Damn Yanks Harass Another Of My Colleagues

Newspapers (symbolizing newsflow) wrapped in chains

News reached me this morning that authorities in the United States has decided to harass yet another of my colleagues. Australian activist Asher Wolf’s communications have been subpoenaed by a ridiculously entitled local police force in Boston.

In any normal part of the world, the police force in a city would swiftly conclude that their jurisdiction does not extend to another country on the other side of the planet. But no. Not United States authorities.

Asher Wolf has become one of the key activists across the world in coordinating news and information relating to breaking the old information hegemony. Perhaps it is therefore she is being targeted. The Boston police force demands to see her communications history and is demanding it from a company on US soil, Twitter.

This is the fourth valued colleague of mine that is being harassed extrajudicially and rightslessly. You’ve all heard of the previous three, I don’t have to name them.

I’m so damn tired, so utterly drainingly fatigued, of seeing this holier-than-thou attitude. Pretending the United States to be a shining beacon of freedom and due process, and yet, authorities there stand above not just their own law, but every other law on the planet, in the same instant it’s more convenient that way. The near-term examples are too legion to list.

(Not that a lot of other countries are much better. But they don’t pretend to be, either.)

Citizens of the United States, you know that I have many friends and colleagues in your country that I value dearly and hold in the highest respect, but your administration is a relentless psychopath. And your administration is acting in your name when it behaves like this against the world. Against my friends. Against my colleagues. Against me.

This has to end. It’s time for the United States dollar to collapse, already, to put an end to this arrogance.

So what’s our countermove?

Like I said, pretty much every friend and colleague I have with a United States passport agrees with the values I’m fighting for — the right to privacy, the transparency of government, the right to due process, the right to the same civil liberties online as our parents had offline. It’s not rocket science.

What the authorities are demanding in this case are communications logs. Logs that did not exist in the offline safeguarding of civil liberties. That’s the weak spot, right there. If there are no logs, the violence advantage of authorities cannot translate to the critical information advantage.

So, in my mind, we must make sure that the infrastructure does not keep logs of any kind when it comes to communications. Where telecoms companies – essentially the old national telephone monopolies – insist on keeping logs, we need to replace them with our own infrastructure. We know we can do that already.

We need to ask Twitter and the like to not have any logs. At all. And keep asking. Keep asking, and/or move to a different infrastructure for critical communications.

And above all, we need to explain to reporters that with communications logging and data retention, which politicians worldwide are trying to mandate, those reporters have neither the right nor the possibility to protect their sources anymore. That’s a right that should not be surrendered this lightly.

After all, Asher Wolf is a reporter and a journalist in the truest sense of the world, and a police force on the other side of the planet just asked for her sources. If that doesn’t ring alarm bells all over reporters’ heads, what will?

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot.

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Discussion

  1. DanielS

    Sadly what rules the world today is GREED, pure and simple. Its greed that makes people vote for that extra 10 euro a year in their pockets. Its greed that makes them vote in politicians that are corrupt and outright lie to everyone.

    Example: Reinfeldt said he wouldnt hunt an entire generation. Its not a lie because he hunts all of them. But he neglected to say as much. Thats the big lie.

    So when a country on the other side of the world that is ruled by greed, want something, nothing cant be bought if you have the money. Sad sad truth of the matter.

    Why dont the reporters well report and write about it? Again greed rules what is printed. He who owns the paper says no and buries anything related to such topics. Why? because he can. Because he gets paid to do so.

    And yes Im a just slightly frustrated too see a world go to hell because of one little word called greed.

  2. Björn Persson

    (Not that a lot of other countries are much better. But they don’t pretend to be, either.)

    I disagree with that. Pretty much every country claims to be democratic, free and just, and the more oppressive they are, the more likely they are to use words like “democratic”, “people” and “republic” in their names and their rhetoric. There was the Deutsche Demokratische Republik for example, and it’s quite easy to tell only from the names which is the most democratic of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Gaddafi (however you like to spell his name) kept pretending until the very end that the people of Libya supported him. The People’s Republic of China has the world’s largest parliament, and calls its army the People’s Liberation Army. I’ve never understood why they keep trying to pretend even though they aren’t fooling anyone, but they do try.

    What’s different about the USA isn’t that they pretend to be better than they are. What’s different is that people mostly believe them. Presumably this is because people still think the USA is what it once was. Hopefully that will change with time, and people will start to see what the USA has become, even though it will continue to pretend to be a free country, like they all do.

  3. Björn Persson

    We need to ask Twitter and the like to not have any logs. At all. And keep asking. Keep asking, and/or move to a different infrastructure for critical communications.

    Don’t bother asking anything from Twitter, just move to a different infrastructure. Don’t just move to another centralized service, that wouldn’t accomplish anything. Move to a decentralized infrastructure – an infrastructure where there cannot be any logs to be subpoenaed, simply because there is no central server that everybody’s communication passes through.

  4. Jonas D.

    I’m not horribly fond of ‘forbidding’ to log, since that’s a law which can’t be enforced and will live a life on it own. ( Cory Doctorow gave quite a good talk about the subject on the latest CCC ) I wonder what legislature does if twitter would however deny it had such logs, which should be possible as it isn’t obliged to keep logs. So not obliging to keep logs should already be enough in order to keep the government from getting the logs.

    Also, one idea. It should be feasible to make logging on ISP-level impossible by generating lots of traffic which can’t be stored compactly at the ISP. This would be for instance very small packets send and received from various IP-addresses across the internet. This white noise should be able to at least limit the time ISP’s can manage to log traffic without going through storage. Incidently, this traffic pattern is something which lies reasonably close to traffic generated by P2P protocols, which I find a quite pleasing coincident. I wonder however if we could set up full purpose ‘white noise’ program/protocol? As far as I know such a thing is perfectly legal…

  5. Patricia Bishop

    Or, stop using third party services and host everything yourself. In the USA you still have a fifth amendment. The US third party doctrine has CLEARLY ESTABLISHED that by using a third party, you have no expectations of privacy to the government, regardless of what the terms of service state. STOP USING THIRD PARTY SERVICES. You get what you deserve. p2p for life.

  6. Adam

    Maybe Diaspora could be the solution? https://joindiaspora.com/

  7. wholetruth123

    Us doesn’t have an administration. US has a chosen ruling regime. It is a government of the chosen by the chosen and for the chosen. Both chosen meanings apply in the previous sentences.
    wt

    Chosen criminal justice dept prods US Cong pass ISP spying “for the children” http://www.islamist.com/index.php/archived-articles/556-p362336-chosen-criminal-justice-dept-prods-us.htm

  8. filino Rupro

    I couldn’t agrre more on that! We need a new infrastructure of communication outside ISP! And we need ti NOW!

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