This video is (a) Not Safe for Family Viewing, (b) Not Safe for Work Viewing, and (c) Pretty Much Entirely Accurate.
– Lauren Weinstein
This video is (a) Not Safe for Family Viewing, (b) Not Safe for Work Viewing, and (c) Pretty Much Entirely Accurate.
– Lauren Weinstein
More and more people are now turning away from facebook, they are sick of being abused for profit and seeing their personal privacy violated for greed.
Marc Zuckerberg has become the one person most people would rather not be seen dead with.
Brilliant talk by Amanda Palmer on crowd sourcing and community supported music.
The days of musicians standing aloof from those who support their music are long gone, but this has yet get through to most musicians.
Aaron did not commit suicide, but was killed by the government. Someone who made the world a better place was pushed to his death by the government. — Robert Swartz, father of Aaron Swartz
Yesterday (Saturday) hundreds attended the memorial in New York for internet activist Aaron Swartz who was found hanged, driven to his death by a vindictive Public Prosecutor and US Department of Justice.
He was so scared and so frustrated and so desperate and, more than anything else, just so weary. I think he just couldn’t take it another day. In the end, he couldn’t allow (prosecutors) to control him, either.
When we’re young we think our cause is a sprint, and when we’re middle-aged we thing is it’s a marathon. But when we’re old we think it’s a relay race. And Aaron was the one you wanted to hand it off to.
Roy Singham, a close collaborator with Aaron Swartz who founded the Freedom to Connect initiative:
This was not suicide. It was murder by intimidation, bullying and torment. We must demand accountability for those who tormented Aaron. He was, in my humble opinion, one of the true extraordinary revolutionaries that this country has produced.
Grandson of activist folk singer Pete Seeger, Kitama Jackson, read a note from his grandfather:
These modern times are filled with such contradictions that experts are not agreed on what the future of the human race will be. But we can agree today that it was a tragedy for this brilliant young man to be so threatened that he hanged himself.
The Public Prosecutor who drove Aaron Swartz to his death should be driven out of public office, she is not fit to hold any public office, not even that of public rat catcher. Nor is she fit to practice law, the Bar Association should strip her of her licence to practice law.
Contrast Aaron Swartz with facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Aaron Swartz worked for the common good, was an advocate of an open internet, believed public information should be made public. Mark Zuckerberg works for his own private greed, violates personal privacy for monetary gain, is trying to turn an open internet into a privately controlled intranet.
Demand Progress, founded by Aaron Swartz, is asking you to sign their petition and demand justice for Aaron Swartz. Their demands, our demands will make a fitting memorial, that his early death was not for nothing.
Representative Zoe Lofgren has introduced what’s been named “Aaron’s Law.” It would fix a key part of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which is one of the statutes under which Aaron was indicted. We need to pass Aaron’s Law AND further amend the CFAA.
The CFAA makes violations of a website’s terms of service agreement or user agreement — that fine print you never read before you check the box next to it — a FELONY, potentially punishable by many years in prison. That’s how over-broad this dangerous statute is, and one way it lets showboating prosecutors file charges against people who’ve done nothing wrong.
Aaron’s Law would decriminalize violating these agreements: They’re essentially contracts, and as with other contracts, disputes about them should be settled in civil courts rather than in out of control criminal trials under threat of decades of prison time. As currently written, Aaron’s Law alone wouldn’t have saved Aaron — there is still more to do to make sure that victimless computer activities are not charged as felonies — but this is a solid start that we can pass now and it’s a law he wanted to change. Then we’ll keep pushing forward.
Additionally, Congressman Darrell Issa — who controls the powerful Oversight Committee — has been asked to open an investigation into prosecutorial misconduct in Aaron’s case. Amazingly, he’s already responded and is dispatching a staffer to investigate the US. Attorney who was pressing charges against Aaron.
We want the inquiry to proceed, and to be broadened to include a more thorough investigation into rampant over-prosecution of alleged crimes with no victims — as in the case of what Aaron was accused of. And we want those who abused their power to be held to account.
We loved Aaron — so many people loved Aaron — and his death is tragic. We and others who were close to him are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, and the calls for justice. Thank you for joining us in that fight.
Please ensure this is widely shared. Please do not let the death of Aaron Swartz be for nothing.
Yesterday was also Internet Freedom Day, the first anniversary of the killing dead of Sopa. Aaron Swartz was instrumental in leading the fight against Sopa, which made him a target and led to him paying the ultimate price, his life.
Tags:Aaron Swartz, Aaron Swartz Public Memorial Service at Cooper Union, Internet Freedom Day, InternetFreedomDay
Posted in communications, democracy, social justice, social networks | Leave a Comment »
One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. — Martin Luther King
WTF, I Have a Dream is copyrighted!
One of the most famous speeches of the 20th century is copyrighted.
Today we celebrate the first anniversary of the defeat of SOPA. On Monday we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We’re asking everyone to engage in a small act of civil disobedience and share this video of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
Dr. King’s call for racial justice is as relevant today as it was in 1963. But the video can’t be watched online by a new generation, because it’s copyrighted until 2038. Had SOPA and PIPA passed last year, you could have gone to jail for sharing this video, and entire websites could have been shut down just for linking to it. This speech is too important to be censored by a broken copyright system.
One of those instrumental in the defeat of Sopa was Aaron Swartz who last week was driven to his death by a vindictive US Department of Justice and public prosecutor.
Cowards at vimeo have taken this video down.
Please share whilst we can this video to highlight we have a broken copyright system.
The irony, the film Lincoln is released and we still have oppression.
Whilst we may feel sorry for the staff who have lost their jobs or will lose their jobs, we should not mourn the loss of Jessops, HMV or Blockbuster. All three were rubbish retailers who will not be missed.
My experience of Jessops was they knew nothing of cameras. They would feed a customer any bullshit to flog a camera.
My experience of HMV, loud, moronic, distorted music blasting out. It was as though they deliberately wished to drive people out of the shop. You did not walk in and think, I wonder what that is, it sounds interesting, I might like to buy it. I would walk in, turn on my heels and walk out. Staff lacking any knowledge of music, very poor choice. In recent years they have completely lost their way, very little music, boxed sets of rubbish TV programmes, iPads.
I would differentiate HMV shops from HMV record label. The record label has been destroyed by greed, turning music into a commodity (which is all the HMV shops stock) and criminalising those who love music. This is true of all the big record labels. If you treat potential customers as criminals, then you deserve to fail. And who needs record labels?
HMV still trading are refusing to honour gift vouchers. Staff should do the decent thing, ignore management edicts and honour these gift vouchers. After all nothing to lose, you are losing your jobs and not getting paid. Some staff are now occupying HMV stores due to the failure to pay their wages.
My experience of Blockbusters, badly scratched DVDs that were unplayable, very poor choice of films, multiple copies of the same Hollywood rubbish. Small selection of foreign films was better. Unbelievably rude staff who seemed to be Asda rejects.
London Camera Exchange know their stuff, do not try to sell you anything, and you do not feel you are dealing with a chain.
For DVDs, libraries offer a far better choice, as does Ben’s Records.
These retailers are no loss. They made every High Street look the same
Boston has recently been griping at the dire state of its High Street. But why should anyone visit when every High Street looks the same, Clone Town, same shops.
It is corrupt and incompetent planners in bed with greedy developers who have made all our High Streets look the same. Councillors now wringing their hands and shedding crocodile tears are the same councillors who gave planning consent and backing for unwanted retail development that crushed independent businesses. Our High Streets are now paying the ultimate price of Clone Town, now they are all the same boarded-up shops.
Aldershot is the classic example of a town destroyed by a local council with hypocritical two-faced councillors shedding crocodile tears over the dire state of the town centre. The same council is now in bed with McDonald’s trying to destroy The Tumbledown Dick, an old coaching inn in Farnborough.
Loss of these rubbish retail chains provides a space for independent retailers to move in and offer a better service.
Lincoln is unusual in that it has a high number of independent coffee shops. But this owes no thanks to the City Council. When Stokes tried to create a downstairs coffee bar in their lovely old building on the High Bridge in Lincoln, they faced a two year battle. Sincil Street, the only remaining heritage outside the Central Market, is facing destruction It is an area of small, local businesses.
Contrast with North Laine in Brighton, lots of quirky independent businesses very popular.
Local businesses recycle money within a local economy, chains drain money out of the local economy. If you are worried about the dire state of the High Street, the last thing you want is national retail chains draining money out of a collapsing local economy.
The next chain to fail will be Waterstone’s.
A petition has been launched by two independent bookshops blaming Amazon for failing High Street. They are wrong. It was the chains that killed our independent shops and turned our towns into Clone Towns.
It is Waterstone’s that has killed our independent bookshops. When they do deals on books offering for half price or less, it is predatory pricing designed to destroy independent bookshops. We have lost a quarter in a period of five years. Waterstone’s displays books based on what the publisher will pay, not on merit. I have yet to find a Waterstone’s that has Neverseconds on display or staff that know of the book, even though it has had masses of publicity.
Contrast with Bassano del Grappa, four independent bookshops happily co-existing.
Yes, Amazon dodges tax, but then so does Starbucks. Address the tax dodging, but do not muddy the waters by conflating with other issues.
There is something seriously wrong with our economy when it is dependent upon pointless consumer spending in the High Street. This dates from the 1950s when it was seen we were producing far more than we needed. People had to be conned into buying what they did not need. We have also seen a massive expansion of retail space. Neither was sustainable. The planet cannot sustain, neither could the High Street at a time of austerity and triple dip recession. What we are seeing is necessary readjustment, from a system that was not sustainable, where people shop locally, value independent retailers, value their local heritage.
We should see the loss of HMV, Jessops, Blockbuster, and hopefully Waterstone’s, as an opportunity to rejuvenate our High Streets. Places where once again it is a joy to be.
Tags:Blockbuster, clone town, High Street, HMV, Jessops, local economies local economy, Why mourn failing High Street retailers?
Posted in Aldershot, Brighton, economics, Godalming, Guildford, Lincoln, social behaviour, social networks | 3 Comments »
Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep. — Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of world wide web
Aaron did more than almost anyone to make the Internet a thriving ecosystem for open knowledge, and to keep it that way. — Peter Eckersley, Electronic Frontier Foundation
I know a criminal hack when I see it, and Aaron’s downloading of journal articles from an unlocked closet is not an offense worth 35 years in jail. — Alex Stamos
Here is where we need a better sense of justice, and shame. For the outrageousness in this story is not just Aaron. It is also the absurdity of the prosecutor’s behaviour. — Lawrence Lessig, Harvard law professor and ex-mentor
Aaron had an unbeatable combination of political insight, technical skill, and intelligence about people and issues. I think he could have revolutionized American (and worldwide) politics. His legacy may still yet do so. — Cory Doctorow
When Vince Cerf helped develop the internet it was to be an open system to enable the free flow of information, specifically designed to circumvent road blocks on the information highway.
Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web, it was, as he said at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, his gift to the world.
Much as I may criticise Wikipedia as being a source of flawed, unreliable information, it does at least comply with the ethos of the internet of providing free uncensored information.
The World Wide Web and the internet are a global commons, we pay our dues for what we withdraw by ourselves contributing information.
Open Source software is created by a joint effort of talented software designers who make their efforts available free for all to use.
Creative Commons is a means of distributing information without the restriction of copyright, but wish still retaining rights to stop commercial exploitation.
There are though Dark Forces who wish to push the opposite way.
Hollywood, and music industry, and now book publishers, often one and the same global corporations, try to criminalise those who wish to see the free flow of information.
DRM is a pernicious addition to e-books. It restricts where and how you can read an e-book. Those with the ability strip it off.
Aaron Swartz was an internet pioneer, an advocate of internet freedom and free flow of information. He helped develop RSS, he helped found Reddit, he founded and/or supported Change Congress/FixCongressFirst/Rootstrikers, and then Demand Progress, he fought Sopa, he liberated millions of academic papers.
On Friday Aaron Swartz was found hanged, hounded to his death by the US Department of Justice.
Aaron Swartz was right to liberate academic papers. This is part of our common heritage, should be in the public domain. Not though the view of the Department of Justice, they wished to see a life sentence handed down, the sentence normally reserved for violent crimes.
We saw Gary McKinnon hounded by the so-called US Justice Authorities, but luckily the British stood firm and refused to extradite.
Bradley Manning has been detained for an indefinite period in a tiny cell. No charges have been laid.
Hacking should not be a criminal offence, at worse trespass has taken place. If malicious, then prosecute for criminal damage or release of personal information.
Release of academic information into the public domain should be applauded nor persecuted.
Aaron Swartz did not hack into MIT to access the academic papers, he merely wrote a script to make a large number of downloads, nothing more, and yet for doing what he already has authorisation for individual downloads (he simply automated the process) he was facing life imprisonment.
The public prosecutor who hounded Aaron Swartz to his death must be stripped by the American Bar Association of her licence to practice and barred for life for practising law. She abused her office and has shown she is not fit to hold any public office, not even local rat catcher.
Facebook turns into a business model the violation of personal privacy, it is trying to turn the open internet into a private for profit intranet, aided and abetted by people like Paulo Coelho, an advocate of an open internet who should no better, who foolishly enabled facebook comments on his blog.
This is not to argue that people should not benefit from their intellectual endeavours. There are sites like bandcamp that puts money straight into the pocket of creative artists for their intellectual endeavours, whilst at the same time making sharing easy. The two are not mutually exclusive.
We live in a world where the bankers, those who caused the financial crash, are fêted at the White House, not rotting in gaol as should be, where Obama appoints a torturer to head the CIA.
For many Aaron Swartz was simply known as @aaronsw, for many others he was merely known through his good works.
We can all pay tribute to Aaron Swartz, not by mourning his untimely death, sad as though it is, but by celebrating his good work and most importantly continuing his fight against the Dark Forces who wish to abuse the internet and stop the free flow of information.
There are days when sitting down to write is a joy. This isn’t one of them.
I’ve been accused of pacing like a caged animal while thinking, and of my initial observable reactions to tragedy seeming more analytical than emotional.
And truth be told, today I have indeed worn a deep furrow in my cage, and my protective channeling of Mr. Spock is very much in full bloom. There’s time for crying later.
In the case of Aaron Swartz’s suicide at age 26, we begin at the end of the story, can flashback to origins, and in doing so we find a very broad, and to some extent largely predictable, cast of characters and events.
Entangled with the immediate horror of Aaron’s death are a set of ironies suitable for a Shakespearean drama.
It’s been noted that Aaron apparently took his life two years to the day after his arrest by MIT authorities for the JSTOR-related break-ins and thefts of which he had been accused and was awaiting trial. And the fact that just a couple of days ago, it was announced that JSTOR documents would (on a limited basis) become available for free public access is also impossible to ignore. To speculate that both of these points played into Aaron’s thinking, given the public knowledge that he had been struggling with depression for years before any of these events took place, seems entirely reasonable, and immensely disturbing.
But the awful irony is that none of this needed to have occurred at all.
For the ultimate outcome of the underlying battle in which Aaron and others in the “information should be free” movement have been fighting — whether one agrees with this perspective or not — has already been decided, and neither sacrifices nor crucifictions are likely to change the long-term course of events.
Indeed, the traditional concept of copyright and content control is already doomed by technological changes — the ability to quickly copy, store, preserve, mirror, and communicate data around the world nearly instantaneously.
Business models predicated on limiting access to data, either by assuming time and expense in duplication and transfer, or via false confidence in fragile Digital Rights Management (DRM) and other so-called “anti-piracy” measures, are rapidly becoming zombies now, still acting as if their old status quo could last forever, while the real world passes them by.
True, this process has not proceeded as rapidly as some would like. It is, in many respects, like an enormous steamroller lumbering toward a destination that is already set and immutable. And like when dealing with a steamroller, anyone who gets in its path, either to try block its progress or even to urge it onward, runs the risk of being crushed by its plodding yet relentless movement.
It’s tempting to oversimplify the tragedy in this case, but the players are many and there is painful blame to spread far and wide.
Major content producers, by pushing for the criminalization of associated “hacking” and data thefts to be treated more harshly in many cases than crimes of violence — all to try protect their obsolete business models — carry much of the guilt.
The politicians who then acted to create associated draconian penalties subject to overzealous invocation, and the publicity-seeking prosecutors who use prosecutorial discretion as a lethal weapon, certainly share the blame as well.
Saddest to say, Aaron himself played a major role too, voluntarily painting a giant target on his own back, not just through the scope of the unauthorized data copying of which he was accused, but by reportedly physically entering MIT network wiring closets and planting computers there for months at a time as part of the process.
That Aaron felt he was morally justified in his actions is clear — and unfortunately irrelevant to the government’s interest in “making an example” of his behaviors in particular.
And while it’s obvious to virtually all observers that the government vastly overstepped the bounds of appropriate prosecution in this case, it is also sadly true that their reaction to this sort of situation — given the recently toughened laws that had been put in place at the time — should not have come as an enormous surprise. Remember that steamroller.
Which brings us back to the present, and the needless death of a young man who really had only begun to live.
While the sorts of theoretical maximum sentences and fines that have been discussed for his case sound very alarming, the reality is that federal sentencing guidelines, especially for relatively young first offenders, point to vastly lessor penalties, especially when the government proceeded to prosecution without the support of the technically aggrieved parties, as in this case.
But that’s small comfort in the end. Nobody wants to go to prison at all, and the personal financial result from such a trial, even with the best possible outcomes for a defendant, would still probably be ruinous.
I likened all this to a Shakespearean drama earlier — but perhaps a Greek tragedy is more apt an analogy.
When we mere imperfect mortals deem to pit even our most righteous beliefs against the timorous gods of old, it is simultaneously an act of faith and the voluntary assumption of enormous risk, for the gods of obsolescence still possess mighty powers indeed.
In the end, the old gods of information scarcity and control will indeed die, and more open models will win the future.
Until then, as the path leading to that future continues to be laid through battles yet to come, it might do us well to ponder the many killers of Aaron Swartz, and the very human guilt and frailties that we all — each and ever one of us — must jointly share.
Rest in peace, Aaron.
– Lauren Weinstein
Re-post of original article by Lauren Weinstein.
Over Christmas an updated version of Martha, Meals and Malawi was broadcast. They tacked on the end what had happened since the trip to Malawi, for example award from Liberty. It is a pity though the BBC did not extend the running time of the programme, as it meant something had to be edited out of the original programme.
Since the original broadcast of Martha, Meals and Malawi, has seen the publication of NeverSeconds, telling the behind the scenes story of NeverSeconds. Shame on Waterstone’s for not having NeverSeconds on display.
BBC Radio Scotland broadcast a half hour documentary.
Most end of year reviews featured Martha and her blog.
The year ended with NeverSeconds clocking up over nine million hits.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead
Martha is such an inspiration to anyone who wants to make a difference. She’s a true hero. — Jamie Oliver
When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. — Paulo Coelho
An amazing year for Martha Payne, who who eight months ago as a nine-year old Scottish schoolgirl set up a food blog to rate her school dinners. Little did she know what the year would bring.
Although she set up her blog NeverSeconds at the end of April, her first real post was early May. That first entry saw over 35,000 visits to her blog.
A blog that was well written, thoughtful. Something for everyone to be proud of. Not though Argyll and Bute Council. Instead of highlighting her as an example of the high standard of education in Scotland, they lied, they smeared the family and bully-boys at the council tried to shut her blog down.
They picked on the wrong person. Martha stood firm. She was honoured by Liberty for standing up for free speech.
Argyll and Bute Council have still to apologise for bullying a nine-year-old schoolgirl, for lying, for smearing a decent family.
Not content with writing about her school dinners she shared her blog with others. She invited schoolchildren from around the world to write guest blogs. When they did, they only served to emphasise how disgusting were the school dinners in Scotland. She inspired others to write blogs, to campaign for better conditions in their schools. She used her bog to raise money via Mary’s Meals for schoolchildren in Malawi.
Martha was invited to Malawi to inaugurate a school kitchen for which she had raised the money. She and her family travelled to Malawi.
With her father David, Martha has co-authored a book NeverSeconds which documents her eventful year. For each copy sold, 25 meals for Malawi.
Shame on Waterstone’s, a disgrace as a bookshop chain, better described as a chain that sells books, for failing to have NeverSeconds on display, whose staff have not a clue.
Martha has featured in most of the year end reviews for 2012.
As the year draws to a close, Cargo Publishing are to be praised for their generosity in making NeverSeconds available for download at 99p. In reality this is a donation of 25 meals to Malawi with a free copy of NeverSeconds.
As the minutes drain away from the final hours of 2012, what better way to thank Martha than to see her blog pass nine million visits.
Martha is the good news story of 2012. Please tell all your friends.
Well done Martha. We are all very proud of you. Every award you received during the year was well and truly deserved.
Never let it be said one person cannot achieve a lot. This is what Martha achieved in 2012. What are you going to achieve in 2013?
Tags:Argyll and Bute council, food, Malawi, Martha Payne, Mary's Meals, NeverSeconds, NeverSeconds exceeds nine million hits, school meals
Posted in books, food, NeverSeconds, social networks | Leave a Comment »
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