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.
Today the European Parliaments committee for the internal market (IMCO) has voted on the new EU copyright package.
The »censorship machine« (demanding that net platforms and ISP:s should filter all user uploaded content) fell. This is a victory for a free and open Internet.
(But still, the proposal is not quite dead. It can be re-tabled for the main vote in plenary.)
However, the »link tax« (license fees for linking to mainstream media content) still stands.
This terrible idea must be stopped in plenary!
It ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings.
Update » A more detailed report » IMCO Vote on Copyright in the DSM: crying tears of…? »
Update 2 » Pirate MEP Julia Reda » 5 takeaways from the first important copyright reform vote in the European Parliament »
Further, there is something disturbing in this apparent ubiquitous acceptance of profiling by political parties. After all, did you ever consent for the content you post online, the words you type in your messages, the “likes” you post, the website you browse, the places you go, the things you buy, and the other “data points” that companies have on you to be used to profile you for political purposes? And are you confortable for this vast array of data (often seemingly irrelevant crumbs of our personalities) to be used to pigeonhole (and predict) your political leanings?
Privacy International: Hiding in plain sight — political profiling of voters »
“The U.S. is buttressing its paperwork walls with new requirements for social media disclosures as part of revised visa applications.” (…)
“The new questionnaire will ask for social media handles dating back over the last five years and biographical information dating back 15 years.” (…)
“Quoting an unnamed State Department official, Reuters reported that the additional information would only be requested when the department determines that ‘such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting’.”
Next Thursday, June 8, the European Parliaments Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) will have its main vote on the EU Copyright Package.
Here a proposal will be hammered out for the parliament’s final plenary vote later this summer. So it’s a very important event. And there are dark clouds on the horizon.
Key points are the EU Censorship Machine (forcing internet platforms to control and, in relevant cases, censor content uploaded by its users) and the Link-tax (a license fee for linking to media news articles).
This is the best – and maybe last – opportunity to stop this from becoming EU law.
Take action, spread the word and please contact your elected members of the parliament.
Julia Reda (German Pirate MEP): Just 9 days left to reject the worst version of EU copyright expansion plans yet »
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.
In the EU, member states are pressing on for censorship of online video:
European Union ministers have approved proposals to make social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube tackle videos with hate speech on their platforms.
The proposals, which would be the first legislation at EU level on the issue, still need to be agreed with the European Parliament before becoming law.
And, under the same scheme, there is a totally unrelated proposal for cultural protectionism:
The proposals also include a quota of 30 per cent of European films and TV shows on video streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Member states will also be able to require video-sharing platforms to contribute financially to the production of European works in the country where they are established and also where they target audiences.
This bill asks social media companies to take down content, including perfectly legal material, that social media companies like Facebook can arbitrarily label as “hate speech”, “fake news”, “pornographic content”, among other categories. In addition, the draft law de facto imposes filtering of content, despite the fact that such technology cannot understand context and will, therefore, inevitably lead to still more legal content being deleted. The basic aim of the bill is, of course, well-intentioned. However, the way this bill is drafted appoints social media companies as arbiters of legality and “the truth”. Furthermore, this bill breaches EU law, which establishes that all restrictions to fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, must be provided for by law, necessary and proportionate (Article 52 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union). In addition, EU law also prohibits imposing general monitoring obligations on companies. If adopted, this unprecedented law would serve as a bad example for other states, including countries with serious democratic deficits.
Even worse, profiling and similar techniques are increasingly used not just to classify and understand people, but also to make decisions that have far-reaching consequences, from credit to housing, welfare and employment. Intelligent CCTV software automatically flags “suspicious behaviour”, intelligence agencies predict internet users’ citizenship to decide they are foreign (fair game) or domestic (usually not fair game), and the judicial system claims to be able to predicts future criminals.
As someone once said: it’s Orwell when it’s accurate and Kafka when it’s not.
Privacy International » Cambridge Analytica Explained: Data and Elections »
US demands to get access to some travelers social media handles has been in force at border controls for some time now. The latest is that this also will apply at visa applications, but still not for all.
Affected applicants would have to provide their social media handles and platforms used during the previous five years, and divulge all phone numbers and email addresses used during that period. U.S. consular officials would not seek social media passwords, and would not try to breach any privacy controls on applicants’ accounts, according to the department’s notice.