Because censoring opinions you disagree with is bad (looking at you Paramount, Viacom, Fox and Lionsgate)
I saw this on reddit this morning and had to share.
Lionsgate, Fox, Paramount and Viacom have all filed DMCA takedown requests with Google to remove all links to TPB-AFK─a Creative Commons, Kickstarter-funded documentary centered around the founders of The Pirate Bay that is in no way owned by Lionsgate, Fox, Paramount or Viacom. Now, these requests are automated, and supposedly, this was a mistake. I mean, who doesn’t include other people’s works when setting up a series of automated requests to take down your work? Oh, that’s right: nobody. Nobody who isn’t making an effort to censor those works would do that.
I believe in respecting copyright and punishments that fit the crime, but this isn’t that. This is manipulating a system designed to protect copyright to censor opposing arguments and ideas. It’s time to start fining companies and individuals for filing false DMCA takedown requests. If there is nothing to stop companies from censoring, accidentally or not, material they disagree with, what’s to stop them from silencing political opinions during elections? What’s to stop them from censoring positive reviews or competing products or negative reviews of their own products?
Go forth and watch TPB-AFK because someone doesn’t wants to take away your right to see it.
Because they did.
The Problem: DNSChanger malware was being used to send false traffic to websites. The people running the scam made $14 million in fraudulent advertising dollars. The FBI has caught them and shut down the computers that were redirecting people. If you were one of the people who had your system infected, this essentially broke your connection to the internet.
The Fix: Visit this site to find out if your computer is infected. If it is, visit this site for instructions on how to remove the malware and protect yourself. It seems like just about any anti-malware program should be able to clean it up, but the site lists several specific ones that should definitely clean up your system and fix your connection.
Ron and Rand Paul have released what they call The Technology Revolution A Campaign for Liberty Manifesto, a document that opposes public domain and net neutrality. I am a firm believer in net neutrality. Any internet connection should get you to any website without being throttled, limited, or otherwise censored by the ISP. Here’s are two basic examples of why that’s important:
- Imagine your cable provider is also your internet provider. Why wouldn’t they block services like Hulu and Netflix? In a way this is already happening. A while back, Comcast, who puts data caps on their home internet plans, launched an app for Xbox that allowed Comcast subscribers to stream TV over the internet to their consoles, and guess what? Their app didn’t count against data caps but every other service still did.
- Imagine Comcast (who owns NBC) decides that you should only go to NBC websites for news and slows down other news websites to the point of being unusable. Would that make you more free, Paul & Son? No. It certainly would not.
- Imagine you are doing research to make an investment. Wouldn’t you want access to all of the information that;s out there and not just what your ISP wants you to see?
Moreover it’s the open nature of the internet that makes it so business friendly. Http, tcp/ip, ftp: all free technologies used on a daily basis that were developed with government backing. Even the networks we think of as being owned by telecommunications companies came in to being because of tax-payer funded government subsidies. If you were to try to start a personal blog to keep in touch with your relatives. Would you want to pay thousands of dollars in licensing fees to use markup and style sheet languages? Without these public domain tools sites, we use every day might never have come in to being.
Also, let’s talk about Ron Paul for a second. The guy is not what he seems. The system he seems to want to create is one where freedom means individuals comes in second place to corporate interests and mob rule and where the federal government can’t properly defend the civil rights of the people. In his We The People Act, he proposes prohibiting the Supreme Court and all other federal courts from ruling on cases pertaining to: state and local laws pertaining to freedom of religion, privacy (including sexual practices, orientation or reproduction) and cases where the Equal Protection clause is used to defend same-sex marriage. The We The People Act also bars reliance on federal decisions with regard to any of those topics. It also allows the POTUS to impeach judges who breach the act. Who needs freedom when you can have states’ rights? It’s not like we fought a civil war over this or anything.
For those of you that think regulation is always wrong, look up air and water quality information before the EPA. Even if you never gave a dime to the companies that were polluting, you still had to live with the consequences of their actions. It wasn’t exactly a scenario where you could vote with your wallet. You may not like government, but at the end of the day, the government is accountable to all of us, and corporations are accountable to their shareholders. Should we rely on government for everything and let them control every aspect of our lives? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean government doesn’t serve an important and necessary role in society. The private and sector both have their place, but neither of them should be given the opportunity to trample over our rights.
The internet seems to have put SOPA and PIPA to be for now, but some of the worst parts of those bills are being resurrected in the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act or CISPA. Electronic Frontier Foundation has a great writeup that debunks claims of CISPA being harmless.
One of the scariest parts of CISPA is that the bill goes above and beyond information sharing. Its definitions allow for countermeasures to be taken by private entities, and we think these provisions are ripe for abuse. Indeed, the bill defines “cybersecurity purpose” as any threat related to safeguarding or protecting a network. As long as companies act in “good faith” to combat such a cybersecurity threat, they have leeway to protect against “efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy [a] system or network.” This opens the door for ISPs and other companies to perform aggressive countermeasures like dropping or altering packets, so long as this is used as part of a scheme to identify cybersecurity threats. These countermeasures could put free speech in peril, and jeopardize the ordinary functioning of the Internet. This could also mean blocking websites, or disrupting privacy-enhancing technologies such as Tor.
Ever since 9/11 there has been a growing movement within government to take the threat of terrorism and use it to strip us of our rights, freedom and privacy. Fifteen years ago the idea of body scanners like the ones in airports today would be too out there for a comedy sketch. Now, millions go through these absurd, radioactive and ineffective body scanners every day. Some are even so scared of the 1 in 30,000,000 chance of terrorism that those of us who question the need for such intrusive “security” measures are labeled as government hating extremists who must be doing something wrong.
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.“
- Benjamin Franklin, 1775
Intrusions in to our privacy don’t just come when we travel, either. Did you online privacy is virtually nonexistent? What little online privacy you have is constantly threatened by corporations fighting to end net neutrality and bad legislation like SOPA, PIPA and CISPA. Fortunately, I know of a way to take back your privacy. Gather ’round, folks. It’s time for you to meet Tor. Read More…
As a huge fan of Pioneer One, I’m very excited to this news with you. The people behind Pioneer One, which was also funded by Kickstarter and is probably the best online-only series to date, is currently trying to raise funds for a new pilot for a show called Control. From the Control Kickstarter page:
An International coalition has come together to send the first humans to Mars–but a race is on with a Chinese mission to see who gets there first.
When a military stand-off between the US and China threatens to start a war, Flight Director Peter Lacey must fight to keep his astronauts from becoming pawns in the Earthly conflict. But a secret has been kept from him that threatens the lives of both crews, who hang in the balance 150 million miles from home…
The site describes the show as “a hybrid of Apollo 13 and The West Wing in style and tone”. This pilot is intended to be shopped around to networks and online distributors. I wish them the best of luck and hope that this is a huge success for them. You can donate to the project via their Control‘s Kickstarter page, and donating just $5 gets you access to watch the pilot streaming online. For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, Kickstarter is a site that allows people to give money to projects they believe in. In return, donors generally receive gifts, much like when you donate to public radio.
…And yes, the title of this post is reference to Brandtson’s 2009 album.
Lulz Security members Ryan Ackroyd (aka “Kayla”) and Jake Davis (aka “Topiary”) of London; Darren Martyn (aka “pwnsauce”) and Donncha O’Cearrbhail (aka “palladium”) of Ireland; and Jeremy Hammond (aka “Anarchaos”) of Chicago have all been arrested by the FBI with help from LulzSec member and
snitch FBI informant Hector Xavier Monsegur (aka Sabu).
LulzSec is known for carrying out DDoS attacks on a variety of websites including the CIA’s and Fox News. They also claimed responsibility for an hack on Sony systems carried out in response to the legal action they were carrying out against George Hotz for jailbreaking the PS3.
LulzSec is frequently tied to Anonymous, and the FBI is trying to brand this as a victory over the hacker group. Anonymous tells the story a little differently…
Anonymous has no leaders, we will still be stronger than ever. LulzSec has been dead for a while.—
Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) March 06, 2012
It will be interesting to see if LulzSec will go down as the internet folk heroes they are or if government and media can twist their image in to something ugly. Only time will tell.