Malmö, beloved Malmö.

As a kid I grew up hearing from my family about how swedish people had a “blue stripe on their back”. A term referring to Sweden letting the Germans pass through the country to reach Norway during the second world war. Instead of fighting the nazis, Sweden helped them just reach the neighbour instead. The people that told me these things were my family on my mothers side – my Mom is Norwegian.

I also heard about how the Swedes didn’t really have work ethics. They’re lazy and let the foreigners do the work. My father told me a lot about this and he was probably right. He immigrated from Finland as a worker during the seventies, when there was a lack of workers in Sweden.

As a kid we moved around a lot in Scandinavia. I was always “the finn” or “the norwegian” when I was in Sweden. In Finland and Norway I was always “the swede”. I always got irritated by this, because being called Swedish was almost the worst thing you could call a kid. Still to this day I jokingly correct people who call me Swedish that the only swedish thing about me is that my home countries have both been invaded by Sweden.

This is all typical neighbouring countries joking with each other. Even though some people take it too serious and kids in general can be quite mean, they are a way to finding ones own identity and to also somehow deal with pain from serious historical issues. Yes, Sweden should not have helped the nazis in the second world war. And yes, Sweden did let the foreign workers do the shitty work for lower wages, and still does so today.

I am not really a big fan of Sweden. I’ve been falsely imprisoned by the government, after a quite openly corrupt court case in the country. I’ve always been treated as crap by the system growing up. I’ve had the police hang up on me when calling for help because they thought my finnish surname meant I was a roma person. And for some insane reason, roma people is still treated like crap all over europe.

But even I get upset after the attacks on Sweden lately. People who have no insight, no idea, just hearing rumours or reading troll news, are commenting on how fucked up Sweden is. People like Donald Trump and Julian Assange, who have a lot to gain on getting the public to consider Sweden a failure, are talking nonsense about the country. Letting some of the things they say become “facts” are however quite dangerous as it sets a precedent on how other countries will behave in the future.

As I said I’m not the biggest fan of Sweden. However, I’ve moved around Europe and I’ve always ended up back here. There’s a reason for that. Actually, I always end back up in Malmö, the now most infamous city in Sweden. There’a reason for that too.

When people say that Sweden has a problem with too many immigrants, the major issue is that other countries are not stepping up to help refugees. My own home countries included. I’m ashamed of Finland and Norway for not helping. Both countries point to Sweden saying how it’s taking in too many immigrants at once. And sure, there’s not enough apartments to go around, there’s not enough schools for the kids coming. But if every country did their part, it would not be an issue. Sweden can hold it’s head high for actually trying to help where other countries just are plain racist and egotistical.

When people say that Swedens immigration is failing, they’re not recognising the fact that Sweden is built upon that immigration. Very few people in Sweden are indigenous, actually less than 100.000 people out of a population of 10 million. People have always migrated into Sweden, for different reasons. It’s a huge country in size, with lots of space, beautiful nature and traditionally being a very open country. Hell, even the royal family are immigrants with the funny last name “Bernadotte” originating from France. The queen is half-german, half-brasilian. We joke about her speaking worse Swedish than most other immigrants. And that’s typical Swedish culture: swedes joke about themselves.

Many of the things people complaint about Sweden for is mostly because Sweden (actually the general Scandinavian area) works differently from most capitalistic worlds. It gets hard to understand. Traditionally Sweden have been a “mixed economy”, with socialistic ideas on how the nation needs to help the citizens with health care, child care and the right to a place to live and such, but also allowing a market economy. From this typical Swedish compromise comes a different approach and view to how most thing should work. It’s not always working well, but has been a very pragmatic solution for integrating Sweden to the rest of the world financially.

The thing most people complaint about Malmö is blown out of proportion. Sure, Malmö has (compared to the rest of Sweden) quite a lot of crime. But also (compared to the rest of sweden) Malmö is a very poor city in the country. The geographical location also spawns a lot of the situations: it’s the city you end up in when going across the border. This means that most things that gets smuggled into Sweden will go through Malmö. Not because of Malmö being Malmö, but because of the location. Drugs, weapons, things that all nations struggle with fighting, passes here if it passes into Sweden. And also refugees. They arrive in Malmö, and lots of people with big hearts and open arms welcome them. The refugees wants to stay because other refugees from their own nation are around, and because Malmö is such a great place to live!

Malmö is a small city of about 300.000 inhabitants, half of which are born outside of Sweden. It’s the third largest city in Sweden but it’s the city everybody is talking about. Both in Sweden and outside. Forget Stockholm, it’s a has-been city with 1.2 million people too scared to go to Silicon Valley or too impressed by themselves and their sourdough bread baking for leaving. Ignore Gothenburg – did you even know that was a city? – which is number two in Sweden, despite being twice the size of Malmö, there’s nothing exciting about it. Malmö, the poor number three, with the funny dialect and all the immigration is the most exciting city in the region. All exciting new culture comes from here. It’s got the most exciting artists, galleries. It’s (although I hate this) considering itself the Silicon Valley of Scandinavia because so many start-ups come from here. It’s a city where people don’t care how you look or how rich you are, they care if you do things to change the world. It’s definitely not the most beautiful city in the world, actually it’s very rough – but the nature surrounding it is amazing. Half an hour by train and you’re in the middle of a forest. Half an hour by a train another direction and you’re in one of the largest airports in the Europe, with direct flights to most locations you’d ever need to go to. In Malmö it’s closer to Berlin than to Stockholm, both in mentality, creativity and in actual distance.

I’ve had some of my worst life episodes in Malmö. I’ve had some of my best. I’ve got my favorite secret locations in Malmö. I’ve got my favorite nature. I’ve got my favorite restaurants, people, comedians, artists in Malmö or Copenhagen. And let’s face it, Copenhagen is just a big Malmö suburb. Sure, Malmö is suffering from problems. The murder rates are high for being Sweden. 3,4 out of 100 000. But compare that to New Orleans (41,4) or Saint Louis (59,2). Not saying the murders are Ok, it’s just more complex than “malmö bad”. Most of the problems in Malmö originates from inequality. It’s got a poor population. But look at what Malmö has achieved, and is achieving, with the little resources is has.

There’s a person that is very much the embodiment of Malmö spirit, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He’s one of many living in malmö originating from the balkans, lived in the poorest neighbourhood in Malmö, Rosengård. Todays he’s one of the most (in-)famous football players in the world. People love to hate him. Every place he goes he has to prove his value, he’s always the underdog and he always over-performs. Even after being one of the worlds most talented players for over a decade, every time he switches to a new team people says he’s not good enough. But just as Malmö, no matter how much he proves his value, he’s still never good enough. I don’t even care about football, but I’m impressed by both Zlatan and the local team Malmö FF, who’s now one of Europes best. From nothing, with nothing. Over-performing. Never getting credit. Always getting shit.

The story of Malmö, and the story of Sweden, that is going around in the international media is not based on facts. It’s not people who has lived in Malmö and understand the city. Actually, it’s built up  by people who doesn’t care, they just want something to point at and blame for some of their own failures or scares. They honestly took the wrong example. Most people who has ever lived in Malmö will tell you the same. Not out of pride but out of love. Just as everywhere else, there are issues. But I’m sure that Malmö will over-perform and fix those issues in the long run. And still, Malmö will be questioned. But hell, that’s the thing that brings a community together. And what a community…

Happy new year 2017, Adindustry

The world we’re living could be explained as some sort of derivative of democracy, mixed with a high dose of capitalism, sometimes called consumerism. In general, the democracy that we have is most often to choose between different brands, not so much actual liberty in form of actual choice. Most ironically, this is the typical joke that capitalists I know make about communism; you can have whatever you like, as long as you want what you’re allowed to have. The extremer capitalism we experience all the time, the one that posts as democracy, is more or less becoming exactly that.

Your choices are limited to a few brands, all working together in what is called a market place. This “market” is where companies wants to be number one but at the same time recognizing it’s better to keep their competition close (it’s better to fight the known than the unknown); thus making it easier to cooperate. Better a few winners, than lots of them. Winner does no longer take it all, long time winning is sharing as little as possible with someone with the same mindset and ideology.

The typical companies that masks themselves as democracy carriers while being extremely capitalistic are Google, Facebook and the likes. As long time readers of my blog know, I’m not very fond of them for obvious reasons. Earlier today (5th of january 2017) I got to hear that one of the more interesting digital art projects, AdNauseam, got banned from the Google Web Store. AdNauseam is essentially an adblocker that works in the opposite way of normal adblockers. Just as a firewall can decide to default be open but block certain things, it can also (in the spirit of china) do it the other way around; block all but allow certain things. AdNauseam is using this approach, instead of blocking the ads, it clicks them. All of then. But at the same time hiding the ads from being displayed for the end user.

The effects of such an approach is obvious. Companies trying to populate peoples minds with unwanted crap are instead ending up paying without reaching those people. A win for the end user who never asked for the ads to begin with, and a small fine for the company trying to breach that persons privacy. In book keeping terms, we could start account for this as actual cost for karma.

The company google, who for years had the slogan “don’t be evil” (but removed it after it became more and more obvious to everyone that they were in fact quite evil, so rather not bring evilness up), make most of their income from advertising. They are also great at capitalising from the idea of an open web, very often talking nicely about open software – and being the makers behind the web browser Chrome. Problem is though, when the ideal of openess, democracy, transparency and privacy clashes with the bottom line. Google is no stranger to this, as they’ve multiple times decided to rather be evil than to lose money, such as in the case of their efforts of becoming big in China.

That AdNauseam got blocked from Google means in effect that google is acting as a censor for what the end users of Chrome may be able to do. Just as in their operating system Android, which uses open standard and software to sync contacts, calenders etc, they’ve decided to not include any options for servers that are not google. This might be an “open” system, where you in theory could add this feature yourself – but it would be a huge effort for 99.999% of the users, it’s a sign of what capitalism thinks of open source and openess: it’s a sales pitch that is nice, but you don’t have to abide to the spirit of it.

That google choses the bottom line over individual liberties and should-have-rights is nothing new. It will happen again and again, and again. My pain is that 2017 is becoming a worse year than 2016 in terms of individual liberties, personal choice, freedoms and our ability to stop becoming affected by consumerist propaganda.

Only certain morals for world records

To: Peter Sunde
Subject: Guinness World Records – Application Update

Dear Peter Sunde

Thank you for sending us the details of your proposed record attempt for ‘Most copied song in the world‘.

Unfortunately, after thoroughly reviewing your application with members of our research team, we are afraid to say that we cannot accept your proposal as a Guinness World Records title.

This is not a record category we find appropriate for our brand.

For information on what makes a record, we would advise before submitting an application to visit This page will provide you with helpful information if you are thinking about breaking or setting a record.

Once again thank you for contacting Guinness World Records.

Kind regards,
Records Management Team

Please be aware that as your record application has not been accepted, Guinness World Records is not associated with the activity relating to your record proposal and does not endorse this activity in any way. If you choose to proceed, then this is will be of your own volition and at your own risk. Guinness World Records will not monitor, measure or verify this activity.

Snowden filmtal

Jag blev inbjuden till Panora i Malmö för att tala lite innan premiären på filmen Snowden. Här är ungefär vad jag sa.

Min koppling till dagens film är i grunden min bakgrund som tekniker – och att jag arbetat med wikileaks och hel del andra mer eller mindre kända projekt som jobbat för yttrandefrihet och transparens. Jag var med tidigt om digital kommunikation, långt innan internet var tillgängligt så använde vi modem och det som hette BBS:er. När internet väl slog igenom hade vi tekniker och datorintresserade ett enormt försprång: vi visste hur allt fungerade, vi hade redan fått de bästa mejladresserna och domänerna, vi hade redan tagit alla IP-adresser. Personligen har jag kontroll över fler IP-adresser än vissa afrikanska länder. Precis som i pyramidspel så handlar ofta teknisk utveckling om att vara först på plats för att ha kontrollen.

När samhället sedan bestämde sig för att flytta de flesta funktioner till internet, som tv, radio, tidningar, telefonsamtal, bankärenden och allt annat, så har man gått till oss tekniker och frågat om vi kunnat hjälpa till. Det är vi som byggt samhällets nya infrastruktur. Precis som generationerna före oss byggt vägar och järnvägsstationer, så byggde vi internetoperatörer och egna virtuella telefonoperatörer som exempelvis Skype.

Skillnaden har varit kostnaden för investeringar. En motorväg kostar en miljon per meter. För samma pris som en meter motorväg kunde skype skaffa sig miljoner av kunder och börja göra en grotesk vinst. Med en så liten investering kunde man senare bli världens största telefonbolag. Utan att staten la sig i, utan att man diskuterade samhällsansvar. Att bygga en motorväg innebär att man måste skaffa sig tillstånd från myndigheter, undersöka hur det påverkar samhället med tanke på allt från buller, miljö och hållbarhet till att inte konkurrera med andra trafikslag. Att bygga upp internet gjordes oreglerat. Och otroligt naivt, med ett tänkande om att allt digital är bra och att tekniken ska bli samhällsbärande. Och att teknik av någon märklig anledning skulle vara neutral. Och att, av någon ännu märkligare anledning, samhället hade ett ansvar för att anpassa sig efter den nya tekniken, inte tvärtom eller i samförstånd.

Jag tror personligen inte det finns en direkt motsats mellan internet och samhället, det är i förlängningen samma sak. Jag tror däremot att det vore lämpligt om teknikutvecklare och samhällsutvecklare samarbetade.
Som det ser ut idag så är tekniker och riskkapitalister de som bygger det digitala samhället, mycket sällan utan ett vinstintresse. Vi slår bakut i samhället när någon nämner privatisering av motorvägar eller sjukhus, men internet är i dag stort sett privatägt. Viss minimal reglering sker, där experterna som styr oftast kommer från internetbaserade företag. Lite som att låta bankmän reglera bankväsendet. Eller riskkapitalister sköta sjukvården.

Ett aktuellt exempel på problem detta leder till är att norges statsminister nyss skrev ett vädjande brev till Mark Zuckerberg om att tillåta vissa yttranden på facebook, istället för att lagstiftning kunde användas för att inte låta facebook censurera dem. Eller för att citera en av sveriges mest kända kapitalister Jan Stenbeck: idéer är bra, pengar slår idéer, politik slår pengar, men teknik slår politik.

Gamla lagar blir ofta inaktuella när ny teknik kommer. Det innebär dock inte att de moraliska ställningstaganden bakom dem försvinner, eller för den delen bör försvinna. Istället för att tycka att teknik ska få styra, så kanske vi borde komma fram till hur vi ska styra och reglera teknikens inverkan. Teknik är absolut inte neutral. Teknik byggs av någon som i sig har en tanke med den. Och vi har en ny maktelit: tekniker och riskkapitalister. När vi pratar om klassklyftor borde vi lägga till en ny aspekt: de som kan teknik, och de som inte kan. De som bygger teknik, och de som inte gör.

Detta leder mig in på frågan om vad dagens digitaliserade samhälle behöver: en större diskussion om moral och ansvar. Det finns många tekniker världen över, men ändå väldigt få exempel på någon som ställer sig upp mot makten på det viset som Edward Snowden gjort. Varför har inte fler reagerat, varför har inte fler gjort något åt detta? Samhället behöver backa upp och uppmuntra visselblåsare. Skolor kanske borde ta upp moral och samhällsansvar i sina tekniska utbildningar, istället för att blint tro på vad Kjell Höglund sjöng: “Maskinerna är våra vänner, utan dom inget paradis”.

När det gäller det som Edward Snowden har avslöjat så är det för övrigt inget som vi tekniskt insatta aktivister inte hade varnat för. När man förstår hur oskyddat internet i grund och botten är rent tekniskt, så förstår man också hur enkelt det går att ta över vissa bitar av det. När man ser på hur internets rörelse mot centraliserade tjänster, som drivs av företag som facebook, google, amazon och apple, så förstår man vilken guldgruva det är för såväl hackers som övervakande stater. Men det finns ett antal problem med att redovisa detta för allmänheten: ägandet av tjänsterna är privat, tekniken hemlig och inte speciellt transparent. Trots detta hyllar vi internet för de fantastiska möjligheterna vi får för yttrandefrihet och demokratisk transparens.

I Sverige hade vi för några år sedan en stor diskussion om FRA, Sveriges motsvarighet till NSA. Den nya lagen de ville få igenom handlade om just mer spaning på vad som sker i fiberkablarna. Det var högljudda diskussioner, och många av oss tog upp exempel om vad som kunde hända. Exempel som var baserade på ganska rimliga gissningar ut efter hur samhället samt tekniken fungerar. När FRA-lagen till slut gick igenom, trots gråtande politikers tal i plenisalen, så var det åtminstone med några begränsningar på vad informationen fick användas till. Media granskade allt de kunde då. Men bara några år senare så uppdaterades FRA-lagen utan större protester, och media täckte inte detta speciellt mycket. Inte ens det faktum att FRA blivit prickat för brott mot FRA-lagen ett otal gånger har fått speciellt mycket uppmärksamhet.

Eller för den delen reaktionen som kom efter Snowdens läckor: FRA blev avundsjuka på USA:s möjligheter och krävde än mer tillgång till vår personliga information. Allt för att stoppa terrorister; men en enkel fråga: om FRA stoppat de terrorister de påstår, var är då åtalen för de planerade terrorattackerna? Vi kanske borde granska granskarna lite hårdare. FRA är för övrigt den myndighet som har fått mest ökning av tillslag av någon myndighet i Sverige. Om det pratas det inte så mycket.

Sverige har en annan roll i dramat kring Snowden och datan. Vi är ett av de länderna som samarbetar närmast med NSA och vi är också ett av få länder där det pågår en aktiv lobbykampanj för att ge Snowden en fristad att bo, istället för Ryssland där han nu befinner sig. Trots Sveriges historia om att stå upp för de som står upp för oss, så ignorerar vi att hjälpa en man som vi borde vara stolta och lyckliga över att få hit. Istället för att hjälpa USA spionera på våra egna medborgare så borde man sätta ner foten och kräva lite respekt för den personliga integriteten.

Det Snowden avslöjade var ju just hur enormt lite privatliv vi har idag. Men till trots för hans avslöjanden så har saker egentligen inte förändrats. Snarare går utvecklingen åt andra hållet, där länder nu försöker komma ikapp USA i frågan om datainsamling. Till trots för att Snowden avslöjade att EU:s topp-politiker, därtill Angela Merkel, blivit telefonavlyssnade världen över, så har EU gått med på ännu mer datautbyte med USA. Idag måste du intyga för din bank om du är skatteskyldig i USA, även om du är 13 år gammal och ska öppna ditt första sparkonto på din lokala sparbank i Eslöv. Och när dina föräldrar överför din första veckopeng till dig så skickas information om detta till USA. De lokala kriterier som finns i EU och Sverige för att myndigheter ska få lov att granska dina bankärenden behöver USA inte uppfylla. De får rå tillgång till all information utan några särskilda begränsningar. Och för bara några veckor sedan så gick vi med på att ge USA all information om resor. Såväl inrikes som internationellt kommer nu NSA veta vilket tåg, buss eller flyg du befinner dig på. Faktum är att många länder ofta får information från USA om inhemska angelägenheter, eftersom USA har större tillgång till länders medborgares data än vad dessa länder har själva.

Men till trots för alla avslöjanden om hur datan samlas in är intresset från media och allmänhet ganska svalt. Vi medborgare har “rent mjöl i påsen” säger vi. Fast mjöl har för övrigt ett rätt kort bäst före datum, och tiderna förändras. Helt plötsligt används informationen för något helt annat än det var tänkt. Kanske sitter Sverigedemokraterna i regeringsställning nästa år och vill ha tillgång till den där biobanken med DNA som vi i Sverige började samla in på 70-talet. Där nästan alla som fötts i Sverige sedan dess finns registrerade. Ändamålsglidning med datainsamling är en internationell sport och Sverige verkar intresserade att komma på god andra plats efter USA.

För till trots för alla avslöjanden verkar vårt intresse snarare ligger på personerna som avslöjat sakerna än vad de avslöjat. Vi är mer intresserade av Edward Snowdens privatliv och hur förhållandet mellan honom och hans snygga flickvän ska utvecklas. Lite som än dokusåpa på steroider. Den som vinner i Big Brother får en jävla massa pengar, den som förlorar i Snowden-såpan hamnar på livstid i fängelse, eller värre. Och hans möjliga vinst? Spelar ingen roll vad han vinner, för han får ändå inte åka och hämta de priser han fått. Precis samma är det i historien kring Chelsea Manning. Fram tills för några dagar sedan så hungerstrejkade hon för att få tillgång till hormoner för sin könskorrigering. Hon är utsatt för tortyr i USA, för att ha avslöjat USA:s hemligheter om bland annat hur de torterar människor. Men vårt fokus är på dramat Julian Assange. Det är lättare att ta till sig, eftersom dramaturgin är större. Sällan eller aldrig pratar vi om vad som faktiskt finns i pappren som kommit ut: hur många som mördats i Afghanistan och irak, hur många lagar som länder bryter. Varje gång någon visselblåsare träder fram så blir fokus på just dem eller de runt dem, aldrig på materialet. Kommer ni ens ihåg vad Erin Brokovich avslöjade, eller minns ni mest filmen där Julia Roberts hävde ur sig svordomar och var lättklädd? Snowden själv förstod detta och försökte därför hålla sig från rampljuset så länge det gick. Nu ska vi se en hollywoodlångfilm om honom. Inte om PRISM eller de andra programmen han avslöjat.

Varje gång fel i samhället avslöjas så verkar det som att vi tror de kommer lösas automatiskt nu när vi vet vad som hänt, istället för att direkt börja ta tag i problemen. Boken 1984 av George Orwell handlade om ett scenario ganska likt det vi står med idag. Jag tänkte börja runda av med ett citat från honom:

“Något likt 1984 skulle kunna hända, det är åt det här hållet världen är på väg just nu. I vår värld kommer det inte vara några känslor förutom rädsla, ilska, triumf och självförnedring. Sexlusten kommer utrotas och vi kommer överge orgasmen. Det kommer inte finnas någon lojalitet förutom lojalitet till partiet, men det kommer alltid finnas maktberusning, alltid, och det kommer alltid finnas glädjen i seger, lyckan i att trampa på en hjälplös motståndare.
Om du vill ha en bild av hur framtiden ser ut, föreställ dig en stövel, som trampar på en människas ansikte, för alltid. Slutsatsen av denna farliga mardrömssituationen är enkel: låt det inte ske. Det är upp till dig.”

Orwell hade nog fel om framtidens orgasmer, jag tror att internet och tindr har gjort mer för orgasmerna än någon annan historisk uppfinning. Det mesta andra han sa kanske vi däremot borde fokusera mer på: det är tyvärr vårt kollektiva ansvar att lösa situationen som vi har idag, men frågan är nog hur vi ska få människor att engagera sig i förändringsarbetet som krävs. Filmen vi nu ska se är kanske en film som kan få oss att bli mer engagerade. Jag hoppas på det, men med rädsla för att vi kanske än en gång fokuserar på personerna bakom istället för vad de avslöjat.

Jag hoppas verkligen filmen är spännande. Men om ni liksom jag jobbat hårt hela veckan och råkar somna så finns den säkert tillgänglig på pirate bay när ni kommit hem. Tack för mig!

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, 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.

The new wall

In the early 2000s I left Norway for Sweden. I didn’t like my job, I had a girlfriend who lived in Sweden, but most of all I didn’t like the norwegian mentality. Being part norwegian myself I was always included by my friends and co-workers as a norwegian. Most of my friends are all awesome but some of them, especially the newly rich (and there was a lot of them) made it a thing to crack jokes about people from other etnicities. It usually started out with someone making fun of swedes – calling them the new polacks. A lot of polish people has been coming to Scandinavia to work for much higher salaries than in Poland, but still being cheap labour for scandinavian employers. And when Norway started becoming really rich, a lot of young swedish people started coming over. First for summer jobs, then later for restaurant and pub jobs.

This was a big change for norway, who used to be the poorer of the nations. As a kid, when living in Sweden (yes, I move(d) a lot!), when we went to norway, we brought stuff they didn’t have (Sweden being much more modern) and on the way back we bought cheap stuff to bring back to Sweden. The norwegian krona was worth almost half of the swedish, and we got a lot of moneys worth. I can’t remember a lot of swedish making fun of norwegians for being poor. (However – I’m also part finnish, and a lot of Swedes did make a lot of fun of the Finns, but that’s a story for later).

There’s always been an sibling rivalry between the scandinavian countries. The classic thing is that people care more in the smaller countries than in the big ones. Norway tended to have the mentality of the younger brother who looked up to it’s big sister Sweden and all of a sudden got more successful and wanted to shove it into the face of big sis’. It’s not a very flattering thing to do however. I remember my mother flying in to Norway after a few years living in Spain and norway had introduced a new 200 krona bill (previously there was a 100 and a 500 krona bill only). She asked a taxi driver why they did that and the taxi driver said – more or less jokingly – that it’s because it’s getting too heavy to carry around 100 krona bills for norwegians since they’re all so rich. These jokes were everywhere.

Norway had massive issues of employment. Yes, not umemployment, there was too little people for all the jobs that needed to be done. So meanwhile, in Oslo (capital of Norway) I could basically go to any pub or restaurant and speak swedish with most of the staff. Almost every place had swedish staff, young and energetic, wanting to build up their financial future. Norway is easy to travel to, you have the right to work and live because of the nordic convention. And it was all high paying jobs, some places earnings were more than double of the swedish salary.

The salaries in norway, albeit high, also meant that costs of living is high in Norway. Among highest in the world. So young swedes started living in collective housing. Since Sweden is close by (two hours by car from Oslo and you’re across the border) a lot of swedes went home during weekends. They bought food in Sweden, much cheaper than in Norway. And still to this day, the food you can get in Norway is basically shit compared to the selection in Sweden. In 2001 a norwegian friend of mine took me to a new supermarket and asked me if I’ve ever seen such a good selection of fresh fruit and veggies. He was super impressed. He picked up a fruit and asked me if I’ve ever seen one of these before, proud as hell. And I told him I’ve seen avocados lots of times before. No wonder swedish people, that were in Norway temporary, kept to their own. They formed small “swedish ghettos” of highly educated people, making a lot of money working hard, saving that for their future and their families. And norwegians started making fun of them, comparing them to other working class immigrants.

Being norwegian that has ties to most of the nordic countries in some way, it started getting to me. I was sharing an apartment with a swedish friend of mine myself. We also went to Sweden a lot to shop, because it was half price, we were in Sweden anyhow and the selection was just so much better. Our freezer was full of good food instead of the awful norwegian food. We made dinner at home instead of going out to eat expensive shitty norwegian pizzas. Daniel, my friend I shared the apartment with, was (I hope he still is) an awesome cook. We had people over that loved his food. Some norwegian people that came over kind of joked about us being like swedish ghetto people – “but the good kind”. Maybe because of me being norwegian, or rather: because they actually knew us, they could look past the issue of us not being 100% norwegian (whatever that is).

When I went out to clubs with norwegians a lot of them dropped remarks about the swedish staff. Every time they did, I got a little pissed but didn’t say anything. I felt connected to the swedes, since I lived a lot of my life in Sweden. The swedish society was much more open and thus appealing to me than the close minded norwegian patriotic christian society. I started hanging out more and more with swedish people. They never made jokes about norwegians, except when being upset with norwegians mentality towards swedes. Totally fair reactions as well.

For the few years I was living in Oslo, I felt less norwegian by the minute. I didn’t like what Norway was becoming. I realised I didn’t change, the country did. The racist political party (FrP) was still considered lunatics and somewhat of a joke, but it was changing rapidly. Every day I felt that norway was becoming more and more a nationalist state full of rich people looking down at the working class. Rich people being mostly norwegians, working class being mostly not. It was becoming racist. This was just a few years before Breivik, a member of FrP during early 2000s, committed his terrorist acts.

When I moved to Sweden again I decided I wanted to move to Malmö. Malmö was the total reverse of Oslo in many ways. It was very open and people from almost every country in the world was represented in the city. The was a lot of buzz and creativity, people had fun, they didn’t care where you came from. In Oslo I felt that was the first thing anyone asked. People in Oslo dressed up to impress, bought fast cars for their hard earned money to impress. Newly rich all the way. The first day in Malmö I was smiling because of the people wearing sweat pants and having no make up on. It felt so much more alive, more natural, more international. And Malmö had Öresundsbron – the bridge! – to Copenhagen. Malmö was the perfect mix: a small-ish international city, close to a international big city, lots of things going on, and one of the best international airports in Europe. All being interconnected by the bridge. The jokes between swedes and danes, although similar between the rivalry between norway and sweden, was on a more loving way.

People in Scania (the southern part of Sweden where Scandinavia gets its name from and where Malmö is the capital) normally have lots of ties to Denmark. They’ve much more interconnected and international in that way than most of the Scandinavians. Scania has been a part of Denmark, the dialect resembles the tone of Danish (not always in a good way, danish being a weird language). But it’s all full of love.

The things that I took for granted growing up in Sweden as a kid, was that openess. The feeling of an “us”, without any excluding “them”. Everyone is part of the “us”. Pride in helping thy next, without being religious about it. The pride in doing good in society, rather than bragging about it and the money you make. The pride in being strong enough to tell the big bullies that they are in fact bullies. The understanding that ideals are more important than future trade. That people are more important than money. All of these things, are the things I’ve always loved about Sweden. It was the things I missed in Norway.

Just a few years after I left Norway, Breivik committed his extreme right wing terrorist attacks. And just two years after that, his racist party was elected into government for the first time ever. There’s been a shift. At the same time, the attitude in Norway is that people from outside (especially Sweden) doesn’t understand the norwegian situation. Many of my norwegian friends are afraid to use the word “racist” to describe a party that is exactly that. It’s not politically correct apparantly. And in Norway it’s very common to bash Sweden for being “fucking PC”, and say that you can’t talk about whatever you want, that immigration is a problem and so on. The norwegian press is self-censoring more and more about their wordings, because Norway is such an open country where you can talk about everything, as long as you don’t call racists racists and as long as you’re critical of immigration.

This norwegian trend is what I’m feeling happening all over again. Sweden has been going the exact same way. The unthinkability of the racist swedish party – The swedish “democrats” (SD) – being part of the government is not as unthinkable anymore. The right wing, who previously declared that they would never rule jointly with SD has opened up cooperations in some cities and regions more or less openly. It’s becoming common to almost brag about voting for SD since it’s a sign of not being “fucking PC”. And SD is now polling as the biggest party among men.

On top of that, today the swedish government just built a wall. To stop immigration. Or well, they made the danish people do it. If you need to enter Sweden you need to show an ID card. In order to get immigration down. People being asked in the media what they think about the wall and ID checks are now really upset – because it will prolong their commute back and forth to denmark. Less trains will leave, they will be shorter. Everything designed to keep some people out. Anyone can see where this is heading.

I’m fed up of it all. There’s no political ideologies being discussed. There’s no talk of inclusion. There talk about how to fix the situation is about the wrong situation. How do we stop the war to make sure there’s no refugees? That topic has not been discussed for as long as I can remember in the general press in Scandinavia. And to add insult to all of that, Scandinavian countries are among the top weapons and ammunition manufactorers in the world. They just want to profit from war, but not take the cost of peoples horrors.

I’m fed up with the view that people are “fucking PC”. Being politically correct is something that I value – it simply means that you’re showing respect when talking. A persons gender or heritage is not important to the ideological discussion you’re having. So what the fuck is wrong with being PC? The trend is to be more obnoxious, to be more egotistical. There’s an ideology winning here, that’s not even being described as one. We used to call it fascism, but today we just censor it because we’re so open and not fucking PC. So we can’t call facists fascists anymore.

Today is a day of shame. Today is the day where the most beautiful things I loved about Sweden was taken away from me. The possibility of turning the other way around and going towards an open, inclusive, loving, caring society looks bleek, at best. Today is a day where I hoped people would wake up and start protesting. Last time I crossed the border between Denmark and Sweden I refused to show my ID card. Not because I have something to hide, but because I wanted to show solidarity towards the people that can’t. The police treated me as shit. The people around me was upset that I stopped the line so they could get home for pop idol in time.

But a few people managed to get passed the police, who would not have done that otherwise. The small things do count, but there not a lot of people that do even the smallest of things anymore. We’re becoming a shameful society, living of our old reputation of being an open and beautiful society that is no longer true. We’re perceiving ourselves as we used while closing our eyes to what we are now, and closing to what we are becoming. It starts with the small jokes and attitude changes, it ends up with facism in the government. Sorry for being so fucking PC but: Fuck Scandinavia.

Brasil, WhatsApp, Unfree network

In Brazil, WhatsApp has been temporarily closed for usage. It has been blocked by a court order, because it seems it’s competing with the telephone companies ability of making money from phone calls. That Skype and lots of other systems has been doing the same for years all over the world seems to never have been an issue.

Right now the political climate in Brazil is very heated. There’s an impeachment of the president and the congress is the most conservative it’s been for a very long time. As in most countries in latin america, they progress is away from the left (such as in Argentina).

That WhatsApp is closed down, when used by so many millions of people to organise and assemble, is probably about more than just the competition to the phone operators. If they were really scared of WhatsApp, I highly doubt they would have started selling phone packages that included free WhatsApp traffic – a very common thing in latin america. I’ve been upset that they’re been violating net neutrality and handing WhatsApp unfair competitive advantages, because few would choose apps like Telegram or Signal over WhatsApp when they would cost money to use compared to WhatsApp.

We might get to know in the future what the move about WhatsApp is really grounded in. But one thing is for certain and that is that we have a very unfree internet. When a country can suddenly close down one service like that, it’s hard to navigate around.

But to add pain to the suffering, WhatsApp has decided to not allow links to Telegram within their system. During the switch yesterday, where millions of brasilians rallied to find alternatives to WhatsApp, they could not send eachother links to the second most popular alternative. Another sign of the fact that the internet is centralised to a few select places.

We’re all building our infrastructure and put our trust in these systems. When you need to be able to protest in your country, it’s a bit too late to do it on a platform that works with the government. Or when you need to protest on the platform, it’s a bit too late to do it when it’s the one the government works with.

The single most dangerous thing about our new world is the centralisation. No matter how good and friendly the people are in the companies, they are still centralised services. They will be targets. That’s why I’m stating the obvious – that we do not have an open and free internet anymore. On so many levels we’ve centralised it all. From the ownership of the fibercables to the centralised services we used on top of them. Instead of having millions of “targets” that someone needs to close down in order to not have words spread, it’s enough for a government to contact 4-5 companies and they would have total control of our network. No matter that the underlying design is open, free, documented. No matter that you – technically – could start your own services. The free internet that exists is an island somewhere in the arctic. Noone wants to live there because it’s cold and has no inhabitants. No matter how free.

Put yourself on fire

(NB: I never edit my texts. I put in a dot at the end of a sentence and after that it stays that way. I never rearrange my texts. I never fix splelling erorrs. The point of my writing is to get things out of my mind, not for you to read them. If you don’t like that style, don’t read this text.)

Open letter to, well, everyone? (That’s kind of the idea of open letters?)

The past week an interview with me has made people quite upset. Most seem to only have read the headline that is very ambigous and somewhat misleading about me “giving up”. The point I wanted to make — and I think a lot of people has got that point — is that the state of our interconnected network is a reflection of our unwired world, and hence, it’s useless to look at those two as separate entities. And the state of our unwired world is so fucked up, we need a systematic change. A lot of people, me included, has been trying to fix the system. But we’re fixing the system from within, when the whole system is the problem in itself. And to quote the brainy dude with the hairy hair, Albert Einstein:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

For me it’s getting more and more obvious that we’ve been fighting a meaningless fight. Sure, a lot of things has been slowed down, even temporarily stopped. But look at the end results? What happened with the arab spring? And we still have more surveillance than ever even though Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning has opened our eyes (to what we basically suspected anyhow, but were called conspiracy theorists for saying). But when you’re playing with other peoples rules you don’t have the mandate to change their rules. That’s why I think we need to go beyond that. We can’t do insanity. We shouldn’t waste our time on insanity, however fun it is to be an activist and get attention for good causes. We need to find a cure for the core issue, not lots of cures to all the symptoms arising.

A lot of people has been upset with me telling my view of the world. Even though, as brought up in a Scandinavian culture, I don’t like being looked up to, I do realise that I have some influence. But the people that actually like me, and not the idea of me, should be glad that I’m standing true to what is the essence of me: to try and change things, not just trying to say what is more popular. People that usually talk about freedom of speech tells me I should sit quiet in the sinking boat. Sorry, but that won’t happen.

I’m in here for the endgoal, where the world is equal to everybody, where information is free because it needs to be. Where gender, race, sexuality, origin, money and heritage play no role in who you are. A world where you chose your personality without prejudice, a world where we treat eachother well. A world where power is saught after for embettering the people, not the people with power. A world where taxes is not to be avoided, but to be proudly paid in order to help your next ones. A world where we don’t say our jeans are too expensive when we at the same time poison people in the third world to make them cheaper. In short: a world of empathy, not psychopathy. We won’t achieve that by stroking eachothers egos and pretending it’s all good.

If you have cancer, is it better that the doctor tells you that you have 6 months left to live or tells you to take it easy because nothing is wrong? If you want to achieve change, do you not need to see what needs to be changed? Or do you want to live in denial so that the people that want to opposite of you get a homerun when your back is turned? Meanwhile you read this sentence, a woman probably died of cancer while a man might have survived. It’s because while we were thinking all is good, the gender inbalance got bigger.

While you read this, the world got a bit hotter. The impact on environment this unhealthy world makes is part of the system. And the heat on our surveillance went up – we’re being treated more and more like criminals. While you read this, someones human rights was violated in a prison. In a Swedish prison. Because when we think that those prisons must be like a vacation, noone actually looked into how fucked up it is. Trust me, it is fucked up, I have first hand experience. And that begger you passed recently, did you avoid eye contact with her? Of course you did. Because it’s easier to ignore than to fix.

But turning a blind eye to things and people is the same thing as not being in solidarity. If your eyes are closed you won’t see the errors of our society. If your eyes are open, you will see them, and also the beauty to make it worth fighting for. But more and more people are closing their eyes. And our beloved internet is helping us. We’re getting news that are tailored to our interests – and who’s interested in seeing pain and suffering? We’re getting tailored music – so we don’t have to listen to new music. We’re not expanding our horisons as we used to. We’re looking inward. When we look out, we see that we fit in. Because we’re tailored to our relationships as well. We’re building small isolated worlds, separating ourselves from society. We put headphones on and walk among other people. We could just as easily be zombies, noone would care. When someone falls over, we step around them — why? Because we don’t want to impose. They’ll manage.

We’re sending drones to war. It’s because killing our own is not good PR. It’s big news when someone shoots down a drone – we’re upset with the terrorists that did that. We know the ID number of the drone, there’s descriptions about it in the newspaper. But where’s the name of the faceless 100+ people it might have killed? Where’s their obituaries? People from the wrong countries are less worth than a piece of technology. A piece of technology that will be a christmas present for kids this year. In 10 years time, they’ll be so good at playing with their drones that they will do it for a living. In the military. The targets are people. People they’ll never meet. They’ll never go to the funerals, they’ll go home and drink their beer, fuck their wife, and complain about the mortgage. And then they’ll vote for Trump again, since they’re scared of being replaced with a robot.

But at least they can get to vote. Killed people have no say. And if you’re from the wrong country – i.e. not the united states of america; you have no say in who runs the world. Democracy? Nah. Meritocracy? Nah. The american dream? Yes. It’s all a big dream. Even the dream of the american dream. But it’s better to have something to believe in than nothing at all.

Last week I was in Rio de Janeiro, and by chance ended up on a panel with the awesome Lawrence Lessig. I had no clue I was supposed to be on a panel. Pretty sure it was not planned, brasilian style. We ended up disagreeing. Lessig called me a privileged white man [sic] since I said I wish Donald Trump would win their election — my reasoning was ignored. That I rather pull the bandaid off quickly – and albeit lose some hair, then to hurt longer when I lose the same when pulling it off slowly, is the reason. Just a lot of activists all over the world, Lessig is hard working and incredibly intelligent. But still, we’re not winning this fight, in the way we’re doing it. Doesn’t matter how inspiring your talk is or how right you are. End results matter here.

With Palin or Trump in power in the USA, the world would maybe finally understand that we can’t have one super power that goes amok. I’m not against the USA which a lot of people believe. I’m against a corrupt system that feeds itself with power of things. We’ve concentrated things to that country, for historical reasons. But noone is able to stop it anymore. They can buy the companies that are started outside with all the money they have. Or the money they think they have, having the biggest debt in the world and still being able to call themselves the richest in the world. I’m against beeing foolish. I don’t think it’s wise to put all your eggs in one basket.

As a technologist, I know that we need redundancy, backups and having enough distributed capacity. If one thing breaks, we need another to take it’s place. If it fails anyhow, we need a plan b. And to avoid these things happening at the worst time, we need to have over capacity. Otherwise the system fails. But well, here we are. We have one planet, but treating it as it’s redundant. We have one system taking the other systems out. We have one population, fighting within because of shades of their skin. We have capacity but it’s not distributed. We centralised it all. The food, the money, the power, the decisions. And most of all, we have no plan b, so we can’t try new things or roll back to an old backup.

Some people have called me an accelerationist. But labels are only there to help people to easily package your words into a ready made drawer, instead of listening to them. I’ve gotten the realisation that the only way forward is fast. Faster than the current pace. A fire that is allowed to burn slowly will cause more damage than one that burns so quickly that oxygen runs out around it. So when there’s nothing left to burn, you have to put yourself on fire. Burn your views, throw away the ashes. See if you come up with the same world view when you start with a fresh look. Zoom out, look for yourself.

Lovingly, I always say that I never want people to think like me, I just want them to think. And if they then don’t think like me, they’re wrong. But prove me wrong. You can’t. No, the world is not coming to an end, but our freedoms are being stripped away, slowly, replaced by a new word which is also freedom. The freedom to be monitored for our freedom. The freedom of being a slave to the bank for your freedom to take care of the banks property. Let’s not replace freedom with “freedom”. Let’s replace the broken system with a new one, even if it’s going to hurt for a while. Maybe earth needs just one thing to heat it up, us burning the system down.

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.