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  • Gerrit Eicker 07:00 on 27. August 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Bottlenecks, , , , , , , Rights,   

    Routing Around Bottlenecks 

    Will people find ways to route around bottlenecks or innovate new systems that foster rights and freedom? http://eicker.at/CR

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Internet Access, , , , , , , , , Rights, , , , , UN, Universal Service, Universal Service Policy,   

    Internet Access: a Human Right? 

    A UN report declared Internet access a human right last summer: Cerf argues why it’s not; http://eicker.at/InternetHumanRight

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 11:36 on 6. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      UN: “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression – This report explores key trends and challenges to the right of all individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through the Internet. The Special Rapporteur underscores the unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole. Chapter III of the report underlines the applicability of international human rights norms and standards on the right to freedom of opinion and expression to the Internet as a communication medium, and sets out the exceptional circumstances under which the dissemination of certain types of information may be restricted. Chapters IV and V address two dimensions of Internet access respectively: (a) access to content; and (b) access to the physical and technical infrastructure required to access the Internet in the first place. More specifically, chapter IV outlines some of the ways in which States are increasingly censoring information online, namely through: arbitrary blocking or filtering of content; criminalization of legitimate expression; imposition of intermediary liability; disconnecting users from Internet access, including on the basis of intellectual property rights law; cyber-attacks; and inadequate protection of the right to privacy and data protection. Chapter V addresses the issue of universal access to the Internet. The Special Rapporteur intends to explore this topic further in his future report to the General Assembly. Chapter VI contains the Special Rapporteur’s conclusions and recommendations concerning the main subjects of the report.”

      Wired: “U.N. Report Declares Internet Access a Human Right – A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law. – The report railed against France and the United Kingdom, which have passed laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the internet. It also protested blocking internet access to quell political unrest… The report, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, comes the same day an internet-monitoring firm detected that two thirds of Syria’s internet access has abruptly gone dark, in what is likely a government response to unrest in that country.”

      Cerf, NYT: “Internet Access Is Not a Human Right – It is no surprise, then, that the protests have raised questions about whether Internet access is or should be a civil or human right. … In June, citing the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, a report by the United Nations’ special rapporteur went so far as to declare that the Internet had ‘become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights.’ … But that argument, however well meaning, misses a larger point: technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things. … Indeed, even the United Nations report, which was widely hailed as declaring Internet access a human right, acknowledged that the Internet was valuable as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. … While the United States has never decreed that everyone has a ‘right’ to a telephone, we have come close to this with the notion of ‘universal service’… Improving the Internet is just one means, albeit an important one, by which to improve the human condition. It must be done with an appreciation for the civil and human rights that deserve protection – without pretending that access itself is such a right.

      GigaOM: “Cerf’s position is somewhat surprising because, as even he acknowledges in his piece for the NYT, the events of the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011… Cerf is also the ‘chief Internet evangelist’ at Google, so it seems a little odd he would be downplaying the need for widespread internet access and the benefits that it brings to society. … In a nutshell, Cerf’s argument seems to be that if we define Internet access itself as a right, we are placing the focus on the wrong thing. The ‘Net, he says, is just a technological tool that enables us to exercise other fundamental rights, such as the right to free speech or access to information – and rights should not be awarded to tools, but to the ends that they enable us to reach. … The Internet is a fundamental method of communication and connection, and is becoming more fundamental all the time, as we’ve seen in the Middle East and elsewhere. Seeing it as a right is an important step towards making it available to as many people as possible.

      TL: “As I noted in my earlier essay, the best universal service policy is marketplace competition. When we get the basic framework right – low taxes, property rights, contractual enforcement, anti-fraud standards, etc. – competition generally takes care of the rest. But competition often doesn’t develop – or is sometimes prohibited outright – in sectors or for networks that are declared ‘essential’ facilities or technological entitlements. … So, while I appreciate and agree with Cerf’s humorous point that ‘Today, if I were granted a right to have a horse, I’m not sure where I would put it,’ the more interesting question is this: If government would have decreed long ago that everyone had a right to a horse, would that have meant everyone actually got one? … These are the sort of questions rarely asked initially in discussions about proposals to convert technologies or networks into birthright entitlements. Eventually, however, they become inescapable problems that every entitlement system must grapple with. When we discuss the wisdom of classifying the Internet or broadband as a birthright entitlement, we should require advocates to provide us with some answers to such questions. Kudos to Vint Cerf for helping us get that conversation going in a serious way.

      TC: “So, is the internet a human right? It is our best and most effective way of achieving a universal freedom of expression, and it should be treated as such. But to enshrine it, as others have said, as a human right when it is in fact merely a powerful enabler thereof, is an unnecessary step. Laws and regulations, and things like UN guidelines, should be aimed at enshrining rights in their pure and timeless forms, not in derivative forms, however widespread and important those derivatives may be.

      TR: “It might be argued that internet access was a civil right, since it is something that people look to governments to provide as a matter of course. But even this argument is shaky, he warns. Instead we should look not to the technology, but to the technology industry, to protect human rights, and it is up to engineers to ensure universal, safe internet access. … Cerf, whose current day job is being an internet evangelist for Google, may well have a point. But based on current evidence, there’s a mixed record from the technology industry thus far, not least from Silicon Valley itself. … From a technical perspective, El Reg suspects that Cerf has it right: the internet is no more a human right than a road or telephone. But looking to a relatively amoral industry like technology to act as a human rights guardian is asking for trouble.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:48 on 18. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Civil Rights, COICA, , , Demand Progress, E-Parasite Act, , Fight For the Future, , , , , , , , , H.R.3261, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , PPF, PRO-IP Act, , Public Knowledge, , , Rights, S.986, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Internet Censorship: SOPA and PIPA 

    Internet censorship made in the USA: SOPA and PIPA are a major attack on Internet freedom; http://eicker.at/InternetCensorship

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:49 on 18. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wikipedia: “The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R.3261 and the E-Parasite (Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation) Act, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011 by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. – The bill’s sponsors and advocates say it’s needed to help U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders fight online traffic in copyrighted intellectual property and ensuing revenue and job losses. Its opponents say it will ‘break the internet’, cost jobs, and threaten whistleblowers and other free speech. Now before the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008. The Senate’s corresponding bill, the Protect IP Act, was prevented from passing in early 2011 with a hold placed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). – The bill is divided into two titles with the first focusing on combating ‘foreign rogue sites’, websites outside U.S. jurisdiction that enable or facilitate copyright infringement, and the second focusing on increased penalties to combat intellectual property theft via digital means.

      Wikipedia: “PIPA – Protect IP Act, or (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011), is also known as United States Senate Bill S.968. It was introduced on May 12, 2011 by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and 11 initial bipartisan co-sponsors. Its goal is to give the government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to ‘rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods’, especially those registered outside the U.S. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that implementation of the bill would cost the federal government $47 million through 2016, to cover enforcement costs and the hiring and training of 22 new special agents and 26 support staff. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill, but Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) placed a hold on it. – The Protect IP Act is a re-write of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass in 2010. A similar House version of the bill, theStop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced on October 26, 2011.

      American Censorship: “American Censorship Day: Nov 16, 2011 – Congress holds hearings of the first American Internet censorship system. This bill can pass. If it does the Internet and free speech will never be the same. Join all of us to stop this bill. … Website Blocking – The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users. … Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users – It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook. … Chaos for the Internet – Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn’t be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system. … Supporters: Public Knowledge, EFF, Free Software Foundation, Mozilla, Demand Progress, Fight For the Future, PPF, Creative Commons, Wikimedia

      Mashable: “Tumblr, Firefox and Reddit drew broad black lines on their websites Wednesday to protest a proposed U.S. law that Internet companies have dubbed ‘censorship’ and entertainment companies ‘piracy protection.’ – Tumblr has blacked out all user-generated content you see when you first log in. When you click on the gray lines to investigate, you’re told: ‘Congress is holding hearings today and will soon pass a bill empowering corporations to censor the Internet unless you tell them no,’ and then have an option to leave a phone number to be connected to your elected representative.”

      TC: “Among numerous other issues, SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act, would allow copyright holders to easily obtain court orders to stop US payment and ad providers from doing business with foreign sites, force search engines to block links to allegedly infringing sites, and require domain service providers to block domains of allegedly infringing sites from being accessible. Be sure to check out Devin Coldewey’s excellent teardown of SOPA and PROTECT IP for more details on why we and many (but not all) other internet users are opposed.”

      Guardian: “Stop Sopa now – The Stop Online Piracy Act will kill online innovation and serve the interests not of ordinary web users but a corporate cartel – America is fond of chiding other nations about freedom of speech in the internet age. Leaders including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are constantly reminding their global counterparts, especially in places like China, that internet censorship is a detriment to open government and honest self-rule. Yet, the Obama administration has used tactics that smell of censorship, and Congress is making common cause with a corporate cartel that wants to turn the internet into little more than an enhanced form of cable television. … The damage Sopa would cause to existing services is bad enough. But the longer-range damage is literally incalculable, because the legislation is aimed at preventing innovation – and speech – that the cartel can’t control. … Meanwhile, the major media have been essentially silent on the issue. I’m not surprised. Big Media is an ally and member of the copyright cartel – and there may be more than a few people in traditional news organisations who fear the internet more than they worry about stifling speech.”

      GigaOM: “The Internet isn’t just pipes; it’s a belief system – Draconian new anti-piracy laws that are being pushed through both the Senate and the House of Representatives are about more than just an academic debate over different legislative methods for fighting copyright infringement. … As the Stop Online Piracy Act – and its cousin the E-Parasite Act – have worked their way through the Senate and the House, a loose coalition of technology companies and open-Internet advocates have come together to oppose the legislation – including companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo… The Internet by its nature is – among other things – a giant copyright-infringement machine. Because anyone can grab whatever content they wish and change it, mash it up with other content and instantly republish, it’s hugely frightening and threatening for many media companies and content owners. … That doesn’t mean we should encourage piracy, or deprive content owners of the tools to fight it when it occurs, but the reality is that they have those tools already in the DMCA and other existing legislation. SOPA and the E-Parasite Act aren’t just an expansion of those tools, they would alter the balance of power on the internet in fundamental ways and threaten the openness and freedom that generates a lot of the web’s value, both for businesses and for society as a whole. That’s not a trade we should make lightly, if at all.”

      EFF: “This week the House of Representatives opens hearings on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill that EFF – along with a number of prominent organizations and other actors – has opposed loudly and vigorously. – Though the bill would have grave implications on free expression for American Internet users, website owners, and intermediaries, its effects on the international community are even worse. In light of that fact, a coalition of international civil society and human rights groups have penned a letter expressing their opposition to the bill.

      SOPA Letter From Int’l Human Rights Community: “As press freedom and human rights advocates, we write to express our deep concern withH.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). While this is a domestic bill, there are several provisions within SOPA that would have serious implications for international civil and human rights which raise concerns about how the United States is approaching global internetgovernance. … Through SOPA, the United States is attempting to dominate a shared global resource.SOPA puts the interests of rightsholders ahead of the rights of society.Censoring the internet is the wrong approach to protecting any sectoral interest in business. By adopting SOPA, the United States would lose its position as a global leader in supporting a free and open Internet for public good. – The international civil and human rights community urges Congress to reject the Stop Online Privacy Act.

      GigaOM: “What the web is saying about SOPA – We’ve gathered a sample from various sources to help readers get a feel for the comments out there and see the big picture. Happy reading.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 08:52 on 18. September 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Diaspora Commits, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Rights, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Diaspora’s First Year 

    Diaspora: from 4 to >100K users, from 0 to >7K commits, from alpha to beta soon? http://eicker.at/DiasporasFirstYear

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:53 on 18. September 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Diasporial: “[September 15th] is a very special day for the Diaspora project. It has been exactly one year since the guys released the Diaspora source code! For a year now, people have been able to contribute to this project and set up pods. And so they did! Till date, 7371 commits have been made by the contributors and the four founders. In only a years time, the amount of Diaspora users has grown from 4 to over 100.000, spread over lots of pods! … It is rumoured that Diaspora will hit beta in November, on its Alpha release anniversary.”

      Diaspora: “We know that if you’re not a contributor and don’t follow us on Github, it’s hard to see Diaspora grow and evolve. Now that Diaspora is moving into its second year and a new phase of development, here are some numbers on the progress we’ve made. … Our developer community is growing. Diaspora has had over 100 unique code contributors and countless others have edited our wiki and updated Diaspora’s translations in over 51 languages. We have over 4,600 followers and over 840 forks, which means that tons of developers are checking out our code. That makes us the sixth most popular project on GitHub, right behind great open source projects like JQuery, Ruby On Rails, and Node, just to name a few.”

      Diaspora: “There’s been big news in the social networking world recently, and we can’t help but be pleased with the impact our work has had on two of the biggest developments. We’re proud that Google+ imitated one of our core features, aspects, with their circles. And now Facebook is at last moving in the right direction with user control over privacy, a move spurred not just by Google+, but more fundamentally by you and tens of thousands of community members, as well as hundreds of thousands of people who’ve lined up to try Diaspora* – that is, by all of us who’ve stood up to say ‘there has to be a better way.’ We’re making a difference already.

      RWW: “There are things about Diaspora that still are unique among its competitors. Not only is it open-source, it’s decentralized and distributed. Users are encouraged to set up their own servers. But these are not features for normal human users. In that category, the social networking superpowers seem to have Diaspora cornered. … Diaspora has been called the anti-Facebook for its strong privacy stance, and it had ‘aspects’ before anyone knew about Google Plus and its circles. … If Google Plus has taught us anything, it’s that normal people don’t feel like leaving the social networks where they already feel settled. … Is there anything Diaspora can do? I think so, but it’s a departure from it’s current incarnation, which is an awful lot like Google Plus (or vice versa, or whatever). It’s unrealistic to expect a mass exodus from one social network that works to another of which no one has ever heard. Diaspora’s potential is in its ability to syndicate to our other services (currently Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr) while still allowing us to own our data. … If Diaspora is built as a publishing platform that lets us own our content and direct it to our existing networks – and especially if we can read from them, too – it would be an awesome, welcome tool that even Dave Winer could love. But if the launch of Google Plus wasn’t splashy enough to start a mass Facebook exodus, a later launch of a service that looks the same is not going to do it.

      TNW: “Diaspora has never pitched itself as direct competitor to the likes of Facebook – more an alternative model for how social networks could be designed. However, it’s gained a reputation from observers as ‘that quirky Facebook alternative that never quite made it.’ Whether there’s a need or desire for its product or not, it seems there’s life in the Diaspora team yet.

      Some ‘historical’ Diaspora posts here on Wir sprechen Online:

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