[Diggers350] Digital commons pioneers get the Guantanamo Bay treatment

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at gn.apc.org
Thu Dec 19 06:22:37 GMT 2013

On Thu, 2013-12-19 at 00:56 +0000, Tony Gosling wrote:
> What do you make of this?
> To me it looks like the beginning of the end of file sharing but is 
> that a good thing?

More than a decade before Anonymous I was doing stuff on-line, certainly
well before any of this started to get cool and fashionable! E.g. --

The reason I stopped doing that stuff was because:

a) The authorities really started going bonkers, especially after my
involvement with on-line protests at Seattle ('99) and Quebec ('01) --
e.g., I was told back in 2000 that I should never go to US territory
because they'd nab me if I did (...yeah, no great loss there then!);

b) Most importantly, after five years working on that means of
campaigning/working, I realised that it didn't actually mean anything.

Yes, it looks cool, and you really wind up the state; but the problem
with virtual action is that it's product is 'virtual' -- it doesn't
really create anything which has innate value outside of those
technological structures, and certainly nothing with permanence.

The fact is that Bittorrent is just a means of moving data -- nothing
more. It doesn't help secure privacy or freedom of communications, it
just moves blocks of data from A to B.

Back in 2000 to 2002, when I was helping journalists/human rights groups
get data in/out of places like Ukraine, Zimbabwe and Kyrgyzstan, we were
piggy-backing communications within everyday traffic -- like digital
sound recordings or on-line images. If you want to communicate from A to
B there are in fact far easier ways to do that today. E.g., a decade ago
we didn't have cheap memory sticks, sim cards, mp3 players or
point-to-point wifi.

Today I'm militantly anti-Facebook, Twatter et. al. because they're far
more of a restriction on free communications than anything the state has
dreamt up. Not only do you have no enforceable rights to communicate
using these systems, more importantly they're "honeypots" which allow
the state and corporations to more easily monitor what people are

Perhaps more significantly, the ecological impacts of using Facebook et.
al. are far greater -- perhaps 10 times worse -- than using good
old-fashioned email and static web pages.

If Bittorrent goes -- which is possible because it's a highly
noticeable/unique form of linking computers together -- it's no great
loss; in fact the Government would be creating a problem for their
"friends" because increasingly corporations use the Bittorrent standard
because its a lightweight/efficient means of synchronising data across

But it won't be a great loss because there's plenty of other, equally
effective means of communication digitally.

Most importantly, if you really want to preserve your digital rights
then you should: switch from free social media to lower-tech/static
forms of communication (text-based email/static web services); get rid
of your smart phones (too easily surveilled/monitored); stop using
Microsoft products (as the Snowdon affair has shown, Microsoft make
their systems surveillance-friendly); and switch all your
digital/computing need to free software (e.g. Linux).

That not only free you up from an awful lot of the built-in corporate
surveillance, but using free software opens up a whole range of cheap
and simple means to communicate which are not so easily/securely
available on Micro$oft/Mac systems.



"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
tel./fax (+44/0)1295 261864
email - mobbsey at gn.apc.org
website - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/index.shtml
public key - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/mobbsey_public_key-2013-2.asc
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