Archive | Global Politics

This category covers subjects that are too broad to fit elsewhere. It possibly overlaps other categories.

G7 Group unite to limit free speech

Dear all,

Please take notice that the G7 meeting just decided to beef up censorship and control of the Internet.

If you make censorship possible at all – sooner or later it will be used by sinister minds.

Please – do not limit the freedom of speech. We cannot silence or put people in prison, simply because we do not agree with whatever they are saying. (Unless they are a direct threat to other people’s immediate security. And if so, only after a fair trial respecting fundamental human rights.)

Giving Big Government and Big Data control over the freedom of the word – that must not happen.



EU tech still used to suppress democracy

In order to prevent dictatorships from abusing European technology to crack down on political opposition, the EU started regulating the export of surveillance technology a few years ago. But that has far from stopped the exports to problematic countries, a cross-border investigation reveals.

A problem is that non-democratic countries use European standard configurated IT-systems – that have mass surveillance functions as a default feature. Europe’s exports of spy tech to authoritarian countries revealed »


The UN is morally corrupt

A majority of the members of the United Nations Human Rights Council are non-democratic. Obviously, this is a problem – if we presume human rights to have anything to do with fundamental democratic principles such as free speech, a free press and free and fair elections.

With countries such as China, Cuba, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in the council – one must also doubt what it will and can do when it comes to the right to fair trials, the issue of cruel and unusual punishments and the death penalty.

A Human Rights Council that is not committed to democracy and human rights is a travesty, a mockery of the UN:s own declaration of human rights.

The Council members are appointed by the UN General Assembly. So, obviously, not even the UN:s central body can be trusted when it comes to human rights issues. Sorry to say, I am not surprised.

The UN is morally corrupt.



Showdown in the Assange case?

The normally so media shy Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny today held a press conference about the Assange case. Nothing new was presented, the prosecutor’s office repeated its talking points and there was mention of yet another half-hearted attempt to interview Mr. Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. (Something Ms. Ny have avoided to do for years, thereby keeping the investigation open and Mr. Assange at bay.)

It might have been her last chance to play the media by her rules. On prime time Swedish national television tonight, the investigative team at SVT Uppdrag Granskning had an hour-long special about the Assange case. (The program in Swedish » | A summary of some of the findings in English ») It is pretty obvious that Swedish authorities are very interested in getting Mr. Assange to Sweden – even though it has been and still is possible to interview him in London in person, online or over the phone.

Here we should keep in mind that Mr. Assange has not been charged with any crime. It’s all about interviewing him in order do determine if there is a case against him – in a rather thin case of suspected sexual misconduct in Sweden. Basically, this is total judicial overkill and »special treatment« just because he is a rebel, truth teller and a threat to important people in power.

Even a UN human right panel has voiced protests about the way Mr. Assange is treated, being tucked away in the Ecuadorean embassy year after year.

This Next Friday a Swedish regional high court will – once again – look into the issue of Mr. Assanges’ arrest warrant. The last time, they upheld the decision, as Ms. Ny then was instructed to get the interview done and over with. Again, she didn’t. This coming Friday, the court may not show the same patience. Or it may, as there are powerful interests involved.

Finally, the reason that Wikileaks editor in chief Julian Assange does not want to go to Sweden for an interview is a fear that he might be extradited to the US. Todays’ tv special made it clear that there might be good reasons to fear such a development. (Even though the UK might also hand him over to the US Justice department, but at a very high political price.)

The general impression is that things might start to move in the Assange case. But I wouldn’t hold my breath…



Make UN member states stand by their word on the Internet and privacy

“1. Affirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice, in accordance with articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;”

These are words from the United Nations Human Rights Council, in a declaration of the 27:th of June. (PDF») It continues…

“8. Calls upon all States to address security concerns on the Internet in accordance with their international human rights obligations to ensure protection of freedom of expression, freedom of association, privacy and other human rights online, including through national democratic, transparent institutions, based on the rule of law, in a way that ensures freedom and security on the Internet so that it can continue to be a vibrant force that generates economic, social and cultural development;”

“9. Condemns unequivocally all human rights violations and abuses, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, expulsion, intimidation and harassment, as well as gender based violence, committed against persons for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Internet, and calls on all States to ensure accountability in this regard;”

“10. Condemns unequivocally measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online in violation of international human rights law and calls on all States to refrain from and cease such measures;”

Great! Or… what?

I cannot help noticing that Turkey is one of the signing countries… And Poland, despite the country’s ever more dubious approach to free speech.

The United Kingdom (with the GCHQ) and the United States (home of the NSA) have signed the declaration. And countries like Sweden (FRA), Germany (BND) – who are part of the global surveillance network.

Do they really mean what they say? Probably not.

This is a great UN declaration. But the fight for a free and open internet, free speech, privacy and civil rights still needs to be fought by an army of activists. You simply cannot trust governments with this, just because they say so.

It’s like 5 July 2012. The day that gave the 5 July-foundation (who, among other things is running this blog) its name. (Read more») This was the date for an ambitious UN resolution “on the Promotion, Protection, and Enjoyment of Human Rights on the Internet”.

Then, like now, we believe that words are not enough and that the Internet community must engage in the battle to defend the values stated in the resolution.

Today the 5 July-foundation runs several projects for security, privacy and liberty. (Read more»)

Actually, today is also the second anniversary of this blog – trying to identify threats to digital liberty. I hope you enjoy it.

And let’s use this UN resolution as valuable support when our governments go back to Big Brother Business as usual. We have their words on paper. And we demand that they stand by them!


• The Declaration (PDF) »
• UN rights council condemns internet blocking »
• UN rights council condemns the disruption of internet access »
• UN Human Rights Body Condemns Nations Blocking Internet Access »
• UN Human Rights Council Passes Resolution ‘Unequivocally’ Condemning Internet Shutdowns »
• Disrupting Internet Access Is A Human Rights Violation, UN Says »


Free flow of information is a facilitator of democracy

During the cold war, the Soviet Union deployed radio jammers in the bay of the Baltic Sea between Finland and Estonia. The purpose was to limit people’s access to Finnish television in the then Soviet Baltic states.

It didn’t work. When Finnish television aired the soft porn movie Emanuelle, the streets of Estonian capital Tallin were empty. And after every episode of Dallas, people in northern Estonia kept friends and relatives in other parts of the country up to date with the doings of JR & Co by mail. (There is a very interesting and amusing film about this, Disco and Atomic War.)

When the Berlin Wall fell, people in the GDR had a rather good picture of life in the west from radio and television, transmitted from the BRD and West Berlin. And they knew that the world was watching and supporting the change that was going on.

Free flow of information is a facilitator of democracy.

Today, we have the Internet. It’s global, it’s instant and even in places where the regimes try to build digital walls, there are often ways to connect to the global network.

The Internet is as important for people who live under political and religious oppression today, as radio and television were during the cold war.

With access to strong encryption and other tools, the Internet also allows people within such countries to communicate in a relatively safe way with each other. This is essential to build a democratic opposition, enable activism and build alternate structures.

It has turned out that it is very difficult to introduce and uphold democracy by military means. And the Arabian Spring shows that freedom and democracy cannot be won overnight. It is a frustratingly slow process, that frequently backfires. But to succeed it is essential that people in totalitarian and failed states can find support, inspiration and good examples from us in the (relatively) free world.

The fight for a free and open internet is not only about our freedom and privacy. It’s about a democratic and peaceful world.


Anonymous declares war on the Thai junta

This is interesting. In strong language, Anonymous Asia declares war against the military Thai government. Carefully avoiding to mention the Royals.

So what brings Anonymous back to life?

Government of the Kingdom of Thailand, it has come to our attention that you have decided to disregard your citizens, the people of this country, and have persisted to project an unique Gateway to the Internet, in running a system which only benefits yourselves and the giant corporate bodies operating.

Internet mass surveillance, in other words. Leading to…

The latest project of the Thai military government is to deploy a single gateway in order to control, intercept and arrest any persons not willing to follow the Junta orders and your so called moral.

And it gets personal…

We will not only fight against the single gateway project but will expose your incompetence to the world, where depravity and personal interests prevail.

Copy to kill for.

So what is all this? Let’s pick an online article, of many: Big Brother is watching Thailand »

Apparently it is not just about censorship any longer, but total mass surveillance. Including HTTPS.

The words ending the Anonymous Asia message are strong and brave, for addressing a military junta…

Together we stand against the injustice of your Government, tomorrow you will pay the price of your oppression against your own people.
You can arrest us, but you can’t arrest an idea.

Thailand is now on our radar.

Anonymous Asias proclamation, as published on Pastebin »