Blogs are different to newspapers. You can get away with greater subjectivity in a blog than you can in a newspaper. But newspapers cannot absolve themselves of their responsibility for pure objective fact by calling a particular section a blog.
So when Martha Gill wrote about Anonymous in the Telegraph blog, it was wrong. Her headline says it all: Anonymous have been exposed as hypocrites. Watch them try to wriggle out of it (6 November 2013). You can hear the glee in her voice – this is personal, not factual.
Anonymous responded with an open letter to the media in general. It accused Gill of being inaccurate in one of her two accusations (that their masks are produced in what she strongly implies is a sweatshop) and hypocritical in another (that Warner Bros benefits from every sale of a mask). On the latter, Anonymous suggests that royalties are a sad fact of life; and wonders how many Telegraph staff support Foxconn by using Apple or Dell, Sony or HP equipment. “Since 2010, at least 17 deaths occurred when employees committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the building. To use a phrase from Martha Gill’s article, these are certainly ‘unpleasant conditions.’”
But in reality, this incident is just a small local battle in a much larger war. Anonymous – and it’s not alone – believes that much of the media has been bought and usurped by government and big business; and supports the agenda of government and big business to the exclusion of truth. It is no coincidence that there is a nationwide (US) march against corporate media planned for next Saturday:
We are planning a march and rally in Washington DC to raise awareness of the privatization, corporatization, and monopolization of the mainstream media and the corruption of our fifth estate. The failure of the corporate networks to adequately cover critical social issues has allowed for the rampant corruption of our political and economic system to go unquestioned and unchallenged.
March against mainstream media
If you have already thought about this, it cannot be denied. A few (very few) newspapers have kicked back in recent months with the Snowden revelations (notably the Guardian, Washington Post and Der Spiegel); but it’s also noticeable that the Guardian is under threat of prosecution in the UK for doing so.
And if you want a specific current example of this media betrayal, consider an EFF blog from Thursday: How Can the New York Times Endorse an Agreement the Public Can’t Read?
The New York Times’ editorial board has made a disappointing endorsement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), even as the actual text of the agreement remains secret. That raises two distressing possibilities: either in an act of extraordinary subservience, the Times has endorsed an agreement that neither the public nor its editors have the ability to read. Or, in an act of extraordinary cowardice, it has obtained a copy of the secret text and hasn’t yet fulfilled its duty to the public interest to publish it.
TPP is the successor to ACTA. ACTA was defeated by European activism. It is dead. TPP allows the same provisions to be established everywhere else without European involvement. Once this is achieved, the new discussions on an EU/US trade agreement will be dragged into the same agreements – it will be inevitable.
But where is the mainstream media’s concern over either? In defeating ACTA, the people made it very clear that they do not want ACTA – more specifically the internet-controlling, copyright-enforcing aspects of it. To understand the great Battle of ACTA, read Monica Horten’s new book, A Copyright Masquerade.
Rather than accept the will of the people, big business and government withdrew, regrouped, renamed and returned from a different direction, calling it TPP and being equally if not more secretive.
The problem is that the mainstream media is not on the side of its readers, but on the side of its owners.
Quite simply, the majority of US news outlets are owned by the same media companies that are lobbying in favour of trade agreements that will take over control of what appears on the internet, who can see what, and who goes where. Quite frankly, we can no longer believe what we read in the press any more than we can believe what government tells us.
It’s a bit worrying that Cameron is all gung-ho about the EU-US trade agreement. “An EU-US trade deal, for example, could be worth £10 billion to the UK alone – in the end that’s not some abstract statistic, these trade deals matter, because they mean more jobs, more choice for consumers and lower prices,” he said, ushering in the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
Actually, they mean more profits for big business and greater control for governments. Trade agreements never translate into ‘more jobs, more choice for consumers and lower prices’ for real people. At the most, they become, “well, it would have been less jobs, less choice and higher prices if we didn’t have the trade agreement.”
The trade agreement in question is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being discussed by the EU and the US. It will complement the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) being led by the US and encompassing the Pacific Rim. But make no mistake, TTIP + TPP = ACTA Mark II.
The European digital rights group EDRI shone some light.
“The Commission was careful to stress that TTIP was not a ‘new ACTA’. This too provided five minutes of hope that lessons had been learned and the same old mistakes would not be made again. Then, the discussion turned to transparency and the Commission confirmed that, as things currently stand, the level of transparency would be identical to what was done with ACTA.”
TTIP – a brief victory of hope over experience
The Commission said that the IPR (that is, copyright protection) element of the TTIP ‘would only include such issues where a problem was identified by stakeholders – just a narrow range of issues and only ‘geographic indicators’ have so far been selected.’
If the list of issues to be addressed in the “IPR chapter” is limited and only includes clearly identified problems, will the Commission undertake to publish details of each such problem that is addressed in the final draft? The Commission responded that it would not make such an undertaking, because it could not be expected to provide details of “every single detail” of the agreement tackling intellectual property. Suddenly, we had moved from a narrow, focussed exercise to address a small number of identified problems, to a list of measures that was potentially so long that it would be unreasonable to ask the Commission to explain what problems it was seeking to solve.
To paraphrase Churchill, concludes EDRI, “never in the history of mankind was so little meaning conveyed by so many words to such little effect…” In short, TTIP and its even more secretive partner TPP are ACTA returned.
My news stories today:
US difficulties over Megaupload case continue
In April we reported that a US judge voiced doubts over whether Megaupload would ever get to trial in the US; now there are doubts it will even get to the US.
31 May 2012
Military grade chips may not be as secure as we think
Sergei Skorobogatov and Chris Woods have discovered a backdoor into a military grade chip, permitting ‘a new and disturbing possibility of a large-scale Stuxnet-type attack via a network or the Internet on the silicon itself’.
31 May 2012
Today is a key day for ACTA in Europe
Three EU committees are today due to make recommendations on ACTA. So far, two have reported: do not ratify ACTA, they tell the European Parliament.
31 May 2012
Today all three European parliament committees due to vote on their ACTA recommendations came out clearly: do not ratify ACTA.
Courtesy of Rick Falkvinge, we ask: is this the beginning of the end for the old order? Is this the changing face of European politics?
The newswires are awash with news: ACTA is dead. Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner in charge of the Digital Agenda, is quoted as accepting that ACTA is dead in Europe.
We can all breathe a sigh of relief and relax.
No we can’t. That’s exactly what they want us to do – and that’s what we must absolutely not do. The moment we take the pressure off our own MEPs, that moment will the silent and pervasive money-based pro-ACTA lobbying increase. While we’re still celebrating, ACTA will be ratified.
And even if it is rejected, it’s just a battle. The war will continue. If defeated, ACTA will simply return in a different name.
Governments want control of the internet. It suits their purpose to gain that control by ‘supporting’ industry; it disguises their intent. So even if, as they eventually must, rightsholders realise they must adapt to rather than fight against new technology, the provisions of ACTA will return under another guise.
At the moment, Hollywood is merely bribing government to do what government already wants to do. ACTA will never die until governments understand that they are the servants and not the masters of the people. They are there to enact what we want, not what megalomaniac politicians want. It’s called democracy.
News stories for 30 April – 2 May 2012:
Megaupload prosecution is lawless, says Professor of Law
Eric Goldman, Associate Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law, says the prosecution of Megaupload is “a depressing display of abuse of government authority.”
02 May 2012
Al-Qaeda uses steganography – documents hidden in porn videos found on memory stick
Steganography is the science of hiding data. Its most common digital use is to hide data within graphics – text hidden in a picture. Al-Qaeda apparently hid documents within porn videos on a memory stick.
02 May 2012
VPNs used to defeat censorship and data retention in Sweden
Pirates, typified by The Pirate Bay, are under increasing attack from the authorities around the world. Sweden is more than the spiritual home of The Pirate Bay – so it is not surprising that user-reaction to these attacks is being led by Swedes with an increasing use of VPNs.
02 May 2012
New combined home firewall & anti-virus is free
Home computer users do not, in general, pay for security. They rely instead on free software offered with little or no support. This can cause problems when different free products conflict with each other.
01 May 2012
Trusteer finds new ransomware variant
Ransomware is malware that locks up computers and demands payment for their release. A common ruse is to pretend that the malware is actually a ‘seizure’ by law enforcement agencies.
01 May 2012
UK ISPs must block The Pirate Bay – By Order
It was expected in June, but it happened on the last day of April: UK ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay (TBP) by order of the court.
01 May 2012
Let’s do the ACTA Time Warp again
It appeared that ACTA was dead in the European Parliament when the ACTA rapporteur David Martin advised that it should be rejected. But now Marielle Gallo has postponed the recommendation of the Legal Affairs committee.
30 April 2012
42 blackmail sites -posing as news sites – shut down in China
Genuine news sites publish information on events – these sites, say the Chinese authorities, promised not to publish information for a fee.
30 April 2012
How to break into security (as a professional)
These are questions that students and unfulfilled geeks continually ask; and ones that all security practitioners receive more than any other. DigiNinja has tried to find an objective response.
30 April 2012
Before I go further I need to offer thanks to three sources. Firstly, to Monica Horten at the excellent IPtegrity blog who saw the connection. Secondly to the genius of Richard O’Brien who penned such a prescient prophesy. And thirdly to the authors of ACTA, without whom – well, I wish we were without whom.
The story reported by Monica is the jump to the left in the European Parliament (socialist rapporteur says he recommends that ACTA be rejected) followed by the step to the right (EPP Sarkozy-ite delays things to buy more time for the rightsholder lobbyists to regroup) – and it was Monica who made the connection with Richard O’Brien. (I’ve reported the ‘news’ side of this story on Infosecurity Mag) “ACTA: EU Parliament takes a step to the right,” is Monica’s headline. “It took a jump to the left…” is the first line.
“It’s just a jump to the left And then a step to the right” is the source in Richard O’Brien’s phenomenal Time Warp song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. What I hadn’t realised is quite how accurate those lyrics turn out to be.
Hollywood/government lays out its intention for the internet: It’s astounding, time is fleeting – Madness takes its toll – But listen closely, not for very much longer – I’ve got to keep control
But users are lost in their own, innocent, dreamy vision of the internet: It’s so dreamy, oh fantasy free me – So you can’t see me, no not at all
This is such a romantic view of freedom and the internet! But Hollywood/government responds: In another dimension, with voyeuristic intention – Well-secluded, I see all – With a bit of a mind flip – You’re there in the time slip – And nothing can ever be the same
This is O’Brien at his most prophetic. Hollywood/government wishes, from a hidden point of view, to see everything that happens on the internet. And once they succeed, nothing will ever be the same again.
O’Brien goes on to foretell what will happen. The user concludes: Well I was walking down the street just a-having a think – When a snake of a guy gave me an evil wink – He shook me up, he took me by surprise – He had a pickup truck and the devil’s eyes. – He stared at me and I felt a change – Time meant nothing, never would again.
Hollywood/government wins. The Time Warp itself? They will just keep cycling round in a time warp, time and time again, until they succeed. Just beware when that snake of a guy gives you an evil wink – and make sure you never vote for him again!