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Rick Falkvinge

Rick Falkvinge 

Traveling Speaker on Information Policy

Occupation: Pirate Party

Location: Sollentuna, Sweden

Followers: 7,857

Following: 398

Views: 1,654,807

Cream of the Crop: 06/04/2012

Added to CircleCount.com: 07/13/2011That's the date, where Rick Falkvinge has been indexed by CircleCount.com.
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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 20

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2015-06-18 10:03:48 (20 comments; 22 reshares; 22 +1s; )Open 

Google Chrome listening in to your room shows the importance of privacy defense-in-depth. New column on Privacy News.

Yesterday, news broke that Google has been stealth downloading audio listeners onto every computer that runs Chrome, and transmits audio data back to Google. Effectively, this means that Google had taken itself the right to listen to every conversation in every room that runs Chrome somewhere, without any kind of consent from the people eavesdropped on. In official statements, Google shrugged off the practice with what amounts to “we can do that”.

It looked like just another bug report. "When I start Chromium, it downloads something." Followed by strange status information that notably included the lines "Microphone: Yes" and "Audio Capture Allowed: Yes".

Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box ofcode ... more »

Most reshares: 27

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2016-03-10 11:15:23 (9 comments; 27 reshares; 50 +1s; )Open 

In one single image, the establishment and mainstream media show their utter ignorance of security. New column on Privacy News.

Consider this story by the New York Post, which cries out in terror that a master key to the New York City utilities has leaked. Consider that this story has passed by many people on the way to publishing, all part of the narrative-creating establishment, and consider what their understanding of the most fundamental security must look like.

Yes, that’s the key being discussed right there, the “1620” key. The New York Post is crying out in terror that this master key is on the loose, and goes on to publish the full secret of the key, in gigantic format. From this point, anybody can trivially reproduce this key.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/03/one-single-image-mainstream-media-shows-utter-ignorance-security/

Most plusones: 50

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2016-03-10 11:15:23 (9 comments; 27 reshares; 50 +1s; )Open 

In one single image, the establishment and mainstream media show their utter ignorance of security. New column on Privacy News.

Consider this story by the New York Post, which cries out in terror that a master key to the New York City utilities has leaked. Consider that this story has passed by many people on the way to publishing, all part of the narrative-creating establishment, and consider what their understanding of the most fundamental security must look like.

Yes, that’s the key being discussed right there, the “1620” key. The New York Post is crying out in terror that this master key is on the loose, and goes on to publish the full secret of the key, in gigantic format. From this point, anybody can trivially reproduce this key.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/03/one-single-image-mainstream-media-shows-utter-ignorance-security/

Latest 50 posts

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2016-05-25 17:48:19 (2 comments; 8 reshares; 21 +1s; )Open 

Security researcher revealing "secure" advertising claim by DigiExam as Utterly False threatened with copyright monopoly lawsuit over disclosure. New article.

So it's happened again - a security researcher showing a marketing claim to be atrociously false has been threatened with a copyright monopoly lawsuit to take down the posted proof. The company DigiExam claims that their examination software is "cheat proof", which it can't be by definition when it's running on somebody's own computer: these are DRM fantasies. Security researcher Hannes Aspåker developed a proof of concept to show the claim is false and posted it, and was promptly hit with a threat of copyright monopoly infringement lawsuit from DigiExam to take down the proof: DigiExam is deliberately creating chilling effects on free speech in order to protect its false marketing.
more »

Security researcher revealing "secure" advertising claim by DigiExam as Utterly False threatened with copyright monopoly lawsuit over disclosure. New article.

So it's happened again - a security researcher showing a marketing claim to be atrociously false has been threatened with a copyright monopoly lawsuit to take down the posted proof. The company DigiExam claims that their examination software is "cheat proof", which it can't be by definition when it's running on somebody's own computer: these are DRM fantasies. Security researcher Hannes Aspåker developed a proof of concept to show the claim is false and posted it, and was promptly hit with a threat of copyright monopoly infringement lawsuit from DigiExam to take down the proof: DigiExam is deliberately creating chilling effects on free speech in order to protect its false marketing.

[evidence of takedown threat in article, complete with deconstruction to show how utterly baseless it is from every conceivable angle]

The Internet doesn't take kindly to baseless takedown threats in order to save one's own face - in particular not copyright monopoly threats against security disclosures. This shit should be criminal. This action from DigiExam was far more harmful than the security bulletin in the first place, and they deserve to know what the Internet thinks of their shit. This kind of behavior, to throw around force and legal threats to deliberately create chilling effects against researchers who reveal your marketing claims as bullshit, is one of the least acceptable things conceivable to free speech.

http://falkvinge.net/2016/05/25/security-researcher-revealing-secure-advertising-as-false-threatened-with-copyright-monopoly-lawsuit/___

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2016-05-23 17:34:13 (0 comments; 5 reshares; 14 +1s; )Open 

Five years of Cookie Law: Politicians' good intentions and incompetence created a security and privacy nightmare. New column on Privacy News.

Five years with the “cookie law”, taking effect in 2011, shows how politicians’ good intentions – when coupled with incompetence – can create a security and privacy nightmare. It was supposed to give users choice, privacy, and security. Its effect, over and above causing developer facedesks and headaches, has been the exact opposite.

In 2009, the European Parliament adopted an amended Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications. The major new thing in the amendment was something called “consent for cookies” – requiring all users to agree to cookies being stored onto their computer from all websites.

Requiring this in the website interface, as opposed to in the browser options, has created a privacy andsecurity nightm... more »

Five years of Cookie Law: Politicians' good intentions and incompetence created a security and privacy nightmare. New column on Privacy News.

Five years with the “cookie law”, taking effect in 2011, shows how politicians’ good intentions – when coupled with incompetence – can create a security and privacy nightmare. It was supposed to give users choice, privacy, and security. Its effect, over and above causing developer facedesks and headaches, has been the exact opposite.

In 2009, the European Parliament adopted an amended Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications. The major new thing in the amendment was something called “consent for cookies” – requiring all users to agree to cookies being stored onto their computer from all websites.

Requiring this in the website interface, as opposed to in the browser options, has created a privacy and security nightmare that will take decades to undo. This is what happens when good intentions meets technical incompetence.

The only net effect of the cookie law is that every user has been conditioned to click “Yes, I agree” on any popup that appears when they go to a new website.

As these cookie consent dialogs take vastly different shapes, the average user won’t be able to tell a “Allow cookies? Yes/no” dialog from a “Install malware? Yes/no” one. And hence, political incompetence has created a privacy nightmare for the masses.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/05/cookie-law-politicians-good-intentions-create-security-nightmare/___

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2016-05-19 12:06:17 (2 comments; 8 reshares; 29 +1s; )Open 

For the first time, an ISP reveals why Police demand internet subscriber identities: ordinary file sharing is the most investigated "crime". New article on Privacy News.

While the Police complain about shortage of resources, it turns out the most investigated “crime” on the net is ordinary people sharing music and movies with each other. This is in stark constrast to the everyday area person’s perception of justice, where the distribution monopoly laws command considerably less respect than even speed limits. According to the ISP, the Police are provably spending expensive resources on pointless petty trifles.

“We want to publish these statistics in order to show the Police are violating people’s privacy and spending resources on pointless trifles”, says Jon Karlung, CEO of Bahnhof.

It’s particularly noteworthy that the Police has by far themost requests... more »

For the first time, an ISP reveals why Police demand internet subscriber identities: ordinary file sharing is the most investigated "crime". New article on Privacy News.

While the Police complain about shortage of resources, it turns out the most investigated “crime” on the net is ordinary people sharing music and movies with each other. This is in stark constrast to the everyday area person’s perception of justice, where the distribution monopoly laws command considerably less respect than even speed limits. According to the ISP, the Police are provably spending expensive resources on pointless petty trifles.

“We want to publish these statistics in order to show the Police are violating people’s privacy and spending resources on pointless trifles”, says Jon Karlung, CEO of Bahnhof.

It’s particularly noteworthy that the Police has by far the most requests for ordinary file sharing to this ISP, despite this ISP never releasing such data for ordinary file sharing – you would assume the Police capable of learning. One would then speculate about the frequency with less-conscious ISPs, assuming it to be higher.

So the Police are prioritizing investigations against commercial distribution monopoly violations over pretty much all other crime, and are sending requests per fax. You cannot get a more descriptive picture of the legal digital divide.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/05/first-time-isp-reveals-police-demand-subscriber-data-turns-ordinary-file-sharing-investigated-crime/___

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2016-05-16 09:31:05 (0 comments; 3 reshares; 11 +1s; )Open 

The DAO raises $100 million: How the old world really can’t comprehend the new world. New column.

The crowdfunding to the investment company “The DAO”, which has exceeded one hundred million US dollars and counting, has the old world in confusion. “How can something leaderless run a company, or be trusted with an investment?”, we hear. This shows the real depth of the digital divide.

Star Citizen, the previous record holder for crowdfunding, is understandable to Wall Street. It is a high-end entertainment product with an experienced game designer, with some of the most successful products ever, at the helm. The CEO has recruited some of the best people in the industry. This is grokable for the old world.

And then there’s TheDAO. No leader, no incorporation, no nothing. Just a shitload of money (technical term) coming from everywhere.

“Who’smaking the deci... more »

The DAO raises $100 million: How the old world really can’t comprehend the new world. New column.

The crowdfunding to the investment company “The DAO”, which has exceeded one hundred million US dollars and counting, has the old world in confusion. “How can something leaderless run a company, or be trusted with an investment?”, we hear. This shows the real depth of the digital divide.

Star Citizen, the previous record holder for crowdfunding, is understandable to Wall Street. It is a high-end entertainment product with an experienced game designer, with some of the most successful products ever, at the helm. The CEO has recruited some of the best people in the industry. This is grokable for the old world.

And then there’s TheDAO. No leader, no incorporation, no nothing. Just a shitload of money (technical term) coming from everywhere.

“Who’s making the decisions?”

“Where’s the business plan?”

“What’s the investment idea?”

*What the old world fails to see is that there is leadership, there is a business plan, and there’s a clear investment idea. It’s right in front of them. They just fail to recognize it as such:

The source code.*

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/05/dao-old-world-really-cant-comprehend-new-world/___

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2016-05-13 17:31:03 (0 comments; 5 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

It's the 1800s all over again: Free enterprise never really existed before now. New column on Privacy News.

In the years 1791 to about 1850, laws were passed that abolished trade guilds as the permission-givers to run a business. But as we speak of “permissionless innovation” today, and see how these “permissionless” businesses often violate old regulations, we realize that the permission requirement to run a business never went away: the government just seized the permission issuance for itself.

The examples of organizations that have run permissionlessly and run afoul of something are legio – from known brands like Uber and The Pirate Bay to many, many small startups that never got as known. The common factor is that they built something without asking permission, provided a useful and popular service to a lot of people, and were labeled criminals for it.
W... more »

It's the 1800s all over again: Free enterprise never really existed before now. New column on Privacy News.

In the years 1791 to about 1850, laws were passed that abolished trade guilds as the permission-givers to run a business. But as we speak of “permissionless innovation” today, and see how these “permissionless” businesses often violate old regulations, we realize that the permission requirement to run a business never went away: the government just seized the permission issuance for itself.

The examples of organizations that have run permissionlessly and run afoul of something are legio – from known brands like Uber and The Pirate Bay to many, many small startups that never got as known. The common factor is that they built something without asking permission, provided a useful and popular service to a lot of people, and were labeled criminals for it.

What we can observe today is that we are still just as required to obtain permission to run a business as we were in the trade guild era. The effect of the “free enterprise” laws passed from 1791 onward was primarily that we had to ask the government’s permission for everything instead of the trade guild’s.

So we’ve finally arrived at an era of free enterprise, that governments claimed we had established in 1850 through the Western world. But today, it’s not free enterprise because we aren’t asking trade guilds for permission (as opposed to governments); today, it’s free enterprise because we’re not asking permission at all anymore. The difference is stark. Also, the governments are all up in arms about it.

Obviously, you’re not going to get the government’s permission to protect the Internet against the government.

For the first time, we really do have free enterprise, and it turns out to be vital for liberty.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/05/1800s-free-enterprise-never-really-happened/___

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2016-05-11 09:52:05 (2 comments; 9 reshares; 22 +1s; )Open 

Finally: Germany to abolish open wi-fi liability for users' behavior. Important and happy news.

Germany’s ruling coalition has decided to abolish the liability for users’ copyright infringements and other behavior when operating an open wi-fi access point. This weird and anachronistic liability has seriously hampered the organic net growth in Germany, and was recently challenged at the European level. The revised law is expected to take effect as early as this fall.

Germany has long been an exception to sane laws regarding open wifi, as access point operators have been legally liable for everything their users do through an open access point. In effect, this has prevented the silver-bullet open wireless defense for people sharing culture and knowledge from their homes, but it has also prevented a large growth of random, organic connectivity (which, coincidentally, issom... more »

Finally: Germany to abolish open wi-fi liability for users' behavior. Important and happy news.

Germany’s ruling coalition has decided to abolish the liability for users’ copyright infringements and other behavior when operating an open wi-fi access point. This weird and anachronistic liability has seriously hampered the organic net growth in Germany, and was recently challenged at the European level. The revised law is expected to take effect as early as this fall.

Germany has long been an exception to sane laws regarding open wifi, as access point operators have been legally liable for everything their users do through an open access point. In effect, this has prevented the silver-bullet open wireless defense for people sharing culture and knowledge from their homes, but it has also prevented a large growth of random, organic connectivity (which, coincidentally, is something the legacy industries don’t want to happen).

The liability law was recently challenged by German Pirate Party activist Tobias McFadden, who – in a limited scenario – challenged the liability and took it to the European Court of Justice. He had been operating a commercial establishment, providing open and free wi-fi for his customers, and argued that this gave him messenger immunity under the EU e-commerce directive. Very surprisingly for the copyright industry, and embarrassingly for Germany, the advisor to the European Court of Justice agreed with the pirate activist’s interpretation of the law.

This appears to have set off a frantic activity to remove this embarrassment to Germany, and just today, it was reported that the ruling coalition has agreed to take out the anachronistic operator liability – the Störerhaftung – for good.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/05/finally-germany-abolishes-open-wi-fi-liability-users-behavior/___

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2016-04-28 14:08:14 (2 comments; 5 reshares; 15 +1s; )Open 

Our children aren't inheriting the liberties of our parents: the importance of "Analog equivalent rights". New column on Privacy News.

The civil liberties of our parents are not being passed down to our children. Somehow, liberties are being interpreted to only apply to analog technology, despite this limitation being nowhere in the books. This is a disastrous erosion of the fundamental liberties our ancestors fought, bled, and died to give us.

This week, there was news of a new law passed in the US House of Representatives – the lower legislative chamber in the United States – passing a bill to require a search warrant for the government to search and seize people’s e-mail. In other words, the government would need a search warrant to obtain people’s private correspondence if it happened to be transmitted electronically, which practically allcorresp... more »

Our children aren't inheriting the liberties of our parents: the importance of "Analog equivalent rights". New column on Privacy News.

The civil liberties of our parents are not being passed down to our children. Somehow, liberties are being interpreted to only apply to analog technology, despite this limitation being nowhere in the books. This is a disastrous erosion of the fundamental liberties our ancestors fought, bled, and died to give us.

This week, there was news of a new law passed in the US House of Representatives – the lower legislative chamber in the United States – passing a bill to require a search warrant for the government to search and seize people’s e-mail. In other words, the government would need a search warrant to obtain people’s private correspondence if it happened to be transmitted electronically, which practically all correspondence is today.

This law is bizarre. It should never have passed, because it shouldn’t be any kind of necessary. When you look at the original law giving privacy protection to people’s private correspondence, can you find any passage that says “do note that this law only applies to private correspondence when it’s sent on paper”? Of course you don’t. It was assumed, since it was the only way to correspond at the time the law was written, and besides, the focus of that law was where it was supposed to be: on protecting the privacy of correspondence, not on protecting a piece of paper as such.

What twisted interpretation of the law decided that the laws detailing our civil liberties only apply in the old world’s analog environments? Who decided that the paper, and not the correspondence, was the protected part?

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/04/children-arent-inheriting-parents-civil-liberties-understanding-analog-equivalent-rights/___

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2016-04-14 23:07:53 (3 comments; 2 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

Subway photographer connects random photos to people’s social media profiles. Game changer! New column on Privacy News.

Егор Цветков (Egor Tsvetkov), a photographer in Russia, has taken photos of random people on the subway and connected them to social media portraits and complete profiles using face matching technology. This is a game changer.

It used to be that technology was good enough to say whether two photos appeared to be of the same person. We’ve now reached an inflection point where one input photo can (mostly) be used to find the matching person among tens of millions of people, and where the processing power used is low enough for that service to be free.

You cannot hold back the mere existence of technology. In less than five years, there will be CCTV cameras which list all the people being currently in-frame with their name and socialmedia portrait... more »

Subway photographer connects random photos to people’s social media profiles. Game changer! New column on Privacy News.

Егор Цветков (Egor Tsvetkov), a photographer in Russia, has taken photos of random people on the subway and connected them to social media portraits and complete profiles using face matching technology. This is a game changer.

It used to be that technology was good enough to say whether two photos appeared to be of the same person. We’ve now reached an inflection point where one input photo can (mostly) be used to find the matching person among tens of millions of people, and where the processing power used is low enough for that service to be free.

You cannot hold back the mere existence of technology. In less than five years, there will be CCTV cameras which list all the people being currently in-frame with their name and social media portrait. Shortly thereafter, law enforcement will use this for automated warrant spotting, RoboCop style – or will at least very much want to.

With the technology available as a free service, scaling up the processing power is just a matter of Moore’s Law and throwing money at it. Who’s going to provide the neural network and the photo databases? There’s obviously giants like Facebook and Google, but this would also a new potential monetization for any service where a lot of people have sent photos – like Tinder. Real-time photo matching for surveillance and convenience use.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/04/subway-photographer-ties-random-photos-peoples-social-media-profiles/___

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2016-04-12 16:28:55 (0 comments; 17 reshares; 27 +1s; )Open 

So GCHQ is already spying on behalf of the copyright industry. Why isn't there an outcry over this change of mission? New column on Privacy News.

In what’s almost a joke story, the BBC reports that the GCHQ tracked down what looked like a leak of a Harry Potter book somewhere on the Internet and alerted the publisher to it. It turned out to be a fake version. Still, media turns the entire story into a joke and a laughing opportunity, with the GCHQ spokesperson commenting thus: “We don’t comment on our defence against the dark arts.”

This is not a joke. Not at all.

We know since earlier that the copyright industry has been extremely, extremely, hostile to privacy. Throughout Europe, that industry were adamant for the need for the hated Data Retention Directive, which was later nuked from orbit by the European Supreme Court, citing fundamental human privacyrights.... more »

So GCHQ is already spying on behalf of the copyright industry. Why isn't there an outcry over this change of mission? New column on Privacy News.

In what’s almost a joke story, the BBC reports that the GCHQ tracked down what looked like a leak of a Harry Potter book somewhere on the Internet and alerted the publisher to it. It turned out to be a fake version. Still, media turns the entire story into a joke and a laughing opportunity, with the GCHQ spokesperson commenting thus: “We don’t comment on our defence against the dark arts.”

This is not a joke. Not at all.

We know since earlier that the copyright industry has been extremely, extremely, hostile to privacy. Throughout Europe, that industry were adamant for the need for the hated Data Retention Directive, which was later nuked from orbit by the European Supreme Court, citing fundamental human privacy rights. The copyright industry knows that its obsolete distribution model cannot survive in the face of sustained civil liberties – specifically, the right to communicate anonymously in private – so the industry is doing all it can to erode and dismantle that fundamental civil right.

And now it turns out, in the “laughingstock” section of mass media, that there has been a change of mission of the anti-terror surveillance agencies to also spy invasively on behalf of the copyright industry, to prevent ordinary people from sharing interesting things outside of the intended distribution monopoly. Why isn’t there a public outcry and outrage over the shock and repulsiveness of this mission creep?

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/04/gchq-already-spying-behalf-copyright-industry-isnt-outcry-change-mission/___

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2016-04-06 13:24:59 (0 comments; 4 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

Would you like this hypothetical telecom regulator to head up ICANN? New and important column on Privacy News.

Let’s imagine a hypothetical telecom regulator getting picked as a new head of ICANN, and the consequences it might have. ICANN is the organization regulating much of the Internet’s crucial infrastructure, and there has been a continuous power struggle between the Internet’s values of transparency and openness against the dinosaur Telecom values of walled gardens and surveillance.

Imagine a telecoms regulator heading up the Telecoms Regulation Authority in a small country that’s so small and insignificant most people on the global net-political scene just disregard it. Therefore, this particular regulator is able to claim whatever resumé he likes, as nobody would check the claims with the actual Internet community in that small country, and would be able toapply fo... more »

Would you like this hypothetical telecom regulator to head up ICANN? New and important column on Privacy News.

Let’s imagine a hypothetical telecom regulator getting picked as a new head of ICANN, and the consequences it might have. ICANN is the organization regulating much of the Internet’s crucial infrastructure, and there has been a continuous power struggle between the Internet’s values of transparency and openness against the dinosaur Telecom values of walled gardens and surveillance.

Imagine a telecoms regulator heading up the Telecoms Regulation Authority in a small country that’s so small and insignificant most people on the global net-political scene just disregard it. Therefore, this particular regulator is able to claim whatever resumé he likes, as nobody would check the claims with the actual Internet community in that small country, and would be able to apply for – say – a job heading up the most important job there is defending the Internet’s values, that is, head of ICANN.

[...long description of actual events, with links...]

In summary, imagine this particular regulator in the small country having been completely at odds with the entire Internet community of that country and Internet’s values for the entirety of their career as a telecom regulator. Imagine they are so against transparency when it works against them, they would rather disappear documents and reports; imagine they are so carefree about due process, they are using their authority power to fine ISPs that don’t use mass surveillance against their own customers before the court case challenging their right to do just this is even decided.

There’s just one catch to this scenario. The person in question isn’t hypothetical.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/04/like-hypothetical-telecom-regulator-head-icann/___

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2016-04-04 09:58:42 (2 comments; 21 reshares; 28 +1s; )Open 

Breaking: Supreme Court: Wikipedia violates copyright by posting ITS OWN photos of public, taxpayer-funded art. New article.

A ruling in the Swedish Supreme Court today establishes that Wikimedia, the publisher of Wikipedia, must pay compensation to the creators of original sculptures and monuments when publishing their own photos of said sculptures and monuments. Note that this isn’t about using photos without permission; the photos are used with permission. It’s the fact that the photos depict public – and taxpayer-funded – art. This is the Freedom of Panorama gone wrong, and shows just one facet of the copyright regime’s utter brokenness.

The Supreme Court concludes that Wikimedia, according to copyright monopoly law, is not permitted to publish photos of public art – photos where the photographer has explicitly permitted Wikimedia to publish them – withoutpermission of... more »

Breaking: Supreme Court: Wikipedia violates copyright by posting ITS OWN photos of public, taxpayer-funded art. New article.

A ruling in the Swedish Supreme Court today establishes that Wikimedia, the publisher of Wikipedia, must pay compensation to the creators of original sculptures and monuments when publishing their own photos of said sculptures and monuments. Note that this isn’t about using photos without permission; the photos are used with permission. It’s the fact that the photos depict public – and taxpayer-funded – art. This is the Freedom of Panorama gone wrong, and shows just one facet of the copyright regime’s utter brokenness.

The Supreme Court concludes that Wikimedia, according to copyright monopoly law, is not permitted to publish photos of public art – photos where the photographer has explicitly permitted Wikimedia to publish them – without permission of the creators of the original monuments.

Expect this ruling to have far reaching implications for Wikipedia’s operations – and its presence in Sweden and Europe.

CLARIFICATION: This is posted on April 4. It’s not a slightly old April Fool’s joke.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/04/supreme-court-wikipedia-violates-copyright-posting-photos-public-art/___

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2016-03-30 08:01:01 (3 comments; 13 reshares; 17 +1s; )Open 

German studies eight years ago show that surveillance brings horrible self-censorship. Why is this news to the US now? New column on Privacy News.

Yesterday, a big study broke in the Washington Post about how a mass surveillance regime is dangerous to society, and shows it silences minority opinions when people know they’re being watched. Thus, it made the chilling effect go from theoretical to academic. What’s troubling is that there have been non-US studies showing this for upward of a decade – why haven’t they been referenced in the US debate?

The new study, as described by the Washington Post, illustrates how people self-censor dissenting and minority opinions in a mass surveillance regime. While this is absolutely important, and this effect must be first and foremost in any policymaking – far before any budget increase for a toy-happy surveillance department –it’s not ne... more »

German studies eight years ago show that surveillance brings horrible self-censorship. Why is this news to the US now? New column on Privacy News.

Yesterday, a big study broke in the Washington Post about how a mass surveillance regime is dangerous to society, and shows it silences minority opinions when people know they’re being watched. Thus, it made the chilling effect go from theoretical to academic. What’s troubling is that there have been non-US studies showing this for upward of a decade – why haven’t they been referenced in the US debate?

The new study, as described by the Washington Post, illustrates how people self-censor dissenting and minority opinions in a mass surveillance regime. While this is absolutely important, and this effect must be first and foremost in any policymaking – far before any budget increase for a toy-happy surveillance department – it’s not news. This was known in large European studies almost a decade ago.

When Germany created its (most recent) mass surveillance regime with Data Retention following the 2004 Madrid bombings and the politicians’ following populist spree, there were tons and tons of studies on how this surveillance changed the behavior of ordinary Germans.

And did it? When ordinary Germans knew that every phonecall they made was being logged for the explicit and express purpose of being used against them in the future, did that change behavior in any way?

Hell yes it did.

It changed behavior enormously.

Specifically, a study by the respectable Forsa, and referenced by Heise and others, showed that HALF of Germans would stop making phonecalls that could be used against them in the future. This included a large list of phonecalls that could somehow identify them as “weaker” – suicide hotlines, drug helplines, even marriage counselling.

It’s been known at least since 2008 that mass surveillance suppresses any behavior seen as minority behavior, undesirable behavior, or weak behavior, and this is a huge effect.

So why has the US debate acted as though this hard data doesn’t even exist? Does the United States have to repeat all mistakes of others on its own?

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/03/germans-studies-eight-years-ago-show-surveillance-brings-horrible-self-censorship-news-us-now/___

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2016-03-20 18:53:26 (2 comments; 2 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

European Supreme Court advisor: “Strike down Germany’s open-wi-fi-liability laws”. New column on Privacy News.

This week, the top advisor to the European Court of Justice advised the Court to rule against Germany’s liability laws for open wi-fi hotspots. While the case isn’t finished yet, most media reported it as “no liability for open wi-fi”. The case is much, much larger than that.

In most of Europe, it has been long settled that IP addresses do not identify an individual, and so, a subscriber to an Internet connection can’t be civilly liable for copyright monopoly infringements that take place on the connection. Germany circumvented this by making subscribers explicitly liable for activity on unsecured connections.

This has led to a predictable explosion of so-called speculative invoicing in Germany – where shady law firmsclaiming to repre... more »

European Supreme Court advisor: “Strike down Germany’s open-wi-fi-liability laws”. New column on Privacy News.

This week, the top advisor to the European Court of Justice advised the Court to rule against Germany’s liability laws for open wi-fi hotspots. While the case isn’t finished yet, most media reported it as “no liability for open wi-fi”. The case is much, much larger than that.

In most of Europe, it has been long settled that IP addresses do not identify an individual, and so, a subscriber to an Internet connection can’t be civilly liable for copyright monopoly infringements that take place on the connection. Germany circumvented this by making subscribers explicitly liable for activity on unsecured connections.

This has led to a predictable explosion of so-called speculative invoicing in Germany – where shady law firms claiming to represent exclusive-rights-holders are sending threat letters to the subscriber identities of IP addresses they discover in torrent swarms. For some reason, German ISPs are helping the law firms with this. In most of the civilized world, this practice died and was declared fraudulent about ten years ago, but it lives on in Germany.

In other words, media reports have completely missed the importance of this case. It doesn’t mean that the few copyright monopoly infringements that take place over unprotected wi-fi access points cannot be sued, as has been claimed in tech media. Rather, because of how this connects with speculative invoicing and the open wireless defense, it means that NO European private copying from home can be sued with speculative invoicing in the future, and that’s quite a bit larger.

It may take another case or two, but it looks like the German racketeering is coming to a similar swift and very welcome end. These liability laws has meant that IT patterns in Germany has lagged behind the rest of Europe by five to ten years.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/03/european-supreme-court-advisor-strike-germanys-open-wi-fi-liability-laws/___

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2016-03-19 13:05:08 (2 comments; 4 reshares; 11 +1s; )Open 

The Gawker case is the thin edge of a two-ton concrete repression wedge. New column on Privacy News.

The media outlet Gawker has been sentenced by a Florida jury to a 115-million-dollar liability for publishing a sex tape of “Hulk Hogan” and not taking it down on a court order. What’s more, that’s before any punitive damages. This case is dangerous – it’s the thin edge of a two-ton concrete repression wedge, using the same cheap public opinion as Gawker is accused of using.

The only thing that matters in this case is what Gawker’s editor-in-chief said: "the Constitution does unambiguously accord us the right to publish true things about public figures". This is the only thing that matters. This is the only thing that must matter.

Clear heads and eyes on the ball. This is about the Press’ right to publish facts about public people. Nothingelse. Whether p... more »

The Gawker case is the thin edge of a two-ton concrete repression wedge. New column on Privacy News.

The media outlet Gawker has been sentenced by a Florida jury to a 115-million-dollar liability for publishing a sex tape of “Hulk Hogan” and not taking it down on a court order. What’s more, that’s before any punitive damages. This case is dangerous – it’s the thin edge of a two-ton concrete repression wedge, using the same cheap public opinion as Gawker is accused of using.

The only thing that matters in this case is what Gawker’s editor-in-chief said: "the Constitution does unambiguously accord us the right to publish true things about public figures". This is the only thing that matters. This is the only thing that must matter.

Clear heads and eyes on the ball. This is about the Press’ right to publish facts about public people. Nothing else. Whether people consider those facts trashy, and the publishing outlet equally trashy, is beside the point.

The fact that this is a sex tape, and therefore appealing to basic public opinion rather than critically important principles, is allowing government to set a precedent where published inconvenient facts about a public person can be hit by multimillion-dollar damages. Is that really a precedent you want to carry into the next presidency?

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/03/gawker-case-thin-edge-two-ton-concrete-repression-wedge/___

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2016-03-12 12:51:04 (3 comments; 9 reshares; 26 +1s; )Open 

Obama repeats 600-year-old argument against printing press at SXSW, only directed at the Net and crypto. New column.

There’s a thread in the Technology section of Reddit right now [...] the thing is, this Reddit thread probably don’t know how correct they are.

[history lesson]

And indeed, exactly that justification was used in France to ban all use of the printing press by penalty of death (!) on January 13, 1535 – exactly the justification Obama gives in his opening speech in SXSW against the Internet and encryption.

Sometimes, you need to know a little bit of history to make sure you’re on the right side of history.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/03/obama-repeats-argument-printing-press-sxsw-directed-internet/

Obama repeats 600-year-old argument against printing press at SXSW, only directed at the Net and crypto. New column.

There’s a thread in the Technology section of Reddit right now [...] the thing is, this Reddit thread probably don’t know how correct they are.

[history lesson]

And indeed, exactly that justification was used in France to ban all use of the printing press by penalty of death (!) on January 13, 1535 – exactly the justification Obama gives in his opening speech in SXSW against the Internet and encryption.

Sometimes, you need to know a little bit of history to make sure you’re on the right side of history.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/03/obama-repeats-argument-printing-press-sxsw-directed-internet/___

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2016-03-10 11:15:23 (9 comments; 27 reshares; 50 +1s; )Open 

In one single image, the establishment and mainstream media show their utter ignorance of security. New column on Privacy News.

Consider this story by the New York Post, which cries out in terror that a master key to the New York City utilities has leaked. Consider that this story has passed by many people on the way to publishing, all part of the narrative-creating establishment, and consider what their understanding of the most fundamental security must look like.

Yes, that’s the key being discussed right there, the “1620” key. The New York Post is crying out in terror that this master key is on the loose, and goes on to publish the full secret of the key, in gigantic format. From this point, anybody can trivially reproduce this key.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/03/one-single-image-mainstream-media-shows-utter-ignorance-security/

In one single image, the establishment and mainstream media show their utter ignorance of security. New column on Privacy News.

Consider this story by the New York Post, which cries out in terror that a master key to the New York City utilities has leaked. Consider that this story has passed by many people on the way to publishing, all part of the narrative-creating establishment, and consider what their understanding of the most fundamental security must look like.

Yes, that’s the key being discussed right there, the “1620” key. The New York Post is crying out in terror that this master key is on the loose, and goes on to publish the full secret of the key, in gigantic format. From this point, anybody can trivially reproduce this key.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/03/one-single-image-mainstream-media-shows-utter-ignorance-security/___

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2016-02-21 18:48:37 (1 comments; 5 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

Understanding the Net's disruption of the Power of Narrative, in historical context. New column on Privacy News.

The greatest power you can hold in any society is the Power of Narrative - the position where other people turn to you to find out what's true and what's false, and to interpret the events around us. The Internet completely upends the old structures of this power, and a lot of the conflict on the net can be traced back to this power - and specifically the transition of this power.

Let's illustrate what happens in transitions of this power. In the 14th century, books in Europe were copied laboriously by hand, by monks and nuns in monasteries. This meant the Catholic Church had an absolute control over what books existed, and of course, all of them were in Latin.

Remember, the Bible was in Latin. It only existed in Latin. And only the clergy... more »

Understanding the Net's disruption of the Power of Narrative, in historical context. New column on Privacy News.

The greatest power you can hold in any society is the Power of Narrative - the position where other people turn to you to find out what's true and what's false, and to interpret the events around us. The Internet completely upends the old structures of this power, and a lot of the conflict on the net can be traced back to this power - and specifically the transition of this power.

Let's illustrate what happens in transitions of this power. In the 14th century, books in Europe were copied laboriously by hand, by monks and nuns in monasteries. This meant the Catholic Church had an absolute control over what books existed, and of course, all of them were in Latin.

Remember, the Bible was in Latin. It only existed in Latin. And only the clergy could read Latin, and therefore, tell the masses what the Bible said. This is exactly the power imagined earlier in this article - the ability to say anything and have it taken for unquestionably true.

So the real shocker came with the so-called Gutenberg Bibles, bibles printed by the cartload in French and German, that started appearing in the streets. At this point, the Catholic Church completely panicked, because all of a sudden, people could read and verify the claims made by the church. The church was no longer needed to read the Bible in Latin. This meant that the church had lost the ability to interpret the Bible's text to its own advantage.

This led to 200 years of civil war across the entire known world, as the power of narrative transitioned multiple times, having broken the Church's previous gatekeeper position over humanity's knowledge and culture.

Now... does any of this feel familiar with regard to today's situation with the Internet's disruption of the old guard?

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/02/understanding-the-nets-disruption-of-the-power-of-narrative/___

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2016-02-19 19:26:51 (0 comments; 5 reshares; 15 +1s; )Open 

Apple vs Government Surveillance: As warned about for years, government is now asserting a right to SUCCEED in wiretapping. New column on Privacy News.

In a case in San Bernadino, USA, courts have ruled that the government has a right to succeed in wiretapping an old iPhone, and is requiring Apple to help out. We have warned about this for years: the ubiquitous governmental ability to attempt a wiretap is going to be mistaken for a right to succeed in such wiretapping. We've now arrived at the dangerous point where courts agree.

Starting in the early 1990s when the government attempted to ban strong encryption, and continuing through the Clipper Chip debate in the mid-1990s, the various attempts to contain open source, and the current fantasies of a "golden key", the government has consistently tried to keep strong encryption out of the hands of the masses.... more »

Apple vs Government Surveillance: As warned about for years, government is now asserting a right to SUCCEED in wiretapping. New column on Privacy News.

In a case in San Bernadino, USA, courts have ruled that the government has a right to succeed in wiretapping an old iPhone, and is requiring Apple to help out. We have warned about this for years: the ubiquitous governmental ability to attempt a wiretap is going to be mistaken for a right to succeed in such wiretapping. We've now arrived at the dangerous point where courts agree.

Starting in the early 1990s when the government attempted to ban strong encryption, and continuing through the Clipper Chip debate in the mid-1990s, the various attempts to contain open source, and the current fantasies of a "golden key", the government has consistently tried to keep strong encryption out of the hands of the masses.

We have therefore warned for a number of years that it's only a matter of time before said governments mistake their ability to attempt a wiretap on everybody for a legal right to SUCCEED in wiretapping everybody all the time. We've warned about this for years, and the day has now come. Actually, it's worse: the executive branches of governments have had this delusion for some time, but it's been contained by other, saner parts of government.

What's new in the San Bernadino case is that the courts agreed to this outlandish assertion. There are three branches of government, intended to keep each other in check. For the first time, the judicial branch agreed with the runaway executive branch in that the executive not just has a right to attempt wiretapping anybody at will, but it has a right to succeed in its attempts to do so.

This rabbit hole of eroding privacy doesn't end here, however. Don't ever think it can't get worse. The next step, once governments have asserted a bizarre right to succeed in wiretapping, is to assert a right to also understand what they're successfully wiretapping. Speaking in code? Even speaking in a foreign language? Forget about that.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/02/apple-vs-government-surveillance-as-warned-about-for-years-government-is-now-asserting-a-right-to-succeed-in-wiretapping/___

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2016-02-13 17:25:42 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

The opportunity cost of lost privacy is lost innovation. New column on Privacy News.

The opportunity cost of lost privacy is lost innovation, and by extension, a low-happiness society that lags not only in liberty, but in all amenities considered modern. Therefore, privacy is not just a luxury for the individual; it is a collective desirability as it leads to competitiveness and a strong economy. Today’s legislators are blind to this causality.

The people you suppress, and suppress effectively, by reducing privacy are the rulebenders and the rulebreakers. The square pegs in the round holes. The mavericks. The misfits and troublemakers. The ones who refuse to follow someone else’s lead but insists their own way is better. Given the chance, legislators would happily make life hell for people who don’t fall in line.

But these are the people we collectivelycall ... more »

The opportunity cost of lost privacy is lost innovation. New column on Privacy News.

The opportunity cost of lost privacy is lost innovation, and by extension, a low-happiness society that lags not only in liberty, but in all amenities considered modern. Therefore, privacy is not just a luxury for the individual; it is a collective desirability as it leads to competitiveness and a strong economy. Today’s legislators are blind to this causality.

The people you suppress, and suppress effectively, by reducing privacy are the rulebenders and the rulebreakers. The square pegs in the round holes. The mavericks. The misfits and troublemakers. The ones who refuse to follow someone else’s lead but insists their own way is better. Given the chance, legislators would happily make life hell for people who don’t fall in line.

But these are the people we collectively call entrepreneurs. They are suppressed and crushed when society decides they can’t do things their own way anymore. When you stomp out privacy, you stomp out innovation with it.

It’s been theorized that this was the actual reason of the downfall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Cold War Communism, the lack of economic innovation, the complete and utter inability of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to compete. This inability to compete, in turn, came from its brutal and effective suppression of anybody who bent the rules – the people we call entrepreneurs.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/02/whats-the-opportunity-cost-of-lost-privacy/___

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2016-02-06 12:51:21 (0 comments; 11 reshares; 19 +1s; )Open 

It doesn't matter why personal data is collected, it only matters that it is. New column on Privacy News.

A lot of procedures for collecting personal information go to great length to explain why the data is being collected and how it will be used. Sadly, it’s all for nothing. Any such safeguards are null and void, and the only thing that matters is that the data is collected.

We’ve all seen the privacy policies. We’ve seen the governmental fine print on how data will be used. It’s just pretty print. It accounts for absolutely nothing. All that matters is that the data is collected.

A privacy policy may bind the corporation collecting the data about you, if you ask a lawyer. Maybe even if you ask a politician. What happens next is that the corporation goes bankrupt, all deals are off, and a liquidator looks at all the assets that can be monetized to payoff the... more »

It doesn't matter why personal data is collected, it only matters that it is. New column on Privacy News.

A lot of procedures for collecting personal information go to great length to explain why the data is being collected and how it will be used. Sadly, it’s all for nothing. Any such safeguards are null and void, and the only thing that matters is that the data is collected.

We’ve all seen the privacy policies. We’ve seen the governmental fine print on how data will be used. It’s just pretty print. It accounts for absolutely nothing. All that matters is that the data is collected.

A privacy policy may bind the corporation collecting the data about you, if you ask a lawyer. Maybe even if you ask a politician. What happens next is that the corporation goes bankrupt, all deals are off, and a liquidator looks at all the assets that can be monetized to pay off the bankruptcy debt as required by law. Those assets include the data collected about you.

A government may be equally honest when it collects data about you for the most benign of reasons. But come election day, that government is voted out of power, and the next administration discovers this cache of useful information about citizens that it re-purposes in ways that you would never have approved of at the time the data was collected.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if you trust the good faith of the entity collecting data about you. It doesn’t even matter if they have the purest of good faith from a strictly objective standpoint. Sooner or later, through legal, illegal, or violent means, those you trusted and who promised how the data will be used will no longer wield the required power over the data collected – and at that point, somebody else is calling the shots and rewriting the rules entirely to suit their interests.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/02/it-doesnt-matter-why-data-is-collected-it-only-matters-that-it-is/___

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2016-01-18 17:50:26 (4 comments; 2 reshares; 12 +1s; )Open 

At what point is Internet access considered a fundamental right? New column on Privacy News.

At what point does the Internet cease to be a luxury subscription service, and become a utility, and over and above that – when does Internet access become a fundamental right like Freedoms of Speech and Assembly? The question is way overdue.

Today, we exercise our fundamental liberties – freedoms of speech, assembly, opinion, thought, press, and information – through the Internet. Thus, it is not hard to argue that access to the Internet has become just as fundamental a right, as the other liberties we exercise through it.

It is therefore frustrating, not to say infuriating, to see offline-born legacy industries patronizingly treating the Internet as though it was a toy you can take away from misbehaving children.

The copyright industry, for one, has longargue... more »

At what point is Internet access considered a fundamental right? New column on Privacy News.

At what point does the Internet cease to be a luxury subscription service, and become a utility, and over and above that – when does Internet access become a fundamental right like Freedoms of Speech and Assembly? The question is way overdue.

Today, we exercise our fundamental liberties – freedoms of speech, assembly, opinion, thought, press, and information – through the Internet. Thus, it is not hard to argue that access to the Internet has become just as fundamental a right, as the other liberties we exercise through it.

It is therefore frustrating, not to say infuriating, to see offline-born legacy industries patronizingly treating the Internet as though it was a toy you can take away from misbehaving children.

The copyright industry, for one, has long argued they should have a right to shut people off the net (the so-called “three strikes”) on mere accusations of violating somebody’s exclusive distribution rights to creative works, and in doing so, shutting off entire households (the subscribing connection). Would you consider it proportionate to remove the freedoms of assembly, press, and speech for a whole household based on mere accusations from an automated robot in a legacy industry? Would you consider it reasonable to prevent a family from working, communicating, studying, and paying their bills? Me neither.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/01/at-what-point-is-internet-access-considered-a-fundamental-right/___

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2016-01-15 23:53:07 (0 comments; 3 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Liberty Talk #48. Last week marked the one year anniversary of the murders at Charlie Hebdo, and we explore freedom of speech as a concept:

* Freedom of speech was never needed to agree with the current regime or consensus, but precisely to say reviled and offensive things. It is the right for idiots to be completely wrong, and that's a good thing.

* Many of our liberties today would not have existed if people hadn't challenged the status quo and suggested such liberties in times when they were considered offensive - for example, equal rights for a lot of minorities with the majority.

* An absence of freedom of speech only protects those in power, never the powerless.

* Many seem to have mistaken the Hebdo magazine for racist or similar along the lines of Poe's Law: when you're making a parody of an extremist or downright medieval view, some... more »

Liberty Talk #48. Last week marked the one year anniversary of the murders at Charlie Hebdo, and we explore freedom of speech as a concept:

* Freedom of speech was never needed to agree with the current regime or consensus, but precisely to say reviled and offensive things. It is the right for idiots to be completely wrong, and that's a good thing.

* Many of our liberties today would not have existed if people hadn't challenged the status quo and suggested such liberties in times when they were considered offensive - for example, equal rights for a lot of minorities with the majority.

* An absence of freedom of speech only protects those in power, never the powerless.

* Many seem to have mistaken the Hebdo magazine for racist or similar along the lines of Poe's Law: when you're making a parody of an extremist or downright medieval view, some people will mistake the parody for a sincere expression of the parodied views. Rather, it's a mathematical proof by contradiction in showing absurd consequences of the intolerant discourse, thereby demonstrating liberty as preferable.

* Ultimately, people who don't believe in freedom of speech think that being offended makes them a victim by somebody else's speech and therefore gives them certain rights to restore an imaginary honor -- which, taken to its extreme, can lead to acts of violence like the one at Charlie Hebdo.

Commentary by Carl Johan Rehbinder.

Presented by +Private Internet Access VPN.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqaxQA045LY&foo=bar___

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2016-01-10 14:55:15 (0 comments; 14 reshares; 23 +1s; )Open 

When everything you say can and will be used against you, do you really have freedom of speech? New column on Privacy News.

What you’re saying unencrypted today can and will come back to hunt you in twenty years by a different government with different values. Once you realize this, do you really still have freedom of speech?

Everything is not just wiretapped today, but also recorded for future use.

This is a major deviation from Orwell’s plot line in 1984 – and a major worsening of it, that not even Orwell could foresee. It means that if you raise a red flag twenty years down the line, surveillance agencies will have the ability to go back and look at everything you’ve done retroactively between now and then, even if it didn’t attract attention at the time.

If somebody reviewed your private conversations from twenty years ago, is it likelythey cont... more »

When everything you say can and will be used against you, do you really have freedom of speech? New column on Privacy News.

What you’re saying unencrypted today can and will come back to hunt you in twenty years by a different government with different values. Once you realize this, do you really still have freedom of speech?

Everything is not just wiretapped today, but also recorded for future use.

This is a major deviation from Orwell’s plot line in 1984 – and a major worsening of it, that not even Orwell could foresee. It means that if you raise a red flag twenty years down the line, surveillance agencies will have the ability to go back and look at everything you’ve done retroactively between now and then, even if it didn’t attract attention at the time.

If somebody reviewed your private conversations from twenty years ago, is it likely they contained values (reflective of then-contemporary society) that could be used against you today? Yes; yes, of course that’s likely, if not even absolutely certain. In the same vein, if somebody twenty years from today reviews the conversations you’re having right now, is it likely you’re expressing thoughts and values that will seem abhorrent twenty years from today, and which will then be used against you?

When authorities have the mere ability to hold you accountable for what you’re saying in private today, taken out of context and viewed from a completely different set of values at any time in the future, do you really have freedom of speech?

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/01/when-everythng-you-say-can-and-will-be-used-against-you-do-you-really-have-freedom-of-speech/___

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2016-01-07 21:09:27 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 4 +1s; )Open 

Liberty Talk #47. 2015 was a bad year for liberty overall, but the year also saw wildly different liberty fights start to converge - the struggle for sex workers' rights, the fight against the idiotic "war on drugs", and the insistence on privacy in general and online privacy in particular are starting to discover they're one and the same fight against overzealous holier-than-thou moralism among legislators.

Today's discussion also briefly explores the upcoming conflict between property rights and freedoms of speech and assembly, as those activities which happened in public space - speech and assembly - gradually move onto private servers like those of Facebook. Which takes precedence, Facebook's property right over its servers or the public's freedom of speech? This is a new conflict and whatever the outcome is, it will have lasting consequences.
... more »

Liberty Talk #47. 2015 was a bad year for liberty overall, but the year also saw wildly different liberty fights start to converge - the struggle for sex workers' rights, the fight against the idiotic "war on drugs", and the insistence on privacy in general and online privacy in particular are starting to discover they're one and the same fight against overzealous holier-than-thou moralism among legislators.

Today's discussion also briefly explores the upcoming conflict between property rights and freedoms of speech and assembly, as those activities which happened in public space - speech and assembly - gradually move onto private servers like those of Facebook. Which takes precedence, Facebook's property right over its servers or the public's freedom of speech? This is a new conflict and whatever the outcome is, it will have lasting consequences.

Presented by +Private Internet Access  VPN:
https://tinyurl.com/librep-piavpn

https://youtu.be/WH1DtpB_x3c___

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2016-01-01 19:42:13 (0 comments; 12 reshares; 20 +1s; )Open 

The first ten years of the Pirate Party: Lessons learned and the road ahead.

Exactly ten years ago, on January 1 2006 at 20:30 CET, the Swedish and first Pirate Party was launched by me setting up an ugly website. Since then, we delivered on the proof of concept on June 7, 2009, and the movement grew from there. We weren’t always successful, though, and it’s important to be humble and do a little retrospection.

https://falkvinge.net/2016/01/01/the-first-ten-years-of-the-pirate-party-lessons-learned-and-road-ahead/

The first ten years of the Pirate Party: Lessons learned and the road ahead.

Exactly ten years ago, on January 1 2006 at 20:30 CET, the Swedish and first Pirate Party was launched by me setting up an ugly website. Since then, we delivered on the proof of concept on June 7, 2009, and the movement grew from there. We weren’t always successful, though, and it’s important to be humble and do a little retrospection.

https://falkvinge.net/2016/01/01/the-first-ten-years-of-the-pirate-party-lessons-learned-and-road-ahead/___

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2016-01-01 09:32:53 (0 comments; 3 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

Outlook for 2016: Policymaking and technology will continue to diverge. New column on Privacy News.

Policymaking and technology have diverged for the past 30 years, in the battle between an imaginary “right to incumbency” on one hand and disruptive makers on the other. Eventually, one side has to give.

For the existence of the popular Internet, policymaking people have tried to tame the technology using law and policy, and technology makers have tried to tame policymaking using technology. Neither has succeeded particularly well, and as they say: if you keep doing what you’ve been doing before, it’ll probably go as it has gone before.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/01/outlook-2016-policymaking-and-technology-will-continue-to-diverge/

Outlook for 2016: Policymaking and technology will continue to diverge. New column on Privacy News.

Policymaking and technology have diverged for the past 30 years, in the battle between an imaginary “right to incumbency” on one hand and disruptive makers on the other. Eventually, one side has to give.

For the existence of the popular Internet, policymaking people have tried to tame the technology using law and policy, and technology makers have tried to tame policymaking using technology. Neither has succeeded particularly well, and as they say: if you keep doing what you’ve been doing before, it’ll probably go as it has gone before.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2016/01/outlook-2016-policymaking-and-technology-will-continue-to-diverge/___

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2015-12-23 21:12:05 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

Liberty Talk #46. With the U.S. Federal Reserve finally ending seven years of zero-priced credit last week, what are the bigger geopolitical implications of the non-stop money printing we've seen, and how does bitcoin factor in?

Commentators: Datavetaren and Nanok Bie.

Presented by +Private Internet Access  VPN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqW0FCULvuU

Liberty Talk #46. With the U.S. Federal Reserve finally ending seven years of zero-priced credit last week, what are the bigger geopolitical implications of the non-stop money printing we've seen, and how does bitcoin factor in?

Commentators: Datavetaren and Nanok Bie.

Presented by +Private Internet Access  VPN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqW0FCULvuU___

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2015-12-20 23:07:21 (10 comments; 6 reshares; 15 +1s; )Open 

When you're saying "authors must be paid", you're advocating communism. Yes, really. New column on TorrentFreak.

When you’re repeating the blatant cliché of “authors must be paid”, you’re asserting a right to intervene in a market transaction between two parties where you were not involved in the transaction or negotiations. This is the direct opposite of a market economy. And when suggesting the cliché as a rule, or law, you’re advocating a planned interventionary economy – literally a communist economy.

Put differently, other people’s business failures are neither your moral, legal, or business problem to solve. Trying to blame your customer’s morals for the weaknesses in your own business plan – your inability to find a voluntary counterparty with whom to make an exchange, a “sale” – is the last step before your business dies, andfrankly, it’s rather unwo... more »

When you're saying "authors must be paid", you're advocating communism. Yes, really. New column on TorrentFreak.

When you’re repeating the blatant cliché of “authors must be paid”, you’re asserting a right to intervene in a market transaction between two parties where you were not involved in the transaction or negotiations. This is the direct opposite of a market economy. And when suggesting the cliché as a rule, or law, you’re advocating a planned interventionary economy – literally a communist economy.

Put differently, other people’s business failures are neither your moral, legal, or business problem to solve. Trying to blame your customer’s morals for the weaknesses in your own business plan – your inability to find a voluntary counterparty with whom to make an exchange, a “sale” – is the last step before your business dies, and frankly, it’s rather unworthy. This is where the copyright industry is currently finding itself.

And as we’ve seen before, making a copy of something – in violation of the copyright monopoly or not, that doesn’t matter – is merely exercising your own property rights: rearranging the magnetic fields on your own property according to what you’re observing with your own tools and senses. Suggesting such an action to constitute a fantasy voluntary agreed transaction with a fantasy counterparty is suggesting a planned economy, the kind that didn’t work at all under communism.

https://torrentfreak.com/when-authors-demand-payment-for-every-copy-theyre-advocating-communism-151220/___

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2015-12-17 22:35:39 (1 comments; 4 reshares; 23 +1s; )Open 

This is fun. This is a torrent on The Pirate Bay named "Star Wars The Force Awakens High Quality". It is a torrent of a file just over two gigs in size, and the torrent has attracted a bit of followers by now.

Only when you look at the details do you realize it was uploaded in 2006. It's fan art.

https://thepiratebay.la/torrent/3544777/Star_Wars_The_Force_Awakens_High_Quality_Version

This is fun. This is a torrent on The Pirate Bay named "Star Wars The Force Awakens High Quality". It is a torrent of a file just over two gigs in size, and the torrent has attracted a bit of followers by now.

Only when you look at the details do you realize it was uploaded in 2006. It's fan art.

https://thepiratebay.la/torrent/3544777/Star_Wars_The_Force_Awakens_High_Quality_Version___

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2015-12-17 07:01:42 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

Liberty Talk #45. This new format is starting to really show its strength against the previous casts, and the next cast (46) even more so.

Today: The European Commission announces changes to the European Union copyright monopoly doctrine which fall far short of expectations, and Henrik Alexandersson chews out what's wrong with Brussels on information policy and transparency.

Presented by +Private Internet Access VPN.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3khbhiPrZ6c

Liberty Talk #45. This new format is starting to really show its strength against the previous casts, and the next cast (46) even more so.

Today: The European Commission announces changes to the European Union copyright monopoly doctrine which fall far short of expectations, and Henrik Alexandersson chews out what's wrong with Brussels on information policy and transparency.

Presented by +Private Internet Access VPN.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3khbhiPrZ6c___

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2015-12-16 21:59:47 (8 comments; 10 reshares; 24 +1s; )Open 

Free speech cannot exist without strong encryption. New column on Privacy News.

Freedom of Speech was never the freedom to sit alone in a padded room and mutter incomprehensibly to yourself. The concept necessarily involves communicating a thought to one or more other people, and therefore, includes your right to select those people. This was obvious when we only spoke face to face, and freedom of speech was enshrined; now, technology has changed our ability to talk to people at a distance, but not the basic concept. Therefore, strong encryption is a prerequisite to maintain the very concept of Freedom of Speech.

The problem is that encryption, like the Internet itself, is seen a separate phenomenon. But it’s not. It deeply integrated into how we exercise our freedoms and safeguard our liberties today. It used to be that all freedoms not just could, but typically would beex... more »

Free speech cannot exist without strong encryption. New column on Privacy News.

Freedom of Speech was never the freedom to sit alone in a padded room and mutter incomprehensibly to yourself. The concept necessarily involves communicating a thought to one or more other people, and therefore, includes your right to select those people. This was obvious when we only spoke face to face, and freedom of speech was enshrined; now, technology has changed our ability to talk to people at a distance, but not the basic concept. Therefore, strong encryption is a prerequisite to maintain the very concept of Freedom of Speech.

The problem is that encryption, like the Internet itself, is seen a separate phenomenon. But it’s not. It deeply integrated into how we exercise our freedoms and safeguard our liberties today. It used to be that all freedoms not just could, but typically would be exercised in an analog manner.

Today, however, we exercise our fundamental liberties like the freedoms of assembly, speech, opinion, the press, and thought through the Internet. And therefore, the internet itself has become just a fundamental a right as all the other rights we exercise through it.

Therefore, free speech today does not exist without strong encryption.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/12/free-speech-cannot-exist-without-strong-encryption/___

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2015-07-16 19:11:19 (4 comments; 1 reshares; 6 +1s; )Open 

Useful oneliners to defend privacy in any discussion. New column on Privacy News.

It's happened to all of us. We're asked why we bother defending our privacy, in a defeatist attitude - or worse, accused of having bad intentions when we're merely safeguarding our rights because nobody else is doing it for us. Here's a handful of useful retorts when somebody questions your right to privacy.

Most people who question your fight for privacy - even your underlying right to privacy - are just repeating clichés and haven't really considered what they are saying. If they did think about what they were saying really means, they may be horrified. Alas, some people may need such a wake-up: privacy is a right that was hardwon, and one that is easily lost.

Here's a few useful lines to drop into such conversations.
more »

Useful oneliners to defend privacy in any discussion. New column on Privacy News.

It's happened to all of us. We're asked why we bother defending our privacy, in a defeatist attitude - or worse, accused of having bad intentions when we're merely safeguarding our rights because nobody else is doing it for us. Here's a handful of useful retorts when somebody questions your right to privacy.

Most people who question your fight for privacy - even your underlying right to privacy - are just repeating clichés and haven't really considered what they are saying. If they did think about what they were saying really means, they may be horrified. Alas, some people may need such a wake-up: privacy is a right that was hardwon, and one that is easily lost.

Here's a few useful lines to drop into such conversations.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/07/useful-oneliners-to-defend-privacy-in-any-discussion/___

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2015-07-09 19:15:18 (0 comments; 4 reshares; 19 +1s; )Open 

Clueless governments are trying the "Privacy for us, but not for you", again. New column on Privacy News.

There’s a new War on Encryption going. It won’t work. But it can cause a lot of headache and collateral damage, not to mention lost productivity hours trying to explain basic technical facts to politicans who are paid to not understand them.

In the early 1990s, the first War on Encryption heated up, and it was mainly over Phil Zimmermann’s PGP – a utility that, for the first time, allowed ordinary people to encrypt their communications outside of reach of government. As a result, governments immediately banned the whole thing. The United States classified it as military-grade weaponry (yes, really), making it subject to very tight restrictions, and France didn’t care to justify why, but just banned it outright.

It took a while of tinkering withsource co... more »

Clueless governments are trying the "Privacy for us, but not for you", again. New column on Privacy News.

There’s a new War on Encryption going. It won’t work. But it can cause a lot of headache and collateral damage, not to mention lost productivity hours trying to explain basic technical facts to politicans who are paid to not understand them.

In the early 1990s, the first War on Encryption heated up, and it was mainly over Phil Zimmermann’s PGP – a utility that, for the first time, allowed ordinary people to encrypt their communications outside of reach of government. As a result, governments immediately banned the whole thing. The United States classified it as military-grade weaponry (yes, really), making it subject to very tight restrictions, and France didn’t care to justify why, but just banned it outright.

It took a while of tinkering with source code, and pointing out “if I can write these lines freely, then I can math. If I can math, then I can code. And if I can code, then I can encrypt.” It took prolonged court battles (that literally involved encryption source code printed onto T-shirts as a political statement) before courts established that Freedom of Speech encompasses the Freedom to Code – and those are landmark rulings for civil liberties.

It looks like we’ll have to battle all of this out again, and governments will talk about the usual Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Drug lords, child abuse, organized crime, and ordinary file sharing – to try to justify eliminating the very fundamental liberty of privacy. (In doing so, they are subverting another principle, by the way, that of presumption of innocence: you cannot justify a blanket intrusion into everybody’s privacy by saying that there may be a criminal there somewhere, you actually need individual and formal suspicion.)

There’s nothing saying it will end any other way than it did last time: with thousands of productivity-hours wasted on trying to explain the most basic things to politicians who are paid to not understand, and with courts who rule that you indeed are allowed to write code, while politicians are chanting about organized crime outside the courtroom and to TV cameras afterward.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/07/clueless-governments-are-trying-the-privacy-for-us-but-not-for-you-again/___

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2015-07-07 20:19:30 (3 comments; 2 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

Liberties Report for week 27. Greece defaulting will probably be the singularly most important event to liberties in Europe, possibly globally, for a while as the financial contagion spreads: governments always save themselves first. Speaking of which, Canada has started revoking citizenships - even from natural-born Canadians.

Presented by +Private Internet Access VPN:
https://tinyurl.com/librep-piavpn

https://youtu.be/X8qZOK9J_FA

Liberties Report for week 27. Greece defaulting will probably be the singularly most important event to liberties in Europe, possibly globally, for a while as the financial contagion spreads: governments always save themselves first. Speaking of which, Canada has started revoking citizenships - even from natural-born Canadians.

Presented by +Private Internet Access VPN:
https://tinyurl.com/librep-piavpn

https://youtu.be/X8qZOK9J_FA___

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2015-06-29 20:27:47 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 9 +1s; )Open 

Liberties Report, week 26.

Last week's great liberty news was obviously that the U.S. Supreme Court extends human rights to homosexual people. The U.S. Senate is also considering extending human rights to Europeans, while the U.K. is busy revoking them.

Presented by +Private Internet Access :
https://tinyurl.com/librep-piavpn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lCPXY50mGY

Liberties Report, week 26.

Last week's great liberty news was obviously that the U.S. Supreme Court extends human rights to homosexual people. The U.S. Senate is also considering extending human rights to Europeans, while the U.K. is busy revoking them.

Presented by +Private Internet Access :
https://tinyurl.com/librep-piavpn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lCPXY50mGY___

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2015-06-29 18:21:10 (0 comments; 4 reshares; 7 +1s; )Open 

Information Hygiene: Most people haven't connected their dots are getting connected. New column on Privacy News.

Your refrigerator tells you when milk expires. Your cameras tell you remotely of anything unusual happening in your home. Your wi-fi connected scale tells you about your BMI and body fat content down to three decimals precision. With this just around the corner, it’s imperative we realize that they’re also telling other people the same thing.

A new skill is rapidly emerging: Information Hygiene. The understanding, at a deep technical level, of who else can see your information depending on what you do with it. When you send a mail, it’s open for the world to see. When you’re storing unencrypted things “in the cloud”, you might as well have put it on YouTube. When you’re connecting your home cameras to “the cloud”, you’re inviting any number ofunknown people – th... more »

Information Hygiene: Most people haven't connected their dots are getting connected. New column on Privacy News.

Your refrigerator tells you when milk expires. Your cameras tell you remotely of anything unusual happening in your home. Your wi-fi connected scale tells you about your BMI and body fat content down to three decimals precision. With this just around the corner, it’s imperative we realize that they’re also telling other people the same thing.

A new skill is rapidly emerging: Information Hygiene. The understanding, at a deep technical level, of who else can see your information depending on what you do with it. When you send a mail, it’s open for the world to see. When you’re storing unencrypted things “in the cloud”, you might as well have put it on YouTube. When you’re connecting your home cameras to “the cloud”, you’re inviting any number of unknown people – the point being that you can’t know how many and who they are – to look straight into your home.

Did you buy an anonymous prepaid SIM card for your mobile phone? Good. Did you pay it with your credit card? Then it’s not anonymous anymore.

As all of these small dots of data are collected, they’re also connected. Understanding how that happens will be key to privacy in the very near future.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/06/information-hygiene-most-people-havent-connected-their-dots-are-getting-connected/___

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2015-06-18 10:03:48 (20 comments; 22 reshares; 22 +1s; )Open 

Google Chrome listening in to your room shows the importance of privacy defense-in-depth. New column on Privacy News.

Yesterday, news broke that Google has been stealth downloading audio listeners onto every computer that runs Chrome, and transmits audio data back to Google. Effectively, this means that Google had taken itself the right to listen to every conversation in every room that runs Chrome somewhere, without any kind of consent from the people eavesdropped on. In official statements, Google shrugged off the practice with what amounts to “we can do that”.

It looked like just another bug report. "When I start Chromium, it downloads something." Followed by strange status information that notably included the lines "Microphone: Yes" and "Audio Capture Allowed: Yes".

Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box ofcode ... more »

Google Chrome listening in to your room shows the importance of privacy defense-in-depth. New column on Privacy News.

Yesterday, news broke that Google has been stealth downloading audio listeners onto every computer that runs Chrome, and transmits audio data back to Google. Effectively, this means that Google had taken itself the right to listen to every conversation in every room that runs Chrome somewhere, without any kind of consent from the people eavesdropped on. In official statements, Google shrugged off the practice with what amounts to “we can do that”.

It looked like just another bug report. "When I start Chromium, it downloads something." Followed by strange status information that notably included the lines "Microphone: Yes" and "Audio Capture Allowed: Yes".

Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that – according to itself – had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room.

This episode highlights the need for hard, not soft, switches to all devices – webcams, microphones – that can be used for surveillance. A software on/off switch for a webcam is no longer enough, a hard shield in front of the lens is required. A software on/off switch for a microphone is no longer enough, a physical switch that breaks its electrical connection is required. That’s how you defend against this in depth.

Early last decade, privacy activists practically yelled and screamed that the NSA’s taps of various points of the Internet and telecom networks had the technical potential for enormous abuse against privacy. Everybody dismissed those points as basically tinfoilhattery – until the Snowden files came out, and it was revealed that precisely everybody involved had abused their technical capability for invasion of privacy as far as was possible.

Perhaps it would be wise to not repeat that exact mistake. Nobody, and I really mean nobody, is to be trusted with a technical capability to listen to every room in the world, with listening profiles customizable at the identified-individual level, on the mere basis of “trust us”.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/06/google-chrome-listening-in-to-your-room-shows-the-importance-of-privacy-defense-in-depth/___

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2015-06-15 09:21:31 (10 comments; 16 reshares; 36 +1s; )Open 

So this is my next startup - net-generation reporting.

Today, I’m launching a news service in an entirely new format, designed to outcompete oldmedia. The new service publishes all news as shareable images, thereby bypassing a large number of restrictions and limitations, not needing clickbait, and being immune to adblock – but also paying people well, using bitcoin. Meanwhile, oldmedia continues to call people greedy and selfish for not buying their printouts of yesterday’s internet.

More in the blog post: http://falkvinge.net/2015/06/15/launching-new-reporting-service-682-writers-editors-managers-wanted-for-part-time-yes-youll-get-paid-and-paid-well-launch-now-operational-in-q3/

and on the wiki: https://wiki.falconwing.org/

Falkvinge starts net-generation news service, hiring 682 people___So this is my next startup - net-generation reporting.

Today, I’m launching a news service in an entirely new format, designed to outcompete oldmedia. The new service publishes all news as shareable images, thereby bypassing a large number of restrictions and limitations, not needing clickbait, and being immune to adblock – but also paying people well, using bitcoin. Meanwhile, oldmedia continues to call people greedy and selfish for not buying their printouts of yesterday’s internet.

More in the blog post: http://falkvinge.net/2015/06/15/launching-new-reporting-service-682-writers-editors-managers-wanted-for-part-time-yes-youll-get-paid-and-paid-well-launch-now-operational-in-q3/

and on the wiki: https://wiki.falconwing.org/

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2015-06-01 06:47:25 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 15 +1s; )Open 

Snooping section of the Patriot Act has expired. Now what? New column on Privacy News.

As the US Senate failed to renew the mass surveillance section of the US Patriot act, as of less than an hour ago, it has formally expired. This means that the US NSA, according to their own measures, are no longer authorized to do mass surveillance. What now?

Tonight, the infamous Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the NSA has been using to justify its mass blanket surveillance, expired. It came with so-called “sunset provisions” that meant it would automatically expire unless actively renewed. That happened – or rather, did not happen – last night. The law is no longer in effect.

However, as pointed out earlier, the NSA has been blanket wiretapping phonecalls since at least 1976, so it’s unclear how much they really depend on a law from 2001. This needs to be seen forthe polit... more »

Snooping section of the Patriot Act has expired. Now what? New column on Privacy News.

As the US Senate failed to renew the mass surveillance section of the US Patriot act, as of less than an hour ago, it has formally expired. This means that the US NSA, according to their own measures, are no longer authorized to do mass surveillance. What now?

Tonight, the infamous Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the NSA has been using to justify its mass blanket surveillance, expired. It came with so-called “sunset provisions” that meant it would automatically expire unless actively renewed. That happened – or rather, did not happen – last night. The law is no longer in effect.

However, as pointed out earlier, the NSA has been blanket wiretapping phonecalls since at least 1976, so it’s unclear how much they really depend on a law from 2001. This needs to be seen for the political victory that it is, rather than as an event causing the endgame change.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/05/snooping-section-of-us-patriot-act-has-expired-now-what/___

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2015-05-26 10:07:16 (3 comments; 1 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

NSA and Patriot Act - Keep eyes on the big picture, but every victory is important. New column on Privacy News.

As I wrote in my last column, an expiry of the Patriot Act means nothing to what the NSA does or does not. They have been wiretapping phonecalls since at least 1976, and are in no way, shape, or form dependent on the Patriot Act which was enacted in 2001 – when they had already been doing this for 25 years. However, one thing has crucially changed, and that’s the ability to win against the NSA.

Right now, a game is playing out in US Congress where the NSA is seen as the problem child, rather than the custodian of safety. That attitude change is the enormous political win here – not the exact wording of laws that come out of the game.

The NSA will keep doing exactly what they have been doing, legal or not, for the simple reason that they can, and aregetti... more »

NSA and Patriot Act - Keep eyes on the big picture, but every victory is important. New column on Privacy News.

As I wrote in my last column, an expiry of the Patriot Act means nothing to what the NSA does or does not. They have been wiretapping phonecalls since at least 1976, and are in no way, shape, or form dependent on the Patriot Act which was enacted in 2001 – when they had already been doing this for 25 years. However, one thing has crucially changed, and that’s the ability to win against the NSA.

Right now, a game is playing out in US Congress where the NSA is seen as the problem child, rather than the custodian of safety. That attitude change is the enormous political win here – not the exact wording of laws that come out of the game.

The NSA will keep doing exactly what they have been doing, legal or not, for the simple reason that they can, and are getting away with it. Their work is so secretive, for whatever made-up reason, that they are not held accountable – nobody is able to hold them accountable. The NSA's attitude is to the point where it’s reminiscent of caricature antagonists in games.

(“We do what we must, because we can.” — Aperture Science)

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/05/nsa-keep-eyes-on-the-big-picture-but-every-victory-is-important/___

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2015-05-26 07:16:52 (1 comments; 4 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

Liberties Report for week 21. Two things are interesting right now. While most eyes are on the NSA and the Patriot Act, a small country in Europe has announced it can't pay its national debt installments. If it goes bankrupt, more than one other country can follow - possibly cascading all the way to USA and China. And governments always save themselves first.

Presented by +Private Internet Access VPN:
https://tinyurl.com/librep-piavpn

https://youtu.be/glMUj_XwlyI

Liberties Report for week 21. Two things are interesting right now. While most eyes are on the NSA and the Patriot Act, a small country in Europe has announced it can't pay its national debt installments. If it goes bankrupt, more than one other country can follow - possibly cascading all the way to USA and China. And governments always save themselves first.

Presented by +Private Internet Access VPN:
https://tinyurl.com/librep-piavpn

https://youtu.be/glMUj_XwlyI___

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2015-05-19 20:10:15 (0 comments; 5 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

Liberties Report for week 20. David Cameron of the UK announces an end to the 250-year-old principle of anything not being explicitly forbidden by law always being allowed - a principle otherwise known as the Rule of Law. The GCHQ has received legislative permission to break into anything and everything. And in Sweden, law enforcement agencies are complaining that accused people are defending themselves, making their work difficult and preferring that their word cannot be questioned - moving from Orwellian territory into Kafkaesque.

Presented by +Private Internet Access VPN:
https://tinyurl.com/librep-piavpn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WtK1Xe0OJA

Liberties Report for week 20. David Cameron of the UK announces an end to the 250-year-old principle of anything not being explicitly forbidden by law always being allowed - a principle otherwise known as the Rule of Law. The GCHQ has received legislative permission to break into anything and everything. And in Sweden, law enforcement agencies are complaining that accused people are defending themselves, making their work difficult and preferring that their word cannot be questioned - moving from Orwellian territory into Kafkaesque.

Presented by +Private Internet Access VPN:
https://tinyurl.com/librep-piavpn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WtK1Xe0OJA___

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2015-05-15 08:57:29 (0 comments; 6 reshares; 10 +1s; )Open 

The NSA have wiretapped in bulk since 1976. They're not going to care what happens to the Patriot Act of 2001. New column on Privacy News.

Right now, there is a debate about a small section of the Patriot Act in the U.S., and which option best removes the authorization from the U.S. NSA to wiretap the world. Both answers in the debate are wrong. No change in law will stop the NSA’s behavior: they have been wiretapping like this since at least 1976, and will not care about changes to a law from 2001. It just happens to be the most convenient justification of the day. If that justification is removed, there will be countless others.

Let me tell you about an event in 2008, when I happened to be on the same expert panel as the local supervisor of NSA activities.

[...]

You will note from this episode that while there is an outward official legalj... more »

The NSA have wiretapped in bulk since 1976. They're not going to care what happens to the Patriot Act of 2001. New column on Privacy News.

Right now, there is a debate about a small section of the Patriot Act in the U.S., and which option best removes the authorization from the U.S. NSA to wiretap the world. Both answers in the debate are wrong. No change in law will stop the NSA’s behavior: they have been wiretapping like this since at least 1976, and will not care about changes to a law from 2001. It just happens to be the most convenient justification of the day. If that justification is removed, there will be countless others.

Let me tell you about an event in 2008, when I happened to be on the same expert panel as the local supervisor of NSA activities.

[...]

You will note from this episode that while there is an outward official legal justification, the top brass know full well that what they’re doing is completely illegal on every level. More importantly, you will also note that they don’t care a bit that it’s illegal, for the simple reason they don’t have to care.

It comes down to this: When the problem is that the NSA and their accomplice agencies don’t care a bit what the law says, the solution cannot be to change what the law says.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/05/the-nsa-have-wiretapped-in-bulk-since-1976-theyre-not-going-to-care-what-happens-to-the-patriot-act-of-2001/___

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2015-05-12 20:02:01 (2 comments; 3 reshares; 16 +1s; )Open 

Liberties Report for week 19. France goes Orwellian, Canada goes Orwellian, and the UK goes Orwellian. It doesn't take a genius to see the pattern here. New so-called security bills give the government practically unlimited discretion in restricting liberty at will - if it were more honest, it would be called martial law. Meanwhile, the NSA had an apparent setback in a court that won't affect it at all. 

Presented by +Private Internet Access VPN:
https://tinyurl.com/librep-piavpn

http://youtu.be/sxjTSwsPJCk

Liberties Report for week 19. France goes Orwellian, Canada goes Orwellian, and the UK goes Orwellian. It doesn't take a genius to see the pattern here. New so-called security bills give the government practically unlimited discretion in restricting liberty at will - if it were more honest, it would be called martial law. Meanwhile, the NSA had an apparent setback in a court that won't affect it at all. 

Presented by +Private Internet Access VPN:
https://tinyurl.com/librep-piavpn

http://youtu.be/sxjTSwsPJCk___

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2015-05-10 21:13:33 (0 comments; 19 reshares; 27 +1s; )Open 

You cannot defend public libraries while opposing file-sharing. New column on TorrentFreak.

The purpose of public libraries is exactly the same as the effect of file-sharing. You cannot defend one while opposing the other.

Public libraries started appearing in the mid-1800s. At the time, publishers went absolutely berserk: they had been lobbying for the lending of books to become illegal, as reading a book without paying anything first was “stealing”, they argued. As a consequence, they considered private libraries at the time to be hotbeds of crime and robbery. (Those libraries were so-called “subscription libraries”, so they were argued to be for-profit, too.)

British Parliament at the time, unlike today’s politicians, wisely disagreed with the publishing industry lobby – the copyright industry of the time. Instead, they saw the economic value in aneducated an... more »

You cannot defend public libraries while opposing file-sharing. New column on TorrentFreak.

The purpose of public libraries is exactly the same as the effect of file-sharing. You cannot defend one while opposing the other.

Public libraries started appearing in the mid-1800s. At the time, publishers went absolutely berserk: they had been lobbying for the lending of books to become illegal, as reading a book without paying anything first was “stealing”, they argued. As a consequence, they considered private libraries at the time to be hotbeds of crime and robbery. (Those libraries were so-called “subscription libraries”, so they were argued to be for-profit, too.)

British Parliament at the time, unlike today’s politicians, wisely disagreed with the publishing industry lobby – the copyright industry of the time. Instead, they saw the economic value in an educated and cultural populace, and passed a law allowing free public libraries in 1850, so that local libraries were built throughout Britain, where the public could take part of knowledge and culture for free.

So how is this different from file-sharing? From manufacturing your own copies of knowledge and culture from others’ sources? Is it different at all?

We have built the most amazing public library ever created. All of humanity is able to access the collective culture and knowledge of all of humanity, twenty-four by seven, as well as contribute to that collective pool. All the tools are already in place, all the infrastructure already rolled out, all the training already completed. Not a single tax penny needs to be spent to accomplish this. The only thing we need to do is to remove the ban on using it.

Why are we letting a cartoon industry stand in the way of this?

http://torrentfreak.com/you-cant-defend-public-libraries-and-oppose-file-sharing-150510/___

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2015-05-07 07:41:45 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 8 +1s; )Open 

A private Internet is just as fundamental a right as Freedom of Speech. New column on Privacy News.

This week, new invasive spying bills passed in Canada and in France. Both of them, as usual, go beyond what has been seen before in their audacity. But a private net is just as fundamental a right as freedom of speech.

The concept of politicians listening to every phonecall, every conversation, every search, every thought was unthinkable just two decades ago. When the Soviet Union collapsed and East Europe was freed from enslavement, the idea was that the citizens of Eastern Europe were supposed to enjoy Western liberty from that point on instead of having their every move monitored by a distrusting government. It was never supposed to be the other way around, that the Western world would copy the governments of Eastern Europe.

Today, we exercise our fundamental rights... more »

A private Internet is just as fundamental a right as Freedom of Speech. New column on Privacy News.

This week, new invasive spying bills passed in Canada and in France. Both of them, as usual, go beyond what has been seen before in their audacity. But a private net is just as fundamental a right as freedom of speech.

The concept of politicians listening to every phonecall, every conversation, every search, every thought was unthinkable just two decades ago. When the Soviet Union collapsed and East Europe was freed from enslavement, the idea was that the citizens of Eastern Europe were supposed to enjoy Western liberty from that point on instead of having their every move monitored by a distrusting government. It was never supposed to be the other way around, that the Western world would copy the governments of Eastern Europe.

Today, we exercise our fundamental rights – freedoms of assembly, speech, opinion, the press, and expression – through the net. Therefore, a free net has itself become as fundamental a right, as all the other rights we exercise through it.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/05/a-private-net-is-just-as-fundamental-a-right-as-freedom-of-speech/___

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2015-05-05 15:16:45 (5 comments; 10 reshares; 19 +1s; )Open 

A year ago, the European Supreme Court appears to have ruled everything on the entire Web to be in the public domain, freely copyable and republishable by anybody. New article.

On February 13, 2014, the European Court of Justice - the Supreme Court of the European Union - appears to have ruled that anything published on the web may be re-published freely by anybody else. The case concerned linking, but the court went beyond linking in its ruling. This case has not really been noticed, nor have its effects been absorbed by the community at large.

It was a little-known ruling about hyperlinking. But beneath the surface lay a bombshell that will have repercussions for how the entire world exercises the copyright monopoly: a Supreme Court ruling that every single item posted on every single webpage without access control is permanently and irrevocably in the public domain, free for... more »

A year ago, the European Supreme Court appears to have ruled everything on the entire Web to be in the public domain, freely copyable and republishable by anybody. New article.

On February 13, 2014, the European Court of Justice - the Supreme Court of the European Union - appears to have ruled that anything published on the web may be re-published freely by anybody else. The case concerned linking, but the court went beyond linking in its ruling. This case has not really been noticed, nor have its effects been absorbed by the community at large.

It was a little-known ruling about hyperlinking. But beneath the surface lay a bombshell that will have repercussions for how the entire world exercises the copyright monopoly: a Supreme Court ruling that every single item posted on every single webpage without access control is permanently and irrevocably in the public domain, free for anybody else to copy and rebroadcast without restrictions - without restrictability.

The ECJ makes it clear that the copyright monopoly holder, once having granted an audience permission to access the work, that copyright holder has no further right to authorize or prohibit other transmissions of the same work to the same public or audience.

It therefore follows, as the ECJ writes in its ruling, that once something is published openly on the web, the entire world has been granted access to it, deliberately, by the copyright monopoly holder. Therefore, the ECJ continues in driving down the hammer on this crucial point, there are no further exclusive rights to authorize or prohibit. This effectively puts the work in the public domain.

https://falkvinge.net/…/a-year-ago-the-european-supreme-co…/___

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2015-04-26 22:58:52 (1 comments; 14 reshares; 46 +1s; )Open 

Farmers who are unable to repair their tractors because copyright monopoly: Never a "side effect", but core intention of the law. New column on TorrentFreak.

This week, there have been stories about farmers who can’t legally repair their John Deere tractors, as copyright monopoly legislation prohibits tampering with computer code in something you own. This has been described as an “unexpected side effect” of the copyright monopoly legislation in general and the DMCA/EUCD in particular.

That’s wrong. It’s not a side effect and it’s not unexpected. That is exactly what those laws intended to accomplish. Being locked out of your own possessions is not a side effect – it was the central point of the legislation and its core purpose.

As usual, the geeks who understood the deeper repercussions of this cried murder over the legislation at the time,and were summ... more »

Farmers who are unable to repair their tractors because copyright monopoly: Never a "side effect", but core intention of the law. New column on TorrentFreak.

This week, there have been stories about farmers who can’t legally repair their John Deere tractors, as copyright monopoly legislation prohibits tampering with computer code in something you own. This has been described as an “unexpected side effect” of the copyright monopoly legislation in general and the DMCA/EUCD in particular.

That’s wrong. It’s not a side effect and it’s not unexpected. That is exactly what those laws intended to accomplish. Being locked out of your own possessions is not a side effect – it was the central point of the legislation and its core purpose.

As usual, the geeks who understood the deeper repercussions of this cried murder over the legislation at the time, and were summarily ignored by policymakers. Perhaps only now, when it becomes clear that it’s not just geek toys that are affected but everything in our everyday life, will more people become aware of how the copyright monopoly limits property rights.

The cartoon industry – copyright industry – realized that they needed to attack the core concept of the ability to hold property in order to prop up their crumbling copyright monopoly, and pushed for legislation that turned out as something called the DMCA in the US and the EUCD/InfoSoc in Europe. It “fixes” the conceptual problem with DRM by simply making it illegal to tinker with your own property when the original manufacturer, who sold the object to you, doesn’t want it tinkered with even after it’s been sold to you.

John Deere claiming that farmers aren’t allowed to tinker with their tractors and other farming equipment is not an “unfortunate side effect” of copyright monopoly legislation. It was the core idea, all the time, to prevent owners of property to exercise their normal property rights. That was the only possible way the copyright monopoly was even slightly maintainable into a digital environment.

One has to ask whether it was, and continue to be, worth that price.

http://torrentfreak.com/farmers-unable-to-repair-tractors-because-copyright-never-a-side-effect-but-core-intention-of-law-150426/___

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2015-04-15 10:51:41 (2 comments; 7 reshares; 35 +1s; )Open 

#SCIENCE !

#SCIENCE !___

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2015-04-15 10:40:29 (1 comments; 7 reshares; 19 +1s; )Open 

In NZ, Copyright industry threatening ISPs over un-geoblocking. New column on Privacy News.

News are trickling out from Down Under – from NZ to be precise, not Australia – that the copyright industry is threatening to sue Internet Service Providers who offer geoblock circumvention, a typical feature of VPNs that ISPs had offered directly.

The concept of geoblocking is complete nonsense in the first place, of course. Yes, you can segment a market by natural boundaries in order to run a better business. But those border lines are supposed to be internal to your business, not imposed onto the rest of society. You have no right intruding on the property of others to enforce your arbitrary division. When you do so anyway, and try to get that right legislated, it shows your business is hopelessly broken from the ground up, and that you’re trying to assert a level of control thatwas n... more »

In NZ, Copyright industry threatening ISPs over un-geoblocking. New column on Privacy News.

News are trickling out from Down Under – from NZ to be precise, not Australia – that the copyright industry is threatening to sue Internet Service Providers who offer geoblock circumvention, a typical feature of VPNs that ISPs had offered directly.

The concept of geoblocking is complete nonsense in the first place, of course. Yes, you can segment a market by natural boundaries in order to run a better business. But those border lines are supposed to be internal to your business, not imposed onto the rest of society. You have no right intruding on the property of others to enforce your arbitrary division. When you do so anyway, and try to get that right legislated, it shows your business is hopelessly broken from the ground up, and that you’re trying to assert a level of control that was never yours to assert in the first place.

The point is, of course, that it doesn’t work in the first place. The Internet wasn’t built with national boundaries in mind, so an approximation is all you get. Approximations may be fine for a lot of measurement applications, but never for enforcement of something.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/04/in-nz-copyright-industry-threatening-isps-over-un-geoblocking/___

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