Friday, May 28, 2010

EWS and the thought police!

My father who was born during the Franco regime in 1934 always tells me that I should be careful with what I say and do since there is always someone listening..

I am trying to not live a paranoid life, but ideas such as EWS (European early warning system) "for paedophiles and sex offenders" will be the closest to a thought police since it extends the Directive 2006/24/EC (data retention directive) to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN etc. in order to tackle online child pornography and sex offending rapidly and effectively by calling member states to coordinate a European early warning system involving their public authorities based on the existing system for food and safety (RASFF). And the world will be a safer place, really?!?

Imagine that the guy in the picture is not inspecting vegetables anymore, but he is looking at every move you do on the Net and he will file an alert with the nearest police station in case he suspects a "crime". This contradicts the principle that our legal system is built on top of "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law!" and today it is for "paedophiles and sex offenders", but where will it be tomorrow..?

The EWS declaration awaiting adoption currently has 324 signatures in the European Parliament as of the 20th of May claims to ensure that the "Internet continues to afford a high level of virtual democracy" so it sounds harmless, doesn't it?

Well, how about our freedom of speech, is this not one of the ground principles in a democratic society? Should we allow ourselves to live in a society where computer systems are tracking our every move in order for a crime less society? There have been countless sci-fi movies made that clearly shows that such a system would be abused and you do not have to go far in our history to find a society where everyone is a suspect and that is not part of a democratic society!

This is about to happen due to the rules of written declaration that goes outside the normal work flow of the European Parliament, it is there to enlighten questions from small groups that would not be heard otherwise. The initiators of written declaration 29 also known as the EWS declaration was initiated by Tiziano Motti from Italy and Anna Záborská from Slovakia. There are 736 MEP's in the Parliament and a declaration needs 369 signatures to be adopted so we are dangerously close (45 signatures) for this proposal to be dumped on commissioner Cecilia Malmström's table since she is responsible for freedom, security and justice. She has recently presented a proposal to censor Internet to protect child porn victims that would potentially limit our fundamental right to free speech why she got the nickname Censilia (feel free to Google it). Her latest proposal to revoke RIPE blocks of suspected child porn sites is referred to as carpet bombing the Net even got implications outside the jurisdiction of EU on mare suspicion rather then presenting the case in a proper court of law. Adding the EWS proposal to her crusade against "suspected child porn sites" will not be a pretty sight so we need to write to our MEP's and explain the dangers with the EWS proposal and Malmström's agenda.

The next step will be to change what is presived as child porn, In Sweden there will be a law from the 1st of July where you commit a crime if you view a child porn picture and this may sound like a normal evolution of law. However, child porn in Sweden is from the 1st of July anyone in a sexually challenging position below the age of 18 or anyone older that have changed their appearance so it looks like they are below the age of 18 and after the 1st of January 2011 (change in constitution law) also a drawing such as Hentai where the Tanner scale is used to make a estimation of the age why it will be very hard to prove what content is legal.

They seem to have forgotten kids who take sexually challenging pictures of each other and post on the Net via forums, chats IM etc. with other kids that are exploring their sexuality and in US such acts lead to kids being put in jail due to misuse of child porn laws.

The only viable solution is state certified porn sites like we have for alcohol with Systembolaget in Sweden and blocking everything else with DRM systems. Then we have something worse then cable TV Internet, namely government and companies controlling what can be published with a iron fist.

This can not co-exist with a democratic society where we claim to have free speech!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

EC: Malmström plans to carpet bomb the Net

The details about EU commissioners Cecilia Malmströms Internet censorship begins to leak.

In the fight against child porn and all other illegal material on the Net the EC is now planning to shut down IP-addresses on RIPE level.

For those who have not yet started to feeling chocked, please read the following:

RIPE NCC regional Internet registry allocates the IP-addresses in Europe, Middle East and part of Asia. A shutdown on RIPE level where one blocked RIPE packet mean that up to 50.000 websites can be shutdown without a trial in these continents and they can not be unblocked so the chance of innocent people and companies being affected with long term concequences even outside EU jurisdiction is totally unacceptable.

It's like bombing a whole city because there may be a suspected criminal hiding there and that is a unreasonable response!

Read more at EDRI and Intesifier.

Summary translation of "EU: Malmström lägger bombmattor över internet":

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Lives of Others - has it even changed for the worse in the last 20 years?

I saw a very interesting movie about oppression called "Das Leben der Anderen" (The Lives of Others) that tells a story about the surveillance society enforced by Stasi in East Germany during the Orwellian year of 1984 where peoples lives were radically changed based on nothing more then suspicion based on the friends they had:

This meant that you could never trust the society around you, the whole population were suspected of crimes that they had not yet committed as "ronsig" illustrates when reviewing the movie by quoting his Stasi file:

I will never forget the feeling deep inside me when I read in it: ".….is not suitable for our use due to his apparent connection to the police in his homeland." The beautiful, friendly lady in Dresden had been a Stasi informer all the time! All of my visits to the GDR and the people I visited were listed in that file. For me "The Lives of Others" is an authentic representation of that totalitarian state. I am glad that those times have ended.

Well, have those times ended? I am arguing that it hasn't changed that much, our politicians still see a need to treat the whole population as potential criminals by enforcing the rights for our defence ministry to analyze our personal actions, communications and social patterns in the analog and digital world by the help of computer power and human intelligence:

Will computer systems such as Indect analyze our actions and consider us suspicious if we stop to help a lost stranger who asks for the way?

Will the censor filters we build to block a small number of sites with images of child abuse, but that then get expanded to cover other sites such as, in Australia, Wikileaks, start reporting to the government via systems such as Indect which blocked sites people are attempting to access and put "suspects" on secret files? Will there also be hidden systems that just raise red flags on people that visit sites or content under surveillance like already happening in Iran?

The government can then request detailed records of your activities on the net from your Internet provider to find further evidence; perhaps you looked at 'teen' porn and the image evaluation application could not tell if the individual was really 17 or 18..

Did you have permission to watch the content, let's ask the intellectual rights owner since the legal system is too gray in this area. Guess what, the artist sold the intellectual property rights to a media company that helped produce the artistic work so the money ends up in some managers provision plan rather then the artist's pocket. I do not think it will take too long before we will have cases where people from criminal organisations are involved in retrieving the money from people who refuse to pay in such a future so in what way will our indirect support for new opportunities for organised crime syndicates to grow make our world more secure?

Does the whole political system have to fall like the wall in Germany before we or coming generations will know who the state has records of? In case you are in their secret archives, would you not like to know what is in there and why you ended up there during your lifetime? I think it is your right to know or do we not live in a democratic society where our human rights are respected?

We can of course debate that this is the basic principle of how a secret service works and to some extent how the police work, but what does a social security system that treats its inhabitants as suspects until proven innocent give us besides mistrust against everyone and everything? It does not give us a more secure society in my opinion, but rather a limited elite with the power over the masses and this is what we call a regime of dictatorship so we have to ask ourselves if we want a future that repeats the mistakes of the past?

I sure don't, so my vote goes to the Pirate Party!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Internet - a source of knowledge for all

It has been said that the library of Alexandria contained the world's collected knowledge. It was burned by the Christians, whose power was threatened by the knowledge it contained against their teachings.

Today the Internet is the closest we have to the world's collected knowledge and yet again we see that the ones with power in society, such as politicians and major corporations, feel threatened. There is a large scale attack against Internet in the form of a heavy stream of laws, agreements and directives.

People's activities on the Internet are to be monitored, inappropriate content filtered and people arbitrarily to be disconnected from the grand source of knowledge and communication that the Internet represents without a court order, i.e. on suspicion!

I refuse to quietly witness this second burning of the library in Alexandria!

I want to build and not tear down, therefore my vote goes to the Pirate Party!

I found this letter to the editor of a Swedish newspaper about why to vote Pirate by Nixon on Anna Troberg's blog and agreed 110% why I decided to do a translation where the essence of the message was kept:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

TNT Testing my Laptop..

I am a Swedish citizen living in The Netherlands and I've been going between the 2 countries for 8 years now with car, boat, buss, train and flight, but this time it was different when I went through the customs of Weeze airport in the area outside Dusselsdorf just on the border between Netherlands and Germany (cheapest route I found with Ryanair). I saw them having a interest in my laptop, they just said, "we want to do a little test on your computer" and I was thinking about ACTA and wondering if I left any copyright infringed material on the disc while I was lead into a little room. There I was told they want to do a TNT test on it and I was surprised, considering I was going from one EU country to another so how about my free movement that EU preaches about...? No point to argue with customs though, they have a cavity test ready for you and perhaps a detention cell somewhere and I did not want to miss my flight...

He ran the sweep for TNT and the machine showed a green light so all was fine. I was curious why they picked me so I ask what made them suspicious and he explained that I was the 120th person, so a ordinary check. I did not believe him, considering how they were looking at it during the X-ray. Could it have been the cookie I ate while reading the report "The shape of things to come" by Tony Bunyan in the train?

What have I learned? That I need to clean my computer from crumbs before entering a airport or I may be suspected of carrying TNT! The state actually suspects me of being a terrorist who would put a laptop bomb together to hijack the plane and force them to fly into the EU parliament or something?!?

Yes, everyone can be a terrorist in the aftermath of 9/11 and in the process of finding suspects we want to dismantle the principles of our democratic system and put projects like INDECT (that Tony is talking about in his report) to keep track of everyone at any given time.. Tell me: what is security worth if we have no privacy, what is a quality of life in a society who does not trust the individuals? I am not talking about dictatorships like Burma (Myanmar) and Sudan etc, I am talking about the western democratic countries, so how long will they stay democratic with these kind of distrust I tend to wonder..?

To quote Tony:

Put another way, if "collective security" requires the state, in "the name of all", to set the limits, boundaries and sanctions of all our actions it is a recipe not for "freedom" but enslavement.

Read his best work on Statewatch:

Please feel free to join our work in Pirate Parties International (PPI) against projects like ACTA and INDECT!


PPI ACTA Taskforce:

PPI INDECT Taskforce: