strong", bottom left WikiLeaks Logo, bottom right Earth from space

above the law?

WikiLeaks is absorbing the brunt of heavy attacks that could much more easily be deployed to silence and/or remove ANY citizen dissent. The first wave of attacks against WikiLeaks were DDoS attacks, which are clearly against the law. Yet the only credible perpetrators of these attacks would be agents of “the establishment,” in particular, governments and/or banks who believe themselves threatened by the release of Cablegate documents.

I grew up in the 20th century. My grandpaprents fled their homeland during a revolution. Adolph Hitler not only roamed the earth, but very nearly conquered it. The Cold War left citizens of earth wondering when the world would blow up, and there was a seemingly endless string of holy wars and ‘Police Actions’ and human rights abuses. It is neither unreasonable or alarmist to believe that Tom Flanagan was absolutely serious in calling for the assassination of Julian Assange. Living in a world where the young men in a helicopter can casually mow down civilians and journalists but the young man of conscience believed to have exposed it finds himself incarcerated without due process in conditions reminiscent of those suffered by the fictional Count of Monte Cristo. Perhaps worse; under military arrest, unconvicted of *anything,*Bradley Manning is actively physically prevented from exercise and constantly watched and tormented using methods commonly employed for brainwashing and torture.

A very difficult thing for me to understand is what has been called DDoS attacks over the past few weeks. I’ve spent a fair bit of time trying to understand what was happening in microblog conversations with people I know and respect as intelligent thoughtful people concerned for freedom.   [Thank you especially to @inkorrupt and @lxoliva for helping me both think about and begin to get some understanding of this difficult subject.]

My eyes were opened further by MEP (Member of European Parliament) Amelia Andersdotter in her blog. Further, Ms. Andersdotter pointed me to Green Pirate: A Look at DDoS Net Activism

Both the technology and the jargon are so new the words don’t mean the same thing every time make it very easy to spread misinformation. But the biggest reasons that DDoS has been equated with vandalism rather than protest is that DDoS attacks traditionally use malware to secretly break into innocent people’s computers and illegally harness them, and turn them into a “botnet army.” In fact, this is precisely the kind of attack that has been made against WikiLeaks computers since Cablegate.

Richard Stallman's Guardian article is a Must Read: "The Anonymous WikiLeaks protests are a mass demo against control"

That is NOT what “Anonymous” does, Richard Stallman explains in the Guardian article: The Anonymous WikiLeaks protests are a mass demo against control

A black & white remix of the UN Globe surrounded with a laurel wreath, an "invisible man" with a question mark where the head should be

Anonymous is not making zombie armies, they make their protests with their own computers. They are not very anonymous either, as evidenced by the kids who have been caught. As in Gandhi’s time, public awareness can be raised by arrested protesters. Peaceful protest succeeds by making the population aware of injustice. Isn’t it ironic that Anonymous is not engaged in illegal “cracking,” unlike the authoritarian DDoS attacks illegally targetting WikiLeaks.

Still, can Anonymous protesters be breaking laws by simply visiting a website?

Of course they can. Laws are written by governments, and can be made to cover anything.

Under repressive regimes, laws are made to benefit the ruler(s) and imposed on the populace, enforced with fear and repression.

In democracies laws are supposed to be made for the good of society. But citizen oversight is necessary to ensure special interest lobby groups don’t succeed in passing legislation contrary to the public good. This is why free speech and dissent are necessary and whistle blowers should be legally protected.

But if individuals can legally participate in DDoS attacks today, I won’t be surprised if our lawmakers rush to make it illegal tomorrow. If they do, they won’t stop the protests, anymore than it would have been possible to stop the civil disobedience inspired by Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King. The right of digital assembly should be accepted as a legitimate form of digital dissent but I think it will take some time before most of us understand it well enough to get the idea.

The most important thing is that they are fighting for their future.

What we need is a new word to differentiate between DDoS attacks of repression — like those illegal used against WikiLeaks servers –and
DDoS personal protests being undertaken by the members of Anonymous.
Maybe instead of calling the Anonymous protestsDDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service)

we should be calling them Civil Rights Denial of Service protests, or

CRDoS

“States seek to imprison the Anonymous protesters rather than official torturers and murderers. The day when our governments prosecute war criminals and tell us the truth, internet crowd control may be our most pressing remaining problem. I will rejoice if I see that day.”

Richard Stallman The Anonymous WikiLeaks protests are a mass demo against control



Image Credits

Copying Is Not Theft by Nina Paley Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
WikiLeaks Wallpaper remixture laurelrusswurm by CC by-sa
Richard Stallman by webmink under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License

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Overturn the CRTC Ruling

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on October 29, 2010

No Usage Based Billing

This ruling means that Canadian Internet rates will rise dramatically.

Funny thing is, since I’ve been with TekSavvy for a long time, the grandfather clause it may very well make UBB a non-issue for my family. At least at first.

Canadian Flag CC-BY lothlaurien.ca

Even so, Usage Based Billing will impact on all of Canada.

It doesn’t matter if you can afford it or not. It will affect Canada’s use of the Internet.

Usage Based Billing will change how Canadians use the Internet.

Canada is composed of a wildly dispersed and diverse group of citizens. Our country has maintained a mosaic culture in spite of the fact that our American Cousins opted for a melting pot approach.

Instead of one large shared American Dream, Canadians have as many dreams as we need. That may well be a big part of why Canadians have so enthusiastically embraced the Internet. The ease of Internet access has allowed Canadians to share, celebrate and embrace our differences. The past decade has brought us the beginnings of a golden age of Canadian culture undreamt of in the era when I grew up. Back in those dark days Canadians were searching in vain for the “Canadian Identity”. The fact that it no longer even comes up is a sign of cultural health. The Internet allows Canadian artists to distribute their work both at home and abroad with an ease never before possible. This is a priceless benefit to all Canadians, rich, poor, strong, weak, new immigrants, old immigrants, and first nations… we’re all in this together.

Right now, at this moment, Canada is uniquely placed to continue as we have been, leading the world in making use of the Internet to the great benefit of Canadian Culture and Economy.

This isn’t to say there aren’t problems. There are.

The backbone Internet carriers have chosen not to reinvest much if any in the infrastructure, so what was once cutting edge technology fifteen years ago is now 15 year old technology. Canadians are faced with mediocre Internet service. Our premium priced fastest speeds are laughable in most of the rest of the world. The prices Canadians pay for connectivity are cutting edge, but what we get in return is mediocre service.

And that’s BEFORE implementation of Usage Based Billing.

Usage Based Billing will make the price Canadians pay for Internet access unquestionably the highest in the world.

This is unacceptable.

The CRTC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Mandate

The CRTC’s mandate is to ensure that both the broadcasting and telecommunications systems serve the Canadian public. The CRTC uses the objectives in the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act to guide its policy decisions.

CRTC Role in Regulating Broadcasting and Telecommunications Systems

More than a year ago I wrote letters to the Prime Minister and The Honourables Moore and Clement. The eventual response I received from the PMO was:

“We have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of your correspondence to the office of the Hon. Tony Clement, Minister of Industry. His office is in the best position to respond to the issues you have raised. ”

The response that took the PMO five months to craft:

The CRTC is supposed to regulate according to laws under the purview of Industry Canada, placing it back in Industry Minister Tony Clement’s hands. And we have seen Tony Clement show that bad CRTC decisions can be overturned by the Government, as he demonstrated when he had Cabinet overule the CRTC so WindMobile could set up shop in Canada.

The response I got from Tony Clement in respect of Usage Based Billing was quite promising:

Under the Telecommunications Act, Cabinet can decide to take action in response to a petition by varying (changing) the decision, referring it back to the CRTC for reconsideration or rescinding the decision. Cabinet can also decide not to intervene and let the CRTC decision remain in place. The government’s powers to intervene expire one year from the date of the decision in question. Given that the matter is still under consideration by Cabinet, it would not be appropriate for me to comment at this time.

—Tony Clement, email excerpt We Interrupt this Prorogue…. January 2010

@TonyClement_MP Tony Clement Thx for the input, but as there is a 90 day appeal period it would be inappropriate for me to comment further. Be well.

They can do it again.

Tell Tony Clement that UBB will be bad for Canada. Postal mail, phone, write, email, tweet… Mr. Clement can be reached in a variety of ways. Tell him what you think about UBB. Tell him this bad ruling needs to be overturned.

It seems many Canadians have been asking Tony Clement about this on Twitter today.

It sounds as though the Honourable Tony Clement was saying that the Indie ISPs have another 90 day appeal period, after which time Bell would have to give 90 day notice to customers. I’ll try to confirm that.

For more information on how and who to write to, this article has a guidelines, tips and addresses for wrote a whole lot of letter writing: Write Letters to Stop UBB The time to write is now.



 

If you haven’t already, sign the petition. There are only 11075 signatures.

If you have already signed, who else should you be asking to sign?

That’s easy: anyone who uses the Internet.
Because Usage Based Billing will harm not only Canadians, but our Economy.

http://dissolvethecrtc.ca/

You can also call or write your MP, MP postal code look-up

Heritage Minister James Moore – email: Moore.J@parl.gc.ca

Industry Minister Tony Clement – email: Clemet1@parl.gc.ca

Prime Minister Stephen Harper – email: Harper.S@parl.gc.ca

After all, they work for us, don’t they?

STOP Usage Based Billing

STOP Usage Based Billing



 

Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Canadian Market said NO to UBB

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on August 6, 2010

Telephone poles stretched along side a gravel rural road

No Usage Based Billing
The Internet is an interconnected network of wires connecting computers all around the world. The physical conduit of the Internet is the telephone wire or cable and associated equipment that connects together to form the “infrastructure” or “backbone”.

Because Canadian communications systems must cover great distances to serve a relatively small population these systems have traditionally required special treatment in order to provide Canadians with the services we need to both exist and compete in the first world economy. Although Canada has never had a strict telephone monopoly, from the very beginning different telephone companies provided services in different geographic locations across Canada. Which means we have for the most part had a “virtual monopoly” because each geographic area had only one telephone provider.

Regardless of what Canada’s telecommunication regulator the CRTC seems to think, if you have to sell your house and move to a new geographic location in order to get a different Internet Service provider it does not qualify as “consumer choice”. So although we have different companies providing access to the Internet, a great many Canadians have only one possible Internet Service Provider.

A Mennonite horse and buggy crosses the road

[When discussing the ISP "carriers" I pretty much always say "Bell" for the phone carrier, although in many cases Telus should be included as well. In the same way when I speak of the cable carrier I say "Rogers" to stand in for all the Cable companies, which over all of Canada I understand to also include Shaw, Cogeco, and Vidéotron because from where I sit here they all appear to be marching in lockstep. I do not presume to know if, when or how any of these companies may be interrelated. I myself have only had dealings with Bell and Rogers.]

infrastructure and private property

Somehow Bell Canada never seems to mention that the only way the telephone system we have today could have come into existence was through the goodwill of private property owners and government cooperation. They like to take all the credit for establishing the phone/cable infrastructure, but they could never have done it without our help.

Because the thing to remember is that telephone poles carrying telephone wire cross private land.

Had stringing the wire been left entirely up to the telephone companies, we might still be using smoke signals. Because without government assistance, the phone company would have had to negotiate with every single land owner. Individual property owners would have been able to prevent the telephone wire from crossing their land. Instead of ending up with a system covering all of the settled portions of Canada, we might have ended with many small unconnected pockets of telephone service.

Because as sure as the sun rises in the east, even today there are people who don’t want telephone service.

Certainly some would decline for religious reasons, while others might try to pry excessive sums of money from the phone company in exchange for granting a right-of-way across their property. To prevent such snags which might have rendered the existence of the telephone system impossible, forward thinking government mandated “easements” along the road side portions of private property. This government intervention allows utilities like electricity and telephone companies to put up poles along these easements and then string wires along them, or dig up land to allow cables or pipes to run under this land for the public good. In this way, the government acted to ensure Canada’s technologically wouldn’t lag.

The “who owns the wire” problem is not unique to Canada. Even in countries with dense enough population to support telephone competition it only makes sense to string one wire. Property owners can be persuaded to accept one set of telephone poles running along their land for the common good, but would balk at 5 sets of telephone poles. So even where there are five telephone providers they share the wire.

"Punchcard" photo by Mutatis mutandi

computers

When I was a kid, my Dad took us to a local university to see a gigantic machine that could solve mathematical equations if you fed it punch cards. Punch cards were exactly what they sound like: bits of cardboard with holes punched in them.

The computer programmer communicated with the computer via punchcards. The pattern of the holes made up the program. Back in those days of vacuum tubes, most people could not imagine the possibility that personal computers would ever exist. Computers were simply too big.

But then came miniaturization. Really, weren’t the first home computers was actually the digital calculators that swept over the world in the 1970’s? With the ability to achieve miniaturization, home computers were not far behind. The first home computers were DIY projects; if you wanted a computer you had to put it together. So naturally the first people to have home computers were the techies who could build them.

But it wasn’t long though before enterprising businesses began selling personal computers or PCs that anyone could use. Spreadsheet programs like Lotus Symphony revolutionized the accounting Industry. Desk Top Publishing was born. Games could be played. Calendars kept. The possibilities seemed endless. And they were.

Today ordinary people get personal computers in much the same way we get cars. We no longer need to know how to build or repair one.

the Internet

In the early days of personal computing, people could purchase modems that would connect computers via telephone lines. When your modem was connected to the phone line, it took control of your telephone service. When your computer was talking on the phone, you couldn’t. It got to the point where some computer users would get a second telephone line so their computing time wouldn’t tie up their telephone.

Before the Internet became available to ordinary people, there were independent computer networks. My first venture online was in 1989 with a commercial service called Compuserve. Although the research possibilities were excellent, the fun part was being able to live chat with folks from around the world.

The downside was that it was terribly expensive. You paid by the minute, which can add up quite quickly. Learning how to do anything took a lot of time and every minute online cost money. Although it was fun, being fresh out of college, I simply couldn’t afford it. So I went off line again. The public library was a much more economical place to do research.

I just went to search out Compuserve now. I’m happy they’re still out there. Oh and look… the deal I see is 2 months free to start and after that $17.95 per month unlimited. Twenty years ago my bill for a single month exceeded $100, and that was using one of their more economical billing plans! Times certainly have changed.

Later I became involved with an early computer network, a BBS or “bulletin board system”. These independent computer BBSs were very similar to the Internet forums of today; you posted your comment and it stayed there. People would check in over time and join in the conversation. No live chats here.

But it was an excellent antidote to Compuserve, because it was free. Voluntary donations helped support the system by paying for improved equipment for the people running it. A BBS was not a commercial venture, they were communities… today we’d call them social media… started by a few people with computer know-how and equipment to run it on. People found out about a BBS by word of mouth. Then as now content was important for finding and then keeping an audience.

three AOL disks

four AOL offers on four b;ue enrollment CDs

The people who owned the equipment controlled the BBS, and acted as the system administrators or SYSOPS. But it was the users who brought the BBS to life by beginning new discussion areas and posting conversations and content to the BBS. Because it didn’t happen in real time, the posts were often more thoughtful than live chat. But the owners held ultimate control; they could cut off anyone for any reason. Initially this power was only used to clamp down on abusive behavior; there were online Trolls then as now. Later on personalities and personal politics came into it.

My disillusionment coincided with one heavy contributor being cut off simply for having different attitudes and philosophies– mostly he annoyed the owners. But because he provided so much content and administered so many discussion groups, they didn’t want to cut him off for good, so instead they gave him small suspensions to keep him in line. That type of petty abuse of power is why I left that BBS, and has a lot to do with why I support net neutrality today.

That was around the time when the Internet became generally available to the public. Overnight there were Independent Internet Service Providers springing up all over Canada, and around the world. And although many people signed up, it was far from universal.

an array of internet hook up CDs

There were many seductive elements. Email and Instant Messaging held great appeal. Instant connectivity. Research, information… everything at your finger tips. But in many ways it was a luxury. A plaything. It was only later it became a necessity.

In my recollection, a lot people were initially resistant to going online because it was so expensive. There were many many ISPs, and so competition was fierce. Even so, it was still very expensive. ISPs charged by the minute. The most persistent and pervasive ISPs battling for customers was America Online.

AOL: Usage Based Billing

They must have mailed out hundreds of thousands of AOL sign up CDs. Maybe millions. I know I didn’t start keeping the CDs that kept turning up in my mail initially. Yet I still probably have around thirty of their CDs.   Yet I never did sign up with AOL.   I knew from my Compuserve experience how quickly the usage costs could add up, and how expensive it would be.   Not to mention virtually impossible to budget for.

AOL usage based offers

The AOL marketing campaign is writ large across those old CDs.
540 Hours Free
1000 Hours Free
1344 Hours Free
2000 Hours Free
3 Months Free
$9.95 for 6 months

AOL tried giving better and better introductory offers but it just did not work. After the early adopters, the techno types who would do whatever it took to be online — and more importantly pay whatever had to be paid– the mostly ordinary people just weren’t interested. It was a big cash outlay, after all. Just getting a reasonable computer system cost around three thousand dollars.

My first PC had a double floppy drive — not even a hard drive — a black & white screen — a dot matrix printer.  Three grand.

After laying out the green, most of us weren’t ready to sign away the rest of our disposable income for the Internet. Because after AOL’s “introduction period” was over, it would be back to the very pricey Usage Based Billing options. It just cost too much.

And there wasn’t even the content available online that there is today.

Certainly finding what you wanted took work, and learning is very expensive when you’re being billed per minute. The point is, you didn’t NEED to go online. You could buy a whole encyclopedia on one CD, or a spreadsheet program, a word processor or graphics software or games, and your computer could do everything you needed it to. People didn’t need the Internet. It was just too expensive. A toy.

What happened to AOL? The king of marketing? At one point they were the one to beat. They marketed the heck out of the Internet. Who else could afford to scatter CDs across the land with such bold abandon. Or convince respectable venerated Canadian banking institutions… notably some of the most caution in the world… to partner them? What cataclysm could have done for AOL?

Wait a minute:

Canada had ISP competition?  

Canada?

What happened to all those ISPs?

Bell Sympatico and Rogers Internet

enter the carriers

Bell Canada and Rogers Cable entered the fray.

Bell Canada was the major telephone carrier; they controlled and maintained the telephone cable backbone. Telephone traffic traveled over this wire, and now Internet traffic did too. Up until this time, Bell Canada just had phone lines, they were the major telephone carrier who controlled the wire backbone connecting home computer users to the Internet.

But now, Bell decided they wanted to get into the internet game. So Bell hung out a shingle as an Internet Service Provider, or ISP.

When Rogers entered the market they brought their own backbone in the form of urban cable connections. The first time I recall hearing about Rogers as an ISP they were offering high speed Internet connections. I wasn’t paying much attention back then. One minute there were scads pf Canadian ISPs and the next there were only two.

Bell and Rogers introduced “Unlimited Internet” into the Canadian market

Bell and Rogers used their corporate might to introduce low cost UNLIMITED Internet service packages that the smaller ISPs could not possibly match. Offering unlimited Internet access made trying it much more palatable because learning how to use it was no longer prohibitively expensive. Not only did customers switch to Bell and Rogers in droves, but more:

elimination of usage based billing allowed the Canadian Internet Market to really take off.

Canadian consumers told the market in no uncertain terms that we did not want the Internet on a Usage Based Billing model.

Low cost entry into the Internet made Canadians embrace the Internet. This is why Canada was an early adopter, and a leader in Internet use. Even though it didn’t take long for prices to climb. Since the other competitors were gone, Bell and Rogers had the market carved up between them so prices began to rise rapidly.

The Internet has impacted on just about every type of business there is. We buy and sell on eBay or Amazon. We pay our bills online. We can read Canadian laws online. Get up to the minute weather reports. We watch TVor read the newspaper online. Canada Post is offering to deliver email.

the Canadian Internet market clearly said “No” to Usage Based Billing

Because customers overwhelmingly chose “Unlimited” over the usage based pricing model, Bell and Rogers got the added bonus of eliminating the competition. Bell and Rogers were vying for supremacy so they built good infrastructure to offer the fastest best service. Back then, Canada had some of the best Internet access speeds at some of the lowest prices in the world.

This is a very large part of the reason that Canadians embraced the Internet so whole heartedly.

But the upshot is that Canada was left with only two ISPs. It was such a monumental error that even the Canadian Government noticed, and stepped in and told Bell and Rogers that they would have to share the infrastructure so that competitors could enter the Internet market in an attempt to re-introduce competition.

I’m not quite sure why, but it seems that all the Independent ISPs seem to get their Internet connection through Bell. When Bell set up the “Gateway Access System” (GAS) through which they sell wholesale bandwidth to the Independent Internet Service Providers The CRTC allowed Bell to set their own prices. Naturally they set very high prices. The Independent ISPs could then redistribute the bandwidth however they saw fit.

Canadian paper money, photo by laurelrusswurm

At first Bell was happy since they were making money from their GAS business. They were probably surprised that the Independent ISPs provided low priced packages and good Internet service without gouging that have built loyalty for the Independents. It’s funny how just about anyone you ask has at least one Bell or Rogers horror story in their repertoire, but I’ve never heard any about the Independent ISPs.

Canada’s place as an Internet leader has been slipping badly. Although Bell has done basic maintenance on their phone/Internet infrastructure they seem to have neglected the continuous upgrading they should have done. In real terms that makes Canada’s Internet service of today hopelessly out of date. What was cutting edge 15 years ago is paleolithic today.

Although the service has stayed the same with little or no infrastructure improvements Canadian Internet costs have been climbing.

(Make no mistake: the inflated Internet costs that Bell and Rogers have been charging have been more than enough to cover upgrades.)

Many Canadians went online because it was affordable back then, but that is no longer true.

Now, at a time when it has become more important to go in the Internet– to do our banking, pay our bills, find jobs, do school work– today Canadian Internet rates are some of the highest in the world. The Internet is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity for Canadians. But not all Canadians can afford to even go online. The “digital divide” is yawning already, but now it’s about to get even worse.

Because the CRTC has approved Bell’s application to begin Usage Based Billing.

Real costs have nothing to do with it. Market forces have nothing to do with it.

The CRTC will allow our Internet rates to double to economically force Canadians to reduce Internet use.

CRTC #fail



If you haven’t already, sign the petition. There are only 10925 signatures.

If you have already signed, who else should you be asking to sign?

That’s easy: anyone who uses the Internet.
Because Usage Based Billing will harm not only Canadians, but our Economy.

http://dissolvethecrtc.ca/

You can also call or write your MP, MP postal code look-up

Heritage Minister James Moore – email: Moore.J@parl.gc.ca

Industry Minister Tony Clement – email: Clemet1@parl.gc.ca

Prime Minister Stephen Harper – email: Harper.S@parl.gc.ca

After all, they work for us, don’t they?

STOP Usage Based Billing

STOP Usage Based Billing



Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Trollbusters

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on April 1, 2010

Trolls: Sometimes Trolls are Welcome.  There are many different types of Troll.  This Troll was the hit of a D&D convention.  The one place trolls are never welcome is on the internet.

StopUBB seems to have acquired its own troll.
(Click on the troll to see a larger image.)

Instead of simply leaving my responses to troll-dom buried in the comments, I thought my time would be better spent with an article about Internet Trolls.

No Usage Based Billing

Internet Anonymity

One of the strengths of the Internet is that it usually possible to comment anonymously. The reason that this is a strength is that it allows people to share information — whistle blowing information in particular — with less personal risk. This is good for society.

Another strength of the Internet is that it is largely “self-correcting”. Because commenting is encouraged most places, and an awful lot of information is available for user-editing, when someone gets something on the internet wrong, there is usually someone who will correct them. So if a “whistle blower” turns out to be someone spreading malicious information, they will be outed and discredited very quickly. This is fabulous.

Now, I have never made any secret of the fact that although I deal with a lot of technical things in this blog, I am not a technical person. If I get something wrong, I want to know about it, so that I can correct it. That’s one reason that my name and email address are plastered all over my blogs. It has to do with credibility. If you want to correct me loudly, you can do it in a comment. If you prefer to do it quietly, you can send me email. (Don’t worry, thanks to some really smart tech people I have a very good spam filter.)

The reason I started this blog was to help other non-technical internet users understand the issue of Usage Based Billing. As an ordinary person myself I have to first learn about the issues and processes before I can hope to write about them. I have lately increased the scope of this blog to cover internet freedom issues like Net Neutrality and ACTA which will also impact negatively on ordinary Internet users. The point of this blog is to demystify the computerese so that ordinary people can understand the issues that will affect us all. Computers and the Internet are no longer luxuries.

I am fortunate in that I’ve had some good instructors, and for things I’ve researched on my own I’ve had excellent feedback. As well I know I have a few very technically astute readers who will not hesitate to provide technical correction where warranted.

European troll with a walking stick stands on a city street.

Trolls

A problem that has emerged out of Internet anonymity is a type of commenter which has come to be known as a “Troll”. Trolls comment wherever they think they can do damage. In forums, Facebook, blogs, and news articles.

Some trolls are just the internet version a vandals; they want to wreck things, or stir things up. Some delight in the power they feel in arguing about anything or everything. They will jump into any argument and take the contrary position just for the fun of it. This type of troll has been around since the earliest days of computer Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes were the early forums on independent computer networks that predate public access to the Internet of today).

As the Internet has achieved wider readership and acceptance, there has emerged a new class of troll, Professional Lobbyist Trolls. I’m guessing that at least some of these trolls receive a paycheck for their efforts, although it’s conceivable that some simply work for the corporation they are lobbying for. Whether they are officially remunerated for troll comments or not, I consider these people to be Professional Trolls because they engage in troll behaviour for gain.

The first kind of troll exists because they feel empowered through the argument. These trolls often engage in bullying tactics. The standard advice for dealing with these amateur trolls is “Don’t feed the troll.” This means that they should be ignored, because they will never back off. The more you respond, the worse they get. By ignoring them you deprive them of their power. Unfortunately this doesn’t always work because some of them will simply continue to escalate the abuse until a response is forthcoming.

The second type of troll exists because a special interest group – usually a corporation or a political party – is engaging in activity or behaviour that the public will not agree with because it is not in the best interests of the public. The professional troll’s job is to con us into thinking that it will be in our best interests, or if that doesn’t fly, that it’s necessary to make a sacrifice for some reason.

When CBC online runs a story decrying a bad corporate behaviour or government policy, something that triggers thousands of public online comments, often the special interest group behind the bad behaviour or policy tries to stem the tide of public negativity by sending in Professional Trolls. These trolls spread misinformation intended to muddy the waters and try to dissipate or minimize the public outrage. Trolls will attempt to deflect criticism by suggesting a different scapegoat, or more commonly by trying to cast doubt on the credibility of the information. Professional trolls have a whole arsenal of weapons for attacking an idea on every front except merit. That’s the biggest problem professional trolls have to overcome — a lack of valid arguments.

You can usually spot a Professional Troll because they are arguing against the good of society. The corporation, political group or ideology that the troll is advocating/lobbying for, will always gain something at the expense of others, usually the public. Because ordinary citizens don’t have lobbyists.

The StopUBB Troll

First I’ll reprint the Troll Comments I received today followed by my Comment Reply. Then I’ll break the troll’s comment down and analyze the flaws.

lol said
March 31, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Wow so much FUD in this article. Not a Rogers employee, but your understanding of how the DPI works is nonsense, and guess what, carriers all pay on usage, broadband customers can to. You will one day, don’t worry and suck it up. Move from your parents basement and become productive.

Laurel L. Russwurm said
April 1, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Lol the Troll is spreading misinformation again… Although protesting that it is “Not a Rogers employee”, Lol the Troll‘s email address is through an offline “holding company” website with a Rogers IP address. Certainly looks suspicious.   Lol the Troll claims that “carriers all pay on usage”. Either Lol the Troll truly doesn’t understand (intelligence is not a pre-requisite for troll-dom) or is being disingenuous. Bell Canada is a “carrier”.  I doubt Bell Canada pays usage to anyone.

Admittedly, Rogers is also a carrier. Rogers doesn’t usually have to pay for internet access on it’s own cable, but there are some parts of Canada where Rogers is forced to go through Bell Canada’s Gateway Access System (GAS), so I expect at those junctures, Bell is charging usage to Rogers. You would think that Bell and Rogers would be able to play nicely together, but neither share very well, and though they seem to work in conjunction at times, both want to be the only Canadian Internet monopoly.

The Independent Service Providers… that is to say, the Independent ISPs that Industry Canada mandated into the Canadian Internet market in order to provide Canadian consumers with access to competition, must purchase access to Bell Canada’s GAS as well. My understanding is that the Independents are ISPs not carriers. They do in fact pay a great deal for their internet access.

The Independent ISPs have contracted for blocks of bandwidth access with Bell Canada. Bell Canada was able to set the excessive prices they wanted, and the Independent ISPs agreed to pay the high prices Bell Canada set.   So Bell Canada is already being paid for the bandwidth the Independent ISPs get through GAS. These independent ISPs do business by packaging the bandwidth differently than Bell Canada does. Bell Canada is already being paid for the bandwidth that these ISPs re-sell to their own customers.

Usage Based Billing would mean that the Independent Service Providers’ customers would be forced to pay Bell Canada for “usage” that has already been paid for. The Independent ISPs are fighting against UBB because they don’t believe that their customers should have to pay more for the same service they get now. Usage Based Billing will also force the Independent ISPs to use Bell Canada’s pricing system, which will unfairly shackle their business model and most likely put them out of business.

Lol the Troll also attempts to discredit me personally as someone who doesn’t pay for my own Internet connection. Lol the Troll is accusing me of being an unproductive young person, without life experience, living in my parents basement, presumably off my parents.

First of all, a young person living in their parent’s basement is not necessarily unproductive. And age does not always bring life experience.   Considering that Lol the Troll made a second post with the same type of denigration on the About UBB and Me a page that very clearly says who I am, it is reasonable to think that Lol the Troll just wanted to try to discredit me, not caring about accuracy.

Now for the point by point Troll-Analysis:
Lol the Troll: “Wow so much FUD in this article. “
Broad statement. Opinion, not fact. Attempt to establish street cred by using the acronym “FUD”. This actually backfires since the wikipedia definition points to someone with a marketing or political background. Precisely the demographic for professional trolls.

FUD: Fear, uncertainty and doubt, a marketing or political strategy.

Wikipedia

Troll-Analysis:
Lol the Troll: “Not a Rogers employee,”
Attempting to discredit my information without any validity. I’m sure Rogers has competent as well as incompetent staff just like any other large corporation. Working for Rogers wouldn’t make me an expert. Anymore than not working for Rogers would.

Troll-Analysis:
Lol the Troll: “but your understanding of how the DPI works is nonsense,”
Saying the information is wrong without any supporting information. aka “Because I say so”. Lol is spouting nonsense. Thanks to research I quite understand why DPI is illegal in Europe, and ought to be here. At minimum it needs oversight.

Troll-Analysis:
Lol the Troll: “and guess what, carriers all pay on usage,”
Argument based on Fallacy. Partly correct, not remotely logical. Having just read the Wikipedia page I am amazed… the fallacy page is pretty much a Troll Primer. If you think a comment was made by a troll, chances are their argument will contain at least one of the fallacies listed on the Wikipedia page.

Troll-Analysis:
Lol the Troll: “broadband customers can to.”
Presence of the incorrect “to” indicates someone overly reliant on spell check.
The argument is specious. The points have nothing to do with each other.

Troll-Analysis:
Lol the Troll: “You will one day, don’t worry and suck it up. Move from your parents basement and become productive.”
Inept inaccurate personal attack as a means of discrediting the accurate information I provide.

As mentioned, the other appearance of Lol the Troll is on my About UBB and Me page.

a naked rainbow haired troll doll, a naked blue haired troll doll with blue gem inset at navel, yellow haired and pink haired baby trolls wearing bibs and nappys, a white haired baby troll in a bunny suit, and a yellow haired troll wearing balloon trunks

My younger sisters were quite into troll dolls when we were kids. I couldn't see the attraction.

I actually saw this one first.

lol said
March 31, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Move out of your parents basement and stop whining kid. Usage based billing is out transit has worked in the carrier space for decades, it will come to broadband and will make the internet cheaper for average users, and more money for torrenting brats. Guess what, I’m sorry your mom got mad that you cost her an extra $25 downloading your porn!

Since the attempt at putting me down is so patently “out there” I didn’t bother arguing the point.

Laurel L. Russwurm said
April 1, 2010 at 8:26 am
Ooohh look— StopUBB got its very own troll! My very own troll! Awesome.
And not only that, a troll who can’t read!
Even funnier, one who is parroting misinformation. Guess that’s why it calls itself “Lol”.

Now for the Troll-Analysis:
Lol the Troll: “Move out of your parents basement and stop whining kid. “
Ridiculous attempt at a personal attack especially considering that it is made directly below my biographical information.

Troll-Analysis:
Lol the Troll: “Usage based billing is out transit has worked in the carrier space for decades, it will come to broadband and will make the internet cheaper for average users, and more money for torrenting brats. “
Aside from the incoherence, it appears that Lol the Troll is trying to sell the lie that Usage based billing will make the Internet cheaper for people who do not use torrents. Usage Based Billing charges will be assessed in addition to what users currently pay in Internet rates. Nowhere in any part of the official Bell Canada Usage Based Billing submission to the CRTC did Bell ever make any claim that any user would be paying less than they are paying now. But trolls can say what they want.
Lol the Troll is also attempting to imply that all torrent traffic is illegal or bad in some way, when readers of StopUBB know that isn’t accurate.

Troll-Analysis:
Lol the Troll: “Guess what, I’m sorry your mom got mad that you cost her an extra $25 downloading your porn!”
Another vague attempt at personal attack in combination with casting aspersions on the excellent BitTorrent protocol, which is not only legal, but used for many excellent things, like distribution of Free Open Source software. Or Project Gutenberg.


I hope this article has made troll spotting a little easier.

I’ll leave you with my kid’s favorite web comic XKCD‘s take on amateur trolls:



[Image Credits:
D&D Troll photograph by Benny Mazur (benimoto)
European Walking Stick Troll Photo by HuBar, Wikimedia Commons
Troll Family Group, photo by Felicity Green, aka mygothlaundry, Flickr
the Troll in the “Troll Busters” logo was provided by Roixa RRG You can see more of her work in her ROIXA RRG blog
And of course thanks to Randall Munroe for publishing XKCD under a Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution Non-Commercial license which allowed me to reprint his comic in its entirety.]

Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Cat Joke: Making Light of A.C.T.A.

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on March 12, 2010

No Usage Based BillingThe following cautionary cat tale was found in one of the Pirate Party of Canada’s forums.

Pirate Party of Canada logo

Hindgrinder
Re: ACTA Task Force

3 Canadians and 1 American were sitting together watching the Mens Gold Medal Game in Vancouver bragging about how smart their cats were.

The first man was an Internet Service Provider,
the second man was a Copyright Law Professor,
the third man was a New Democrat Member of Parliment, and
the fourth man was a US Corporate Lobbyist.

To show off, the Internet Service Provider called his cat, “Broadband”, do your stuff.”

Broadband pranced over to the computer, logged in as admin and started downloading the entire internet.

Everyone agreed that was pretty smart.

But the Copyright Law Professor said his cat could do better. He called his cat and said, “Public Domain, do your stuff.”

Public Domain went over to the computer, instantly sorted all of what Broadband was downloading and printed off a fair copyright royalties due spreadsheet.

Everyone agreed that was good.

But the New Democrat M.P. said his cat could do better. He called his cat and said, “Parlimentarian, do your stuff.”

“Parlimentarian got up slowly to the computer, created a Facebook page, linked it to Broadband and Public Domain, drafted a dozen emails and bill 398, made a YouTube video meowing for transparency from ACTA cat and meowed an indian war dance song.
Everyone agreed that was pretty good.

Then the three men turned to the US Corporate Lobbyist and said, “What can your cat do?”

The US Corporate Lobbyist called his cat and said, “ACTA, do your stuff.”

ACTA jumped to his feet…….

Throttled Broadband’s torrents to a crawl and initiated a lawsuit for copyright infringement against both Broadband and Internet Service Provider……..
Scrambled Public Domains online excel sorting rules and shit on the fair royalties due spreadsheet……..
filed an inflated grievance lawsuit for RIAA lost revenue…….
bypassed due process to convict 90% of humans under 40 years old of copyright infringement……
screwed the other three cats and claimed he hurt his back while doing so…….
put in for Corporate Compensation for injury on the job in a foreign country……………and
went home for the rest of the day on paid sick leave…………

Internet Service Provider, Copyright Law Professor and N.D.P. M.P. where last seen pooling their money to buy a dog.

Geist

Angus

Of course, I’m wondering who everyone is…

Copyright Law Professor would have to be Michael Geist.

And it’s more than reasonable to assume that the N.D.P. M.P. would be the most vocal Canadian MP opponent of A.C.T.A. Charlie Angus, but who could the Internet Service Provider be?

talktalk logoIf this was the U.K., it would be talktalk, the brave ISP waging war with the dread Digital Economy Bill (the U.K.’s opening act for A.C.T.A.)

Within the joke, “ISP” couldn’t possibly be Bell Canada or Rogers, since their use of consumer monitoring tools like DPI to help run their empires clearly place them in the pro-A.C.T.A. camp.

MTSallstream logo

So if we’re going to extrapolate the casting for this joke, for Canada the ISP would have to be one of our endangered Independent ISP’s like MTS Allstream or Tek Savvy (you can find a comprehensive listing of Independent Canadian ISPs here).

pseudo FBI Warning

And the U.S. Corporate Lobbyist, well, lobbyists are faceless representatives of the business, or in this case group of businesses in back of a piece of legislation, or in this case a whole body of international legislation.

These businesses have been trying to convince the citizens of the world that we don’t own what we’ve purchased for years. They started by placing supposed FBI warnings on videotapes threatening huge fines for non-commercial infringement. Then the earliest attempts at copy protection (DRM/TPM). Followed by aggressive marketing campaigns directed at the media customer base, in attempts to demonize personal use copying.

Now, in the face of these failed attempts to change global attitudes about copyright and ownership through advertising/propaganda, the copyright lobby seeks to change the laws to force the world to follow their rules.

They’ve been pursuing this war actively on two fronts. First, by lobbying individual countries to criminalize copyright infringement. But lately, this group (dubbed by Michael Geist “The Copyright Lobby”) has gone much further, by convincing the U.S. Government to push the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” which seeks to force the world to change copyright law through this secret treaty on a global scale.

The “Copyright Lobby” is made up of the American led Movie and Music Corporations along with their Interested Associations and Copyright Collectives. Of course this lobby group is attempting to remain faceless. because the real victim in their nefarious activities is their customer base. This is why they are attempting to get governments to do their dirty work, particularly through secret treaties like ACTA. They have the vain belief that they won’t alienate their customers.

The copyright lobby doesn’t have a logo, precisely because the companies they represent are attempting to stay out of the public eye. It’s a thinly veiled secret that the corporation unofficially leading the fight for terrible copyright “reforms” is the same company that once had to be legally compelled to give credit to the animators, actors, writers, musicians, technicians etc. who actually created their movies. Though he hadn’t actually picked up a pencil himself in years, the corporate founder felt that the only name attached to movies made by his corporation should be his own. In those days the law disagreed.

Nearly a century later this same corporation seeks to change the laws of all the world so they can maintain control of a mouse cartoon. Which is why interested parties have created this logo (right) for A.C.T.A.

Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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