Archive | November, 2016

TiSA and corporate censorship

(W)hile having provisions to promote freedom of expression will be a step forward, the latest US made a proposal in TiSA which does not respect the rule of law and would remove rights to freedom of expression. The proposal is that internet companies would not be liable for any damage caused by voluntary restrictions of individuals’ free speech if they undertake such restrictions “in good faith” because they feel that the communications are “harmful or objectionable”.

EDRi: New leaks confirm TiSA proposals that would undermine civil liberties »

TiSA = Trade in Services Agreement


Will Facebook destroy the Internet?

Something like Facebook could never have emerged within Facebook. It needed an open web within which to gestate.

Despite this, Facebook is taking conscious efforts — like Free Basics — to destroy the open web. It’s destroying the very environment that made its own existence possible.

Quincy Larson @ FreeCodeCamp: I can’t just stand by and watch Mark Zuckerberg destroy the internet »


Falkvinge on net neutrality

Net neutrality should not even be a debate. Any market actor who abuses their customers and trust to the level of not respecting net neutrality, on a functioning market, will be dropped like a bad habit. Therefore, the mere existence of a net neutrality debate is a symptom of something much worse: the existence of gatekeepers. That’s the underlying problem that needs to be solved.

Falkvinge: Net neutrality shouldn’t be a debate – it’s a symptom of something worse: gatekeepers »


UK: Tax authorities (and others) to get access to everybody’s surf history

The Investigatory Powers Bill, which was all but passed into law this week, forces internet providers to keep a full list of internet connection records (ICRs) for a year and to make them available to the Government if asked. Those ICRs in effect serve as a full list of every website that people have visited, rather than collecting which specific pages are visited or what’s done on them.

ICRs will be made available to a wide range of government bodies. Those include expected law enforcement organisations such as the police, the military and the secret service, but also includes bodies such as the Food Standards Agency, the Gambling Commission, councils and the Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust.

The Independent: Everyone who can now see your entire internet history, including the taxman, DWP and Food Standards Agency »


Civil rights are not in the interest of the ruling political class

Democracy and civil rights. It would be difficult to find anyone in the western world who does not subscribe to these principles. At least in public.

Yet, we are steadily moving away from these values.

It is being done in many small steps. Always justified with the best of intentions – like security, fighting serious crime, child protection, the war on drugs, copyright protection and combating hate speech. Just to mention a few.

Nevertheless – without a doubt – we are limiting privacy, free speech, rule of law and equal rights. It seems to be a non-reversible process. And sooner or later, the many small steps will end up being a giant leap.

Democracy and civil rights can only be curtailed so many times before the consequences will be dire.

»We have to strike a balance between fundamental rights and security« politicians say. And every time that is being done, civil rights are hollowed out. When you repeat this process time and time again – fundamental rights will be reduced to empty words.

This is extremely serious. But nobody really seems to care.

One day we will wake up to a society where you cannot speak your mind, where everything you do is observed and scrutinized, where courts no longer is a guarantee for fair trials, and where it doesn’t matter if you are innocent or guilty – you will have everything to fear.

You will have to be blind not to see the writing on the wall.

Please, do not trust politicians with upholding our fundamental rights. They have a different agenda. They are the ones limiting them.

Our civil rights can only be upheld, protected and won back by the people. It is in no one else’s interest.



Facebook, China & censorship

A New York Times report that Facebook is developing a system that could censor information to appease the Chinese government is the talk of the tech industry right. The timing couldn’t be worse: domestically, Facebook is under pressure for failing to adequately manage the influence of fake news on the U.S. election, yet here it is seemingly prepared to quash legitimate information on user timelines to kowtow to the Chinese government and further its interests in a country of 1.3 billion people.

Jon Russell @ Techcrunch: Facebook is unlikely to succeed in China, even if it compromises on free speech »