Archive | Hacktivism

No to (some) secret EU court proceedings

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg today ruled in favour
of the German civil liberties activist and pirate party member Patrick
Breyer (Commission vs. Breyer, C-213/15 P): It ordered the Commission
to give the press and the public access to the pleadings exchanged in
completed court proceedings. In the present case Breyer successfully
demanded the Commission disclose Austrian pleadings concerning the
non-transposition of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive.
However the Court fined Breyer for publishing the written submissions in
his own case on his homepage.

Pirate Times: EU Court rules on transparency of EU justice »

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Are we doomed? Maybe not.

I just read an interesting piece at Bloomberg: The Hackers Russia-Proofing Germany’s Elections »

It’s about the German Chaos Computer Club – CCC – and its fight for a free, open democratic society with a free flow of information. At the end, member Jan Krissler is quoted saying…

»All the stuff will happen in the end.«

He then adds »Maybe I’m too skeptical about our influence.«

The looming questions. Are they winning? Are we losing? If so, what will the consequences be? Is it already too late to fight Big Brother?

For decades I have in one way or another been into politics and communication. One thing that I have learned is that you must be ridiculously persistent. You will be fed up repeating the same arguments over and over again – to people who are not interested or do not want to understand. They will ignore you, they will laugh at you and they will fight you.

Then you win. It has been done before. When the Internet stopped ACTA is one of a number of very real victories in the EU. It’s all about leaving your comfort zone – and give what it takes to win. Again. And again.

Because we must! A modern, slightly superstitious, politicized, high-tech Big Brother state will be insufferable. Orwell, meet Kafka.

This is about the power balance between citizens and the state. This is about upholding fundamental human rights. This is – ultimately – about democracy. And it is for real.

Bigbrotherism tends to be irreversible. When mass surveillance is in place, it is very hard to undo and will inevitably be followed by more. When civil rights are restricted, they might be lost forever. And we have absolutely no idea about who will be in power in the future. But it’s highly likely that – sooner or later – it will be some pretty nasty people. (As if today’s politicians aren’t scary enough.) Please, do not leave them tools of oppression and total control.

So, losing is not an option.

To win, I believe that we must stand on strong and unrestrainable principles. The UN, EU, and Council of Europe declarations on human rights. The fundamental pillars and the deeper values of liberal democracy. What the Germans (who learned the hard way, twice) call »Rechtstaat«. Division of power. Openness.

It must be commonly known that there is an ongoing battle, where peaceful activists passionately are defending democracy – and politicians and bureaucrats are trying to restrict it. This image must be reflected in the media and in the public mind.

Remember that action is the most powerful way to communicate – and necessary for anything to happen at all.

Trying to repress Democracy must come at an extremely high political price. If we don’t draw a red line, our overlords will find that there are, actually, no real limits to their power. (And having power over others does unfortunate things to people.)

Fight fair, endure, stand on a few exceptionally strong principles – and you will eventually win.

Finally, we cannot have all these different fights over and over again. This must come to some sort of horizontal, binding resurrection of privacy, civil rights and freedom of information.

(And whatever you do, do not allow politicians to »modernize« our existing human rights conventions. These should be very imposing and inconvenient obstacles – to prevent governments from doing whatever they want.)

Take this fight to national politics. Confront politicians and their functionaries. Give the media a wake-up-call. And let’s make all of this an Issue at the European elections – as much of today’s Bigbroterism originates in the EU.

May the Force be with you.

/ HAX

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Sundes gloomy look at the future of the Internet

At its inception, the internet was a beautifully idealistic and equal place. But the world sucks and we’ve continuously made it more and more centralized, taking power away from users and handing it over to big companies. And the worst thing is that we can’t fix it — we can only make it slightly less awful.

That was pretty much the core of Pirate Bay’s co-founder, Peter Sunde‘s talk at tech festival Brain Bar Budapest.

TNW » Pirate Bay founder: We’ve lost the internet, it’s all about damage control now »

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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 »

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Fake news – are they for real?

There is a lot of buzz about »fake news«. But there is very little discussion about what it is that is supposed to be fake.

Maybe, there isn’t that much real fake news. (Dissent doesn’t qualify as fake.) Maybe it’s about stuff we don’t really want to know about. Or are not supposed to.

»Fake news« seems to be a mirage that will vanish if you try to pin it down.

It might also be that we are already so entangled in lies that we can no longer recognize the truth, even in its presence.

/ HAX

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Barrett Brown back in custody

Journalist and writer Barrett Brown, who was imprisoned after exposing private sector surveillance – has been detained again. The Intercept:

Brown quickly became a symbol of the attack on press freedom after he was arrested in 2012 for reporting he did on the hacked emails of intelligence-contracting firms. Brown wrote about hacked emails that showed the firm Stratfor spying on activists on behalf of corporations. Brown also helped uncover a proposal by intelligence contractors to hack and smear WikiLeaks defenders and progressive activists. (…)

According to his mother, who spoke with Brown by phone after his arrest, Brown believes the reason for his re-arrest was a failure to obtain “permission” to give interviews to media organizations. Several weeks ago, Brown was told by his check-in officer that he needed to fill out permission forms before giving interviews.

The Intercept: Formerly imprisoned journalist Barrett Brown taken back into custody before PBS interview »

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Njalla – the new anonymous domain registration service

Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde has a new privacy-oriented startup. Today he launches the domain registration service Njalla, which offers site owners full anonymity, shielding them from the prying eyes of outsiders. “Think of us as your friendly drunk (but responsibly so) straw person that takes the blame for your expressions.”

Torrentfreak: Pirate Bay Founder Launches Anonymous Domain Registration Service »

Njalla »

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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.

/ HAX

 

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