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Thinking for Ourselves—A Commodity in Short Supply?
The shared post here, written by +Max Huijgen as A Sunday Rant, provides an excellent perspective and food for thought. The original shared article from +Euro Maestro provides depth and context. With extreme effort I have resisted the temptation to extemporize—it would be simply repetitious and add noise. The linked post and article say it all. The 'all' is summed up in Max's statement here.

"People, please can we stop playing fodder to all these organizations who found there is money and power in using you. Can we stop blindly following our new leaders and doing exactly what we despised when they were the old leaders. Can we stop thinking that if you are not against evil, you must be a terrorist?"

I will add simply one statement to provide perspective. Consider historical precedent and ignore the 'Internet'. Focus on all forms of revolution.
 
STOP THIS LAW NOW: why we stand to lose our individualism even before lawmakers restrict it
There is a new acronym and you need to stop it because it´s evil. The internetz say so!
As you can see in the attached post, there is yet another law which is circulating on the internetz. Posters in abundance who like to sign petitions as acronyms are evil, we all know that. And after SOPA things got a lot easier.

People don´t really know about laws and treaties in the world. After all we are not all constitutional lawyers or students of international law. The good news however is that this is no longer needed as we now have videos and bloggers who explain it all.

´All´? No, they don´t bother reading this stuff of course but they have all seen you can pump up your pageviews and win thousands of followers if you cry out loud for evil threatening the internetz. Freedom is at stake, sign now and stop it.

To get some attention there are some things to avoid: reading the actual treaty or law, summarizing it in your own words or discussing the stuff. Doing so would dilute your powerful message to stop as it´s EVIL.

We live in a world where you are before or against things and decent people follow their thought leaders. People like Rick Santorum, Fox news, or George W. Bush. If you didn´t support the Patriot Act best thing to do was lock you up in Guantanomo bay as you were clearly a traitor.

So why not use the same mechanism called Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, another acronym called FUD to fight back. SOPA threatened the new corporations in Silicon Valley so it had to be stopped. The old economy, represented by Hollywood and the big five in the music industry lost that battle from the new kids on the block. Facebook and certainly Google live from sharing copyrighted material so they lead the masses into a fight against SOPA.

Later on we got ACTA, the European version of SOPA we were told, by the same pageview pundits. Nobody ever bothered with the fact that ACTA had no relation at all with Europe as it was signed by the US as well, but as I read at that time +Chris Pirillo, certified geek and LEGO lover was against it, so it had to be even worse than SOPA. After all Chris played with LEGO so he was a renowned expert on acronyms, so let´s follow his lead and sign the petition.

Now we have CISPA, yet another acronym and the same people are pleased to hear that there is another easy page view generator. All we need is a petition, which is easily setup and some arguments. Let´s think, what would work?

Of course, it´s worse than SOPA! Always a good one, The Iranians are worse than the commies so let´s bomb them too!
More? Ah, a common enemy, congress supports it!!! If the enemy of the people supports it, we should be against it as congress is evil as well. Not convinced? More enemies needed? How about Microsoft and Facebook support it! Yes, that´s a good one! We all know these are evil companies and we are against evil so this pure win.

Need more? Arguments? What? Ah well, we have a video of +David Seaman who reads aloud from the pages of the Minnesota daily and Mashable. Now it all makes sense. We have a video of this "political contributor for Suicide Girls" quoting from well known reliable examples of in-depth research ;)

Still doubts: he says he read the bill and it´s really vague so it could be very dangerous.The other day I read the warranty on my new iPad and it was very vague as well so maybe that´s dangerous as well. I have put it in the shed until there is video and a petition.

People, please can we stop playing fodder to all these organizations who found there is money and power in using you. Can we stop blindly following our new leaders and doing exactly what we despised when they were the old leaders. Can we stop thinking that if you are not against evil, you must be a terrorist?

Can we start using our own brains again? Please, Fox news, the Tea Party and the Patriot Act are worse enough and if we want to fight for the right to use our own brains and air our own thoughts on the internetz it´s crucial we don´t lose that very freedom of individualism we want to protect

Read the linked post and comments to see this is a serious worry and remember +Euro Maestro is just one of the people so it´s nothing personal, but an outcry for the last signs of critical thinking on the internet

Feel free to debate the merits of CISPA as well, but don´t assume I´m suddenly supporting all laws: I am just afraid we lost our individualism even before any law could limit the freedom to express it. #SundayRant
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Wendy Cockcroft's profile photoEuro Maestro's profile photoPeter Strempel's profile photoMax Huijgen's profile photo
32 comments
 
+Colin Lucas-Mudd As always, very well said. I find it very interesting that often the argument is made that the internet is somehow different. It's another form of communication, yes but that doesn't mean that the already broad foundation of laws doesn't apply. Libel is still libel whether the words are printed in a newspaper, spoken on a television broadcast or posted on an internet blog.
 
Historical context +Colin Lucas-Mudd should have taught us that the danger is not in laws, but in losing our individual judgement by following ´thought leaders´ A common enemy and blind support has costed us more than whatever proposal ever been sent to a parliament. History should have taught us that one thing, but alas....
 
Thank you +Euro Maestro. Indeed. Of course, when spoken face-to-face such defamation is technically 'slander'. So, how does this place 'Hang Outs'? At least verbal and face-to-face interaction is more honest!
 
But but but our country is on a brink of doom that will destroy everything! And somehow this is different than the brinks of doom we've been on for pretty near all of recorded history!
 
A scary fact of history is that individualism took a long time to develop (it wasn't even fully developed by the time of St. Augustine in the 5th century AD), and it hasn't fully developed in certain parts of the world. Men could learn to live without the longing for liberty once again. Then who would stand up to tyranny?
 
Rats! +Craig Lennox. You read too many of my comments and posts. You know my favorite period of history and my hot buttons. :-)
 
I'm not sure what this guy's position on these laws is. And it's dangerous to suggest that we don't worry our pretty little heads about laws that restrict the internet and what we can do about it. The idea that educating myself via the blogs and reading the actual text thereof is contrary to individualism insults my intelligence. It may shock you, +Max Huijgen, to learn that I, Wendy Cockcroft, a mere nerd, can read and decide for myself what to think!

Due to circumstances I'm not willing to discuss here, I am actually quite reluctant to take at face value what anyone says, particularly when it's a one-sided emotional rant. I read the Mashable article, the Techdirt article, and related articles, then went over the text of the law. Then the Richard O'Dwyer case came up. Wasn't he told not to worry his pretty little head about it before extradition proceedings were initiated? That's been approved by Theresa May and he's appealing. Then came the R&BXclusive and Megaupload shutdowns. Then JotForm. Is that GroupThink? Am I imbibing the Koolaid of the internet bloggers? Erm, no.

+David Seaman is correct in his assertions. The clauses that made my hair stand on end include:

‘(2) CYBER THREAT INTELLIGENCE- The term ‘cyber threat intelligence’ means information in the possession of an element of the intelligence community directly pertaining to a vulnerability of, or threat to, a system or network of a government or private entity, including information pertaining to the protection of a system or network from--‘(A) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or‘(B) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.

That "intellectual property" clause is so vaguely worded that the MPAA can go after people more easily than ever before. Have you noticed yet that infringement is being increasingly criminalized and more harshly punished? How long till Plod kicks my door down for watching 80s videos on YouTube? It's not implausible, the way things are going.

Here's the other one that worries me:

‘(2) USE AND PROTECTION OF INFORMATION- Cyber threat information shared in accordance with paragraph (1)--‘(A) shall only be shared in accordance with any restrictions placed on the sharing of such information by the protected entity or self-protected entity authorizing such sharing, including, if requested, appropriate anonymization or minimization of such information;‘(B) may not be used by an entity to gain an unfair competitive advantage to the detriment of the protected entity or the self-protected entity authorizing the sharing of information; and‘(C) if shared with the Federal Government--‘(i) shall be exempt from disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code;‘(ii) shall be considered proprietary information and shall not be disclosed to an entity outside of the Federal Government except as authorized by the entity sharing such information; and‘(iii) shall not be used by the Federal Government for regulatory purposes.

Did you notice the word "Proprietary?" This means it can be licensed and sold. What information? Information about us and what we're doing. Datamining. And don't worry your pretty little head about it, social networks, the government ain't gonna regulate it.

And here's the kicker:

‘(3) EXEMPTION FROM LIABILITY- No civil or criminal cause of action shall lie or be maintained in Federal or State court against a protected entity, self-protected entity, cybersecurity provider, or an officer, employee, or agent of a protected entity, self-protected entity, or cybersecurity provider, acting in good faith--‘(A) for using cybersecurity systems or sharing information in accordance with this section; or‘(B) for not acting on information obtained or shared in accordance with this section.

No liability or accountability to the public. Here's where they tell you where to shove your privacy concerns:

‘(d) Federal Preemption- This section supersedes any statute of a State or political subdivision of a State that restricts or otherwise expressly regulates an activity authorized under subsection (b).

(1) not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, establish procedures under paragraph (1) of section 1104(a) of the National Security Act of 1947, as added by subsection (a) of this section, and issue guidelines under paragraph (3) of such section 1104(a);

Now go and read the National Security Act of 1947. It's a spy bill.

Still believe I don't think for myself? The nerve!
 
Perfectly stated +Wendy Cockcroft. Thank you for the time. As you may know I have been writing about Richard O'Dwyer and S.978 (that became SOPA) since day one. Back then there were few of us. My particular 'rant' is extraterritoriality and May's, together with her predecessors, completely spineless behavior.

Back in those days, way before G+ it was I, a few other arcane bloggers, +Lawrence Lessig, Maplight.org, and the Guardian raising the issues and asking the questions. My purpose here, as usual, was to present opposing views. As I stated, I decided to leave the commentary to commentators. I thank you for your perspective and effort. Here's hoping for more engagement from those who think but will not invest energy. It's the only path. Thus the question mark at the end of my headline.
 
Right with you there, +Colin Lucas-Mudd. Playing Devil's Advocate is an acceptable form of debate, and I could, if I so desired, argue that CISPA and the other bills are all about protecting data and keeping the hackers out. The thing is, it's not like you can go to jail for informing the FBI or CIA that you've been hacked.

IP law is in desperate need of reform and the UK's special relationship should not amount to "Assume the position." I'd love to see somebody tell the US where to get off just for once!

My own rant basically amounts to "Keep your nose out of my business and stop assuming a) that I'm a criminal because I use the internet and b) that I'm an idiot because I object to draconian legislation." I'm also naffed off about the over-protection of IP. As it is now, it's really destructive and not really benefitting anyone apart from the lawyers.
 
+Wendy Cockcroft ´This guy´ is here ;)
You dump a lot of text and that´s impossible to discuss in a sensible way. Did i single you out as a non reader or slavish follower of blogs? No, I didn´t.
Am I aware of all these other worries? Yes, and I have posted at length about them with arguments

Do I agree with the text dump? Hard to disagree with a wall of text, but let me assure you that your first worry about the MPAA or ´intellectual property´ is not in the law proposal. I hope this helps as many people seem to base their opposition on an earlier draft which made a reference which served no purpose so has been removed from the proposal.

As for the second part about the proprietary information. This is a law based on the idea there is such a thing as proprietary. And yes proprietary means you can sell or trade it. That´s the nature of the beast. But having proprietary rights is based on the US constitution (all other constitutions I am aware of). Hate or love it, but most states have the concept of possession and the rights which go with it.

Is it unreasonable that a security law states that if some information is proprietary it will not be disclosed nor used for government purposes other than to fight the cyber threat mentioned? Would you find it an improvement if data collected based on this law would be shared and used by government agencies for other purposes?
 
+Max Huijgen your decision to refuse to engage with a tl;dr post is your own choice. I get annoyed when people make blanket statements in which people like me are accused of playing follow my leader. I'll wait for your reply to make my next point lest you be put off by the length of the post.
 
Okay, I just got annoyed that this goose wasn't getting any sauce re: posts with points and arguments. Bear with me while I read through it.
 
All i try to avoid +Wendy Cockcroft is a war of text dumps and vids as that´s exactly my point. I summarize my own views while it would be less trouble to copy paste some answer from elsewhere. So that takes a little time, but it´s worth it for a sensible debate as you will no doubt agree.
 
Okay, putting some spaces between my points because this is a long one:

let me assure you that your first worry about the MPAA or ´intellectual property´ is not in the law proposal. I hope this helps as many people seem to base their opposition on an earlier draft which made a reference which served no purpose so has been removed from the proposal.


The amendments have indeed been approved and yes, the intellectual property references have been removed. I still fear that they'll find a way to sneak it back in. I don't mind the idea of protecting against intellectual property infringement and believe it or not I'm not a pirate. I recognise the need to pay for things including content. I propose a solution in which Big Content either does a deal with the Bit Torrent providers and streamers or provides its own legal alternatives thereto. OR the ISPs can add the retail price of the downloaded item to the customer's bill and let them work out for themselves who's been downloading films and whatnot on the internet. The retail price might be the amount one would either pay for a DVD or a cinematic showing.


As for the second part about the proprietary information. This is a law based on the idea there is such a thing as proprietary. And yes proprietary means you can sell or trade it. That´s the nature of the beast. But having proprietary rights is based on the US constitution (all other constitutions I am aware of). Hate or love it, but most states have the concept of possession and the rights which go with it.


Please can you provide me with links to demonstrate your point? Here's a brief history of copyright law in the US: http://www.sustainablediversity.com/?p=9


Is it unreasonable that a security law states that if some information is proprietary it will not be disclosed nor used for government purposes other than to fight the cyber threat mentioned? Would you find it an improvement if data collected based on this law would be shared and used by government agencies for other purposes?


I don't mind it being used for any purposes as long as those purposes don't result in my door being kicked down for watching 80s videos on YouTube. I'm actually not in the tinfoil hat brigade, although I realise it may seem that way.

For example, our government does a census every few years to find out what's going on with the population. The idea is to know what to plan for where infrastructure, education, and other facilities are concerned. That's fine with me. Just don't lock me up or otherwise penalise me on someone else's say-so.

Megaupload was taken down without any warning on suspicion of criminal activities. The charges against them have yet to be proved and the US government apparently wants to ditch the evidence: http://torrentfreak.com/megaupload-host-refuses-to-delete-user-data-and-evidence-120410/
 
+Wendy Cockcroft
If people are afraid that things which are not in a law nor the subject of the law and are purposefully removed will be ´sneaked back in´ there is no stopping them.
Why we need to sign petitions to stop laws which could be amended again but don´t contain the offensive paragraph beats me.

Your second point I just don´t understand. Are you arguing that i can infer from the history of copyright law that the US constitution is not based on the premise that there is such a thing as possession of goods and rights?

Your third point, you admit yourself, is not related to this law. I fully sympathize with your concerns and like I stated earlier have been very vocal on the eviction cases, SOPA, the MegaUpload case and patent law to name just a few.
However that´s no reason for a mass campaign to stop an unrelated law. The subject of my rant was to make people realize that they shouldn´t trust lobbyist no matter which side they are on, nor page view generators as they just love the ad revenue.

I assume you see the validity of my argument now that some of your concerns proof to be not in this law. It´s by the way not a law i ´support´ as I´m not even an American citizen and I object to a much larger system of laws and regulations implemented to defend the US against perceived threats, but that´s an entirely different discussion.

All congress has learned is to avoid acronyms. My tip to law makers: make sure it´s inevitable that the acronym becomes a copyrighted term to avoid people from easily ranting against them. I´m sure +Chris Pirillo wouldn´t have called for action against ACTA in Europe (he had no problems apparently with the US signing it) if it had been called LEGO ;)
 
If people are afraid that things which are not in a law nor the subject of the law and are purposefully removed will be ´sneaked back in´ there is no stopping them.

SOPA was stopped. We killed the bill.


Your second point I just don´t understand. Are you arguing that i can infer from the history of copyright law that the US constitution is not based on the premise that there is such a thing as possession of goods and rights?


No, you can infer that copyright is not the same as a sack of spuds or the right to prosecute someone who tries to steal them. The IP holders have been working to expand the terms of copyright and patents to ridiculous extents: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Birthday_to_You#Copyright_status

A grocer, by contrast, no longer owns the spuds when you have paid for them. Only IP law has this idea that you don't own what you pay for and must needs keep on paying for years for a license to use it and only in prescribed ways.


Your third point, you admit yourself, is not related to this law. I fully sympathize with your concerns and like I stated earlier have been very vocal on the eviction cases, SOPA, the MegaUpload case and patent law to name just a few.
However that´s no reason for a mass campaign to stop an unrelated law. The subject of my rant was to make people realize that they shouldn´t trust lobbyist no matter which side they are on, nor page view generators as they just love the ad revenue.


I didn't trust the lobbyists from either side. I read the arguments presented by Chris Dodd here: http://www.scribd.com/TheGift73/d/82562253-Senator-Chris-Dodd-Chairman-and-CEO-of-MPAA-Remarks-to-the-Atlanta-Press-Club-Text-as-Prepared-for-Delivery-Wednesday-February-22-2012 and in other posts, and the arguments presented by +Michael Masnick et al for the opposition.

Then I read the text of the bills and came to my own conviction. Here it is: any law that fails to narrowly define the rights and responsibilities of any entity, whether it be government, corporate, or a private citizen, can and will be abused. That is and will always be a huge problem to me. The unconstitutional presumption of guilt and dismissal of due process was also an issue.


I assume you see the validity of my argument now that some of your concerns proof to be not in this law. It´s by the way not a law i ´support´ as I´m not even an American citizen and I object to a much larger system of laws and regulations implemented to defend the US against perceived threats, but that´s an entirely different discussion.


Then you were playing Devil's Advocate and I can play that too. Following the emotional ranter just because he's emotional is not a clever thing to do and I dislike internet mobbing as much as you appear to. However, in a case where dangerous laws are being made, it's often the only recourse we've got. And SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, and CISPA are bloody dangerous, whatever way you slice it.


All congress has learned is to avoid acronyms. My tip to law makers: make sure it´s inevitable that the acronym becomes a copyrighted term to avoid people from easily ranting against them.

Like that'll work. The text of laws are public domain anyway. Besides, you know the internetz. If they haven't got an acronym to work with, they'll make one up.


I´m sure +Chris Pirillo wouldn´t have called for action against ACTA in Europe (he had no problems apparently with the US signing it) if it had been called LEGO ;)


I wouldn't be so sure. Betrayal of childhood pleasures and all that. ACTA is one nasty piece of legislation because it conflates copyright with trademarks and counterfeit items, all of which are very separate. Even though the text has been revised many times over, the wording is still too vague and we can all agree that it's about enforcing IP.

The problem is, it's also not the ceiling. The aim of the game is to ratchet up the penalties for IP infringement and raise the threshold ever higher. The numbers don't add up and there's a hell of a difference between snake oil and baking powder masquerading as Viagra and someone watching Game of Thrones on Megavideo. The purpose of ACTA was to jam those principles together to create a one-size-fits-all definition. That's the problem with it and that is why it's got to go.
 
If ACTA came into force in my own country no law or jurisdiction needs to be changed so by that reasoning I already live in a ´bloody dangerous´ country.

There is no way to debate this as it´s based on a deep mistrust in all laws. I fully respect that opinion but then the call for action must be to stop all acts. 99% will fail to pass your test.

You oppose future enhancements, possible interpretations etc, which mutatis mutandis would be valid for all legislation and regulation efforts.

Most laws and treaties when looked at in this very loose way will be objected then by you and possibly the internet community and the professional lobbyists.

I´m left to wonder why the treaty of Nice, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Paris etc were not objected against in the same way.

Is it a good sign of the ´powers´ of the internet that the post quoted by me with the video and the five ´arguments´ went viral while my post got a selected reading. My attempt to link to this discussion between you and me which used real arguments were removed from the comments section as to not distract the sharers....

How about that for the new freedom of information on the internet.....
 
Unfortunately the freedom of information on G+ is limited so the post by +Euro Maestro to which I linked has just been removed him including all comments.
Another blow for G+ as a place for intellectual debate.
edit apologies for the confusion: it gave a 404 error last night so I assumed it was deleted
 
There's really not an awful lot more I can say, +Colin Lucas-Mudd and +Max Huijgen that you both know I haven't already said in the past few days on this very theme. Know that I'm with you in spirit, comrades.
 
Another inaccurate statement by +Max Huijgen. The post to which he link was not removed.
 
See above +Euro Maestro
Thanks +Peter Strempel I´m afraid we lost the #WarOnWords when videos with a guy reading from his iPad quoting Mashable on laws go viral...
 
+Peter Strempel the video which was used as the source for the latest #warOnAcronyms showed a guy reading an article from Mashable about the new EVIL:
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