Posts Tagged ‘Politics

04
Mar
09

The suspense is killing me!

April 17th 11:00 UTC +1

That’s how long we have to wait for the verdict. It’s far too long for me. It’s totally a roll of the die, even if each of the sides in court are 100% completely utterly confident that their side will prevail. The Pirate Bay crew have been collecting most of the legal and media points during these two weeks, and we seen the prosecution behave like assholes on several occasion. Slandering Roger Wallis and shouting at the judge being their gravest missteps. But the political nature of the case makes it impossible to predict. 

Even worse though is that April 17th may yield nothing more than a “We will have to request a statemt from the EU”. Delaying the verdict from this instance about 2 years. After that there are two more instances to go through. It’s very likely that this issue will be done with politically and socially long before the case is settled.

The defense unanimously told the court that the case the prosecutor has put forth is utter rubbish. That it in no way ties either of the defendants to any of the acts of copyright infringement covered in the case. They can’t even legally prove that any copyright infringement took place in Sweden, let alone that TPBs servers where used in any way. Based on the lack of evidence it’s impossible to convict anyone of “assisting making available”. Their claims that 90% of the content on TPB is infringing copyright isn’t proven and the only thing on trial here seems to be the technology. The attitudes and political views of the defendants are not grounds for a guilty verdict. Also, since the core of the Internet is links to other information, simply pointing to something can not be sufficient to be found guilty in a court of law.

The defense did point out the math error of the prosecution yesterday, where 4 banners turned into 64, multiplying the estimated money earned by 16. And made a point of telling the court that even if the prosecution couldn’t get the source code to the tracker from the police, which the prosecution complained about yesterday. That source code is freely available on TPB for download. 

Some time was spent on whether paragraph 16 or 18 of the European e-commerce directive is the applicable one. Paragraph 16 says that a relayer of information is not responsible for the content. 18 says that a storage service is responsible for the content they store. In my opinion TPB steers clear of both. The torrent contains no copyright protected content and the only thing they transmit is metadata.

The defense also reminds the court that when the prosecution brought witnesses they brought CEOs that had little to no understanding of the technology and had done no research on their own. Nor had they read and comprehended any independent research and spent their time on the witness stand pushing their political views.

IFPI ceo John Kennedy even told the court that his wife keeps him away from the car because he’s that technically challenged.

When the prosecution was faced with an independent researcher who is also a practicing composer, former board member of a collection society for musicians, member of the governments IT council and professor emeritus at one of Sweden’s foremost technical universities, they resort to slander. 

The defense also points out the enormous consequences the trial will have on the Internet if their clients are found guilty. The Internet as we know it would have to be closed down if you are legally responsible of everything you link to.

More at SVD(sv), DN(sv), The Local, Torrent Freak, Wired, Threat Level

02
Mar
09

The Pirate Bay Trial – day 11

Closing arguments. Nothing really surprising here except maybe that the prosecutor didn’t ask for the maximum  two years of prison time. Prosecutor Roswall claims that there are 64 ad spaces on the site and at an estimated 3500sek/week The Pirate Bay has earned over 10 000 000sek. Problem with that is that there are only 4 banner spaces(sv). So income from banners is 1/16th of that. And since hardware costs are around 80 000sek/month (estimate by anakata at the press conference before the trial) on average that makes TPB a loss generating project.

But then again these lawyers don’t care about the money. It’s not going to the artists anyways. All they want is to label TPB illegal so they can strong arm ISPs to block it. Effectively shutting creators that take advantage of radically shorter distance between creator and consumer that file sharing allows, out of their most important market. 

IFPI tried this just a week earlier in Norway, but it din’t turn out so well.

Interesting to note as well is that Swedish media is talking less and less about different outfits protecting the rights of the artists. Instead they word it as protecting the rights holder. This is of course welcome. 

Much much sadder, but not at all unexpected, was that the IPRED over implementation was passed into law last week. A quick run down on how this works:

  1. Rights holders are granted special permission to store sensitive personal information about civilians. Data that is otherwise strictly protected by law.
  2. A rights holder goes to the court and claims that a certain IP is infringing on their pattern privileges and the court forces the ISP to hand over the identity behind the IP. Swedish police cannot do this, so the copyright lobby are given more rights than any other authority in Sweden. 
  3. The copyright lobby can now freeze your bank accounts and seize your property. What you need to realize here is that they will always target the owner of the account at the ISP. So the actual file sharer could be anyone at this point. 
  4. Next they will raid your house, seizing any and all computer and IT related equipment and anything else they can motivate the need for. Have private pictures of your bf/gf/spouse, well tough luck. Unusual sexual preferences? Political views? Diaries? Anonymous blogs? Accounting for your home business? The lobby will seize it all and not only for the one named on the Internet account. Every member of that family will get their lives seized. 
  5. Now they will hand you an extortion letter. It will demand that you hand over a large sum of money or they will drag you to court and sue you for many times this amount. With no computer, no cell phones, no access to your accounts you will be given 10 days or so to reply. 
  6. If you for some reason choose to stand your ground you situation is as follows: You will have to go to court and prove your innocence. There will be no lawyers with experience in pattern privileges cases available to you since they are most likely being used by or have been used by the copyright lobby. Since this is civil law your insurance will most likely not cover your expenses. And what money you have is frozen. 
  7. If you loose you have to pay for the expenses of the lobby. You will also be forced to pay for ads in newspapers detailing the crimes you were just convicted of. 

This new law allows for everything detailed above. You are at the mercy of the whims of the rights holders. And considering their track records in the US, UK and Denmark they will use any legal tool they have access to with full force. 

MEPs try to sooth us with promises that rights holders wont behave like this because it would generate badwill. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry here. They aren’t interested in avoiding badwill. They want us to fear them, so we stop developing our own society, shut up and empty our wallets in their laps.

26
Feb
09

Producer of Pusher 3 sueing The Pirate Bay, against his will?!

So Henrik Danstrup, producer of Pusher 3, a movie that is used in the case against The Pirate Bay is less then pleased at seeing his creation being used as ammunition against(sv) TPB. 

It’s strange. I’m very understanding of piracy and my sympathies lie with the pirates. The movie business needs to find a new model to earn money with instead of living in the past.

Nordisk Film on the other hand couldn’t care less about the creator and Irene Mikkelsen told Denmarks Radio that they support the Anti-Piracy Bureau fully. 

IFPI spends 82 000 000€ on this yearly. I wonder what the MPA spends on creating badwill for their clients…

26
Feb
09

A history of Sweden’s Piratpartiet

Ars Technica takes a look at the history behind The Pirate Party SE. It covers a lot of areas, from the first line that Falkvinge dropped in a chat (on DC iirc) to Sweden’s broadband situation and Young Pirate. 

It doesn’t mention The Bureau of Piracy though. Not that we always agree with each other. But they have done awesome work showing up for debates long before Sweden had a Pirate Party and their contribution can not be neglected.

09
Jul
08

Taliban HQ resides in sweden.

Even though General-director of FRA has pointed out its impossible, the afghan defense is still used to try and convince the public that the FRA needs a copy of all digital traffic crossing the borders of Sweden. One of the latest proponents to get a letter to the press published is the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces Håkan Syrén. Apparently Swedish C-130’s operating in Afghanistan need the FRA to keep themselves safe from SAM’s and what not. Now to be fair, our Supreme Commander could be interpreted to be saying, he needs the FRA, not necessarily, the new law. And true, there are reasons to moth ball all of FRA, their systematic disregard for Swedish law being one of them. But this is still only secondary to stopping them from copying and filtering all Swedish Internet traffic. So unless Mr Syrén wants to step up and enter the debate for real, he should keep his tidbits of “wisdom” to himself.

Rumors are 80% of Russia’s Internet traffic passes through Sweden. So you can see the great importance of this new law…. Maybe I should stop talking to my friend from Russia. He’s actually trained by their intelligence offices as some sort of network admin…. But then again I have one friend who works as a security guard at a Finnish airport, another one who works as a security guard at a Swedish air port. Yet another friend who has a masters in chemistry, and one who did his conscription tour in the military as a programmer, and several who worked with different kinds of explosives. I know this guy who works as a chef at a consulate, and I recently applied for a job at a nuclear power plant. How many terrorist plots can you make of that?

While summers in Sweden, and probably most other countries means news drought, this summer has the FRA debate, and sadly for our government it just wont die. Specially troublesome this week I think since it saw the opening of the annual Politics week in Almedalen on Gotland. Reports are that around every corner there is someone asking someone else about this new law. It’s also reported that theres a lot more talks on the FRA issue going on behind the scenes. Its the hottest topic bar none, but the right wing parties are doing their best to gracefully dodge the issue.

Of note is when Maud Olofsson, leader of the Centre party shot herself in the foot claiming that there are no laws in Sweden protecting civil liberties. Mrs Olofsson is apparently unaware of the Swedish constitution. We already knew our prime minister hasn’t read it when he claimed all power emanates from the government. The club just keeps on growing.

01
Jul
08

Four million emails – the Swedish parliament needs a plumber!

Their intertubes must be clogged by now. I certainly hope they are! The Swedish newspaper Expressen is taking the FRA-law very seriously and launched a special portal for all things FRA. As part of the launch they built a mass email script that let you send a protest email to all 143 MP that voted yes, and of course the confused one that abstained. On the first day some 500 000 emails were sent. One MP complained on his blog that he had received over 4700 emails so far, and Badlandshyena(swe) picked it up. Now the protest mail from expressen translates roughly to this:

“Dear member of parliament,

With this email I protest the FRA-law.

If my email crosses Sweden’s borders, FRA will have access to monitor it. You are one of the MP’s that voted to allow FRA to monitor not only this email, but all traffic crossing Swedish borders in cables. It is my opinion that it is unjustified that a protest email to a MP risks being monitored by FRA and therefor I demand the law to be scrapped.”

Nothing spectacular by itself, but when news broke of the Moderate MP Olov Lavesson preferred to be unaware of the opinions of the people he represents, and therefor started forwarding all his emails to Expressen, the think tank Limbo offered this email to Lavesson:

“Dear Expressen,

With this email I protest the citizens of Sweden.

If the citizens continue to protest the FRA-law I will be unable to steam roll them. It is my opinion that it is unreasonable for citizens to not only engage themselves politically, but also to have the media assist them in doing so. Democracy, by definition, is to allow MP’s to make all decision for the people, as the people are too stupid see what is good for them.

If this revenge on Expressen wont make you come to your senses, you leave me no option but to break out the party whip and pay you a visit. Then I promise you you will see my view of things.

You should think twice before ever criticizing MP’s again!”

I laughed at least.

Now following up on this tidal wave of protest emails (actually, maybe we should contact Guinness?) I found this article on Expressens portal. It interviews previous chairmen/women of the different parties in the coalition, all slamming the bill and the handling of the issue by the government. Towards the end though, there is a quote by Thomas Mattsson, editor-in-chief of Expressen Digitala Medier. Apparently FOUR MILLION emails have been sent so far! And they will keep the script available for a a few more days. I cant help but think that this is in fact a reply to the “challenge” issued by another Swedish newspaper a week or two ago, where they established that the FRA-law still wasn’t the issue that generate the most emails to Swedish MP’s.

On another note, Peter Sunde, spokes person of Sweden’s famed The Pirate Bay, has posted a stamp of approval for the Swedish Pirate Party on his blog. TPB are also engaged in the FRA-law, rolling out encryption on the TPB, and are considering using their contacts to urge ISP’s around the world to blacklist Sweden to protect their customers.

I for one would like to see how our government responds to being the cause Sweden is banned from the Internet.

29
Jun
08

All swedes are idiots – FRA’s message to the public

Last few days we’ve seen employees of FRA, a former(swe) and the current(swe) general-director of FRA complaining in editorials in Swedish newspapers. Both are claiming that all swedes opposed to the FRA monitoring all digital traffic in and out of Sweden are idiots, lunatics who have an unhealthy distrust for our government. These two also shoot down the argument that this law would help protect Swedish troops from IED’s when serving abroad. An argument frequently used by proponents during the debate in the parliament. We have been saying all along that this claim was absurd, and wouldn’t you know it, the general-directors agree. Unfortunately neither of them offer any reasons of their own as to why this law is a good idea. One in every two swedes are clearly too stupid to understand the ramifications of this law, and that is reason enough. Falkvinge and Opassande have commented on it in Swedish.

Personally I cant grasp what they hope to accomplish by insulting the intelligence nearly half of Sweden, and using this as the only argument to justify this law. In these two editorials not a single piece of new information has been produced.

Meanwhile journalists keep finding skeletons in not only the closets, but the cupboards, the fridge and the dishwasher.

FRA started hiring its new analysts years ago, in small numbers, to avoid suspicion and used a company where one of the FRAs board members is a stockholder(swe). The are already demanding new hardware and more employees to cope with the new workload(swe).

The Swedish Data Inspection Board, who would be one of the new controllers, as proposed by the modified bill, where never asked, and as their precise roll hasn’t been defined their General-Director cant say if they are actually up to the task or not.

The crisis in the government over this is increasing. When the leader of the moderate parties youth section, the moderates being the biggest party in the ruling coalition, threatened to resign, our prime minister was asked to comment. His reply(swe) was: “my, a party that wants to snoop on all swedes, that sounds really scary, good thing there are no such parties in the government.” Reinfeldt is  also convinced one of every two swedes are idiots and that we should just shut up(swe). In his own words: “We all gain by dropping this debate.” On the question if he has no sympathy for the critics at all he replied “The decision has been made, I guess you can criticize that, but its too late now.”

The swedish people are not idiots, we know how to read, and our opinions matter. All claims to the contrary are ludicrous.