To treasure the subject and issues that Aaron Swartz was fighting for, I would like to refer and remind to my mail to Richard Stallman, Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow, which I wrote on 21st of January 2012.
E-mail, dated 21st January 2012, to Richard Stallman, Cory Doctorow and Lawrence Lessig.
Dearest Richard, Lawrence & Cory
Tonight I am writing you in relation to my concerns on the recent activities around SOPA & PIPA.
The U.S. senate postponed PIPA, whereas SOPA goes back to the “drawing board”. For the record: Neither the U.S. senate, nor the European Union said “No” to the Acts, but only postponed the “decision”.
Let me introduce my concern with the following topic.
Today I received an invitation by the CCC head quartier, calling for an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the expulsion of Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Domscheit-Berg aka “The Architect of Wikileaks” and founder of Openleaks). You might have heard and remember, that Daniel, after not having been correctly informed by the board, decided to quit Wikileaks and found his proper project, which he, during the development process, intended to get reviewed and signed with some sort of “official seal” by the hackers of the CCC.
It might just have been an unfortunate move, as many protagonists were surprised by the reaction of the CCC and his enthousiasm.
So today the largest, and most powerful hacker society in Europe, calls for a meeting to discuss possible changes in the regulations of the Club, to legally allow expulsions of this sort. Actually I am very happy, that the CCC, with its “very german” way to sort out such “issues”, is calling for a discussion. But, – and as you might guess from my wording, – I am indeed very much worried.
After I met Julian & Daniel in person at the 25C3 and felt much respect towards their honorable efforts, this story has since taken the worst way, such a commitment can take. – Poor Bradley Manning…
Meanwhile (today as well) the best friend of my mother is calling me to ask, if I could tell her if it’s a good idea to buy an iPad, while Apple launches its EBook service with the following restrictions.
(ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.
Well, yeah! – All this sort of crap is boring, I know. Information wants to be free. And the Nyan Cats, “For the LULZ” and whatever Laser Canon DDOS script by Anonymous are not bringing the matters further as well.
While most (h)activists are busy taking down websites of right wing parties or governments, they are, in the other hand, busy with some sort of “trench warfare” fighting GNU vs. BSD, CC vs. Public Domain etc. – Briefly, busy with themselves…
Last October, Richard was giving a talk at the ETHZ (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich), explicitly explaining the 4 freedoms of Free Software. While the ETHZ, as the highest ranked academic institute in Switzerland, supplies the technical grey mass of the tomorrows technology companies, I was personally shocked how it comes, that Information Technology students in 2011 are still not aware of this fundamental knowledge.
In December, Cory held an epic talk in Zurich about the politics of copyright, while his presence was abused by one of the hosts (at least this was my personal impression), a person who is on the board of the federal cultural department of Switzerland, who has never ever published anything under GFDL or CC license, to promote herself and underlining her “governmental assignment” and commitment to freedom. (There are so many others who deserve the position of representing freedom in Switzerland and host people like Cory.) While only a minority of the audience in Zurich has fundamentally understood, what Cory is talking about, he was later presenting his concept of post-copyright-war in the talk “the coming war on general computatiion” at the 28th Chaos Communication Congress (28C3), where he found himself in an audience of educated supporters only. (I well remember, when Lawrence gave his talk at the 23C3 I was sitting with my GNU costume in one of the first rows ).
Getting back to the subject, let me add that I am writing this e-mail out of a deep concern, which I personally understand as an interconnection of issues which, in the core, are interrelated.
Grown up in Kathmandu, Nepal and living in one of the wealthiest countries, scarce of natural resources but hosting the two largest banks (each of the producing 3 times the GDP) and hosting the head offices of large oil corporations and the weapon industry, I have ever since struggled finding partners to discuss concerns regarding global economy and did only find mental peace in books by Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine), André Gorz and Slavoj Žižek.
Even during a project for the European Commission, working as a researcher in Technology Assesment for the project ETICA (Ethical Issues of Emerging ICT Applications), I understood, that within a research project of the EU, the regulations and directives over free/open standards (ODT) are not applied in the research process.
The concept of Freedom of a Free Society seems to remain an Outopos (Utopia), in which freedom fighters are kept busy with their own concerns and discussions.
Over 6 years I have continuously tried to bring and teach the concept of Free Software to an African University, giving my partners and fellows all the necessary freedom to continue and bring the project further themselves, while Nicolas Negroponte got corrupted by M$ and the global public nurtured by the disinformative news of a 100$ laptop. – I understood that western NGO’s are driven by exploitation and self-deception, as well as the “recepients” in under-developed countries, who have been tought how to globally represent the neo-imperialist begging culture. The only way for me to continue my commitment to fight at the roots of global exploitation would be in the role of Colonel Kurtz.
Last year I tried to enlighten the hacker society at the 27C3 with the subject of artistic freedom in Classical Music, which is, as Richard beautifully explains in his statement, a very similar concern of musicians and composers, as well as software developpers and authors. – Well, it just has been percieved as “the most beautiful talk ever” (at the Chaos Communication Congress’) and is remembered as a nice music concert, while the fundamental message is being lost.
The last years I have been working with many musicians, film directors and artists who all comprehend and share such views, but when they get an offer by Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical Music or whatever big corp. they collapse (e.g. —————-ZENSORED———–) and, in many cases, only perform due to a regular Cocaine consumption ———ZENSORED——, as well as ——–ZENSORED——— at my presentation of “The Concert” at the 27C3).
With ———ZENSORED—–, who is a big shot in Music Management in Europe, managing ———————–ZENSORED——————— etc., I am trying to take the discussion to a level which could bring some significant paradign shift in licenseing music and the rights on music performances. – Total fail! This guy is busy gathering money to feed his family and assure that his kids rise in a decent environment.
So for whose rights are we actually fighting for, if we don’t have the artists, authors and curators on our sides, as they are being kept busy feeding the economy? Economy constantly pulls us back into the mud of self-deception.
For a person who has something to share and something to give, these are tough days…
I think we need a concept to corrupt the system with its own rules. Just like Richard when he copyrighted Freedom by introducing the GPL. A law that excludes the possibility for governments to take away out information, our know-how, our knwoledge.
What if we introduced a “meta-internet”, where everyone that accesses it needs to sign an agreement that as soon as he is entering into this area of unconditional freedom, in which his personality disolves and everyone is part of the whole, he looses the right to claim for any right.
I am tired to continuously fight for things that are so evident and fundamental. I am sad to see that politicians today are not representing respectful positions, but act in interests of corrupt corporations and lobbies.
Is it true that nowadays we need to activate a majority of the global blogosphere, while hundreds of thousands of kids outrage because they can’ t copy-paste their homework because wikipedia is blacked-out, to bring a handful of senators to just postpone a vote on an act that is totally lapse…? – WTF!
The most feasible way out I can see today is to accelerate the self-extermination of humankind, for the sake of a healthy planet.
 … as in freedom, not beer
 Greek for “no place”
— Lx // 0x18F80934 “so long and thanks for all the fish”
… this letter lacks a question. – There is none. There is reason only!
“Intellectual poperty” … give me a break! – Turn on your brains and start thinking about this faux-pas word for a second.
Everything we were tought, learned and know is fondly based on experience, education and intermediate exchange of information! – We all know, there is no such thing like “divine suggestion”!
So how come, there are still some characters, – especially ego centric artists, film directors and actors, – claiming for copyright? – FUCK IT!
Here’s an exerpt of my latest e-mail:
The last few days, one of the, – to my understanding, – greatest
contemporary film directors is asking me how to block his “copyrighted”,
“intellectual property” in the world wide web, while one of the most
respected and reputable contemporary museum directors, standing for
Ethnology, is asking to provide him hacked serial numbers for
Let me tell you guys straight: I am a free person, and I will remain
free! – So don’t ever dare to ask me again to support you getting serial
numbers for un-free, proprietary software, nor supporting you to fight
for copyright claims on content that wants to stand free.
The human race has, – unfortunately, – due to selfishness, greediness and capitalism, found ways to nurture a circle of self-deception, instead of leading culture towards freedom.
For the sake of humanity. – Stop bullshitting me in my personal
Kisses! Yours, Alex
P.S. I copied the concerning individuals in blind-carbon-copy, but dared
to cc two of my personal, fondly respected friends, Richard Stallman and
Cory Doctorow, into this e-mail.
… any questions?
Link: Michael Geist
Instead of attacking the infrastructure of the internet, the self-proclaimed pseudo “freedom fighters” who claim to be part of Anonymous should start think about opt-out solutions to avoid the upcoming ACTA, PIPA & SOPA regulations. This kind of (h)acktivism activity is sence- and useless!
“Operation Global Blackout”
Forbes: “Anonymous Plans To Take Down The Internet? We’re Being Trolled”
Errata: “No, #Anonymous can’t DDoS the root DNS servers”
PCWorld: “DDoS Attackers Start Targeting IPv6 Networks”
“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act. […]”
Now we need a concept for the “Future Internets”, because the day will come that SOP/PIP-Acts are being introduced.
Don’t censor the Internet!
Sen. Harry Reid
United States Senate
522 Hart Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Majority Leader Harry Reid,
As human rights and press freedom advocates, we write to express our deep concern about S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), and the threat it poses to international human rights. Like H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), PIPA requires the use of internet censorship tools, undermines the global nature of the internet, and threatens free speech online. PIPA introduces a deeply concerning degree of legal uncertainty into the internet economy, particularly for users and businesses internationally. The United States has long been a global leader in support of freedom of speech online, and we urge the Senate not to tarnish that reputation by passing PIPA.
Today, some of the world’s most repressive countries, like China, Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Syria use DNS filtering as a means to silence their citizens. As over 80 human rights organizations recently wrote in a letter opposing SOPA, “institutionalizing the use of internet censorship tools to enforce domestic law in the United States… creates a paradox that undermines its moral authority to criticize repressive regimes.” In fact, PIPA would send an unequivocal message to other nations that the use of these tools is not only acceptable, but encouraged.
DNS filtering is a blunt form of censorship that is ineffective at achieving its stated goal, while causing collateral damage to online communities on a massive scale. But while DNS filtering is trivial for users to circumvent, this technology would fundamentally undermine the integrity of the global internet, making users more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks and identity fraud. Additionally, any legislation that mandates filtering of websites is prone to unintended consequences, such as overblocking. For example, in early 2011, when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency seized the domain mooo.com, it accidentally removed the web addresses of 84,000 (almost exclusively legal) connected domain names. Moreover, once the technical infrastructure enabling censorship is in place, it allows future governments (and private actors) to block virtually any type of content on the web, making the provisions of this bill prone to mission creep.
The attempts at due process provisions in this bill do not respect the global nature of the internet. The network effects of the internet are realized when users and innovators are able to connect around the globe. However, creating a mechanism that requires a representative of a website to make a court appearance in the U.S. in order to defend themselves against an allegation of infringement would disproportionately impact smaller online communities and start-ups based abroad that do not have the capacity to address concerns in the United States. These websites would risk losing access to advertising services, payment providers, search engine listings, and their domain name. Together, these pieces of the bill would drive international innovators away from depending on U.S. services as a hedge against legal threats, while missing what should be the target of this legislation: preventing large-scale commercial infringement.
PIPA further creates a double jurisdiction problem, whereby non-U.S.-based sites must determine whether a site is legal in both the country it is operating in and the United States. This raises serious concerns about the scope of the bill, as foreign websites falling under PIPA’s definition of infringement may be perfectly legal in other jurisdictions. For example, the domain of a Spanish site, rojadirecta.org, was seized in early 2011 by U.S. authorities without adequate due process, notification to the site’s owners, or an option to defend themselves, despite having been declared legal by two Spanish courts.
The definition of “information location service” is overly broad and would have a chilling effect on online speech. PIPA would make nearly every U.S.-based actor on the internet, including not only blogs, chat rooms, and social networks but users as well, potentially subject to enforcement orders of the bill. Additionally, the requirement that these service providers act “as expeditiously as possible to remove or disable access” to an allegedly infringing website imposes an unprecedented burden on any service that contains links, incentivizing the screening and removal of content in order to avoid being caught up in legal proceedings. Further, even if an accused website is later found to be innocent, links to that website could have effectively disappeared from the web, having been permanently removed when the court notice was served.
PIPA is also vague with respect to how links would be defined, including if all links associated with a domain or subdomain would be required to be blocked and if this would apply to future attempts by users to post content. This provision could potentially be interpreted in a way that would force services that allow users to post links to proactively monitor and censor the activities of their users, dramatically altering the role of these platforms in promoting free speech and setting a dangerous precedent for other countries.
We understand the pressure that lawmakers face in passing copyright enforcement legislation, and agree that protecting the rights of creators is an important goal. However, enforcement should not come at the expense of free speech or due process. This bill is fundamentally flawed due to its wide range of restrictive and potentially repressive measures. Even if individual elements of the proposal, such as DNS filtering are modified, postponed or amended, the legislation as a whole represents a precedent that is a real danger for human rights on the internet. We must remain conscious of the fact that the internet is a key enabler of human rights and innovation, and decisions over its governance should not be made hastily and without full consideration of collateral consequences.
We strongly urge the Senate to stand for human rights, defend the open internet, and reject the PROTECT IP Act.