Battles for Democracy. Weeks 16-17

Battles for Democracy. Weeks 16-17

A weekly summary of the battles for democracy: Hidden rules within the EU-US trade deal; Tibetan man on fire (the 130th) to protest against Chinese oppression; Repression, censorship, disappearances and impunity in Mexico; Financial data of UK taxpayers could be sold to private firms; Amnesty International denounces repressive legislation in Spain,… and much more.

Citizens Losing

Citizens abused or killed, liberties and rights cut.

Suing the state: hidden rules within the EU-US trade deal is a 8′ video describing the atrocities being negotiated to protect investors no matter what: giving investors the right to sue the state for their loses, creating arbitration tribunals where the constitutions of the states are not applicable and much more.

A Tibetan man set himself on fire on 15 April in Tawu county in Kham region of eastern Tibet to protest against Chinese oppression. This incidence brings the total number of known self-immolations in Tibet to 130 since February, 2009.

A 3 minute video covering how life is being lived in Mexico these days: repression, censorship, disappearances, impunity, attacks on freedom of speech.

The FBI will have an operational face recognition database by this summer, which will include the photos of some 52 million individuals. With the ubiquity of photos online, especially on social networking sites, the threat of any citizen getting caught up in this is real.

The personal financial data of millions of UK taxpayers could be sold to private firms under laws being drawn up by HM Revenue & Customs in a move branded “dangerous” by tax professionals and “borderline insane” by a senior Conservative MP.

The founder of Russia’s most popular social network site says he has been fired and that allies of President Putin have taken over his site. The site has more than 100 million users and had been subject to several government requests for information. Mr Durov had been asked by the Russian authorities to hand over the details of Ukrainians who had used the site to create groups related to anti-government protests. He was also asked to close down a group that supported Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

EU institutions are vulnerable to corruption due to loopholes and poor enforcement of rules on ethics, transparency and financial control , according to a report published today by the anti-corruption group Transparency International. This is one of the main findings in the first ever assessment of corruption risks across 10 EU institutions.

The excessive use of force by Spanish police and plans to strengthen repressive legislation are a damning indictment of the Spanish government’s determination to crush peaceful protest, said Amnesty International in a new report published this week.

Barroso II Commission: ‘Talking the talk, but not walking the walk’ on transparency. ALTER-EU has today published this week its assessment of the Barroso II Commission covering four key areas: lobby transparency, revolving doors, advisory groups and access to documents. In all four areas, while small progress has been made, ALTER-EU finds that significant action is still required to achieve full lobby transparency and ethics regulation.

Citizens Winning

Citizens unite, react and take action, institutions support them. is asking Members of the European Parliament to stop banks and big business taking over our democracy. For that, they help you contact your country MEPs to ask them to stand-up for citizens and democracy against the excessive lobbying influence of banks and big business.

Open Rights Group campaign in the UK: Don’t sell our tax data. They are asking for your help to hand this petition to the government.

The secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement threatens to censor your Internet, kill jobs, undermine environmental safeguards, and remove your democratic rights. You can help to stop it and collaborate with to make people aware.

New York Police DepartmentTwitter campaign backfires and promotes photos of police brutality instead of positive encounters with public. On Tuesday the NYPD’s Twitter page, asked users to tweet pictures of positive interactions between the public and city cops, and to use the hashtag #myNYPD. Instead, people posted pictures of police brutality that took place during the Occupy Wall Street movement.

An impressive spontaneous crowd-sourced votes recount using twitter in recent Turkey Local elections highlights the potential of social networks as democracy enablers. But social networks alone might be insufficient to make changes happen.

Stop Mass Executions in Egypt together with Amnesty International. An Egyptian court has sentenced 528 men to death, most in their absence, following a grossly unfair mass trial. You can sign the petition AI has written to stop it.

Tech giants, chastened by Heartbleed, finally agree to fund OpenSSL. What will happen then with LibreSSL the fork initiated by OpenBSD once they concluded that OpenSSL code was beyond repair? asks for you support to send a message to governments of the world to end global surveilland and protect the Free Internet.

US Judges are balking at sweeping requests by law enforcement officials for cellphone and other sensitive personal data, declaring the demands overly broad and at odds with basic constitutional rights.

Inspired by the Heartbleed OpenSSL crisis, the Core Infrastructure Initiative is a multi-million dollar project housed at The Linux Foundation to fund open source projects that are in the critical path for core computing functions. Mainstream Internet Service Providers are creating filters for every UK home. This will create problems for website owners and users as sites are classified incorrectly. You can report suspected blocks on TalkTalk and BT networks.

Tools For Democracy

Tools to either increase awareness of the threats to democracy, protect yourself against them or to leverage democracy to new levels. The Open Crypto Audit Project (OCAP) is a community-driven global initiative which grew out of the first comprehensive public audit and cryptanalysis of the widely used encryption software TrueCrypt. They aim at putting order and discipline in the crypto arena of free open source software (“FOSS”) projects in the public interest.

Committee to Protect Journalists Impunity Index 2014 calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. For this index, CPJ examined journalist murders that occurred between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2013, and that remain unsolved. Only those nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on this index.

Lo and Behold!

Princeton concludes what kind of government the US really has, and it’s not a democracy but an oligarchy. But don’t feel too jealous if you’re not a US citizen, you can be sure your country’s government is not exactly a democracy.