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Posts Tagged ‘SOPA’

Tell Vic Everything: Stop The ITU Internet Coup

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on December 2, 2012

ITU Logo a red lightning bolt on a globe Governments around the world are seeking to assume control of Internet Governance through the International Telegraph Union. Oh, wait, the organization changed its name to International Telecommunication Union (I.T.U.) in attempt to deal with modern telecommunications issues.

An essential problem, however, is that the organization itself continues to function as it did in the 19th century. This is an antiquated hierarchical international association of countries. The ITU does not welcome, nor even listen to the concerns of citizens. It exists to paternalistically impose the policies it makes in secret, behind closed doors, on the world. This would have the effect of turning the Internet as we know it inside out. The Internet is Mine, and yours, and theirs. It doesn’t belong to governments, but to all users collectively.

An ITU Coup would strip us of our freedom to use the Internet as we wish, whether for recreation, community or business. We would be forced to follow Orwellian authoritarian edicts that would grant local governments unassailable unilateral power to control what is on the Internet. I might be prevented from selling my books, you from selling your songs, she from sharing recipes, while he might locked out of the Internet entirely. Citizens would have no recourse, our governments would just be following orders.

An organization like this is far less accountable than even our supposedly democratic First Past The Post electoral systems we presently struggle with in Canada, the US and the UK.  If this organization assumes authority over the Internet, it would absolve our local governments from any requirement to follow local laws regarding citizens rights.  It would make it so easy to grant Security Forces and Secret Police agencies the wherewithal to pracfrom the ITUtice warrantless surveillance and website takedowns, without any pesky requirement to convince Parliament or Congress that these draconian surveillance are needed.

Governments keep trying to make treaties like ACTA and TPP and laws like SOPA/PIPA.

Canadian Flag - Close up of Maple Leaf

In Canada, we’ve been protesting and pushing back against a majority FPTP government that wants to dispense with due process and allow unprecedented warrantless access into our digital lives without requiring the barest shred of evidence of wrongdoing. Yet Canada’s Public Safety Minister Vic Toews keeps trying.  I have no doubt Vic Toews would support an  ITU Internet takeover because it would support his agenda.

If ITU takes over, everything from privacy to free speech could be purged from the Internet.   If this comes to pass, we won’t be able to stop bad laws like SOPA or treaties like TPP or ACTA. Not a very happy thought.

We need to speak out against this now, so 2012 doesn’t become the new 1984.

The Internet Defense League has posted a video.   You can watch the video  below, but if you’re uncomfortble giving up so many javascript permissions you can just read the subtitles as a plain text version underneath.

Fight for the Future and Access collaborated on this short, informative video about a serious threat to the free and open internet that could have devastating effects for human rights and free expression around the globe.

How the ITU could put the internet behind closed doors.

“The Internet gives us the freedom, to talk with friends, make art, start a business or speak out against our governments, all on an unprecedented scale.

This isn’t a coincidence.

The Internet’s design came out of open inclusive discussions by a global community of scientists and engineers, So there was no pressure from above to lock it down.
But now a government controlled international body is making a play to become the new place where the Internet’s future gets decided. It’s called the International Telecommunication Union (or ITU). And in December the worlds governments will meet, to decide whether to expand its mandate to making important decisions about the net.

The ITU could pose a risk to freedom of expression on-line everywhere.
Here’s why. First the basics.

Nobody owns the Internet.

It’s a collection of independent networks around the world. Anybody can build one.
The common standards on which the Internet was build grew out of open on-line discussions,
not on the priorities of a particular government or company.

But now let’s meet the ITU!
First the ITU is old. Really old. Not CDs old, not rotary phone old, telegraph old, as in Morse code. When founded in 1865 it was called the International Telegraph Union. Unlike the Internet the ITU was not build on open discussion among scientists and engineers. Instead only governments have a vote at the ITU. And these votes take place behind closed doors.

If governments succeed in giving the ITU more power to make decisions about the Internet, we get
an old-school, top-down, government centric organisation replacing the open bottom-up governance
that made the Internet so world-changing. And that’s just the beginning of our problems.

The ITU is not transparent.

The ITU’s draft proposals aren’t public, and its “one country – one vote” model gives governments all the power.
They get to make decisions about our Internet, without us even knowing what they’re discussing, and then tell us, once the decision is made.  What kinds of decisions will be considered at the ITU meeting this December?
Well, here’s some actual proposals that have leaked:

  • cutting of Internet access for a number of broadly defined reasons;
  • violating international human rights norms;
  • giving governments more power to monitor Internet traffic and impose regulations on how traffic is sent;
  • defining Spam so broadly that they could justify blocking anything from photos of cute cats to human rights campaigns.
  • And new rules to charge online content providers to reach users, which could mean less content going to the developing world, and blocking sites that don’t pay up.
  • But the really scary part: the countries pushing hardest for ITU control are the same countries that aggressively censor the Internet.

In Russia, making a YouTube video against the government can get you two years in jail.
In China you can’t even get to most social media websites.
And Iran is trying to build its own national Internet and email network, to keep the entire population under its control.

Now the ITU also does good work:
They help the developing world establish telecommunication networks and expand high speed broadband connections. And existing Internet governance isn’t perfect.  The US has out-sized influence and authority when it comes to this.
But we need to fix these problems in a way that preserves the openness, pragmatism and bottom-up governance, that made the Internet so great.

This December our governments meet to make their final decisions about the Internet’s future.
It’s up to us Internet users, in every country of the world, to tell them: to stand for the open Internet.
If everyone who sees this video speaks out and contacts their government, we’ve got a chance of winning.

Help us share this video and visit this site to speak out and contact your government right now!
Let’s use the Internet’s global reach to save it!
Tell your leaders to oppose handing over key decisions about the Internet to the ITU.”

— “How the ITU could put the internet behind closed doors.” English Subtitle Text  by Michelle Matthew.

Take action at http://www.whatistheITU.org

Internet cables connected to a router

…giving governments more power to monitor Internet traffic and impose regulations on how traffic is sent…

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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

Posted in Changing the World | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Meet CISPA, Son of SOPA

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on April 17, 2012

The EU is fighting the secret ACTA trade agreement, while India seeks to pass an Internet Censorship law. Surprised?

SOPA isn’t dead, just redesigned. Meet CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which picks up where SOPA left off. Similar legislation is being rushed into law by countries all over the world, including Canada, Belarus. Paralegal.net have produced an infographic which explains CISPA:

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are: you need to tell your government “No.”

As this infographic points out, when corporate interests diverge from citizen interests, we’re on our own. We have some great online resources, and many outspoken Internet freedom fighters, but we can no longer expect right to triumph just because its right. Because the other side can afford to hire lobbyists.

If we want right to triumph we have to speak up for it.

Make a phone call, send a letter or an email.


Alt Text for the InfoGraphic:

WTF is CISPA

While protesters were occupied with SOPA, a new cybersecurity bill snuck its way into congressional consideration. Introducing CISPA: What it is, where it came from, and why it makes SOPA look like amateur hour.

CISPA GIVES THE GOVERNMENT ACCESS TO YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION IN A WHOLE NEW WAY

WHAT IS IT?

CISPA = Cyber Intelligence Sharing & Protection Act

It allows both private businesses and the government to share information about cyberthreats.

That doesn’t sound so bad.

But what’s a cyberthreat?

According to CISPA:

Cyberthreats are supposed to be anything making “efforts to degrade, disrupt or destroy” vital nerworks.

Or anything that makes a “threat or misappropriation” of information owned by the government or private businesses.

SO WHAT DOES IT REALLY DO?

While SOPA put companies at risk for subscriber activity, CISPA rewards companies for:

  • collecting data,
  • intercepting or modifying communications,
  • providing the government with information.

And unlike SOPA, CISPA doesn’t threaten the business interests of web companies.

So we shouldn’t expect their help in fighting the bill.

In fact, companies already supporting CISPA include:

  • AT&T
  • Verizon
  • Facebook,
  • Microsoft,
  • IBM,
  • Intel

and over 25 other organizations, all of which play a role in how you communicate.

SCARED YET?

Then you should also know that:

Information collected from you is “proprietary,”
meaning you don’t have the right to know what’s being gathered.

Under CISPA, companies can also share your

  • Names,
  • Addresses,
  • Phone Numbers

from the data they give to the government.

CISPA ALREADY HAS OVER 100 CONGRESSIONAL CO-SPONSORS.

But it’s just now beginning to appear on the public radar.

If you share any information that the government or corporations find “inconvenient,” you could soon be labelled as a security threat, making your web activity subject to constant surveillance.


CREATED BY: PARALEGAL.NET
Sources:
http://rt.com/usa/news/cispa-bill-sopa-internet-175/
http://mashable.com/2012/04/08/could-cispa-be-the-next-sopa/
http://digitaljournal.com/article/322396/
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-grid/cispa-the-internet-finds-new-enemy-sopa/
http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2012/04/05/cispa-the-new-sopa/
http://occupyallstreets.tumblr.com/post/20614523602/
This work is under a Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivatives


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