Pirate News Digest. Week 3

Pirate News Digest. Week 3

This article is a summary of some of the main pirate news that happened during the week that we did not write about.

Towards a True Democracy

Pentagon Paper’s whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg held an expansive, seven-hour long Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session to explain why NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will join the Press Freedom Foundation (an organization that Ellsberg co-founded). He also discussed many other subjects—including NSA surveillance, President Obama’s flip-flop on whistleblowers, Nixon’s dirty tricks, and the dangers of excessive government secrecy.

Chelsea Manning awarded 2014 Sam Adams Prize for Integrity in Intelligence. The Sam Adams Award is given annually by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, a group of retired CIA officers, to an intelligence professional who has taken a stand for integrity and ethics. It is named after Samuel A. Adams, a CIA whistleblower during the Vietnam War.

Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly (NCA) began voting on a constitution long in the making and, within a few days, citizens started to cast their votes. Not via referendum, but through an online voting platform that allows citizens to read and vote on each article. The site, thrown together over the weekend by members of Tunisia’s civil society and an open government movement, gives Tunisians a unique way to participate in the historical drafting of their constitution. This will allow the government to receive real-time feedback from the public.

“Let’s fix EU Copyright!” The European Commission is thinking about the future of copyright in the EU, and your input can help them into the right direction. The Consultation offers a unique opportunity to let Europe know what you believe should be done to make copyright fit for purpose in the digital age. Please note this website is not from the European Commission.

Viviane Reding, European Commission Vice President, meeting with international bloggers on data protection, net neutrality and more. Some excerpts:

  • 7:00 “[..] for the first time an opening from the Americans [a reciprocity to WRT data protection], thanks to Snowden […], because the awareness that something is going wrong has reached the Congress of the United States and the Government.”
  • 13:12  “The Internet has to be free and has to be open and that a free internet is a fundamental right of the Europeans just as it is free speech and access to information.”
  • 13:47 “[…] and I know there is a big Internet community out there which is helping in this fight”

Citizens Abused

A critique (article in Spanish) of the lack of rigor of many reports from the International Monetary Fund, which analyze and propose domestic devaluation or falling wages as the most convenient to exit the crisis measure. Some excerpts:

  •  “[…] their work is usually with notable exceptions, of very poor quality”
  • “Knowing the IMF, I guarantee that in two or three years will change position, and without apology, promote other equally erroneous dogma. If you do not believe me, wait a couple of years.”
  • “But the situation is even worse, because not only its recommendation to lower wages is empirically untenable, it is one of the causes of the crisis”

10 myths that reveal just how dangerous the NSA really is. NSA apologists make plenty of excuses for the surveillance state. But you shouldn’t believe them.

Clashes in Madrid happened as a protest over government spending and it has spread to 46 cities. The rallies started in the Spanish city of Burgos have now spread nationwide and they have lead to 14 arrests in the capital city of Madrid. The initial protest for a costly government project quickly infected other cities in the recession-stricken country.

U.S. appeal court kills net neutrality. Any resemblance of a net neutrality in the United States is now as good as dead. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s 2010 order that imposed network neutrality regulations on wireline broadband services. The ruling is a major victory for telecom and cable companies who have fought all net neutrality restrictions vociferously for years.

Skype ready to share users’ data with Russian police. Microsoft Corporation, that owns the Internet call service Skype, is ready to keep in store its Russian users’ negotiations, correspondence and data exchange during six months and will, if necessary, share it with the Russian police, Microsoft’s press office told Itar-Tass.

Obama tightens reins on surveillance programs. Tightening the reins on the nation’s sweeping surveillance operations, President Barack Obama ordered new limits on the way intelligence officials access phone records from hundreds of millions of Americans — and moved toward eventually stripping the massive data collection from the government’s hands.

Tools for Democracy

Agora voting.  Agora voting system is based on Helios (a system that offers verifiable online elections). It also supports vote delegation while continuing to be as secure as Helios.

Kuorum (article in Spanish) is a social network that lets citizens cast votes and comment on laws currently being discussed in the Spanish Parliament.

Lo and Behold!

Why working-class people vote conservative? Across the world, blue-collar voters ally themselves with the political right – even when it appears to be against their own interests. Is this because such parties often serve up a broader, more satisfying moral menu than the left?

Featured image: CC BY-SA gerlos

 

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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