Edward Snowden backers beam calls for pardon on Washington news museum | US news | The Guardian

Now the most audacious display of support for Snowden is under way. Messages calling for his pardon are being beamed on to the outside wall of the Newseum, the Washington institution devoted to freedom of speech and the press that stands less than two miles from the White House.

Fuente: Edward Snowden backers beam calls for pardon on Washington news museum | US news | The Guardian


Barack Obama and David Cameron fail to see eye to eye on surveillance | US news | The Guardian

Barack Obama and David Cameron fail to see eye to eye on surveillance | US news | The Guardian.


British prime minister takes tougher line on internet companies than US president at White House talks on Islamist threats

In Washington, David Cameron announces the creation of a joint group between the US and the UK to counter the rise of domestic violent extremism in the two countries

Barack Obama and David Cameron struck different notes on surveillance powers after the president conceded that there is an important balance to be struck between monitoring terror suspects and protecting civil liberties.

As Cameron warned the internet giants that they must do more to ensure they do not become platforms for terrorist communications, the US president said he welcomed the way in which civil liberties groups hold them to account by tapping them on the shoulder.

Obama agreed with the prime minister that there could be no spaces on the internet for terrorists to communicate that could not be monitored by the intelligences agencies, subject to proper oversight. But, unlike Cameron, the president encouraged groups to ensure that he and other leaders do not abandon civil liberties.

The prime minister adopted a harder stance on the need for big internet companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more to cooperate with the surveillance of terror suspects. In an interview with Channel 4 News he said they had to be careful not to act as a communications platform for terrorists.


¿Mejores democracias o más represión y vigilancia? – ONG Derechos Digitales

¿Mejores democracias o más represión y vigilancia? – ONG Derechos Digitales.

Para muchos, el acceso y uso de tecnologías como Internet es suficiente para creer que las democracias de nuestra región puedan mejorar su calidad. Un repaso a algunas iniciativas legales muestran que nuestras democracias, por el contrario, han respondido con más represión y vigilancia.

El Estado debe ser el primero en respetar nuestros derechos fundamentales. CC BY (Global Voices Online) - SAEn Latinoamérica, los estados han respondido la emergencia de discursos críticos con más vigilancia.  CC BY (Global Voices Online) – SA

Internet es indudablemente una plataforma para la libertad de expresión. Lo es no solo porque permite la producción y difusión de nuevos discursos, sino también porque su diseño técnico es sustancial para este propósito: por un lado, es una red descentralizada, una “red de redes” que hace muy difícil -aunque no imposible- controlar la distribución de los contenidos; por otro, se sustenta en el amenazado principio de la “neutralidad de la red”, la no discriminación de los paquetes de datos no importando de dónde vengan, lo que hace que el contenido de un bloguero independiente pueda llegar a su audiencia final con la misma prioridad que el de una corporación o Estado.

La emergencia de nuevos discursos, muchos de ellos no hegemónicos, críticos del poder estatal, corporativo o de organizaciones criminales, es uno de los aspectos más refrescantes de Internet, aunque los niveles de brechas de acceso y uso de esta plataforma, especialmente en Latinoamérica, hagan pensar que el disfrute de este hecho tenga un fuerte componente de género, clase social, etnia y edad.

En este marco, una corriente muy fuerte, e increíblemente optimista, piensa que el mero acceso y uso de Internet es garantía de mayor participación y, por tanto, de mejores democracias.

Sin embargo, ¿nuestras democracias regionales han respondido con mejoras al sistema?

Si se hace una revisión de cómo ha cambiado el marco legal en Latinoamérica solo el año 2014, no hay muchas razones para el optimismo. La creciente criminalización del uso de Internet en diversas iniciativas legales, hacen evidente que nuestras democracias han respondido a la emergencia de discursos críticos, tristemente, con más represión y vigilancia.

Los gobiernos latinoamericanos no han comprendido que garantizar la privacidad es requisito para el desarrollo de otros derechos fundamentales en un estado democrático. CC BY (Jim Bauer)ND  La creciente criminalización de la red desnuda la crisis de las democracias latinoamericanas. CC BY (Jim Bauer) ND

Hagamos un somero repaso por solo algunos países de la región.


Confundador de Pirate Bay es hallado culpable de piratería informática en Dinamarca – BioBioChile

Confundador de Pirate Bay es hallado culpable de piratería informática en Dinamarca – BioBioChile.

 

Jon Åslund (cc)Jon Åslund (cc)

Publicado por Javier Cisterna | La Información es de Agencia AFP
 

Uno de los cofundadores del sitio web Pirate Bay, el sueco Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, fue hallado culpable en el caso más importante de piratería informática en Dinamarca, anunció el jueves la justicia danesa.

“El ciudadano sueco de 30 años fue hallado culpable de piratería y de acto malintencionado”, declaró un tribunal de Copenhague. Un danés de 21 años también ha sido hallado culpable por complicidad en un intento de pirateo.

Los dos hombres descargaron ilegalmente ficheros de la policía y de la seguridad social en 2012. Por estos hechos, el fiscal pidió seis años de prisión contra Svartholm Warg, de 30 años, y dos años contra el otro acusado. La pena, no obstante, se conocerá el viernes.

El acusado sueco negó las acusaciones, al afirmar que alguien tomó el control de su ordenador a distancia para acceder a los ficheros.


Should Twitter, Facebook and Google Executives be the Arbiters of What We See and Read? – The Intercept

Should Twitter, Facebook and Google Executives be the Arbiters of What We See and Read? – The Intercept.

By 246
Featured photo - Should Twitter, Facebook and Google Executives be the Arbiters of What We See and Read?DEAUVILLE, FRANCE – MAY 26: (L-R) Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Union, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook Inc. and Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google Inc. arrive for the internet session of the G8 summit on May 26, 2011 in Deauville, France. (Photo by Chris Ratcliffe – Pool/Getty Images)

There have been increasingly vocal calls for Twitter, Facebook and other Silicon Valley corporations to more aggressively police what their users are permitted to see and read. Last month in The Washington Post, for instance, MSNBC host Ronan Farrow demanded that social media companies ban the accounts of “terrorists” who issue “direct calls” for violence.

This week, the announcement by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo that the company would prohibit the posting of the James Foley beheading video and photos from it (and suspend the accounts of anyone who links to the video) met with overwhelming approval. What made that so significant, as The Guardian‘s James Ball noted today, was that “Twitter has promoted its free speech credentials aggressively since the network’s inception.” By contrast, Facebook has long actively regulated what its users are permitted to say and read; at the end of 2013, the company reversed its prior ruling and decided that posting of beheading videos would be allowed, but only if the user did not express support for the act.

Given the savagery of the Foley video, it’s easy in isolation to cheer for its banning on Twitter. But that’s always how censorship functions: it invariably starts with the suppression of viewpoints which are so widely hated that the emotional response they produce drowns out any consideration of the principle being endorsed.

It’s tempting to support criminalization of, say, racist views as long as one focuses on one’s contempt for those views and ignores the serious dangers of vesting the state with the general power to create lists of prohibited ideas. That’s why free speech defenders such as the ACLU so often represent and defend racists and others with heinous views in free speech cases: because that’s where free speech erosions become legitimized in the first instance when endorsed or acquiesced to.

The question posed by Twitter’s announcement is not whether you think it’s a good idea for people to see the Foley video. Instead, the relevant question is whether you want Twitter, Facebook and Google executives exercising vast power over what can be seen and read.

It’s certainly true, as defenders of Twitter have already pointed out, that as a legal matter, private actors – as opposed to governments – always possess and frequently exercise the right to decide which opinions can be aired using their property. Generally speaking, the public/private dichotomy is central to any discussions of the legality or constitutionality of “censorship.”


Twitter: from free speech champion to selective censor? | Technology | theguardian.com

Twitter: from free speech champion to selective censor? | Technology | theguardian.com.

By acting on footage of James Foley’s murder, Twitter has taken responsibility in a way it hasn’t over abuse and threats. So what happens next?
Man's hands at computer

Twitter was once characterised by its general counsel as ‘the free speech wing of the free speech party’. Photograph: Alamy

Twitter has got itself into a tangle. The social network’s decision to remove all links to the horrific footage showing the apparent beheading of the photojournalist James Foley is one that most of its users, reasonably, support.

The social network went still further, suspending or banning users who shared the footage or certain stills, following public tweets from the company’s CEO, Dick Costolo, that it would take action against such users.

It is hard to think of anyone having a good reason to view or share such barbaric footage, but Twitter’s proactive approach reverses a long record of non-intervention.

Twitter has promoted its free speech credentials aggressively since the network’s inception. The company’s former general counsel once characterised the company as “the free speech wing of the free speech party”, an approach characterised by removing content only in extreme situations – when made to by governments in accordance with local law, or through various channels designed to report harassment.

The social network’s response to the Foley footage and images is clearly a break from that response: not only did the network respond to reports complaining about posts using the material, they also seem to have proactively sought it out in other instances.

And yet there is not a universal consensus on the use of the images, as was reflected by the New York Post and New York Daily News’ decision to use graphic stills from the footage as their front-page splashes. Here begin the problems for Twitter: the network decided not to ban or suspend either outlet for sharing the images – despite banning other users for doing the same.

Twitter has not been nearly as eager to enter the content policing game in other situations. Like many other major companies, Twitter has long insisted it is not a publisher but a platform.

The distinction is an important one: publishers, such as the Guardian, bear a far greater degree of responsibility for what appears on their sites. By remaining a platform, Twitter is absolved of legal responsibility for most of the content of tweets. But by making what is in essence an editorial decision not to host a certain type of content, Twitter is rapidly blurring that line.

The network has not been as quick to involve itself when its users are sharing content far beyond what is even remotely acceptable – even when the profile of the incidents is high.


How WikiLeaks opened our eyes to the illusion of freedom | Slavoj Žižek | Comment is free | The Guardian

How WikiLeaks opened our eyes to the illusion of freedom | Slavoj Žižek | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Julian Assange, who went into exile in the Ecuadorean embassy two years ago, has blown apart the myth of western liberty

 

 

REUTERS NEWS PICTURES - IMAGES OF THE YEAR 2012

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media outside the Ecuador embassy in west London in August 2012. Photograph: Olivia Harris/Reuters

 

We remember anniversaries that mark the important events of our era: September 11 (not only the 2001 Twin Towers attack, but also the 1973 military coup against Allende in Chile), D-day, etc. Maybe another date should be added to this list: 19 June.

Most of us like to take a stroll during the day to get a breath of fresh air. There must be a good reason for those who cannot do it – maybe they have a job that prevents it (miners, submariners), or a strange illness that makes exposure to sunlight a deadly danger. Even prisoners get their daily hour’s walk in fresh air.

Today, 19 June, marks two years since Julian Assange was deprived of this right: he is permanently confined to the apartment that houses the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Were he to step out of the apartment, he would be arrested immediately. What did Assange do to deserve this? In a way, one can understand the authorities: Assange and his whistleblowing colleagues are often accused of being traitors, but they are something much worse (in the eyes of the authorities).

Assange designated himself a “spy for the people”. “Spying for the people” is not a simple betrayal (which would instead mean acting as a double agent, selling our secrets to the enemy); it is something much more radical. It undermines the very principle of spying, the principle of secrecy, since its goal is to make secrets public. People who help WikiLeaks are no longer whistleblowers who denounce the illegal practices of private companies (banks, and tobacco and oil companies) to the public authorities; they denounce to the wider public these public authorities themselves.

We didn’t really learn anything from WikiLeaks we didn’t already presume to be true – but it is one thing to know it in general and another to get concrete data. It is a little bit like knowing that one’s sexual partner is playing around. One can accept the abstract knowledge of it, but pain arises when one learns the steamy details, when one gets pictures of what they were doing.

When confronted with such facts, should every decent US citizen not feel deeply ashamed? Until now, the attitude of the average citizen was hypocritical disavowal: we preferred to ignore the dirty job done by secret agencies. From now on, we can’t pretend we don’t know.