People have a right to privacy and also a right to develop our own minds and make thoughtful decisions. Every time major corporations and governments acquire one more way to track our activities and interests, compile statistics about what we like and what we do, and use that information to control our behaviour by limiting us, selling us and brainwashing us, our independence as autonomous beings is eroded. Privacy is not something we can give up on fighting for.
They’re still trying to pass a version of SOPA/PIPA – under the national radar
Why did Congress back off of trying to pass SOPA/PIPA legislation? In case you don’t understand how bad SOPA/PIPA are, here’s a fantastic explanation of what it’s all about for “privacy, liberty loving American(s)”. I guess it wasn’t because we scared politicians with massive protests and the blackout of many internet sites. Only days later, individual states are beginning to pass the same laws on a state by state basis. Believe me, this is a planned campaign and Hawaii is only the first. Monied interests are not going to give up the right they see as G-d given to make money on everything we do and to buy real estate inside our heads where they can camp out and dictate needs and wants to us. Make no mistake, this is more than a fight: it’s a war.
requiring Internet providers to keep track of every Web site their customers visit.
The legislation appears to have been inspired by this Web site attacking Hawaii Rep. Kym Pine. It was created by her ex-Web designer after a billing dispute. Its House of Representatives has scheduled a hearing this morning on a new bill (PDF) requiring the creation of virtual dossiers on state residents. The measure, H.B. 2288, says “Internet destination history information” and “subscriber’s information” such as name and address must be saved for two years. H.B. 2288, which was introduced Friday, says the dossiers must include a list of Internet Protocol addresses and domain names visited. Democratic Rep. John Mizuno of Oahu is the lead sponsor
Google gets more aggressive about collecting your information
In Europe, push-back against ACTA grows
“from the wow dept . . . European Parliament Official In Charge Of ACTA Quits, And Denounces The ‘Masquerade’ Behind ACTA . . . Kader Arif, the “rapporteur” for ACTA, has quit that role in disgust over the process behind getting the EU to sign onto ACTA.”
ACTA — a global treaty — could allow corporations to censor the Internet. Negotiated in secret by a small number of rich countries and corporate powers, it would set up a shadowy new anti-counterfeiting body to allow private interests to police everything that we do online and impose massive penalties – even prison sentences — against people they say have harmed their business.
Europe is deciding right now whether to ratify ACTA — and without them, this global attack on Internet freedom will collapse.
Twitter also joined the privacy violation chain today
This was the banner day for privacy busters everywhere.
Oh no! Reuters, CBS, and other outlets are reporting that Twitter is going to start censoring tweets in certain countries:
Twitter announced Thursday that it would begin restricting Tweets in certain countries, marking a policy shift for the social media platform that helped propel the popular uprisings recently sweeping across the Middle East.
And this quote is just tragic, as Twitter tries to rationlize away restrictions on speech as mere cultural differences:
“As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression,” Twitter wrote in a blog post published Thursday.
From the Middle East, to Occupy, to SOPA and PIPA, the importance of open platforms like Twitter couldn’t be more clear than it is today.
Couchsurfing joins the trash users’ privacy bandwagon
Not wanting to be left out of attacking privacy rights, Couchsurfing, which recently was bought for $7.6 million dollars by an investment group, decides to completely trash its current users’ privacy rights by making past group posts visible to the world. Here’s the comment I posted on the CS administration’s blog:
This is obviously actionable. On Feb 1 if it’s implemented, I’m going to offer sign-ups to a group to begin a class action suit. I hope LOTS OF CSers will join.
The community makes this group. So many volunteers have built CS into the vibrant, cozy community it is – those who open their homes to others, share information, moderate the activity. Now because some investors need to make money, that’s all going to be flushed down the toilet.
All the social communities out there are being operated along the same principles: see a group bonding and growing. Wham! Start selling that engagement to the highest bidder. Find ways to collect more data, pool the data, share it for profit with other social organizations.
CSers profiles show their real addresses, show their real life friends, tell each other when they’re going to be away from home on vacation. CSers show pictures of their minor children, tell about their family’s habits and preferences. The new CS administration wants to encourage rapists, thieves, murderers and voyeurs to explore our community by enticing them into the fold with snippets of information turned up in Google searches and the promise of much, much more when they sign up for membership.
The person who said,” I see the need to monetize the site.” That is not correct. There was greed, not need. Now, probably, the original owners who sold CS community members down the river are wishing they’d never done this – but its too late. Time to build a new CS and sue the pants off of the current one.
What can I do to protect my privacy?
Educate yourself. Understand the issues, and the votes taken on them, so you can discuss the issues and the politicians with others.
- OpenSecrets.org (all kinds of information being obscured from public view
- FactCheck.org (verify the facts)
- OpenCongress.org (Congressional voting records)
Raise your voice – write and call your politicians on all levels of society, write letters to the editors of newspapers, blog, comment on blog posts and on news sites. Talk to your family members, friends, work colleagues, sports buddies. Get your teeth sunk into this issue and hold on for dear life.
Get involved with group discussions. Form an educational group, propose materials on the subject to your reading group, speak to other parents.
Support the people and organizations that are fighting for your freedom (and mine).
- Free Press
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Electronic Privacy Information Center
- Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law Professor, who’s spending his life educating America about how disconnected American politicians have become from the American people and why we should take big money out of public elections: 28 Oct 2011 lecture
- and book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It