2 days to save the internet!!

03/07/2018

eu-plan-to-destroy-internet

On 5 July, the European Parliament is voting on a copyright directive that, if passed, threatens the existence of the internet as we know it.  This isn’t hyperbole:

  • It will force online platforms to vet uploaded content for copyright violations.  Sites such as Youtube are able to automate this work, which results in a lot of false positives.  Smaller platforms might have to sort uploads by hand, which would be impossible for most sites
  • Artists and others who remix content, share it or create parodies of others’ material will be criminalised by this directive
  • Mining of text and data-sets will be legal only for scientific research institutions; other people, such as journalists, librarians and independent scientists will no longer be allowed to data-mine, regardless of their legitimate interest

These are only a few of the harmful effects of the copyright directive.  We all need to protest this bill as it threatens the open internet, not only in Europe but world-wide.  Changecopyright.org are helping us oppose the directive, by giving us all free telephone calls, to call the European Parliament and tell them to vote against Article 13.  They even provide callers with a script, if you don’t know what to say.  Go to changecopyright.org for information.  And don’t delay: the European Parliament votes on this on 5 July!!

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Less than a day to save the internet

19/06/2018

On 20 June 2018, less than 24 hours from now, the European Parliament votes on whether to adopt the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market – a $60 million filter to automate takedown of copyrighted material from Youtube.  This is a compromise measure that no one really wants:

Big rightsholders say that it still lets crucial materials slip through the cracks. Indie rightsholders say that it lets big corporations falsely claim copyright over their works and take them down. Google hates Content ID because they spent $60,000,000 developing a system that makes everyone miserable, and YouTubers and their viewers hate it because it overblocks so much legit content.

But all of this has escaped the EU’s notice. Under Article 13 (which will be voted up or down in a key committee on June 20), every EU platform will be obliged to filter everything users post — not just videos, but stills, audio, code, games, text, everything.

No filter exists that can even approximate this, and the closest equivalents are mostly run by American companies, meaning that US Big Tech is going to get to spy on everything Europeans post and decide what gets censored and what doesn’t.

But we can stop it, by contacting the members of the committee and telling them what a mistake it would be to vote for the Directive.  You can tweet and email the committee members using this online tool.

So if you want to automate internet censorship and destroy the creative media, do nothing.  But if you’re not a colossal idiot, contact the MEPs and tell them to vote against Article 13.

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Learn more about Article 13

Contact the MEPs

 
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Won’t let us play with your multi-billion dollar satellite system? We’ll build our own!

25/05/2018

The UK chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that if the European Union refuse the UK access to the Galileo satellite navigation system, the UK will create its own system – a move that will add billions more to the Brexit bill.

From the Guardian:

EU is insistent that the UK had agreed in 2011 as an EU member state on the rules on blocking non-EU countries from access to secure elements of the project.

A senior EU official said, following some fraught negotiations this week, that it had become clear the UK “would like to transform Galileo from a union programme to a joint EU-UK programme, and that is quite a big ask for the EU”.

“They want to have privileged access to the security elements of PRS (the encrypted navigation system for government-authorised users) and to be able to continue manufacturing the security modules which would mean that after Brexit the UK, as a third country, would have the possibility to turn off the signal for the EU,” the official said.

Put like that, the EU’s position makes perfect sense.  Why would they put a third country in a position where it can switch off the EU’s system?  And the fact that the UK was instrumental in formulating the rules under with third countries – like the UK is about to become – are not allowed access to the system, well that’s kind of ironic really.

But of course that isn’t how the UK government sees things.  They want Britain to have some special status again.  Called “having your cake and eating it too.”  Again.

Hammond told reporters: ““We need access to a satellite system of this kind. A plan has always been to work as a core member of the Galileo project, contributing financially and technically to the project.”

Yes, that was the plan.  And that would still be the plan, if we hadn’t decided to leave the EU.  But we did decide to leave and now we need to renegotiate all of the deals that we enjoy as members of the EU.

 


Should Boris Johnson succeed Cameron as prime minister?

28/06/2016

Since David Cameron resigned as prime minister after the Brexit vote, Boris Johnson is one of the favourites to replace him.  Some people say “Not Boris!  He’s a liar!”  And indeed he is a bullshitter of great renown.  Here are some of his lies:

“As Mayor of London he promised to totally eradicate rough sleeping by 2012; it doubled under his leadership. His 2008 manifesto promised there would be manned ticket offices at every station; he closed all of London’s ticket offices. He aimed to reduce transport fares; they increased by 4.2 per cent.”

But why should this disqualify him?  All politicians are liars (I think… name one high-ranking politician who has never lied and I will accuse you of fibbing…)

I can think of other reasons why he shouldn’t be prime minister.  If he does turn out to be a serious contender, I might list some of these to you.  But for now: stop flapping!

 

Gove: "You're a liar, Boris!" Johnson: "Aren't we all...?"

Gove: “You’re a liar, Boris!”
Johnson: “Aren’t we all…?”

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Britain First a terrorist organization? (No.)

17/06/2016

After the shocking murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, shot to death in the street outside her constituency office in  Birstall, people are beginning to wonder: is Britain First a terrorist organization?

Several witnesses to the murder have confirmed that the killer, a 52 year old man named locally as Tommy Mair, shouted “Britain First!” as he slew her.  According to The Guardian, Graeme Howard, 38, who lives in nearby Bond Street, told the Guardian he heard the man shout “Britain first” before the shooting and during the arrest.  A second eyewitness, Clarke Rothwell, claimed that the man shouted “Britain First, Britain First.”

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Tommy Mair: allegedly shouted “Britain First” while murdering MP

Aamir Tahir, of the Dry Clean Centre, said the gunman was heard shouting “Britain first”.

He said: “The lady I work with heard two loud bangs but I wasn’t there, I was stuck in traffic at the time. I wish I was there because I would have tried to stop him.”

And, perhaps the most damning allegation:

Witness Daniel Blyth, 38, a company director from the town, told the Yorkshire Post newspaper that the assault was “unusual”. He added: “I saw seven police cars racing up Leeds Road towards Morley. They were unmarked BMWs,” he said.

“There are two helicopters flying overhead. It all seems very dramatic. I have heard that two people have been shot but I’m not who are why. It’s all very unusual for Birstall.”

So, was “Tommy Mair’s”attack a Britain First plot?  Britain First, a far-right political party campaigning for Britain to leave the EU, deny this, saying the reports were “pure hearsay”. It described the attack as a “despicable crime” and added: “We are nothing to do with it.”(“though they would say that, wouldn’t they,” ha ha bonk).  Maybe “Mair” was pissed off about the chance that Britain may vote to stay in the EU… but that still makes “Britain First!” an odd choice of warcry.  Incidentally, Jo Cox was pro-Europe.

The suspect in the MP’s death is believed to have had long-term links to the Springbok Club, a hard-right group that has campaigned against the EU.

He also purchased a gun-making manual from a far-right neo-Nazi group, new documents suggest.

So is Britain First a terrorist organization that should be proscribed, like the Islamist groups that have preached jihad against the West?  Probably not.  But if I shouted “Allahu Akbar!” while shooting politicians, I’m sure the security services would be looking for any link, no matter how tenuous, between me and ISIL etc.

Just let me make it clear: I’m not claiming that Britain First is a terrorist group, nor that there’s any link between this murderer and the organization.  I’m just asking questions.  Which is one of the rights I get living in democratic Europe rather than Syria or the USA.  So don’t get mad at me.  I didn’t invent these stupid bastards.


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Who cares who is sending Europe referendum propaganda to whom?

08/04/2016

There’s been some moaning recently that the government is sending pro-European leaflets to potential referendum voters.  And I understand that it’s not on that the government is spending £9 million of our taxes on this propaganda.

But we need to think more clearly about this for a moment.  The official government position is that espoused by prime minister David Cameron: although individual Tories are free to campaign however their conscience or shadowy paymasters tell them to, the official party line is that Britain should remain in the EU.  So isn’t it okay for the government to spend money telling us what it thinks?

Strangely, I have received no pro-European leaflets in the post.  Whereas I have so far been sent two leaflets telling me NO!  We’re BETTER OFF OUT!!  One bore an awful photo of Angela Merkel, and posed the interesting (yawn) message:

 

Q: What EU concessions will David Cameron win for Britain?
A: Whatever Angela Merkel lets him have.

HAHAHA!!!  Oh no, hold on – that wasn’t a joke, it was a serious political message.  Honestly, it’s hard to tell with some of these people.  Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson… who’s got his hand up whose bottom?  Anyway, about the concessions thing: that could be a really good point, if Cameron was still doing the rounds, asking other EU leaders what they’ll let him have.  But he isn’t asking Merkel, or any other European leaders, for concessions.  He’s already done that, achieved what he considers to be good concessions, and that’s what he’s bringing to us to vote for in the referendum.  And I’ll be pleased to receive some info on that, as I haven’t received my £9 million leaflet yet.

Nigel Farage, nut-job and venerable leader of Ukip

Nigel Farage, nut-job and venerable leader of Ukip

This nasty anti-Merkel leaflet was paid for by something called “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group in the European Parliament”, “Sovereign Draw (A sovereign draw for a sovereign nation)” and UKIP.  Of those groups, the only one I’ve heard of is UKIP.  My guess would be that the others (with websites at efddgroup.eu and sovereigndraw.co.uk) are a small group of right-wing anti-Europe parties that (like UKIP) have no real reason to be in the European Parliament except to filibuster and waste time (so much for direct democracy, huh?) and a bunch of rich businessmen who want out of the EU so they can deal with sweatshop, slave-labour type countries that the EU want nothing to do with because of their hatred of human and workers’ rights.  They say they will “restore sovereignty to the UK Parliament” (which is where it is, has always been, and always will be), will “save the British people £55 million a day” (which sounds quite good, if a little surprising – I had no idea that I would be a multi-millionaire if Britain wasn’t in the EU) and “make sure we never join the disastrous Euro (which is a complete red herring – no one has any intention to get Britain into the Euro; it’s like saying “Vote for me and I won’t make you eat dog turds”).  “SAY NO, BELIEVE IN BRITAIN” they go on (and on and on); “Join the winning team SIGN UP TO SAY NO” – and a website (cos they’re really tech-savvy) http://www.saynotoeu.com – to add to efddgroup.eu, ukip.org and sovereigndraw.co.uk.  They seem to own most of the internet; and their backers probably do own a sizable chunk of the infrastructure.  Cos these one-minute-they’re-noty-there-then-suddenly-out-of-nowhere-puff-there-they-are groups are made up largely of businessmen who vomit when they hear the word “ethical” and people who say stuff like “I’m not racist but my town has been invaded by Romanian Poles who’ve stolen all the jobs and claim billions of pounds in benefits too!”  In other words, nazis and idiots.

Vote "Leave" or Boris will go home and take his ball with him!

Vote “Leave” or Boris will go home and take his ball with him!

The other leaflet is from the “Better Off Out” group. They claim “Your household could be £933 per year better off if the UK left the European Union” – not quite as good as the UKIP-Nazi-Idiot Alliance’s promise of “£55 million a day”.  And that’s the only “fact” on their leaflet – the only reason they think we’d be better off out of the EU.  But they’re awfully tech-savvy too, as everyone knows the “young voters” will only abandon their sofas and box-sets of Game Of Thrones if there’s tech-savviness involved.  Better Off Out say “You can follow us on Facebook at ‘Better Off Out’ or on Twitter ‘@BetterOffOut'” (if you feel the desperate urge to get even more anti-European propaganda spam thrown at you). “Better Off Out” is apparently promoted by “Better Off Out of HMS President (1918)”, whatever that is… I didn’t know were in HMS President (1918) in the first place…  Fortunately you can send them email at rupert@tfa.net and regular hate mail to:

 

Rupert Matthews
Better Off Out
HMS President (1918)
Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0HJ

Seriously though, don’t send hate mail or spam to Rupert – that’d be naughty, and I would never condone naughtiness in any way.

Oh yes, my point.  Cos there is a point to this blog post.  It’ll be nice to get some pro-EU propaganda.  You know, a varied diet and all that.  Who cares if it’s paid for with our taxes?  It’s only £9 million FFS!  We’re gonna be spending £100 zillion on Trident missiles that we will never use, so the bill for these leaflets is a mere drop in the ocean.

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We need pirates in the European Parliament!

25/04/2014

Voting for the European Elections is on 22 May.  And what we need in Europe is a fresh approach to politics that is not beholden to big business like the Tories and Labour; not haphazard and hypocritical like the LibDems; and not isolationalist and narrow-mindedly nationalist like Ukip.  We need Pirates!

The Pirate Party UK are the only party in the UK that want to give serious attention to the serious issues of mass surveillance, information rights, online privacy, and the lack of transparency that can lead to treaties like the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that effectively allows corporations to set national law, threatens human rights, criminalises generic medicine to the benefit of the pharmaceutical industry, all agreed and signed up to in secret instead of being debated and scrutinized in public by our elected representatives.

Some people consider the Pirate Party UK to be a single-issue organisation concerned only with online intellectual rights ownership.  But that isn’t what  the Pirates are all about.  Watch the video, and check out their website – www.pirateparty.org.uk.  Of course, they want money.  All parties are on the beg on the run up to an election.  But the Pirates aren’t asking for nearly as much as the other parties.  They just want to be able to contest a reasonable number of seats, which will give them a power-base with real negotiating power within the European Parliament.

Watch the video, visit their site.  Give them some money if you can.  And if there’s a Pirate candidate in your area, vote for them in the election.  Give them  go.  Let’s try and refresh politics.

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