The good news is that we don’t need ‘cyber democracy’ to guarantee ‘cyber security’. In most cases the foundations for resilience are already in our existing laws and regulations. Technologies are an essential part of our daily lives, businesses, education, cultural experiences and political engagement. As a result, resilience and defense need to be integrated and mainstreamed to strengthen both freedom and security.She also notes that much of the hype may be driven by companies and politicians who benefit from such hype, driving new business to companies and passing new laws that give politicians more power. But, she notes, if we make policy based on those two drivers, internet freedom will certainly be put at risk. The unintended consequences are pretty clear:
[....] To prevent fear, hype and incident-driven policies and practices, knowledge, transparency and accountability are needed. Let us not make ‘cyber’ into something completely different, alien or spacy. But rather, let us focus on integrating technological developments in a way that allows us to preserve core (constitutional) principles, democratic oversight, and digital freedoms as essentials in our open societies.
US government has stated that American made, lawful intercept technologies, have come back as a boomerang when they were used against US interests by actors in third countries.One key point she makes is that we need to have a fact-based, careful look at the issues, in which we avoid conflating very, very different things (i.e., random hacking with "war").
Other companies, such as Area Spa from Italy designed a monitoring centre, and had people on the ground in Syria helping the Assad government succeed in anti-democratic or even criminal behaviour by helping the crackdown against peaceful dissidents and demonstrators.
To avoid a slippery slope, clear distinctions between various crimes and threats are needed. Economic damage as a result of criminal activity should render a different response than a state-led attack posing national security threats. Yet, at the moment, at least in the public debate, the distinction between various cyber threats is very unclear. Uncertainly can make people feel vulnerable, while it is internet users and citizens that need to be informed and empowered. We need to build resilient and educated societies instead of installing fear.There's a lot more in the piece as well, and I think many of our readers will find it quite interesting. It's always nice to know that there are some elected officials in the world are trying to base key policy decisions, including those around internet freedom, on reality rather than fear and hype.
States also need to prioritise in their partnerships, and look for consistency of actions by different government departments. Recently, the United States chose to sign a bilateral agreement with Russia on combatting Intellectual Property Rights infringements. The agreed cooperation seems in direct contradiction with objectives of the State Department in the field of internet freedom. In Russia, a newly adopted law gives the state the authority to use Deep Packet Inspections in internet traffic.
Unless, like me, you are looking at the release dates for the next generation of gaming consoles the way a starving hyena watches an approaching gazelle that's been eating nothing but butter for weeks, perhaps you're not up on all the information coming about regarding Microsoft's next console. Actually, as I'll discuss in a moment, even if you are paying constant attention, you probably still don't know a whole lot for sure. See, after months and months of speculation on possible features of the next Xbox, Microsoft stupidly decided to not firmly address any of that speculation at the release event for the Xbox One. The most troublesome in terms of bad press have been rumors about online connection requirements and how used games would be handled. I say press, but perhaps I should rather say non-mainstream press, because it's really been the smaller blogs and citizen journalists that have produced a roundly negative buzz for the Xbox One.
You would think that in a negative and uncertain climate that's been brewing for the past several months, Microsoft would use the official release press event as a way to clear all of this up. Good answers or bad answers, it's important that the public and the press have a firm understanding on what to expect out of the console. Aren't we constantly told that uncertainty is four letter word in economics and business? That's why it's so curious that Microsoft appears to have provided very little in the way of answers and what answers it has chosen to supply have been both contradictory and confusing.
So, let's take the two issues in order. First up is rumors about online requirements.
It turns out that the detail we were murkiest about was the one Microsoft themselves are the murkiest about. The official Microsoft party line on the day the company revealed the Xbox One: "It does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet."Welcome back. I say that because I assume you just spent the past fifteen minutes rereading that last sentence over and over again trying to figure out what the hell it means. As it turns out, the key word is "always." The Xbox One will require an internet connection at certain points, but it won't need to constantly be connected to function. So, what are those certain points? Well, nobody, including Microsoft, seems to know, which is strange of them to admit since it's their nun-punching freaking product. Microsoft executive Phil Harrison told Kotaku that he "believes" a connection is required once every 24 hours. Oh, and possibly one is needed in order to play a new game for the first time. Also when you first use the console. The lack of finality in these answers is astounding, particularly coming from a Microsoft executive giving interviews at the release event. Imagine going to your local auto show and having a Ford Motor VP telling you how wonderful their new car is, but can't firmly answer any questions about its motor or how many miles-per-gallon it gets?
"We will have a system where you can take that digital content and trade a previously played game at a retail store. We're not announcing the details of that today, but we will have announced in due course."Then told another:
"We will have a solution—we're not talking about it today—for you to be able to trade your previously-played games online."What you immediately notice is not only the lack of any specifics to one of the major questions hanging over the console like a set of rain clouds, but even these two non-answers are different. The first talks about used games being traded at retail stores, while the second seems to mention trading games online. That'd be a huge development if true, with some kind of Microsoft online trading platform threatening GameStop and other used game retailers. Speaking of which, reports are already surfacing that Microsoft is requiring agreements limited to select retailers to actually be able to buy and sell used games. If those reports are accurate, trading games will only be possible through those select retailers and the game publisher and Microsoft will take a massive cut of the transaction, leaving retailers with very little margin. The end results of this setup will be higher prices for used games and the inability for gamers to trade games with one another.
Only in January 2009 did the FBI think to ask the Justice Department's in-house lawyers whether the press restrictions apply when reporter records are obtained through indirect means such as community of interest requests. Government lawyers said yes, but the FBI concluded it didn't have to tell the press in the specific case it had inquired about, because agents had not "understood at the time the subpoenas were issued that the subpoenas called for reporters' records."As he points out, the real story around all of this might not be the "unprecedented" nature of spying on reporters, but rather how common it is, without anyone knowing that it's happening (and while the DOJ's publicly stated rules suggest that this kind of spying won't happen).
The real scandal may be just how much snooping on the media the current rules permit. To fully understand the AP seizures, the media and the public need a clearer picture of the rules governing all forms of spying on media—and how often such info-grabs have happened. Maybe the seizure of AP records is an extraordinary case. Or maybe the only extraordinary thing is that we're hearing about it.So, instead of being outraged about just how unprecedented these events appear to be, perhaps we should be outraged over how common they probably are -- and how the DOJ appears to have a totally cavalier attitude towards spying on journalists.
DailyDirt: DIY Soda (Pop Or Whatever You Call Carbonated Beverages) (Too Much Free Time)
Less than 1% of printed works globally are accessible to the blind. This is because laws around the world bar printed material from being turned into formats useable by the blind and visually impaired, or for such material to be shared across borders.It may be difficult to get to 100,000 signatures, but We The People petitions have previously been successful in getting the administration to come out against SOPA and against the Library of Congress' decision to say that unlocking mobile phones is a form of copyright infringement.
That’s why 186 countries will soon convene in Morocco to finalize a Treaty that would empower the world’s nearly 300 million blind citizens with the same rights to read, learn, and earn that the sighted enjoy. However, huge and powerful corporations – many wholly unaffected by the proposed Treaty – are working to fatally weaken it or block its adoption.
Ask the President to compel US negotiators to fight for a strong Treaty that gives blind people equal access to books and doesn't burden those who want to provide them. Please sign today!