Battles for Democracy. Week 6 (Previously: News Digest)
This post summarizes some of the battles we did not write about the past week.
Towards a True Democracy
Despite Pushback, Internet Freedom Deteriorates. The Freedom on the Net 2013 report summarizes the findings after the assessment of the most commonly used types of internet control in 60 countries: (1) Blocking and filtering, (2) cyberattacks against regime critics, (3) new laws and arrests for political, religious, or social speech online, (4) paid progovernment commentators manipulate online discussions, (5) physical attacks and murder, (6) surveillance, (7) takedown requests and forced deletion of content, (8) blanket blocking of social media and other ICT platforms, (9) holding intermediaries liable, (10) throttling or shutting down internet and mobile service.
Remember, all this surveillance is not investigations into crimes. The NSA is not looking for someone who has already committed a crime, the FBI does that. The NSA is looking for someone who is about to commit a crime. That could be you, or me. This article suggests the plausible idea that the NSA is building a personal threat index based on your profile to measure your predisposition to terrorism.
Turkish Parliament Passes Internet Censorship Legislation. The decision by Turkey’s parliament to approve a new internet law that tightens restrictions is a major blow to freedom of expression in Turkey. Amendments to law 5651 allow the Turkish telecommunication authority to block sites without seeking a court order and forces internet service providers to store user data and browsing activity for two years.
Here’s Why The EU Is Crazy Not To Insist On Full Transparency During TAFTA/TTIP. At the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, the world’s nations were supposed to reach an agreement that would protect future generations against catastrophic climate change. But not everyone was playing by the rules. A leaked document now reveals that the US employed the NSA, to intercept information about other countries’ views on the climate negotiations before and during the summit. According to observers, the spying may have contributed to the Americans getting their way in the negotiations.
Tools for democracy
Democracy 4.0: Asking for the power to return back to the people. In June 2010, Juan Moreno Yague, attorney from Spain, requested the Spanish Congress to allow him to vote in the Congress online. Considering that the voting-age population in Spain is 35 million represented by 350 deputies, it is possible to take a small portion of representation out of each of them: one thirty-five-millionth. Juan Moreno has received no answer since November 2010 despite the fact that it was due in 3 months.
2013 World Press Freedom Index. The ranking of most countries is no longer attributable to dramatic political developments. This year’s index is a better reflection of the attitudes and intentions of governments towards media freedom in the medium or long term. The same three European countries that headed the index last year hold the top three positions again this year. For the third year running, Finland has distinguished itself as the country that most respects media freedom. It is followed by the Netherlands and Norway.
openingparliament.org The Declaration on Parliamentary Openness is a call to national parliaments, and sub-national and transnational legislative bodies, by civil society parliamentary monitoring organizations for an increased commitment to openness and to citizen engagement in parliamentary work.
askthem.io US site that helps “everyday Joes” band together to grill their elected officials on a wide range of issues. Users post their queries as petitions on the site. If enough people support a query, AskThem will forward the request for a response in a public forum.
quienmanda.es Spanish for “who is (actually) in charge” is a site that uncovers the relationships between lobbies and Spanish institutions.
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.