Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Broken Liberties - The silent war on the general public

Hello everyone,

it's war. Maybe not in real life, but there's war on the internet. What started as a minor protest by pro-piracy groups against the actions of the media giants, has turned into a massive exchange of digital attacks, even flowing into the real life world.

Some background information
Conflict has been brewing for more than a decade by now. It started with a protest by the media industry against video and audio casette copying. This copying was made equal to theft. This eventually moved on to the internet, where copying bits of data (which represent Intellectual Property) was made equal to theft by the same organisations.

Before we continue, lets look up theft in the dictionary. In basically all dictionaries, it says something like this: "Theft - Taking away property which belongs to someone.". Do you take something away by copying? No. Do you steal property with copying? You don't too.

Next reason from the media giants to fight piracy: "They would lose profits due to piracy, which they would have made without piracy." Hmmmm, what profits were lost? Got any proof? Ah I see, you haven't. That's with all these things like "we're losing profits". And if it's about movies or music making losses, that's always because of hollywood accounting or similar schemes. These schemes make the real creator (the artist) earn hardly any money from their creations, even if they're highly profitable. Why should we even buy the media then?

To make matters worse, the media industry has been criminalizing the consumers with increasingly aggressivity. And in earlier times (5-15 years ago), that wasn't even without a 'good' reason! Back then, hardly anyone was pirating on a large scale. The anti piracy outfits were starting a massive public campaign back then when the internet started to become very popular among the common people. This lead to alot of people finding out about piracy, and starting to use it.

To tell a funny story: A family member of mine was unreasonable to talk about regarding IP (Intellectual Property) and such things. He regarded any form of open source and piracy as heavy criminals. If you find piracy questionable, ok, I can agree. But Open Source? Just because it's free to share doesn't make it criminal. Proves how old-fashioned some people can think.

Lets go on. Basically, this entire criminalizing of the public has created alot of hate against the media giants by alot of people who check on the independent news sources on the internet (which virtually contains the only independent news sources). This hate led to small protests like propaganda in the past. Also, the media industry has been 'purchasing'/bribing new laws, like 'pornographic internet filters' and heavier IP laws. The latest results of these actions are the ACTA treaty and the Gallo Report. The protests kept going at the steady pace it had always been going in. Still, it was a fire waiting to explode. And explode it did.

Opening of the war
What triggered the so called explosion? Well, that's something which I'm gonna explain now.

In september, several torrent sites (including The Pirate Bay) became victim of DDoS attacks (denial of service). This upset the filesharing and general internet community alot. But, the culprit could only be guessed, until... The indian firm, AiPlex, confessed they were behind the attacks, and that they were paid by the RIAA and MPAA. This infuriated the internet community, especially the younger generations.

Within a matter of days, huge attacks (involving thousands, if not millions, of people) were staged upon several websites, including the AiPlex, RIAA and MPAA. All those websites suffered downtime, as reported by Panda Security.

It didn't stop with this. Several hours later, the digital attacks were being exchanged by hackers from both sides. Both sides suffered damage, but fortunately no one has been killed yet. It isn't possible, since this war isn't going on in real life, or is it?

What's really going on
There's something going on behind the background. This war isn't about piracy, but about power. Modern-day piracy is power of the masses, and the internet currently also is power of the masses. The internet is also a very big communication method, soon to be the biggest (if not the biggest already). Any powerful entity wants to control this. If you look at all the anti-piracy laws being bought/bribed/lobbied (whatever you call it) by the media industry, all of them can also be used at people who just have a non-matching opinion.

Haven't we seen this before? Ah yes, I remember. It were some troubled times in a certain country in Europe in the 1930's. Dangerous it was, and it needed alot of power to be pulled down.

Currently, in all european countries, there's been alot of media coverage of extremist right groups. In The Netherlands, we have our own person for this matter, called Geert Wilders. I think it isn't anything coincidental that people like him get so much media coverage. It's not only because they have radical views, but also because they're likely to grant the large corporations more power. And this is exactly what the media industry wants.

The developments currently happening are leading towards corporate-controlled police states, where any differently-thinking person gets ruined for the rest of his/her life. It's already what we were seeing in the USA, with the anti-piracy lawsuits in the past.

A side note: I don't condemn any corporation. Any corporation which operates within the boundaries of the law has right to exist. Corporations which buy laws by bribing/lobbying operate outside the law in my eyes, and therefore have no right to exist.

But before these police states are a reality, we need to act. The protests, in the form of propaganda and pirate parties, were just the beginning. Now the real war has started, it's not about just piracy. It's about the freedom of speech. Since if the media giants get the internet under their control, they have all media under control. And this is something VERY dangerous. We have seen this before, and we fought it in the past with a huge army. Then right after, we promised it would never happen any more. And now? It's starting to happen again, and the only people acting are far in the minority. The reason? Hardly anyone knows about this war, which is far more dangerous than any muslim or terrorist threat.

I've been gathering links of articles about these issues for some time now. While some are clearly pointing towards one side, I've posted the most neutral ones below here:
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/09/4chan-tries-to-change-life-outside-the-basement-via-ddos-attacks.ars
http://tweakers.net/nieuws/69751/websites-van-riaa-gaan-plat-door-gerichte-ddos-aanvallen.html (dutch)
http://tweakers.net/nieuws/69815/justitie-geeft-geen-openheid-over-internetfilter-kinderporno.html (dutch)
http://tweakers.net/nieuws/69801/europees-parlement-neemt-antipiraterijrapport-aan.html (dutch)
http://torrentfreak.com/european-parliament-votes-on-controversial-anti-piracy-report-100921/ (maybe not so neutral, still posting it for you)
http://torrentfreak.com/copyright-trolls-not-just-for-patents-anymore-100920/ (same goes for this)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njuo1puB1lg (an intresting explaination how you can make profit and have piracy at the same time)
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/04/acta-is-here.ars/ (some insightful information on ACTA)

Just do some searches with your favorite search engines, and you'll find alot of results about these issues.

A few years ago, the copyright issues didn't bother me much. I thought that it wouldn't affect real life, and remain on the internet. That has changed 2 years ago, when more and more information got leaked on ACTA. ACTA has serious impacts on democracy, in a negative way. It might be the beginning of the end of democracy, unless we act. After all, if we act, they're just digging their own grave. And I hope we will act.

What can you do? Firstly, have a look at those links, read them entirely (at least, the english ones) and make up your own mind. If you agree with the tone set in this blog post, feel free to join the fight and vote for the pirate parties (or other parties which are pro-piracy, generally left-wing or liberal parties) and let other people know about what's going on. If you don't agree, that's your own right. It's still a democracy after all.

Cheers,
Roberto

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Broken Liberties?

Hey all,

recently, the Dutch minister for Justice has enacted a law which breaks the Trias Politica. This law was enacted due to the seemingly abuse of the possibilities of the internet by criminals and civilians. Criminals abuse it by sharing information, communication about illicit things, etc. Civilians would have abused it by obtaining classified information, which damages other indiduals and organisations.

The law makes it possible to block 'illegal' and 'unwanted' content from the majority of the citizens. This was already possible under current law, but it required the jurisdictional power to verify if it breaks any laws. If it breaks any laws, it will be blocked, if not, it won't.

The current law which has been enacted allows for the government to block sites without intervention from the jurisdictional power. This means that the government can block a site, without the verification fron a judge. This directly breaks the Trias Politica, which is the foundation of all 'true' democracies.

And who says that this will be limited to only criminal sites? With this, the government can virtually block any site which they don't like. The ramnifications of this can be huge. Someone who criticizes the government can be blocked. Someone who leaks classified information (which is important for the general public to know) can be punished and sent to jail. And more...

This is not happening only in The Netherlands, but also in other western countries. A very bad development in my eyes. This will seriously impair liberties throughout the western world, leading to more abuse of the general public.

We should say no to this!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Update 11 september 2010

Hey all,

it's been some time since my last update, so I'm gonna tell how stuff has been going.

-university-

I've finally gotten word from university that I've finished my foundation course (propedeuse in dutch). This takes alot of worries away, and makes me able to continue university easily. So that's a plus. Also, the class which keeps bothering me has stopped doing so, so that's also a plus.

I'm still unsure about my future though. University says that I'm facing a good future, but I'm just not sure. I'll see about that.

-social life-


Well, there's only one word which can describe how this is going: shitty. I do have friends, but they hardly make time for me, so I'm very bored most of the days. And that isn't good for me. I hope this will improve soon.

-health-

Well, there's also one word which can describe my health: shitty. As some of you may have read on my blog, I'm having certain symptons recently in an increasing intensity and frequency. That caused me to contact several medical specialists, in order to find out what's been wrong. After 3 weeks, it has been discovered what it is. It is due to my extremely high intelligence, that I absorb information too quickly. My mind hasn't got enough time to organize everything, and that makes my mind become too clogged with stuff. This results in the symptons I've been having, which are quick exhaustion (both mental and physical), breakdowns/collapses and a constantly being semi-tired.

The downside of this is, that it can't be cured. I just have to learn to live with it, and that's hard. It blocks me in the things I want to achieve. It's gonna be hard!

-conclusion-

Well, on the overal I'm not feeling well. Although university is going well, 2 other spheres aren't going so well. I will likely have to work on improving my social life soon. Hopefully I will feel better then :)

Cheers

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What's wrong?

Hey all,

recently, my health has been going downwards. I don't know why or what is happening (that is under investigation), but lately I feel extremely tired, even after small chores. A busy morning and afternoon seriously wrecks my ability to think for the the rest of that day.

It's really weird. I've been having this feeling to a lesser extent already since I went to Eindhoven University of Technology, but the past few months it has worsened alot. It's a really constantly tired feeling, sometimes even to extreme forms. But it isn't tiredness like that you want to sleep, but different tiredness. It's kinda hard to explain.

I've heard some people talk that it could be heart-related. I hope it's not. Some other people said that it could have psychological reasons. I just don't know. I'm going to let this get investigated.

Let's hope for the best!

Roberto

University stuff

Hey all,

university has started again for me. The first week went quite easily. Not many troubles, or did I still have something? Oh yes, my mentor told me that he heard from several people that I wanted to quit university. I don't know where these stories are coming from, but they're pure lies. I did tell some people that I'm worried, but not that I wanted to quit.

Something very weird is going on there, like someone is trying to get me gone from there. I hear more and more negative things about me on university, while I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Well, I hope I will find out in time!

Cheers,
Roberto

Fail in Dutch politics

Hey all,

as some of you may have read, the coalition talks in The Netherlands have failed (again). They've tried all possible combinations, but still without result. Now the VVD party (who were the winners) will set up a government plan, and see who will follow them.

Basically, it didn't come as a surprise to me. The CDA is too fragile and the PVV has too extreme views. Other combinations are also difficult, due to the promises made to the voters. They had dug themselves too deep in, and now it's trench warfare.

We've been without a real government for 7 months! It's taking far too long! And our neighbours (Belgium) aren't doing well either, being without a government for already 5 months.

Where is this going to? Both countries have had alot of collapsed governments the past 10 years. Even for the smallest things, the government collapses here in The Netherlands. These politicians seem to take it too lightly with promises made to the people, and with promises made to eachother.

What I would suggest is to have new elections, and see what happens. I know one of my most hated political parties (PVV) will get very big then, but if it takes that to have a government, I'll accept it.

The PVV would hurt foreign relations alot. They're kinda the same as the nazi's back in the 30's and 40's. If you compare a speech of Geert Wilders with one from Hitler, you immediately see the similarities. They're good for in the opposition, but not good as a government party. But we'll see.

Cheers,
Roberto

First post

Hello everyone!

This is the first post on my personal blog. With all new things, a little explaination is required what this is about.

I will blog here about general stuff in my life. This ranges from software projects, to social stuff till just my intrests. Anything which really bothers me will find it's way on here.

Basically, if you're too lazy to read the about me page, don't worry! I'll explain who I am. Many people know me under the names dirtbag/dirtbag007 and robske. These are some nicknames which I generally use on the internet (I use several others less frequently). I'm currently a student, studying Applied Computer Science at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. Hmmm, sounds like a nerd doesn't it? Well, you can classify me as a nerd, weren't it that I also enjoy skiïng alot. It's one of my most favorite things. What's more enjoyable than going downhill with 70km/h (43mph!) with nothing more between the ground and you than one inch, feeling the wind going past you. Of course, breaking a leg isn't fun, but I've never had that in my life so far (and I hope it stays that way).

Other things I like to do is basically hang out with friends (lanparties, dining out, lasergaming, bowling and several other stuff), doing stuff on my computer computer (recently it's more because I have nothing else to do. I prefer skiïng or doing stuff with friends though), just have nice conversations with people & meeting new people.

I also do some work besides my education and other things which eat my time. I work for DHL Global Mail at the moment, and next to that I do some Freelance programming and translation stuff (English <-> Dutch).

Sorry for making this too long already for the people who are too lazy to read! I will stop already!

Well, basically, expect some more blog posts soon!

Cheers,
Roberto