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Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates

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Innovative thinking by Alki-David:
Billionaire Alki David On CBS Lawsuit and His Solution To BitTorrent Piracy
...So, given a magic wand, how would David solve the piracy dilemma – try to crush torrent sites like The Pirate Bay, or take a different approach?

“I would send the ISP of the websites an invoice for a small fee (say 5 dollars) for each torrent download to give to the rights holders. The ISP would have to collect from the customer or pay it themselves,” David concludes.

--- End quote ---

That's a dead simple transfer-pricing regime, right there.

This is an interesting turn-up for the books:
Verizon Sued For Defending Alleged BitTorrent Pirates
(Copied in the spoiler below sans embedded hyperlinks/images, with my emphasis.)
SpoilerA group of adult movie companies is suing Verizon for failing to hand over the personal details of alleged BitTorrent pirates. The provider systematically refuses to comply with court-ordered subpoenas and the copyright holders see these actions as more than just an attempt to protect its customers. According to the them, Verizon’s objections are in bad faith as the Internet provider is profiting from BitTorrent infringements at the expense of lower-tier ISPs.

The ongoing avalanche of mass-BitTorrent lawsuits reveal that IP-addresses can get people into a heap of trouble.

In many cases the person who pays for the account is not the person who shared the copyrighted material. However, this is the person who gets sued, something that can have all kinds of financial implications.

To shield their customers from this kind of outcome Verizon now objects to subpoenas granted by courts in these cases. Not in one case, but in dozens. One of the arguments cited by Verizon’s attorneys is that the requests breach the privacy rights of its customers.

“{The subpoena} seeks information that is protected from disclosure by third parties’ rights of privacy and protections guaranteed by the first amendment,” their counsel informed the copyright holders.

Verizon further cites arguments that have previously been successful in similar cases, including the notion that mass lawsuits are not proper as the defendants did not act in concert.

Three of the copyright holders, all makers of adult films, have had enough of Verizon’s refusals and have filed a lawsuit against the company at a federal court in Texas. Malibu Media, Patrick Collins and Third Degree Films ask the court to hold Verizon in contempt and compel Verizon to respond to the subpoenas.

“Verizon objects to the subpoenas on various grounds, all of which lack merit. Accordingly, Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court overrule each of Verizon’s objections, compel immediate compliance with Plaintiffs’ subpoenas and hold Verizon in contempt for failing to obey the subpoenas,” they write.

Aside from countering Verizon’s arguments directly, the copyright holders claim that Verizon’s refusal to hand over customer details is in bad faith, as the ISP profits from the alleged copyright infringements.

The movie companies back up this claim by pointing to a study published last year, which concluded that large ISPs profit from BitTorrent at the expense of smaller ones.

“Verizon’s current Objections can only be seen as being asserted in bad faith, and with the expectation to continue to profit from BitTorrent infringement at the expense of other, lower-tier ISPs and the consuming public at large. There is seemingly no incentive for ISPs such as Verizon to aggressively identify infringers on their network,” they tell the court.

“Add to this the fact that Verizon and its cohorts enjoy virtual immunity from liability under the development of laws such as the DMCA, and this scenario presents multiple concerns of fairness and accountability.”

While it’s a novel argument, the movie studios omit to mention that Verizon is also one of the partners in the upcoming “six-strikes” scheme, which aims to decrease copyright infringements through BitTorrent.

The ISP previously told TorrentFreak that it sees more value in a system where users are warned and educated, as opposed to being sued in court.

“We believe this program offers the best approach to the problem of illegal file sharing and, importantly, is one that respects the privacy and rights of our subscribers. It also provides a mechanism for helping people to find many great sources of legal content,” Verizon told us.

The “six strikes” anti-piracy scheme, or copyright alerts system as it’s officially named, is expected to go live later this week. But since the adult film industry is not invited, mass-BitTorrent lawsuits are not going away anytime soon.

That said, the current case can make a huge impact according to Rob Cashman, a lawyer who represents many accused Does in these BitTorrent cases.

Cashman explains that if the ISP wins then copyright holders have no other way to identified the defendants, meaning that these and other Verizon defendants are off the hook.

“The hope and expectation on my end is that other ISPs will follow suit. This will be one more way we can shut down these trolling cases for good,” Cashman says.

“On the flip-side, if the judges grant the request to force the ISPs to comply with their subpoenas, then it will be “game on” for both of us. They will continue trying to extort money from the defendants, and attorneys such as myself and others will continue placing our “monkey wrenches” to break their operations,” Cashman adds.

Whatever happens, the case is going to be one to watch.

  An update of sorts.  According to this article, the U.S. and the European Parliment are now opposing the treaty.  Personally I'll believe it when I see it.....

U.N. readies for protests on eve of secret Internet regulation treaty
With the potential of becoming SOPA and CISPA on steroids, a multinational U.N.-sponsored treaty will be decided behind closed doors in Dubai next weekend. Leaked documents show why everyone wants it stopped.

An update of sorts.  According to this article, the U.S. and the European Parliment are now opposing the treaty.  Personally I'll believe it when I see it.....

U.N. readies for protests on eve of secret Internet regulation treaty
With the potential of becoming SOPA and CISPA on steroids, a multinational U.N.-sponsored treaty will be decided behind closed doors in Dubai next weekend. Leaked documents show why everyone wants it stopped.
-Tinman57 (November 27, 2012, 07:09 PM)
--- End quote ---
Yes, and if you are right, then we have real cause for concern.
Doha, Qatar - a great regional locus of universal truth and freedom...Oh, but wait...

Useful post at
Julian Assange: Cryptographic Call to Arms
The post/notes from Assange are copied in the spoiler below:
1 December 2012
Julian Assange: Cryptographic Call to Arms

Excerpted from Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet, by Julian Assange with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Müller-Maguhn and Jérémie Zimmermann. OR Books, New York, 2012, 186 pages, Paper. Buy online. Cryptome review of the book.

Pages 1-7.


This book is not a manifesto. There is not time for that. This book is a warning.

The world is not sliding, but galloping into a new transnational dystopia. This development has not been properly recognized outside of national security circles. It has been hidden by secrecy, complexity and scale. The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen. The internet is a threat to human civilization.

These transformations have come about silently, because those who know what is going on work in the global surveillance industry and have no incentives to speak out. Left to its own trajectory, within a few years, global civilization will be a postmodern surveillance dystopia, from which escape for all but the most skilled individuals will be impossible. In fact, we may already be there.

While many writers have considered what the internet means for global civilization, they are wrong. They are wrong because they do not have the sense of perspective that direct experience brings. They are wrong because they have never met the enemy.

No description of the world survives first contact with the enemy.

We have met the enemy.

Over the last six years WikiLeaks has had conflicts with nearly every powerful state. We know the new surveillance state from an insider's perspective, because we have plumbed its secrets. We know it from a combatant's perspective, because we have had to protect our people, our finances and our sources from it. We know it from a global perspective, because we have people, assets and information in nearly every country. We know it from the perspective of time, because we have been fighting this phenomenon for years and have seen it double and spread, again and again. It is an invasive parasite, growing fat off societies that merge with the internet. It is rolling over the planet, infecting all states and peoples before it.

What is to be done?

Once upon a time in a place that was neither here nor there, we, the constructors and citizens of the young internet discussed the future of our new world.

We saw that the relationships between all people would be mediated by our new world, and that the nature of states, which are defined by how people exchange information, economic value, and force, would also change.

We saw that the merger between existing state structures and the internet created an opening to change the nature of states.

First, recall that states are systems through which coercive force flows. Factions within a state may compete for support, leading to democratic surface phenomena, but the underpinnings of states are the systematic application, and avoidance, of violence. Land ownership, property, rents, dividends, taxation, court fines, censorship, copyrights and trademarks are all enforced by the threatened application of state violence.

Most of the time we are not even aware of how close to violence we are, because we all grant concessions to avoid it. Like sailors smelling the breeze, we rarely contemplate how our surface world is propped up from below by darkness.

In the new space of the internet what would be the mediator of coercive force?

Does it even make sense to ask this question? In this otherworldly space, this seemingly platonic realm of ideas and information flow, could there be a notion of coercive force? A force that could modify historical records, tap phones, separate people, transform complexity into rubble, and erect walls, like an occupying army?

The platonic nature of the internet, ideas and information flows, is debased by its physical origins. Its foundations are fiber optic cable lines stretching across the ocean floors, satellites spinning above our heads, computer servers housed in buildings in cities from New York to Nairobi. Like the soldier who slew Archimedes with a mere sword, so too could an armed militia take control of the peak development of Western civilization, our platonic realm.

The new world of the internet, abstracted from the old world of brute atoms, longed for independence. But states and their friends moved to control our new world -- by controlling its physical underpinnings. The state, like an army around an oil well, or a customs agent extracting bribes at the border, would soon learn to leverage its control of physical space to gain control over our platonic realm. It would prevent the independence we had dreamed of, and then, squatting on fiber optic lines and around satellite ground stations, it would go on to mass intercept the information flow of our new world -- its very essence even as every human, economic, and political relationship embraced it. The state would leech into the veins and arteries of our new societies, gobbling up every relationship expressed or communicated, every web page read, every message sent and every thought googled, and then store this knowledge, billions of interceptions a day, undreamed of power, in vast top secret warehouses, forever. It would go on to mine and mine again this treasure, the collective private intellectual output of humanity, with ever more sophisticated search and pattern finding algorithms, enriching the treasure and maximizing the power imbalance between interceptors and the world of interceptees. And then the state would reflect what it had learned back into the physical world, to start wars, to target drones, to manipulate UN committees and trade deals, and to do favors for its vast connected network of industries, insiders and cronies.

But we discovered something. Our one hope against total domination. A hope that with courage, insight and solidarity we could use to resist. A strange property of the physical universe that we live in.

The universe believes in encryption.

It is easier to encrypt information than it is to decrypt it.

We saw we could use this strange property to create the laws of a new world. To abstract away our new platonic realm from its base underpinnings of satellites, undersea cables and their controllers. To fortify our space behind a cryptographic veil. To create new lands barred to those who control physical reality, because to follow us into them would require infinite resources.

And in this manner to declare independence.

Scientists in the Manhattan Project discovered that the universe permitted the construction of a nuclear bomb. This was not an obvious conclusion. Perhaps nuclear weapons were not within the laws of physics. However, the universe believes in atomic bombs and nuclear reactors. They are a phenomenon the universe blesses, like salt, sea or stars.

Similarly, the universe, our physical universe, has that property that makes it possible for an individual or a group of individuals to reliably, automatically, even without knowing, encipher something, so that all the resources and all the political will of the strongest superpower on earth may not decipher it. And the paths of encipherment between people can mesh together to create regions free from the coercive force of the outer state. Free from mass interception. Free from state control.

In this way, people can oppose their will to that of a fully mobilized superpower and win. Encryption is an embodiment of the laws of physics, and it does not listen to the bluster of states, even transnational surveillance dystopias.

It isn't obvious that the world had to work this way. But somehow the universe smiles on encryption.

Cryptography is the ultimate form of non-violent direct action. While nuclear weapons states can exert unlimited violence over even millions of individuals, strong cryptography means that a state, even by exercising unlimited violence, cannot violate the intent of individuals to keep secrets from them.

Strong cryptography can resist an unlimited application of violence. No amount of coercive force will ever solve a math problem.

But could we take this strange fact about the world and build it up to be a basic emancipatory building block for the independence of mankind in the platonic realm of the internet? And as societies merged with the internet could that liberty then be reflected back into physical reality to redefine the state?

Recall that states are the systems which determine where and how coercive force is consistently applied.

The question of how much coercive force can seep into the platonic realm of the internet from the physical world is answered by cryptography and the cypherpunks' ideals.

As states merge with the internet and the future of our civilization becomes the future of the internet, we must redefine force relations.

If we do not, the universality of the internet will merge global humanity into one giant grid of mass surveillance and mass control.

We must raise an alarm. This book is a watchman's shout in the night.

On March 20, 2012, while under house arrest in the United Kingdom awaiting extradition, I met with three friends and fellow watchmen on the principle that perhaps in unison our voices can wake up the town. We must communicate what we have learned while there is still a chance for you, the reader, to understand and act on what is happening.

It is time to take up the arms of our new world, to fight for ourselves and for those we love.

Our task is to secure self-determination where we can, to hold back the coming dystopia where we cannot, and if all else fails, to accelerate its self-destruction.

-- Julian Assange, London, October 2012

You can buy the book in paper or ebook form - here, where it says:
The harassment of WikiLeaks and other Internet activists, together with attempts to introduce anti-file sharing legislation such as SOPA and ACTA, indicate that the politics of the Internet have reached a crossroads. In one direction lies a future that guarantees, in the watchwords of the cypherpunks, "privacy for the weak and transparency for the powerful"; in the other lies an Internet that allows government and large corporations to discover ever more about internet users while hiding their own activities. Assange and his co-discussants unpick the complex issues surrounding this crucial choice with clarity and engaging enthusiasm.

--- End quote ---
There's a very droll plug for the book on YouTube, Secret Leaked Video of Petraeus Outburst. Made me laugh till I cried.


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