The great weakness in democracy is that whenever you ask the people what they want, they choose something other than what they’re going to get. The great strength is it doesn’t matter: you can always ignore them, go round them or go over them. Whichever route you choose, those damn people will have what we give them.
So, in the UK, the government always chooses self-regulation over legislation. Getting internet censorship legislation voted through the two houses will be difficult; but persuading the ISPs to voluntarily enforce that censorship, step by step, will be easy. The UK simply ignores democracy.
The EU goes round the people. Ask the people and they’ll throw it out, like ACTA. So the EU gets round democracy by sidestepping it; like the private deal being discussed by the Clean IT project between the ISPs and the law enforcement and intelligence services. This way there’s no pesky parliament interfering, and no awkward judges to satisfy.
But both of these approaches are too lily-livered for the macho American presidency. Obama’s approach is to drive straight over democracy and sod the people. If the judges declare his NDAA unconstitutional, so what? He’ll have it anyway. And if Congress rejects his Cybersecurity Bill, who cares? He’ll force it through on an executive order regardless of the people.
Democracy. Pah! Who needs it.
A terrorist is someone who advocates terrorism. Terrorism is the use of violence and threats to intimidate. A bit like some of our police do all too often.
Anonymous has responded by urging the public to shoot the police – with their phones. “We ask you to videotape and record the police during their daily duties. If you see an officer issuing a parking ticket, record him. If you see an officer holding a victim at gun point, record him. If you see an officer harassing a fellow protester, record him.”
For this our governments define Anonymous as cyberterrorists. Have you ever thought that’s a bit over the top?
Well, the problem is that Anonymous – and especially Anonymous+WikiLeaks – is far more dangerous than a real-life terrorist. Terrorist bombs do not topple governments; but the truth does. You can shoot a man holding a bomb; you cannot (easily) shoot a man holding the truth. But if you label the man with the truth a terrorist, then you can shoot him. And if you label the truth terrorism, then you can hide it.
In Europe there is a secretive project called Clean IT, funded by the EU (that is, by us), but designed to be without political control. Its stated purpose is to prevent the terrorist use of the internet, and it is driven by law enforcement and security agencies. It says it wants to do this “without affecting our online freedom”. That’s what it says. A secret internal document leaked by EDRi says otherwise.
But before we look at the document, remember that as far as these law enforcement and security agencies are concerned, terrorist includes Anonymous. By extension, that includes anyone who supports Anonymous. And by extension, that means anyone of us who may have ever voiced support for or agreement with any Anonymous action. It’s a short hop to realise that this argument, the prevention of terrorism, can be used against anyone.
So, to the document. It is called Clean IT Project – detailed recommendations document for best practices and permanent dialogue. And it is headed, on every page, ‘confidential’ and ‘not for publication’:
But we needn’t worry because the whole project is designed to prevent terrorism – just like RIPA, used by Moray Council in Scotland to monitor the ‘underage sale of tobacco’, is an anti-terrorist law. So how does Clean IT define terrorism? It doesn’t.
Is there any guidance? Well, yes there is…
Have a closer look at this. ‘Unwanted by local society’ even if it ‘is fully legal’ and ‘in line with terms and conditions of the relevant service provider’. And who is to decide whether it is unwanted by local society? Why, the LEAs and security agencies of course. The next section is reproduced in full. Look closely for any mention of the courts or court orders or legal process or legal redress. Look and weep for what they secretly want to do: the Clean IT project will be used against anyone and anything the authorities do not like.
“Malware ‘was not from factories’, Microsoft says” is today’s headline. “Several outlets, including the BBC, reported that harmful software was being pre-installed on PCs at the manufacturing stage,” admits the BBC. Actually, it had said “Cybercriminals have opened a new front in their battle to infect computers with malware – PC production lines.” It said that because it didn’t bother reading the Microsoft reports.
And we told them they were wrong five days ago in our own reporting: China is a pariah.
Five days to get it right. Is there an agenda here?
Keep up, or fall behind, as they say.