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Rick Falkvinge
Works at Pirate Party
Attended Chalmers University of Technology
Lives in Sollentuna, Sweden
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Rick Falkvinge

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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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+Shawn H Corey - at present, there are two ways to shut down the NSA (and their various accomplices worldwide): cut funding, or cut electricity. But a change in the political scene is a good way there.
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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.

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

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http://youtu.be/sxjTSwsPJCk
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Australia is also heading in that direction with the recent data retention laws which are now fully funded in yesterday's budget.
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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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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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Copyright maximization turns into the destruction of private property: "you can pretend to own this, but we really do, and we can take it away from you".  That, by the way, was the state just after the Norman conquest of Britain. The Normans were land-lords, the English were serfs (which see).
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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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stick to Popcorn Time kiwi's ;)   - Gatekeepers & Ticket Clippers be damned!
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Rick Falkvinge

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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.

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The problem isn't Greece; it's the banks. Who gave Greece the same credit rating as Germany? It wasn't any gov't.

Every time a bank makes a loan, it creates new money. Whether it is a nation's debt, or the credit card in your pocket, every loan is new money. That's why the banks give countries with questionable financial wherewithal large loans; so they get a whole bunch of new money.

Nation debt is nothing but a Ponzi scheme. And sooner or later, all Ponzi schemes come crashing to the ground.
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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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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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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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Maybe we're misunderstanding each other. I don't mean any license applied after the fact, but as part of the publishing process. We might have to differentiate between a click through license (must agree and agreement is stored e.g. in a cookie) versus one that merely mentions the license (this content is published under...).

Either way, though, by retrieving the content, users agree to the license. The question is whether such an agreement constitutes a form of access control - the user could (at least in the first form) not agree to the license terms and therefore not gain access.

That first form IMHO is probably access control. The second form? Would be interesting to know. 
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Rick - I just sent a bottle of Immusist and some Sea Weed to a gal in Portland who had a stroke and went blind. a month later she could see out of he right eye. I do not know if it would help - I don't it - but it might relieve some of your pain. Dr Mount 253-686-6290 Hope I did not offend you but I wish all people to have good health.
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Wiretapping today just doesn't mean what the word meant in the 1990s, so don't fall for that lie. New column on Privacy News.

Many legislators and surveillance hawks are framing an extensive real-time bulk wiretapping of the Internet as “just an adaptation to new technology”, and try to pretend it doesn’t mean anything different today than it did in the analog world. That’s not just disingenuous, it’s a complete fabrication and an outright lie. Wiretapping today is a far worse intrusion than it was in the analog world; it’s so much worse it’s not even the same animal.

To go a little Miranda, everything you say, do, and think today can and will be used against you 20 and 40 years from today, when values have shifted in a way you can’t predict today.

Don’t fall for the lie of Internet wiretapping just being a “modernization” of wiretapping that’s always existed. It’s something far, far worse. It’s the closest thing we’ve ever come to mind reading – and surveillance hawks are pushing hard, lying, and scheming to introduce a blanket, indiscriminate version of it.

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2015/04/wiretapping-today-just-doesnt-mean-what-the-word-meant-in-the-1990s/
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  • Pirate Party
    Political Evangelist, 2011 - present
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    Party Leader, 2006 - 2011
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