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. Research Into Who's Putting DRM Inside Linux

    Back doors may be hard to detect (requires understanding a lot of underlying code), but how about malicious 'features' or antifeatures that are put in the kernel to serve Hollywood at the expense of the kernel's users?



  2. "Dia da Liberdade" in Portugal -- Wilted Carnations in EPOnia

    "Reliable sources report that the discontent continues to simmer among the EPOnian peasantry and that the steam is slowly but inexorably building up inside the pressure cooker," tells us a guest writer



  3. The Quality of Patents is Connected to the Quality of Life of Patent Examiners

    EPO staff is not happy (a new President has not changed things) and the problems associated with low quality of patents become more visible in courtrooms



  4. American Patent Courts Keep Narrowing Patent Scope, No Matter What Few Politicians Are Doing on Behalf of Litigation Firms and Patent Trolls

    Acts of desperation in the patent microcosm of the United States, where judges now overwhelmingly reject software patents at all levels (tribunals, lower courts, higher courts)



  5. Links 25/4/2019: Rancher Labs Releases Slim OS, OpenBSD 6.5 is Ready

    Links for the day



  6. Links 24/4/2019: Chrome 74, QEMU 4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  7. Supreme Court of the UK, Which Habitually Throws Out European Patents, May Overturn Troublesome Unwired Planet v Huawei Decision

    A lot of European Patents are facing growing scrutiny from courts (Team UPC, including Bristows, publicly complains about it this month) and "greenwashing" of the Office won't be enough to paint/frame these patents as "ethical"



  8. German Federal Patent Court Curbs the Patent Maximalism of the EPO, Which Promotes Patents on Nature and/or Maths Every Single Day

    European courts are restraining the EPO, which has been trying to bypass or replace such courts (with the UPC); it certainly seems as though European Patents rapidly lose their legitimacy or much-needed presumption of validity



  9. Any 'Linux' Foundation Needs to Be Managed by Geeks, Not Politicians and PR People

    Linux bureaucracy has put profits way ahead of technical merits and this poses a growing threat or constitutes risk to the direction of the project, not to mention its ownership



  10. Links 23/4/2019: Kodi 'Leia' 18.2 and DeX Everywhere

    Links for the day



  11. Code of Coercion

    Entryism is visible for all to see, but pointing it out is becoming a risky gambit because of the "be nice!" (or "be polite!") crowd, which shields the perpetrators of a slow and gradual corporate takeover



  12. António Campinos Would Not Refer to the EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal If He Did Not Control the Outcomes

    António Campinos and his ilk aren’t interested in patent quality because his former ‘boss’, who publicly denied there were issues and vainly rejected patent quality concerns as illegitimate, is now controlled by him (reversal of roles) and many new appointees at the top are "yes men" (or women) of Campinos, former colleagues whom he bossed at EUIPO (as expected)



  13. Links 22/4/2019: Linux 5.1 RC6, New Release of Netrunner and End of Scientific Linux

    Links for the day



  14. USPTO and EPO Both Slammed for Abandoning Patent Quality and Violating the Law/Caselaw in Order to Grant Illegitimate Patents on Life/Nature and Mathematics

    Mr. Iancu, the ‘American Battistelli’ (appointed owing to nepotism), mirrors the ‘Battistelli operandi’, which boils down to treating judges like they’re stooges and justices like an ignorable nuisance — all this in the name of litigation profits, which necessitate constant wars over illegitimate patents (it is expensive to prove their illegitimacy)



  15. IRC Proceedings: January 27th, 2019 – March 24th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  16. IRC Proceedings: December 2nd, 2018 – January 26th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  17. Links 21/4/2019: SuperTuxKart's 1.0 Release, Sam Hartman Is Debian’s Newest Project Leader (DPL)

    Links for the day



  18. The EPO's Use of Phrases Like “High-Quality Patent Services” Means They Know High-Quality European Patents Are 'Bygones'

    The EPO does a really poor job hiding the fact that its last remaining objective is to grant as many European Patents as possible (and as fast as possible), conveniently conflating quality with pace



  19. A Reader's Suggestion: Directions for Techrights

    Guest post by figosdev



  20. Links 20/4/2019: Weblate 3.6 and Pop!_OS 19.04

    Links for the day



  21. The Likes of Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), Team Campinos and Team UPC Don't Represent Europe But Hurt Europe

    The abject disinterest in patent quality and patent validity (as judged by courts) threatens Europe but not to the detriment of those who are in the 'business' of suing and printing lots of worthless patents



  22. The Linux Foundation Needs to Change Course Before GNU/Linux (as a Free Operating System) is Dead

    The issues associated with the Linux Foundation are not entirely new; but Linux now incorporates so many restrictions and contains so many binary blobs that one begins to wonder what "Linux" even means



  23. Largest Patent Offices Try to Leave Courts in a State of Disarray to Enable the Granting of Fake Patents in the US and Europe

    Like a monarchy that effectively runs all branches of government the management of the EPO is trying to work around the judiciary; the same is increasingly happening (or at least attempted) in the United States



  24. Links 19/4/2019: PyPy 7.1.1, LabPlot 2.6, Kipi Plugins 5.9.1 Released

    Links for the day



  25. Links 18/4/2019: Ubuntu and Derivatives Have Releases, digiKam 6.1.0, OpenSSH 8.0 and LibreOffice 6.2.3

    Links for the day



  26. Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make 'Business' by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

    Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future



  27. Concluding the Linux Foundation (LF) “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 3)

    Conferences constructed or put together based on payments rather than merit pose a risk to the freedom of free software; we conclude our series about events set up by the largest of culprits, which profits from this erosion of freedom



  28. “Mention the War” (of Microsoft Against GNU/Linux)

    The GNU/Linux desktop (or laptops) seems to be languishing or deteriorating, making way for proprietary takeover in the form of Vista 10 and Chrome OS and “web apps” (surveillance); nobody seems too bothered — certainly not the Linux Foundation — by the fact that GNU/Linux itself is being relegated or demoted to a mere “app” on these surveillance platforms (WSL, Croûton and so on)



  29. The European Patent Office Does Not Care About the Law, Today's Management Constantly Attempts to Bypass the Law

    Many EPs (European Patents) are actually "IPs" (invalid patents); the EPO doesn't seem to care and it is again paying for corrupt scholars to toe the party line



  30. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Once Again Pours Cold Water on Patent Maximalists

    Any hopes of a rebound or turnaround have just been shattered because a bizarre attack on the appeal process (misusing tribal immunity) fell on deaf ears and software patents definitely don't interest the highest court, which already deemed them invalid half a decade ago


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