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: