Despite the rush to succor a guy who overstepped the bounds on the internet, our internet IS really under fire and many, many ways. People are being shut down for TELLING THE TRUTH, for example. Secret lists of verboten sites in Austria or Germany have been published by Wikileaks and the cops move in and make very real threats to the life and liberty of people who are bringing openness and honesty to the web! Then there are all the legitimate lawsuits that the good people at Electronic Frontier Foundation have to either fight or file on behalf of online reporters and users who are not breaking any laws. This week has some important developments:
Shortly after 9pm on Tuesday the 24th of March 2009, seven police officers in Dresden and four in Jena searched the homes of Theodor Reppe, who holds the domain registration for “wikileaks.de”, the German name for wikileaks.org. According to police documentation, the reason for the search was “distribution of pornographic material” and “discovery of evidence”. Police claim the raid was initiated due to Mr. Reppe’s position as the Wikileaks.de domain owner.
There are many laws that are on the books for one reason only: as a great way to nail someone and to stop them from doing legal things or to destroy people who are not doing bad things. One of the favorite law systems for getting rid of pesky people are the ‘pornographic’ laws.
Sex scandals, when handled right, can drive politics, change history and cause tremendous suffering. At the same time, we make fun of Muslims who are so very Victorian….like when Western women couldn’t show even an ankle in public….this faux prudishness is a great way for blackmailing or shutting down people like, say, Oscar Wilde in the 19th century.
The very earliest works of human art were ‘obscene’. Women with immense breasts, big clitoris, men who were mostly erections, etc, were quite common. Most gods were and still are, various sexual symbols or signs or styles. It is embedded in our brains!
So if the cops want to nail someone, they look for ‘porn’. I have known cops here and there and they all love porn, a great deal. So they know where to look and how to look for it.
This is utterly ridiculous! The main reason for the raid in Germany was to silence people who are pesky. Germany has NO FREEDOM OF SPEECH AT ALL. And like England, France and other countries, is hell-bent on eliminating more and more freedoms.
Police did not want to give any further information to Mr. Reppe and no contact was made with Wikileaks before or after the search. It is therefore not totally clear why the search was made, however Wikileaks, in its role as a defender of press freedoms, has published censorship lists for Australia, Thailand, Denmark and other countries. Included on the lists are references to sites containing pornography and no other material has been released by Wikileaks relating to the subject.
Some details of the search raise questions:
- Wikileaks was not contacted before the search, despite Wikileaks having at least two journalists which are recognized members of the German Press Association (Deutscher Presse Verband).
- The time of at least 11 police detectives was wasted conducting a futile raid on the private home of volunteer assistant to a media organization.
- Police asked for the passwords to the “wikileaks.de” domain and for the entire domain to be disabled.
- Mr Reppe was not informed of his rights; police documentation clearly shows that box to be left unchecked.
- Contrary to what is stated in the police protocol, Mr. Reppe did not agree to “not having a witness” present.
Ultimately, Mr Reppe refused to sign the police documentation due to its inaccuracies.
If we want to support someone fighting for us all, support Wikileaks! They are on the outer edge of legality but their goal is to expand our civil rights and to force governments to give us information! So much is kept secret, a lot of it, very nasty. The example of having a long list of forbidden web sites which cannot be seen by anyone, always ends up listing names of sites that irritate the Real Rulers. And any petty despots.
China censors the web! They censor me! I don’t like it! How dare they? But they do it and I have to endure this, but it is bad, very bad. The censorship list which started out as a way to protect ‘innocent’ children from ‘pornography’ has grown longer and longer. Like all secret systems, it grows like crazy. The ‘terror’ list in the US is a prime example. A million names on it and growing like crazy! And we can’t tell if we are on it unless we find out, the hard way.
EFF helped protect online speakers by bringing the first s uccessful suit against abusive copyright claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This landmark case set a precedent that allows other Internet users and their ISPs to fight back against improper copyright threats.
In OPG v. Diebold, a California district court has determined that Diebold, Inc., a manufacturer of electronic voting machines, knowingly misrepresented that online commentators, including IndyMedia and two Swarthmore college students, had infringed the company’s copyrights. EFF and the Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School sued on behalf of nonprofit Internet Service Provider (ISP) Online Policy Group (OPG) and the two students to prevent Diebold’s abusive copyright claims from silencing public debate about voting.
Diebold sent dozens of cease-and-desist letters to ISPs hosting leaked internal documents revealing flaws in Diebold’s e-voting machines. The company claimed copyright violations and used the DMCA to demand that the documents be taken down. One ISP, OPG, refused to remove them in the name of free speech, and thus became the first ISP to test whether it would be held liable for the actions of its users in such a situation.
In his decision, Judge Jeremy Fogel wrote, “No reasonable copyright holder could have believed that the portions of the email archive discussing possible technical problems with Diebold’s voting machines were proteced by copyright.” In turn, Diebold had violated section 512(f) of the DMCA, which makes it unlawful to use DMCA takedown threats when the copyright holder knows that infringement has not actually occured.
Outcome: In addition to creating the first caselaw applying 512(f) of the DMCA to remedy abusive copyright claims under the DMCA, Diebold subsequently agreed to pay $125,000 in damages and fees.
The above story is a typical example of Electronic Frontier Foundation, another group that has a great record of standing up for us all, against abuse of authority and corporate intimidation. When I was attacked two years ago, I was going to use the EFF lawyers except the hedge fund decided to not pursue me further. They were also being countersued by Bloomberg News, and I was sort of trailing along. The collapse of the guys suing us made the court business moot. But it was a real attack and it really got me angry.
There’s a new bill working its way through Congress that is cause for some alarm: the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (PDF summary here), introduced by Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). The bill as it exists now risks giving the federal governmentunprecedented power over the Internet without necessarily improving security in the ways that matter most. It should be opposed or radically amended.
Essentially, the Act would federalize critical infrastructure security. Since many of our critical infrastructure systems (banks, telecommunications, energy) are in the hands of the private sector, the bill would create a major shift of power away from users and companies to the federal government. This is a potentially dangerous approach that favors the dramatic over the sober response.
One proposed provision gives the President unfettered authority to shut down Internet traffic in an emergency and disconnect critical infrastructure systems on national security grounds goes too far. Certainly there are times when a network owner must block harmful traffic, but the bill gives no guidance on when or how the President could responsibly pull the kill switch on privately-owned and operated networks.
Furthermore, the bill contains a particularly dangerous provision that could cripple privacy andsecurity in one fell swoop:
The Secretary of Commerce— shall have access to all relevant data concerning (critical infrastructure) networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access…
And this law STINKS!!!! And I am furious about it. The Democrats, just like the Republicans, don’t want freedom of speech, they don’t want people having honest discussions, they want Germany, they want England, they want Australian rules that are secret, vicious and capricious. They want to be able to spy on us, intimidate us and constrict us. We must fight this, it is very important.
The Democrats are NOT our friends. The Republicans are outright enemies. Both parties hate the internet even as they use it. I hate Daily Kos, for example, because it is run like a Stalinist prison camp with all the posters there threatening to turn each other in to the guards for banishment if they don’t follow the right ideology, for example.
Disgusting! Rightwing sites are even worse. They erase and ban anyone who brings in any information at all! These competing dead spots are all part of the complex that is trying desperately to CENSOR the web. Also, I censor no one here. Once, I asked ‘Buffalo’ to control his urge of posting dozens of one-line, off topic stuff because people complained about him. But I didn’t censor him at all. He huffed off and that was his choice.
But, for example, years ago, I was banned from Democratic Underground because I was explaining how AIPAC has infiltrated the Democratic party to the point, we lost control of our own representatives. Without any warning, I was dumped and my postings, erased. Even after others complained ,they, too, were banned without any discussion.
This is how tyranny operates. Running free systems is tricky. People say things here that I disagree with. But I prefer arguing rather than pulling out a club and beating them to death. We all learn if we all talk! Next, we will be forbidden to talk about race, religion and sex. I see this coming. My three favorite topics will be rubbed out.
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