ACTA is perhaps one of the most sinister developments in the history of the Internet, and beyond, not only because of the Draconian legislations it proposes, but also because of the manner in which they were proposed.
You see ACTA has never been democratically scrutinised or debated. It was created and negotiated entirely in secret by private corporations, not transparently by democratically elected representatives, and then ratified without any democratic mandate (by "executive order"). Indeed, the US government actually went so far as to describe these boiler-room "negotiations" as "a matter of national security".
Since when are petty civil legislation issues like copyrights "a matter of national security"? Since when should fundamental changes to the democratic process and criminal legislation be "negotiated" in dark basements by private corporations, then the details protected as "a matter of national security"?
It's incredible, but true. It's also profoundly disturbing.
Regardless of whatever else might be wrong with ACTA, when private corporations start making criminal laws (in secret, no less), clearly we have a serious problem. It's textbook fascism.
But no, it wasn't Gandhi, nor indeed anyone of even the slightest nobility. It was a patent extortionist with an apparent objection to altruism, called Steve Jobs. Even El Presidente fawned over this selfish racketeer, like he was the new messiah, or something:
‘Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it,’ the statement gushed.
One of the best things about the Internet is the fact that not only is it a tremendous source of information, but it also provides us with a very fine-grained control over that information. For example, unlike broadcast and print media, we can automatically filter out adverts and other nasties, using indispensable software like AdBlock Plus and NoScript.
But there's another type of "nasty" that isn't so easy to filter out ... media hacks with an unsavoury political bent (putting it politely).
Take El Reg for example. Most of its articles are informative, entertaining and have a decidedly liberal leaning, but there are a few exceptions, most of which seem to be penned by a particularly unpleasant character by the name of Andrew Orlowski.
"They don't have the right to read a book out loud," said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild.
...with the government's hot and eager help, of course.
From the its-about-"terrorists"-not-copyrights...honest dept.
The Rise and Fall of Invasive ISP Surveillance
University of Colorado Law School
August 30, 2008
Nothing in society poses as grave a threat to privacy as the Internet Service Provider (ISP). ISPs carry their users' conversations, secrets, relationships, acts, and omissions. Until the very recent past, they had left most of these alone because they had lacked the tools to spy invasively, but with recent advances in eavesdropping technology, they can now spy on people in unprecedented ways.
We're already starting to see this undemocratic violation of our privacy and civil-rights in the UK, with sinister initiatives like Phorm from BT (and their criminal partners, formerly known as the Spyware outfit 121Media), and more generally with the mere existence and subsequent overreaching implementation of insidious laws like the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which are now being quite openly abused as a matter of routine investigation into non-terrorist activities.
And the impetus for this destruction of our democracy is ... paranoid and greedy media companies, a.k.a. the MAFIAA®, who "lobby" government to pervert our society for their own selfish ends. "Pervert" is very apt description of how the MAFIAA® gangsters operate, after all they are predisposed to stalking and making abusive phone calls to 10-year old girls.
In a society in which such thugs are not only tolerated, but actually supported by government, whilst that same government declares its entire population of ordinary citizens to be "guilty", and punishes them by revoking their privacy and other civil-rights, it's clear that democracy is well and truly dead.
Your ISP is at the front-line of that battle. It is the weapon the government uses to strike you down.
Don't let them.