Ulrike Reinhard posted a nice "best of" video of our DIY Video panel. The panel was a lot of fun. The moderator was Howard Rheingold and the panelists were John Seely Brown, Yochai Benkler, Henry Jenkins and me.
Recently in Activism Category
Benetech creates technology that serves humanity by blending social conscience with Silicon Valley expertise. We build innovative solutions that have lasting impact on critical needs around the world.Webcams and other digital communication could give ordinary people feedback on results acheived due to donation of their money and time.
This would give the power of oversight formerly reserved for wealthy philanthropists.
Does this hint toward disruptive digital technology underming the NGO world with individualized philanthropy that cuts out the middle men?
Posted by thomas crampton
After spending several days in the Paris suburbs and filing stories non-stop all day today, a few things struck me.
The underlying feeling I got from the young people in Clichy-sous-Bois - where the troubles began - is total despair with no way out.
Seems there must be CK Prahalad opportunities for these young people to make a fortune - or at least a living - if they are given half a chance.
What ideas for businesses or projects that can bring hope to despairing young people in a high rise ghetto?
Are there successful models of what can be done?
Posted by thomas crampton
Defining the poor is common (The World Bank's one dollar per day level, for example)
But who are the rich?
If you can read this posting, you are likely rich.
Anyone with a university education and an income at or above the lower-middle class level for an OECD country is rich, I would argue. Being rich is more about having time and freedom to make choices about your life than bagfulls of money.
Joi's latest posting may suggest a way to measure wealth through a Technorati rating!
What is the best metric to define someone as rich?
Posted by thomas crampton
My minor hand operation this week highlighted to me how journalism/blogging are literally manual labor.
Also, my ability to tell many people about this injury reminds me of how repetitive strain injury/carpal tunnel syndrome only became something of broad public concern when the chattering classes (ie: white collar workers, including journalists) were hit due to their typing on computer keyboards.
Throughout the industrial revolution, however, the same problem had afflicted manual laborers who could not bring their problem to a wider audience. (Lately there seem to be fewer complaints about it here at the International Herald Tribune, perhaps because there is a greater understanding of ergonomics.)
Must be many examples of diseases that only became well known when they also became diseases of the rich. Any interesting ones?
Posted by Thomas Crampton
Three questions regarding the Committee to Protect Journalists today naming online journalist Shi Tao as a winner of the International Press Freedom Award.
His 10-year sentence to a Chinese prison came partly due to a disclosure about him by Yahoo!.
1- Do employees of Yahoo! feel responsible for/comfortable with this man going to prison? (Will they, for example, send care packages or join a letter-writing campaign petitioning the government of China for his release?)
2- How do users of Yahoo! feel about the company's privacy policies? (Or privacy policies of other Internet companies, for that matter.)
3- As a journalist who has had many police encounters in countries with nasty authoritarian dictatorships, I am always very concerned about the safety of those with whom I interact. Does online interaction lead to a sense of diminished responsibility? Do we need to see someone's face or visit their family at home to feel their pain?
Global Voices Live Chat on Handbook for Bloggers & Cyber-Dissidents going on right now. Join us at #globalvoices on Freenode. For more information see the post on the Global Voices blog.
Update: Just ending now. Will post link to transcripts when they've been posted.
It's a bit scary when "normal" shifts like this.BBCUS teens 'reject' key freedoms
A significant number of US high-school students regard their constitutional right to freedom of speech as excessive, according to a new survey.
Over a third of the 100,000 students questioned felt the First Amendment went "too far" in guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, worship and assembly.
Only half felt newspapers should be allowed to publish stories that did not have the government's approval.
Here is an old Encyclopedia Britannica Films video clip from 1946 (I think) about despotism that they showed to children in schools. Amazing how things have changed. I wonder what kids would think now watching this clip.
Via Greg Elin
I've been reading all of the news about Katrina and feeling more and more guilty about not being able to do anything to help and not blogging about it at all. I think Xeni and others who have been tirelessly blogging about and doing something about it are doing an amazing job.
Each morning, I've been just choking up reading the front page of the newspaper, not even being able to make it past the first page. I really don't know what to say... so I haven't said anything.
However, chatting with some people and reading some of the blogs, I am beginning to wonder if the government is really doing everything possible. I wonder about the allegations of treating the underprivileged victims as more "expendable". I realize this is quite a harsh allegation, but something that I wonder about none the less. How much airplay is this opinion getting in the US and what is the public sentiment about this?
UPDATE: ("not being able to do anything to help" other than giving to the Red Cross which I have done.)
I'm at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland. Perfect weather, nice town, good conference, good folks. This is my first time in Portland (I think), and my first OSCON. Having recently joined the OSI and Mozilla Foundation board, I'm getting to know the open source community and I am enjoying it very much. I have always had a respectful, but slightly distant relationship with the community having found it a bit intimidating. I'd always been a supporter, promoter and friend, but now I am becoming a participant. I saw Steve Gillmor and Doc Searls wandering the halls of OSCON together and they were totally in their medium.
For now, I think my contribution to this community will be help with the international perspective and help with some of the non-profit organization issues. It is amazing how many of the same issues many of these non-profits face, particularly on international issues. Desiree, Veni and I have been talking about making a "starter kit" for new countries. It would have instructions on how to set up local presences for CPSR, ISOC, Mozilla, OSI, CC, Wikipedia and a variety of other Open Source/Internet/Free Culture movements. More so than in the US, the people involved in these movements in the smaller countries are often the same people.
I was recently elected to the board of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR). I had been a member for quite awhile and have been the Treasurer of the Japan chapter since we started it in 2002. CPSR has thousands of members and has incubated a number of important projects including the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). I hope that I can help CPSR mobilize more members for what I believe is a very important mandate that CPSR has. I'll keep you all posted on the activities, but take a look at the web page if you are interested in getting involved.
Global Voices has undergone a redesign. Nice look. Congrats to all involved.
Ethan is clearly weary and skeptical as are many of the Africans. I can understand this. However, I think Live 8 is a good thing. Although the concert may not have the effect on the G8 meeting that some people hope it will, I think that the concern will reach a broad audience and increase awareness. We should not forget how few people even realize there is a problem in Africa. I understand the arguments about nuances and stereotyping. They are valid. But I believe the benefits outweigh the costs in such an effort to "get the word out". The average person won't get the nuance. Not yet at least.
Also, I don't think it's fair to slam people for having fun or for the promoters for trying to add to their career. I think it's all part of getting things like this to happen. If you read any of the books or diaries of leaders of the various political movements and protests in the 60's, most of them were having a lot of fun. That didn't make the movements less effective or relevant.
QTVR Photo of Live 8 goers having fun in Philadelphia by Hans Nyberg
Technorati Tags: live8
Micah Sifry has written a nice piece about why wifi and cheap broadband is an essential enabler and more important than direct aid for communities which need help. He references various examples and source. I completely agree. I remember speaking to a UN diplomat who said that the Internet has changed the face of global policy making. He told us that the Anti-Personal Land-mine Treaty would not have happened if it weren't for email and the ability for NGOs to get information, organize and pressure governments and the UN using the Internet. I believe that at every level, it is essential to empower individuals and communities with a voice and the Internet is in a position to enable people for the first time at a reasonable cost. It is about global voices.
I believe that it is easy enough to run a basic Wifi, Internet and Voice over IP network that in many cases municipal governments can run them. I realize this hurts competition and this is what Verizon argued when they tried to stop Philadelphia for setting up their own Wifi network, but I think it would be better than what we have now. In many places broadband is controlled by organizations that are effectively monopolies anyway. See for example the new ruling in the US that cable companies don't have to allow others to provide access through their network. Would you rather have the network run by a monopoly that is controlled by a bunch of greedy shareholders or a local government that the people at least have some control over?
People will argue that allowing local governments to operate networks will stifle innovation because of lack of competition. I think that the benefit is worth the cost of providing cheaper and more universal access. The network is becoming less and less a "service" and more and more a "thing". You can buy a bunch of routers and hook them together and you have a pretty good network. You do need maintenance, but you don't need some huge company with a bunch of bell-heads running the thing. Simple access is more like a road than a full-service hotel. It just has to be cheap and work.
I agree that this isn't for all municipal governments, but I think the central governments of the world should try very hard not to give in to the pressure of the telco lobbies and stifle the attempts of municipal governments to provide network services including voice. I also believe that non-profits and NGOs can play a huge role in helping provide access in addition to municipal governments as well as helping municipal governments set up such networks.
For those of you who haven't been following Gillian's blog that I blogged about earlier, their trip to Sierra Leone was successful and Gillian has done a nice job capturing the trip on her blog. Congratulations Gillian and Angelina and everyone else who was involved! Gillian says she's going to continue blogging. Yay!
Technorati Tags: globalvoices
Gillian Caldwell, the executive director of WITNESS just left for Sierra Leone with Angelina Jolie to deliver recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) to the government. WITNESS is an important effort using video for human rights advocacy. (I blogged about it in more detail in Sept 2003.) In Davos in 2004, Ethan and I cornered Gillian and tried to get her into blogging. At the same time Ethan and Gillian tried to get me interested in Africa. (Since then I've been to Africa once and have two more trips planned this year. Note that Ethan is the key connector here.)
Last week, Gillian emailed me and told me that she was going to blog this trip. With a bit of scurrying around and some quick design help from Boris, Gillian got her blog running just as she was running out the door. I'm looking forward to reading her reports from Africa and hope that she gets addicted to blogging so I can live her amazing life vicariously through the blog.
Safe travels and congratulations on the blog Gillian.
Happy Birthday!!!Lessig BlogHappy Birthday, Free Culture Movement!
One year ago -- April 23, 2004 -- about a hundred students gathered at Swarthmore College to begin "an international student movement to free culture." (Dan Hunter described the event in LegalAffairs). The event was organized by the students who had sued Diebold after Diebold sued them. The movement now has about ten chapters around the country.
The video was taken April 16, 2005. I have created Prodigem page with a BitTorrent torrent. It is a 18.4 MB AVI file that runs for 30 seconds. If you download the file, please keep it seeding for awhile so that we can have a few other peers.Anonymous friend in ChineseThe video shows the initial gathering and starting to march of the protesting in Shanghai. It was taken by my family member while I was not in Shanghai.
There is no violence or anything so don't download it if that's what you're looking for.
UPDATE 2: And also now on archive.org...
The Stanford Center for Internet and Society filed an amicus brief today which I signed together with a number of others. Go CIS!
Amicus Brief Asks for Legal Rights for Internet Journalists
CIS filed an amicus brief today on behalf of The First Amendment Project, Internet journalists and bloggers and others asking the court in the Apple v. Does case to treat online publishers the same rights as their colleagues who publish in more traditional formats. Download file
Bloggers without borders has just launch. Here's the first post from Jonas.
Submitted by Jonas M Luster on Thu, 2004-12-30 05:23.
We have found our compassion in this one. Yet, one thing remains and is badly needed, says a friend of mine who just arrived in Sri Lanka and will be contributing what he learned in eight years in Uniform. People. Not the odd-job bystander, not the “activist”, and certainly not the journalist. What is needed most, today, are qualified specialists. Demolitions experts to safely destroy dangerous structures, Doctors, guys and gals who know how to handle a syringe or a gun. The latter is needed more and more as the looting increases and food and medical supplies are being raided by black marketers.
My next question is, of the 56% of the people who didn't favor restricting the civil rights of Muslims, what percentage are going to do anything about trying to stop this trend?Kuro5hinThe glass is half empty: Americans and Civil Rights for Muslims
The Media and Society Research Group of Cornell University conducted a survey in November of Americans with respect to their attitudes towards Muslims. Nearly half (44%) of respondents favored restricting the civil rights of Muslims in some way. The press release, with links to the report, is available at [link]
Rebecca blogs about the first BloggerCorps success story. BloggerCorps is project to try to hook up local bloggers with important local projects who need help from bloggers. It's a great idea which just needs a bit more momentum I think. It ties in well with the Global Voices stuff. (The first version of the manifesto is done.)
A few of us had dinner with Mike Tommasi from Slow Food France. Slow Food (as opposed to fast food) is a semi-political movement originating in a protest against the entry of McDonald's into Italy and formally becoming an organization in Paris. They focus on a variety of gastronomy issues. They care about the impact of industrialization of food on farmers, diversity, cataloging endangered food, teaching children about food, finding produce that can be brought back or preserved and help create new markets and for slow food. They have successfully found a variety of slow foods including cheeses and meats and have brought them back and created markets for them in sympathetic restaurants. They have a magazine, a Slow Food Guide for Italy (Good slow food restaurants for under 30 Euros), and conferences where they invite farmers from around the world to share ideas. They are not against science, but are against science used to destroy food culture. They now have 80,000 members in 100 countries with offices in Switzerland, Germany, the US, France and Italy. Although it was originally founded by people from the Italian Left wing, it is recently more politically neutral. Being a movement originating in Italy, founded in France with an English name makes it unique as well. Their web site has a lot of interesting stuff on it.
Cory blogs from the WIPO meeting about position papers from IP Justice, EFF, and the Union for the Public Domain being repeatedly stolen and thrown in the trash. Someone is obviously upset about their position on the Broadcast Treaty. Cory quotes Gandhi, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Good luck Cory!
Rebecca suggests starting the Blogger Corps.
Count me in Rebecca. I've been doing my own share of Johnny Appleseed evangelism, but I think a more organized approach where we can share information and coordinate activities would be great. I think we should start a wiki page. ;-)Rebecca MacKinnonBloger Corps?
... For early blog-adopters, blogging was an end in itself. For the activist community, blogging has to be an effective means to a concrete end.
In the final wrap-up session of Bloggercon III, I suggested that socially conscious members of the blogging community (of all political persuasions) might want to organize a "Blogger Corps." Through it, bloggers could donate their time to help poorly funded activists or non-profit groups to figure out what blogging tools are right for them, set up blogs, and develop effective blogging strategies.
I wonder what Ralph Nader is going to do...Warren EllisA peace activist who once fasted for...
Jerry Rubin, 60, said he plans to consume only liquids from Saturday until Nov. 2 if Nader doesn't take a meeting with him. "I know Ralph Nader and I don't think he's doing the right thing," Rubin said Saturday. He said the consumer advocate's campaign is dividing the progressive political movement.
Rubin is often confused with now-deceased "Chicago Seven" defendant Jerry Rubin. He legally changed his name to Jerry Peace Activist Rubin to avoid confusion with the 60s radical...
UPDATE Via Warren: "We're sending him some carrot juice," Nader said Sunday...
The "I )( Wi-Fi" bumper sticker can be found on the Tech Culture page.
The NYC police are reported to have a weapon-like acoustic device called an LRAD at the RNC protests.
Here is a picture from Indymedia.
John Perry Barlow promised to organize dancemobs to disrupt the RNC and he has. He sends a quick update from the dancemob front lines.
Xeni Jardin @ Boing Boing: RNC-NYC: Update on arrest of Joshua Kinberg, Bikes Against Bush
I think I saw this device at Ars Electronica a few years ago. I have a feeling that at the time it wasn't mounted on a bike. I remember thinking, "What a cool idea. I wonder if it will ever be used for something useful." I love it when political art projects/proposals get put into real world action. It's too bad that they confiscated the bike before it was used "in the wild." I wonder whether this bogus arrest will end up getting this project more press than if they hadn't arrested him...Xeni Jardin @ Boing BoingRNC protests: Bikes Against Bush organizer arrested
A post on an indymedia website says activist Joshua Kinberg -- inventor of a wireless, bike-mounted, dot-matrix printer for spraying protest messages in the street -- was arrested yesterday at the RNC in NYC. At the time, he was reportedly being interviewed by Ron Reagan, covering the convention for MNSBC.
Kinberg's invention allows users to spray messages transmitted to the bike-printer by way of the 'Net or SMS. They're painted in a water-soluble chalk solution that washes away with water (not spray-paint, as misreported elsewhere). Link to indymedia post, Link to previous BB post about Bikes Against Bush, Link to August 02 Wired News story with background on Kinberg's invention, Link to yesterday's NYT piece on Bikes Against Bush, and link to a torrent identified as video coverage of the incident, via DV Guide. (Thanks, Patricia and el norm)
UPI via The Washington Times reports that the Weather Underground are planning some action during the RNC. UPI says:
Someone who asked not to be named emailed me and says that they heard that, "it's planned on being a nonviolent action. Something about leaflets and random covert protesters." If this is indeed the case, there is a pretty high likelihood of some really wound up police running into some pretty innocent people. If you are at risk of looking like a risk to the police, make sure you read about your rights. (344k ZIPped PDF on cryptome.org) via Boing BoingUnited Press International"These people are trained in kidnapping techniques, bombmaking and building improvised munitions," the source said. "They're very bad people..."
Just Cause Law Collective. At her site, lawcollective.org, there's the pamphlet and tons of other info about how to not lose your rights when dealing with the po. (Including Komsiaruk's book, set up much like the pamphlet, 'Beat the Heat.' Komisaruk applied and was accepted to Harvard Law School while in federal prison for anti-nuke demonstrations. She went to HLS while on parole and graduated with honors. Now she's one of the most active anarchist lawyers in the U.S."
UPDATE: Anonymous old media journalist who thinks the UPI story is bunk: "my theory is that the republicans are going to have their own anarchists there a la the reichstag fire...."
This is great news. Congrats to the whole EFF team who worked on this!Xeni @ Boing BoingEFF wins Grokster
Big news: The EFF prevails in the long-fought Grokster case. Court decision is available here (PDF). Link to 9th Circuit Court of appeals ruling in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v. Grokster, issued August 19, 2004.
John Perry Barlow, former Grateful Dead lyricist and Republican city council chairman has an interesting idea.
As always, the full text of his essay is a great read, but this idea of discombobulation as protest is funny and seems appropriate as well. I wonder if we can map "I don't think it's funny" split. I wonder if this would constitute "terrorism". I guess it might depend on what they were dancing to.BarlowFriendzDancing in the Streets: Revolution with a Smile
...Maureen Dowd recently observed that the Republicans had become so obsessed with rejecting the 60's ethic of doing it if it feels good that they have taken up an ethic of doing it if it makes someone else feel bad. Moreover, the GOP strategy of basing their root-level organization on Hot Protestantism has infused their ranks with a lot of chilly Puritanism, which, as H.L. Mencken defined it, is "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time."
...So, to that end, I propose the following: I want to organize a cadre of 20 to 50 of us. I want to dress us in suits and other plain pedestrian attire and salt us among the sidewalk multitudes in Republican-rich zones. At a predetermined moment, one of us will produce a boom-box and crank it up with something danceable. Suddenly, about a third of the people on the sidewalk, miscellaneously distributed in the general throng, will start dancing like crazy and continue to do so for for about a minute. Then we will stop, melt back into the pedestrian flow, and go to another location to erupt there.
A call to action that you should all read. This is "low hanging fruit" on the "lets do something good today" tree. Take some action today.The Passion of the PresentA failure of will
Forces from across the world are poised to help the people of Darfur, but no nation has the will to move forward.
We are in a tragic and signal moment, a catalytic moment, where the world sees the need, has the means, and yet continues to experience a failure of will.
...Now it is the public's turn. It is our turn. The time is now for our action. We must ask our leaders to act now, not in 30 days.
All key elements are in place, except the will to launch the rescue of Darfur in earnest.
Lessig writes an open letter to Bill O'Reilly from the FOX News show The Factor. Lessig has been blogging a lot about OutFoxed, Richard Greenwald's film criticizing FOX News. Lessig links to a clip from the film, the original interview with Jeremy Glick and the offending anti-war ad. He takes on point by point the series of false accusations that O'Reilly has been making about Glick in an unfair smear campaign against his Glick.
Please read Lessig's entire post.Lawrence LessigMr. O'Reilly, please just stop.
You have declared a "war" on the New York Times. That's good for you, good for them, and good for our democracy: Strong opinions deserve strong spokesmen. Your battle will help sharpen a debate about matters important to the Republic.
But in waging this "war," you are continuing to abuse a man whom you have wronged, and to whom you owe an apology.
On February 4, 2003, Jeremy Glick was your guest on THE FACTOR. Glick had lost his father in the attack of 9/11. He had also signed an ad criticizing the war in Iraq. You were "surprised" that one who had lost his father could oppose that war. And so you had him on your show, presumably to ask him why. (Here's a clip from Outfoxed putting this story together.)
You might not remember precisely what you said on that interview, or more importantly, what Jeremy Glick said. So here's a copy that you can watch. Nor may you remember precisely what the ad that Jeremy Glick signed said. Here's a copy that you can read. And when you've watched what was actually said, and read what was actually written, I'm sure you will see that the statements you continue to make about Jeremy Glick are just plain false. Not Bill Clinton "depends upon what is is" false, but false the way most Americans learned growing up: just not true.
This looks like a partial trailer or something for OutFoxed that Larry Lessig's been blogging about. I just ordered it on Amazon. Jon Lebkowsky talks about his experience watching it with friends.Mark @ Boing BoingBill O'Reilly enjoys ordering his guests and others to "shut up"
This video commercial starts out with a quote from talk show host Bill O'Reilly making the claim that he has told a guest to "shut up" only one time in six years. The rest of the commercial shows clips of Mr. O'Reilly telling people to shut up. Link [Quicktime] (Via Horkulated)
Seth Godin's new project, ChangeThis is a project to have interesting people write short "manifestos". Seth's working on creating a new form of literature. It's looks like something between a paper, a blog post and a marketing presentation with a message.
It will be interesting to see how this takes off. It looks interesting to me. They have a blog, "Read and Pass".
In an update on the new Induce Act that I blogged about earlier, Orlowski makes an interesting observation about why the IT lobby lost Hatch who is leading this bill and who used to be "on our side."
I find Orlowski too negative sometimes and his critical view on blogs and Emergent Democracy have always bothered me, but I think he makes some good points about the weakness of the "Internet lobby" in this piece. Many of us are aware of this to varying degrees, but I think we need to keep reminding ourselves that much of the time, we're talking to ourselves. More importantly, we need to figure out how to become more effective. I think the EFF is doing great stuff, but how can we make it even better?Orlowski - The RegisterDirty rotten inducers - the law the IT world deserves?
...Well, perhaps it's a combination of all these factors. Perhaps too, the brief flood of speculative capital into the technology industry in the 1980s and 1990s convinced IT people they didn't have an exalted place in society. For a time, they did, and even now many seem to think so. And underneath, there's the hunch that the market will sort everything out, or the belief that every problem can be solved with technology. Whatever the reasons, the fightback against the RIAA and the MPAA has been as effective as the proverbial one-legged man in a backsid- kicking competition. The entertainment industry should be thankful it has opponents so inept.
We mention this only because the good Senator Hatch personifies the missed opportunity. He once shared the view of many involved in the technology sector today that the RIAA could not be trusted to clean up its act, and that alternative compensation systems that ended "piracy" could prove to be very popular. That was in 2000.
At around the same time, the EFF was campaigning for Napster to be legalized, without offering any suggestions as to how the artists might be paid - thus surrendering its moral authority on the issue. Meanwhile, the RIAA was courting and flattering Senator Hatch.
At a special gala awards dinner early in 2001 hosted by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Hatch was awarded a "Hero Award" and the diners heard Nashville star Natalie Grant perform one of his songs, "I Am Not Alone", Joe Menn reported in his book about Napster, All The Rave [Reg review]
If turning a Senator is this easy, why couldn't the techies do it?
It's basically a bill that can make the creation of technology that could possibly be used for "piracy" illegal. More on Dan's blog. Please take a look. It's quite absurd and dangerous. If it's moving quickly, I think we need to mobilize against it as soon as possible. Japan always gets hand-me-downs of ugly US bills so please stop it!Dan GillmorCongress Goes After Peer to Peer
I hadn't been taking some proposed new copyright legislation very seriously, mainly because it's logically absurd on its face. But the "Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004" (PDF) seems to be moving so quickly that we have to pay attention now.
UPDATE - a scenario of what would be illegal:
Here's EFF's hypothetical complaint against Apple (for making the iPod) C|Net (for reviewing the iPod), and Toshiba (for supplying hard drives for iPods).
On the plane returning from Helsinki to Tokyo, I read an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune, Dare We Call It Genocide? Please click the link and read it. It's short, but an important perspective. People gloss over statistics and even vivid first-hand accounts like this in text often fail to get our attention. In fact, I remember thinking about blogging this article, but it slipped my mind after I returned to Japan.
This morning I saw Tears of the Sun starring Bruce Willis. This movie is about a heroic extraction mission in Nigeria with ethnic cleansing as a backdrop. The movie itself and its message were not that interesting, but the scene where people are being murdered and raped by soldiers struck me emotionally and created a visual image for me of the atrocities in Sudan. It sparked me to search for and post the link above.
I think it's important to realize that motion pictures and videos have an incredible impact on us emotionally. We've discussed the risks of racial stereotyping in motion pictures and some people have criticized me for citing shallow movies about important issues. It is clear that movies play a huge role in helping us (accurately or not) understand and care about cultures.
One thing I've noticed is that amateur films and flash are being used quite effectively in political jokes and commentary on the Net. There are copyright issues with many of the works, but I believe that video blogging, (or whatever you want to call grassroots video production and sharing) can play a very important role in raising awareness on issues such as the genocide in Sudan.
These are the kinds of stories that make me sometimes wish I lived in America. Good job EFF and Stanford Law School.Dan GillmorDirecTV Reins in the Legal Attack Dogs
In one of the uglier "intellectual property" abuses, DirecTV has been suing people for possession of tools it claims can be used to get TV shows without paying for them. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society have challenged the satellite TV company on this conduct, and on Monday DirecTV agreed to modify its approach, according to this press release, which says in part:The company will no longer pursue people solely for purchasing smart card readers, writers, general-purpose programmers, and general-purpose emulators. It will maintain this policy into the forseeable future and file lawsuits only against people it suspects of actually pirating its satellite signal. DirecTV will, however, continue to investigate purchasers of devices that are often primarily designed for satellite signal interception, nicknamed “bootloaders” and “unloopers.”Perhaps DirecTV saw some writing on the wall. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court has ruled that the company can't sue solely because someone possesses such equipment.
DirecTV also agreed to change its pre-lawsuit demand letters to explain in detail how innocent recipients can get DirecTV to drop their cases. The company also promised that it will investigate every substantive claim of innocence it receives. If purchasers provide sufficient evidence demonstrating that they did not use their devices for signal theft, DirecTV will dismiss their cases. EFF and CIS will monitor reports of this process to confirm that innocent device purchasers are having their cases dismissed.
Help EFF stamp out stupid patents! Know of any stupid patents being used to hurt the little guys? Send them to the EFF. What a great project.
via Boing BoingElectronic Frontier FoundationEnter the Patent Busting Contest!
The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Patent Busting Project is here to protect you from dangerously bad patents. And you can help us pick which patents we're going to bust first!
We're currently seeking nominations for ten patents that deserve to be revoked because they are invalid. Sadly, we don't have the resources to challenge every stupid patent out there. In order to qualify for our ten most-wanted list, a patent must be software or Internet-related and there must be a good reason to suspect that the patent claims are invalid. We're especially interested in patents that target tools of free expression, such as streaming media, blogging tools, and voice over IP (VoIP) technology. Most importantly, the patent-holder must be aggressively enforcing its patent and suing (or threatening to sue) alleged infringers. We're particularly interested in cases where the patent-holder is trying to force small businesses, individuals, nonprofits, and consumers to pay licensing fees. Deadline to enter is June 23.
On June 30, the Patent Busting Project's team of tough lawyers and brainy geeks will announce the contest winners – or losers, depending on how you look at it. And that's when the real fight for great justice begins. We'll be needing your help to research prior art for each patent and offer your technical expertise or historical knowledge. Using a legal process called "reexamination," the Patent Busting Project will ultimately go to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and attempt to take those bad patents off the books.
Dan Gillmor blogs about a suit filed by a consumer group against mobile phone carriers which "lock" phones. The argument by the mobile carriers is that they subsidize part of the cost of the phone and therefore have the right to now allow customers to use the phone with other carriers. Dan makes some good arguments about why this may be a red herring. It will be interesting to see how this suit turns out.
In the mean time, a quick Google search will provide links to lots of people offering services and information about unlocking phones.
From a Japanese perspective, I'm quite envious that at least you're using open standards and have the option of unlocking phones. We can't even imagine using our current Docomo phones on any other network.
People have been auctioning Google gmail invitations on eBay. Jonas has set up a gmail invitation exchange for people who donate invitations and for people willing to do something "good" in exchange for an invite.
JonasIt's not free, however. If you're interested in one, comment here and let me know what you're willing to do for it. Not to me (though I am more than ready to trade for a few good massages), but to someone else. A random act of kindness, maybe? Work in a soup kitchen? Help out at a needle exchange? Or maybe you're doing that already - you'd be the ideal recipient.
I had a few ginger ales with Shekhar Kapur, a well known Indian film director. We talked about the life, the universe and everything. We talked about what it takes to direct a good film and how Shekhar chose which films to direct.
He talked about being asked to direct "Long Walk to Freedom" about the life of Nelson Mandela. He said he turned it down. He understood about inequality and prejudice from his experiences in India and being Indian, but that he didn't think he would ever truly understand the extreme conditions of apartheid. He would never truly understand the rage of being treated as a completely different class of human being by the white man.
Later, in Hollywood, in the office of an important studio exec, Shekhar explained that he had turned down the offer to direct "Long Walk to Freedom". The exec told Shekhar that he thought that it was a good idea since people weren't interested in a story about the struggles of a black man.
Shekhar was infuriated by the comment, but contained it and kept a straight face. He excused himself and went to the rest room. From the rest room, he called his agent and told him to accept the deal. Shekhar was now able to feel the rage and his passion for the film had developed.
It is very difficult to get the cultural passions right in a movie. Usually the culture is the backdrop of a story or the story is about how American culture triumph over other cultures. Shekhar's insistence on understanding the cultural passion that would be core to a movie was impressive and something that more directors would strive for when making movies about other cultures.
Ethan and Gillian are educating me on doing human rights and technology work in developing nations and I'm trying to help integrate blogging into their work. The stuff that they're doing is SO important, I think it's a great application for the blog amplifier.
Ethan's convinced me to visit Africa. Geekcorps sends geek volunteers into developing nations to work on technology projects. Ethan was an Internet entrepreneur turned social entrepreneur.
Gillian has been an activist her whole life, first as a high school Amnesty International chapter leader, then as an attorney, then as a investigative documentary producer. Just listening to her talk about all of the things she's done is so inspiring and is making me feel like a couch potato blogger.
This morning, we had a breakfast between the Global Leaders for Tomorrow, Social Entrepreneurs and Religious Leaders. I got a great table with a broad range of people from developing nations, religious leaders, economists, and entrepreneurs.
We started out the discussion talking about the nature of money. We talked about how greed and the idea that more money means more happiness is compulsive behavior and the notion that more money makes you more happy may hold true in developing nations, but is not necessarily true in developed nations. We talked about how this notion of more money means more happiness may be contributing to some of the problems in society. One representative of a global financial organization talked about how similar to the "poverty line", maybe there should be a "greed line". An economist pointed out that there was a book written about economy as a religion where the author asserted that pollution should be moved to developing nations because poor people were worth less in a purely economic model. Obviously, this is not right, and we asked the religious leaders to address some of the issues such as caring, giving and happiness.
Religions are memories of history, rich with ritual and values. They need to create a double language, one for internal dialog and another to share ideas with others. One point I made was that many religions were designed for environments where people were still struggling to survive and the focus was on rituals and believes for such an environment. Many religions focused keeping people alive rather than providing them with a primary religious experience. For environments where the struggle to survive is not as big of an issue, it might be that religions need to help support people more with things such as their obsessions and ethics.
It was noted that people who live in developing nations still needed money and that it was important. However, it was pointed out that many of the economic values have a detrimental effect on developing nations such as promoting crime. It was also noted that many churches in developing nations focus on promotion economic values. (Join the church, get rich.) The notion of sharing and sacrifice which are very important values that religions promote are often subverted to raise money for the churches.
David Green of Project Impact in India talked about how he performs cataract surgery in India. He provides 1/3 of the procedures for free, 1/3 for a low cost and 1/3 for a high price. The rich pay the high price for first class service, but the basic operation is the same. He is able to subsidize the operation for the poor and still make money. He is so successful that instead of paying $300 for the lenses, he was able to create a manufacturing operation and lower the cost to $4 a lens and has become the second largest manufacturer in the world. He provided this as an example of a good economic model can provide a great deal of good.
The lack of activity in the US in protesting the treatment of foreign national at the borders, the extradition of foreign nationals to countries known to torture and disinterest in the the profiling and secret arrests of Americans of Middle Eastern descent is disconcerting.
Remember, some day they may come looking for you.
Pastor Martin Niemöller
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
It was a hot day, but people were very receptive. It was clear they were happy to see Yasuo Tanaka and unlike the time we were handing out leaflets protesting the National ID, the percentage of people willing to take them from you was much higher.
Also, the opposition party of Japan, the Democratic Party of Japan has announced a "shadow cabinet" appointing Yasuo Tanaka the minister in charge of decentralization. Ishihara, the mayor of Tokyo has spoken out against this.
Here is a 11.3MB Quicktime Movie of Mizuka and I trying to hand out flyers.
At the joint Social Entrepreneurs and Global Leaders for Tomorrow meeting in Geneva, I met Gillian Caldwell. She is a film maker and an attorney and the Executive Director of WITNESS.
This is incredibly important work. They are causing a great deal of impact already, but I think blogs could help increase their ability to reach a broader audience. This is such a great reason to figure out video blogging.Witness Mission StatementWITNESS advances human rights advocacy through the use of video and communications technology. In partnership with more than 150 non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders in 50 countries, WITNESS strengthens grassroots movements for change by providing video technology and assisting its partners to use video as evidence before courts and the United Nations, as a tool for public education, and as a deterrent to further abuse. WITNESS also gives local groups a global voice by distributing their video to the media and on the Internet, and by helping to educate and activate an international audience around their causes.
I got a few very thoughtful emails from Megan about the anti-gay bandwagon and American politics today. First of all, I think it's sad seeing the Pope and American politicians taking positions against gay rights and I strongly believe in gay marriages.
MeganOne interesting point is that some of the discussion here in the US right now is about polling. Lots of people get so caught up in the polling --- yet, 35 years ago when it was still illegal for inter-racial couples to marry, the polls were 70%+ against allowing it. If we stuck with polling only, we would have no civil rights legislation, we'd still have racially segregated bathrooms, women wouldn't be able to vote, etc.
The 14th Amendment is clear --- equal protection under the law. No exceptions. Churches are not required to marry people they don't want to marry -- that's a religious event/ceremony, but a marriage license issued by the state is a contract. We have seen that churches sometimes take a while to get it right --- it took a rather long time to finally pardon Galileo. : ) If some of the churches need to take their time on this one, so be it... but the 14th Amendment requires equal protection under the law.
Most of the basis for anti-gay rhetoric is religious. In terms of Christian arguments, I think it's always interesting to look at what Christ actually said in the New Testament about Homosexuality. The interesting part is that, he really said nothing directly. Although he did say things like love your neighbor as yourself, get along with each other... : ) Some information on these topics:
The quote above is from one of the four inscriptions chiseled into the inside walls of the Jefferson Memorial.Thomas JeffersonLetter to George Washington, January 4, 1786: "This...plan"
I am certainly not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
The world is watching you America. Get it right. You've gotten it right in the past.Victor HugoAn invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.
Thanks to Megan for the thoughts and the quotes.
Larry's been pushing this idea for awhile now, but it's coming to a head. It's VERY important. You folks better get this passed in the US so we can push it in Japan. Please please please. It's a great idea and is so simple to argue for that we MUST all support it.
Lawrence LessigWe have launched a petition to build support for the Public Domain Enhancement Act. That act would require American copyright holders to pay $1 fifty years after a work was published. If they pay the $1, the copyright continues. If they don’t, the work passes into the public domain. Historical estimates would suggest 98% of works would pass into the pubilc domain after 50 years. The Act would do a great deal to reclaim a public domain.
This proposal has received a great deal of support. It is now facing some important lobbyists’ opposition. We need a public way to begin to demonstrate who the lobbyists don’t speak for. This is the first step.
If you are an ally in at least this cause, please sign the petition. Please blog it, please email it, please spam it, please buy billboards about it — please do whatever you can. And most importantly, please help us explain its importance. There is a chance to do something significant here. But it will take a clearer, simpler voice than mine.
Shibuya, Tokyo. This is likely to become the single largest day of protest in world history.I'm going too. Thanks for the tip Karl-Friedrich. Should we try to organize a blog mob? Who else is going? Is there a poster party before?
As the US starts to spin up towards the war, the bloggers are starting to take positions. One of the things that Larry Lessig and I talked about a lot was the feeling that it was OK to talk about politics on blogs. Well, as thoughts turn to feelings and feelings turn to action, I think that we will start testing and stressing the little network of blogs we call a home. When I wrote about the Iranian round-up, I found some of my good friends disagreeing with me and even got email pointing out the irony of discussing US problems on a Japanese blog. Kuro5hin has an article bashing O'Keefe human shield. What's interesting is that just because we all agree on copyright, open standards and MetaWeblog API, it doesn't mean that we all have the same politics. I've generally been avoiding the topic of war and the peace movement and have been feeling VERY guilty that I haven't been writing more about Lisa Rein's activities in protesting the treatment of immigrants. I just sensed that it was a "hot" area and that I needed to prepare before going there…
Over the last few months I've heard arguments from some of the most persuasive pro-war advocates. My belief after hearing the arguments is that the war will probability be a long war with lots of stuff to do afterwards. (No clear opposition group in Iraq to rebuild Iraq after they oust Hussein.) If you consider the cost (human and financial) of what happens after the beginning of the war it's just not worth it. It looks to me like a re-election campaign for GW Bush causing America to make a very stupid decision which will cost the world money and grief. This is another Vietnam. I am against the war and anyone who is not should think carefully about the motives of the president of the United States and think step-by-step about what happens to freedom in the US after Total Information Awareness spins up and what happens in Iraq and the rest of the world after you have started the war. THINK ABOUT IT.
Daniel Lubetzky of Peaceworks joined our session at the GLT summit, "Rebuilding Modern Politics: Can the System Fix Itself?" and talked about his project. Peaceworks is an amazing group working on empowering people and the "moderate" voices in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. They use Internet, newspapers, telephones and a variety of technologies to get the voice of the people, which is much more moderate than the extremists who currently control poltics. I think the strategy of Peaceworks of using technology to short circuit the legistlature which is so heavily influenced by extremists is a great idea that may even be relevant in the US. You you can't change politics directly, go around them. After you get the "moderate voice" aired, it becomes easier to for the moderate politicians to take a moderate stance. A stance that they can't take when the voices of the exteremists are the only ones that are heard.
I'm sure most of you have seen this, but here is an easy way to sign a petition or take more action to help save Anima Lawal.
Amnesty International [UK] Merton Group
Amina Lawal - Another woman facing death by stoning
Back in October 2001, 35-year old Safiya Hussaini was condemned to death, by stoning, for allegedly committing adultery. International outcry led by Amnesty International ( the Merton Amnesty Group campaigned for Safiya - see campaign archive) helped save her life; she was acquitted on technical grounds by an appeal court.
Now 30-year old Amina Lawal (right)faces the same death sentence. Amina Lawal was sentenced to death by stoning by a Regional Court in Katsina State, Nigeria for having a child outside marriage. Her sentence was announced on 23 March 2002, three days before the day of Safiya's acquittal.
Sakiyama-san is a co-founder of the Japan chapter of CPSR and one of the few privacy activists in Japan. He mentioned this issue at the last CPSR meeting, and I've been meaning to look into it. The perp of this whole thing, the Electronic Network Consortium, merged with the Internet Association of Japan (IAJ). I WAS a Councilor of the Internet Association Japan and was on their web page the when I check at the CPSR meeting, but I just checked and noticed that I am no longer on their web page. Hmm... I was going to threaten to quit if they didn't do something about this, but maybe I have already been fired. (or maybe I quit and didn't know it) In that case, threatening to quit is a pretty idle threat. ;-)
In any case, I will call the IAJ and let them know that I think this censorware project is a BAD IDEA and the way that they have been dealing with the criticism is also pretty poor.
Censorware funded by the Japanese Government
Recently, censorware - content filtering software becomes widely used in Japan, particularly on schools, offices, and public libraries. There are already many criticisms against censorware, so I don't repeat the same discussion.
Here in Japan, several commercial censorware products developed in the U.S. are localized and used, but in this article, I focus on a censorware product funded by the Japanese Government. That censorware is developed by an auxiliary organization of the Government and funded by the Government, and its rating database is operated by another industry-based organization which represents Internet Industry in Japan, and the operation business is fully funded by the Government. The feature of the censorware lacks transparency, and the operating organization plainly ignores the accountability. In this August, I released a tool which decrypts the rating labels in the censorware right after the release of the new version of the censorware, because its license did not prohibit reverse-engineering. Now a minor-upgraded version of the censorware was released. That is not compatible with the previous version, and the new license prohibits not only reverse-engineering but also any criticism against the product.
The government-funded censorware project does prohibit criticism by users of the product! So I decided to write a whole story in my poor English.
Dan GillmorMusic Industry's Death Wish
Dan Bricklin has looked closely at the numbers in the music industry, and suggests that the record companies are killing themselves by stamping out music downloads. He makes a compelling case in this essay.
His bottom line: "Given the slight dip in CD sales despite so many reasons for there to be a much larger drop, it seems that the effect of downloading, burning, and sharing is one of the few bright lights helping the music industry with their most loyal customers. Perhaps the real reason for some of the drop in sales was the shutdown of Napster and other crackdowns by the music industry."
I don't expect the music companies to pay attention to inconvenient facts. That would be out of character.
Interesting perspective. I am feeling very sick of the music industry. They can keep Britney Spears and their lawyers. I actually have really cut back on buying CD's generally. When I see a CD, I see don't an artist selling music, I see an enslaved artist boxed up in a the shrinkwrap of a industry trying to protect itself by choking the customers and the artists that it is meant to be serving.
Do I need the record industry to enjoy music? Hell no.
One interesting thing to note is that the karaoke industry used midi files to play back music on synthesizers inside of karaoke machines. This lead to a huge industry of midi files. They decided to do a flat fee payment system to simply the billing for the little bars that played the music. Then, when ring tones became popular for cell phones, they used the same flat fee model to license the music. THAT is why ring tones are a huge money making business in Japan. Simple billing, cheap billing and no record companies.
(Apologies to my record company exec friends and to my friends who sell CD's... but you guys suck these days.)
Mizuka, Kara, Megan, Louie and I went to the Tokyo Lesbian and Gay Parade today. It was quite a turnout with probably over a thousand people or so. There were drag queens, gay rugby guys and a pretty wide variety of others. It was a well organized march through Shibuya and around Yoyogi Park. It was a bit strange because they didn't stop the traffic and split the parade up into 13 paradelets each led by a car/float of some sort. Not as much punch as a full on marching parade, but pretty interesting and fun none the less. It was the first Gay and Lesbian Parade I had ever been to.
Megan and Kara said that it didn't compare to the parades in San Francisco, but it was better than they expected. Gay pride and gay rights are apparently at very different levels in different countries. In some countries, being gay is a capital crime and in other countries gay couples can get married. Japan is fairly open to gays I think, but there are no provisions that I know of support gay rights specifically. It is probably a lot like feminism in Japan. Mimi's theory is that since there is less violence against women, the feminist movement in Japan doesn't get as much backing as the movement in the US. Similarly, there are probably much fewer hate crimes against gay people and they are accepted as part of the culture.
But what do I know. I'm not an expert. It is interesting though. Megan says that probably 5%-10% of the world is gay.
We also saw DJ Patrick and I got to introduce him to Megan, which I had been hoping to do for a long time...
We walked around Harajuku afterwards and had Chinese tea at the new place at Ometesando crossing. It is affiliated with Yu-Cha up the hill. Yu-Cha is really nice generally, but they add that stuck up Japanese attitude into the tea ceremony and make what should be a more casual experience a very stuffy one. When Megan was trying to take a picture of Mizuka playing with Louie, they made a big stink that they didn't let people take pictures in the store...
Chinese tea should be more fun...
Dan Gillmor blogs about the twisted logic and language that the entertainment industry is using to tilt the copyright debate in their favor. Dan Gillmor is a San Jose Mercury journalists and one of the first professional journalists with a blog. (Also, he'll be in Tokyo later this month...)
If you can set the rules, you can win the contest. That's the major reason the entertainment cartel is winning the debate over copyright in the Digital Age.
Average people are not part of the conversation, not in any way that matters. To the cartel and its chattel in the halls of political power, we are nothing but ``consumers'' -- our sole function is to eat what the movie, music and publishing industries put in front of us, and then send money.
It's long past time for the rest of us to challenge the cartel's assumptions, actions and overall clout. Over the next few weeks and months I'll offer some suggestions.
The first thing we can do is stop letting the entertainment companies set the terms of the discussion. They torture language and logic. Let's restore some balance.
Mercury News | 08/11/2002 | Dan Gillmor: We must engage in copyright debate
I just received mail from an old friend who has become active on the issue of North Korean refugees and I have attached the email from him. I think the Japanese have a much higher level of sensitivity with regards to North Korea since they have influenced the extreme left wing in Japan and have harbored terrorists who have highjacked Japanese planes, etc. Having said that, Japan has basically a no-immigration policy and therefore have not accepted refugees from anywhere as far as I know.
I don't think going around labeling countries as "evil" is really very smart, but addressing the North Korea issue is definitely something that should be high priority. I don't think Koreas really like or respect Japan very much and with Koizumi paying homage to war criminals, I think it will be difficult for us to get much clout on this issue. I think China and South Korea really have to work this out, but I'm definitely not on expert. In October, I will be in Beijing for the 30th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic contacts with Japan and will be in Kuala Lumpur at the WEF meeting where the Asia young leaders will be talking about Asian issues. I will try to raise the issue at both conferences and report back if I can find out anything or make any progress on this issue.
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2002 10:50:01 -0800
Subject: IMPORTANT NK refugee issue..
If you have some time to read a bit about an important issue and maybe lend a hand, please take a look at a (still just a list of links) web page which I'm starting to build at http://www.ncafe.com/northkorea about the terrible situation of the people of North Korea's human rights.. their insane government, and the plight of the thousands of terrified and starving people who are trying to defect to other countries via China (really, the only way out of the country..) China, in want of a better thing to do, is repatriating all of them which they can catch, to North Korea.. (Not all of them are summarily executed any more, just some.. but it is still very very scary what happens to them upon return.)
So, my request to you is that you please read some of the stories of the refugees to see what they are running from. read about the situation in China and the current political situation.. And then what you do is up to you..
Here is the URL of one escapee's story that is particularly chilling.. this is the one that shocked me into attempting in my little way to help..
(No, I am not affiliated with any of these groups that are actively helping them, Christians, or whatever..etc..) I just read the stories and then I had to do something..
So why am I writing YOU? Because you are a human being who can see what is happening and care, and because you are smart and influential..
(I hope you don't feel I am spamming you.. If so, I apologize profusely.)
Important*** If some of the other countries in the area (like Japan) ***would be willing to set up refugee camps*** where some of these fleeing people could stay *in safety*, it would be a VERY good thing.
South Korea (or perhaps the US---working on that..) are the obvious ultimate destinations.. but South Korea has been at times strangely indifferent to the refugees from the North.. (they have been supporting the status quo in fear that NK would suddenly implode.. which would be expensive for them, they feel.. yes, it would be, but it is also necessary..)
Plus, it would be a way for Japan to build goodwill in an area where they could really benefit from it. I know that they have (in the past) given NK lots of food.. but the reality is that the NK government siphons off the food and precious little of it reaches the people it is meant to reach.. (Giving food aid is good, but monitoring it's distribution should be a *required* precondition of this aid.)
North Korea's people are now the 11th in the world.. (in malnutrition status..) In other words, they are starving to death.. No other countries on Earth with 99% literacy are anywhere near them...
Anyway, I know you are busy.. but this issue is really important.. Perhaps you could say a word to anyone you know who is influential enough to have some input into the government's decision-making process..
Nobody should have to live through the hell these people are going through.. It is a humanitarian nightmare comparable to the worst aspects of Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, Pol Pot's Cambodia and Mao's China.
Thanks in advance..
A Brazilian man wrote about an incident where he was extremely abused by INS in LA. It has gotten a lot of airplay on the Net so you may have seen it, but in case you haven't, here it is.
Brock Meeks confirms with the INS that the incident actually occured although the details are unclear. http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200208/msg00034.html
Brock Meeks is a respected journalist and a google on Ricardo Abude will give you some references. He is aparently a real person.
If this story is true, it's very scary. I recently met someone from Israel who was strip searched coming into the US and in transit althought there was no apparent reason other than the fact that she was from Israel. She wasn't bitter about it though. I think with the increased security, the risk of the "police" becoming un-naturally brutal is a great risk and something we should all keep an eye on. I remember feeling very unfairly treated when I lived in Michigan when "Japan Bashing" was "in" by a variety of official personnel and those memories still haunt me.
Atrocities in American Airports
By Ricardo Abude
If you, or someone from your family, have any plan to visit the US in a near future, I strongly suggest you to continue reading this text, where I describe the experiences I had in LA International Airport, late Feb 24, 2002.
My name is Ricardo Abude E. Da Silva, I'm an Electronic Engineer graduated in 1982 and today am managing our family's businesses in the farming sector. My email is email@example.com.
Throughout my 42 years of age I've travelled several times to the US, both on business and tourism. Late Feb 23 I embarked in Rio heading to LA, in possession of my third Visa to the US, issued in November 1999, and valid until November 2009.
I was aware of the increased airport security for US trips, due to Sep 11 attacks, and in Rio International Airport one can already notice the routine change, but I could have never imagined what would happen next.
From now on I describe, step by step, the horrendous and unimaginable nightmare that I went through :
Saturday Feb 23 21:50 hrs I depart from Rio with Varig flight RG 8836, going to LA.
Sunday Feb 24 07:00 hrs I arrive in LA and proceed towards passport control. The officer looks at my Passport for about five minutes, and asks me to proceed towards an INS office known as Secondary One. It is the first time something like that happens to me, but I imagine I危 going to be interviewed for additional information concerning my stay. Extra safety measures.... I thought.
Sunday Feb 24 07:30 hrs A Second officer asks me to collect all my luggage and accompany him inside Secondary One. ...the interview is going to be in there... I thought again. All of a sudden, I am brutally pushed inside a 2x2 yd cell, all my luggage, money, documents and personnal belongings are confiscated, and they take away my belt and shoe strings.
As I protest against the unexpected treatment, the two officers respond with loud screams and threats of beating me and keeping me confined. I am violently pushed against the wall, they frisk me from head to toe, and all my personnal belongings are searched.
Again I'm pushed against the wall, my picture is taken, I'm fingerprinted and am finally thrown into a filthy, stinky, unventilated hall, already crowded with people. I notice, by their looks, that they've gone through the same ritual, and even though I am still stunned by the long flight, the jet lag, and mainly by the violent, outraging disrespect of civil and human rights, I face the crude fact of life ...there's no such thing as interviews. I'm a prisoner.
Sunday Feb 24 09:00 hrs - The scene resembles a Greek tragedy, a 4x4 yd room, filthy chairs, a stinking black carpet, no ventilation, huge 50 TV turned on all the time volume blasting. Tired, hungry people, sick people, people throwing up....worried about a friend, who was waiting for me outside the airport I ask for a phone call.
- Shut up! No phone calls. - They answered.
Sunday Feb 24 10:00 hrs - Arrested, hungry, thirsty, no communication, and without the slightest ideia of what was going to happen next, I noticed the continuos flow of tourists coming to our cell and I face the degrading scandal the very same treatment is given to women, teenagers, children even elderly people - a truly barbarian act!
Revolted, I witness two INS officers disputing the priviledge of frisking the prettiest ladies, without any concern of hiding their sickening lust from their respective fathers, husbands or brothers, doing their commentaries, invitations, and obscene declarations right on their faces.
- I've just frisked a disgusting latino....now it's my turn to frisk this Italian fox! - stated an Officer to his coleague, refering to the wife of an Italian tourist. The blunt disrespect made my stomach churn in revolt....
Kicking, pushing, screaming, threathening, heavily armed bullies displayed their brutallity, prejudice, and arrogance upon the constant flow of tourists coming into our cell, getting more and more crowded by the minute, holding an unbearable stench....
Sunday Feb 24 14:00 hrs - After seven hours of ordeal, I'm finally taken to an almost surrealistic interview with Officer Sanchez, and Officer Lee, both subordinate to Officer Green, from INS. He explains to me that since all my papers and my Visa were in perfect order, he would kindly give me two options:
- The first was to sign a document in which I requested the withdrawal of my Visa, returning to Brazil in the first available flight.
- If I refused to sign the hoax I'd be arrested for an undetermined period and he'd start a compulsory deportation process, sending me back to my Country thus.
A important detail on the deal - while I refused to sign the document I'd not receive any food, or water. What would you choose? Oh well, me too.
Sunday Feb 24 16:00 hrs - I am taken, with another five prisoners, to a different cell. We are all handcuffed, and escorted by armed officers, we are made to stroll through the airport lounge. The terrified tourists make way, frightened by the grotesc scene. They take us all to a Van, parked outside the terminal, and transfer us to the other cell. The humiliation is suffocating ....
- Sunday Feb 24 17:00 hrs - Apparently, they have forgotten to make me sign a few forms at the Secondary One, so I'm taken again for a couple of strolls ( going there and coming back ) in the Airport Lounge. Those strolls remember? With cuffs and escorts?
Sunday Feb 24 18:00 hrs - Due to my unceasing protests, they finally allow me to make a phone call. I contact a Lawyer in LA, in the hope he'd get me out of that hell, but the information I get from him is even more surprising, and disheartening:
- Ricardo, the INS grounds at the Airport are not legally considered American soil, so I cannot invoke any civil right to take you out of there.... he tells me. How about that ???
In other words: I realize I'm in a no-man's land, a lawless place, arrested by arbitrary Nazis in the guise of INS Officers, that, due to this legal technicality, have the power to do whatever they please with you - and what is worse - with your family. I start to dream of the moment of catching a plane back home to Brazil.....however, before that, I'd still go through the worst night of my life.....
Night of Sunday to Monday Feb 25 I start to dread the moment in which tiredness is going to win the battle and make me lie down on those filthy chairs. It寄 very cold, but even so, the prospect of using the slimy blankets is not at all attractive.
Five officers are in the night shift, and feeling bored, they pass time kicking disgusting Chinese's , cursing stupid niggers, threatening filthy latinos. Our uneducated officers are unable to articulate three consecutive words without using the F.. word, and we spend the night immersed in this sea of racial prejudice, brutallity, violence, arrogance and cowardice.
A curious note: our cell had two immense posters hanging on the walls. Look at that - one was a huge map of Brazil, and the other was a picture of Ouro Preto - a historical city in Central Brazil. Both seemed to convey a silent, but eloquent invitation .....
Monday Feb 25 13:00 hrs - After the worse 30 hours of my life, two armed officers escort me to my plane ( Varig flight RG 8837 ) and deliver my passport to the stewardess. They set guard by the plane door until take off. Just a last minute humiliation I guess....
Tuesday Feb 26 07:30 hrs - I arrive tired, but immensely happy in Cumbica International Airport, in SP. I call my girlfriend Sarah in Belo Horizonte. After her recovery from the initial shock and the necessary explanations I invite her to celebrate our unexpected meeting with a trip - to Ouro Preto - of course!
I relate this unfortunate episode hoping to bring these facts to light, to a wider number of people. Maybe those who, like me, were planning an innocent trip to this country might think twice before permitting their wifes, parents and children to be subjected to this infamous tribe of uncivilized barbarians.
Daily, in every American Airport, hundreds of people from the four corners of the world are falling into the claws of these arrogant, racist, brutes, barbarian Nazis, and I think every single citizen of the globe shall contribute in whichever way they can to end this grotesc stain from the face of the free world.
The terrorists put down WTC's twin towers, but they will achieve a far greater victory if they succeed in bending down the spirit, the values and ideals that guided America since it's very birth as an independent Nation.
Having visited the US so many times, and knowing with reasonable depth the history of this Country, I must say that the attitudes and methods of the INS Officers do not reflect the way of being and thinking of the majority of the American People, and surely do not reflect the values and ideals I referred to above.
However, the overwhelming majority of the thousands of tourists that are going daily through this sad experience in American Airports do not have this perspective, and they are going back to their countries carrying in their hearts the seeds of hatred, violence and intolerance that end up germinating in tragedies such as Sep 11.
To Mr G. Bush one suggestion: in the attempt to erradicate the World of terrorism and it's Evil Axis, start at home - in the American Immigration and Naturalization Service - INS.
A very important note: this narrative would not be complete without doing justice to Victor - one of the INS officers. He came into our cell Monday morning. Right when I lay my eyes on him I noticed a different glow, quickly explained by his attitudes: he'd take care of one of us, feed and give water to another, he was always ready to help, at least send a smile, say a friendly word....
He moved like a star, shedding light into the darkness. I had the priviledge to talk with him for a few minutes, when I had the chance to convey my admiration, respect and gratitude for what he was doing for all those people, brutally subjected to such a painful experience.
Son of Mexican Immigrants, educated in India, and possessing a spirituality impossible to hide behind such shinning eyes, this man, who represents so well the best of the East and the West told me simply .. Ricardo, I don't do much, all I can do is try to transmit to these people a little compassion, a little love....
May God always guard you and bless you Victor, as you guard and bless so many.... A last suggestion to the US President consider promoting Victor to the post of Foreign Relations Minister, what he deserves more than anyone. I'm certain that, in a very short time, he'd reverse the already beaten up image of the US with the rest of the world.
His attitude reflect perfectly the spirit and the values that have created America, and proves that one cannot possilbly combat terrorism by becoming himself a terrorist one should employ that ancient technique - turning the other cheek.
Finally, I want to say that I have already done the following :
1. Filed a formal complain at the American Embassy in Brasilia.
2. Filed a formal complain at the Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry
3. Send a copy of this text in Portuguese and in English to the Internet, newspapers, magazines, websites, and Human Rights International Institutions.
I hereby authorize any individual or corporation to divulge or reproduce this text partially or in its entirety, making it a public domain, as I believe this case is.
May God bless us all.
Ricardo Abude E. da Silva
The Internet Multicasting Service and the Internet Software Consortium are two well respected non-profit public engineering organizations on the Internet. I recently talked to Carl Malamud since he's in Japan for IETF doing his thing. He is one of principles of IMS and according to the IMS web page "created the first Internet radio station and put the SEC's EDGAR database on-line. A serial social entrepreneur, he's helped run a number of nonprofit organizations and committed two Silicon Valley startups. Carl is the author of 8 books, numerous articles, a few RFCs, and takes up way too much space in Google."
I first met Carl through Jun Murai when we worked on the Internet 1996 World Expo together.
Anyway, he asked for my support for their bid and talked me through it. I think it's great and am very supportive. I think it's by far the best bid and the best structure and I think could be come a model for many other TLD's.
From: Carl Malamud
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002 23:43:42 -0400 (EDT)
Our proposal for .org is not only the only pure non-profit bid, it is the only one that treats the .org registry as a public trust. We're proposing a fully-open, transparent operation: all statistics, finances, and source code will be published. We consider .org to be a public trust, not a public trough: that means that all revenues will be devoted to the .org domain and to public infrastructure.
We'll also make some real changes to how this crucial piece of public infrastructure runs. For example: our performance specifications meet or exceed each of the other bids. (E.g., zone files for the DNS will be published in 5 minutes or less in contrast to the current 24 hours.) We'll be deploying secure DNS. We've got some advanced development work already published that shows how small namespaces (e.g., personal namespaces like Whois) can be changed.
Our team has been doing this for 10 years+. In contrast to the other bids, ours is about people. We're personally signing up to run .org, not promising that some newly-formed organization or some opaque MIS staff will do this.
Bottom line: a rock-solid public infrastructure based on our extensive experience doing this. Most importantly: the first truly open and transparent registry. It doesn't matter if you think there should be a million TLD's or ICANN should be abolished or whatever: the first step is to create a reference implementation so everybody knows how registries should operate. We're proposing to run and then document a best current practices registry.
Their proposal http://trusted.resource.org/
Their "show your support page" http://not.invisible.net/signals/bin/000055.shtml
News and information about the .org bid http://not.invisible.net/signals/memes/org.shtml
ICANN .org Reassignment: Request for Proposals http://www.icann.org/tlds/org/rfp-20may02.htm
We have formed a Japan chapter of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. Shinji Yamane, who has been working on this project for quite a while will be the chair. Kazuo Fujimoto will be the secretary and I will be the treasurer initially. I am trying to get CPSR to help me show the technical problems with the National ID program that Japan is trying to implement. We have a local movement protesting the national ID.