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Annual "Freedom to Connect" meetings in Washington, DC bring together
people who believe connecting to the Internet is a basic right
for everyone. The Internet we wish to build and connect to should
be fast and charge the same rates to anyone who wants a ticket to
ride. Our fight -- the fight of any politically active
person -- for freedom to connect, for great bandwidth worthy of a great
nation, for net neutrality -- all this has now been made harder by the
imposition of government surveillance on the Internet. This
burdens any politically active person with the possible need to build
anonymity and encryption technology into the Internet, as well as
presenting any activist with potential threats to their activism.
Here are suggestions of people we should bring to Freedom to Connect
meetings to explain this new threat to both our freedom and our
Internet. The suggestions were well-received at the last (5/2012)
THE DARK SIDE
As great as our speaker agenda is, are we missing something?
J. I. Nelson, Ph.D
at Freedom to Connect 2012 May 21
"...the Internet and e-mail are the most surveillance-friendly media ever
--M.A. Caloyannides, Mitretek Systems, writing in
"The internet is the most liberating
tool for humanity ever invented, and also the best for surveillance.
It's not one or the other. It's both."
Institute for Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE) SPECTRUM, 5/2000 p. 47.
--John Perry Barlow, co-founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation, 2012
"While I care a lot about government spying on US citizens ... I am not sure that he'd [James Bamford] be a fit for F2C"
--David Isenberg, organizer, Freedom to Connect, March 2012
Freedom to Connect is great because great speakers
keep us ahead of the curve. But aren’t we missing half the Internet
story, its dark side? Think about whom you'd invite and state
those concerns. Freedoms don't come easily. Everyone here
understands that we face a tough game. Here are a few suggestions:
MARK KLINE - TAPPED
The Internet backbone is tapped in
major American cities. Duplicate packet streams go to the Nat’l
Security Agency (NSA). Search "AMAZON: Wiring up the Big Brother Machine" for Mark Kline's book and then invite him to tell us where we stand now.
JAMES BAMFORD - STORED
You live your life on the Internet -- got a good backup or archive of all that?
Some of us knew of the government's big data storage center in San Antonio (search "470,000 NSA"), but it took James Bamford to find the NSA’s 1 million square foot Internet data complex in Bluffdale, UT (search "WIRED Bamford").
If you succeed enough to become a person of interest, you probably
can’t dig up records of donated cash and context for everything
you’ve done, but someone else may sit you down and tell you about
JACOB APPELBAUM – EVERY LOG-IN & THE COMPUTER TOO
Jake Appelbaum has been in Egypt,
Jordan, Syria, Tunisia and Hong Kong training activists how to avoid
the surveillance now built into the Internet (search TOR Arab activists Jacob Appelbaum).
But the Internet anonymity methods Jake taught activists fighting for
civic society happen also to be used by whistle blowers on our
own government's secrecy. Jacob Appelbaum is now a "person
of interest" whose computers and cellphones are so routinely
impounded at airports that he never travels abroad with them
anymore. From Alexandria Egypt to Zucotti Park, this is a story
Jake should be invited to tell us here.
ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF): PROTECT YOURSELF
EFF first saw problems overseas, and gave us: "A Practical Guide to Internet Technology for Political Activists in Repressive Regimes."
Then the problems came home. EFF offered a how-to guide to Fight Government Spying: A Primer on Surveillance Self-Defense (details behind the primer: ssd.eff.org).
Here at F2C meetings, EFF board members and legal staff have spoken
before. It is time to have them again. Search "EFF Internet eavesdropping" while you wait.
JOHN PERRY BARLOW – AFTER YOUR WEBSITE DISAPPEARS
The government commands, and Domain
Name Service (DNS) ceases – your Website name
disappears. Following the seizure of 82 domain names by U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, forget about the sanctity of the
Internet's "root servers". Then Senator Joe Lieberman speaks, and
your Website itself goes dark just as PayPal, MasterCard and VISA
cut off your funding so you can't afford to buy and site new servers
someplace else. Freedom on the Internet is only as strong as your
I was pleased to meet John Perry
Barlow at the first Washington, DC Freedom to Connect meeting (2005). Looking at Internet
providers and other corporations today, Barlow sees arbitrary
power. "We now have private organisations with the ability to
stifle free expression. These companies have no bill of rights
that applies to their action – they only have terms of
service." What’s Barlow’s new project with Daniel Ellsberg?
It is time for Barlow to speak again at F2C.
FREEDOM TO CONNECT – MY 2 BITS
At F2C, a policy goal is the
separation of whomever runs fat, dumb pipes from the Comcasts of the
world, who will push their own content. Separating "pipe"
and "content" ownership will someday get corporations out of our
way. Good. That leaves us with our own wealthy, powerful,
and governing entities sitting on the data, sitting on the switches,
and saying nothing to nobody. F2C is not a meeting of the
unaware. We come here to face reality and fight for change.
F2C has always looked at the impact
of the Internet on society, and the backlash. F2C has always had
something more precious than policy in Washington DC: reality
contact. Freedom to connect to the ultimate surveillance tool is not
the freedom we seek.
J. I. Nelson, Ph.D.
Society for Neuroscience
jerry (at) nelsonic (dot) org
How warrantless wiretapping works
your piece is contrary to my technical knowledge of encryption,
telephony, vice recognition or data mining techniques. I found it
lucid, compelling and informative. Thanks for that.
Edward A. Youngs
Bell Labs, Bellcore/Telcorida, USWEST
Mini-Tutorial: The National Infrastructures for Voice and for Data Communications
and required reading for anyone who wants to start getting serious about this field.
Tim (Prof. Timothy Wu)
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