Archive | Free Markets

The upside to piracy

While many artists have stepped up to demonize piracy over the years, Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell prefers to see the upside. Describing the effects as “fantastic”, Campbell says there’s a whole new audience coming to the band’s shows, bringing fresh energy to the performance. But how much of this can be attributed to piracy in 2017?

TorrentFreak: Piracy Brings a New Young Audience to Def Leppard, Guitarist Says »


The rise of crypto-anarchism

At some point, and probably sooner than we think, the current left and right offerings of the major parties, including (perhaps especially) the populist, will start to appear ludicrous and unworkable. New political movements and ideas will arrive before long for this industrial revolution, especially once the majority of the population will soon have grown up online. It will be a politics that offers solutions to the challenges society will face, and be bold enough to steer technology rather than be led by it, to harness it rather than dismiss it, to see it as a motor of social change, not just a job maker.

The Guardian: Forget far-right populism – crypto-anarchists are the new masters »


The real cost of free WiFi?

EU Observer:

The European Commission, Parliament and Council (representing member states) agreed on Monday to a €120-million plan to install free wi-fi services in 6,000 to 8,000 municipalities across the EU by 2020. The scheme had been proposed by EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker last September. How the system will be funded will have to be discussed and agreed before local authorities can start applying to it.

How kind. I guess a lot of people will be happy. But there might be unintended and unwanted consequences.

First of all, there is no such thing as a free lunch. In the end, this is €129M that somehow, forcefully will be taken from taxpayers.

Second, there must be much merriment within various mass surveillance organizations. This will make controlling the people that much easier.

And if you read the parliaments statement, there is mention of a »single authentication system valid throughout the EU«. This will have huge privacy implications. Can we please have a discussion about this first?

Third, it usually doesn’t end well when politicians start to meddle with what is supposed to be a free market. Is this at all fair competition? What will the consequences be when it comes to developing better and quicker commercial connections?

Finally, communal WiFi run by your local bureaucracy. What can possibly go wrong? Will it even work? How will surplus metadata that you generate be used? By whom? Wich web pages will be blocked?



SpaceX to provide competition on Internet market

Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to start launching satellites into orbit in 2019 to provide high-speed internet to Earth.

In November, the company outlined plans to put 4,425 satellites into space in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing. (…)

SpaceX argues that the U.S. lags behind other developed nations in broadband speed and price competitiveness, while many rural areas are not serviced by traditional internet providers. The company’s satellites will provide a “mesh network” in space that will be able to deliver high broadband speeds without the need for cables.

CNBC/Yahoo: Elon Musk’s SpaceX to send the first of its 4,425 super-fast internet satellites into space in 2019 »


Fake news is nothing new

The debate on »fake news« might be new to some. But for us who are activist when it comes to a free and open internet, privacy and civil rights – this is what we have been fighting for a very long time.

Governments strive towards »total information awareness« has always been excused with e.g. the war on terror, the war on drugs, child protection, fighting organized crime and national security.

The same arguments – and some other, like hate speech – have been used to restrict free speech and freedom of information.

Then we have the corporatist battle over copyright vs. the Internet – sacrificing a global, free flow of information to save outdated business models.

When activists find out and go public, the reaction from politicians and bureaucrats is normally that we have got it all wrong. But the swarm is resourceful, and often we find some sort of a smoking gun. In a few cases, we manage to stop what is going on (like ACTA). In some cases, we manage to change details (like the EU telecoms package). But normally we loose. Then the proposals become law. And most things we warned people about is actually happening.

Told you so.

(In some very rare cases – like EU data retention – the European Court of Justice or the European Court of Human Rights objects strongly enough to stop what is happening in its’ tracks.)

Today the concept of total information awareness is a reality in countries like the U.S., the U.K., and France. In Germany, it has just been legalized.

And after decades of legal battles, it seems as if Big Entertainment is getting closer to having the Internet Service Providers to police the Internet – leading to extrajudicial filtering and censorship without the possibility to redress.

During the processes leading up to all of this – politicians and bureaucrats have labeled resistance as delusions and activists as tin foil hats. Doing so, they have managed to keep their plans under the radar, away from the public eye and the media. Until it’s too late.

I have seen lots of disinformation, faked news, and cover-ups trough the years. It has been used by politicians, governments, and special interests – forcing their restrictions on our free and open internet, undermining a democratic society and disturbing the free market.

The concept of fake news might have become a bit more obvious lately – but it is nothing new. The only reason it’s such a big thing at the moment is that it has been used by others than governments, mainstream politicians, bureaucrats and special business interests.




On TTIP, CETA, free trade and a free and open Internet

I’m a free marketeer. I believe that free trade would be hugely beneficial for all.

I also believe in a free and open Internet. Especially as it provides a level playing field on which entrepreneurs from all over the world can join a global market, 24/7.

And I’m not at all happy with politicians and bureaucrats trying to force me to choose between the two.

The CETA (EU-Canada) and TTIP (EU-US) trade agreements are problematic. CETA will undermine Europeans right to data protection and privacy online. The same goes for TTIP, which also might contain intellectual property regulations undermining the principle that Internet service providers are not responsible for what their customers are up to in their cables (the mere conduit principle). That would have huge implications, leading to a strictly controlled Internet where everything you are up to must be approved in advance. When it comes to TTIP, we still have no comprehensive information about what is going to be included or not when it comes to IP – as negotiations are carried out behind closed doors.

Also, the ISDS mechanism in these trade agreements will make a much needed and long overdue copyright reform impossible.

But then, again, these trade agreements are not really about free trade. They are about »harmonizing« rules and regulations. So, they are really about regulating trade.

If you want free trade, all you have to do is to get rid of customs fees and other trade barriers. That would benefit us and all of the humanity greatly. But that is not what the politic and bureaucratic elite hope for. They want to regulate and control. The EU even has a special sub-bureaucracy for »trade defense«.

So, I don’t buy into it when they claim that these »free trade agreements« are about free trade.

I’m standing with free trade. And I’m standing with a free and open Internet. It is perfectly possible and logical to combine these standpoints with being critical to CETA and TTIP.