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. 'Reform' at the EPO Means Destroying the Staff Union, Crushing Patent Examiners, and Imposing on Europe a System It Does Not Want (UPC)

    The chaotic transition at the EPO -- a transition from something which has been workable to something intolerable -- and the role of the Unitary Patent (UPC), which lurks in the shadows and threatens to harm the whole of Europe



  2. Shakeup Against Patent Parasites in the US and More Rumours/Speculations About USPTO Director Michelle Lee After Trump's Inauguration

    The US patent system is becoming ever more hostile towards patent trolls, owing in part to reforms introduced under Michelle Lee's tenure, but people are still not certain that she will maintain her job and continue to fix the system



  3. EPO Abuses Now Make the Netherlands Look Like a Facilitator of Human/Labour Rights Abuses

    Rather than crack down on human rights abuses, the Dutch government now sends out the signal that it's an island for those wish to violate human rights whilst enjoying immunity (EPO)



  4. Links 20/1/2017: Docker 1.13, Linux 4.4.44 LTS

    Links for the day



  5. “Federal Circuit Had Affirmed on Every Issue in 77.4% of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board Appeals it Had Seen” in 2016

    The Federal Circuit (CAFC) and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continue to squash a lot of patents on software, in contrast to that fake news from patent maximalists



  6. Kudelski Group Not Only Acts Like a Patent Troll But Also Run by Intellectual Ventures Person; Mobile Market in Dire State of Patent Armageddon

    The patent thicket which pervades everything that is used by billions of people, mobile technology in particular, can be traced back to a lot of non-practicing parasites (or patent trolls)



  7. Watchtroll and His Swamp Still Blame Google (Where Michelle Lee Came From) for Improving and Gradually Fixing Aspects of the US Patent System

    Shooting the messengers (even wrongly associating yours truly with Google) in an effort to undermine patent reform when it is so desperately needed due to serious injustices



  8. In an Age of Necessary Patent Reform and Permanent Uncertainty for Software Patents the Patent Microcosm Looks for Workarounds and Spin

    Commentary on the status quo in the Michelle Lee era and some examples of bias from the patent microcosm, as well as news regarding the NFL getting sued by the Kudelski Group



  9. Michelle Lee, USPTO Director, Should Recognise That the Patent Microcosm is Her Enemy Which Hates Her

    The latest outburst from the patent microcosm, which has a temper issue and notorious disdain for judges it does not agree with, is more of what we have come to expect



  10. Battistelli is an Autocrat Above the Law and It's OK, Holland's High Council Says

    Battistelli's autocratic tendencies will not be challenged by Dutch authorities, in spite of sheer condemnation from many groups all across Europe and the entire world



  11. Beware Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The UPC is dead, deadlocked, stuck, in a limbo and so on; those who claim otherwise are merely lobbying (in disguise of "analysis" or "news")



  12. Shame on MapR for Pursuing Software Patents While Pretending to Stand for Free/Open Source Software

    The patents gold rush sees another company joining the 'fun', albeit this company should campaign hard against software patents rather than pursue any



  13. Doomsday Scenario in the Back Mirror as Michelle Lee Keeps Her Job (and Much-Needed Patent Reform) at the USPTO

    The future of patent reform, i.e. tackling overpatenting and patent trolls, looks somewhat more promising with today's confirmation of Lee's 'extended tenure' at the Office



  14. Links 19/1/2017: PulseAudio 10.0, Linux 4.9 Longterm Kernel

    Links for the day



  15. Corporate (Wall Street) Media Agrees That Brexit Dooms the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The nonstop lies or the fake news about the UPC starting "real soon now" don't quite pass a reality check or a basic assessment based on fundamental concepts, such as the UPC's facilitation of subordination (to Europe) in the United Kingdom



  16. Farce of an 'Independence' for the Boards of Appeal as Another Ally of Benoît Battistelli Enters as Parasite Inside the 'Overseer'/Host

    The latest cluster of lies from the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) and direct refutation of false claims of independence for the Boards of Appeal, where the former Vice-Presidents can flock, just like the Mini Minion (Minnoye) of Battistelli



  17. Links 18/1/2017: Red Hat's OpenShift 3.4, Mozilla's New Logo/Branding

    Links for the day



  18. Union-Busting Action by Team Battistelli Takes Heavy Toll, Techrights Will Continue to Expose EPO Injustices to the World

    The Staff Union of the European Patent Office, SUEPO, which faced unprecedented and probably illegal (based on local laws) attacks, is being weakened by the worst President ever, whose own management team seems to be collapsing along with the institution he is destroying in just a few years



  19. A Lot More Fake News About the UPC, Trying to Convince People That the UK is Ratifying (It's Not, It Cannot)

    Response to some of the latest misleading (self-serving) whispers about the fate of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is in a deadlock due to Brexit



  20. Rumours Suggest That EPO Management is Aware of Decline in Patent Quality and is Thus Actively Lying About it to the Media/Public

    Whenever Battistelli brags about patent quality he may be consciously and deliberately lying through his teeth if the latest rumours are correct



  21. Links 17/1/2017: GIMP Plans, New Raspberry Pi Product

    Links for the day



  22. Resumption of EPO Propaganda ('Meet the President') Officially Starts Tomorrow

    Yet another one of these foolish 'Meet the President' stunts, scheduled to take place tomorrow morning



  23. Caricature: Battistelli's New Year's Resolution (More EPO Lies)

    The latest cartoon being circulated within the European Patent Office (EPO)



  24. Donald Trump Gives New Hope to Patent Aggressors and Patent Trolls

    Pessimism about the prospects of patent progress or patent reform in an age of staunchly pro-business Conservatives and glorification of protectionism



  25. More Fake News About the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Based on Lobbying Tactics From Bristows UPC and the Preparatory Committee

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying has gotten so bad that it now infiltrates general media outlets, where people are asked to just blindly assume that the UPC is coming and is inevitable, even though it's clearly in a limbo and is unlikely to see the light of day



  26. EPO Totally Silent for a Month, But Deep Inside There Are Serious Cracks

    The situation at the EPO seems to be pretty grim, even at the top-level management, and the EPO has gone into permanent silence mode



  27. Links 16/1/2017: Linux 4.10 RC4, Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' KDE Edition Beta

    Links for the day



  28. 'Financial Director' Publishes Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Response to some of the latest UPC propaganda, which strives to misinform Financial Directors so as to enrich the author and his firm



  29. Independent and Untainted Web Sites About Patents Are Still Few and Rare

    Commentary about news sources that we rely on, as well as the known pitfalls or the vested interests deeply ingrained in them



  30. The 20% Rule: Patent Trolling Suffers Double-Digit Declines and Patent Troll Technicolor is Collapsing

    Significant demise or total catastrophe for the modus operandi (method) of going after companies with a pile of patents and threats of litigation


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