EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.07.13

Digital Freedom in the Age of War on Dissent

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 10:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is what tomorrow’s ‘terrorists’ may look like to the ruling class…

Aaron Swartz and Lawrence Lessig

Summary: Why software freedom is not enough for freedom as a whole and why technology rights in the age of ever-increasing Western oppression necessitate privacy, free speech, competition (e.g. forks, multiple trajectories), collaboration and other libertarian practices

Journalists, activists, protesters, dissenting online voices, whistleblowers (i.e. truth-tellers) and alternatives to the current economic system have come under attacks using laws that were passed to tackle terrorism. “Terrorism” as a label is nearly becoming synonymous with dissent when even Wikileaks gets called “terrorists” by some politicians and Occupy protests (against crimes of banks) get called “low-level terrorism”, then crushed by the FBI. It’s all about maintaining a status quo of profound economic disparity and a perpetual atmosphere of tension or bloody wars (motivated at times by greed, ideology, and racism). Many who engage in preserving or restoring justice are now literally terrorised. Let the press around the world go wild over the latest NSA scandal, knowing that they now have the hard evidence they needed. This is all over the British news today, including the radio. An old friend whom I’ve just had a long lunch with was taken by surprise by these latest revelations (to him it’s new and he is a businessman in his sixties). The debate about privacy is being transformed rapidly and radically right now. Imperialism and the accompanying oppression rear their ugly head for everybody to witness in shock and awe.

This is a good time to pause and ask ourselves, how can we defend ourselves from this tyrannical anarchy of pseudo accountability? First of all, pass the latest news reports to friends and loved ones. Make sure that everything they do over the wire and wireless (Internet and phone calls) they do with full knowledge that they may be recorded, even if they do nothing controversial and have never set foot on the United States (there is actually a worldwide conspiracy among fusion centres, just like ECHELON, so it’s not just a US issue). But this is just the first step. Tell them about free/libre software, putting aside the economic arguments. Free as in freedom-respecting software is a prerequisite, but it is not enough, not quite anyway. Now is a good time to equip friends and loved ones with freedom- and privacy-respecting software (non-free/libre software cannot be trusted for privacy unless it never ever in its entire lifetime gets access to an Internet connection or external media/peripherals). Make sure they know that everything they do online they should always be happy to make public to everyone (marking something private or “deleted” on the so-called ‘cloud’ has insufficient effect due to weak data retention regulations).

“”Terrorism” as a label is nearly becoming synonymous with dissent when even Wikileaks gets called “terrorists” by some politicians and Occupy protests (against crimes of banks) get called “low-level terrorism”, then crushed by the FBI.”If you are involved in a business which uses so-called ‘cloud’ services, put nothing personal there and, if possible, insist on internal-only use (self-hosted and firewalled with reputable encryption method at endpoints, e.g. Jabber). Changing for the better corporate choices of software, such as ‘clouds’, ought to be somewhat easier now that we know how the NSA and its international allies operate behind a veil of secrecy and documents do exist to prove it.

If you are using a third-party E-mail service, don’t. Self-hosted or domestically-hosted mail is not expensive and help can be sought when it comes to setup. Invite other people to drop US-based mail hosts like GMail, Yahoo Mail, and Microsoft’s brand du jour for E-mail. My wife and I only ever pass mail through localhost with strong encryption at the end-points. If you must buy a phone, buy it anonymously using cash and top it up as you go, using cash. Keep names off conversations and remove the battery when the phone is not used (we know for a fact that some phones can track and also record remotely when turned off; some got backdoored and turned into listening devices). Think this is paranoid? Then read Aaron Swartz’s full story. Think this is impractical? Then fine, it sure makes life a little harder — a sacrifice that many campaigners (however benign) must make. The Swartz fiasco hardly even started to make mainstream news until after he had committed suicide (watch how his Wikipedia article/biography has exploded in length since the day he died), whereupon the extremely unjust allegations and charges got dropped. Swartz was an effective advocate/campaigner in the field of copyright (not anti-war) and those who hounded him reached out for things he had written to prove intent to commit a non-crime which he never even committed. Secret agents, for a verified fact, were ‘assigned’ to him. Bradley Manning is currently being smeared in the corporate media for helping to expose war crimes; he had reached out to the Washington Post and New York Time (got ignored and turned away) before he came to Wikileaks. Notice the pattern; you hardly need to do anything but threaten those in power (or with a lot of money) to get hounded and spied on retroactively.

“If you surf controversial sites (not illegal, just controversial, which in some nations is illegal), be sure to use privacy-assuring VPN or Tor.”Don’t use cash machines with nearby phone/s switched on (suffice to say, with the exception of monthly billings which are banal anyway, do not make transaction with a credit/debit card as they all phone home to the NSA in the post-SWIFT era). The ATM (cash machine) is an identity checkpoint. One’s house can be roughly identified if the phone is used there too often. CCTV does not register one’s ID.

If you surf controversial sites (not illegal, just controversial, which in some nations is illegal), be sure to use privacy-assuring VPN or Tor. Better yet, consider setting up Tor nodes for those in the world whose authoritarianism is more trigger-happy and censorship-leaning. Judging by current trends, online censorship is only ever getting worse — not better — as this new thing called the Web grows, expanding to more nations and to more underprivileged people who find a voice or a source.

“Do not underestimate the extent of the surveillance industrial complex; it is embedded in society, possibly even in societies and clubs you are a part of.”Use SIP clients on the phone. Linphone has a good Android app which works well for me with video. Do not use Skype for video, voice, or even text. Microsoft recently confirmed that it is reading what you write. Assume all mobile and landline communication to be recorded, if not by you or the other participant/s, then by a corporation or a shadowy government contractor (as suggested in the UK years ago). Don’t share password over the phone and definitely not by E-mail. Don’t over-re-use passwords. Where possible, I always give people their passwords on a piece of paper, having handwritten it with a pen. You cannot have your mind read for the password and the US is currently breaking the Constitution by demanding that a man gives his decryption passphrase or go to prison. He is used as a witness against himself, but the Constitution defends his right for now (while prosecutors try to brute-force crack his hard drive and succeed to extent). Crypto-cracking is the NSA’s lesser-advertised role. Cryptology is disabled by default (if available at all) in many proprietary software applications where integrity of encryption algorithms (i.e. no back doors) cannot be verified and free(dom) software downloads of crypto packages is banned in some nations whose interests are seen as West-hostile (this controversy goes several years back and they label download “export” to make embargo rules applicable). Two relatives of two people I know were approached by spooks who tried to recruit them, one as a cracker and another as an informant (de facto infiltration); they both declined (and those who don’t decline cannot talk about it). Do not underestimate the extent of the surveillance industrial complex; it is embedded in society, possibly even in societies and clubs you are a part of. You would not know if you spoke to a secret agent unless s/he unmasked him/herself (at which point s/he was no longer secret). I only found myself speaking to a spook once (knowingly, there may be more), but I was warned in advance, so it already restricted the conversation. Be careful of Internet trolls or sources of provocation, or those who ask for more access into your privacy without first earning deep trust. Some provocation is indeed to incite and incriminate; same with the latter — it is to demonise, ‘expose’, destroy reputation or derail popular action against notorious rulers.

“Be careful of Internet trolls or sources of provocation, or those who ask for more access into your privacy without first earning deep trust.”Secret agencies are very relevant to software freedom and decentralisation because they help show us that free/libre software is essential. They can’t suppress it when people recognise what’s at stake. I may live a harder life because I choose to challenge some zealous forms of authority, but it sure feels rewarding. Recycling one’s trash and enjoying a life without materialism is a gift money can’t buy. Switch off public broadcast (government-endorsed programming), neglect and dismiss consumerism as a time-consuming distraction, pick up some digital tools that come in source code form and help fix what has become a corrupt society — one where the biggest criminals usually wear suits, loot everyone, and sneer at all those ‘smelly peasants’ from whom they derive all of their power.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Web Site of French Senator Richard Yung Cracked Just Days After Criticising the EPO

    A French politician finds himself red-faced after criticising the EPO, as his site gets flagged as malicious, gets blocked, and his blog post (speech) about the EPO vanishes



  2. New Survey Shows That Even Patent Professionals Know That Team UPC is Lying About Unitary Patent Roadmaps

    The "Unified Patent Court (UPC) is unlikely to become operational by December 2017 [according to] nearly three-quarters of WIPR readers," but Team UPC continues to spread lies



  3. Does the EPO Want Patent Quality to Decline Against the USPTO and Become Akin to SIPO?

    The EPO, which is trying to convert a patent system into a cash cow rather than a public service, risks losing public support and an applicants base (where it hasn't lost it already)



  4. Xinova is a Patent Troll With Connections to Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures, the World's Largest Troll

    A Microsoft patent troll gives birth to another trollish tentacle (one among literally thousands), this one called "Xinova" but formerly known as Invention Development Fund (IDF)



  5. IAM 'Magazine' Rented Out to Microsoft Again, in Order to Attack Amazon (as Host of Free/Libre Software) Using Software Patents FUD

    The new front against GNU/Linux, or the attempt by Microsoft to tax the platform using software patents, is glossed over in puff pieces from Microsoft, conveniently published under IAM's own umbrella again



  6. Links 27/2/2017: GNU Linux-libre 4.10, Weston 2.0.0, Git 2.12.0, Linux From Scratch 8.0

    Links for the day



  7. Top Officials in French Government Are Growing Tired of Battistelli's Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    An automated translation of a recent debate about the EPO in the French government, culminating in intervention by Richard Yung



  8. A US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Which is Hostile Towards Patent Maximalists May Closely Examine More Patents That Apple Uses Against Android

    A company which often takes pride in designers rather than developers (art, not technical merit) may lose that leverage over the competition if its questionable patents are taken away by the Supremes



  9. As Long as Software Patents Are Granted and Microsoft Equips Trolls With Them, “Azure IP Advantage” is an Attack on Free/Libre Software

    Microsoft is feeding enemies of GNU/Linux and Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) in order to sell its 'protection', which it names "IP Advantage" in a rather Orwellian fashion (same naming as back in the Novell days)



  10. Patent Trolls on Their Way Out in the United States and Their Way Into China, No Thanks to the Open Invention Network (OIN)

    An update on patent trolls and the role played by supposed allies of Free/libre software, who in practice do everything to exacerbate the problem rather than resolve it



  11. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VIII: When Governed by Criminals, Truth-Tellers Are Cast as Criminals and Criminals as Justice Deliverers

    The bizarre state of affairs at the European Patent Office, where being an honest and transparent person makes one incredibly vulnerable and subjected to constant harassment from the management



  12. The Sickness of the EPO – Part V: Shedding Light on Institutional Abuse Against Ill and/or Disabled Individuals

    The seriousness of the situation at the EPO and a call for action, which requires greater transparency, even if imposed transparency



  13. The EPO's Race to the Bottom in Recruitment and Early Retirements Explained by an Insider

    The European Patent Office under Battistelli is failing to attract -- and certainly failing to retain -- talented examiners



  14. Wouter Pors and Other UPC Boosters Believe That Repeating the Lies Will Potentially Make Them Truths

    The lobbying campaign for UPC, or hopeful lies (sometimes mere rumours) disguised as "news", continues to rely on false perceptions that the UPC is just a matter of time and may actually materialise this year



  15. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Utilised in Fixing the US Patent System and the Patent Microcosm Loses Its Mind

    A roundup of PTAB news, ranging from attacks on the legitimacy of PTAB to progress which is made by PTAB, undoing decades of overpatenting



  16. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Take on Patents Pertaining to Business Methods

    Patents on tasks that can be performed using pen and paper (so-called 'business methods', just like algorithms) and oughtn't be patent-eligible may be the next casualty of the America Invents Act (AIA)



  17. Google's Stewardship of GNU/Linux (Android, Chromebooks and More) in Doubt After Company Resorts to Patent 'First Strikes'

    Google has just turned a little more evil, by essentially using patents as a weapon against the competition (by no means a defensive move)



  18. Links 24/2/2017: Ubuntu 17.04 Beta, OpenBSD Foundation Nets $573,000 in Donations

    Links for the day



  19. IAM, Greased up by the EPO, Continues Lobbying by Shaming Tactics for the UPC, Under the Guise of 'News'

    The shrill and well-paid writers of IAM are still at it, promoting the Unitary Patent (UPC) at every opportunity and every turn



  20. Patent Scope Gone Awry: European Vegetable Patents Office?

    In its misguided race to raise so-called 'production', the EPO lost sight of its original goals and now facilitates patent royalty payments/taxation for naturally-recurring items of nature



  21. Yes, There is Definitely Brain Drain (Experience Deficit) at the European Patent Office and Stakeholders Feel It

    The direction that the European Patent Office has taken under Battistelli undoes many decades (almost half a century) of reputation-building and progress and naturally this repels existing staff, not to mention hampers recruitment efforts



  22. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IV: Cruel Management That Deliberately Attacks the Sick and the Weak

    The dysphoric reality at the European Patent Office, which is becoming like a large cell (with bolted-down windows) where people are controlled by fear and scapegoats are selected to perpetuate this atmosphere of terror and maintain demand (or workload) for the Investigative Stasi



  23. Links 23/2/2017: Qt 5.9 Alpha, First SHA1 Collision

    Links for the day



  24. UPC Roundup: War on the Appeal Boards, British Motion Against the UPC, Fröhlinger Recalled, and Fake News About Spain

    Taking stock of some of the latest attempts to shove the Unitary Patent (UPC) down Europe's throat, courtesy of Team Battistelli and Team UPC



  25. The Sickness of the EPO – Part III: Invalidity and Suicides

    An explanation of what drives a lot of EPO veterans to depression and sometimes even suicide



  26. The Appeal Board (PTAB) and Federal Circuit (CAFC) Maintain Good Pace of Patent Elimination Where Scope Was Exceeded

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to accept about 4 out of 5 decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) refuses to intervene



  27. Software Patents Are Ebbing Away, But the “Swamp” Fights Back and Hijacks the Word “Fix”

    The club of patent maximalists, or those who profit from excess prosecution and legal chaos, isn't liking what has happened in the United States and it wants everything reversed



  28. Report From Yesterday's Debate About the European Patent Office (EPO) at the Bavarian Landtag

    A report of the EPO debate which took place at the Bavarian Landtag yesterday (21/2/2017)



  29. Links 22/2/2017: Wine-Staging 2.2, Nautilus 3.24

    Links for the day



  30. French Politician Richard Yung Tells the Government About Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    The subject of EPO scandals has once again landed in French politics, just a couple of months since it last happened


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts