Pirates, arr!

History tells us the wars on privacy and sharing will get worse before it gets better

Rick Falkvinge - 27 februari, 2017 - 20:00

Repression: All governments of the world are cracking down on privacy and increasing mass surveillance, sometimes in the name of copyright enforcement, sometimes in the name of fighting terrorism, sometimes because they just want to. There’s a pattern here of similar things in the past – something is horrible, horrible, horrible, until the point where fighting the phenomenon just looks silly, counterproductive, and inhumane. Cannabis is there today, and it’s going to be years if not decades until it’s just as silly to fight people sharing knowledge and culture with each other, trying to brand them as awful people.

The striking pattern here is that people in power may regard an issue as completely peripheral, even downright uninteresting – like powerholders regard copyright – and still use the push from legacy industry interests as an excuse to get what they really want, like the copyright industry demanding mass surveillance.

Nixon declared war on cannabis… what year was it again? Oh nevermind exactly what year, it was as far back as when Nixon was president, which says a whole lot more than an exact year (it was 1968). His campaign advisor has since gone on record saying they knew all along they lied about the dangers of drugs, but that declaring war on them helped them shatter the communities that threatened Nixon’s re-election, specifically the hippies that opposed the Vietnam war.

“Did we know we [the Nixon administration] were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” — John Erlichman

The pattern seems to be that social breakthroughs, getting rid of the old taboos, happen in a few areas first that test the waters, and when nothing bad happens, the floodgates open. Bloomberg did a good feature of it from a US perspective, analyzing US breakthroughs like women’s suffrage, marriage between people of different skin tones (which was once illegal!), and other similar issues.

“A few pioneer states get out front before the others, and then a key event—often a court decision or a grassroots campaign reaching maturity—triggers a rush of state activity that ultimately leads to a change in federal law.” — Bloomberg

When it comes to privacy in general, and sharing music, movies, culture, and knowledge between each other in particular, we can tell that we’re not at the “okay, this policy is just silly, everybody’s doing it and nobody cares” phase yet. Everybody’s sharing and nobody cares, except the copyright industry, and the powers that be are using every excuse of that industry to crack down and toughen existing laws. Even though everybody who knows something understands that the laws are not just ineffective, but counterproductive and silly, there’s no room for such thinking where the lobbyists of legacy industries roam unchallenged.

It took some 50 years to get to the “okay, this persecution is just silly” phase with cannabis. Let’s not make it fifty years with sharing and digital civil liberties.

Privacy remains your own responsibility.

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This article was previously published on Private Internet Access.

(This is a post from Falkvinge on Liberty, obtained via RSS at this feed.)

Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

How cryptocurrency will cripple today’s governments – and they won’t see it coming

Rick Falkvinge - 24 februari, 2017 - 20:00

Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency will cripple governmental ability to collect taxes, and they won’t see it coming. When it’s already happened, expect major changes to take place in how society is organized on a large scale – but also expect governments to act in desperation to retain control.

As bitcoin launched in 2009, most early adopters saw its disruptive potential. While bitcoin has stalled for some time approaching a valid use of the term “stagnation”, cryptocurrency in a larger context is still just as disruptive. In 2011, I stated that bitcoin (cryptocurrency) will do to banks what e-mail did to the postal services. This is not just true, but it will be even more brutal to governments, and by extension, governmental services.

Now, governments love anything that smells like innovation, because it means jobs, this magic word that smells of magic unicorns to anybody in government. Therefore, people who like innovation are nurturing this bitcoin thing, this cryptocurrency thing, this ethereum thing (as if governments made a difference, but still). Lots of startups in tip-of-the-spear financial technology means that their government may get a head start over other governments. They have no idea that cryptocurrency will radically scale back the power of government, not just their own one, but also all those other governments over which it seeks a competitive edge.

Individual people in government can also love bitcoin because it gives them something to do. More specifically, it gives them something to regulate. Fortunately, other people in government see that this gives them something to do, which is to hold those government regulators with an overdeveloped sense of order somewhat in check. You’ll hear no shortage of wannabe regulators saying that “bitcoin is bad because it’s being used in crime and contraband trade!”, to which I usually respond, “well, bitcoin is a currency, so I mean you put it in relation to the US Dollar, which then… is not used in crime and contraband trade, is this the argument you’re using to support your position?”, at which point the discussion generally changes topic.

This completely disregards the observation that bitcoin and cryptocurrency were designed to not submit to regulation in the first place. Well, at least not governmental regulation. It is heavily regulated – but by its source code, and by its source code alone.

The reason this will cripple today’s governments — today’s idea of what a government is and does — is because today’s economy is built on one layer doing actual work and three layers of abstraction on top.

At the first and bottom layer of our economy are the individual people doing all the actual work.

The second layer on top of the first is the abstraction we call corporations, which is a way to organize our economy and optimize transaction costs.

The third layer on top of the second would be banks, which handle money for corporations and individual people in a middleman gatekeeper position.

Finally, the fourth layer is the government, which takes advantage of the banks’ gatekeeper position to siphon off taxes from money flows in order to fund itself and governmental services. In other words, layer four completely depends on layer three for its operations – or at least for the relative simplicity of funding its operations.

Now, what bitcoin and cryptocurrency do is make away with the banks – cutting them out of the loop entirely, making them redundant, obsolete, dinosaurified. This resulting absence of anything where banks used to be creates an air gap between the functional part of the economy – people and corporations – and governments who want funding.

The way governments want to tap all money flows in order to fund itself is not entirely unlike how the surveillance agencies want to tap all information flows in order to have an information advantage. In this way, the deployment of cryptocurrency is to tax collection what deployment of end-to-end encryption is to mass surveillance. The government can no longer reach into money flows and grab what it wants, but will be dependent on people actively sending it money. The government can’t point a gun at a computer and have it give up its money; you can only make a computer operator feel very sorry for not voluntarily producing the keys to that money. So the government is no longer able to collect taxes without the consent – even if coerced and forced consent – of the people being thus collected.

The deployment of cryptocurrency is to tax collection what deployment of end-to-end encryption is to mass surveillance.

Governments, and individual people in government, have no idea about this bigger picture. They’re far to wrapped up in things-as-usual to notice. They won’t see it coming until it’s already happened.

When this happens, there will be no shortage of people in government who suddenly want to regulate cryptocurrency – only to find out it will be as effective as regulating gravity. When this happens, government as we know it will be redefined from a coercive Colossus able to take what it wants and do what it wants into a construct that actually depends on people wanting to fund it. This will be a very interesting time to live in. While today’s governments will see themselves as getting crippled, I suspect most citizens will regard it as unquestionably healthy that governments will actually begin to depend on the approval of the people at large.

We’re just beginning to see the changes to society that the Internet brings. This is one of them.

(Note: I write cryptocurrency and not bitcoin on purpose here, just as I’d prefer proclaiming the success of social media over the success of Myspace.)

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This article has previously appeared at Private Internet Access.

(This is a post from Falkvinge on Liberty, obtained via RSS at this feed.)

Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

How to talk to your non-tech friends about Net Neutrality

Rick Falkvinge - 20 februari, 2017 - 20:00

Corruption: Net Neutrality is being discussed again, and it’s important that your friends understand why this concept is crucial. Instead of explaining it in typical technical terms, it’s usually better to draw parallels to if we hadn’t had infrastructure neutrality in other fields. Roads are frequently mentioned; I find electricity to be a much better example to get the point across.

Imagine if all your kitchen appliances only worked with one power company. The electricity they provided was somehow coded so that only their fridge, their freezer, their stove, and their washing machine could be used when their power is in your outlets.

Imagine the cost of switching to a better power company. Cheaper, more reliable, less smug. You’d have to replace all your home appliances. Every single one. Pretty much like moving from the US to Europe or vice versa, to double or half the voltage in the power outlets. The cost of replacing everything, everything, would be prohibitive. Therefore, the power company could pretty much charge you anything they wanted that was less prohibitive than buying new appliances for your entire household.

And of course, that power company would be the only company selling the appliances that are compatible with their particular power. Forget about choice. No Miele, no Samsung, not even any Ikea. Why would they care about choice? You need to use their power, anyway, so it’s not like you can walk away from the table if you don’t like it. They don’t need to get a quality manufacturer in China, or India, or Vietnam. Some startup in Burma or Laos will do fine.

This is infrastructure neutrality as applied to electricity. This is why we need infrastructure neutrality as applied to the Internet.

For once one power company has started doing this and gets away with it – a so-called “vertical bundling” that they claim is “free market practice”, which basically tells their customers that their satisfaction is worth less than what you scrape off from the underside of your shoe – all the others will follow, if there’s a small number of providers like there typically is with infrastructure. The customer lock-in effect is so enormous, the executives will be salivating over how much they can overcharge.

Now, compare this to your cable companies. We’re so used to Game of Thrones just appearing on HBO, some other show just appearing on just another place, and another on some other, et cetera, that we don’t reflect on it.

But the scenario without electricity neutrality is not imaginary. It used to be exactly like that, with power companies requiring only their particular electrical equipment to be connected.

We’re just used today to some industries getting away with this (entertainment) and some not (roads and electricity), and expect that today’s particular situation is somehow natural. But this was not always so. In electricity’s infancy, the described scenario with incompatible power companies was exactly how it was, with different energy companies delivering different types of power that were utterly incompatible with each other. Most notably, this was a technology fight between Edison and Tesla (and Tesla’s power solution won worldwide).

This is why we need net neutrality, this is why we need infrastructure neutrality in every kind of infrastructure.

Last but not least, don’t forget John Oliver’s take on net neutrality, who was (is) instead suggesting it should be called “preventing cable company fuckery” to paint a more illustrative picture of it:

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This article has previously appeared at Private Internet Access.

(This is a post from Falkvinge on Liberty, obtained via RSS at this feed.)

Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

How the copyright industry works methodically to erode your civil liberties and human rights

Rick Falkvinge - 16 februari, 2017 - 20:00

Copyright Monopoly: In a previous column, I outlined how the copyright monopoly is fundamentally, irreparably incompatible with privacy at the conceptual level. While the copyright industry may appear behind the times — even outright dumb — it is a mistake to believe they’re unaware of this incompatibility. To the contrary, their persistent and consistent actions show they’re trying to erode privacy at every level and every turn in order to tip the balance toward preserving their distribution monopoly at the expense of civil liberties and human rights.

To talk of human rights and civil liberties are at risk when you’re doing something that’s technically illegal – such talk can easily come across as exaggerated and hyperbolic, even objectively false. In this case, there would be no shortage of people who dismissed people who share knowledge and culture — file-sharers and streamers – as mere criminals trying to excuse something illegal. It’s a little reminiscent of people who yell “that’s against the Constitution” at every corner when they see something they either don’t like or insist they have a right to do.

However, in the particular case of people sharing movies, music, and TV series, there’s an authority on the matter that is hard to dispute – the European Court of Human Rights, the foremost international human rights court that supersedes even the constitutions of 47 developed countries. This court has ruled super clear that interference with people’s right — yes, right — to share and partake of culture and knowledge freely is indeed a violation of human rights:

For the first time in a judgment on the merits, the European Court of Human Rights has clarified that a conviction based on copyright law for illegally reproducing or publicly communicating copyright protected material can be regarded as an interference with the right of freedom of expression and information under Article 10 of the European Convention. Such interference must be in accordance with the three conditions enshrined in the second paragraph of Article 10 of the Convention. This means that a conviction or any other judicial decision based on copyright law, restricting a person’s or an organisation’s freedom of expression, must be pertinently motivated as being necessary in a democratic society, apart from being prescribed by law and pursuing a legitimate aim. It is, in other words, no longer sufficient to justify a sanction or any other judicial order restricting one’s artistic or journalistic freedom of expression on the basis that a copyright law provision has been infringed. Neither is it sufficient to consider that the unauthorised use, reproduction or public communication of a work cannot rely on one of the narrowly interpreted exceptions in the copyright law itself, including the application of the so-called three-step test […]

Note how the Human Rights Court specifically states that undisputably breaking copyright law is insufficient for a conviction thereof – a prescribed law of code is just one of the three criteria that must be fulfilled to justify breaking the human rights charter. This, just by itself, is a legal bombshell. (It doesn’t stop people from getting convicted, but raises the bar a lot.)

This is consistent with my previous column where I describe how and why enforcement of the copyright monopoly online is utterly incompatible with privacy as we know it – for infringements take place in private communications that may both be used for super-protected communications like leaking evidence of abuse of governmental power to the press under protection-of-source laws, and for sharing music and movies, and if you’re going to make the latter discoverable, you’re also negating the legal protection of the former.

The copyright industry not just agrees with this analysis, but understands it deeply and has integrated it into their strategy.

To the copyright industry, the conflict between human rights and the exclusive distribution monopoly is crystal clear, and to them, nothing can get in the way of the exclusive distribution rights we know as copyright — nothing must be allowed to. Therefore, when it is recognized that the judiciary must prevent convictions based on the exclusive rights alone, and that privacy rights (as guaranteed by the law and government) get in the way of enforcement of the copyright monopoly, the copyright industry opted for a two-pronged approach:

First, the copyright industry strived to circumvent the judiciary altogether, aspiring for the right to go full Dredd and become judge, jury, and executioner.

It did so on multiple fronts. The most famous attempt would probably be the introduction of a Three Strikes scheme, where the copyright industry would be given the right to shut off a household’s internet access — that’s an entire household’s access — on the basis of three accusations of sharing in violation of the monopoly. (And as we all know, the copyright industry never makes mistakes.) The legal fight in the European Parliament was very telling, with one single word making all the difference: prior. The fight was over whether people subject to such exile from modernity should have access to prior legal due process — as in, the copyright industry wanted to shut people off first, and then, while shut off, only then could they seek legal redress. In effect, they wanted a right to circumvent the judiciary and shut hundreds of thousands of people off the net as a big-hammer collective punishment, scaring people into submission from the prospect of losing all contact with modern life.

Of course, such a scheme would require the copyright industry to have some jurisdiction over what Internet Service Providers could and could not do. We’ll be returning to that shortly.

France was first out with a three strikes scheme, creating a new authority – the Hadopi – which was tasked to shut down the Internet for misbehaving households (or households the copyright industry accused of misbehaving, anyway). The European Parliament saw through this attempt of the copyright industry’s, with the help of a lot of activists, and made the practice blatantly illegal in all of Europe. The relevant legislation even sported something called “the Hadopi test” – meaning that if the law code didn’t outright ban Hadopi, three strikes, and everything smelling remotely like it, the law wasn’t properly written yet. The European law passed a wording passing this test, and with that, three strikes was completely illegal in all of Europe – no state was at liberty to send people into exile from modern society by shutting off their household’s Internet access on mere accusations from an offended obsolete industry.

The end result was that the copyright industry couldn’t shut people off en masse as was planned, but had to resort to talking in “education efforts” in their PR material with regards to forcing Internet Service Providers to do their bidding. It was an enormous win for civil liberties in Europe and elsewhere.

However, the copyright industry has also tried suing ISPs directly to get a judicial order forcing them to censor the Internet on their behalf. While not technically circumventing the judiciary, it’s still avoiding dealing with the human rights issue as such on the prerequisite case-by-case basis. Perhaps most infamously, IFPI – the international record industry association founded in Mussolini’s Italy – sued Eircom, the largest Irish ISP, for the right to install “filtering” (censoring) equipment directly into their network. Yes, you read that right: a private industry demanded the right to silence any conversation it didn’t like, just because it felt (feels) entitled to do so.

Second, in order to erode and curtail privacy rights, the copyright industry sought a forced conscription of the Internet Service Providers to act as police on their behalf. In this way, the copyright industry would be able to introduce both proactive non-governmental censorship and mete out extrajudicial punishments, circumventing and curtailing the human rights “problem”.

In order to mete out these extrajudicial punishments – typically threats of a lawsuit, “pay up or else”, also known as copyright trolling, the more neutral speculative invoicing, the Hollywoodesque “an offer they can’t refuse”: in order to do this, the copyright industry obviously needed to know who’s operating behind an IP address. (This isn’t technically identifying user data, as ruled by courts, but the industry wasn’t deterred.)

In order to do this, it needed two separate legal mechanisms:

First, it needed the legal right to coerce an ISP to give out identifying information behind an IP address, something even the Police didn’t have the right to demand for mere everyday infringements of copyright.

Second, it needed a mandatory retention time for ISPs for such data, enabling retroactive surveillance or the everybody’s a suspect principle, so ISPs wouldn’t be able to protect the interests (and civil liberties) of their customers and delete the data immediately, thereby preventing the copyright industry from demanding it a week or so later.

The first mechanism was achieved by the IPRED federal law in Europe, which I described in a previous column, the law which was spearheaded in the European Parliament by the spouse of the CEO of Vivendi Universal, one of the big four record companies. This law is still in effect, and for a time, the copyright industry did indeed have more far-reaching powers to invade people’s privacy than even the Police. (The Police have rightfully argued that this is bad, but instead of reverting the private industry’s private policing rights, the governmental police instead argued they should have the same authority. They mostly do, today.)

The second mechanism, forcing ISPs to retain data so it could be demanded later, has been one of the most controversial things to happen to Europe (and elsewhere). The directive – the federal law – was passed in the European Parliament on December 14, 2004, and was called the Data Retention Directive. It basically required ISPs to store all identifying subscriber data for some period of time, at least six months, turning this privacy violation from “absolutely forbidden beyond direct billing needs” to “mandatory”. The European Supreme Court (the ECJ) struck it down as utterly unconstitutional in April of 2014, almost a decade later: the Court didn’t just nullify it onward, rather, the law was ruled so grotesque a violation of human rights it was retroactively ruled to never have existed.

It’s trivial to find massive copyright industry support for both of these mechanisms, not just in public consultations to law proposals, but pretty much at every trade show and political gathering at the time the laws were discussed.

In summary, the copyright industry understands full well that its distribution monopoly is incompatible with human rights, and is working consistently to remove those human rights in order to maintain enforcement of its commercial distribution monopoly at any cost.

Privacy remains your own responsibility.

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This article was previously published at Private Internet Access.

(This is a post from Falkvinge on Liberty, obtained via RSS at this feed.)

Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

In an EU without Britain and France, weaker and sensible copyright policy would emerge

Rick Falkvinge - 8 februari, 2017 - 20:00

Copyright Monopoly: Britain and France have been the primary copyright hawks in the EU, pushing for stronger distribution monopolies and harsher penalties at every turn. With Brexit in the cards, and a possible Frexit following this spring’s French elections, a hypothetical future EU copyright law looks much more sensible. Let’s review the dynamics at play.

Britain has already voted to exit the European Union, and with the possiblility of Marine le Pen winning the presidency in France, along with a campaign promise to leave the eurozone and/or the entire EU if she wins, there’s a possibility France will also be preparing an exit soon. In order to understand what impact these developments may have on future copyright legislation, let’s take a look at the dynamics at play over the last decade and how France and Britain have used their influence on the Union.

When the EU massively expanded eastward on May 1, 2004, the copyright industry realized the expansion would mean a permanent shift against evermore-policies of evermore-copyright: Eastern Europe isn’t fond of this rich-man’s-protectionism scheme at all. Therefore, the copyright industry tried their damndest to get everything they could crammed through the door before the expansion date, the date Eastern Europe would get their voting rights in the Union, in the so-called IPRED federal law (“directive”) – the IPR Enforcement Directive. This legislative package gave the copyright industry more far-reaching powers than the Police in many European states. Yes, you read that right: it gave the private copyright industry the right to break anonymity and privacy in many cases where the Police weren’t allowed to.

The idea was to cram much more into the directive, including four-year prison sentences for sharing music, but time was running out toward the EU expansion date, and so everything contested was cut out in order to pass what had been agreed on (IPRED), with the four-year-prison parts and more pushed out to a later successor package, IPRED2. This successor directive failed and was withdrawn in 2010, since power had indeed shifted permanently. The intended IPRED2 directive also had the side effect of criminalizing a lot of open-source software development, as it also criminalized patent infringements – something that has always been a purely civil issue – and that contributed to scuttling it as a Generally Very Bad Idea.

So how does this relate to France? That federal law which gave the copyright industry more powers than the Police, the original IPRED, was spearheaded in the European Parliament by a French Member of European Parliament (MEP) named Jannelly Fourtou. Jannelly is married to Jean-Réné Fourtou, who was the Chairman and CEO of Vivendi Universal during this time. Yes, this means that Vivendi – one of the big record labels – was essentially writing draconian European copyright law in 2002-2004.

France continues to be draconian in this area. One of the MEPs infamous for harsher industrial protectionism was the French Marielle Gallo, who was one of the people fighting hardest for the passage of ACTA, even in the face of massive protests across Europe. (“I know better what these people need than they do”, is an authentic quote from her in Parliament on the matter.) Gallo was defeated in the matter and no longer works in the European Parliament, having been replaced by people who hopefully understand the Internet just a little bit better.

So much for France. So what about Britain? Well, Britain is currently preparing laws that enable ten years in prison for sharing music and TV. Does that sound sensible to you – that sharing music with a stranger is worse than, say, aggravated sexual assault? Britain with its record industry (that’s record industry, as in making small silly round pieces of plastic, as opposed to music industry) has been a major powerhouse in the EU.

In other words, without these two draconian powerhouses, the much more sensible powerhouses like Poland will instead set the tone for industrial protectionism in Europe, leading to completely different policy moving forward – one where the old record labels don’t get to dictate policy. While there are a few other draconian countries, like Denmark, they’re of small influence compared to the big players.

This reasoning, of course, ignores the much bigger picture that a potential European Union without Britain and France is not the European Union as we know it today but something entirely different. But as this post has shown, that can also be a good thing, at least from some aspects.

As a final sidetrack here, it’s interesting to note that Britain and France are the only two countries in Europe with the kind of two-party system that the United States has, and which was constructed to resist temporary fads of populism at the cost of having a high inertia to actual change. Therefore, when real change happens (like with the Internet arriving 20 years ago), such countries will be the slowest to see its policy adapt to new circumstances. This is interesting to watch in the light of these countries clinging the hardest to old structures.

Meanwhile, and especially in times of change, privacy remains your own responsibility.

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This article was previously published at Private Internet Access.

(This is a post from Falkvinge on Liberty, obtained via RSS at this feed.)

Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Told you so: Airport-style identity checks coming to train travel

Rick Falkvinge - 7 februari, 2017 - 20:00

Belgium: Several European countries will start requiring photo ID from passengers to ride trains, similar to airport identity checks. The requirement concerns the high-speed Thalys and Eurostar services in Europe, with the vague goal of “tightening security and tracking criminals”. Activists said this would happen when useless security theater appeared in airports – it will just spread, but people dismissed the idea at the time as preposterous, probably because it still is.

Reuters reports that Belgium, Netherlands, and France intend to have passenger lists and passport checks in place on high-speed trains by the end of the year. This is despite all three countries being part of the European Schengen zone with borderless and paperless travel – similar to how you don’t need to show papers when traveling between states inside the US or Canada.

When the airport security theater was rolled out, spearheaded by the USA following September 11, 2001, many privacy and security professionals criticized it for being intrusive and ineffective, respectively. Most notably, security guru Bruce Schneier pointed out that the only thing that really had a positive effect on security was the locked cockpit door, with a half-nod to armed air marshals as another possible measure that actually works (though being an air marshal is apparently one of the most boring jobs ever, with a horrible turnover combined with long and expensive training).

As a tragic side note, that one positive security measure – locked cockpit doors – has instead resulted in the death of 144 people.

The rest just doesn’t work. It’s theater, security theater. There’s even a YouTube channel with a guy constructing explosive devices and weapons only out of things he buys after the security check on airports.

And of course, it’s violating people’s privacy – their privacies of movement and of location. (In the TSA case, also their privacy of body.)

When these identity checks and this security theater appeared at domestic flights (at least domestic Scandinavian flights, which were as unchecked as bus rides before 9/11), activists warned of a slippery slope that politicians would like it so much, despite it being utterly ineffective, that train travel would be next. Everybody dismissed the idea as absolutely ridiculous. And it is. It is just as ridiculous when being forced onto train stations this year, as it already is at airports. We’ve just gotten used to it at airports already.

“The bullshit this generation puts up with as a temporary annoyance, the next generation will instead regard as the natural order of society and how things have always been.”

Germany is refreshingly choosing to not participate in these identity checks. It would increasingly seem that Germany is the only contemporary country who learned anything from totalitarian near-history, the only country that really has it in its blood, bones, and marrow that civic rights are there for a reason and are not to be taken lightly.

Make careful note at this time of the little remark at the end of the Reuters story: “The scheme will not be enforced… on bus services.” This is the first time I see somebody even mentioning the possibility of having a photo ID requirement to ride a bus. The idea has been conceived.

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This article has previously appeared at Private Internet Access.

(This is a post from Falkvinge on Liberty, obtained via RSS at this feed.)

Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

PKU-registret och samtiden

Opassande - 29 juni, 2016 - 09:26

När nyheten dök upp om att PKU-registret skulle utredas för att öppnas upp för polisanvändning, så missade jag helt att det även öppnades upp för användning av försäkringsbolag. När jag läste en artikel om det, kunde jag inte för mitt liv begripa varför det ens inkluderades i en utredning. Jag trodde inte att kommersiellt intresse skulle vara meriterande för att ens övervägas få tillgång till ett forskningsregister.

Jag kan emellertid inte förutsätta att det handlar om kommersialitet. Jag vet faktiskt inte den riktiga anledningen bakom. Eftersom jag råkade stöta på nån artikel eller så, där Anders Ygeman (S) uttalade sig kring utredningen drog jag en fråga till honom på twitter. Som jag inte fått svar på.

Emma Bouvin tipsade mig om kommittédirektivet bakom utredningen, där just försäkringsbolagen nämns. Jag erkänner att jag inte riktigt kan utläsa anledningen till varför det finns med, men uppskattar verkligen att få feedback. Jag blev även tipsad om att det möjligen är Morgan Johansson som är pappa till utredningen.

Hela diskussionen om varför försäkringsbolag ens är med i utredningen består av spekulationer och gissningar. Visserligen inte helt från det blå, men ändå. “Det är väl bra att det utreds”, sa någon till och med, och det är väl aldrig principiellt fel att göra ordentligt grundarbete. Såklart.

Men jag erkänner att det ens utreds är för mig lika främmande som att segelsällskapet i Årsta skulle utredas för att få tillgång till PKU-registret. Jag skulle vilja veta varför. Direktivet hintar om nån EU-relaterad motivation, samt något om “second opinion” vid patientskador. Vad nu det betyder och innebär. Varför det kommit med i utredningen, är för mig fortfarande mest bara underlag för gissningar.

Jag passade på att ställa frågan till några försäkringsbolag, om de har någon insyn i detta. Det är ju rent av möjligt teoretiskt att de inte ens bedrivit lobby om detta, eftersom det inte finns någon “paper trail” att tillgå. Utan riktig information och transparens, så är det skitsvårt att ha en synpunkt över huvud taget om man har lite stolthet. Vem vill låta som en konspiratorisk dåre, liksom.

Jag får lov att nöja mig med att peta på omgivningen om att jag inte får svar. Det är emellertid jättesvårt att undvika gissningar och spekulationer även om det. Kanske handlar det om min personliga oförmåga att inhämta information, kolla källor osv. Kanske är det strategier kring kommunikation. Kanske lite av båda – och andra saker jag är för oinsatt för att ta hänsyn till.

Jag kan ha ställt frågan till helt fel person. Men jag hade i och för sig uppskattat om Ygeman informerat mig om vem jag borde fråga istället då – hade varit jätteenkelt kan man tycka. Det är en lite trist spaning att en seriöst, icke-konfrontativt ställd fråga inte får svar. Dels ur ett öppenhetsperspektiv, men berör även en nivå av samtidens behov av källkoll. Kanske är det till och med symptomatiskt för det ömsesidigt låga förtroende som existerar mellan politiker och väljare.

Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Vad används massövervakningen till?

Opassande - 16 juni, 2016 - 09:08

Vi är inmålade i ett ganska omöjligt politiskt hörn idag, när det gäller massövervakning. Trots att övervakningen i sig inte förhindrar terrordåd, finns det inga som har det politiska modet att riva upp de lagar som idag gör det möjligt att övervaka alla medborgare på olika sätt. För, om det händer något, om ett terrordåd genomförs efter ett sådant beslut, så blir det konsekvenser och man kan riskera få bära skulden.

En av anledningarna till att det inte fungerar är för att det försvårar för analytiker pga mängden information. Det är en ond cirkel på alla sätt och vis. Det fungerar inte med massövervakning för att förhindra terrorism, och det går inte att ta bort massövervakningen för det är så tätt sammankopplat med förhindrande av terrorism.

Kritiker av den slentrianmässiga massövervakningen stöter på det här problemet från andra hållet. Att förespråka brottsmisstanke, relevans eller rent av proportionalitet tolkas oftast som att man inte är intresserad av att fånga in terrorister. Narrativet är så hårt knutet till att övervakningen ska göra det jobbet, att samtalen om problemen inte går att föras.

Nu är massövervakning användbart för andra saker. Politisk dissidens kan spåras och kartläggas. Man kan zooma in på helt lagliga, men obekväma, personer. Man kan antagligen redan idag använda det till att följa och påverka opinion så man får politiska fördelar, det är bara en tidsfråga innan det blir vardag. (När möjligheter finns, tenderar de att användas.)

Fortfarande lider debatterna av att riskera framstå som en foliehatt, när ämnet är på tapeten. Eller som indikerat tidigare i texten – vara nån som inte tycker att kriminella ska sättas i fängelser. Ur ett politiskt perspektiv är det galenskap att förändra det som inte fungerar. Ur ett opinionsbildande perspektiv är det galenskap att kritisera det.

Politikerna bär en stor del av ansvaret som dragit poängerna så hårt, men vi bär även som medborgare ett stort ansvar som inte klarar av debatter som inte är polariserade: vi vill ha de enkla förklaringarna, det svarta och det vita. Och detta är ett globalt problem, inte bara något som vi har att tackla på hemmafronten.

Som kritiker av det som pågår känner jag ofta ett slags ansvar för att komma med en politisk lösning. Ett alternativ. Problemet är bara att det är just den reflexen, att framstå aktiv, att ”göra något”, som gjort att vi hamnat i den här situationen från första början. Vi trängs alla i det här inmålade hörnet.

Jag upplever det emellertid som viktigt att allmänheten en gång för alla förstår att massövervakningen inte fungerar mot det som vi drillats att förstå det som. Det var då, det var under debatterna. Idag lever vi med det, och kan se att det inte gör det jobb som det var sagt att det skulle göra. Förhindra terrorism.

Att ändra narrativet till “ensamma galningar” har säkert hjälpt till en del för att skingra fokuset på denna dissonans i samhället, men borde inte få göra det som jag ser det. Det blir inte mindre terrorism för att man väljer andra ord. Det får plötsligt inte vara okej att säga att det är svårt, eller rent av omöjligt, att hitta terrorister. Det är något vi inte borde gå med på.

När vi väl förstår att massövervakning inte gör jobbet vi övertalats att det är viktigt för, är det läge att ställa frågan vad det används för istället. Kanske är det en ända att börja nysta i, som kan leda nånvart.

Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Riksdagen sviker oss om och om igen

Opassande - 5 juni, 2016 - 21:05

Det pratas om att PKU-registret ska tillgängliggöras för polis, för att hitta människor som begått brott. Det finns ju där – det hjälpte till att hitta Anna Linds mördare, inte minst. För vissa är det självklart att man då ska utvidga forskningssyftet (som många ställt upp och lämnat dna-prov från sina nyfödda till). Ett gott syfte, eller nåt.

Jag har funderat mycket genom åren på det där med att vi idag inte tycks ha några problem med att leva i ett övervakningssamhälle. De allra flesta jag pratar med i vardagen tycker inte att det är bra, men det existerar inte något reellt motstånd.

Det är bara så himla konstigt att vi är där vi är idag. Skulle kravet ställas rakt ut – ”ni måste som medborgare acceptera att ni ständigt är redovisningsskyldiga vad det än gäller” – så skulle vi antagligen inte gå med på det. Vi har lärt oss det gång efter annan, att ett sådant samhälle är ett helvete att leva i.

Ändå så fortsätter politiker att smyga in just den här sortens verklighet, hela tiden. Det skulle aldrig falla dem in att säga att vi inte har rätt till något privatliv, det handlar i princip alltid om att hitta de som begår brott av olika slag. Terrorister är väl det mest använda argumentet i de här sammanhangen.

Vi har blivit lurade gång efter annan av politiker, som sen blir inröstade igen. Om och om igen. Vi blev lurade när det gällde FRA-lagarna – den där kontrollstationen dök aldrig upp, nån utvärdering av deras arbete syns inte till, och nån redovisning av konsekvenser och eventuellt drabbade av felaktigheter existerar inte.

Jag ser politiker som lovade att det skulle vara en bra, rättssäker process, sitta dagligen och komma undan på sociala medier, som om de aldrig sagt såna saker. Många är i grunden bra politiker antar jag, men deras svek när det gällde FRA borde inte vara så lätt glömt. Om man ens förstår att de svikit. Det kanske finns de som verkligen trodde på dem, 2008, och deras ”punkter av åtgärder”, och tror att det är en välfungerande process. Det är det inte.

Ibland kan vi se det i medier, när SIUN prickat FRA. (Tio gånger enligt TT, hittills, har jag förstått – media rapporterar det knappt längre.) FRA har ingen skyldighet att göra något åt dessa. SIUN har ingen möjlighet att sätta något tryck på dem och i år ska Datainspektionen utreda dem, och gissningsvis vara precis lika tandlösa. Själva systemet är upplagt så att FRA är självgående och gör sin grej, utan redovisningskyldighet eller ha något ansvar för eventuella konsekvenser. Det var vad lagarna som drogs igenom 2008 gjorde.

Datalagringsdirektivet är ett annat exempel. Det skulle endast röra sig om grov kriminalitet, terrorism, människohandel som trafficking osv. Det var superviktigt att våra data sparades (till stora kostnader) för att förhindra kriminalitet ingen av oss vill stötta. Det drog ut på tiden, Sverige blev till slut ”tvungna” att föra in direktivet sa de. De sa att de tyckte att det var ett skitdåligt direktiv, men vi var tvungna. Så det fördes in till slut.

Och så gick EU-domstolen och dömde ut direktivet, som bröt mot flera regler om mänskliga rättigheter och rätten till privatliv. Då beslutade samma politiker som uttalade missnöje över att vara tvungna, att de minsann vill behålla det. Och alla de där kriminella som man vill åt med hjälp av datalagringen? Fildelare.

Så nu vill polisen ha tillgång till ett forskningsregister för att kunna klara upp brottslighet. Finns det något förtroende kvar för en något sånär etisk bedömning eller rättssäkerhet finns med när detta planeras? Nej. PKU-registret tas nu upp igen (det har provats tidigare) och folk anses idag vara “mogna” för att acceptera det här. Också. Väl värt att fundera på varför politiker resonerar så.

Riksdagen har under de senaste 15 åren underminerat våra rättigheter något enormt. Och de har lurat oss i princip hela vägen, för att få till det. Varför? Ingen aning. Kanske handlar det om politisk teater där de framstår ”göra något”, kanske handlar det om dumhet. Det är ju väldigt lätt att tänka sig att de är korkade när de föreslår så idiotiska saker som statliga trojaner.

Kanske handlar det om renodlat maktsug som leder gud vet var. Kanske något så löjligt som att vilja vara kompisar med stormakter som köper och säljer data dagligen.

Jag vet inte. Ingen av oss vet. Och det borde göra fler än mig förbannade. Men framför allt borde det göra alla försiktiga i att acceptera ytterligare ändamålsglidningar från stat och myndighet. Vi måste börja lära oss att det är sånt här som händer varenda gång. Inget riksdagen gjort hittills, har indikerat något annat.

Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Konsten att skilja mellan fejk och äkta på nätet

Opassande - 18 maj, 2016 - 19:56

Idag spreds tydligen en fejknyhet med SVT som avsändare, som spred virus. Igår fick vi fejkfaktura till jobbet (som även andra hade fått). Idag fick även en kollega ett fejksms, om att “nån installerat Angry Birds” på en enhet Apple inte kände igen, så vänligen logga på här… blablabla. Varje vecka får jag samtal från “microsoftsupporten“, som vill komma åt mina inloggningsuppgifter. Fejk är en del av vardagen.

Tidigare kände jag mig någotsånär trygg, tyckte jag kunde avgöra när det var något skumt, ändå var det jättenära härom veckan, att jag klickade på en fejklänk som såg ut att vara från gmail. Mailet råkade komma när jag höll på och gjorde om en massa saker i gmail, så nånstans var reflexen “att jag kanske hade råkat komma åt något”. I sista sekund insåg jag att det var något knas.

Allt detta fejkande sker per nån slags automatik. Miljontals mottagare, och alltid är det nån som betalar, alternativt laddar ner trojaner, även på sina telefoner. Många bäckar små. Trojaner som bland annat skapar s.k. “botnets”, dvs, nätverk av datorer som gör som någon på fjärr vill att den ska göra. Som att sänka tidningssidor en lördagskväll, eller så. Det går tydligen att köpa den tjänsten, har jag förstått.

Överlag är det ett jätteproblem att det blir allt svårare att skilja mellan fejk och äkta. Jag har kompisar som är duktiga på det där med tekniken, så jag har ett antal tillägg installerade i min browser pga deras tips. Som Adblock, uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger och så vidare. De förhindrar reklam, enkelt uttryckt. I princip är det hygien – för “reklam” är en vanlig bärare av trojaner. Tänker på det ofta när jag läser olika kommentarer om hur “AdBlock sabbar affärsmodeller”.

Mycket görs för att förhindra hot och hat via nätet. Vi pratar om det, även om jag ibland tänker att det antagligen inte riktigt går att “lösa” med mindre än att vi människor muterar och blir lite smartare plötsligt. Men vi pratar om det i alla fall. Hur det påverkar den offentliga diskussionen, hur det riskerar landa i självcensur (vilket faktiskt borde oroa de som rasar över politisk korrekthet, att de kan ha orsakat det till och med). Det finns där, det kampanjas och det snackas och tycks saker.

Fejkandet har vi däremot inte riktigt tacklat. Tänker att det antagligen påverkar en hel del. Under tiden har vi världens konstigaste dissonans i debatterna, där man pratar om inkomster för medier när AdBlock är på tapeten, och att poliser inte kan göra sina jobb om de inte får statliga trojaner, no less. Vi verkar leva i en slags digital medeltid, just nu. Smittorna sprids vitt och brett, och kunskap om simpel hygien som skulle kunna göra skillnad icke-existerande.

Tyvärr finns inga tillägg som skyddar mot politiker som fejkar problemlösning medelst trojaner. Där måste du själv försöka ha lite koll.

Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Rättegång mot Pirate Bay nästa år

Piratnyheter - 15 oktober, 2008 - 21:33
Nu är ett datum för rättegången mot The Pirate Bay satt. Processen i Stockholms tingsrätt väntas pågå i flera veckor.
Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Reinfeldt upprepar lögnen om fildelarjakten

Piratnyheter - 15 oktober, 2008 - 13:34
"Vi tycker att upphovsrätten ska värnas, men vi vill inte kriminalisera en hel ungdomsgeneration. Det gäller att hitta den balansen," sade Fredrik Reinfeldt i partiledardebatten. Det här är nästan precis vad han sa i valrörelsen 2006, när han blev pressad i fildelningsfrågan. Nu upprepade han alltså lögnen ikväll i teve, bara en vecka efter att justitiedepartementet har lagt fram piratjägarlagen
Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Nya detaljer om signalspaningslag

Piratnyheter - 15 oktober, 2008 - 13:31
Tidningen Riksdag & Departement kan i dag publicera det interna dokument som övertygade tvivlarna inom alliansen om förslaget till signalspaningslag.
Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Piratkopieringen minskar när lagliga alternativen blir allt fler

Piratnyheter - 15 oktober, 2008 - 12:48
Den illegala nedladdningen av musik minskar. Trendbrottet redovisas av undersökningar i Storbritannien och Sverige.
Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Folkpartiet petar FRA-motståndare

Piratnyheter - 15 oktober, 2008 - 10:31
Camilla Lindberg, den enda borgerliga riksdagsledamot som röstade nej till FRA-lagen i somras, petas från sin plats i justitieutskottet.
Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Nihao Kenny: FRA och hotet mot Sverige

Piratnyheter - 15 oktober, 2008 - 10:26
FRA-lagen sägs vara till för att skydda Sverige från yttre hot, men vad detta skall vara för sorts hot får det Svenska folket inte reda på.
Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Tillägg 166 i Telekompaketet "försvinner".

Piratnyheter - 14 oktober, 2008 - 21:26
Det svenska tillägget i Telekompaketet som skyddar medborgarnas grundläggande rättigheter försvinner i "korrektion" - trots att en majoritet i Parlamentet röstade för.
Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Riksdagssvar.se kämpar vidare

Piratnyheter - 14 oktober, 2008 - 12:32
Vänsterpartiet har börjat besvara, och leder ?svarsligan? ännu så länge. Av svaren att döma verkar de dessutom faktiskt ha satt sig in i frågan lite till mans, vilket är bra.
Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

FRA:s rutiner för rensning av personuppgifter bör ses över

Piratnyheter - 14 oktober, 2008 - 11:07
Datainspektionen har inga anmärkningar på den behandling av personuppgifter som FRA enligt klagomål utförde under 1990-talet. Däremot anser Datainspektionen att FRA:s nuvarande rutiner för gallring av personuppgifter bör ses över.
Kategorier: Pirates, arr!

Karl Sigfrid: "Öppna myndigheters kod"

Piratnyheter - 14 oktober, 2008 - 10:06
Hallå där, Karl Sigfrid, moderat riksdagsledamot som lagt ett förslag om att svenska myndigheters kod ska konverteras till fri mjukvara.
Kategorier: Pirates, arr!
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