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back to article Bjork, 500+ novelist pals ask UN for 1 bill of digital rights to RULE 'EM ALL

Hundreds of authors have written to the United Nations demanding an international bill of digital rights, after leaks revealed the extent of secret state surveillance. Writers including Cory Doctorow, Margaret Atwood and Kazuo Ishiguro have added their names to the letter, which has signatures from over 500 authors from all over …

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FAIL

To little to late

4 years ago it was election here in Sweden - I was out campagning for the pirate party. a year before that we managed to get 2 pirate party members elected to the EU - parlament. Had these guys been on the bandwagon then and listened to Why we wanted freetards to be able to continue unmolested instead of worrying of their royalties we might have lived in a slightly better world.

We had traction then and we saw it all coming down - now its to late. All the legislation is in place and the organiosations have been built up. There is no going back any more. What we can do now is to fight the new proposals from the "think of the children" activists and hope they will help us with that. But my guess is that they will wake up in another 5-10 years ans be late to this battle too.

Oh well - gettin me coat...

BR

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@ Frallan Re: To little to late

"Had these guys been on the bandwagon then and listened to Why we wanted freetards to be able to continue unmolested instead of worrying of their royalties we might have lived in a slightly better world."

A world in which "democracy" depends on huge corporations being able to earn their wealth by to expropriating authors, writers, musicians, film makers, and anyone whose work can be digitized, for the sake of enabling internet users steal that work in order that they be shown ads or that they buy "premium accounts" from "cyber-lockers", is neither an acceptable world, or acceptable kind of "democracy".

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Re: To little to late

@frallan

Get over yourself.

4 years ago was way to late if you take that point of view. Do you think these are all recent developments? Marconi was probably tapped on his second long distance radio transmission. Spooks will be spooks and will have been adding capability incrementally since Marconi's time.

The key issue isnt one of legislation per se - but one of Spooks failing to comply with existing legislation or twisting it for their own purposes.

The piracy party has a massive image problem in that anything meaningful it has to say on digital rights is drowned out and invalidated by its blatantly freetardisd main agenda.

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Coat

Re: @ Frallan To little to late

@ Turtle

[quote

]A world in which "democracy" depends on huge corporations being able to earn their wealth by to expropriating authors, writers, musicians, film makers, and anyone whose work can be digitized, for the sake of enabling internet users steal that work in order that they be shown ads or that they buy "premium accounts" from "cyber-lockers", is neither an acceptable world, or acceptable kind of "democracy".

[/quote]

Lets see if I understand this... You say that it isnt acceptable to live in a world where "democracy" depends on freetards beeing able to copy the works that huge firms have extorted from creators and say the banners will pay it...

Well in my opinion its totally irrelevant what you think of as accebtable - the fact of the matter is that we either will have surveilance and limited freedom of speak or the posibillity to roam the net anonymously. Therefore your wishful thinking of both having the cake and eating it is impossible.

If we choose the first option there will be less freetards - if we choose the latter the freetards will be able to continue. But you make the exact same error now as then. We are not discussing the freetards wellbeeing or not. Tha answer to that question will be a consequence of the choice we make regarding the possibility to be anonymous or not.

BR

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Re: To little to late

@ Gordon 10

The spooks arn't the issue and have never been the issue - the issue is governmental (non military) control of ISP:s Internet content and surveilance of the the citizens. Or military control of the own citizens. What we have seen the last couple of years are IPRED and its siblings as well as more or less intelligent ways to control what is suitable reading for the citizens by firewalling things that are deemed "unsuitable".

My simple rule is that any system for control and surveilance that is built will be abused therefore we should not build it nor shall we restrict free speach or the free movement of people or ideas.

BR

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Re: To little to late

@Gordon 10

I would argue that ". . . spooks failing to comply with existing legislation . . ." is really just a natural and entirely expected outcome of the real problem: lack of transparency.

Not everyone is bad. Not everyone is selfish and devoid of decency and respect for their fellow humans. Not everyone, however, has access to the technologies and the power to amplify those natural human faults to levels that threaten the privacy, human rights and freedoms of vast swathes of the world population.

The potential for such power to be misused is large enough by itself but the more insidious problem is of essentially well-meaning people progressively over-stepping until a new 'normal' is defined. That is where we are, and, somehow, intelligent people are defending these egregious violations of our privacy as nothing unusual.

This seems to be largely what has happened. Those on the 'inside' have, bit by bit widened and deepened their surveillance of normal citizens. It has happened more or less gradually, so that those conducting and running these agencies don't really notice or understand the lines they are crossing. It only becomes obvious when the extent is suddenly made public and the people, whose expectations of privacy have not been eroded in similar fashion, realise what is being done.

In a way, it's like when you don't see your niece/nephew for a year and all of a sudden they've gotten so tall. To them and their parents it's all quite natural as they have not seen any major differences from one week to the next but to an outside observer the change is readily noticeable.

The people who defend these actions by saying that they are 'normal' often deride others for being naive and not understanding the way the world works. They miss the point; the vast majority of people don't want this kind of mass-surveillance to be 'normal'.

These agencies are operating so far outside and beyond what the average person considers as normal and reasonable because they have been able to conduct their activities unseen, unknown and un-monitored by the average person.

They are selling security at a cost of privacy but we are seldom allowed to see the return on our investment (it's all classified) and never allowed to see how much they are charging us. Nor are we able to 'opt out' of this service. Is it any wonder we are being overcharged?

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Re: @ Frallan To little to late

@Turtle - downvoted by accident sorry, cordless mouse battery death.

This post took some time to untangle, but is worth doing. To summarise:

"A world in which 'democracy' depends on huge corporations [tl;dr] is neither an acceptable world, or acceptable kind of 'democracy'."

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Writers, huh?

Have we really arrived at the point where, from a list of 501 writers, Cory Doctorow is one of the three worthy of individual mention?

Shoot me now...

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Re: Writers, huh?

He's worthy of mention because of his stance on copyright issues which is not entirely irrelevant to the article.

Besides, although Cory might not be as well known to the general public, he is probably very well known to the readers of this forum.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Writers, huh?

Cory Doctorow's name removes any credible from a petition, and ensures it gets chucked straight in the bin. Harsh but true.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm coming to the suspicion that people LIKE polar (black/white) thought, and as a result, ANY form of moderation is doomed to be undone given enough time. This includes government; how long has any moderate form of government really lasted? I suspect, in the end, ANY government will ultimately degenerate into either totalitarianism or anarchy.

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Holmes

Mmm

Most people cant think in meta levels and scales of gray, at least not without conscious effort. That means that there will always be a large part of the population wanting the black/white - easy solutions.

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Re: Mmm

You want to pick up a copy of Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" if you haven't read it already.

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Same. Or Worse.

"They accuse state agencies like the NSA of stealing private data and compromising freedom of thought and opinion by accessing online information like emails and internet searches."

I'd like to know if venal worms like Cory Doctorow have any qualms about his paymasters at Google doing the same thing.

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Re: Same. Or Worse.

It should also be noted that Google and all the others only started calling for more transparency when people knew what was going on. Before that they stayed conveniently - but unsurprisingly - silent.

It's also interesting to note the silence from the telecoms companies on this sort of matter, but then they appear to have made hundreds of millions of dollars profit by complying with requests and would presumably like nothing more than to be able to continue to do so.

I wonder how much Google has made by complying with requests?

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Re: Same. Or Worse.

$100's millions of dollars profit? Care to post some proof of that?

No? Thought not.

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Re: Same. Or Worse. @Gordon 10

In this instance Google is your friend. This from the first page of results.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2047814/report-the-nsa-pays-millions-for-us-telecom-access.html

Do try and use it next time before posting sarcastic comments.

From the article:

The government agency pays “hundreds of millions of dollars a year” to U.S. telecommunications companies for the equipment and service required to intercept telephone calls, emails and instant messages of potential interest, according to a story in Thursday’s Washington Post.

For the current fiscal year, the NSA will pay $278 million for such access, and had paid $394 million in fiscal 2011, according to the Post.

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Re: Same. Or Worse. @Vimes

And of that cash for services and equipment was _profit_ and how much of that was Googles profit?

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@Turtle - Re: Same. Or Worse.

A serious question (perhaps I haven't been paying attention enough) - why is Cory Doctorow a 'venal worm'?

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Re: @Turtle - Same. Or Worse.

"Venal worm" is much too kind to Cory Doctorow, worms are very beneficial to the ecosystem.

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Big Brother

It's no good moaning.

Let's face it the world's governments are not going to listen to either the UN or 500 authors.

The situation that we have now viz-a-viz security is exactly what our leaders want it to be. That is to say none for the likes of you and me. Any chance of intercepting the conversations of the President of the US? None. So what we need to do is take a leaf from their book and develop encryption for ourselves.

There must be enough ethical, talented and honest cryptographers / devs out there who have not sold out to the likes of the NSA, GCHQ or any of the other "security" services to be able to come up with a big enough spanner to put in the works to get the security apparatchiks off our backs.

As someone posted in another thread "Acta non verba."

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Re: It's no good moaning.

The Joe Average doesn't care. We already have all the technology needed for secure communication. You've got your GPG, your private Jabber servers your OTA encryption.

The problem is, nobody is using it!

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Re: It's no good moaning.

People are generally good and there is a *lot* of us good guys and we are very powerful as a group. We just need to realize this and get together. The bad guys are bad and they control the reigns of power, but there are not many of them and they are cowards.

This is what ordinary people do with one another when they have a chance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIEIvi2MuEk

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Happy

wherever Bjork may lead, I enthusiastically follow

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says

An army of herself plus Mr Peterson.

She's going to be unstoppable.

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Meh

Re: wherever Bjork may lead, I enthusiastically follow

So where is she leading? Bjork (presumably the Icelandic 'famous' person) is only mentioned in the headline and not even a snippet in the text; so did she sign the letter? Who cares? Not me and apparently not the author or headline editor.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: wherever Bjork may lead, I enthusiastically follow

Well given the way they sorted out the after effects of the Icelandic banking crisis (several banksters found guilty of fraud were locked up pour encourager les autres) maybe there are other places we should follow their lead too.

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21577064-why-have-so-few-bankers-gone-jail-their-part-crisis-blind-justice

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Don DeLillo

Gunter Grass

Ian McEwan

Tom Stoppard

Martin Amis

Nick Cave

Paul Auster

Colm Toilbin...

It's an impressive list. Then you get to Cory Doctorow and Tariq Ali. FFS.

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Black Helicopters

Why anonymous in concept for democracy is important

In the time of Benjamin Franklin... he wrote many published articles anonymously... in promoting a new or dangerous idea ( like democracy itself ) the idea is to survive long enough to see the concept put out into the world. In his time it was good enough to just change the name of who wrote something, print it and get it done.

Nobody today in this digital world is free, even in thought, if every idea is without security from the very day it is typed into a computer.

Do you feel violated, perhaps even fearful of being watched 24/7/365.

Does it make you feel un-free.

That is how "they" win... in quotes because there is no "they", it is our society that lost the idea of a free spirit of free thought. Of a democracy of words were an idea that challenges the status of things as they are, without reprisals from the state, can be said anonymously enough that they are spoken at all.

I suspect it is already too late... too late to affect the world for the better and live to tell enough people to make a difference.

Those who would sacrifice essential liberty for a little security deserve neither liberty or security.... and that is what the world got.

Enjoy these few years left to you because it is closing down fast now.

Who to blame... nobody but ourselves for not seeing it in time to stop.

Only a highly educated and aware population can control and manage a technological democracy... as the education falls, so fall those who do not have the were-with-all to manage the technology that they live with.

The technology that controls their lives, controls them.

Don't like that? Don't feel like your free to think a new idea or to say what you feel.... That is what loss of freedom is. It happens when you feel watched and viewed all of the time. It is the hallmark of what defines a police state and that is what defines loss of freedom.

It is the fear to believe you are free, that is what it feels like when you are not. The NSA and those like it destroyed the democracy they were trying to protect. Because they lacked the wisdom to see that just because you can does not mean that you should.

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Re: Why anonymous in concept for democracy is important

In other words, because the average person lacks the desire or capability to think in terms other than black and white, the inevitable outcome of society (ANY society) is polarization into either totalitarianism or anarchy: most likely the former as the latter will likely devolve into the former given time.

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Re: Why anonymous in concept for democracy is important

@Charles 9

Nothing is black and white, you know that.

Absolutism is almost never descriptive of society in the big picture.

We need the intelligence community because there have always been conflicts of national interest as long as there were nations. However, it seems a proclivity within some cultures to allow a type of... auto-scaling of government... given the funds to grow, to develop capabilities, to make a technology better at a given task is a natural outcome. People are not stupid... Many will see it coming and put up resistance, when it is their own government, watching them. The fact that many will welcome their own surveillance in the false hope of increased security, don't see the problem... or somehow make it seem to themselves that it is not a massive loss in self determination.... I realize that there are differences in how the United States citizens and the citizens of the UK perceive this. 1984 as a story took place in the UK, did it not. I live in Oregon, USA... However I have lived in about a dozen different states across America. Many but not all Americans feel as though their government is encroaching on the fundamental driver of their concept of what democracy was supposed to be.

The statement about highly educated populations was not specifically directed towards any population... other than American... However it is true. It comes from President Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower from a little known article in a US Air Force monthly magazine of around 1956-ish... He was explaining why an interest free education loan program was a necessity in America. I did not pull that out of thin air.... its a fact though. Think about it. Is it not true that the higher the general level of education a population is, the better the government... the less inclined towards singularity of popular goals of the culture... Hence more creative... And what happens to a population that asks no questions... or is dissuaded from asking any.

In the end the politicians begin to reflect the average level of the level of education... And then making wise choices falls equally.

Its not difficult to do the math on this.... I am not making a slam on the readers but I am asking for people to give some consideration to the idea that a surveillance society is a fundamental mistake in any democracy... mine and yours... It is not the same as no police... nor is it the same as no intelligence organizations... but any organism (culture) that no longer trusts itself ( or its own people ) to the level we are approaching really is in trouble.

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