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WWW Protests
WWW Protests - Community for Free Internet
WWW Protests - Community for Free Internet


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Touch my heart, make the revolution!
тронула мое сердце, сделать революции
لمس قلبي، وجعل الثورة

Image: "I sold my clothes to pay the passage"
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Germany Regulators Reopens Privacy Probe Against Facebook‎

Facebook came under regulatory radar again  in Germany on Thursday after authorities reopened a probe into the website’s facial recognition software which they say violates the privacy of its users.
The head of the data protection office in the northern city of Hamburg, Johannes Caspar, said in a note posted to his website  that  he would resume an investigation launched against Facebook more than a year ago but suspended in June believing that Facebook was complying with German demands.
“This hope has only been partially fulfilled,” he said in a statement. “The potential for abuse with a biometric database is immense.”
“We believe that the photo tag suggest feature on Facebook is fully compliant with EU data protection laws,” a Facebook spokesman said.”During our continuous dialogue with our supervisory authority in Europe, the Office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, we agreed to develop a best practice solution to notify people on Facebook about photo tag suggest,” he added.
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At least the Ecuador understands the nature of Justice, but the Governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden and the USA seem to assume that problems can be solved by force, to not give guarantees about the safety of Assange.
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With outrage growing over accusations of police brutality in Anaheim, Calif., an underground group of activists has released a new video calling on citizens to rise up in protest. "Operation Anaheim" is the latest protest video from the "hacktivism" collective that calls itself Anonymous and its message is spreading like wildfire.
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CISPA bill targeted by activists

Cyber activists are looking to write a sequel to their takedown of SOPA with a “week of action” aimed at killing the new Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.

But the sequel's seldom as good as the original. And supporters say CISPA ain't SOPA.

SOPA, backed by the movie and music industries, would have cracked down on online piracy, making it harder for users to get cheap entertainment online. CISPA is aimed at combatting cyberattacks by encouraging private companies to share information about cyberthreats with the government. More important, the tech companies that battled against SOPA and helped foster protests through their social media platforms aren’t up in arms about CISPA.

Facebook, for example, is supporting it.

The challenge for the libertarians in the online community is to stir up resentment for CISPA among Internet users who already freely give up vast amounts of personal information to private companies and then mount a powerful enough offensive to make lawmakers back down.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Fight for the Future and several other advocacy groups will be rolling out the “Stop Cyberspying Week” campaign next Monday.

Their target is the bill sponsored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) that is expected to go to the House floor in two weeks.

“We want to make sure the sponsors and the co-sponsors understand that the Internet is not going to stand for it and Internet users are going to start reacting to the fact that the bill is moving,” said Tiffiniy Cheng, co-director of Fight for the Future. The group, which played a leading role in the online opposition to SOPA and PIPA, is planning to launch a website called at the end of this week that will feature a tool to help Web users email lawmakers.

Some of the same people who helped defeat SOPA earlier this year — forcing a bipartisan lineup of co-sponsors to flee — say CISPA is another example of Congress attempting to jam through a vaguely written bill that would have negative implications for anyone who uses the Internet. EFF says, like SOPA, CISPA is written so broadly that it could be used by companies and the government to block access to sites that allegedly host infringing content.

Rogers and Ruppersberger are quick to dispel the comparison.
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Netflix Has NOT Formed a Pro-Sopa Super-PAC

As soon as the news broke that Netflix had registered a political action committee called FLIXPAC, speculation that one of the items on its agenda would include anti-piracy legislation soon morphed into headlines like “NETFLIX FORMS PRO-SOPA PAC.” I’m not linking them on purpose.

Netflix has issued an official statement saying that neither SOPA nor PIPA is behind their formation of the PAC.

“PACs are commonplace for companies that lead a big, growing market and Netflix is no exception. Our PAC is a way for our employees to support candidates that understand our business and technology. It was not set up for the purpose of supporting SOPA or PIPA. Instead, Netflix has engaged on other issues including network neutrality, bandwidth caps, usage based billing and reforming the Video Privacy Protection Act.”

Aside from the fact that any company would have to be braindead or crazy to publicly associate itself with one of the least popular bills in the history of the Internet, Netflix has took a publicly neutral stance around the time of the debates. Politico does speculate that their private stance might have been more aggressive, however.

The word “copyright” is listed on the registration, but Netflix would be foolish to pick this as its hill to die on. While its stance on anti-piracy laws will be interesting to watch the next time legislation pushes the issue, for now I think we can believe it when it says that’s not what’s behind the PAC.
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Hate SOPA and ACTA? Then you’ll love TPP

This week in Chile, informal negotiations are being held on the controversial but little known Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

President Obama’s Office of the United States Trade Representative website describes TPP in rather glowing and, one might say, perfectly innocent terms. Like any bad government idea, it has to be marketed as a good one.
As the website states, TPP is “an ambitious, 21st-century… agreement that will enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, promote innovation, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs.” Innocuous wording, really. The type of bullshit one sees in the summary text of any piece of legislation or treaty, or on the homepage of a company website.

Leaked TPP provisions would, amongst other things, make international the US government’s all-encompassing copyright laws; force states to establish or maintain a system that provides for pre-established damages (monetary), which shall be available upon the election of the right holder (entertainment industry); make ISPs liable beyond the DMCA standards; establish legal incentives for ISPs to cooperate with copyright holders in combatting unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials (legalized corporate extortion); allow for the circumvention of US case law to identify internet users (suspected of storing and transmitting copyrighted materials) for any ISP; and would include the US/Korea side letter (KORUS) on shutting down websites.

In short, it would superimpose a global system on states that would force ISPs to cooperate with rights holders (and states) without due process, as well as let governments monitor internet users in some Orwellian (and ultimately futile) scheme to stop internet piracy. This week’s negotiations are critical in getting the treaty finalized in 2012.

As EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) notes, “TPP countries are holding informal inter-sessional discussions this week to nudge countries closer to agreement on the controversial intellectual property provisions ahead of the next formal round of negotiations in May.”

Why should Americans and other people worldwide be furious about TPP? It is an executive agreement, not a treaty, which means that its terms and conditions can be agreed upon in secret. Hence the leaked provisions referenced and linked above.

A handful of leaders, with teams of bureaucrats and lobbyists, not the billions of Internet users and experts in the field, are crafting agreements like TPP and ACTA, to say nothing of SOPA and PIPA. And if the US can seal the TPP deal, it will potentially revitatlize the currently shelved bills SOPA and PIPA, making them much easier to pass.

World leaders thrive on the ignorance and apathy of their people. The only way to fight back is to raise awareness about TPP and ACTA, and perhaps a critical mass of opposition will help defeat them. We saw a hint of this with the Polish politicians who donned Anonymous masks in protest of the EU’s support and Poland’s signing of ACTA. And, of course, protest helped temporarily cripple SOPA and PIPA.

Similar momentum against TPP, which isn’t as well known as ACTA, must be quickly achieved.
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Julian Assange Australia Senate Run Announced

Australia -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to run for a seat in the Australian Senate in elections due next year despite being under virtual house arrest in England and facing sex crime allegations in Sweden, the group said Saturday.

The 40-year-old Australian citizen is fighting extradition to Sweden. He has taken his legal battle all the way to Britain's Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on his case soon.

"We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained. Julian has decided to run," WikiLeaks announced on Twitter.

Assange has criticized Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's center-left government for not standing up for him against the potential threat of his extradition to the United States for prosecution over WikiLeaks' release of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents.

Australian police have concluded that WikiLeaks and Assange have not broken any Australian laws by publishing the U.S. cables, although Gillard has condemned the action as "grossly irresponsible."

John Wanna, an Australian National University political scientist, said it was possible for Assange to run for a Senate seat if he remains on the Australian electoral roll despite living overseas for several years.

"If he gets on the roll, then he can stand as long as he's solvent and not in jail and not insane," Wanna said.

Being convicted of a crime punishable under Australian law by 12 months or more in prison can disqualify a person from running for the Australian Parliament for the duration of the sentence, even if it is suspended.

Constitutional lawyer George Williams of the University of New South Wales said that provision of the constitution has never been tested in the courts in the 111-year history of the Australian federation and probably would not apply to a criminal conviction in a foreign country such as Sweden.

"I'm not aware of an impediment to him standing, even if he was convicted," Williams said.

Any adult Australian citizen can run for the Australian Parliament, but few succeed without the backing of a major political party. Only one of Australia's 76 current senators does not represent a party.

Every Australian election attracts candidates who have little hope of winning and use their campaigns to seek publicity for various political or commercial causes. Wanna said the odds are against Assange winning a seat, but that he could receive more than 4 percent of the votes in his nominated state because of his high profile. At that threshold, candidates can claim more than $2 per vote from the government to offset their campaign expenses. Assange's bill to the taxpayer could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The next Senate election cannot be called before July 2013 and is due around August. Candidates cannot officially register as candidates until the election is called at least a month before the poll date.

Assange's mother, Christine Assange, a professional puppeteer from rural Queensland state, said Saturday she had yet to discuss her son's political bid with him.

She criticized what she called the government's willingness to put its defense treaty with the United States ahead of the rights of an Australian citizen.

"The No. 1 issue at the next election regardless of who you vote for is democracy in this country – whether or not we're just a state of the U.S. and whether or not our citizens are going to be just handed over as a sacrifice to the U.S. alliance," she said.
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Serbia to adopt ACTA for EU membership

As a new candidate for EU membership, Serbia will have to adopt the controversial ACTA agreement if the bloc ratifies it. Official statistics show that software piracy in Serbia remains higher than in any EU member. EurActiv Serbia reports.

Assuming the EU and its member states ultimately ratify the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA see background), Serbia will have to follow suit as it will have become a full part of EU law, said Branka Totić, director of the Serbian Intellectual Property Office.

Totić dismissed fears that ACTA could lead to infringement of citizens rights, privacy and data protection rules, arguing that national implementation and judicial review of cases of suspected copyright violations would guard against this.“Therefore, I believe that there is no risk,” she said.

More generally, Totić said that Serbia must harmonise its laws with the regulations of the EU by 2013 and reach a level of protection of intellectual property that is similar to that in member states.She said Serbia’s laws in the field of protection of intellectual property are mostly in line with the EU legislation, but that more has to be done in their implementation.

Unlike the EU members, Serbia does not have specialised courts to deal with intellectual property and court proceedings last about two years, and sentences are often suspended.

“One is of an impression that, although the law envisages strict penalties for the crime of unauthorised use of copyrighted materials and brands, sentences pronounced are lower than for stealing physical, material goods,” she said.Piracy declining in SerbiaSerbia has a significantly higher rate of illegal software use than the EU, even compared with the members from Central and Eastern Europe, where it is relatively high.

For the first time in three years, Serbia’s software piracy rate has dropped, Totić said. According to estimates of the Serbian Tax Authority, the rate illegal software use, which was 74% in the previous three years, dropped by two or three percentage points in 2011.“Naturally, this is not satisfactory either, but it is a large move forward. According to some statistics, a one-percentage point reduction of piracy in the field of software leads to the opening of 1,200 new jobs,” she said.

The piracy rate in the EU in 2010 was 35%, according to figures of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a lobbying group representing numerous information technology companies including Adobe, Apple and Microsoft.

The highest rates of illegal software use in the EU were Bulgaria’s and Romania’s at 65% and 64% respectively.

Seizure of goodsTotić said that the customs authority had particular success in preventing the entry of counterfeit goods onto the Serbian market, while results of controls on the internal market are modest because inspection services are often burdened by other work.

“Last year, 150,000 pieces of pirated and counterfeit goods were confiscated at the border.

This is a very large number and testifies to the fact that our customs bodies have done the job well and that 10 years of work have truly yielded results,” Totić said.

She indicated that one problem is the porous character of the border with Kosovo. Kosovo, Totić said, is a channel for the entry of counterfeit and pirated goods from China and Turkey that are sold in Serbia as well as other European countries.

Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo have made even administrative cooperation difficult.
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File-sharing site reaches out to music industry

Amid continued protests against the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which opponents say would choke Internet freedom with harsh punishments for piracy, owners of a website accused of abetting illegal downloading have reached out to the recording industry in an effort to begin selling digital music legally.

"The market for selling music in the Czech Republic is deplorable, and we see a chance to change it," said Jan Karabina, co-owner of file-sharing website Ulož.to.

Representatives of Ulož.to approached the Czech branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) earlier this month to ask for a discussion on how to sell copyrighted music legally on the site, which currently does not monitor the content users upload and by law is only required to remove that content if the owner of the copyright requests it.

The IFPI had threatened to sue Ulož.to earlier in the year over the copyrighted music uploaded to the site by users, but now IFPI Czech Republic Director Petra Žikovská says she is hopeful an agreement can be reached with the owners of the website.

"There is no conclusion yet," said Žikovská, who declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations about pricing and the structure of the agreement.

"But we would absolutely welcome these kinds of discussions from other file-sharing sites because digital music is the future of the music industry - if it has a future at all."

Music sales dropped about 16 percent to 300 million Kč ($15.8 million/12 million euros) last year from 357 million Kč in 2010, according to the IFPI. In 2010, total music sales had dropped 27 percent year on year. Digital music sales, on the other hand, showed notable growth of 42 percent in 2011, but that rise did not offset the fall of CD and DVD sales.

Digital music accounted for only 12 percent of all music sales last year, but the rapid growth has been noticed by large distribution companies and independent artists alike, and both are increasingly willing to forego pressed CDs for digital-only sales, and are gradually less apprehensive about piracy.

Recording company and music publisher Supraphon opened a digital store last November, and Bontonland, the largest domestic chain of shops with music, films and digital games, is going to enter the digital market in April.

Prague-based American recording artist Eric Cherryhill, who goes by the professional name Nironic, says he wants to go mostly digital with his music sales, despite having some of his songs illegally downloaded thousands of times.

"With CDs, you're trying to get a physical thing to different outlets and countries. With the power of digital music, you can reach a much broader base of fans than you can with a pressed CD. Even the artwork you can make has the same quality digitally," said Nironic, who explained that though digital sales offer numerous advantages to artists, the online music buying culture will never start to develop unless more well-known companies like Apple start offering digital music in the Czech Republic.

"There has to be a very strong Czech entity that does it, because it's more reliable to deal with larger companies - iTunes has only recently been available in this region and when you look at the smaller companies, they struggle," Cherryhill said.

The ACTA treaty is a "wakeup call," according to Nironic, and a warning that artists, distributors, file-sharing sites and fans have to come up with a way to make digital music sales work, otherwise both Internet freedom and quality music will be in jeopardy.

He says, however, that if artists go digital, it can be a boon for independent music because independent artists can sell to their fans directly and avoid the large record labels, which all too often try to mold artists into commercial hits.

"When you go digital, you can compete at the bare market value because you can price your music in a way that is very competitive but still beneficial for you as an artist," he said.

Karabina says the key to combating piracy and boosting legal digital music sales in the Czech Republic is pricing and availability.

"If an adequate supply of legal content is available, people will have no reason not to buy it," Karabina said. "The future lies in systemic change, but the question is how long we will have to wait for it."
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