Tag: Democratic Technologies

“Meanwhile the progressive left DiEM25 political movement has recently released a policy doc advocating for European tech sovereignty that seems to share many of our ideals (…)”
Democratic Socialists of America

Download the green paper here.

News from the pillars: Questionnaire »Technological Sovereignty«

The development of the 1st Green Paper for the seventh pillar of DiEM25s Policy: »Technological Sovereignty« is in progress.

In this phase, which runs until July 5th, members of the DSC »Democratic Technologies« are gathering input on this questionnaire. In July we will work on the first draft of the Green Paper until August 5th. In order to work, we’ll need your ideas!

Your ideas do not have to be fully elaborated. Think about what might be wrong or be better in our (computer-)managed world. Can you name practices in any technology that you would consider »undemocratic«? How can we foster the privacy of European citizens and protect their data from misuse by private corporations? How can we regulate the Internet monopolists (GAFAM)? How can we think about technological development – our future – in a creative way and beyond economic imperatives? How should copyright laws be reformed? The full list of questions can be found in the questionnaire.

Send your suggestions, ideas and policy proposals to techpillar@diem25.org.
(Needless to say: Input that arrives after the 5th of July will also be considered.)

For your inspiration here are two brief proposals made by the author of this piece:

1. The European Union is in need of a multilingual content platform that stores and delivers content produced by the distinct national public stations. This so called European Media Platform would deliver subtitled and/or voiced-over content produced or licensed by EU public entities to enrich an european public debate. A european democratic Netflix!

2. A decentralized, autonomous, encrypted peer-to-peer-network as opposed to the commercial and centralized server farms of the internet giants. The EU should set up a European Save Networking Fund that encourages research on an open-source and easy-to-use solution implementing an Autonomous Data Network. With this fund the EU e.g. provides bootstrap servers and minimum amount of storage capacity (storing encrypted data chunks) to get the network up and running.

This idea and your ideas will be developed during the paper development process. Again: Send your suggestions, ideas and policy proposals to techpillar@diem25.org.

We have a lot of plans and we still need fellow combatants. If you want to join us now or in future meetings, please find more infos in the Mattermost-Team »TechPillar«, write an e-mail to bogdan.gradinaru82@gmail.com or spiritsparrow@riseup.net or hit me up on twitter.

Find more infos on our communication platform Mattermost here.

Picture Credits:

Message from artificial intelligence.. by Michael Cordedda – CC-BY (flickr.com/photos/mikeycordedda/5382624995)

The databending of phantom pink + green flowers in surveilled gardens where paranoia grows by torley – CC-BY-SA (flickr.com/photos/torley/9349869180)

Censorship Machines, Upload Filter and Link Tax

Urgent Call for Action:
On 20-21 June, the European Parliament will vote on the Copyright Directive. Members of the parliament are the only ones that can stand in the way of bad copyright legislation.
Tell them you need them to protect your Internet against surveillance and censorship machines!


»The internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.«
Principle 2 of The Mozilla Manifesto

We at DiEM25 see the Internet as the most powerful resource for communication and collaboration resource that humanity has ever had. The possibilities of freedom of expression and civil discourse – despite the many problems such as Fake News – are to be defended. The internet has made it possible for thousands of artists, activists, creators, authors and bloggers to speak out. An important means was and is the internet meme culture.

What if this image was illegal?

Memes are an effective way to communicate and have already affected a whole generation of users to creatively use digital resources. The Art of Collage, Remix and Creative Recycling of texts, sounds, images and ideas is a crucial part of the cultural repertoire of the 20th and 21st century.

»Individuals must have the ability to shape the internet and their own experiences on it.«
Principle 5 of The Mozilla Manifesto

In his project »Everything Is a Remix« the filmmaker Kirby Fergusson has impressively shown how not only film and popular culture, but the whole human history of knowledge is based on copying, recombining and transforming existing ideas.

The end of remix and sharing culture?

On 25 May, the European Council agreed to a negotiating position on the draft copyright directive. This will allow the presidency of the Council to start negotiations with the European Parliament on mass monitoring and filtering of internet uploads and a chaotic new “ancillary copyright” measure that will make it harder to link to and quote news sources.
Diego Naranjo

This reform proposals contains two toxic suggestions:

Upload Filter

Every upload to an internet platform should be automatically filtered to prevent copyright infringement. The responsible systems are already being accused of making ridiculously wrong decisions – the so-called algorithmic over-blocking – and a lack of transparency.

What is algorithmic over-blocking? Christophe Bruno has collected some amusing examples in his project logohallucination :

Ancillary Copyright

The proposed law includes powers for media giants to charge licensing fees for posting links, through a new type of copyright, aka the link tax.

What can we do to save our internet?

In our thematic DSC “Democratic Technologies”, we work on the regulations of the future and on preventing or correcting undesirable developments, as described above.

We have a lot of plans and we still need fellow combatants. If you want to join us now or in future meetings, please find more infos in the Mattermost-Team »TechPillar«, write an e-mail to bogdan.gradinaru82@gmail.com or spiritsparrow@riseup.net or hit me up on twitter.

Find more infos on our communication platform Mattermost here.

The calendar can be found here.

Useful links:

EU Member States agree on monitoring & filtering of internet uploads

EU censorship machines and link tax laws are nearing the finish line

News from the pillars: Tech Sovereignty

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 “Tech Sovereignty”. 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 bogdan.gradinaru82@gmail.com or spiritsparrow@riseup.net 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

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