Report from the Internet Ungovernance Conference Brazil 2015

Report from the Internet Ungovernance Conference Brazil 2015

 Gabriela Coleman, Julia Reda, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Theo Oliveira, Adriano Belisario, Danny O’brien and Pirates of the Seven Seas passed through the Internet disgovernance Forum, parallel to the IGF, held in João Pessoa. The IUF began on 9 Monday 2015 and ended on Friday, 13 November.

Day One

The event took place at the auditorium of Centro de Ciências Humanas, Letras e Artes (CCHLA) – UFPB and started with the presentation of the IUF video, showing the motivation for holding the conference in parallel to the IGF.

Then  Pirate James in Rio de Janeiro, spoke over video about the violations and illegalities in the process of 23 political prisoners # 23PresosPolíticos – when it became apparent the tactics used by the State to silence and blame people after the June 2013 protest journeys.

Soon after James, anthropologist Gabriela Coleman gave a presentation regarding the benefits of anonymity in a democratic society. She also told us a bit about the history of Anonymous, especially in the United States, and about the arrests and persecutions that hacktivists faced in North America and Europe.

This was supported by the fact that in Brazil, there are militants who had their personal secrecy and violated their privacy and were arrested and prosecuted only for managing one Anonymous Facebook page. The legal process aberrations can be analyzed now that the case files have been publicized.

After the presentation, there was time for questions and comments and a debate followed about privacy and anonymity on the Internet.

Finally, the MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Julia Reda closed the first day of the event, talking about her role in the European parliament. She acknowledged that her work on reform of copyright by the European Parliament displeased many Pirates. However, she pointed out that legislative action is part of the Pirate Movement’s  task – and that sets it apart from other globally active parties and activists.

When asked by the audience whether the system is the main cause for the problems or would it not be more better to change in the consciousness of society rather than legislate? ‘. She said: “If you believe the system is corrupt in its entirety and nothing can be improved within it then it would not make sense to be in a party [even  a Pirate one].”

Day Two

On Tuesday the Pirate Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Icelandic MP and most likely person to take over as the next Prime Minister in the country spoke. Birgitta spoke about her motion that had been adopted at the most recent IPU (Inter-Parliamentary Union) conference.

The resolution calls on parliamentarians to strive for measures to protect whistle-blowers calling for an end to censorship, online restrictions, monitoring or any type of repression against journalists.

She invited the parliamentarians of the IPU to support both the provision of government accounts and the private sector for human rights violations, such as the right to physical and psychological integrity, the right to privacy, freedom of speech and other individual freedoms. Such accountability is necessary because the principle of transparency must be maintained, since the understanding of this document, become lawful knowledge about: appropriate sanctions to ensure justice and to act as a deterrent through criminal cases, administrative fines, suspension or withdrawal of business licenses, and the payment of compensation to individuals for damage.

The Birgitta was not able to answer many questions due to her strict schedule, but blew a kiss and left wishes of love to all Pirates at the ungovernance Forum.

After that the philosophy professor, Theo Oliveira of the Federal University of Paraíba – UFPB Campus IV, gave a presentation on the defense of freedom of knowledge sharing through virtual networks and analyzed the need to reflect on the related issues in the Pirate Party from a philosophical point of view. He discussed the concepts of enlightenment by Kant (Aufklarung) and the criticisms made by Adorno and Horkheimer, and also pointed out Habermas’s proposal of Communicative Action emphasizing the need for all the Pirates to engage in the new form of social interaction and language through the virtual network .

Day Three

Peter Sunde, one of the founders of Pirate Bay (the most resilient torrent site in the world),  was due to speak on the third day of the IUF but due to technical reasons, his presentation had to be canceled.

The next presentation was a journalist and activist Adriano Belisario . Journalist and co-author of the book “Copyfight: Pirataria e Cultura Livre”. Belisario began his speech, joking: “this is very formal ungovernance forum”! He decided to have a more informal talk rather than give a lecture in a formal manner.

As an Old Pirate Party member, Belisario talked about “Copyfight” – a book which showed that the key issues involving copyright go far beyond the digital universe, “When a famous figure like Peter Sunde is arrested, he receives solidarity from around the world . But there is no difference between him and the ‘camelô’ (street sellers) suffering harassment in the streets of Rio de Janeiro. ”

Following the inspiration of the Occupy protest under the slogan “We are the 99%” Belisario talked about a project called “Owners of Brazil.” He carried out a data analysis of large Brazilian companies which aimed to identify the “1%”. It found that just over 150 companies have 50% of the national GDP. These are the ones that receive more money from BNDES (Brazilian Development Bank) and also the ones that make most donations to political campaigns. The platform was developed open source and all its documentation can be freely accessed.

In Brazil we are discussing the implementation of a standard digital radio signal. There are two models in contention: proprietary  or an open source signal, such as digital radio Mondiale. The spectrum is free to use using electro-magnetic tracks, without having to have licenses. This may represent a paradigm shift, a post-internet. You may also become a server, or a relay, not seen relays servers. Experiences with the ‘digital world radio’ transmitting voice and data between Amazonian tribes. In Mexico in a community it was tested an antenna that allowed a whole community to use their phones to communicate without the use of telecommunications companies without approval or help from governments.

Day Four

The IUF welcomed Danny O’Brien, who is a international director at the EFF, Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization that fights mass surveillance and the fight for Internet privacy.

Danny was in the same basement with Bram Cohen when the torrent was created. His stance at the time, represented a decisive revolution and a drastic change in the application and in the culture of sharing on the Internet.

One of the most important points on the picked up information in conversation with Danny, when asked about the chances of paradigm shift on the control and vigilantism in information systems, he said that we do not necessarily need a complex structure to exit from the bonds of large corporations. What we need is to build new roads, through the free networks and organize actions financed independently of the policies of governments and companies, collaboratively (crowd-funding) in order to legally challenge unconstitutional laws and provide free access to knowledge for all those who want to learn about the knowledge sharing

At the end of his speech Danny made a provocative point that in Brazil, as in most of the world, we have shitty parties, shitty internet and shitty civilian organizations. ‘What do you have to lose ?’, he said.

Let us create Pirate Parties. Lets create Free Networks, Internet providers. We create organizations without ties to governments and corporations. We are free!

What we have to lose?

Featured image: CC BY-NC-ND Stephen Melkisethian

Guest Author
The IUF team