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Community 2.0

The past week has been very turbulent in the infosec scene, where a very prominent person has been accused of sexual abuse. The accused, Jacob Appelbaum, is a friend of mine, and I was quite surprised of the accusations.

I first want to say that I have no clue about any of the events that has happened. I also want to say that it doesn’t really matter if I know it or not. I want to write about something which is not about this case per se, but generally that we have an issue in the tech scenes regarding abuse and misconduct.

The tech scene was for the longest time inhabited by quite a homogenous group of young men who went from doing nerdy stuff in the shadows to becoming one of the most powerful groups in todays society. The more society moved its communication and business’ away from the analog world to the digital one, the more dependent it became on the tech scene. The shift has been quite dramatic and very quick. A lot of things has not been as quick to update, especially the internal culture.

I’ve grown up in the tech scene. As a kid I started out with blackboxing, greyboxing, calling illegally all over the world to hang out on cool bulletin board systems and meet people with the same interests as me. No adults understood much, and most of the other people I met were young people that in general was somewhat outside the normal society. Not saying it was all abnormal people – it was just people that for some reason, being extremely nerdy and really into technical stuff or maybe had few friends, or sometimes the obvious combination. I’ve been into other subcultures as well and most of them have a similar background. Young people will always try and fit in somewhere and find themselves. The difference with the tech scene has been that most of the stuff that went on was done in the dark. It was never really light put on it from the outside which meant that the scene never really had to fix it’s own faults. If there are faults around but noone acknowledges them, most people would stop looking at them as an issue. It’s very human. In fact, if you fix something in your home, and it’s not perfect, you’ll get really annoyed. If you don’t fix it within a few weeks, your mind forgets about it. There’s been lots of studies about this and I think it’s applicable to all things in life. Beggars on the street, faults in your own community. Ignorance is sometimes a way of coping with things, but other times it’s just being ignorant.

The culture of the tech scene has always felt quite inclusive. The premises for being included has been based on your skills, and that’s it. But it was always very similar people around so it was never really a difference of culture with the new people. I remember when I went to a copy party (those things you young kids call LAN-parties now) in Denmark in 1994, there were about 4 girls there. And 4000 guys. Most guys thought it was fun to finally see girls around. I’m pretty sure that most of these guys were nice guys and was just eager to get some attention from the opposite sex – but it’s also quite easy to calculate that 1000 guys per girl means that you’ll get a lot of attention. More than you’d probably want. The inclusive feeling is of course still there, but without the understanding that you can kill people with kindness too. In 2006 I went on a boat with 44 geeks. 40 were men, 4 were women. Even though it improved in numbers over 12 years, it was still 10 to 1. And it was a lot of attention for the women here too.

A lot of us who grew up in the tech scene has gone from being nerdy to being important. Back in the day, when someone in the media wrote about us it was always for something illegal (and according to our community cool) someone had done – some impressive hack while standing up to the man. A lot of the kids did this because they could, few did because they wanted to change things. But sometimes change come from the outside too, and I think the older we all got, the more we understood that we had the power to change and fix a lot of issues in society. If you watch the TV-series Mr.Robot, the feeling of the group F-society is very much the feeling I have gotten from a lot of the groups I’ve been involved in during my life. It’s exciting, it’s to do good, using civil disobedience and mad skillz. You can show off and feel proud and cool. When some guys are out with a moped burning rubber to impress girls, our scene hacked some organised neo-nazi group. Not understanding the politics behind nazism more than “nazi = bad”. But the gut feeling of right and wrong was there for most. Few in the hacking scene would target a group who did something good for the community. The culture was inclusive, do good, showing off is ok (but not doing so was even more impressive).

The shift when media starting writing about us as something else than illegal and nerdy came very sudden though. The various tech communities showed up with a lot of intelligent and impressive people, with an understanding of how the digital era will look. I often think about what would have happened if the woodstock people actually got into power – how would the world look? In the tech scene, this is kind of what happened. Very few people came prepared to deal with that.

As in most subcultures, ours are obsessed with internal status. We have lots of heroes and with that comes hero worship. Most newcomers look up to their heroes way to much, and most heroes feel like nerds that all of a sudden get their 15 minutes of fame. Everyone copes with that differently, many abuse it. The hero culture has always felt very dangerous to me, and it’s been very binary for most people. When Julian Assange got accused of sexual abuse, it was hard for most people in our scene to separate the private actions of Julian and the actions of Wikileaks. I’ve always been a firm believer that things are nuanced. I wanted (and still want) that Julian should be tried for what he’s accused of, but I also believe Wikileaks has been tremendously important to our society and would not discredit Julians work for that happening. The same goes with Jake; if he has done anything wrong he should be tried for that, but it says nothing about his own work nor the Tor project for that matter. Guilt by association is not something we should approve of.

In any case there are multiple sides to an argument. In a fair community we would listen to all, and find a way to deal with it, and take care of all parties. The people that accuse someone of abuse must be listened to whomever they accuse, without judgement, and with support for their experiences. The people accused of abuse must also be listened to whomever they are, without judgement and with an understanding of how people deal with being accused (no matter guilty or not). And we need to understand that these things should be settled by professionals, not be biased friends in a heated situation.

But most importantly, we must create a safe environment for everyone, including the people that have a different background to ourselves. The non-male, non-white, non-hetero are the people we’ve always wanted to include but could never find until we got enough interest. If we want to have them, which we all do and should celebrate that we finally have a chance to include, we need to understand integration; it goes both ways. We can’t expect people to integrate into our way of life without integrating with their ways of lives as well. The diversity is what a community thrives from and what we need to strive for. We were once the outsiders, now we need to welcome the new as well.

The past week people have been saying that they’ve seen the abuse from Jake for a long time. No-one really knew what to do with it. This is our fault as a community. We need to make sure we have some sort of way to talk about these issues if they arise and not just ignore them. If we want to include people we must care about them too. And it’s also educating everyone in what is not ok behaviour. I’ve met quite a few guys in the scene during my life that has been weird to women, not because they’re evil, but because they have no clue on how to behave or what the boundaries are. I’ve seen quite famous people grab other famous peoples butts and none of them knowing how to deal with the situation. Just because people are respected for one thing doesn’t mean they are experienced in all parts of life. Quite a few times I’ve put my foot down, but I’m pretty sure I’ve also made someone uncomfortable sometimes and that I could have done better with some stuff I felt I should have stood up against. We’ve all been young and insecure, so than it’s also important for the older and more secure people to put their feet down and educate. Otherwise we’ll end up in situations like the one we’re in. As a community we need to acknowledge the issues we have and the responsibilities that all lay upon us – all of us.

As for the people being accused, we also need to understand that they could end up being innocent. We need to understand that they could also end up being guilty – but that they still have rights even if so. To a fair trial for instance. It’s important that we keep our heads cool and don’t fuel fires just because we want revenge. We should use that energy to support victims and to do what the tech community does best in other circumstances: rip up the old code and reimplement new code with the new experience you have. Let’s make a community version 2.0 – now for everyone and with exception handlers for the things we miss.

Varför lollar vi åt expertisen?

Att arbeta med frågor kring övervakning och integritet är en uppförsbacke av rang. Under de snart 15 år som jag sysslat med frågorna kring de farhågor som centraliserade databaser, ny teknik och kortsiktigt tänkande leder till, så har de saker vi aktivister varnat för ofta avfärdats av såväl politiker som allmänheten.

Under många år var den stora diskussionen kring vilken övervakning stater hade, speciellt då USA genom sitt numera ökända övervakningsorgan NSA. Många experter inom såväl teknik som politik förstod redan att NSA övervakade men fick inget gehör för sina krav om transparens. När väl Edward Snowden släppte dokumenten som visade på hur illa det stod till – och värre än vad någon faktiskt var medveten om – så var det ändå ingen som tänkte att vi kanske borde lyssnat mer på experterna.

Samma visa var det kring FRA. När debatten rullade på som högst i Sverige och Fredrik Federley stod och grät i riksdagskammaren, så var vi många som försökte förklara att vi i Sverige aldrig haft ett register som inte blivit utsatt för det som kallas ändamålsglidning. Det vill säga, att ett system skapas för en sak, men när man inser hur kraftfullt systemet kan vara för en extra grej så börjar man justera lite och öppna lite för vad ändamålet med registret egentligen är. Och mycket riktigt blev det som förväntat: FRA-butiken öppnades och nästan alla de saker som lovades inte skulle ske, skedde. Men inte heller nu var det någon som tog läxan och oron på allvar. Experterna ignorerades, trots att de hade rätt.

Just nu funderar regeringen på att öppna biobanksdatabasen – populärt kallat PKU-registret, för att låta poliser använda databasen. PKU-registret innehåller DNA för nästan alla födda i Sverige sedan 1975, och används för att forska kring genetiska sjukdomar. Vid första tanke så känns det kanske självklart att den ska få användas – men när godkände du att få ditt DNA insamlat i förväg för att kunna användas som framtida bevis mot dig själv? Och när godkände du att dina barns DNA skulle samlas in för att användas som bevis mot dem själva i framtiden?

Under 2008, i samband med FRA-debatten så startade jag och några aktivistvänner en tjänst vi kallade FukUpku.se, där man enkelt kunde skicka in en blankett för att gå ur registret – så länge det var lagligt att göra så. Vi blev kallade för foliehattar, ingen skulle vilja använda detta registret för något annat än forskning. Precis som de sa om experterna kring FRA, NSA och så vidare.

Av någon anledning så lyssnar vi på experter inom medicin, men mindre gällande miljöfrågor, men inte överhuvudtaget inom frågor kring det digitala och register. De sakerna som styr vår vardag och vår samhällsutveckling mest är de frågor vi behöver diskutera mest, samt förstå mest. Varför har samhället en sådan antipati för att lyssna på experter inom dessa områden?

Innan vi låter regeringen besluta kring PKU-frågan så är det dags att besluta hur vi vill att samhället ska se ut. Vad blir följdproblemen med ett samhälle där allas DNA är registrerat? Kommer vi bete oss annorlunda, kommer felaktigt DNA placeras i större utsträckning på brottsplatser av kriminella? Vi kan väl åtminstone ha en diskussion den här gången, där experter lyssnas på istället för hånas.

Transmediale talk 2015

Better late then never: here’s my talk in text from Transmediale 2015 where I spoke at the opening event.

There’s a few big moments in life where you feel that something moves you deeply.
Graduating school. Getting your first kiss. Writing that first book, publishing that first scientific document.
A loved one dies. Getting your first customer in your café. Some of them might seem small and trivial to others but to you they are huge and life altering.

Recently I got a similar feeling. A feeling that we reached a certain critical mass. A critical mass that are upset with the current state of the internet, nay, the current state of policing the internet and what it promises the world.
A critical mass that finally understands that we’re on the way to a broadcast democracy with little peer involvement.

What happened? The Pirate Bay was shut down. It tilted people’s brains into knowing that tomorrow, their favorite TV show must be downloaded somewhere else.
They thought about it a bit more and decided this is the beginning of a slippery slope.
They understand that maybe this means that alternative content might be hard to ever reach, if at all.
That this thing, that we’re centralising the internet, having just a handful of centralised services, mostly owned by companies in one single country, a country that doesn’t care about borders when it comes to their own gauntlets, is not a great idea.
A movement is forming. A movement away from this. And tomorrow, when you wake up, it will climax into a whole bunch, maybe even a whole million of people, that will see the group “Stop destroying the internet” or “Give us our pirate bay back” on Facebook.
And they will click the Like button and feel proud. They finally did it. They stopped the internet from being destroyed.

But of course this will not change anything. The internet will keep getting destroyed, it will keep becoming more and more centralised.
We can’t do anything anymore. We tried. We sucked at it. The few people that really did anything are now old, some are dead.
The young ones believe in the system and try to change it from with-in.
It’s like trying to beat capitalism by trying to capture all the money yourself.

Every now and then we win a fight against one of the oppressive new measures, like ACTA, SOPA, PIPA.
We congratulate ourselves and feel important. In essence, we just lost the ten other battles we didn’t have time to fight. Or knew existed.

We have our own celebrities. We had Wikileaks. We had Snowden. We had Manning. We had Aaron Swartz. Some are dead, some are in jail forever.
Some are in hiding —  scared for their actual lives. What people reveal, what people fight for, are major causes.
Freedom of information. Liberty. Democracy. Governmental transparency and due process. Things we take for granted, that are the basis for a modern safe society.
We talk about it a lot. We are upset. We cry, we scream. We sometimes protest. We have our T-shirts. We have our symbols. We have our masks, our conferences, our transmediale. Our debates. We get some attention.
People in general like us. Our opponents are old fat bastard whore corporate sell-outs. They’re mostly rich men from the United States of America. They’re corrupt. They’re easy to hate. It’s all like a good old Hollywood movie.

But we’ve all been fooled. We lost. There is no need in fighting anymore. We lost a long time ago, we cornered ourselves. There’s no use to struggle. There’s no point in being positive. The only positive thing about it is that we no longer have to worry. It’s all pre-determined, it’s all a waste. There’s no more any “we” or “us”. We’re becoming drones, mind or without, it does not matter.

We built the system. We trusted it because we trusted ourselves. We’re all drones now. Maybe we’ve always been drones.

You might know that I was recently locked up. I was kidnapped by the kingdom of Sweden, for trying to resist. I did right, both legally and morally. The kingdom was wrong. We all knew it, but I was a fool to think that right and wrong had anything to do with it. Morals are no more. They’ve been replaced by control. Right is just a word that no longer has any meaning. It’s a trick to keep people from being scared. Until you reach the edge you believe in the system. Even though people know in their back of their minds that they don’t want to look over the edge.

We all praise the internet for the liberty it brings but it’s become the essence of what’s wrong. We praise the technology almost like a saviour but it’s the thing that keeps us in check. We show the examples of the good things we’ve achieved with technology, with the internet, with leaking, with sharing.
But it does not hold it’s merits. There’s no long-term effect. Globalization by virtue of capitalism won.

We talk about robots and technology taking our jobs. As if jobs has a higher goal in themselves beside what needs to be done. But when building these computerized and automatic systems we created new jobs. All the new technology based jobs in the western world feel so free, it’s almost like you’re never at work. We even have our offices at home.
We’re always connected. We happy we get to work with our friends. We don’t see that we’ve become robots that work all the time, only associate with other co-workers and that we have no free time anymore.
We don’t need robots, we are the robots. We’re no longer in between jobs, we’re in between our old and new startups.

We talk about startups and entrepreneurship as the future. As if they are something new.
We out-manouvered ourselves into believing that alone means strong.
Who ever heard about a startup going on strike against their customers over bad work conditions?
We’re fucking up all the work done by the unions for the past century.
For the promise of self-fulfilment, sour-dough bread, cool bicycles and a cheap apartment in Kreuzberg with second-hand IKEA furniture.
The same furniture I recently discovered first-hand is made by forced labourers in swedish and german prisons.

There’s no point in fighting. Whatever you think you can contribute it’s wrong. Life is not pointless but trying to alter the content and path of life is futile. We’re all privileged and lazy. We never talk about revolutions anymore, except when creating a new hipster fixed-bicycle wheel that will “change the world”, a term which today is slang for getting fifteen minutes of fame for your product – not you.
And no, you’re not the product as everyone has been saying about the internet. You’re not that interesting. You’re just the wallet.

Call it activism, call it work, call it art, call it whatever you want. I’ve tried. My friends tried. You all tried. But capitalism won. It’s game over.
We’re too lazy, we’re too tired. We’re too content. We just want our nespresso machines and we don’t want any responsibility.
We blame our politicians even though we elect them. The politicians have no say anyhow. It’s not about the money, it’s about the control.

It’s not that we’re blind. In the matrix Neo get’s to decide – does he want to live in blissful ignorance or does he want to see the real world?
When he decides to leave the matrix he wakes up and realizes he is just one of many humans that are being kept as resources.
It wakes him up so hard that he can’t ignore fighting the matrix.
But in our world we see the issues daily. We see the beggars, we see the gender inequality. We see the rain forest being wrecked, the oil heating the planet, whales being slaughtered.
We see our human rights being violated, we see the loss of privacy, we know we’re monitored by cameras and microphones everywhere. We even carry them around ourselves to help our opponents.
The leaks from manning and snowden has not changed one single thing of essence.
We’re not blind, we’re totally full-sighted and awake.
It’s very telling that for some reason there’s even career opportunities in being a manager of human resources. We can’t wake up from being awake.

This years Transmediale is named “capture all”. For me that phrase might refer to something else than it does for you.
But my view is that a few is trying to capture all. They’re capturing all the control, all the money, all the information, all the politicians, all the power. We’re not even trying to stop it, we’re helping them do it. On second thought, they’re not trying to capture it. They already captured all.

The only way to win the game is not to play. But if we have to play, it’s time we set the rules. And re-capture all.

TPB mer etiskt

För några dagar sedan hade den statliga svenska myndigheten Svenska Institutet (SI) ett föredrag i Istanbul, Turkiet. I föredraget lyfts olika svenska organisationer fram som demokratiserat världen på olika sätt. Kända svenska företag som IKEA, H&M, Volvo nämns. Men även en mer kontroversiell “organisation”, The Pirate Bay (TPB).

När det blev känt att svenska staten använder TPB som ett exempel på något demokratiserande blev självklart TPB:s motståndare rasande. I närmast matadorliknande frustration väste Henrik Pontén, lobbyist för de stora amerikanska hollywoodbolagen, fram sin syn på TPB. Han sa att TPB är ett “kriminellt nätverk” och inte ska få jämföras med laglydiga företag som bra exempel på demokratiserande verkan.

I transparensens namn ska jag kanske här tillägga att jag själv är medgrundare till TPB och har ett visst egenintresse i saken. Och visst tycker jag det är lite smickrande och småironiskt att svenska staten gärna nyttjar den goodwill som TPB har gett Sverige, speciellt gällande de unga generationerna, samtidigt som staten sett till att fängsla oss som varit involverade. Man får ha kakan kvar men äta den samtidigt.

Den artikel som TT valt att skriva innehåller inga citat från någon från TPB. Detta i sig är en ganska märklig journalistisk vinkel, att låta en lobbyist få prata om “kriminella nätverk” men inte låta motsidan få dementera (eller bekräfta) påståenden. SI fick prata och berätta att de inte lägger någon värdering i om det är bra eller dåligt, det som exemplen har åstadkommit. Det är nog en vettig inställning, speciellt då det är mycket smutsigt som sker.

Runt H&M har det exempelvis varit många skandaler gällande barnarbete, farliga kemikalier som gjort människor sjuka i produktionsleden, miljöförstörande tyger, dun som plockats från levande gäss, angorakaniner som plågats för sin ull, skatteplanering mm. Gällande IKEA är listan ungefär likadan, fast med ännu mer skatteplanerande, avverkande av unika urskogar, lite mer skatteplanerande och sen lite mer avverkande av unika urskogar. Volvo har anklagats för kartellbildningar, skattefiffel med fermenta mm.

Sammantaget verkar det som det inte är så speciellt bra företag som sverige väljer att lyfta fram ur demokratisynpunkt. Tur är det väl då att något positivt, TPB, finns där som Sverige kan väga upp med. En tjänst som gjort det möjligt för alla, världen över, att dela information ocensurerat. Som inkluderar alla, oavsett klasstillhörighet, ras, ålder eller kön. En tjänst som gjort mer än de andra företagen ihop för att förbättra yttrandefrihet och informationstillgängligheten än de andra företagen gjort ihop. Allt utan att få så mycket som ett tack för det från staten, utan tvärtom.

Ändå är jag glad att TPB används av staten som ett positivt exempel. I Turkiet speciellt, där det yttrandefriheten är starkt begränsad. TPB var en av mycket få instanser som gjorde det möjligt att sprida filmer på demonstrationer och annan samhällsviktig information i Turkiet. Tills något hände, upphovsrättsbolagen klarade att få TPB censurerat i Turkiets internet. En direkt demokratifientlig handling ur rent egoistiska värderingar.

Så ja, jag kan hålla med om att TPB inte ska jämföras med Ikea, H&M och andra oetiska företag. För TPB står med piratflaggan högt i topp. När det gäller demokratisering så är TPB sveriges mest framgångsrika export i modern historia.

Update on Heml.is

A while back we started thinking about what to do with the issues that the Snowden leaks revealed to the world. My friends, Linus and Leif, are two of the best people I know. We all have our hearts in the right place and we all have skills and ideas that can be put into good use.

We decided to put our minds and skills together and try to make an encrypted messaging app. We thought about the issues, the things noone seemed to be trying to solve. The tech community had solutions – but only focused on the people who understood the problems. The non-tech communities didn’t care. A messenger that catered to the common users but still understood the political issues was a thing we all felt was missing. We started a crowd-funding campaign, both to see if there was an interest but also to raise enough money to actually get time to do this. We were thinking we might get about 50.000 USD in a few months. In about 48 hours we had three times that money, and we decided that we needed to stop asking for money, it was more than we knew what to do with.

So we had about 130.000 USD after all fees was paid. And then we lost some more (like 30.000USD) because of a bitcoin wallet that got stolen from our bitcoin supplier. But still, a lot of money. We decided to hire some people to help us out with the things we are not experts in. The process was slow and hit with lots of realizations of that certain things would not work. The ideas were too complex and sometimes just too expensive. We had a lot of money, but far away the same amount (we’re talking millions or billions) that our competitors had access to. Just think – verification by SMS for all of the potential users would be millions of dollars even at a few cents per SMS. And if we didn’t verify by SMS it would be hard to invite users and bootstrap the usage. It’s a lot of these things that we didn’t understand until quite far in to the process.

In the middle of it all one of our team members got a kid and had to focus on that of course. I personally had other issues as I got kidnapped by the swedish government and locked up for my work with another project – The Pirate Bay. In the middle of the kidnapping, my father died. I had no way of working on anything, and I’ve had a hard time with how I personally need to handle things. This project – as well as the other projects I’m involved in – was hit massively by my absence. And they still are, since I have not been able to get 100% on my feet yet. I’m getting there but just as with other things, it takes a lot of time.

So, we had been working on this project for a long time with all of the set backs we had. And a few weeks back we started talking. What are our results? We have spent the money (and if we paid for all the work and time that we and other people put in it would have been many times more). We have a decent app for IOS and Android. But it’s still not finished and there are other things that are not software related that’s missing and will take lots of more time. And would require much more money both for time but also for legal, hardware, structures etc.

But the bad thing – or rather good if one tries to stay positive – is that our competitors have been good at fixing issues. And we have lots of new ones. They’ve had more progress and financial support so they could speed up their process to the level that they’re now really good. Better than our messaging app could become right now. Ok, they’re missing on features but they have the ability and cash to resolve those issues. And our goal was always to ensure that the everyday users would be protected. Signal and other apps are doing that quite well, with good UI and UX compared to what was the case when we started.

We decided that we could go two ways. We could ask for more money (a lot), either from the community or some investors. Or we could close down. Since we already got money from the community with way too little to show back from the expectations that felt wrong. And we don’t think that it would be a good idea to ask investors for money since we’d lose control over the project. So in the end, closing it down felt like the least bad thing to do.

I know a lot of people will be upset. But timing is key, and there’s no point in spending more time just because we feel we dropped the ball. Life gave us curveballs and we were probably way too naive in entering this project. I don’t regret it though, but right now it’s stressing me (and the other guys) quite a bit, because we really don’t want to disappoint the community. But then again, we also wouldn’t really contribute. And we still lack funds if we decide to go ahead. So it’s a catch 22. We tried looking for someone to merge our project with, but didn’t really find anyone. And we’re not sure what to do with the things we’ve created – part of it might be useful for someone, other things (that took a lot of time to create) are things we realized would not work in larger scales.

So I’m sorry that we’re closing down, but it’s the only reasonable thing to do. Sometimes it’s better to just take the bull by the horns than to try to ignore it. And move on to the next thing and try to fix that. I’m personally trying to influence people and politicians to make sure we don’t need systems like Heml.is. We should be protected by the governments instead of trying to protect ourselves from them. It’s a multi-angle attack needed, technology, political work and transparency.

2005 calling

Det känns som 2005 igen. Nyheten om att fildelare krävts på miljontals kronor dök upp i mitt flöde och jag trodde på riktigt det var en gammal nyhet.

Något annat som kändes som 2005 var att antipiraterna fick ställa sig och basunera ut “fakta” hur som helst till ett trött media som inte direkt ställde motfrågor. TT citerar visserligen bara men samtidigt så ställer de inga uppföljningsfrågor. Precis så som det var när vi startade Piratbyrån just för att vi tröttnat på att media inte riktigt gjorde sitt jobb.

För såhär är det. Antipiraterna hyllar rättegången mot mig och några andra, den så kallade The Pirate Bay-rättegången, som en framgång. Att de närmaste mutade och hotade sig till domen är de rätt tysta med. Minns ni? SVT avslöjade att USA hade utövat påtryckningar och hot om handelssanktioner mot Sverige. Veckorna efter att åklagaren säger att The Pirate Bay (TPB) inte begår några brott så begär samma åklagare ett gigantiskt tillslag mot TPB. Sedan följde följande rättsskandal: polismannen som gjorde utredningen råkade även jobba åt Warner Brothers (dåvarande justitieminister Beatrice Ask tyckte det var lysande att svensk polis var duktig nog att få jobb åt stora viktiga amerikanska företag), domaren i rättegången satt även i styrelsen för en intresseförening FÖR upphovsrätt (där bolagen som anmält TPB var stora bidragsgivare), nämndemän som hade skivbolag. Fällande dom. Överklagan till hovrätten – samma veva om igen! Två domare som satt i styrelser för upphovsrättsföreningar (där anmälande bolagen är bidragsgivare), nämndemän med färdiga intressen (minns ni han som jobbade åt Spotify, som ser på TPB som en konkurrent?) och så vidare. Och sen HD som vägrade ta upp fallet och vägrade berätta varför. Trots att EU-domstolen har gett vägledande dom som friat i exakt likadant fall.

Phew. Det är mycket att komprimera ner. Nu står upphovsrättsbolagen där igen. Kämpar för “artisternas bästa”. Mot dessa skurkar som tjänar pengar på att dela kultur gratis (vet inte hur pengarna kom med i bilden, men så säger de ju). De pengarna de vinner är ofta 10 miljoner kronor som skall betalas av en 20-årig kille. I ett konsumenteristiskt kapitalistiskt samhälle, exempelvis det vi lever i, så är det så nära ett livstidsstraff man kan komma. Vinsterna de får har de aldrig, i något land, delat med sig av till någon artist. När upphovsrättsbolagen vann mot exempelvis Napster och Kazaa fick de in hundratals miljoner. Noll kronor gick till artisterna de säger sig skydda. Pengarna går till att stödja rika advokater.

Nej, istället sitter advokatbyråerna där och gottar sig. De tar pengar från barn och unga för att skydda någon de inte någonsin gynnat. De säger att domen mot TPB blev en brytpunkt i debatten – vilken debatt menar de? Den om att sveriges rättsväsende kanske är ett öppet mål för korruption, knappt utan lagar för att anställa poliser eller advokater? Den om att den med mest pengar vinner i dagens sverige? Eller den om fildelning? Eh. Vem pratar om fildelning år 2015? Ska vi börja prata om vi är för eller emot frysboxarna nu också, isbitsindustrin kanske vill förbjuda dem.

Det vi borde prata om är hur vi fixar så dessa parasiter på samhället – upphovsrättsindustrin, advokater som säger sig agera åt stackars artister etc – kan få lov att fortsätta med detta. Varför sätter vi inte ner foten? Och varför, i herre jösse namn, låter vi någon gå med på TTIP-avtalet som ger dessa parasiter än mer makt och inflytande i samhället. Har vi inte lärt oss något?

The Pirate Bay down, forever?

News just reached me that The Pirate Bay has been raided, again. That happened over 8 years ago last time. That time, a lot of people went out to protest and rally in the streets. Today few seem to care. And I’m one of them.

Why, you might ask? Well. For multiple reasons. But most of all, I’ve not been a fan of what TPB has become.

TPB has become an institution that people just expected to be there. Noone willing to take the technology further. The site was ugly, full of bugs, old code and old design. It never changed except for one thing – the ads. More and more ads was filling the site, and somehow when it felt unimaginable to make these ads more distasteful they somehow ended up even worse.

The original deal with TPB was to close it down on it’s tenth birthday. Instead, on that birthday, there was a party in it’s “honour” in Stockholm. It was sponsored by some sexist company that sent young girls, dressed in almost no clothes, to hand out freebies to potential customers. There was a ticket price to get in, automatically excluding people with no money. The party had a set line-up with artists, scenes and so on, instead of just asking the people coming to bring the content. Everything went against the ideals that I worked for during my time as part of TPB.
The Pirate Bay 10 year anniversary, fy fan

The past years there was no soul left in TPB. The original team handed it over to, well, less soul-ish people to say the least. From the outside I felt that noone had any interest in helping the community if it didn’t eventually pay out in cash. The attention for new artists (the promo bay) felt more like something TPB had to do in order to keep it’s street cred. The street cred I personally tried to destroy when being part of TPB, multiple times, in order to make sure that people stopped idolizing TPB the way they did. Mostly it didn’t work though.

As a big fan of the KLF I once learned that it’s great to burn great things up. At least then you can quit while you’re on top. I think I left TPB just a little bit after that top, and not when it’s as shitty as it was when it was closed today. It feels good that it might have closed down forever, just a real shame the way it did that. A planned retirement would have given the community time and a way to kick off something new, something better, something faster, something more reliable and with no chance of corrupting itself. Something that had a soul and could retain it.

But from the immense void that will now fill up the fiber cables all over the world, I’m pretty sure the next thing will pan out. And hopefully it has no ads for porn or viagra. There’s already other services for that.

 

PPSE i EUP

Många som läser den här bloggen vet att jag ställer upp i (finska) EU-valet nästa år. Och jag har tänkt mycket på vilka jag vill jobba med om jag hade kommit in.

I Sverige är det goda chanser att Piratpartiet får 1 mandat. Även om de inte synts lika mycket sista tiden är frågorna som de ställer upp för mer aktuella än någonsin och har kanske blivit så stora att alla partier faktiskt måste prata om dem. Men det viktigaste är att göra något istället för att bara snacka. Piratpartiet har två personer i EU-parlamentet idag, som båda gör mycket!

Min gissning är att piratpartiet kommer fram till samma lista som förra gången inför EU-valet, med Christian Engström som etta och Amelia Andersdotter som tvåa. Skillnaden mellan första och andra plats är, som det ser ut idag, skillnaden mellan att komma in och inte komma in.

Jag gillar båda två men jag skulle föredragit en omkastad lista, med Amelia överst. Det finns många anledningar, men jag ska försöka lista dem här.

För det första, Amelia har fått kämpa riktigt rejält för att överhuvudtaget få sin plats som parlamentariker. Hon kom in via ändringen till Lissabonfördraget, vilket gjorde att hon fått möjlighet att jobba “på riktigt” kanske halva tiden av den tiden hon varit folkvald. Jag tycker det är viktigt att hon faktiskt får samma möjlighet som Christian fått att uträtta stordåd.

Mer därtill är att Amelia faktiskt är väldigt spot on för piratpartiets potentiella väljare. Hon är i rätt åldersgrupp och har ungefär samma fokus i livet. Även om jag tycker det är viktigt att försöka nå allmänheten, är det faktiskt så att piratpartiets potentiella väljargrupp antagligen är trötta på att inte känna sig representerad av någon som är som de själva. Trötta på politiker, trötta på folk som bara pratar. Amelia är inte politiskt intresserad av annat än resultat för de frågorna hon ställer på.

Amelia har även skapat riktigt bra nätverk för framtida arbete och hon har visat bra resultat, trots den korta tiden hon fått möjlighet att jobba. Jag måste också slå ett slag för hur viktigt och bra det är att det finns starka kvinnor i ett parti som av allmänheten (med rätta, tyvärr) uppfattas som så mansdominerat. Piratpartiet kommer nog få sina manliga väljare lättare än de kvinnliga. En kvinnlig kandidat på valbar plats skulle definitivt sätta piratpartiet i bättre ljus hos oss som är kritiska till mansdominansen.

Jag tror också att det är större sannolikhet att båda två kommer in om Amelia står på första plats. Det är viktigt att sticka ut lite när det är val, vilket Amelia gör mer än Christian. Hon är märklig (på ett bra sätt!) och gör ett speciellt intryck. Christian är mer kameleont som därför kan verka ofarlig hos gubbarna med makt, och påverkar på det sättet. Båda typer behövs, men just uppmärksamhetsmässigt är det lättare med lite konstigheter, och uppmärksamheten gynnar alla.

GRN fäller Rapport och Aktuellt

För ett tag sedan så startades en rättegång mot Gottfrid Svartholm, gällande dataintrång och bedrägeri. Under rättegångens första dag så visade SVT inslag i sina nyhetsprogram om detta. Jag fick reda på det på ett ganska tråkigt vis, nämligen genom att folk undrade varför jag hade varit involverad i dataintrång och bedrägerier!

Det var nämligen så att SVT återanvände filmat material från The Pirate Bay-rättegången. När de förklarade att rättegången mot Gottfrid hade börjat så visades alltså gamla bilder med texten “The Pirate Bay-rättegången”. Självklart kan jag förstå att det finns ett visst medialt intresse om Gottfrid och hans koppling till The Pirate Bay (som han inte varit involverad i på sju år innan den nya rättegången började), men det känns lite på gränsen till smutskastning när SVT kallar Gottfrids fall för “The Pirate Bay-målet”. Det nya fallet handlade inte på något vis om TPB, fildelning eller något närliggande.

För min egen del var det personligen lite trist eftersom SVT klantade sig på alla sätt och vis med hur de bakade ihop text och bild. Under tiden som de visar arkivbilderna (som för övrigt inte nämns som arkivbilder) så berättar de att Gottfrid “och en person till” har åtalats för brotten det gällde. Just när Gottfrid visas i bild så sägs hans namn. Och just när “en person till” nämns så visas jag. Det är svårt, närmast omöjligt, att inte koppla timingen för hur personerna visas till vad som sägs om dem.

Flera personer kontaktade mig och undrade vad jag hade ställt till med. De undrade varför de inte visste om det, hur jag tänkt när jag begått bedrägerier osv. Själv fattade jag såklart ingenting och valde att titta på SVT Play på rapport. Jag blev rasande när jag såg inslaget och kontaktade genast SVT. Jag möttes av en ganska loj attityd utan riktigt ansvarstagande. “Trist att du känner så” ungefär. För mig var det personligt ganska jobbigt, för dem var det något som bara sker ibland. Efter att jag pratat lite med olika personer fick jag iallafall höra att de skulle ta bort mig ur nästa sändning, samt att de skulle fixa till texten på bilderna.

När Aktuellt visades så var det ganska likt inslag. Att bilderna var arkivbilder nämndes. Mitt ansikte blev pixlat (“avidentifierat” som det tydligen kallas i TV-världen), ungefär 7 av 8 sekunder av inslaget. I slutet syns ansiktet ändå, i mitt irriterade läge kändes det som att de ville jävlas lite mer med mig nästan.
För de som inte jobbar med TV så känns nog ändå pixlingen mer som att man skyddar någon som inte ännu är dömd, ungefär bara misstänkt, men ändå lite skum.

Jag tog återigen kontakt med SVT och skällde på dem. Hela tiden fick jag höra att ingen skulle förstå att det var jag, att ingen skulle ens ha känt igen mig i första inslaget. Även om jag förklarade att de har bevisligen fel då det var exakt så jag blev varse om att jag varit med i inslaget. Jag valde att anmäla dem till granskningsnämnden eftersom jag tyckte att de inte tog sitt ansvar, på sättet de behandlade mig. Hade de bett om ursäkt och faktiskt ändrat bilderna till aktuellt och inte gjort det nästan ännu värre hade jag nog låtit det bero.

Under några månaders tid så har det skickats några mejl fram och tillbaka mellan mig, GRN och SVT. SVT har bl.a. anfört att det var in till 7 personer på arkivbilderna, så det kunde varit vem som helst av dem som kunnat vara “den andra personen”. Även om det så uppenbart är fokus på två personer i bild. Jag kan inte tänka mig att SVT:s representant ens själv trott på det, utan snarare försökt att hitta en utväg istället för att faktiskt stå upp för deras faktiska klanteri.

För det handlar om klantighet, jag tror inget annat. De har slentrianmässigt återanvänt gamla bilder, säkert av ekonomiska skäl. Det har säkert skett under tidspress. Det ursäktar dock inte att jag står med svartepetter och blir utmålad som bedragare. Det ursäktar inte ett beteende av irritation och ignorans när någon som drabbats av deras klanteri påpekar detta.

Granskningsnämnde håller med mig om att det var fel i inslaget. De fäller därför Rapport enhälligt. Aktuellt fälls också, där K-G Bergström var skiljaktig. Han menar att SVT gjort nog för att avidentifiera mig. Han missar nog att det snarare är så att människor i allmänhet finner pixlingen som en starkare grad av misstanke än utan…

Jag blev nöjd med beslutet. Det känns som att man fick lite upprättelse, att jag fick rätt mot de som arrogant sagt att jag inte har något att klaga på. Det är inte så ofta som nyhetsprogrammen faktiskt fälls så det känns rätt så stort på det viset. Men det bästa hade varit om det aldrig hade hänt.

Och även om jag precis “vann” mot SVT, så tror jag att det bästa som kan ske är om de får mer pengar. Då får de resurser för att kunna researcha bättre och kan ta lite färska bilder. För när public service lider av pengabrist, så lider allmänheten av sämre kvalitet.

Bifogar en PDF med beslutet från GRN!

13-01275 Beslut i granskningsnämnden

Intertubes

I’ve written about control over the internet on numerous times before. Mostly when we talk about this, we talk about different layers of technology. This is going to be a hefty long post, sorry for that.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Dropbox etc are all (sort of) web based services. They have “soft” control over us by storing our data and thus keeping us dependent upon their systems for accessing the data. These companies are mostly based in the US.

The web itself uses DNS to make sure that we can find the right IP addresses to communicate with these services. With a broken DNS system, someone could claim to be Facebook etc and do so called man in the middle attacks to access any data we store in cloud services.

The DNS we all use is controlled by an organisation in the US, called ICANN, in their root-servers system. You can look at it as a form of universal phonebook, with only one organisation that decide which countries can be represented in the phonebook. They also have the means to override any single entry in the database with what ever data they want.

Both of these issues are real problems we’re facing today. Judges in different parts of the US has suspended domains that are not connected to the US in any way of form, just by claiming that the organisation that controls the data is based in the US.

These issues are however, as I mentioned earlier, kind of soft. They’re software that we can swap out and migrate away from. We’ve done that earlier with things like Myspace and we’ll probably do it again with Facebook. The DNS is a bit worse since we have no real replacement technology for it today even though a lot of people (me included) have tried to replace it. It’s just too much of a problem.

But even if/when the DNS breaks (politically rather than anything else), we can still reach other nodes directly by using their IP addresses. It will be a huge problem but we could probably replace the DNS with a competing one. It will be as everyones phonebooks got erased and we had to rely upon peoples phone numbers again.

But one thing is even worse than this and is never really talked about: Who owns the physical infrastructure that we use and need? The layer upon where all of our communication is based on.

Most people understand that they have some sort of internet provider, some might even know the name of their provider. Few people understand the complex relationship between providers. The internet traffic you’re generating is usually going to a network outside of your own providers network. This means that your provider must find a suitable route for that traffic to travel.

Internet providers has to exchange, using computers specialised at doing traffic exchange. These computers are called routers. Most providers in the world have other providers to be able to send/receive internet traffic. They connect their routers to eachother, either at a private facility (with a fiber or copper cable between the routers) or at an internet exchange points (IXP for short), where multiple providers have decided to exchange traffic to any provider available at that point. There are free IXP services and there are commercial ones. And there are two types of exchanges done. One is called peering, where the providers allow for (usually) free flow between their own networks. The other exchange is called transit, where one provider allows the other to reach his network and all networks he is connected to, which usually means the full internet.

Bigger players usually do not allow anyone to get to their network for free, even at exchange points. They only allow smaller providers to pay for access to the internet, at prices that vary – a lot.

There are a few providers in the world that are called “tier 1” providers. They have such a huge network that do not need to pay anyone to reach any network in the world. Instead, they can charge hefty costs for smaller providers to be able to reach the internet over their network.

Today there are 13 companies that are considered being Tier 1 providers. 8 of these are based in the US, 4 in Europe and 1 in India. All of these have a huge control over the internet and the prices in the market for what bandwidth costs. Most smaller providers, that includes even huge multi national internet providers, are quite dependent on their upstream Tier 1 provider.

But these providers still have a physical provider! Even though a lot of these companies also own a lot of their own infrastructure, they need to lease the physical connectivity to different locations from other companies. In some places they rent dark fibers between cities or larger regions, in other places they need to put down the physical fiber themselves. And it’s just a handful of companies that in turn own most of the international fiber cables.

We need to seriously start looking at this as a problem internationally. We’re all seeing that the control from one single country over most of the internet services we use are troublesome at best. Most of us are familiar with laws from the USA (like the DMCA) because of their influence over our networks. And we’re not doing what we should to make sure that the internet stays international, with national control over national affairs. If a US judge says that a US company has to monitor all traffic in, let’s say Afghanistan or Iran, they have the possibilities of doing so. They might already be doing it, we have no way of controlling that.

In order to ensure that we’re not building an internet that has a single point of failure, it’s time to look at how to build a redundant network. The EU should push for national fiber rings, between big cities in each nation, owned by the state it’s located in. The costs of using these fibers could be done close to self-cost levels. Every time a road or railroad is built, moved or renovated, fiber tubes should be put down in the ground, wherever the road leads to.

This way we could ensure a real public infrastructure, not dependent on the US. We’d ensure that the current fiber owners (and in turn internet providers) would have to adjust  their costs to match a public infrastructure. We’d make internet access available for a fair price for everyone.

But most of all, we’d make sure that the control over the infrastructure that we’re building our current and future communication on. The internet is no longer just a playground, it’s not just for entertainment. It’s for real, we’re totally dependent on it.

And we’re not all citizens of the USA.