DSC Berlin

News from the pillars: European New Deal

The conversation about DiEM25s strongest pillar – the European New Deal – is ongoing. For members who are not participating in a taskforce or a thematic DSC on that topic it may be hard to grasp its whole extent. Some members of DiEM (e.g. DSC Andalucía, DSC Porto and AP member Ulf Clerwall) have organised a series of Zoom talks about the topic. The effective reach of these talks is rather small and and at times overspecialised for the general membership (not to mention the interested public).

To address this problem I created a prototype interactive video – featuring Adam Newby – explaining some of the basic content of the European New Deal.

(Note: Click on the little “K” to start the interactive video in a new tab)

The website is updated regularly as i’m currently adding subtitles and more videos (e.g. about the Universal Basic Dividend).

If you want to comment on the project or give some feedback, please find more infos in the Mattermost-Team of the DSC Berlin in the designated channel “P1 New Deal” or hit me up on twitter.

Find more infos on our communication platform Mattermost here.

The calendar can be found here.

News from the pillars: Internet of People

We inside DiEM25 want to change Europe – for the better. We want a democratic, solidly united and visionary Europe. To foster this, we are currently working on a Progressive Agenda for Europe. DiEM25 members from all over Europe are developing common whitepapers for our seven pillars. And each whitepaper will be created with the input of all of DiEM25’s members as well as a range of experts in the field. While some pillars are already pretty advanced (e.g. the European New Deal), others are still under construction.

The 7th pillar of DiEM is Technology or “An Internet of People”. On the occasion of DiEM25s 2nd birthday, on February 10th, Renata Avila and Christoph Schneider established the thematic DSC “Democratic Technologies”. And because we are now talking about this 7th pillar, here is a picture of a rasterized dummy beeing penetrated by Ones and Zeros.

Why a technology pillar, you may ask yourself. What ought to be developed in technology? Aren’t deregulated captalist market just doing fine in producing innovation at the speed of light? Well, while it is indeed true that there is no lack of smartphones, self-driving cars, HD-displays and specialized AI (e.g. Alexa, Siri) etc., there is also the question at what cost this is beeing done. Is technology beeing deployed wisely or is it maybe much worse than it could be, given the current mode of production?

An example: In these days you read and hear a lot about the Cambridge Analytica Con in mainstream media:

“Cambridge Analytica inappropriately accessed Facebook profile information belonging to 50 million people and then used that data to construct a powerful internet-based psychological influence weapon.”

Yasha Levine argues, that the media coverage is entirely misleading:

It “makes it seem to readers unfamiliar with the long history of the struggle for control of the digital sphere as if the main problem is that the bad actors at Cambridge Analytica crossed the transmission wires of Facebook in the Promethean manner of Victor Frankenstein—taking what were normally respectable, scientific data protocols and perverting them to serve the diabolical aim of reanimating the decomposing lump of political flesh known as Donald Trump. (…) What Cambridge Analytica is accused of doing—siphoning people’s data, compiling profiles, and then deploying that information to influence them to vote a certain way—Facebook and Silicon Valley giants like Google do every day, indeed, every minute we’re logged on, on a far greater and more invasive scale.”

Levine concludes with the remark, that

“Today’s internet business ecosystem is built on for-profit surveillance, behavioral profiling, manipulation and influence. That’s the name of the game. It isn’t just Facebook or Cambridge Analytica or even Google. It’s Amazon. It’s eBay. It’s Palantir. It’s Angry Birds. It’s MoviePass. It’s Lockheed Martin. It’s every app you’ve ever downloaded. Every phone you bought. Every program you watched on your on-demand cable TV package.”

Indeed the problem is not, that there was a rogue company that played “unfair” and “stole” data from facebook. Even Silicon Valley-CEOs admit that the problem goes deeper and is embedded in the very structure of today data-mining-driven internet.

We at DiEM25, especially in the thematic DSC “Democratic Technologies”, are trying to find out, how this problem can be visualized, understood and adressed. Is it the user that has to stand up and fight for his/hers digital rights? There are already highly usable tools and manuals like e.g. Data Detox Kit available and we urge you to use them. But this maybe like the biblical battle between David and Goliath – using the Data-Detox-slingshot against a Valley full of High-End-Specialists.

Meanwhile – as fas as eu-government official are concerned – this picture seems to pop up when it comes to Cybersecurity:

Fortunately regulation attempts aren’t as fruitless as it may seem:

“On May 25 (…) the power balance will shift towards consumers, thanks to a European privacy law that restricts how personal data is collected and handled. The rule, called General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, focuses on ensuring that users know, understand, and consent to the data collected about them. Under GDPR, pages of fine print won’t suffice. Neither will forcing users to click yes in order to sign up.

Instead, companies must be clear and concise about their collection and use of personal data like full name, home address, location data, IP address, or the identifier that tracks web and app use on smartphones. Companies have to spell out why the data is being collected and whether it will be used to create profiles of people’s actions and habits. Moreover, consumers will gain the right to access data companies store about them, the right to correct inaccurate information, and the right to limit the use of decisions made by algorithms, among others.”
(via Wired)

If this regulation is beeing applied forceful, it should be at least more difficult to maintain a business model based on Datatrade an Advertisement – in Europe.
But also the USA is already more regulated as you may think.

“The FTC has a modicum of authority, and has used it when companies grossly overreach—as it did against Facebook in 2011, when the company failed to keep its promises regarding how it treated their data. In the Cambridge Analytica case, the FTC could fine Facebook up to $40,000 per violation—with 50 million people impacted, the potential fine hypothetically stretches into the trillions.”
(via Wired)

We at DiEM25 believe, that this can only be the starting point. In our thematic DSC “Democratic Technologies” we are developing the internet and technology policies of the future. – A future that contains a decentralised, secure and transparent internet, that doesn’t sell its users to the highest bidder. To have a glimps on what such a legislation would look like, please click here. Anyway here is another picture of some matrix-style rootkit code:

If you want to join us now or in future meetings, please find more infos in the Mattermost-Team of the DSC Berlin in the designated channel “P7 Technology”, write an e-mail to berlin1dsc@de.diem25.org or hit me up on twitter.

Find more infos on our communication platform Mattermost here.

The calendar can be found here.

Picture Credits:

Cybersecurity Partnership by Merril College of Journalism – CC-BY-NC (flickr.com/photos/umdnews/7562831366)
Data Thief – Hacker – Cyber Criminal by Blue Coat Photos – CC-BY-SA (flickr.com/photos/111692634@N04/15855653380)
Rootkit code by Christiaan Colen – CC-BY-SA

DSC Berlin hitting the streets in March

Creative Resistance Taskforce under Construction …

On the occasion of DiEM25s 2nd birthday, organised by members of the DSC Berlin, the workshop “Creative Resistance” took place. The central question of the workshop was how artists and creative people can play a decisive role in the struggle for a fair and democratic society. The answer isn’t easy in no case and the workshop could only scratch on the surface. The speakers, Sarah Waterfeld and subliminal_guy (author of this piece), gave their best to deliver a brief overview of best (and worst) practices hitherto.

We talked about the various vanguard movements of the 20th Century (russian vanguard, surrealism, dadaism, situationism), artistic interventions of german artists Jörg Immendorf and Joseph Beuys, up to hoaxes by the Yes Men and the german Peng!-Collective.

Sarah Waterfeld reported on the ongoing transmedial theater project “B6112” that occupied the Berliner Volksbühne. Afterwards she introduced the Transmedia-Manifesto and its emancipatory potential.

During the talk the documentary “Culture Jamming” (2007) has been screened. This documentary covers some spectacular hoaxes and artistic interventions that took place between 2001 und 2006 in Europe and the United States.

The workshop also gave birth to the Creative Resistance Taskforce, that will have its initial meeting on March 15 in Berlin. In this Taskforce we aim to unite the creative potential within DiEM25 to find new forms of internal and external communication, to design spectacular actions and to help imagine a world beyond Capitalist Realism.

If you want to join us now or in future meetings, please find more infos in the Mattermost-Team of the DSC Berlin in the designated channel “art not art”, write an e-mail to berlin1dsc@de.diem25.org or hit me up on twitter.

Find more infos on our communication platform Mattermost here.

The calendar can be found here.

That astonishingly there is an alternative for Europe!

On 25th and 26th of May DiEM25 members from all over Europe came together in Berlin to exchange their work and ideas on democratising the EU. People from countries like Finland, Serbia, Ireland, Spain, Romania, Poland, Norway, France, Italy, Austria and Germany discussed how to build a solidly united system in Europe that offers equal rights and opportunities for everybody living on the continent.

The Democracy in DiEM25 (DiD) group shared their ideas on Distributed Network Collectives and Grassroots Democracy. We think internal democracy is crucial and communication and transparency are the key elements. DiEM25’s European Gender group pointed out that gender equality and diversity are everyday practices and should be embraced to foster our democratic discourse in including and representing as much perspectives as possible.

The DiEM25 Spontaneous Collective (DSC) Berlin provided an input on the topic of Multiparty Politics. The debate will go on: Should we found the first exclusively pan European Party? This question is crucial when thinking about strategies to put our agenda to the ballot boxes at the European elections of 2019! Of course endorsing candidates or parties in the elections are the other possibilities, as we recently did in the French and English elections. It’s clear for us that we will put an end to the politics of “There Is No Alternative” (TINA) and challenge the national phlegmatism of Lexiteers. We therefore say “TATIANA” (That Astonishingly There Is AN Alternative!) to Angela Merkel, Wolfgang Schäuble, Jean-Claude Juncker and everybody else: The European New Deal!

The DSC Belgrade later asked: How to deal with the European New Deal? And presented answers like “With the European New Deal paper we are able to embrace the robot army appearing on the horizon and let them work for us.” We are going to put forth green investments and finally regulate the banking sector. We are going to provide a job guarantee, basic goods and social housing for everybody.

In other workshops we pointed out that art should question the morality of the public and shift the thinking of people. Art as a fundamental form of societal and political expression will be at the heart of DiEM25 (DiEM25 Voice). Furthermore we learned about the peculiarities of the French elections from DSC Lyon and the history of the disintegration of Yugoslavia through an economic crisis from DSCs Ljubljana and Belgrade.

We also exchanged our ideas for a European Constitution after an input from DSC Asturias and elaborated on: “Let’s democratise Innovation and Production!” With a political framework for the encouragement of free and open source products that will empower us to become smart citizens instead of being controlled by overbearing smart cities. During the last panel we concluded that it’s about time to form a truly democratic European demos and put our ideas into practice.

We closed these incredible two days and twelve hours of workshops with a dinner at a Croatian Restaurant in Berlin. We thank all participants for the sparkling atmosphere, splendid talks and valuable inputs. We will very eagerly work on our policies and ideas, together with our new friends from all over Europe.

Some more impressions about the whole event are provided in this Video:

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