Posts tagged freenet
Posts tagged freenet
WHERE were you on Jan. 14, 2014?
I’m guessing you probably weren’t at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., poring over that day’s ruling in the case of Verizon v. Federal Communications Commission.
But years from now, we may look back on Jan. 14 as the day we lost the free and open Internet.
But the FCC can still clean up the mess. The FCC has the power to reclaim the authority it so foolishly squandered. In fact, under the court’s ruling, “reclassifying broadband” — and correctly treating it under the law as a telecommunications or transmission service — is the only way to stop Internet service providers from blocking websites or discriminating against apps.
There’s no legal obstacle to this path, but there are political ones. Namely, whether new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is willing to stand up to the powerful phone and cable lobby. And nobody knows their strength and influence better than Wheeler, who used to be the top lobbyist for both the cable and wireless industry trade associations.
But the court ruled in no uncertain terms that the FCC can’t prevent blocking or discrimination online unless it reverses the Bush-era ruling that changed how broadband was treated under the law.
Reclassifying broadband is the only thing that will shield users from corporate abuse. Pretending otherwise won’t protect the Internet.
And that’s where you come in. The only way to counteract the organized money lined up against net neutrality is with organized people — millions and millions of them signing petitions, pressuring the FCC, calling Congress, meeting with their representatives and, if necessary, taking to the streets.
Yesterday, a U.S. Appeals Court invalidated the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules. In its ruling, the court stated that the FCC lacked the authority to prevent internet service providers from discriminating among certain types of traffic — effectively allowing providers to make pay-to-play a reality online.
This ruling is a significant blow to net neutrality, in the United States and elsewhere. The Court’s ruling creates a dangerous global precedent that places the unique character of the internet — its boldness, creativity, and diversity — at risk. And yet, by ruling selectively on the merits of the case, the Court has left the door open for possible reforms, at least in the United States.
At its core, net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) — such as AT&T or Comcast in the U.S. and Deutsche Telekom or Vodafone in Europe — must treat all internet traffic equally, regardless of its origin, sender, recipient, type of content, or the means used to transmit it. These principles ensure that carriers must make equal efforts to reach all points across the network, and cannot discriminate against the content their networks carry.
The root of the problem: classification and the FCC
In 2010, the FCC released its Open Internet Order, formalizing several net neutrality protections into binding regulation on U.S. ISPs. The order prevented ISPs from blocking or unreasonably discriminating against different types of internet traffic, and any attempt by ISPs to give preferential treatment to their own services on wired connections, while blocking or slowing down competing services, was a violation of the Order.
Yesterday’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) came in reaction to Verizon’s challenge to the 2010 Order. In its ruling, the D.C. Circuit court stated,
“Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such. Because the Commission has failed to establish that the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules do not impose per se common carrier obligations, we vacate those portions of the Open Internet Order.”
Back in the early 2000s, the FCC wrongly gave up its regulatory authority by classifying broadband providers as “information services,” rather than “common carriers.” According to yesterday’s ruling, the FCC can’t regulate the ISPs as “common carriers,” because they’re not classified that way. If the FCC changes the framework on the providers, it will have the authority it needs to ensure fair and open access to the internet for millions of users in the U.S., and help set a global precedent to protect user rights online.
What does that actually mean?
Yesterday’s decision will affect more than just people in the U.S. The precedent could reverberate globally, as countries from Brazil and Argentina to Belgium and Germany are considering net neutrality rules of their own. At the E.U. level, policymakers are currently considering a binding new regime of telecoms regulations in their effort to create a “Telecoms Single Market,” in which net neutrality principles are a hotly contested topic. The D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling may influence the debate on this proposed legislation, but not likely in users’ favor.
The absence of net neutrality rules could create a “pay to play” reality where only those businesses that are able and willing to pay ISPs can reach end users and markets. In Europe, which currently lacks comprehensive laws protecting net neutrality, multiple studies have proven discrimination has left users with few means to access the free and open internet. In Germany, for example, Deutsche Telekom has blocked Skype for its customers who use iPhones. Under yesterday’s ruling, the ISP Comcast would similarly be able to block the video-streaming site Netflix, which is a direct competitor to its own NBC subsidiary.
Most importantly, it left the FCC an escape route: to reclassify cable broadband providers as “telecommunications services” under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act — as noted above, cable broadband providers are currently classified as “information services” under the definitions of the same law.
The silver lining: reclassification and more
Despite the downsides, yesterday’s ruling was not a complete loss for users. The Court chose not to rule on a number of controversial arguments and, most importantly, it left the FCC an escape route: the agency can reclassify cable broadband providers from “information services” to “telecommunications services” under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, thus reinstating their regulatory authority.
Verizon’s lawsuit had also argued that it had the right under the First Amendment’s free speech protection to engage in discriminatory practices like throttling, comparing their actions to a newspaper editor that curates content for its subscribers. Under that argument, any regulation by the FCC would be considered a “prior restraint” on speech, which is illegal under U.S. law. However, the Court chose not to rule on this argument, avoiding the creation of such a precedent.
Similarly, the Court chose not to rule on Verizon’s argument that forcing the company to carry certain traffic — like that of competitors — was a “taking” of its property against its will. If Verizon had been successful, this would have required the U.S. government to reasonably compensate the company for transmitting the parts of the internet it didn’t feel inclined to provide to its customers. The Court, did, however, rule in favor of the FCC’s “transparency rule,” which requires providers to disclose information regarding their network management practices, performance, and the commercial terms of their broadband services.
What next? Recommendations on neutrality
The FCC should immediately take steps to reclassify ISPs as common carriers and telecommunications services. But they can do more: As we recommended in our recent position paper, Net neutrality: Ending net discrimination in Europe, the following provisions should be enshrined into law:
As Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, noted in his preface to our position paper, “Just as democracy depends on legislated freedom of speech, so freedom to connect, with any application, to any party, is the fundamental social basis of the internet, and, now, the society based on it.” For the sake of users everywhere, we hope the FCC rises to the challenge.
On Jan. 14, a federal appeals court decided Verizon vs. FCC in favor of Verizon—not because Verizon was really right, but because the FCC chose the wrong legal framework to use back in 2010.
The F-35 is the most expensive weapons system ever built - and it can’t fly at night, or when it rains, much less fight enemies. Yet as the federal government grapples with big spending cuts that are hurting seniors, children and working Americans, this 1.5 trillion dollar boondoggle remains untouched.
In her address to the UN General Assembly this week, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called for global respect for net neutrality and human rights online. She announced plans for Brazil to propose an international framework governing internet use and communications using five guiding principles: free speech, transparent multilateral governance, universality and non-discrimination, cultural diversity without imposing values, and network neutrality.
She has also issued an order for the Brazilian Congress to vote on groundbreaking legislation known as the Marco Civil within the next month. The bill is unprecedented — a people’s framework for the internet developed through more than a year of consultations with Brazilians from around the country. It represents one of the most progressive frameworks for internet policy ever drafted, securing the right to open and high-speed access, stricter privacy standards to fight surveillance, network neutrality, guarantees for freedom of expression online, and much more.
This is a watershed moment for digital rights legislation. But the Marco Civil’s net neutrality provisions are under attack by an extremely powerful telco industry that wants to protect its business models that rely on data discrimination, threaten freedom of expression, and limit open access. Telcos are negotiating with politicians to eliminate key net neutrality provisions in exchange for their support of the bill.
Not only are the Marco Civil’s net neutrality protections crucial to upholding its framework of digital rights protections, but they are also an opportunity for Brazil to set an important international precedent. Only a handful of countries have enacted legislation upholding net neutrality, and Brazil’s leadership in this area could prove to be crucial.
There are also proposed amendments to the bill that would require large internet companies to mirror and store their Brazilian users’ data within the country. While it’s certainly time to take big steps to establish strong protections for users’ data, data mirroring is an ineffective, dangerous, and controversial way of doing so. Both Brazilians and the global internet would be better served if the Marco Civil is left untainted by hasty new provisions.
If just one man, Howard Snowden can bring the NSA, a multibillion dollar enterprise to its knees in humiliation, dishonesty, illegality and unconstitutional behavior….well, the “enterprise” wasn’t justified to begin with. Obama and his cohorts are shallow corporate yes men with the souls of toads and the wisdom of a Koch brother.
The highly-encrypted email service reportedly used by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has gone offline, and its administrator claims the company is legally barred from explaining why.
The homepage of Lavabit.com was changed Thursday to a letter from the company’s owner announcing that the site’s operations have ceased following a six-week long ordeal that is prompting the company to take legal action in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Now in the midst of an escalating fight from the federal government aimed at cracking down on encrypted communications, one of the last free and secure services has thrown in the towel under mysterious circumstances.
“I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations,” owner and operator Ladar Levison of Dallas, Texas wrote in the statement. “I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot.”
“I feel you deserve to know what’s going on—the First Amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise,” wrote Levison. “As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.”
Patriotism: Impeach Obama
First of all, dismissing info-activism as ‘just sharing pictures’ is so early 2000s. I’m only a little bit kidding. Because in all seriousness, in the age of digital information, spreading awareness by sharing images & information actually is important. And as much as older generations (who must not be paying attention to rapidly changing cultural shifts in how information is digested or who simply don’t understand the opportunities that creates) like to foolishly repeat the dismissive notion that anything done on the internet isn’t really doing anything ‘real’, that simply isn’t the case. Virtual space is where many of the meaningful social dialogues in our society are now happening. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing, if you care about the future of society, you have an obligation to participate in and affect that space.
That’s why these campaigns work so hard to get people to take quality photographs & to edit photos and maintain pages for the campaigns. The images are taken, made & posted so that we (the world/internet) will share them. It affects turn out to direct actions, it magnifies the impact, etc. Awareness is the whole point of these actions, so instead of the action only being seen by three people driving by that day (plus the workers at the construction site,) thousands will get to see what a few have done in these actions. It affects national consciousness and conversations around the world. It’s important. And every day as more people turn to the internet over TV, and turn to the internet for news over print media, it becomes more important, more relevant, more essential. Virtual spaces are not going away. They are increasingly relevant and increasingly helpful for sharing visual information, and that will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. Affecting the consciousness, being vigilant in making sure that the left is more involved than others, is important for shaping our society and the possibilities of our society going forward.
Direct action is extremely important, for obvious reasons. If you specifically want to get involved with direct actions regarding the keystone XL pipeline, the states that have the pipeline are probably your only option. If you have a free weekend and the capacity to travel, they relatively often have campaign events calling for participants to arrive for a series of coordinated actions over a weekend. Gracie & I were recently able to go to a blockade in East Texas; we were there for three days. See the above map for ideas of where you might be able to travel to get involved with some pipeline resistance. If there isn’t a campaign related to your nearest pipeline, you can organize with others to build one. You really can. No, really. You can. You can use this blog for help finding like minds if you decide to go in that direction.
But there are many other direct action campaigns in Portland, Oregon that you can get involved with. Here a few starting resources for finding environmental organizations in your area that you could potentially get involved with:
Aaron Swartz was an internet leader and free-speech advocate. He helped organize the worldwide movement to keep the internet free from censorship and corporate control. After Aaron downloaded a large number of scholarly articles from the JSTOR website without JSTOR’s permission, he was indicted for violating JSTOR’s terms of service. Facing long years in prison, Aaron committed suicide last month, at the age of 26. At a recent memorial service for Aaron in Washington, DC, Congressman Alan Grayson was invited to speak.
"And when no hope was left in sight,
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.”
Aaron Swartz Worked Very Hard to Make Life Better for All of Us
- “We want a bill that people are comfortable with, that people fully understand what it does, not what they think it does, and then move it.”
This is what I actually hear -
“We want a bill that people are comfortable with, that people fully understand what we want them to understand, not what they know, and then move it.”
- Asked about the many negatives about CISPA, he replied: “Our job is to educate.”
This is what I actually hear -
- “our job is to obfuscate.”
CISPA is the contentious bill civil liberties advocates fought last year, which would provide a poorly-defined “cybersecurity” exception to existing privacy law. CISPA offers broad immunities to companies who choose to share data with government agencies (including the private communications of users) in the name of cybersecurity. It also creates avenues for companies to share data with any federal agencies, including military intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA).
EFF is adamantly opposed to CISPA. Will you join us in calling on Congress to stop this and any other privacy-invasive cybersecurity legislation?
As others have noted, “CISPA is deeply flawed. Under a broad cybersecurity umbrella, it permits companies to share user communications directly with the super secret NSA and permits the NSA to use that information for non-cybersecurity reasons. This risks turning the cybersecurity program into a back door intelligence surveillance program run by a military entity with little transparency or public accountability.”
Last year, CISPA passed the House with a few handful of amendments that tried to fix some of its vague language. But the amendments didn’t address many of the significant civil liberties concerns. Those remaining problems were reintroduced in today’s version of CISPA. Here’s a brief overview of the issues:
First, CISPA would still give businesses1 the power to use “cybersecurity systems” to obtain any “cybersecurity threat information” (CTI)—which could include personal communications—about a percieved threat to their networks or systems. The only limitation is that the company must act for a “cybersecurity purpose,” which is vaguely defined to include such things as “safeguarding” networks.
At the same time, CISPA would also create a broad immunity from legal liability for monitoring, acquiring, or sharing CTI, so long as the entity acted “in good faith.” Our concern from day one has been that these combined power and immunity provisions would override existing privacy laws like the Wiretap Act and the Stored Communications Act.
Worse, the law provides immunity “for decisions made based on” CTI. A rogue or misguided company could easily make bad “decisions” that would do a lot more harm than good, and should not be immunized.
Information provided to the federal government under CISPA would be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other state laws that could otherwise require disclosure (unless some law other than CISPA already requires its provision to the government).
CISPA’s authors argue that the bill contains limitations on how the federal government can use and disclose information by permitting lawsuits against the government. But if a company sends information about a user that is not cyberthreat information, the government agency does not notify the user, only the company.
These are just a couple of reasons of why CISPA is a dangerous bill and why President Obama threatened to veto the bill last year. CISPA essentially equates greater cybersecurity with greater surveillance and information sharing. But many of our cybersecurity problems arise from software vulnerabilities and human failings, issues CISPA fails to address. For instance, the recent series of hacks suffered by New York Times were suspected to be from spearphishing and victims downloading malicious software masked as email attachments—the types of issues that CISPA doesn’t deal with.
We were heartened to hear that President Obama’s new Executive Order on cybersecurity will encourage government agencies to more readily share cybersecurity information with companies, and may even reduce unnecessary secrecy around cybersecurity information. Let’s use the momentum from the Executive Order to turn a new leaf in the cybersecurity debate, beginning a broader public dialogue about cybersecurity that doesn’t assume that surveillance is the right solution.
SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, TPP and ITU. And also, like Facebook and Google, they claim they are friends of the mouse (internet user), but sometimes we see them dating the cats (repressive government). So my conclusion is very simple. We Chinese fight for our freedom, you just watch your bad cats. Don’t let them hook [up] with the Chinese cats. Only in this way, in the future, we will achieve the dreams of the mouse: that we can tweet anytime, anywhere, without fear.
ITU: Where Countries Determine the Fate of the Internet Without Transparency in Favor of Surveillance, Advertising, Big Business, Privacy Violation and not by Popular Referendum But By Individuals Appointed by Those Elected with Dark Money
There’s a meeting between the world’s governments in a just a few weeks, and it could very well decide the future of the internet through a binding international treaty. It’s called the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), and it’s being organized by a government-controlled UN agency called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
If some proposals at WCIT are approved, decisions about the internet would be made by a top-down, old-school government-centric agency behind closed doors. Some proposals allow for access to be cut off more easily, threaten privacy, legitimize monitoring and blocking online traffic. Others seek to impose new fees for accessing content, not to mention slowing down connection speeds. If the delicate balance of the internet is upset, it could have grave consequences for businesses and human rights.
Canada-EU Trade Agreement Replicates ACTA’s Notorious Copyright Provisions
The shadow of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is back in Europe. It is disguised as CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union. As reported by EDRI, a rather strange and surprising e-mail was sent this summer from the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union to the Member States and the European Commission. The e-mail explained that the criminal sanctions provisions of the draft CETA are modeled on those in ACTA.
A comparison of the leaked draft Canada-EU agreement shows the treaty includes a number of the same controversial provisions, specifically concerning criminal enforcement, private enforcement by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and harsh damages. These provisions are particularly problematic, and were the key reasons why the European Parliament rejected ACTA. However, given the lack of transparency associated with the CETA discussions (both Canada and EU insist that the draft text remain secret), the concerns that CETA may replicate ACTA appear to be very real despite denials from some members of the European Commission.
CETA is a trade agreement designed to strengthen economic ties between Canada and the EU through “free” trade and increased investment. However, hidden within this treaty are provisions that were essentially lifted from ACTA word-for-word. And just like its close cousins, ACTA, KORUS, and TPP—and other trade agreements that are applauded by the entertainment industry for carrying expansive intellectual property provisions—CETA is being negotiated in secret.
once the Cybersecurity Act passes the Senate, it will have to be merged with CISPA during conference committee negotiations. There is a real danger that in order to placate extremists in the House, the conference committee will strip out all of the provisions in the Cybersecurity Act which have strengthened privacy protections.
Click Here to Send an email to your senators, telling them to vote “no” on the Cybersecurity Act. The vote is the week of July 30.
The measures included in the proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, CISPA would essentially legalize military surveillance of U.S. citizens. “When they want to dramatically expand their ability to do these things in a so-called legal manner, it’s important to note what they’re trying to do is to legalize what they have already been doing.”
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.