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Maintaining Internet Freedom Isn't Easy (Video) 55

Posted by Roblimo
from the if-you-want-liberty-you-need-to-work-for-it dept.
Go to Stop the Secrecy.net and you'll see that this is something that requires action now, not someday, It's about the TPP, or Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that could place major restrictions on how we use the Internet. This is far from the only attack on Internet freedom we need to fight against, just one the EFF (and others) feel is one of the worst ones in play right now. Mild-mannered Steve Anderson, founder and Executive Director of OpenMedia.ca, is today's interview guest. He's Canadian, but OpenMedia.ca doesn't stop at Canada's southern border. Steve and the rest of the group want U.S. citizens to have the same Internet freedoms they want Canadians to have -- as well as people all over the world, because Internet balkanization hurts all Internet users. Including you. And worse, this is not the only problem with the TPP. Did you notice, in the TPP link above (to Wikipedia), that parts of this trade agreement are secret? So even if you want to protest against it, you might end up holding a sign that's mostly blank. This is a "Call your Congressional representatives" situation. Unless you're in Canada, in which case it's a "Call your Member of Parliament" situation. Ditto if you're in another TPP country. In any case, it's going to take a lot of calls, letters, emails, and faxes from people like us to overcome some of the heavy money that wants the TPP to go through. (Alternate video link.)

Robin Miller: I’m Robin Miller for Slashdot. Steve, tell me about you and OpenMedia. What do you all do?

Steve: Sure. OpenMedia is a non-profit organization that works to safeguard the open Internet, so we try to keep the Internet open, affordable and surveillance free. And the way that we do that is by when we need to rallying citizens to send messages to their decision makers, and also putting a kind of policy reports and engaging with the policymakers.

Robin Miller: Okay, policymakers, well... you are in Canada though, are you not?

Steve: Yeah, we’re based in Canada, but about a year-and-a-half ago, our supporters – and they basically call the shots -- told us that we needed to get more involved in international issues because this stuff will affect everyone. So we can win stuff here in Canada, but you can then lose at an international level, so the last year-and-a-half, we’ve been getting more involved in international issues and NSA’s spying stuff as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement because there are no borders with the Internet at the end of the day; if we lose Internet freedom in the U.S. or in other countries, then people in Canada will also feel the effects of that.

Robin Miller: I have been to Saudi Arabia, I have sat in the office on cushions, in the office the man who controls the Internet in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and there’s one pipe to the outside world that he can block any site he wants.

Steve: Yeah, that’s the kind of power we need to make sure it doesn’t come to North America and other countries, and looks like we’re moving in that direction, so that’s why I’m really keen to try and do whatever I can to prevent that because I mean, if we balkanized the Internet like that, if we empower a few people and entities to control the Internet, then I think that we’re going down a dystopian path.

Robin Miller: Yeah, we are. So you decided not to put up like an Internet-free barrier across your Southern border?

Steve: Yeah, I think the free flow of ideas and knowledge and free expression is essential and so I think that that is why the things like what you just described in Saudi Arabia, we need to prevent that sort of power from being exercised elsewhere.

Robin Miller: Okay. How do we do that, you said we contact our decision makers?

Steve: Yeah. Well, one thing that we try to do at OpenMedia is really let people know about concerns about the biggest threats to Internet freedom and to give people tools that amplify their voice to speak out on those issues, and so one thing we’re doing right now is there’s an international agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership that will censor the Internet, it will force ISPs to monitor what we’re doing online, what websites, so we had started a campaign at StopTheSecrecy.net, where people can add their voice to the campaign, and then what we’re doing is we’re projecting messages in Ottawa that will get to the media and decision makers, and each person adds their voice, makes that projection greater and bigger. And so in that way we’re sort of making people’s voice kind of more powerful with decision makers, I mean so that’s just one way that people can get involved.

Robin Miller: So that’s Ottawa, how about Washington D.C.?

Steve: That projection is happening in Washington D.C., yeah.

Robin Miller: Okay. Good, so if we sign on, it gets a little brighter.

Steve: That’s right, it gets a little brighter and we’re also going to project the actual number of people who take part, so everyone will know that I guess right now, it’s at 2.8 million people worldwide [***since this interview, it has passed 3 million***] have spoken out on this issue and as that number grows, we’re actually going to project that number showing decision makers the political cause and the number of people who are concerned about this.

Robin Miller: And you’re projecting this on to the Capitol?

Steve: We’re projecting it on different buildings in Washington D.C., so that they can’t really escape it basically wherever they go.

Robin Miller: Okay. So this is TPP, now it’s not just about the Internet, is it? It’s got a lot of bad trade protocols built-in too.

Steve: Yeah, well, I mean, at OpenMedia the kind of implications for the Internet are kind of paramount for us, so the fact that big content companies will have the ability to lock websites, sensor content, monitor what we do online, that’s essential to us here at OpenMedia, but there is certainly other important material like allowing conglomerates to sue governments if they undermine their profits, so that means that if we decide to change our copyright policy in Canada to enable the free flow of information, then Disney can go and sue our government saying, you undermined our property rights and our profitability. So government is basically prevented from being democratic at that point. So that’s one of the things and there is certainly a whole host of other issues. There’s issues of the environment, many people say it will drive down wages and jobs and hurt the economy. It will drive up the price of medicine, especially in some of the smaller countries, but probably everywhere, so there’s a number of concerns.

Robin Miller: My brother Greg who died last month, spent his last years in Thailand in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, not as tourist, and what he said from his vantage point in Thailand is more or less the patriarch of a large Thai family that he got with the wife. There you don’t marry the woman, you marry the whole family and he did lived happily and had a great life and he thought the TPP was horrible. For one thing he said, you Americans will get screwed, because even now Thailand is supposed to be charging import duties on things like electronics. They don’t. He said, so I buy stuff cheap here, if you want to buy like a pair of pants, fisherman pants or something and have me ship them to you, except in our case, we're brothers so it's a gift, but anybody else just about, he gets hit hard. And he talked about food, and how we know in Mexico, NAFTA killed the small corn farmers because they just couldn’t compete with the Midwest U.S factory farms, not even close. So, the TPP seems to be inciting fear and loathing on the rich side of the barrel, which is U.S and Canada, and on the poor side of the barrel, which is Malaysia and Thailand and so forth. So why in the world is this getting so much traction if nobody wants it?

Steve: Yeah. Well, I mean, that kind of comes back to the secrecy and really the forces that are advancing the TPP, it’s really old media conglomerates and other kinds of large corporations that see it as a way to take more control over the economy and prevent new innovative startups from disrupting their business model, that’s really what it is across the board, it’s those lobbyists that are pushing the U.S government and other governments to sign on to this agreement, and that’s really what it’s all about. And that is why they’re doing it in almost complete secrecy.

The only reason we know about any of the stuff is because there’s been leaked documents that Wikileaks and others have published recently. That’s the only reason that we know about any of this and they’re doing it in secret kind of close door meetings because they know that people, if they know about this stuff and are made aware of it, they won’t allow it to carry forward. So that’s really our job is to make sure that people know about it, because when they know about it they don’t like it and then connect people to decision makers at that point. And that’s why our campaign at stopthesecrecy.net is focused on that secrecy piece because that’s really the first step is making it so that all of the stuff is out in the public, so we can have a real debate about it and I think when we do that, what we’ll see is it fall apart, but I think that’s the first step is it needs to be brought out of the shadows, I mean all of this stuff needs to be on the public record and people need to have input into what these rules are.

Robin Miller: So, wait a minute, this is all in secret, King George and parliament are doing this right? Shouldn't we like get together and you know have a community organized that writes for The Old North Church in Boston out toward Concord and Lexington, yelling, “The British are coming,” because remember; the British are the only country, Great Britain, that has invaded the United States and burned our capital. So it's probably the British again, so do we need to go, take all of the firearms which we Americans own in abundance and go to Lexington and start a revolution? Or what else can we do, how do you say, we can contact the king and the parliament?

Steve: Yeah, I think the best thing to do is to push the leaders in the US, especially Obama and Congress and other decision makers in other countries involved in the TPP and that’s why we’re talking about Canada, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and just really kind of flood them with comments and outcry. I mean just let them know that there will be political consequences.

Steve: Great. So the countries leading this right now, it’s Canada, Chile, the U.S, Mexico, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Singapore. Those are all the countries that are involved in making these decisions and signing onto it, later on this will be expanded probably around the globe, but that’s where it is starting right now. And so I think the key thing to do is, for the people in those countries, but people around the world, is to really connect with those decision-makers, especially in the U.S. but elsewhere as well and just say that we're watching and there will be political consequences if you sign on to this agreement.

So, here in Canada we’re trying to let the government, Harper and the trade minister know that, hey, we are aware of what's going on and you’re going to have to get reelected in like probably a year and you’re going to have trouble with that if you sign on to this, and I think people are doing that in all these countries and kind of signing on, putting up their hand as part of the stop secrecy campaign, as a part of showing that kind of changing the political calculus of the leaders with this agreement.

Robin Miller: So it's not just in the U.S. you’re saying, you people in New Zeeland after you get off work today as an extra in the next Hobbit movie, get on the phone and email and call, even write paper letters and faxes to your parliament leaders?

Steve: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean if people do that in all those countries on that, this agreement will fall apart within a week. So that's the task at hand, to do that outreach with decision-makers in your country, but then also get your friends and tell them to do the same.

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Maintaining Internet Freedom Isn't Easy (Video)

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  • by qazsedcft (911254) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @03:05PM (#46882679)
    We must force our governments to be more transparent. IMO, it should be a constitutional principle that all law must be negotiated in public. If history has tought us one thing is that secret negotiations lead to horrible results. For example, one of the most despicable treaties in history, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact [wikipedia.org], was the result of such secret negotiations.
    • by stevez67 (2374822)
      Negotiating in public means absolutely nothing will get done because no one will dare cross the line and compromise. While in theory 100% transparency in gov't sounds like a good idea, in practice it's a recipe for gridlock.
      • This is the eternal cry of the politician and economist. They should all be sent back to kindergarten. Two wrongs don't make a right.
        • Laws are like sausages. Fans of either should never watch them being made. - Some dude

          When Bush requested $700 billion to bail things out at the end of his term, Congress added $110 billion in pork to get it passed.

          This means many, who thought the bill necessary, were prepared to hold it up until they got bought out. Others, who thought the bill awful, voted for it anyway once bought out, too.

          Why do you think these people go into power? Hehehehe, to "serve you".

          • Are you kidding? I'd love to see sausages being made. All that good meat, and tasty fat, ground up into a pulp then squished into an animal intestine that still smells faintly of shit...

            Ok, I see your point.

          • by mellon (7048)

            To Serve Man?

        • This is the eternal cry of the politician and economist. They should all be sent back to kindergarten. Two wrongs don't make a right.

          If by kindergarten you mean the chopping block, sure.

      • by qazsedcft (911254)
        I'm not saying that the people negotiating have to do all their talk in public because that would be ridiculous. But the terms of the deal have to be made public during the negotiations. When a new law is proposed there are certainly lots of back room deals but you get at least a couple of public readings and, if the law has any significant impact, lots of media attention too (at least here in Europe that's the norm). Where I live, a law adopted in a hurry or in a context of dubious public review would get
      • you say that's like it's a bad thing
        • by SeePage87 (923251)

          Here here!! I'm working on my Ph.D. in economics with a non-market focuses, such as political economy. The sad fact is that even if government representatives are actually trying to do what's best for their constituents, they'll still do things that are harmful to most people to help the few who actively support them, meaning legislation on average is expected to be harmful. But it gets worse! because this type of legislation is difficult to get through congress unilaterally, legislators trade votes all t

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by pla (258480)
        While in theory 100% transparency in gov't sounds like a good idea, in practice it's a recipe for gridlock.

        While in theory, a functional government sounds like a good idea, in practice, a state of perpetual gridlock means they do the least harm over time.
      • Negotiating in public means absolutely nothing will get done because no one will dare cross the line and compromise. While in theory 100% transparency in gov't sounds like a good idea, in practice it's a recipe for gridlock.

        Given never ending stream of attacks from media and LEA's gridlock is preferable to "progress".

      • I fail to see a downside to this. When a clear need arises, congress will act. When there is no need, they won't cross the line. Sounds pretty good to me.

        What we have now is politicians bowing to corporate interests and lining their pockets behind closed doors to the detriment of common folk. You don't think gridlock is preferable to that?

      • "it's a recipe for gridlock"

        depending on what gets gridlocked, it might be a good idea.

    • I suspect any treaty negotiated between Hitler and Stalin would have ended poorly for everyone aside from those two no matter how transparent and open the proceedings were. I'm more optimistic about other government actions, but there are still always going to be loopholes in transparency. Giving people the illusion of transparency could legitimize some awful agreements. I suspect the opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be even more muted if a show of negotiations were made to look like the
    • as i understand network technology, i believe it is possible to set up networks of the peer to peer variety which have no need of the currently conventional internet connections. my computer talks to yrs which talks to another guy's, etc. data wd be spread out on the network the way it is in a torrent network. i'd very much like some feedback on this.

  • I can't understand what this is actually about from reading TFA, or TFA links. What am I supposed to be angry about?
    • I can't understand what this is actually about from reading TFA, or TFA links. What am I supposed to be angry about?

      Right now, Obama is meeting with leaders in Asia to finalize the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

      The TPP threatens to censor your Internet, kill jobs, undermine environmental safeguards, and remove your democratic rights.

      That's the first two sentences on the first link - what part are you having trouble understanding?

      • by Minwee (522556)

        Right now, Obama is meeting with leaders in Asia to finalize the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

        The TPP threatens to censor your Internet, kill jobs, undermine environmental safeguards, and remove your democratic rights.

        That's the first two sentences on the first link - what part are you having trouble understanding?

        It will also give your ex-girlfriend your new phone number. It will mix Kool-aid into your fishtank. It will drink all your beer and leave its socks out on the coffee table when there's company coming over. It will put a dead kitten in the back pocket of your good suit pants and hide your car keys when you are late for work.

        It moves your car randomly around parking lots so you can't find it. It will kick your dog. It will leave libidinous messages on your boss's voice mail in your voice! It is insidious an

        • Right now, Obama is meeting with leaders in Asia to finalize the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

          The TPP threatens to censor your Internet, kill jobs, undermine environmental safeguards, and remove your democratic rights.

          That's the first two sentences on the first link - what part are you having trouble understanding?

          It will also give your ex-girlfriend your new phone number. It will mix Kool-aid into your fishtank. It will drink all your beer and
          leave its socks out on the coffee table when there's company coming over. It will put a dead kitten in the back pocket of your good suit pants and hide your car keys when you are late for work.

          It moves your car randomly around parking lots so you can't find it. It will kick your dog. It will leave libidinous messages on
          your boss's voice mail in your voice! It is insidious and subtle. It is dangerous and terrifying to behold. It is also a rather interesting shade of mauve.

          So, basically what you're saying here is, unless every single possible aspect of a thing is specifically drawn out for you in a way you can comprehend, it's tantamount to utter ridiculousness?

          Please. We aren't your mommies. If you find a subject interesting enough to research it, then do so. If not, ignore it and move on with your life. There's no call for such childish snark.

        • Mauve?? I hate mauve!!

          Ban the mauvey TPP!!

      • How and why? There are no specifics, only scary words.
        • So do your own research about the TPP, I'm certain once you do you'll understand what all those "scary words" are about.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Here is a flashless [jsfiddle.net] version of the video made with jsfiddle and a html5 demo.
    Why does beta not fix flash?

  • The reality is... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @03:40PM (#46883055)

    ... one issue based bullshit is not going to stop this. We had SOPA and CISPA and they are preparing CISPA round 3.

    The internet is something 'everyone can agree on' but unfortunately most people trying to 'protect the internet' are too historically and politically illiterate to really do so. None of you who are hardcore capitalists are "protectors" of the internet, in fact why SOPA and TPP are trying to lock it down is BECAUSE they fear the masses rising up against corporate (capitalist) powers. That's why we got governments and corporations going gangusters on surveillance worldwide.

    If you doubt this check the spyfiles

    https://wikileaks.org/the-spyf... [wikileaks.org]

    Corporate power is global, and resistance to it cannot be restricted by national boundaries. Corporations have no regard for nation-states. They assert their power to exploit the land and the people everywhere. They play worker off of worker and nation off of nation. They control the political elites in Ottawa as they do in London, Paris and Washington.

    Consider the G20 Protests in Toronto

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/... [www.cbc.ca]

    This is just more part and parcel of state suppression of dissent against corporate interests. They're worried that the more people are going to wake up and corporate centers like the US and canada may be among those who also awaken. See this vid with Zbigniew Brzezinski, former United States National Security Advisor.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    Look at the following graphs:

    http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa... [ucsc.edu]
    http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa... [ucsc.edu]
    http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa... [ucsc.edu]

    And then...

    WIKILEAKS: U.S. Fought To Lower Minimum Wage In Haiti So Hanes And Levis Would Stay Cheap
    http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    Free markets?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    http://www.amazon.com/Empire-I... [amazon.com]

    "We now live in two Americas. One—now the minority—functions in a print-based, literate world that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other—the majority—is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. To this majority—which crosses social class lines, though the poor are overwhelmingly affected—presidential debate and political rhetoric is pitched at a sixth-grade reading level. In this “other America,” serious film and theater, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of society.

    In the tradition of Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges navigates this culture—attending WWF contests, the Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas, and Ivy League graduation ceremonies—to expose an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion."

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Protip: Canada doesn't have freedom like many other western democracies, or even free speech. We have "as much freedom as dictated by law, courts, and government." And those can be restricted at any time, if they can be so justified. [justice.gc.ca] In Canada, it's spelled out plainly in s.1 of the charter of rights and freedoms. There's a reason why many don't think the charter will last beyond 2030, not withstanding the Quebec issue.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ever see "Good Will Hunting"? Best movie Matt Damon and Ben Afleck ever did.

      After reading your post, I keep thinking of the long haired guy in the bar who kept trying to best Will by reciting books he read and Wil eventually told him to get an opinion of his own.

      -Just say'in.

      I see a lot of shit too - how "free" markets are manipulated, big money in politics, an electorate stuck in mindless jobs (coding advertising widgets and apps at Google and Facebook fall into that category too) and watching insipid TV

  • Slashdot can help the internet by not having 3+ minutes of ads before giving us content on a video stream; sickening, so sickening I turned it off & never got what I came for, BYE!

  • by genner (694963)
    Someone want to explain this with actual facts instead of scary buzz words.
  • I was interested in this story until I checked out the page at stopthesecrecy.net. Centering blocks of text removed any credibility bestowed by a Slashdot reference. (I know I need a made-up html tag for that last sentence...maybe "/snark"?)
  • This should never have made it to /. There's nothing in the summary or TFA that explains what we're all supposed to be upset about. It looks like the forwarded emails I get from angry, elderly acquaintances who have nothing better to do all day, since retirement, except to get all outraged over perceived problems which are always just around the corner, but never seem to actually occur.

  • Everyone know thay are also negociating the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) with EU at the same time? The talks are so secret that even members of EU parliament do not know what is discussed.

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