Battles for Democracy. Week 20

Battles for Democracy. Week 20

European Commission are following the agenda of those with money; possible abuses of ‘the right to be forgotten’ ; FCC votes to kill Net Neutrality; 281 persons protesting against austerity and TTIP were violently arrested (including Belgian and European parliamentarians and candidates, senior trade union officials, farmers and many elderly citizens); more than 1000 candidates for Members of the European Parliament pledge to stand up for people over profit; and much more.

Citizens abused or killed, liberties and rights cut

The record of a captive Comission. A condensed analysis of how the European Commission has come to act on behalf of corporations over the past five years, consistently following the agenda of those with the money.

The right to be forgotten could be abused by individuals to hide damaging information. The European Court of Justice may have created a weak spot for censorship, where individuals don’t bother to remove websites because the bar is too high in terms of proving libel or other harms.

Over a thousand people were in the streets of Brussels, attempting to peacefully protest against austerity and the proposed great transatlantic market (TTIP) being discussed (in the absence of citizens) at the European Business Summit. In an unprovoked move 281 people were arrested, including Belgian / European parliamentarians and candidates, senior trade union officials, farmers and many elderly citizens.

FCC Commission ignores objections and votes to kill net neutrality. FCC Commissioners held a public hearing on May 15 where they voted 3 to 2 to move ahead with rules which could put an end to Net neutrality. Outside the FCC building, protestors had been camped out for days to draw attention to the potential for big changes in who gets premium access to the Internet.

The British exports that crush free expression. The Arab Spring has not stopped Britain from helping crush free expression and freedom of assembly by selling crowd control gear to authoritarian states. Examples include:  £4 million of tear gas, crowd control ammunition and CS hand grenades.

How the NSA tampers with US-made internet routers. The NSA has been covertly implanting interception tools in US servers heading overseas – even though the US government has warned against using Chinese technology for the same reasons, says Glenn Greenwald, in an extract from his new book about the Snowden affair, No Place to Hide.

Members of European Parliament Code of Conduct is not effectively enforced. A new briefing just revealed one MEP who failed to disclose stock options worth several million Euros, four who maintain side-jobs with large corporations and lobby groups, and one who filed over 200 amendments handed to him by industry lobby groups.

The final version of the Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) has just come into force after years of shameful and intense pressure by the tobacco lobby according to leaked documents. The leak, happened last year, showed that Philip Morris had (undisclosed) lobby meetings with no less than 233 MEPs.

Citizens unite, react and take action, institutions support them.

More than 1,000 candidates for the European Parliament pledge to stand up for people over profit. Politics for People is asking election candidates to take a pledge to stand up for citizens and democracy against the excessive lobbying influence of banks and big business.

European Court on Google and the “Right to be Forgotten”. The European Court of Justice has published a landmark ruling forcing Google to remove some search results related to a Spanish national. The sentence recognises that old, inaccurate or even just irrelevant data should be taken out of search results if a person requests it, no matter where the physical server of a company processing data is located; non-European companies, when offering services to European consumers, must apply by European laws.

Since Wednesday 17 May, net neutrality activists have been camped out on the FCC’s doorstep in Washington, DC with tents, sleeping bags, signs, and a giant banner that says “Don’t break the Internet”. Affectionately dubbed “Occupy the FCC,” the encampment has been growing steadily each day gathering support from tech companies, activist groups, and even FCC employees who have stopped by in droves to express their support.

Privacy International filed a legal complaint demanding an end to the hacking being carried out by GCHQ which, in partnership with the NSA, is infecting potentially millions of computer and mobile devices around the world with malicious software that gives them the ability to sweep up reams of content, switch on users’ microphones or cameras, listen to their phone calls and track their locations.

Tools For Democracy

Tools to either increase awareness of the threats to democracy, protect yourself against them or to leverage democracy to new levels.

Torture in 2014, 30 years of broken promises. A report by Amnesty International.

Anonymous blogging with WordPress and Tor

Mirroring a censored WordPress blog

403 Checker. A free software to scan a large number of URLs to determine which ones your country has blocked.

Advocacy 2.0 Guide. techniques and tools that digital activists can use as part of their online advocacy campaigns.

Access Denied Map. Mapping the online censorship and anti-censorship efforts related to the social web and major web 2.0 websites.

Digital Citizen. A monthly review of news, policy, and research on human rights and technology in the Arab World.

Pedro Gutierrez

About Pedro Gutierrez

The certainty that a World War on Democracy was going on and we, the people, were unaware of it was keeping me up at night. The fact, crystal clear now after Snowden's revelations, that the new battlefield is your mobile, your laptop, your data and so, that every citizen (i.e. you) is being considered a target was inconceivable for me. And it became worse when I realized that most people just didn't care about it: "I don't mind a bit of spying? I'm a good citizen I've nothing to hide". So when Pirate Times let me write about it in this blog I was happy to finally take action. But dear reader be warned because it may happen to you what already happened to me. Reporting week after week about the battles for democracy has changed my perception of the magnitude of this conflict. I already thought when I started that the situation was terrible and the conflict was not winding down but, no matter what, at the end of every week when I submit my post I realize again that I had underestimated it all.

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