Battles for Democracy. Week 9

Battles for Democracy. Week 9

Citizens Abused

Lauri Love refuses to turn over Encryption Keys in UK demand under RIPA. On 7 February 2014 the deadline for Lauri Love to turn his encryption keys over to the UK government expired. Who is Lauri Love, who despite being charged with no crime,  is finding himself facing the very real threat of imprisonment over draconian laws?

The Internet is Fucked. Massive companies like AT&T and Comcast announce  plans to close and control the internet through additional fees, pay-to-play schemes, and sheer brutal size — all while the legal rules designed to protect against these kinds of abuses were struck down in court. “Broadband providers represent a threat to internet openness,” concluded Judge David Tatel in Verizon’s case against the FCC’s Open Internet order, adding that the FCC had provided ample evidence of internet companies abusing their market power and had made “a rational connection between the facts found and the choices made.” Verizon argued strenuously, but had offered the court “no persuasive reason to question that judgement.”

A high number of journalists have been charged under Turkey’s vague anti-terrorism legislation. Turkey stands at 154 out of 180 places on the Reporters Without Borders 2014 Press Freedom Index. As of December 2013, a total of 211 journalists were behind bars somewhere in the world. Almost one fifth of these alone were jailed in Turkey, making it the country with the most number of journalists imprisoned globally, and placing it behind countries with such as Iran and China.

Deportations will make you free, the European concentration camps of the 21st century. A highly profitable industry is found behind the Temporary Detention Centres for Migrants (CIEs) in Spain and everywhere in Europe. From the companies building the facilities or providing catering services and health care, to the airline companies engaged in the assisted deportations of undocumented migrants. 

Russian military seizes control in Crimea, Ukraine. Ukraine has put its armed forces on full alert and warned Russia that military intervention will lead to war shortly after Vladimir Putin gave the green light for an invasion as the upper house of the Russian parliament unanimously approved his request to send troops into the neighbouring state.

Peeping Webcam? With NSA Help, British Spy Agency Intercepted Millions of Yahoo Chat Images. The latest top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) may have peered into the lives of millions of Internet users who were not suspected of wrongdoing.

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations. One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Citizens React!

From Cairo to Caracas: democracies shaken by protest – in pictures. Some of the common factors behind the revolts from Egypt to Venezuela and from Thailand to Bosnia include ineffective institutions, misgovernance, deteriorating economic performance, failing social cohesion, the alienation of younger generations, ethnic and nationalist tensions and a lack of faith in democratic processes.

On March 18th freedom online will be threatened by an European Union proposal.The fight for an open Internet is happening right now in Brussels contact your representatives to inform them. Savetheinternet.eu, will help you do it:

  • We don’t want a two-tiered Internet, all data should be treated equally. Article 19 of the European Commission’s Telecoms Single Market proposal must be deleted.
  • Private companies cannot be judge, jury and police over online content. Article 23.5.a. of the European Commission’s Telecoms Single Market proposal must be deleted.
  • Europe won the Nobel peace prize – The European Commission’s credibility on human rights issues shouldn’t be jeopardized by engaging in the same type of internet censorship that Europeans critique elsewhere in the world.
  • The current definition of “specialized service” (Article 2.15) increases costs and risk to internet users, and must be changed or deleted.
  • Article 23, “Freedom to provide and avail of open internet access,” must replace “shall be free” with “have the right” to protect internet users from online discrimination.

Every year millions of dollars of public money are lost to fraud, corruption and lining the pockets of giant corporations who fail to deliver on their contracts. Tell world leaders to stop secret contracts now.

Don’t Spy on Us. The UK’s intelligence services violate your privacy and  free speech across the globe. The current law offers little protection. We are calling for reform of the legal framework so the intelligence agencies stop spying on us. The Don’t Spy On Us campaign calls for an inquiry to suggest new legislation that will make spies accountable to our elected representatives.

Tools For Democracy

openstates.org, US site that offers searchable legislative data for all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

loomio.org Collaborative decision-making

discourse.org raises the standard of discussion on the web through better forum software. It is a from-scratch reboot, an attempt to reimagine what a modern, sustainable, fully open-source Internet discussion platform should be today – both from a technology standpoint and a sociology standpoint.

Lo and Behold!

Old but gold: Why do people defend unjust, inept, and corrupt systems? Why do we stick up for a system or institution we live in — a government, company, or marriage — even when anyone else can see it is failing miserably? Why do we resist change even when the system is corrupt or unjust? The article illuminates the conditions under which we’re motivated to defend the status quo — a process called “system justification.”

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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