Battles for Democracy. Week 10

Battles for Democracy. Week 10

A weekly summary of the battles for democracy we couldn’t write about.

Citizens Abused

How Filesharing in Germany cost me $3000.  On social media this week, you have likely witnessed dozens of copyright infringements – photos, gifs, videos, quotations. Clampdowns on piracy, as the German system demonstrates, attack the core idea of the net, scapegoating users for new technology’s inescapable impact. Rights protection has its place, but must be reformed.

Egypt: Anyone posing a threat to national security “must be annihilated”. The trial of 20 journalists charged with spreading misinformation and aiding or belonging to a terror cell has been adjourned until 24 March 2014. Only six of the defendants — including three who work for the Al Jazeera English (AJE) service — appeared in court on Wednesday, eighteen days after pleading not guilty to the charges levelled against them.

Does The European Commission Really Think The Internet is Simply The Latest Incarnation of Television? In recent weeks officials at the European Commission’s Internal Market and Services Directorate General (which is in charge of copyright policy) have been passing around a diagram of what they call the ‘Internet Ecosystem value tree’ with what seems as a frighteningly regressive vision of the Internet that seems to regard it as simply the latest incarnation of television

Decline and Fall of World’s Democracies? An interesting analysis of the diffusion of democracy during past century and, above all, its current decline. Although it also offers proposals to get democracy right it is by far the weakest part of the article.


On Thursday, Crimea remained under the control of Russian forces that continued their blockade of several critical Ukrainian military sites. Ukraine Crisis in Maps is the best report I’ve found to understand what happened.

Sniper shootings were ordered by…Putin? The government’s new health minister — a doctor who helped oversee medical treatment for casualties during the protests — told The Associated Press that the similarity of bullet wounds suffered by opposition victims and police indicates the shooters were trying to stoke tensions on both sides and spark even greater violence, with the goal of toppling Yanukovych.

Sniper shootings were ordered by … the opposition leaders? Protesters in Ukraine were shot on the orders of their own leaders it has been alleged in a phone call apparently between Estonia’s Foreign Minister and EU Foreign Policy Chief Cathy Ashton.

How the Ukraine crisis ends. Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.

Citizens Reacting and Taking Action!

Snowden Gives Testimony To European Parliament Inquiry Into Mass Surveillance, Asks For EU Asylum: “The NSA granted me the authority to monitor communications world-wide using its mass surveillance systems […]. I have personally targeted individuals using these systems under both the President of the United States’ Executive Order 12333 and the US Congress’ FAA 702. I know the good and the bad of these systems, and what they can and cannot do, and I am telling you that without getting out of my chair, I could have read the private communications of any member of this [LIBE] committee, as well as any ordinary citizen. I swear under penalty of perjury that this is true”

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