2006-07-31

Tribute post: to kdsde

If someone bothers reading the few comments I actually get, you noticed that a certain kdsde has had the courtesy to comment every now and then. Most often, these are passenger seat driving kinds of comments - the person comments on typos, factual errors, technical difficulties, non-truths, stuff like that.

Two things must be said about this:

  1. I do not feel bad about the comments. They don't make me feel bad in anyway. As a matter of fact I'm greatful that someone is reporting all the mistakes in inevitably due every now and then, every so often, every other post, or - heck, all the time. ;) kdsde is thus sort of my clean-up crew, that points out where the blood-stains are. This is great. And it also proves I have at least one regular reader who also comments, makes me feel like I'm not really the only person in the world who reads all the stuff I put on this blog (yes, I know there are more of you out there, but you get the point).
  2. It's not me who is doing this. I have no idea what so ever who this person is, to be honest (though I'm sure s/he has probably told me, but I'm too shattered-minded to remember. Let me in on a little secret: I once forgot the name of a girlfriend. During the relationship. I'm just terrible with names and stuff like that). This doesn't make me less greatful, however.
So. Whoever you are kdsde, who does all this for me, and whyever you do it: keep doing it. It's bliss for me and the poor sods that feels compelled to read my rantings.

2006-07-27

What happens to a newspaper when there are no news?

Evidentally, very little is happening in Sweden right now. This is indicated by an attack against the Bureau of Piracy that turned out to become quite a funny story - only the laugh is on the attacker.

Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet ran a story about Piratshoppen, the website that sells Piratbyrån and the Pirate Bay related material such as T-shirts, stickers and so on. The article claimed that Piratshoppen sold material of a lesser moral standard. They claimed that via the shop, one could purchase T-shirts with captions such as, 'All women desire anal sex', and 'Feminism - for those who are fet, ugly and jealous'. The material sold was labaled 'sexist', which I can agree is a rather accurate term for the captions in the example.

But Piratbyrån doesn't sell their T-shirts directly. They hire a company called Peer99 to provide this service. They also have other customers, and all customers, including Piratbyrån, have their own sections in the website. The reporter had find the offensive T-shirts under sections belonging to other customers.

To make matters worse, Piratbyråns web server had been in police custody for almost two months when the article was published about 22 hours ago. Instead it had been replaced by a temporary newssite in the form of a blog, which hadn't even linked to Piratshoppen. In the article, the reporter claims that Piratbyrån hasn't become rich by advertisements, 'as we last month uncovered that the Pirate Bay did', but from the Piratshoppen. But as a matter of fact The Pirate Bay linked to Piratshoppen, and Piratbyrån did, in fact not, untill very recently.

The situation is clear - the reporter had countered the lack of local happenings by fabricating a story based on in-correct claims, to point an accusating finger at a website that hardly even existed most of the time that the story covered - and the accusation, amounting to something like 'They get fat off of sexism' - is based completely on 'guilt by association', which is something that a respectable newspaper should be very careful to avoid.

It could end with this, the fact that a notable Swedish daily pointed a guild-by association accusation against Piratbyrån based on inaccurate claims, but it didn't.

Not long after the article was published, some industrious digger found out an interesting fact, taste this: Svenska Dagbladet also have a shopping system, by an external provider, linked to their website, as part of their advertising system. Just as they claim Piratbyrån have. And Svenska Dagbladets webshop sold hardcore porn movies, with titles such as Anal Cunts, The Wrong Hole, Italian Lolita 1-5 Limited Edition and Mattress III - hardly something that promotes a very positive view on women, in other words.

So, not only did this accusation take place, it took place in a newspaper that does the same thing - only they're selling movies picturing women as sexual organs and mattresses.

This resulted in a number of comments on the article, as well as blog postings (sorry, no English links as of yet, you just have to believe me on this one). Not long after this occured, the porn was suddenly removed from SvDs website. A few hours later, it seems that the article has been a bit edited and corrected. Perhaps some editor pulled the young reporter in the ear and told him something about how he wasn't working on a tabloid?

It would be nice, however, to see if Svenska Dagbladet or the reporter takes their responsibility and act upon this, maybe put on some kind of aknowledgement - because aside from the fact that the newspaper did the same thing as the article accused others of doing; to point an accusing finger at someone, based on 'guilt by association' and false facts is not a nice thing to do, and it should be followed by some form of official 'please excuse us, we were wrong'.

Links (all in Swedish, I'm afraid)
Copyriot
Frihet, fildelning och feminism
Sänd mina rötter regn

2006-07-21

Why is YouTube so bad? :O

There seem to be a big fuzz right now about the terms and conditions that YouTube is changing to. Through these, YouTube is claiming rights to do what they want with what people upload to them.

I am claiming, however, that YouTube is on the right track, that there is nothing I can see that is very worrying, and in fact, that YouTubes terms and conditions isn't that far off from how many, but not all, pirates want copyright legislation to look.

The allegedly controversial and fought over passus looks like this:

…by submitting the User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube's (and its successor's) business ... in any media formats and through any media channels.

Now, what is the active, the most important word of this passus? The answer is: non-exclusive. YouTube claims a non-exclusive right to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivate works of, display and perform what you download to them. This means that they want to use the materials they host - but it says outright that this right does not exclude anyone from using it.

All text on Piracy Unlimited is under a creative commons license, that says that what you find on this site, when it comes to the texts, you can use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivate works of, display and perform, whoever you are - under the condition that whatever result produced from this, will also be under this same license.

In other words, to be perfectly clear, I put more regulations on my rights to my texts on Piracy Unlimited than YouTube does in their terms and services. They say they want the right to use the stuff, but doesn't exclude anyone from doing the same. I say everyone can do this, but only if the end result is treated the same way. Granted, my regulations might make information more free in the long run - or maybe I just flatter myself by saying so - but the truth is that I put some manner of protective exclusiveness on my work, while YouTube, in their terms and conditions, simply do what pirates do when they say they want to make downloading legal:

"We want the rights to download, use, exchange and redo this material - but we don't say that others can't do the same thing." That's non-exclusive, and it's very important to remember this, before making something a hot potatoe just because it contains the word "copyright" or is related to it. :)

Now, if anyone can explain what is so bad about this deal, please do this to me. Send mails, write comments, cause I want to know what the fuzz about. To me, this simply looks like a company that comes way closer to what copyright legislation should look like, than the legislation we currently have, at least here in Sweden.

2006-07-19

Piratbyrån back online

After one and a half month of absence, Piratbyråns website is now back online with full functionality.

Following is the official press release:

On Wednesday, Piratbyrån (The Bureau of Piracy) went live with their old/new website. After one and a half month of absence from the internet, we can once again present a complete solution for anyone who is interested in piracy, file sharing and copyright criticism.

The central parts of the website is the ongoing news reporting and the forum, which has 60 000 members.

- We can now retake our place as the foremost copycritical news source on the net, says Tobias Andersson from Piratbyrån. Together with other news sites and blogs we make sure it will be impossible to miss all the exciting stuff that is happening on the area.

Piratbyrån's server and orginal data is still in police custody. Prosecutor Håkan Roswall refuses to end this custody. Data, however, is not dependent on being at a specific physical spot, and after a bit of juggeling, the website is back.

- Even though we have hardly been inactive, we are very happy to have regained our place on the Internet, Tobias Andersson says. It's from here our activity is coordinated.

During the time that the website has been offline, Piratbyrån has, among other things, organized a large demonstration concering the Pirate Bay raid, written debate articles, held conversations with politicians from practically every party, negotiated in the city court, held speeches in Almedalen, initiated a large international lobby organisation and bought a lock of hair from Thomas Bodström.

We wish all our new and old readers welcome to our website. Have fun on the Internet!


When the Swedish police got the order from prosecutor Roswall, he himself haven gotten subtle hints from the government working under MPAA pressure, to raid the Pirate Bay, Swedish tax payers were blessed with the chance to finance an operation concerning tens of officers on a number of places all over Sweden. Despite this, it took the Pirate Bay no more than three days to get back online.

Piratbyrån is a bit more dependent on user content and large chunks of bigger data as well as a smooth system for the ongoing news coverage and handling of the forum for large numbers of users - users that was left stranded along with everyone else in this ongoing farse.

Nor does Piratbyrån get any help with funding by advertising companies, and rely completely on other means, particularily the hard work of its users and crew, to get it going. Given these facts and the astonishing attention Piratbyrån has gotten since the raid and the following demonstration, many to-do lists have been filled for most hours of the day. This has made it more difficult for Piratbyrån to regain their full functionlity.

But Piratbyrån has done what pirates have always done - instead of simply trusting others to solve problems for them, they have acted to solve the problems themselves. The website is currently independent on the servers some authority representatives with half an idea of what they are doing is digging through at the moment - in an investigation where Piratbyrån isn't even involved.

Now, this functionality is back, even though all backed up data from the forums and the news archives made before the raid still remain in the loving care of various Swedish authorities. It's about time. As soon as the prosecutor gets his act together and allows the police force to return Piratbyråns property to Piratbyrån, old data will be made available again.

And while on the subject - the world online community still demand of the authorities mentioned above: Release the data you have abducted and now hold in captivity for political reasons.

2006-07-18

Asbo - a threat against british democracy

Ryan Wilkinson, age 10, has gotten a court-order that bans him from, among other things, meeting 17 named individuals, using public transport, and being in a public place in West Yorkshire between 1900 GMT and 0730 GMT, unless accompanied by named family members. That is, he can't use public transport at all, and he is submitted to house arrest during off hours. He's ten years old.

Paul Daniels, age 14, can't be in a public place between 10pm and 7am unless accompanied by his mother, father or a grandparent, untill September 14 2007. On wednesdays, the curfew takes place on midnight. He is not allowed to meet with three or more people in public, if said people are aged 11 to 18 or family members, and except on lessons, he can't be on school grounds. That is, house arrest during off hours, and overruled freedom of association for a 14 year old.

A 16-year old with ADHD has been banned from entering parts of Sheffield. If he does enter these areas, he can be sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Luke Davis has been ordered to not go through the front door of his own house. He had been "attacking homes and cars" and "shouting obscenities".

15-year old Dean played football in the street. Dangerous yes. He received a court order with a map showing where he can't play football. He's also banned from going within 100 meters from the local Roseberry Sports and Community College and other things, including inciting others to commit these acts. "Let's go to school." would be an offense if the school in question would be the one mentioned above.

An 11-year old illeterate boy in a dysfunctional family were kicked out of school, and ended up on the wrong side of society - an outcast. After a number of juvenice offenses. When Times visited his family, the police came over at 10 in the morning and told his mother they would come back to arrest him later. He has now been issued an order that confines him to his home for the next five years. If he wants to leave his home, he can only use a specified route, marked in yellow on a map, leading to the outskirts of town - but only if he was accompanied by a "responsible adult".

Two brothers, 10 and 11 years old, in Nottinghamshire has been banned from participating in large groups, or going out night-time.

13-year old Michael had never been accused of anything before. But a while ago there were complaints - some anonymously - of, for example, vandalizing or shouting abuse. Based on these complaints, a court issued an order where Michael can't set his foot on several streets in his neighbourhood, or face the risk of being sentenced to five years.

These are just a short list of some of the most absurd and frightening examples I have found when researching about the ASBO, the Anti-social behaviour order. It was issued in Britain in 1998 under the Crime and Disorder Act.

What happens is that a person is complained about for disoderly conduct or anti-social behaviour, and a court state an order, naming a number of conditions that the person, the child, has to reach. If it is not reached, the child can instead be put in front of a criminal court.

There are two things that are quite astonishing when it comes to Asbo, aside from it being effectively making sentences made on a whim from a court against children:

* There is an old tradition in Britain, that when a child is convicted of a criminal offense, the anonymity to which young offenders are ordinarily entitled prevents anyone from discovering his name, what he looks like, or where he lives. This is not the case when it comes to the Asbo. Anyone can find these things out.

* Asbo cases are heard in civil courts, so the complaints against the defendant does not have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, but merely judged on the balance of probability.

Since its implementation, thousands of Asbos have been issued in England and Wales, banning various children from everything from playing football to going through their own front door, as noted above. In Scotland, however, the Asbos are inherently and profoundly adverse to the judicial system that Scotland has (Scotland has a separate judicial system from that of the UK) Asbos are simply not compatible with scottish law implementation. Thus, only 4 Asbos has been issued there.

So as it seems, Britain has implemented a system where children can be, in effect, convicted to sentences depending on the will of a civil court, where their names are been made public and they do not have to be convicted by evidence, but by probability, and that's often for things that are not concidered crimes otherwise - it's well enough that someone can complain, even anonymously, that the child's behaviour is anti-social.

It does not bode well for Britain that they have effectively killed - ended, not put in jeopardy - all judicial security for children. Concidering how Britain also is the most monitored country in the Western World, and where effectively only two parties have the possibility to form a government, there is grounds for me to question the claim that the United Kingdom is actually a democracy.

Check out ASBOWatch list of child abuse.

Pirate Party International seems on the way

As you might have seen on Piracy Unlimited, I have argued that since various pro-piracy groups have recently started to go international, it's time for the pirate parties in various countries to do the same. Discussions have been under way lately in the Swedish Pirate Party, and it has resulted in their international liaison to start up PP International Net.

From the website:


Welcome!

This place is meant to be a meeting point for all the Pirate Parties that have started up around the world - just as much as a point to meet up and start something up in countries that have yet to see a Pirate Party to be formed.

Across the world we may have loads of various experiences and ideas, resources that are untapped. This place will hopefully make for a great place to pick up new things, as well as sharing your own tidbits with the rest of us!

You want to start a party, but have no place to recide, to discuss and plan? We'll provide a section for you under Temporary Country Sections, where you can talk to eachother in your own language until you have everything you need to set something up for yourselves.

If you have ideas of what this place should be like, put them up in the PPI forum!

This will be a work in progress, no doubt, so be patient to start with!

This is a simple placement page for PP International Net, btw. New front will be coming soon!

Please enjoy!

//infinite_emma


Despite the fact that this is quite new - I haven't seen any other blog cover it yet, there has already been queries to start things up on the site, even before they put up a real frontpage. My thought is that as soon as this spreads, there will be further requests from other places, and this international project has left shore for the waters of the future. Good work, let's get this ship moving!

2006-07-14

Informer - Don't Do It!

Swedish daily Expressen had a very interesting editorial today, written by an Isobel Hadley-Kamptz: "Refuse to give away your neighbour." It contains truths that are viable in any country.

Soon our goldie-lock justice minister has information about all our petty crimes. Because most of us has some dirt in some parts of our concience. Money under the table, fixing benifits, some pooching, some undeclared liqour from abroad, some trading belong in a grey zone. An entire generation of youths file sharing and rather have a joint than drink alcohol on friday evening. [...] A general suspicious outlook is tearing on society more than petty crimes. But we don't need to accept this. Everyone has a chance to resist. Refuse to inform about your neighbour.


She also staples a number of examples on how the Swedish society is not only marching towards a society of monitoring but also of informing. She tells about Lerum, a quaint little town of 15 000 or so inhabitants in western Sweden, where the municipality encourages it's inhabitants to inform on each other anonymously using the internet.

If the neighbour is getting his wage under the table, if the neighbour's kids are drinking beer, if someone tags the neighbour's wall. Sure it can seem reasonable to step in if you see ghastly things happen. Solidarity is about caring. But tipping off the local authorities anonymously? A municipality that actively encourages us to spy on our neighbours?


She also reminds us that the People's Party (that are actually allegedly liberals, even if most Swedes probably thinks about China when they hear the name), in their flirt with voters that call for tougher policies have suggested that the security police use informers on schools that can inform them of pupils with subversive opinions or behaviours. According to Isobel, the security police "just shrugged and implied that was already being done."

This editorial reminds us of another dimension on the questions of monitoring, that are sometimes forgotten in an often technical debate about camrea spreads, DNA databases, phone logs or the validity of a screenshot as proof in a court of law: that this kind of monitoring society also influence the way we humans look at each other - if the former is the hard side of repression, the latter is the softer, subtle and more long term devastating side of the Orwellian/Bodströmian society.

I for one have said before that in a generation or two, the new ideas about information as the basis for society and the conclusions deriving from these ideas, will eventually more and more replace our current old-school, 18th century right-left block parliamentary horse trading politics untill we actually live in the information age. But attempts to stop this is being made, just as attempts were made to stop every other major paradigm shift and revolution throughout human history - a history that seems bent on waging wars over ideas as much as about resources.

And right now, we need to organise our defensive and offensive strategies, so the other side of the force doesn't get the upper hand. If it gets too predominant, it's not impossible that it's the Bodströmian ideal that replaces our current old-school democracy all together. The old time is changing, wether we want it or not. The question now is what will fill the void - progression or repression.

Expressen: Vägra ange din granne (Swedish)

2006-07-12

News alert: International pirate lobby organisation goes live!

A few minutes ago, a press release was made available from The Pro Piracy Lobby.

PPL is a cooperative group between pirate organisations, devoted to free culture, in several countries.

So far, this international cooperation consist of the following members, according to the PPL website:


Rumour has it that several other groups are interested in joining the cooperation.

The Pro Piracy Lobby is what the name implies - an organisation aimed at coordinating the pirate movement's lobby efforts internationally in a more effective manner, a way to make these ideas available to people throughout the world. According to the website, the platform looks like this:

Kopimi - We will copy whatever we want. Make p2p legal or just accept it!

We are the Internet. We know it, we feel it, we live it and we are here to tell the world that p2p will never be stopped, can't be stopped and shouldn't be stopped. The Internet is a vast global network, screaming with life and the creativity of millions of minds. We will choose to explore it in any way we please and we don't need guidance.

Free networking, everywhere by anyone!!

We live in a time defined by the Internet. It preceeds everything else. Everything new and intresting begins there. Every important event and all the fun in the world too. The freedom of developing and offering networking services of any kind, even anonymously and free of charge, should be considered a self-evident right.

Don't touch our Internets! No more efforts to limit, monitor or sabotage use of the net!

When we talk about price, we don't mean what the price for copy-protected music should be or how much artists are supposed to be compensated for supposed loss due to file sharing. We mean what price the anti piracy lobby organisations and governments are willing to pay to get rid of file sharing? The only way is to shut down the entire Internet and even then we will soon rebuild our own. Anti pirates of Hollywood and the world, don't touch our Internet!

The Pro Piracy Lobby will continue to grow along with the expansion of a positive understanding of piracy and filesharing. Our mission is to bring forth a progressive Internet development, our goal being no less than the ruling of the the seven seas!


- Behind the Pro Piracy Lobby there is a strife to expand the arena for copyright criticism. As copypirates we have to be able to meet wherever we are - and we are everywhere, says Marcin de Kaminski from Piratbyrån Sweden.

But the listed member groups have cooperated for awhile. In what way does the Pro Piracy Lobby help expanding the international cooperation? And can you reveal any further international partners?

- Even though we have already cooperated for a long while, PPL makes a more formal cooperation visible. Together we can present a clear, common front, that can continue to present our present and future ideas on an international stage, says de Kaminski. It would not be fair to present future partners before the deals are final, but I can tell you that presently we have good relations with similar groups in a dozen other countries, mainly in Europe, but also on other continents.

I have promoted international organisation of the pirate movement a few times here on Piracy Unlimited. It seems that at least the non-party organisations of the pirate movement has now come to the same conclusion and are working towards these goals - still remain only to see how the various pirate parties of the world responds to this.

The pirate movement is global and getting organised. Will the pirate parties go the same way, or will they remain only regional curiosities? What does the Pro Piracy Lobby think about this? Will the pirate parties go the same way as they have done, towards international cooperation?

- That is up to them, of course, says de Kaminski, but my opinion is that international issues should be addressed at an international level.

Is there currently any cooperation or contacts between said parties and the Pro Piracy Lobby?

- Regarding pirate parties, I don't have much to say. Piratbyrån and PPL works with lobbying and spreading information, not with party politics. We have made an active desicion on this matter. That's the only comment you will get from me on that topic.

It seems I will have to go to the parties themselves to learn about this. Which means I have to stick a "to be continued" here... ;)

Pirates unite!

I recently wrote an article on why it is important for the pirate movement to organise. Obviously I am not the only one to make such an observation.

It is well established that anti-copyright groups in Sweden, Denmark and Norway are cooperating, that is Piratbyrån, Piratgruppen in Denmark and Piratgruppen in Norway.

There are now also pirate parties in:
The question is, how do these cooperate, if at all? There are several pirate movements - is there an international pirate movement? I intend to find out, it's about time!

Pirates in all countries - unite!

2006-07-07

A generic chat session is not official policy

Concider a group of people at a table, discussing something they all feel strongly about. These kinds of situations and talks tend to be quite informal, and thus sometimes, the discussion can become quite harsh. People will say things that the others, knowing this person, never would expect him to mean seriously - strictly speaking, there's alot of jokes.

This discussion is strictly personal, it is informal, and more than anything, it is non-official. It doesn't matter who is involved in this discussion. If it's the prime minister, if it's the CEO of a large corporation or if it's just two colleagues from the local factory. A chat between these people doesn't in any way determine the official position of the government, the business plan for the corporation or the plans for the factory union club, no matter what the discussion contains. If the prime minister says to his buddy in a private conversation that he thinks the head of the opposition is an SOB, that doesn't mean that the official position of the government is that the head of the opposition is an SOB.

It can also, under some circumstances, be a more formal or offical chat. Perhaps the prime minister invited one of his colleagues from the government to a job-related dinner. Perhaps it's a conversation which is about a political party's ideas or plans. Perhaps it's a public debate on the local library or an official meeting of the local union club. In this case, what is said there has more impact, and often one can assume that what is said there has officiality. What is said can have more repercussions.

This is how the IRC eseentially work. It is a discussion. People group together and talk. On this network of chatservers, a number of individuals have started a channel that they choose to name #piratpartiet. Members of the pirate party actually talk there. Even people that has had official positions in the party has chatted there. This doesn't mean that this channel is official in any way. If so, anyone could start a channel called #republicans and claim it to be the official chatsite of the american Republican Party. It's bullshit and has nothing to do with reality - even if the president himself visited the channel.

IRC channels have topics, that's supposedly an official statement of the channel itself - it's made so that visitors will know if they've come to the right place or not. The topic of the channel #piratpartiet includes the words: "Detta är INTE Piratpartiets officiella kanal!" - This is NOT the official channel of the Pirate Party. When you enter, you immediately get an official message from the channel that tells you that it has no formal bonds to the Pirate Party. Furthermore, Piratpartiet itself makes no claims at all to have an offical IRC channel and does not claim this channel as it's own, official channel in any way.

This should make it abundantly clear that this IRC channel is not official to the Pirate Party in any way - and consequently, that what is said on it, is not offical to the Pirate Party either.

But still, Expressen claims in an article that a discussion on this channel occured on "the pirate party's internal chat site".

It's time this Expressen reporter realized this: It's not a site - it's a chat. It's very internal - for the individuals that are involved, not the party it has taken it's name from. It does not belong to the Pirate Party. And it's not anything official from the Pirate Party, anymore than a statement from an average nobody is an official government statement because he begins with the words, "I am social democrat".

It's the same thing as when another Swedish tabloid, Aftonbladet, a few weeks back claimed that a lawyer had been threatened by Pirate Bay, because an anonymous user had written something that could be concidered a threat on an open forum - a message that was even deleted since it was concidered inappropriate.

One is wondering - is this a way for newspapers to join the judicial system to harass those that critizes the judicial system and the newspapers? Or do they feel threatened by the new technology making news, ideas and information available that the newspapers didn't come up with and control themselves? Or do they simply not understand that a chat is not the same thing as a press release?

Wikipedia: Internet Relay Chat

Head prosecutor calls file sharers criminals and compare them to criminal MC gangs

It seems it has become a standard for various representatives of the judicial system to use large words and far-reaching comparisons to attemp to demonize file-sharers and pirates. Not long ago, prosecutor Håkan Roswall insultingly compared the thinktank Piratbyrån to terrorists, by pulling parallells between them and the IRA.

Today, Expressen has a piece on how some people has made some controversial remarks on the IRC regarding said prosecutor - I will come back to that topic later - and now it is head prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem's turn to make the insulting comparisons. He tells Expressen that file sharing criminals (taste that expression for a moment, that's over a million people in Sweden and quite a few more million other people around the world he is referring to) are comparable to animal rights activists and criminal motorcycle gangs.

They have their own ethical system. Because of this they concider themselves in the moral right to attack anyone they concider opponents. It can be anything from an unfriendly tone to punishable threats.


There's a world of things to say about this. We have two leading prosecutors who have compared file sharers to terrorists and Hells Angels within the last few days - and now they claim the file sharers make unfriendly remarks? And based on unmoderated commnts on an open internet forum and pieces of a log of an open-for-all channel on the IRC, Alhem claim to have the right to make a general observation about file sharers, who are now called "criminals"? Pray, tell me - who has his own ethical system now?

Expressen: Åklagare smutskastas på Piratpartiets chatt (Swedish)

2006-07-04

Anti monopoly ruling can make way to cheaper broadband in Sweden

The Swedish company Telia Sonera, that under the name of "Televerket" was the government agency for the upholding of the telecommuncations monopoly. On July 1, 1993, the Swedish Parliament transformed it into a company under the name of Telia, and thus Sweden became the first European country to deregulate the telecom market, although Telia maintained in their monopoly position for a few years.

Nowadays we have several players on this market. But Telia Sonera, as it is now called, has had a very strong position, owning alot of the infrastructure, the cables and so on, that competitors had to rent themselves in to.

However, this might change now, as the administrative court of appeals (Kammarrätten) ruled that Telia Sonera has to give their competitors the same possibilities as themselves to use their infrastructure, in other words, to let them in without any terms that lowers their access or competitive possibilities. This is reported by Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.

According to one of these competitors, Glocalnet's CEO Martin Tivéus, this might mean price reductions on broadband connections with up to 1,000 SEK a year.

Today there is a large difference in prices for broadband. In areas where we use the Telia net we have to, for example, charge a 100 SEK more for our 8 mbit service than in other areas. The decision means that we can lower the prices for a little more than half of the broadband customers in Sweden, says Martin Tivéus.


Finally there is some positive decisions made from the judicial system regarding the tech area, after so many setbacks and harassment from our legal system, it feels good to have some good news as well. It can't be said strongly enough what it means for development that society steps in and tries to stop private monopolies on tech development and the fact that a large segment of the population will have access to cheaper internet access.

We'll see what happens if and when Telia Sonera appeals to this decision.

2006-07-03

Håkan Roswall shutting down freedom of press as well

To many pirates and many of those visiting this blog, it is abundantly clear that the Swedish government shut down the Pirate Bay to satisfy the demands of the american film industry lobby. It is also been stated clearly that the prosecutor they use conciders pro-piracy thinktanks that hasn't broken any law to be terrorists, and is keeping their servers locked in simply because of this, without legal support, and without even attempting to explain why.

What many people doesn't know is that the government is also harassing a Chechen news agency.

In May, the news agency Kavkaz Center, that had their servers at PRQ, the same place as the Pirate Bay and the Piratbyrån, had their server confiscated because the Russian embassy had accused it of agitation against Russia. The person who gave the order to confiscate their server was the highly familiar prosecutor Roswall. But after agreeing to delete the texts accused of the agitation and solving some other formal problems, Kavkaz Center had their computers return, and one of the few existing news sources on the situation in Chechnya that are not Russian could continue their work.

Then came raid on the Pirate Bay. As we know, 60-ish police officers confiscated everything they could see, completely regardless of what they were, stranding over 200 companies, making them unable to conduct their business. When the raid progressed, the legal representative of PRQ, Mikael Viborg, pointed out about Kakvaz Center had their computers returned to them recently, and that there had been stated clearly that there was nothing illegal about the server, and that it was a news agency server and should be secured by the Swedish constitutional press protection.

The police in charge of the raid then called prosecutor Roswall for instructions regarding this case, and the prosecutors told him to "bring those servers anyway".

Just as one thought this affair couldn't get more dirty - the state shuts down 200 businesses to get to one activity that had already been decided to be legal, on behalf of a foreign power, and shutting down opposing political expressions for their own gain, the same prosecutor now also fights freedom of press in Russia on behalf of the russians.

The Swedish union of journalists now plan to take this situation up with justice minister Bodström in a planned meeting, seeing as how the unions in Sweden have close ties to the governing Social Democratic party.

2006-07-02

Why the pirate movement needs to organize

On May 1, 2004, the Swedish Justice Department released a report by the name of Digitala klyftor – förr, nu och i framtiden (Digital rifts - past, present and future). It investigated the rifts in society between those that are attuned to and able to benifit from the new technology and those that can not, made from a perspective of age groups, gender and social classes. It concluded a very interesting thing:

Age can, at a superficial concideration, look like an important factor. The reason, however, that people over the age of 65 are using the Internet less than those that are younger, is mainly because they were not introduced to the use of Internet during their professional lives. They were already retired when the Internet came. The age cleft will thus shrink as the new senior citizens will have a habit of using the Internet in their professions. People doesn't stop using the Internet because they retire.

[...]

Thus we see that the age cleft is significant in a short-term perspective, but it will diminish. It can only be diminished by a lesser extent from economical measures, however social networks can have a positive effect for those that already lacks these from the time prior to retirement.


This is an important conclusion, and one that works on several levels, the political level nontheless.

In the 19th century, freedom and equality for all was something that was seen as radical and was continued to be radical untill well into the last century. Although the struggle of popular movements and democracy projects have been vital for the breakthrough of democracy and its values in the western world, it would have been virtually impossible to make much progress in, say, the early 1800's, no matter how organized the democracy movement would have been.

The younger generations in any given time has always been very well attuned to new ideas and the flows of change, and the general regards for political ideas is something youths have brought with them into adulthood. Although the ideas might change in practice during the process of maturing and over time, this has almost without exception had the effect that the next generation "in power" has always had a slightly different onlook than the preceding one. This is simply how the political evolution has worked throughout western history - a youthfull radicalism has merged with maturity to a blend that the people have taken with them and worked to accomplish when it has been their turn to dominate their society.

Thus, for example, the democratisation of the western world, the civil rights movement and other important developments, have happened, simply because it has been a natural step for the generations that live during those eras have worked to carry them through.

So, it will be with us as well.

Right now, the things that the pirate movement is working for, from a long-term perspective the polical adaption of the world in which we live, based on our level of technology and conditions of life, seems quite radical. It is also often expressed by radical means.

With time, however, the generation that has seen the maturing of the internet, the pioneering, the rapid technological development, and all that it implies and means and holds for the future, will be the ones that dominate society. There is no reason to assume that we will not follow the same patterns as our ancestors.

Our radicalism will meet with our maturity, and the ideas that we hold will be the ideas that we carry through to influence the society that we are to give to our heirs.

Thus, time is on our side - eventually we WILL win the war against those that try to limit information exchange and personal integrity and our rights to freedom, simply because that is something that concerns this generation much more than traditional western parliamentary politics. The trends of waning voting percentages and decreasing party memberships shows this very clearly.

The problem, however, is the amount of ferocity that the now established part of society tries to fight this new development, simply because these ideas are not in tune with ours. This is leading, in our case, to a very strong movement against us from established society, a development takes place towards more control, and more limitations.

One of our most important jobs is to stop these limitations untill we are taking over, making sure that our ideas are not being made formally impossible within the current system (something that we risk to see happening, at the rate things are going). And our other, equally important job, is to bring our ideals up on the daily agenda, and preparing the kind of future that we want to see.

We're not the only ones with ideas and dreams of the future, and in a society that still has democracy, all groups with ideas will pull every string to realize their aims, and we must do this as well. This is why there is a need for pirates to organise. Not because we necessarily want to wipe the floor with those that does not share our ideals and values, but to make our voices heard along with the rest.