Thursday, 24 December 2009


Time to put the feet up and enjoy a little seasonal good cheer.... Back for more after Yule....

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Censorship on the loose in Oz

While the snow lies thick and even here... things are getting hot down in Australia. John Lilburne writes about new plans for net censorship which will force ISPs to blacklist sites.  As Electronic Frontiers Australia puts it, Australia is "gaining a reputation as the Iran of the South Pacific".

This took a new turn on Friday when a satirical site set up in the name of Australia's broadband minister Stephen Conroy has been taken down at three hours notice for not following Australia's domain name rules. This has led to allegations of a political motive for the take down and complaints that the domain name rules are being used to stifle political comment on net censorship and of the Australian government's policy to restrict freedom of communication.

Needless to say...  the affected site can now be found on a new domain while they fight to get their domain back....

Who is deciding what you surf?  Say NO to network censorship.

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

What goes round comes around... EU, Canada and IP law

Michael Geist has what for me is a depressing post on ongoing negotiations between the EU and Canada on trade.... including big changes in IP law.  Depressing because it is the EU that are pressing Canada to implement more stringent measures on copyright including measures against circumvention of digital locks, and copyright term extension from 50 to 70 years.  The EU aligns with the US... and then the EU presses Canada to align with the EU.

How about a new process for 2010?  The EU aligns with Canada.. and tells the USA that they need to get their act in order and liberalise their IP laws? 

Some of the things that are in the proposals include things I didn't even know existed under EU law... like that prohibition on circumventing digital locks - and a resale provision providing royalties for artists on second hand sales of portraits and statues...  (When did that arrive???)

Christian, HAX.....  what's the low down??????

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party - Working for copyright reform.

Song birds decline

Spring starts two weeks earlier than it did 25 years ago.... but do the birds know that?

Figures from the Netherlands show big declines in song bird populations which they attribute to migratory birds missing the spring food peak for feeding their young.  ... though I'm sure there must be other factors too...

When people talk about climate change not happening they are ignoring the evidence - that nature is already changing in response to climatic variation.  And when people talk about not trying to stop change, but just adapting to the change, they ignore the fact that for many species that's not an option - at least not any time soon....

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Stand Up Diggers All... Every Human Has Rights


"From the men of property the orders came; they sent the hired men & troopers to wipe out the Digger's claim"

Tomorrow is Human Rights Day.... it's a time when all of us should reflect on the privilege we enjoy in the rights we have, and the struggle of people around the world to live their lives without those rights.  I write a lot about the rights if privacy, and of free speech and what is happening in the digital world that may impact on all of us in the future - but there are more basic rights being ignored and flouted all over the globe. 

Today I'd like to highlight just one case - not because it's the worst rights abuse I could find - but because it stands square in the cause that the diggers fought for three hundred and sixty years ago.  Today in Venezuela
people are fighting for their basic right to protest against the vested interests of the state and the landowners

"On the one hand, police officers, the prosecutors and judges, on the other, hired killers led by landowners and business sectors, plus shock troops allied with national, regional and local governments regardless their political orientation, all form the triangle of repression to the social fight."

What are each of us doing to defend their rights against those that would deny them?

Streaming.... the answer to an industry's prayer?

According to industry figures digital music sales are rising.. the result they say of increased legislation and the introduction of new services like Spotify that meet users needs .. And to be honest it is not a bad thing if commercial music services do appear that provide what consumers want. About time you might say.

That streaming can be the death of pirating is the subject of an article by Mercedes Bunz in the Guardian - pointing to the possibilities that streaming services can bring. But streaming comes at a price - and in any case is not the panacea it seems. Cory Doctorow has an excellent piece on why streaming might make the industry happy, but ultimately won't make copying go away. Basically, from a technical stand point, saving a streaming film or music track is a very small step.... (think radio and tape recorder)

The risk is that this sparks another technology war between the user community and the copyright lobby - with ultimately the only way to enforce copyright being through gross intrusions on your privacy.

More though - streaming is a bad solution when it comes to practical use of the Internet - particularly streaming when on the move. It places very high load as everyone wants to stream at the same time.. Stored tracks on your MP3 player are much more effective.

That last issue is one I've been thinking about for some time. Peer to peer trafiic - downloads - happen in the background. It doesn't matter if they take a bit longer - and you don't need the traffic to get there in real time. It can be low priority in the operator's network - and operators can and do throttle p2p traffic to keep their networks running.

Streaming traffic is live, and time sensitive, and needs to be high priority in the network to get an acceptable service. Not only that but downloading is a 'do once use many' activity, whereas streaming takes bandwidth every time you want to play something - even if you've heard it before. So total traffic will rise - and traffic mixes will shift to make handlling peak loads much more difficult. Streaming is bad news for telecom operators - it is likely lead to them needing to build out capacity to cope with streaming traffic - or disasterous impact on network quality.

Which means that, on top of the bill for monitoring user traffic and policing peer2peer use operators are likely to be stuck with significant costs for network upgrades as streaming music, and particularly video, becomes more popular. They (and we the subscribers) take the cost for the media industry's gain.

Is that how it's going to be in the Digital Economy?

(When I get the time I'll try and make a guesstimate of just how much that extra investment might be....  but it's not going to be small...)

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

300 000 strikes.... Record labels in court for piracy face $6Bn bill

Truth they say is stranger than fiction.... while record companies are complaining around the world about the costs of piracy, hiring lawyers to  demand money from alleged offenders and lobbying anyone who will listen to draft new draconian legislation against file sharers, they are meanwhile quietly ripping off artists by publishing tracks without permission and forgetting to pay the royalties.

Michael Geist reports on a case in Canada where since the eighties record labels have been issuing compilation discs without getting prior permissions and never getting round to settling their dues.  Three hundred thousand tracks later they are now in court facing a class action suit by artists...    and bearing in mind this is not non-commercial file sharing we're talking about, but out and out commercial exploitation, the artists are seeking statutory damages of $20 000 per track...  a cool six billion in total*. 

The companies in the dock are Warner Music Canada, Sony BMG Music Canada, EMI Music Canada, and Universal Music Canada -  the four primary members of the Canadian Recording Industry Association.  Now if I was a shareholder in a company that through ineptitude and bad practice exposed itself to the risk of damages on that scale I would expect heads to roll... 

Resignations gentlemen?  And don't forget to switch off your Internet as you leave.....

(via Rick Falkvinge)

* Don't forget that $6Bn is around 20 times the recording industries estimates of the annual losses to music piracy in the UK. (..if you believe them?)

Errata:  corrected from $60Bn to $6Bn... sloppy maths - sorry!

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Record label head resigns to oppose Digital Economy Bill

CMU reports in an article that Anthony Hall, head of record label Pure Mint, is resigning from both the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) because of their support for the Digital Economy Bill.  Significantly Mr Hall, who is also a lawyer,  has been both a member of the BPI's rights committee and IFPI's International Legal Committee.

His resignation letter is strongly critical of the bill and BPI and IFPI's support for it. His complaints are precisely those that have been raised loudly in other quarters...  The bill, the article says "is in danger of disregarding some sacred legal principles (regarding process, presumption of innocence and burden of proof) and ... it won't solve the record industry's piracy problems anyway."

The proposal for new ministerial powers he describes as "wholly undemocratic and contrary to centuries of good practice regarding the forming of our copyright legislation."

Top marks to Mr Hall for showing that integrity and principle matters more than profits.  But are government minister's really so blind that they can't see this for themselves??? 

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Telia stick to their guns in IPRED case

Telia have decided to appeal a judgement that they should hand over details of who is behind one of their IP addresses to film companies investigating a torrent search site..

'Protection of customer's integrity is important' they say.  It's a pity UK ISPs are not as dedicated to their customers interests (as they hand over thousands of IP addressees details...).

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Think tank says think again on Digital Economy

The Adam Smith Institute is the latest to come out with criticism of the UK Goverments plans for the 'Digital Economy'.  They have released an online briefing paper on Digital Britain - which is described in brief on their website under the title Leave 'Digital Britain' alone.

Aside from a key message that the digital economy is doing very well thank you without government interference it takes the government to task for not taking privacy issues seriously.  It also makes this superbly simple suggestion.
"The report suggests that personal identity and all data associated with it should be defined in law as private property owned by the individual. Any use of that personal data without the owner’s consent would thereby become unlawful."

Yesterday would not be soon enough....

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Sue, Grabbit and Run: copyright solicitors?

Just this week in the news is that a UK legal firm is preparing 15 000 letters for what I would best describe as judicial blackmail - pay up or we take you to court. Lawfirm ACS:Law requested and are now getting user details from ISPs on 30 000 IP addresses. Many of the alleged infringements apparently relate to pornography and it is thought many people will pay up rather than go to court and defend themselves. An example of this type of threatening letter is available on Wikileaks

To gather the 30 000 IP addresses they used German firm Digiprotect - a specialist in this area renowned from allegations that they seeded copyright material with rightholders permission to then 'catch' people downloading it.  In fact only last week their relationship with a German law firm was under investigation for fraud for basing claims for this type of payment on legal costs that don't actually exist.

Previous rounds of this sharp practice has raised hundreds of cases of wrong accusations - but as information from other firms involved in the same business shows- chasing pirates is more profitable that selling music games and videos legally...

(Personally I intrinsically question any process where the costs to recover money for rights holders exceeds the money recovered by a factor of four.... that's a business for making money from litigation, not from creativity)

If you have received this type of threatening letter you could start by reading the advice here from Gareth Halfacree (via Amused Cynicism).  If you need help pleading your innocence you may be interested in Torrentfreak's article on a UK law firm that is giving free support for this type of case (dated last year).  This thread at Consumer Action group is on the same topic.
Update:  also checkout Beingthreatened

More reading:
Extortion Is Profitable Too, Doesn't Mean That It's A Fair Way To Profit Off Piracy
If you think the RIAA sucks check these guys out

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Standards of justice - rights, wrongs and copyright infringement

Non-commercial copying of copyrighted maerial is a long established practice - covering everything from sharing recipes, photo copying course notes and taping material from the TV or radio.  What has changed in recent years is not that it happens - rather, that technology has made it easier to do -while at the same time technology makes it practical in many instances to see that it is happening.

What is legal - and how infringement is addressed - differ in different countries.  In Britain (as I understand it) it's still an infringement of copyright to copy your LPs onto tape - or your CDs onto your media server. As for making a compilation from your records collection to give to your girlfriend....  Hots coals and the lash await...

Enforcement is the proof of the pudding - putting individuals in the firing line for having shared copyrighted material.

This week has seen two interesting court cases in Sweden.  First a court in Södertorn decided that Telia Sonera were obliged to hand over details of who runs the Torrent search engine SweTorrents to Antipiratbyrån - a lobby and enforcement organisation for the media industry.  The judgement included in it's rationale both that SweTorrents had a large number of copyright works uploaded onto the site - and that  the site has been used to download material.  

Now it's hard for me to comment on whether providing a search engine counts as abetting copyright infringement under the letter of the current law....  but those aren't legal judgements - they are matters of fact.  It's a search engine.. there are no files on the site to download - and nor can you upload to the site...  so if that's the basis of the judgement it's a pretty dodgy one.  No surprise then that Rick Falkvinge pulls it apart in an article that argues that information politics and it's importance for economic development are too important to leave media industry lobbyists to set the agenda.

Another judgement came this week - this one from the Swedish High Court - saying that broadband operator Portlane is not required to shut off access for a tracker site, Opentorrent.   Here they stated 
"För att medverka till upphovsrättsintrång krävs mer av en mellanhand "än tillhandahållande av en internetaccess".
" in order to contribute to copyright infringement an intermediary needs to do more than provide an internet access".

This judgement is interesting to contrast with the the current proposals in the UK's proposed Digital Economy Bill which will put specific responsibilities onto operators for policing copyright.  And notwithstanding the lack of technical knowledge shown in the first case - both cases show considerably more interest in the individuals rights and a just process than we see in the UKs current legal and political arena .

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Rice, SUVs and climate sceptics.

"Vietnam is planning for a one-metre (3.3 feet) rise in sea levels by 2100, which would inundate about 31,000 square kilometres (12,400 square miles) of land -- an area about the size of Belgium...  The inundation threat is greatest in the Mekong Delta," (the country's main rice production and export area)

John Redwood describes four main groups of climate sceptics.  One of those is the 'of course the climate is changing but it is too hard to stop it - we need to just adapt'.

What that line fails to trake account of is that we are talking about a moving target.  Not acting means more and more emissions - and that means climate issues will continue to get worse..  The climate is changing, and we need to adapt to that.  But giving up and saying let it happen is to me a hugely irresponsible way to react to what is a global issue.  The meat eating, holiday in the sun, gas guzzling SUV driver is probably not the one if food supplies get scarcer that will face malnutrition or starvation. 

Vietnam, as you of course know, is the world's second biggest exporter of rice.... 

Friday, 4 December 2009

Iran targets activists on the web.

Read this disturbing account in the Wall Street Journal about Iran's tactics for tackling growing criticism of the state among the large global expatriate community - photographing demonstrators, logging people's Facebook activity, imitating dissidents on Facebook, and most chillingly threatening people's families in Iran to stop their activist relatives abroad.

If true it is intensely cynical and distasteful.. On the other hand, what better warning over state misuse of the internet for surveillance do you need? States do what they can..   not what they should.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Blogging Swedish politics

A new site with hopefully a good future is Politometern. Basically a swedish political blog portal with great search functions and statistics. Over 130 pirate blogs listed - and all at the click of a link.  (Knowing a bit of Swedish helps ;-)

Not surprisingly the site shows Pirate bloggers way out in front when it comes to covering rights, privacy, copyright, ACTA and the FRA.

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

A photographer's view of the Digital Economy Bill

Following this morning's post on the Digital Economy Bill I came across two sites of interest if you want to follow it's progress...   The first is a twitter stream on the bill - clearly a good spot to head for for up to date comment.

The second is Pro-imaging - a site 'supporting professional image creators' who are following the bill's progress because online intellectual property is a clearly of interest for people making a living from photography.  Apart from some useful links on submitting comments and following the bill's progress in the house they raise some points on what they see the bill misses. 

The first is a proposal to add compulsory school education in Intellectual Property...  I understand where they are coming from - but it's something I personally am against.  Firstly if it's not already mandated after two hundred years of copyright it is hard to see it as a 'must have' - and secondly it's a topic that could easily turn into indoctrination rather than education. That's not to say that I don't think there is value in school students debating intellectual property issues - but since principles of intellectual property have a clear political dimension we should be very wary of mandating what students should be taught to believe..

The second though I do support - an artists right to attribution - in principle at least.  Clearly passing someone else's work off as your own is fraud and shouldn't be condoned.   On the other hand their proposal of making it an offence to tamper with metadata in a file...... sounds like a big sledgehammer for a pretty small nut.  I'm not sure it's practical  - how would you prove who made changes to the meta data on a file? And I have no idea what is lodged as meta data if I edit or crop a file and then save it. (When does it become a secondary work?).   If I change format and the meta data is not transferred is that an offence.... Nya. Not such a great idea......

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Kill Bill: Stopping the Digital Economy Bill

You must have heard about the Digital Economy Bill...   the UK government's proposals for regulating the Internet.  It's been widely criticised - particularly for continuing to promote the governments line on excluding users from the Internet and for obscene new powers for ministers to make up copyright enforcement as they go along.  The leaders in the digital economy are firmly against it - including both ISPs and industry heavyweights like Google, Yahoo and eBay. The EFF describes in no uncertain terms that this bill will fetter the digital economy and stifle innovation.

Don't like it?  Then don't accept it.  Here's some simple steps to take to help stop this unacceptable legislation.
  • Write to your MP ... or visit them.  Tell them in simple terms why this is a BAD proposal.
  • Write to a Lord.  The bill has to pass the Lords.  Yesterday was the second reading but it will be back.  Details here from the Open Rights group.  Note - choose one of the Lords listed as a speaker in the debate (listed in the comments)
  • Join the Open Rights Group.  Strong membership (and financial support) help them to lobby on this and other digital rights issues.
  • Join the Pirate Party.  Britains only political party dedicated to protecting users rights on the Internet and creating a forward looking digital economy.  Becoming a pirate shows that the digital economy matters to voters - and there is an election coming up.
  • Sign the petition against the bill at  (now almost 29 000 signatures)
  • Join the Facebook group - I won’t vote for any MP who supports Mandelson’s Digital Economy Bill -and remember to tell your MP!
  • Blog about it...
  • Make sure all your friends do too  (all of the above!)
Don't sit back and let them...  Do something.  and do it now!

More on the DEB:
Open Rights: The Digital Economy Bill - a first critical look
Liberty: Disconnection is disproportionate and indiscriminate
Mandy and Me: Some thoughts on the Digital Economy Bill
Britain's new Internet Law - as bad as everyone has been saying, and worse.

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

I wonder who's watching me now....?

"I'm just an average man with an average life
I work from nine to five, hey hell I pay the price
All I want is to be left alone in my average home
But why do I always feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone

I always feel like somebody's watchin' me
And I have no privacy
I always feel like somebody's watchin' me
Tell me, is it just a dream?"
         Rockwell.. and the late Michael Jackson.

Hear it again here....
                 ............or do I mean here?

"And I don't feel safe anymore, oh what a mess
I wonder who's watching me now?
The FRA?

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Swedish bloggers look to Telia to stand up for their rights

I don't usually blog in Swedish - not because I can't - but because I want the world to read about what is being done here in defending our rights.  Right now though - all across Sweden bloggers are putting up this.. or words like it. (translated below).  Read it please...  and if you want to stand up for your rights and ours, blog it and spread it further. Join us too on Facebook..

Upprop: Telia – ta FRA-lagen till domstol

Från och med den första december 2009 är Sverige en övervakad nation. Det är då som FRA får tillgång till en stor del av vår Internet- och mobiltrafik.

Detta kommer att få ett antal konsekvenser. De mest påtagliga är att flera grundläggande rättigheter i praktiken kommer att sättas ur spel. En självklarhet som brevhemligheten kommer efter den första december 2009 inte att existera på Internet. Även andra grundlagsskyddade rättigheter som källskyddet är starkt hotat. Många organisationer har skarpt protesterat mot FRA-lagen, bland andra Journalistförbundet och Advokatsamfundet. En majoritet av svenska folket är emot FRAs avlyssning.

Flera juridiska experter uttrycker dessutom stor tveksamhet till om FRA-lagen är förenlig med Europakonventionen, dvs. den europeiska konventionen angående skydd för de mänskliga rättigheterna. Sverige har förbundit sig att följa den konventionen och rimligtvis bör lagen alltså prövas i Europeiska domstolen för de mänskliga rättigheterna. Telia ansvarar idag för en majoritet av den trafik som FRA kommer att vilja avlyssna. Därför uppmanar vi Telia: ta FRA-lagen till domstol.

Telia har nu en chans att vinna goodwill genom att stå upp för demokratin

Appeal: Telia – take the FRA-law to court!

"From the first of December 2009 Sweden is a nation under surveillance. It is then that the FRA has access to a large part of our Internet and mobile services.

This is going to have a number of consequences. The most notable is that several fundamental rights will  in practice be eliminated. Obviously confidentiality of correspondence does not exist on the Internet after the first december 2009. Other constitutional rights such as protection of (journalistic) sources are highly threatened. Many organizations have strongly protested against the FRA law, including Journalists and the (Swedish) Bar Association. A majority of Swedish people are against FRA's interception.

Several legal experts also express considerable doubt whether the FRA law is compatible with the ECHR, ie. the European Convention on Human Rights. Sweden has undertaken to comply with the Convention, and the law ought therefore to be tested in the European Court of Human Rights. Telia is currently responsible for a majority of the traffic that FRA will want to listen to. We therefore call on Telia: take the FRA law to court.

Telia now has a chance to win goodwill by standing up for democracy."

This is an open and common blog entries - copy, enhance and publish to your blog....
Sweden's FRA are monitoring all traffic passing Sweden's borders and monitoring in particular international transit traffic.  Lift this and copy it.... 

Bloggers making the call include....
Tantrikbloggen, Annarkia, Scaber Nestor, Sossar mot Storebror, Den Nya Medborgarrättsrörelsen, Archangel, Darkangel och Mumma, Signerat Kjellberg, Den digitala parkbänken, Sagor från livbåten, Piratpartisten, Thorlin, Sandrability, Bloggvärldsbloggen, Aspiebloggen, Farmorgun, Pesptraktelser,, JensO, Beelzebjörn, Röd Libertarian, Calandrella, ProjO, Christian Engström, Webhackande, Liberal & Långsint, Osmidigt, Solid Block of Ise, Johan Ronström, Personlig Utveckling?, Bandhunden Skäller, Infallsvinkel, Hearts of Joy, Primarys Blog, Alliansupproret, Integritet & frihet, Tieowbeijas, The Pheleroxian Blog, Mattias Bjärnemalm, Skivad Lime, OlofB, OlofB, OlofB, Enligt min Humla, Daniel och de små tomtarna, hannes2peer, Beelzebjörn, Exiled PirateHenrik Alexandersson, Den Digitala Parkbänken
(this list mostly lifted from Tantrikbloggen..)

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

Translated by Google.. with a little help from me...


Have a Big Brother Christmas...

Today's the day...  It's finally happening.....   

Today is the day that FRA get connected in to cables carrying ALL Swedens cross border e-traffic and the Swedish state gets to monitor anything they fancy from traffic passing through the kingdom (though the king I don't think gets much say in things).  Since bits aren't all that fussy which route they take that's just as much an issue for the rest of humanity as it is for the few million herring eaters out here on the continental fringe - in fact they are intending to primarily focus on monitoring international traffic not sourced from Sweden.

So...  Happy Christmas..  Big Brother Sweden is giving all of us a big slice of state surveillance to chew on.  Pour another glass of glögg and...  Skål!

Still Big Brother does have a sense of humour....   check out this at Techbelly...
Merry fucking Xmas, Love Big Brother

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

ACTA update - Things afoot in EU, US, NZ & AUS

There has been a lot of vocal opposition to ACTA over recent days - some of it against the secrecy of the process and some of it against the content of the treaty itself.  EFF already have a good round up so take a stop by there as well....

In the US, two senators have sent a letter to the US trade representative asking for ACTA documents to be made public.  Meanwhile Swedish Minister for Communications Åsa Torstensson is on her way to Washington to lobby for opening up the negotiations to more public scrutiny - and to express the Swedish governments view that ACTA opening up for a three strikes policy for internet access termination is unacceptable.

Michael Geist is a good source as usual - reporting amongst other things that the EU has filed it's responses on the ACTA internet chapter - available here. ...that the kiwis are waking up to why ACTA is no good thing -  and an analysis of the impact of ACTA in Australia.  And he also links to a MUST READ piece from the american Library Copyright Alliance on the scope and implications of ACTA.

"ACTA could alter ways in which intellectual property infringement is discovered and penalized;
expand the reach and activity of courts in prosecuting intellectual property infringers; alter the scope of civil and criminal infringement; lower the threshold at which criminal infringement is defined, thus increasing cases of criminal infringement; increase remedies, including monetary damages and reimbursement of legal fees and costs in cases of infringement; increase border searching; and increase instances of confiscation and destruction of goods."

The EFF meanwhile highlight the ongoing double standard, with action to harmonize on the 'best practice' for copyright enforcement, without similar harmonization on best practices for fair use and educational and other exemptions.

"In the U.S. Copyright Office's WIPO treaty consultation, they are claiming that such a harmonization of standard copyright limitations would "begin to dismantle the existing global treaty structure of copyright law, through the adoption of an international instrument at odds with existing, longstanding and well-settled norms."

What comes through is that the world is waking up to the carve up that's taking place behind closed doors and that the ACTA train is starting to see some obstructions on the rails.....

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Legalise filesharing: Wise words from that William Bloke

Billy Bragg..  a leading figure in the Featured Artist Coalition .. has made a press release in conjunction with a concert in Ottawa urging Canadian legislators to legalise filesharing.

"Mr. Bragg..  joined NDP MP Charlie Angus Friday to press Ottawa to avoid criminalizing music downloading when it updates copyright protection law.

The British singer and the New Democrats are calling on Ottawa to let artists find a way to make music file swapping a legitimate part of promotion and sales.

Mr. Bragg and other artists want to see new ways to pay performers for music available online while protecting downloaders. He said record labels will often sell entire catalogues to websites without giving the artists a cut."

Billy is also one of the founders of a2f2a - a blog site aiming to provide a forum for debate between fans and artists.
A2F2A blogging about the press conference quotes Billy as saying:
“The internet brings fans and artists closer together than ever before and brings great benefits to both. Let’s not allow the record industry to keep us apart in order to protect their old broken business model.”
I can't argue with that...

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

ACTA under fire from EFF

The EFF level their sights on ACTA in 'Stopping the ACTA Juggernaut' with a piece that highlights the way process has been manipulated to avoid serious debate on a trade agreement that has significant implications for national legislation on Intellectual Property.

It's hard to have confidence in a process that seems to be entirely based on avoiding any form of critical scrutiny.  It's not consulting stakeholders (for that would include the public) - it's pandering to interested parties......  which may be politics... but sure ain't justice.

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Musicians and the Mona Lisa effect

The availability of music as digital files has made recorded songs a commodity.  Reproduction costs are low and there is a huge and ever expanding choice of artists and titles to choose from.  Market economics say that prices should fall - and consumers clearly expect that to be the case.  It's not unsurprising then to hear that revenues from selling music are falling...

As a consumer I see it as what I call the Mona Lisa effect.  Leonardo's masterpiece has world renown - everyone knows what it looks like.  The original is worth a fortune - (more probably several fortunes) - but a printed copy in a newspaper, or a jpeg image on the web, is practically worthless.  Seeing the copy in the consumer's mind is not the same as seeing the original. 

And that's the way it's going in the music industry.  Listening to the record is not the same as seeing the original.  Musicians are artists - performance artists - and it is in performance that the public value what the artist does.  With that in mind it is interesting to read the figures on the Times Labs Blog showing that artists revenues are increasing thanks to live performances - while record label incomes are falling.  They have a telling graph that highlights this well - also copied and with comment on Boing Boing, and Christian Engström's blog.  The raw data is available here.

Artists income from recordings has fallen 27% over four years - but during the same period artist's income from live performance has gone up 70%, giving artists a net gain of 45% over four years.  Not many industries can point to the same good news in the midst of a recession.......

As the Mona Lisa shows - the value lies in the original...   remember that next time you see that enigmatic smile  ;-)

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Danish Anti-pirates give up

In a moment of prescience I mentioned last week the difficulty in providing an adequate standard of evidence to find people guilty of copyright infringement on the web – something that makes the concept of guilty until proven innocent particularly distasteful.

Now the Danish Anti-Pirate group have officially given up. After seven years they conclude that the chance of getting a conviction without a confession are too low to continue working to prosecute infringers.

But it's still OK to cut off peoples internet on the basis of an accusation... isn't it?

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Internet users take privacy into their own hands

The (UK) police and intelligence services are calling on the Government to drop plans to disconnect persistent internet pirates because they fear that this would make it harder to track criminals online
Source: The Times via ORG

If evidence from Sweden is anything to go by it could soon be the case that that horse has bolted. Torrent Freak report on an article ths week in Dagens Nyheter (in swedsh) on the rapid growth of 'anonymising' services - mostly the use of  'virtual private networks' (VPNs) to hide a user's IP address.  A survey of 15-25 year olds found that an estimated 130 000 users in this age group are already using privacy services to surf online.  The survey authors estimated that as much a 6 or 7% of the populaton at large could be doing the same - and the survey also showed that up to 55% surveyed intend to use this type of service if  laws against filesharing are strengthened.

There are many reasons for wanting privacy in your communications - and users don't need to justify why they want privacy - it is a right.  Equally clearly, when users see that government is not protectig their rights they will take the ball into their own court at take steps to protect it themselves.

So if you are not doing it already...  what's it all about?
Using a VPN provides an encrypted secure connection from your PC to a server on the net - at which point the IP address you got from your internet service provider is changed for another anonymous one.  Which means.
  • Your ISP can't see where you surf - or what type of traffic they are carrying for you -surfing, VOIP, filetransfers - all look the same - encrypted...
  • Unless you register on sites you are anonymous when you surf. (Most sites collect the IP addresses of people using the site).
  • You get safer surfing from WiFi hotspots and on your home wireless LAN. Encryption means your traffic can't be read 'off air' - to e.g to snoop or hack passwords.
  • VPNs can usually be used from within firewalls - letting you surf to sites that might otherwise be blocked.
  • If you choose a supplier from another country you will appear to be surfng from that country.... useful if you regularly use sites that restrict content depending on where you are.  (Some suppliers give the option to switch)
  • and it only costs around £5/50kr a month..
Finding a supplier is easy.  Searching for Anonymous surf VPN gives lots of hits.  Here is a very small selection... (but you need to find one that suites you)
UK                  UKiVPN
Sweden      Relakks
or for a bit of everything....  Hide My Ass

You might want to check
  • what encryption do they use?
  • where are they based?
  • is my account or payment traceable back to me?
  • underwhat circumstances can they be obliged to release data to authorities?
  • what data do they store that they could be asked to hand over?
Privacy is your right

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

UK Culture Minister - filesharers to be guilty until proven innocent.

MP Tom Watson has an interview with UK Culture Minister Ben Bradshaw on government plans for cutting off illicit filesharers.  Right at the start he answers the question:

" Given ... the proposals to temporarily cut people off as a result of accusations of illicit file sharing by some sections of the music industry, do you think that those people deserve to prove their innocence in a court of law."

To which the answer was " Absolutely, Yes".  He then goes on to explain how court orders will be taken out on the basis of accusations - and only then will accused copyright infringers be given the opportunity to prove their innocence. 

I was gobsmacked....   How is this an acceptable and fair judicial process? - the burden of evidence (not accusation) ought to lie in proving guilt - not in proving innocence.  What sort of tin-pot country are you running over there? 

It does of course get around the problem seen in countries like Denmark where prosecutors have more or less given up because providing evidence that stands up in court has proved almost impossible to get.

This neatly sidsteps that issue and instead puts the defendant in the tricky position of proving they weren't the one making downloads....

Reading on in the interview we hear that he doesn't know how much the new systerm will cost to implement, and he doesn't know how much artists can expect to gain as a result.  He does however know that the music industy is losng £200m a year from piracy - because they told him.

Then in a wonderful piece of double talk he goes on to tell us that illicit filesharing is potentially devastating for the creative industries - industries that are growing much faster than the rest of the economy.  Strange that - if they have such strong growth given the current levels of file sharing, doesn't that kind of say there is no problem???

Some days I wonder what planet these people are on.....
(There's no date on the blog post so I don't know when it was posted - it is reported on P2PNet as being from Novemeber)

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

EU Parliament sticks to it's guns - 138 text agreed...

"A camel - is a horse designed by a committee"

Christian Engström, Piratpartiets MEP,  reports that the negotiations over the wording of what was amendment 138 are now complete.  The full text is available on his blog.  I dare say lawyers on all sides are now going over it to see what it will mean in practce but on the face of it it provides the main safeguards that parliament had agreed were needed - including a guarantee of a prior, fair and impartial procedure.

The text is not bomb proof.  I suspect in practice that much will depend on an interpretation of whether it is "fair and impartial" to cut someone off and only allow them to test it in a court afterwards.   .. and an interpretation of what is a 'duly substantiated case of urgency' as a reason to circumvent due process.

I for one though want to take the opportunity of thanking Christian, Phillipe Lamberts and all the other members of the parliamentary committee for sticking to their guns. 

I hope now their camel is fit for the course....

Piratpartiet and The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Behind closed doors - more on ACTA

 Michaels Geist's update on the latest discussions on ACTA brought forward this pithy comment.

"Our silly cops here are concerned with trivial things like gang murders, armed holdups, stabbings, crystal meth, tracking rapists etc. I'm sure they would really appreciate being diverted to hunt down unlicensed Mickey Mouse dolls, and infringing mp3s of the latest Metallica album."

The topic under discussion was criminal penalties for copyright offences... 

When governments get together behind closed doors to protect the interests of big business against the winds of change - and aginst the interests of their voters - you start to wonder where democracy went...

Can't we please just cut the terms for copyright back to something sensible (thereby simulating more new work, instead of letting companes live off back catalogs) and decriminilise non-commercial file sharing. 

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Internet enforcement under ACTA

Michael Geist blogs on the details of the latest chapter of ACTA under debate in Korea.  His top level take:

"it is clear that there is no bigger IP issue today than the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement being negotiated behind closed doors this week in Korea."

  • Covers enforcement of intellectual property
  • Eliminates sovereign choice of domestic copyright policy
    • making Canada's recent copyright consultation a little pointless
  • Focuses on copyright, not counterfeiting
  • Goes beyond the terms of WIPO
Measures in the text include
  • Third party liability for copyright infringement
  • Restrictions on carriers limitation of 3rd party liability for infringement
  • Termination of subscriptions
  • Notice & takedown to become a requirement
  • Anti-circumvention legislation with ban on DRM circumvention
  • Rights management
  • statutory damages
  • search and seizure powers for border guards
  • anti camcording rules
  • mandatory disclosure of personal information

Cory Doctorow gives his take on it all here....

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Protect children - but not like this

Sweden, it's proposed, should have a law that bans looking at child pornography - ostensibly because if no one can look at it no one is going to make it.  (It is of course already illegal to make and spread child pornography).

Is that a good idea?  A number of bloggers have already come out to say that it's not - including PP stalwarts Rick Falkvinge & Anna Troberg who go further and say it should be a political issue for Piratpartiet.

So is it a good idea? And does it fall into the scope of pirate politics?

OK - Is it likely to be effective?  Consider that Sweden's population is a fraction of a percent of the global population - and that child pornography is an international problem.  That means unless Swedes are prolific consumer's of child porn it's unlikely to have a noticeable impact on the supply side.  Unless this legislation impacts on the creation of child pornography it is ineffective in improving life for those caught up as children in it's production. It seems that it will fail in it's primary objective.

Then there is the philosophical question - how does someone know you have looked at something pornographic if they haven't looked at it.  And if they have seen it haven't they themselves committed a crime?

..which leads to the practical problem of how do I avoid committing this crime if I have no way of knowing what is in an image - or on a web page - before I've seen it. 

..and what constitutes a pornographic image of a child?   That's undoubtedly defined somewhere for those working in enforcement - but will a layman know?  .. this last is pertinent as the legislation will apply for images of models under 18.  How can you tell from an image how old the person is???  ..before you've even seen the image?

But, practical issues apart - there is a big issue with the scope.  You see there is one group of people that take lots of pictures of semi-clad teenagers -  doing innocent and not so innocent things, and that is teenagers themselves.   Now you might think it unseemly and immodest - but what happens legally between consenting young adults is more than likely going end up on camera sometimes.  Fine - but this law would make it illegal to ever look at those pictures....

And if you think this is improbable you don't need to look further than the USA in March this year where teenage girls were threatened with being convicted of 'sexual abuse of children' for sharing semiclad photos - of themselves....

Fighting child porn is, or should be about working to protect the innocence of the child victims of that industry.  Legislation that would make criminals where there are no victims is bad legislation -  and criminalising teenagers for doing something that their elder peers can do legally is hypocritical, and an injustice.

Add to that the question of enforcement. How do you know who has looked at what?  Legislation is pointless if it's not enforceable.    What kind of surveillance powers are going to be needed to ensure compliance - monitoring everyone's surfing?  Police trojans on every desktop? 

So if we sum up:  Ineffective, disproportionate and with serious risks for our rights to a private life... 
not least for millions of teenagers who deserve the right to grow up unmolested by intrusive legislation.

Guilty until proven innocent - if they can decide.

Democracy....  You all cast your vote and all these reprsentatives gets together and decides things.  They vote.. and that's how it's going to be.

EU democracy.... You all cast your vote and all these representatives gets together and decides things. They vote..       Then they choose a number of representatives who may or may not agree with what parliament decided and go and talk with nominees from national governments. The representatives change what parliament has already decided on and then change it again until the nominees are happy that what parliament has decided doesn't affect them any more.....

Tomorrow is the day... when the representatives from the EU parliament meet the Council of Ministers again to discuss new wording for amendment 138- and unless the representatives find some backbone the will of the parliament is going to end on the cutting room floor.

Innocent until proven guilty.  NOT negotiable....

HAX on this weeks EU proceedings

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

Who is reading your mail?

I think most of us take t for granted that email works like the post.  What you write gets sent by the postal (email) service and delivered to the recipient . and no-one is going to read it alnog the way.

EFF reports on two court cases in the US should make you think again.  Both are about government investigations getting access to emails stored with third parties. The cases make interesting reading - but to cut a long story short they reach different conclusions on whether handing your mail over to be stored on a third party server means you have given up your right to privacy - in american terms, are you protected by the Fourth Amendment.

The EFF do their usual professional job of explaining in chapter and verse why the good guys got it right.  Of course you can expect the same protection of your privacy of communication on the web as you can on snail mail or on the telephone.  Isn't that want we all want and expect?

What these two different cases mean for American legal precedent is not clear to me - but it is clear for me that if the law doesn't protect our privacy it is the law that needs to change.  And of course it's really convenient for police forces and government agencies to be able to gather information on criminals, political activists and undesirables (by whose definition)  - but respecting our rights is fundamental to the society you are there to protect.  Don't go there!

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

Monday, 2 November 2009

A trillion tons: The clock is ticking...

Continuing the theme of BIG numbers -  Climate Feedback has links to a new site giving an estimate of the cumulative carbon dioxide emissions over the last 250 years (now somewhere past 530 000 000 000 000 tonnes)- and predicting when this figure will exceed 1 trillion tonnes - a limit calculated to keep average temperature rises below 2 degrees.

The point of course is that we need to see radical change NOW to head off an otherwise inevitable warming of the climate.  Change here meaning global cuts in emissions of between 2.1 and 4.5% per year .    What it doesn't say - but is important to understand - is that the earlier cuts are made the more effective they will be.

What are you doing for your 4.5% cut???

For the spy that has everything?

What do you give to the spy that has everything?  Somewhere to keep it all....

In this case the spy in question is Uncle Sam, in the form of the National Security Agency, who needs somewhere BIG to put all that data they are eavedropping.  Estimates of the storage they need range from a mere couple of hundred petabytes (200 000 000 000 000 000 bytes) to a mindblowing yottabyte (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 bytes).

And I thought it was the citizens duty to keep a watch on government - not the other way round.

Wisdom and justice are not found in a database......

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Watching you: Surveillance and the EU.

Open Europe has published a new report taking stock of how the EU is impacting our civil liberties....  Everyone should read it: "How the EU is watching you: the rise of Europe's surveillance state"

Quoting the Open Europe blog: "There are lots of juicy proposals in the pipeline including: a target to train a third of all police officers across the EU in a “common culture” of policing; the mass collection and sharing of personal data including DNA records into an EU-wide database; controversial surveillance techniques including ‘cyber patrols’; the creation of a fledgling ‘EU Home Office’ with powers to decide on cooperation on police, border, immigration and criminal justice issues; an EU “master plan” on information exchange; the transfer of criminal proceedings among EU member states; a three-fold increase in the number of controversial EU arrest warrants; access to other member states’ national tax databases; and EU laws on citizens’ right to internet access."

The road to hell is paved with good intentions...

Also on: HAX & The Telegraph

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

Talking privacy in person - How worried should we be?

If you're in the UK you can take the opportunity to catch these seminars on privacy....

First, Cory Doctorow is talking about privacy at the Battle of Ideas in London on Saturday - trying to answer the question "How worried should we be?"

That's 'Rethinking Privacy in an age of Disclosure and Sharing'
on Saturday 31 October, 1.30pm until 3.00pm, Upper Gulbenkian Gallery

Then, a little further down the line, the Open Rights Group is organising a talk by cryptographer, technologist and author Bruce Schneier on the title of:  'The Future of Privacy: Rethinking Security Trade-offs' 
on Friday 4 December 2009 at  18:30.  St Albans Centre, 18 Brooke St, London
That looks like two interesting topics....  Can't someone get those onto Youtube???

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Putting privacy first.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Bad habits, bad government - Fudging the figures

You may remember the fuss about government statistics on piracy being based on adjusted, interpolated figures sourced from industry lobbyists.

Heresy Corner has a super piece on 'Abusing the evidence' (about amongst other things, sex trafficking) that shows that the use of selective statistics to support UK government policy making is endemic.  As the Heresiarch puts it..
"The government has loudly proclaimed its commitment to "evidence-based policy-making" while instead pursuing policy-based evidence making."

Statistics is only evidence if it is honestly presented - and scientifically valid.  Fudging the figures will just lead to bad policy - and bad government.

Do I mean will - or has?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

An Open Letter to the Music Industry

Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Swedish Pirate Party, Piratpartiet, has issued an open letter to the music industry - following a speech he made at a music industry event in Manchester. While reports of the event are interesting for the reaction the speech generated, Rick's letter is a 'must read' for anyone interested in digital rights and the future of copyright.  Right on the button....

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Monday, 19 October 2009

UK Government out of touch on copyright

The UK is one of the main movers behind the Council of Minister's refusal to accept  'innocent until proven guiilty' as a guiding principle for cutting internet access to suspected copyright infringers...  However, at home things are far from quiet in opposition to the government's plans. 

Tom Watson's early day motion on illicit file sharing continues to gain MP's support, while the Open Rights Group has published the results of a survey that shows that supporting cutting people off from the internet for filesharing is a clear vote loserSixty eight percent thought that internet users should be disconnected only once evidence had been considered by a court - a pretty resounding chorus in defence of our rights to 'innocent until proven guilty'.

If you are one of those sixty eight percent then write to your MP and tell them so...  and also write to your MEP (right away!) and tell them to put pressure on the Council of Minister's to accept Amendment 138 as proposed by the EU parliament - it's the first and best way to ensure just due process is protected in law.

Meanwhile the government get a knocking too in the recently published report by the UK All Party Parliamentary group on Copyright.  It has lots of interesting reading, with details of the evidence from a wide range of parties on both sides of the debate.  On illicit file sharing the group concludes

"We conclude that much of the problem with illegal sharing of copyrighted material has been caused by the rightsholders, and the music industry in particular, being far too slow in getting their act together and making popular legal alternatives available.

We do not believe that disconnecting end users is in the slightest bit consistent with policies that attempt to promote eGovernment, and we recommend that this approach to dealing with illegal file-sharing should not be further considered.

We think that it is inappropriate to make policy choices in the UK when policy options are still to be agreed by the EU Commission and EU Parliament in their  negotiations over the “Telecoms Package”. We recommend that the Government terminate their current policy-making process, and restart it with a new consultation once the EU has made its decisions."

Which is pretty blunt, given that this is a cross parliamentary group.

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

A royal view on copyright...

I was reading the paper at the weekend and came across an interesting article by Pelle Snickars, head of research at Kungliga Biblioteket  - the Swedish Royal Library.  The article discusses the Google books project and the ramifications of the internet on the availability and distribution of our common culture - in particular it draws attention to the majority of the books being scanned which are not in the public domain - but not commercially available either.  Orphaned works that are effectively lost to our collective online heritage.  It is a state of affairs that he ascribes to over-extensive copyright.. 

"A series of independent studies have shown that cultural products such as books, music or films have a commercial value on the market during a five-to ten-year period. With some extremely few exceptions – and Google Book Search is about the General rather than the particulate – then demand drops dramatically. Even if  the "long tail" in the long term will perhaps extend the commercial potential for various cultural products, it is a consumption pattern that will continue for a further period. For example, when American copyright demanded that copyright owners extended their rights after 28 years, it was less than 15% that bothered to. The incentive to extend rights to a commodity that no longer generates profit was fairly negligible.

That almost nine out of ten copyright owners did not find it worthwhile to renew their rights ought to be a cause for reflection, but developments have rather gone the other way. As several network activists and progressive law professors have said, the extension of the terms of protection over the past decades have been unusually narrow-minded given how the Internet developed during the same period. Future historians will in all probability be asked how the lawmakers were thinking that could  lock in the whole cultural production of the 20th century at the same time as the Web was developing as a global distribution channel available to all citizens."
(translated by Bing.. with a bit of help from me..)
Laws should be about getting the best deal for society - but clearly today copyright fails to deliver.   It's no coincidence that Piratpartiet are advocating greatly reduced copyright duration to bring back the balance between creators and society.  If you don't believe me, go to the library and look it up...

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

MPs challenge the UK government on file sharing

A parliamentary early day motion on illicit filesharing is challenging the governments position on how to tackle filesharing.  It highlights that alleged offenders can easily conceal their (IP) identity, that not-for-profit downloads don't necessarily cause financial loss, and that cutting people off the net is unjust for others using the same connection.  Pretty obvious stuff - but the government clearly don't get it.  Great anyway to see the mainstream parties waking up to address the issues. 

So far eighteen MPs from five partys have signed  up....   More please!
(so much for two party politics!)

Update: now 26 MPs

Tips: Pirate Party blog " MPs start to get it"

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Morons on copyright? Tell it like it is..

Boing Boing & Michael Geist report on a submission to the Canadian consultation on copyright by Access Copyright - an organisation that collects copyrights for writers.  As BB reports - they came out as opposing the right to record TV shows at home, and the right to "format shift"  media (e.g., load a CD on your MP3 player, or put an old ebook on a new reader or phone). They also say that almost all commercial use, no matter how trivial, should require a license and not fall under fair dealing.

I would comment on how stupid this is - but I found I don't need to...   this quote from BoingBoings comments says it all...

"What a bunch of well-intentioned albeit deluded and ignorant frickin' morons. As a Canadian writer I am stunned and embarrassed by their comments. They neither represent the true needs of creators nor reflect the reality we are now living in. Excuse me now whilst I go back to pounding my head against the desk and mutter: "What the fuck were they thinking?!" - Robbo

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Working for copyright reform.

Tips on living under Surveillance: Stockholm Edition....

I've blogged about it before but just today I thought Swedish readers might find themselves in need of advice on how to communicate securely in repressive environments

Actually.. it's not just - or not even Sweden - that is under surveillance now that parliament here has for the second time given the thumbs up for the FRA to tap all traffic passing Swedish borders.  It's enough to piss you off....  Whatever happened to principles?

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Defending your privacy

Human Rights & Culture

Spend the time to look and learn.....

Privacy & Justice on the front line

It's one thing to write laws... And quite another to see them tested through the courts...

The week's big news - which admittedly got a bit lost here in the Swedish blogoshere with FRA in the news- is that a court in Romania has ruled the Data Retention Directive to be a breach of individuals' right to secrecy of communications. Which is GREAT news.  It's not immediately going to affect the legal position in other EU countries, but in the long term it's untenable that an EU country can conclude that EU law is in breach of our civil rights and that not propogate up to an EU wide judicial test. More on this at the Open Rights Group.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Swedish appeal court has ruled against five publishers in the first case under Sweden's controversial IPRED legislation (Allowing media companies to demand details from ISPs on who uses which IP address). The court overturned the previous ruling concluding that the prosecution had failed to show that e-books on a password protected server were 'available to the public'.  If nothing else this is going to drive up the standards of evidence required to show a copyright infringement has taken place - which is no bad thing.  Congratulations to ephone that have stood up to protect their customer's privacy.

The third legal news this week is that the boys from the Pirate Bay are back in the news with allegations that evidence used in a trial in the Netherlands is fabricated.  Peter Sunde has a long explanation on his blog on why a company credit search presented to tie them to ownership of the Pirate Bay is a fake - and an official complaint has now been lodged.  Amongst other things the company that are supposed to have created the search record have no record of making the search...    Is the media industry so desperate for convictions that they are fabricating evidence?  It will be interesting to watch this one...

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Putting Privacy first.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Secret Affair: This is the time for action (FRA edition)

"This is the time for action, this is the time to be seen"

Sadly I missed the demonstrations on Saturday against the FRA legislation - up for review in the Swedish parliament on Wednesday.  This legislation - which is in force since the first of January this year - allows state monitoring of ALL traffic passing Swedens international borders (mail, telephony, SMS, surfing etc, etc).  There are specific provisions to limit surveillance on traffic originating in Sweden - but all other traffic is fair game.... 

Which means if you don't live in Sweden THIS AFFECTS YOU!  Your right to privacy?  Those nice guys in Riksdagen are about to screw you over....

If that concerns you then write to them and tell them.  Lobby them to respect your privacy and vote against this legislation.

Write today...    write now........  do it.

Contact details here.  Supporting the bill and in need of your persuasion are Moderaterna (m), Kristdemokraterna (kd), Folkpartiet (f) and Centerpartiet (c)... click through for lists of names and mail contact details..

Piratpartiet & The Pirate Party -  Putting Privacy first.