Edward Snowden – thorn in the authoritarians side.

Edward Snowden seems a mild mannered geek not to dissimilar to myself and many other techies that I know. So what makes him a man who has rattled many of the largest political institutions in the world and become the target for a world-wide manhunt, while I merely sun myself on my holibobs?

Knowledge & Action.

Knowledge is power as the age old adage goes, due what’s done with the knowledge one has garnered.

Has Snowden used his garnered knowledge wisely?  I think this is the most important issue, and also the most subjective. To answer it, we should really answer it from a very broad perspective, that is, not from some small tribal perspective, but from the largest human perspective possible.

Of course many subsets of humanity will not be pleased by Snowden’s revelations, be those subsets nations; political groups; etc, and many subsets of humanity will be very pleased by Snowden’s revelations, but overall, is *humanity* better or worse off for Snowden’s actions?

I think humanity is better off with Snowdens revelations. Humanity is better off being aware of reality, and the reality is that we are not living in a world as free as we would like to think & are told by those in authority we are.

We are often controlled, cajoled, and manipulated for others’ ends, and while some of this has a positive outcome for humanity (the rule of sensible, adhered-to-by-all law, for example), much of it only serves the interests of a small subset of humanity; a group; a single nation; etc.

So, to bastardize a common phrase, ask not you can do for your country or group at the expense of very many other countries & groups, but what you can do for humanity.


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William Hague’s speech on Equador & Julian Assange asylum.

From William Hagues speech, the transcript:

I am left wondering if William Hague is confused.

At the start it is reported he says, “We are disappointed by the statement by Ecuador’s Foreign Minister today that Ecuador has offered political asylum to Julian Assange.

Note “political asylum“.

Later on he mentions, “The UK does not accept the principle of diplomatic asylum. It is far from a universally accepted concept: the United Kingdom is not a party to any legal instruments which require us to recognise the grant of diplomatic asylum by a foreign embassy in this country.

Note in the latter “diplomatic asylum” is mentioned.

I wonder does the UK accept Assange has been given “political” asylum, or “diplomatic” asylum. I further wonder if the UK still accepts the principle of “political” asylum?

Another quote from the transcript reads, “No-one, least of all the Government of Ecuador, should be in any doubt that we are determined to carry out our legal obligation to see Mr Assange extradited to Sweden. He faces serious charges in a country with the highest standards of law and where his rights are guaranteed.

I wonder what “charges” William Hague thinks Assange faces. William Hague intimates these charges are in Sweden, but perhaps by “in a country with the highest standards of law and where his rights are guaranteed” he means some other country – the USA perhaps, or perhaps another. William Hague needs to be clear which country he means and which “charges” from this country he is referring.

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Having a break from Politics for a while, after #ASOT550, I re-found my love for my #TranceFamily

Get the whole of ASOT550 here: http://weloveatrance.com/asot-550-day-5-live-at-ultra-music-festival-miami-usa-a-state-of-trance-550-celebration-with-armin-van-buuren-march-25-2012/comment-page-1/#comment-6794


I shall be busy trying to sort through all those tracks to decide my favs ready to create a couple of sets for my birthday – Woohoo!!!

awbMaven aka DJ <fingers crossed> Savoir Faire

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Anti-Semitic attitudes are off the charts in Hungary – ADL #Jews #Israel #Loaded #Survey

There’s a report out today from the with some question concerning European attitudes towards Jews in some European Countries.

It’s a pretty emotive topic at the moment considering what is happening in Toulouse, France (perfect timing from ADL’s pov), indeed, pretty emotive much of the time since the State of Israel was created with no parallel State of Palestine in existance.

The questions posed where as follows:

Respondents across the continent were asked whether or not they thought the following four statements were “probably true” or “probably false.” 

1) Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country. 
2) Jews have too much power in the business world. 
3) Jews have too much power in international financial markets. 
4) Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust. 
5) Jews are responsible for the death of Christ. True of False
6) .. if their opinion of Jews was influenced by actions taken by the State of Israel and whether they believed the violence directed against European Jews was a result of anti-Jewish feelings or anti-Israel sentiment?

Firstly, the question set were pretty loaded. Secondly, which ‘Jews’? A religious Jews, Ethnic Jews, or people who are both Religious and Ethnic Jews? Dual citizen Jews (with one citizenship being with the State of Israel) or single citizen Jews?

Regarding question 1, I think it is reasonable to assume that someone who has two passports [which many Jews have] has dual loyalties so it is not surprising to me to feel that persons who hold two passports (especially if they have to swear allegiance to a second state get their second passport) is likely to to have questionable loyalties, ie, it is not surprising that many “continue to question the loyalty of their Jewish citizens” as in my view they should question the loyalties of anyone who has two passports. If push came to shove, just which side of the fence would a dual-passport holder back?

Regarding question 2, I have very little knowledge of what the ethnicity and/or religion of those who work in finance are, even those I work with. I’d have to pass on that question.

Regarding question 3, It’s the same answer and pass as question 2 for me.

Regarding question 4, I do think many Jews go on about the Holocaust™ too much. Granted, it was traumatic for those Jews that lived through it [which is an ever decreasing percentage of Jews as it was 60+ years ago], but I think there is a large element of mawkish Holocaust™ remembrance in Jewish society from those who never experienced the Holocaust™ first hand. I think this mawkish Holocaust™ remembrance is detrimental to Jewish society, especially to Jewish youth who are faced with horrifying pictures and stories when they are still children. Frankly, lots of what I hear them being taught about is banned from being shown on TV until after the watershed because it is considered too horrific for young peoples. I think there is an element of child abuse in forcing horrific Holocaust™ rememberance on Jewish children. I think mawkish Holocaust™ Remembrance has caused Repetition Compulsion in parts of Jewish society and this I think explains many Jewish attitudes towards Palestinians who I think many, especially those who have made aliyah to Israel, view as untermenschen.

Regarding question 5, I’d have to pass.  Sure, some Jews were allegedly involved, sure many Jews were not, but “responsible for – true or false”, it’s a loaded question imv with no chance at granularity, and being ~2000 years ago, who the heck knows what really happened and who shared the responsibility (if indeed Jesus, the Son of God, did exist).

Regarding question 6, I think many link Jews with the State of Israel [often because of dual-citizenship] and I think it impossible to separate the two when talking specifically about Jews who are citizens of the State of Israel. I do think that much of the violence towards Jews is not anti-Semitic™ per se, it is anti-Israeli, it’s part of the eye-for-an-eye dogma that many Jews and Muslims adhere to and seek vengeance to quench. I dislike some Jews not because because they are Jews, I don’t them because of their views concerning the actions of the State of Israel. I similarly don’t like some Christians because of their views concerning the actions of the State of Israel. The State of Israel is evidently a terrorist state imv and anyone that supports a terrorist states’ actions is to be disliked imv.

I wonder if these answers make me anti-Semetic™ or not.  Some will think yes, others no, others something else, and others another thing 🙂



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My Blog: note to Branka Totić, director of the Serbian Intellectual Property Office, think outside the box re. #ACTA

From EurActive, we have an article entitled, “Serbia to adopt ACTA for EU membership: Official “. From that article:

Totić dismissed fears that ACTA could lead to infringement of citizens rights, privacy and data protection rules, arguing that national implementation and judicial review of cases of suspected copyright violations would guard against this.
“Therefore, I believe that there is no risk,” she said.

“One is of an impression that, although the law envisages strict penalties for the crime of unauthorised use of copyrighted materials and brands, sentences pronounced are lower than for stealing physical, material goods,” she said.
How Serbia, or indeed any Party to ACTA, implements ACTA locally could become irrelevant.

A harsh implementer of ACTA, a Party who has “strict penalties for the crime of unauthorised use of copyrighted materials and brands” to use Totić lingo, can request the extradition of a citizen of a Party to ACTA to face the IPR justice of that harsh implementing ACTA Party.

Thus, by signing ACTA, Parties to ACTA in effect accept the harshest implementation of ACTA a Party to ACTA has chosen.

Potential Parties to ACTA, and indeed many other Treaties in the making (ie, the Trans-Pacific Partnership – TTP), need to be aware of this and not delude themselves that “there is no risk“.

I have explained this before, here.

Here’s a good article from Techdirt on the issue.



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My Blog: “ACTA is a blessing in disguise for UK PLC”. Run that by me again … cc @_AskTheExperts_ @_JayMcGregor

I have some issues with the idea that “ACTA is a blessing in disguise for UK PLC” as stated in this article.

Let me go through it in my usual style:

From the article:
The World is on the brink of changing the landscape of Internet communication freedom, and, as many agree, much for the worse.

Well, for the docile legislation drone countries anyway. For us Brits however, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement currently trailblazing its way over the face of the planet leaving behind scorched earth with little public discourse offers the UK a unique opportunity to be the Cayman Islands of the digital world.

The UK has signed ACTA and has shown very few signs it will not ratify it. Anti-ACTA demonstration in the UK on 11/2 and 25/2 where muted compared to the rest of mainland Europe. Arguably that lumps the UK as a “docile legislation drone countries”.  The UK is part of the EU and unlike the Cayman Islands, is subject to EU acquis.

Censorship is a contentious topic. In some cases, like age restrictions on adult material, it’s necessary. In others, like restricting free discussion in chat rooms in Communist China, it’s not. Censorship should always be the subject of common sense, it should not be the plaything of the rich and powerful who are more concerned with protecting their interests.

This is exactly what’s happening in the United States at the moment with the ACTA, powerful conglomerates (mainly in the music and film industry) have spent two years and a significant amount of money lobbying politicians to fortify copyright law. And they’ve succeeded. Big corporations are quite adept at penetrating the political process and know exactly how much re-election donation lubricant is needed to help smooth the deal through.

That is exactly what is also happening in the UK with DEA, CCDP, and other legislation both home-grown and enacted by the EU, of which the UK is a member and which the UK will have to obey.

If the agreement comes into force it puts a lot of countries in a precarious position, mainly the US because certain law makers already attempted to push through the now defunct SOPA. By appeasing the entertainment industry, they will be slighting many Internet start-ups. An impressive list of wide ranging opponents have signed a letter or spoken out against the act.

That is the wrong way around. The other countries (sans US) are in a precarious position because ACTA exports worst of US copyright law.

The brat pack of the entertainment industry, and arguably the future of the American economy, will have been completely ignored in favour of a powerful lobby. Companies like YouTube and Wikipedia would have struggled under the new legislation and similarly new companies like SoundCloud and Vimeo could be strangled out of the market before they get a chance to flourish.

This is bad news for the US, but it’s not all doom and gloom for the UK. The UK has an opportunity to position itself as an Internet friendly island ready and waiting with open arms to accept scorned Internet start-ups from across the Atlantic. But this needs to be done properly, we’re not a haven for every seedy underhanded website operating illegally over the net, no, we’re simply a proponent of Internet freedom.

The UK is a physical island. It has an opportunity, yet, as the proposed changes to UK and EU legislation indicates, it is definatly NOT positioning itself as “an Internet friendly island ready and waiting with open arms to accept scorned Internet start-ups from across the Atlantic“. I would argue it is falling in line with US wishes [so no change there for the UK]. The UK is quite defiantly not a proponent of Internet freedom based on the evidence of proposed and enacted UK legislation.

Cameron and co talk of ‘Britain being open for business’ and ‘investing in the future’ this a chance to do that. Our international reputation as a scientific thought leader is eroding and as our financial institutions crumble we’re scrambling to figure what it is that we’re good at – something that’s good enough to be exported. Ideas should be the answer. Multi-billion dollar Internet start-ups like Facebook, Linkedin and Wikipedia are companies that would fit well with the UK’s ideology.

Talk is cheap. Cameron may say one thing, but I’m afraid his coalition governments’ actions tell us something completely different.

What about the Digital Economy Act rushed through Parliament in the dying days of the last Labour government I hear your cry. Well, what about it. The act is much more specific than the broad ACTA. If someone is suspected of downloading illegal copyrighted material, they are told, in a typically British way, to stop – three times – and if they don’t they might have their connection cut or stripped down to a slower speed. All of which under the watchful eye of an extensive appeal process.

Also, the act is currently languishing in Brussels waiting for the European Commission to approve changes. Similarly, Ofcom, the architects of the intricacies of the act, simply haven’t drawn up plans of what the rules are and how they would be enforced. Compare this to the ACTA where entire websites will be shut down because small numbers of users may be swapping or uploading copyrighted material and you have two very different pictures.

Dismissing the DEA shows a distinct lack of understanding of what DEA could mean, this may help. Entire websites can already be shut down in the UK, and they have been. Additionally, if you think .com, .net, .org sites hosted in the UK are free from extra-UK jurisdiction, this from Micheal Geist may dispel that erroneous notion.

The UK’s very own silicone valley over in East London is building a reputation for itself and, with a little bit of encouragement and across the Atlantic investment, it could rival the original. Seducing some key players from the US could be just what is needed to restore this nation’s ingenuity credentials.

I’d like examples of this UK silicone valley. I guess it could rival the original just as I could win the lottery one day.  What is needed are reasons why key players would want to exit the US and base themselves in the UK. I would suggest the author write a list.

I’m trying not to chuckle too much at this article a site called asktheexperts.org.uk, I think if I had a Fail-of-the-Day award, Jay McGregor and asktheexperts.org.uk would be recieving it today.

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La Quadrature Du Net’s “A Strategy Looking Through ACTA and Beyond” lacks outside-the-box vision.

La Quadrature Du Net has an article out today titled,  “A Strategy Looking Through ACTA and Beyond” that I have to say seem blinkered and lacking lateral thinking.

From the article,
Over the last two weeks, events have radically altered the course of the debate on ACTA and its ratification procedure, both at the EU and Member States levels. The tremendous citizen pressure definitely had an effect and altered the balance of power. Scared that ACTA might promptly be rejected, EU Commissioner De Gucht managed to delay the procedure by one or two years. With clear objectives in mind, it might be time to look also beyond ACTA to understand how we can collectively attempt to protect our freedoms online while fixing the broken copyright regime currently waging war on the free Internet.

I agree recent events have altered the balance of power, and citizens have been mobilized into action.  I wrote this article explaining what I thought could be done with this mobilized citizen force.

I am a supporter of LQDN, but I think  they have missed several large elephants in the room with regards to what is “beyond ACTA“.

In this article is what I believe is beyond ACTA, and that article is only the tip of the iceberg I think.

I would like LQDN, other Civil Society organizations, and concerned citizens to expand on that article so we may all know ALL the proposed new and to-be-modified legislations/agreements/Treaties there are being planned by our authorities that will have an impact on our “freedoms online“; their names, the stages at which they are at, time-frames, etc etc [with information via links].

Further, as well as online freedoms, there is a lot of works that needs to be put in to shore up citizens’ data. I have written this article that explains some of the attacks on citizens privacy and this article to try to show some of the ways a netizen could help protect themselves against privacy snooping.

  • 1. Copyright needs to be fixed, there is no question on that.
  • 2. Online freedoms need to be protected, indeed, expanded.
  • 3. Citizens’ data needs more protecting than is currently in place/currently planned.

These are the three issues I think citizens whom were mobilised against ACTA would also feel very strongly about and I think Civil Society organizations like LQDN should help inform them fully regarding these other attacks  and deficiencies in citizens’ protection.

For me, the most pressing matter is the proposed Passenger Data Records legislation, for details on that, see this article.

If the above comes across as sharp, I apologize.  I am very concerned (and a little emotional) about much more than one Agreement (ACTA, and the footnoted TPP) and trying to get changes to copyright law. I believe there are many more lines of attack being perpetrated on citizens and I think Civil Society and netizens need to become and remain seized of them.



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