As described in the Guardian (and Hat tip to RMS)
Google faced down demands from a US law enforcement agency to take down YouTube videos allegedly showing police brutality earlier this year, figures released for the first time show.
The technology giant’s biannual transparency report shows that Google refused the demands from the unnamed authority in the first half of this year.
According to the report, Google separately declined orders by other police authorities to remove videos that allegedly defamed law enforcement officials.
The demands formed part of a 70% rise in takedown requests from the US government or police, and were revealed as part of an effort to highlight online censorship around the world.
Figures revealed for the first time show that the US demanded private information about more than 11,000 Google users between January and June this year, almost equal to the number of requests made by 25 other developed countries, including the UK and Russia.
Asking the right question over at Al-Jazeera English; the answer is: Yes!
A revolution against neoliberalism?
Two observations about Egypt’s history as a neoliberal state are in order. First, Mubarak’s Egypt was considered to be at the forefront of instituting neoliberal policies in the Middle East (not un-coincidentally, so was Ben Ali’s Tunisia). Secondly, the reality of Egypt’s political economy during the Mubarak era was very different than the rhetoric, as was the case in every other neoliberal state from Chile to Indonesia. Political scientist Timothy Mitchell published a revealing essay about Egypt’s brand of neoliberalism in his book Rule of Experts (the chapter titled “Dreamland” — named after a housing development built by Ahmad Bahgat, one of the Mubarak cronies now discredited by the fall of the regime). The gist of Mitchell’s portrait of Egyptian neoliberalism was that while Egypt was lauded by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund as a beacon of free-market success, the standard tools for measuring economies gave a grossly inadequate picture of the Egyptian economy. In reality the unfettering of markets and agenda of privatization were applied unevenly at best.
The only people for whom Egyptian neoliberalism worked “by the book” were the most vulnerable members of society, and their experience with neoliberalism was not a pretty picture. Organised labor was fiercely suppressed. The public education and the health care systems were gutted by a combination of neglect and privatization. Much of the population suffered stagnant or falling wages relative to inflation. Official unemployment was estimated at approximately 9.4% last year (and much higher for the youth who spearheaded the January 25th Revolution), and about 20% of the population is said to live below a poverty line defined as $2 per day per person.
Earlier in the article they define neoliberalism, too:
What is neoliberalism? In his Brief History of Neoliberalism, the eminent social geographer David Harvey outlined “a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterised by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade.” Neoliberal states guarantee, by force if necessary, the “proper functioning” of markets; where markets do not exist (for example, in the use of land, water, education, health care, social security, or environmental pollution), then the state should create them.
Guaranteeing the sanctity of markets is supposed to be the limit of legitimate state functions, and state interventions should always be subordinate to markets. All human behavior, and not just the production of goods and services, can be reduced to market transactions.
There will be a round two of the fight to suppress wikileaks: The hammer has come down on the tier one service providers, with unbelievable pressure and scare tactics being used to keep wikileaks from being mirrored. Here is the coverage at Electronic Frontier Foundation. Keep in mind the wikileaks people are pretty resourceful, and they may have a surprise or two. So, pressure is applied to stem the avalanche of people volunteering to host a wikileaks mirror:
Wikileaks Mirror Taken Down: Host Buckles Under Demands from Upstream Provider
Commentary by Marcia Hofmann
Wikileaks isn’t the only site struggling to stay up these days because service providers are pulling their support. It appears that at least one person who wants to provide mirror access to Wikileaks documents is having the same trouble.
If this sounds like a lame excuse, that’s because it is a lame excuse. It’s incredibly disappointing to see more service providers cutting off customers simply because they decide (or fear) that content is too volatile or unpopular to host. And the runaround that this user received from his host and its upstream provider demonstrates the broader problems with the lack of any real transparency or process around such important decisions.
Internet intermediaries — whether directly in contract with their users or further up the chain — need to stick up for their customers, not undermine their freedom to speak online. As we’ve said before, your speech online is only as free as the weakest intermediary.
This incident shows that censorship is a slippery slope. The first victim here was Wikileaks. Now it’s a Wikileaks mirror. Will a news organization that posts cables and provides journalistic analysis be next? Or a blogger who posts links to news articles describing the cables? If intermediaries are willing to use the potential for future DDOS attacks as a reason to cut off users, they can cut off anyone for anything.
USTR has issued a request for comments on ACTA. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2011. The notice gives very little guidance regarding the issues the USTR would like addressed in the comments.
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: Request for Comments from the Public
Agency: Office of the United States Trade Representative
Action: Request for written submissions from the public
Summary: The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has concluded negotiations on a proposed agreement to strengthen international cooperation, enforcement practices and legal frameworks for addressing counterfeiting and piracy. USTR is requesting written comments from the public on the final text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in connection with consideration of U.S. signature of the agreement.
The deadline for submission of written comments is, 5:00 PM, Tuesday, February 15, 2011.
Address: All written comments should be sent electronically via http://www.regulations.gov, docket number USTR-2010-0014. Submissions should contain the term “ACTA Public Comments” in the “Type comment & Upload file” field on http://www.regulations.gov.
See further coverage at Knowledge Ecology: http://keionline.org/node/1037
Before commenting be sure to hear Michael Geist, a Canadian Law Professor, speaking about the ACTA threat: http://blip.tv/file/2837223
Or read his blog entries about ACTA here: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/index.php?option=com_tags&task=view&tag=acta&Itemid=408
Here is a list of those individuals and groups that have taken a critical look at ACTA and found it wanting, again from Michael Geist’s blog:
- Senator Ron Wyden, United States
- Senators Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown, United States
- Senators Pat Leahy and Arlen Specter, United States
- Rep. Mike Doyle, United States
- Rep. Zoe Lofgren, United States
- Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, France
- MP Tom Watson, United Kingdom
- UK Liberal Democrats party
- Minister Åsa Torstensson, Sweden
- European Parliament Resolution
- MEP Jens Holms, Sweden
- MP Clare Curran, New Zealand (second time) (third time)
- Peter Dunne, New Zealand
- MP Charlie Angus, Canada (editorial)
Public Interest Group Letters
So what can the general public do? One thing is to learn more and work together with groups already active on ACTA. These include:
Every individual concerned with ACTA can also speak out. Write to your local MP or national leader or participate in the specific activities sponsored by some of the organizations listed above. These include the EFF ACTA Action Alert, the effort to encourage UK MPs to support the cross-party motion for ACTA transparency, and the signing of the A2K ACTA Petition.
As of this evening (December 4th 2010)I could still get wikileaks here: http://wikileaks.nl/
It seems there is a meme out there that wikileaks founder Julian Assange should be hunted down and killed. This noise is being spouted by US right-wing hate groups, as well as some semi-mainstream press figures (although the difference between those two groups is getting paper thin), and they seem to forget that freedom of speech is, like, in the Constitution. I won’t link to any of the pundits that are out there brazenly advocating murder, except to make the very obvious comment that they are very evil, and if anything should happen to Julian, they would obviously bear a great deal of the responsibility and should therefore also bear some punishment if Julian were to be harmed. Of course I am only advocating legal punishment, not extra-judicial killing or anything like that. That would be wrong.
But before anyone goes out and kills Julian they should take note of how very popular he is. Look at the comments from the BBC sound-off board. Pro-wikileaks comments are running about 10 to 1. And I feel quit certain that of the 10% of the population that doesn’t like what wikileaks has done, the majority would not favor his extra-judicial killing.
So, think before you sic your goons on Julian.
Don’t believe me? Just check below…
Continue reading “wikileaks – 10, American would-be murderers – 1”