Spying, whistleblowing and civil unrest continue to make the headlines this weekend leaving one wondering how much all three are linked. Egypt's 2011 Arab Spring revolution is now a nightmare spiraling downward into a possible full blown conflict. The military coup has left supporters of Morsi out in the cold and Egypt is in for a tumultuous time. Russia Today
reports Saturday armed guards have fired on crowd but the army denies involvement. With so many weapons on the street it could be any number of people making waves.
Will a foreign country step in overtly or covertly, as in the past?.Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed to unsuspecting civilians that western nations are gathering data and confidential information about the public. Governments continue to claim that it is all done within the bounds of laws but that is questionable. The extent of the spying mess is unknown for now which is why the hunt is on to catch former CIA operative Edward Snowden.Looking back to the Arab Spring and in particular Egypt, how far was the west involved in manipulating the so-called revolution? Egyptian leader Mubarek was at one time the favoured leader of that country but somewhere along the line that changed. Perhaps it was simply that the west acknowledged he was not a good leader and many of his people wanted democracy. Perhaps however says it all.The Syrian uprising is in a similar situation. Leader Bashar al Assad was once the preferred leader of Syria, at least by the west. He stayed over at Buckingham Palace and was wined, dined and treat as a welcome dignitary. Was that just western hypocrisy at that time? Were there no human rights infringements back then? You know, the old saying what cannot be cured must be endured, and also used to every opportunity it seems?Edward Snowden remains a man on the run Saturday. Hero or traitor the USA will not rest until he is apprehended. Snowden has many more secrets to reveal, a fact which has the west running scared. Do they include shocking revelations regarding western involvement in Egyot, Syria and the Arab Spring?Related reading:BBC news reporter Jeremy Bowen bloodied in Egyptian violence
Egyptian President Morsi ousted, under armed guard, military in charge
We in the West are under threat from our governments, that is our Internet freedom is under threat. Canada, the USA, the UK and more have implemented some restrictions on our Internet privacy and they plan to take these restrictions further.
The reasons given tend to be to stop child pornography and terrorism. Both of these are used as examples as law abiding citizens will obviously oppose them. They are however used to intimidate and scare rather than telling the truth.
It is a fact that uprisings such as the Arab Spring involved people mobilised by way of Facebook and Twitter. In the Summer 2011 UK riots thugs used Blackberry phones in order to out fox the police.
Tightening laws regarding our Internet freedoms will have little impact on thugs, child pornographers and terrorists. They will simply find another way. Like a criminal hell bent on stealing an old Master from a gallery, where there is a will there is a way.
All that the proposed laws will do is alienate citizens, intrude on our freedom and privacy, open the door for corrupt officials to abuse the system and allow governments to believe they can then go one step further.
Today July 11, 2012, Russia followed the West. Russia's lower house of parliament yesterday passed a censorship bill in its third and final reading, despite criticism of censorship from the country's most popular websites. Originally the Russian authorities only planned to censor information deemed harmful. In common with other governments it has now changed its mind.
Yesterday the Russian Wikipedia website had a black out in protest. SOPA
, the western stop online piracy act, caused fury in the West and it seems the Russian proposals are doing the same in that country.
Last night a government re-think led to a hard list of what will be censored under the new law. According to RT the list now includes, web pages which advocate suicide, substance abuse, excessively risky behaviour, and child pornography. There will be a black list of sites deemed unsuitable for children but ultimately this will limit the Internet freedom of the Russian people.
The Soviet Union used strict censorship and more to control its people. New Russia looks set to go the same way. There has already been an election this year which many claim was rigged.The West has a crumbling economy with the prospect of even higher unemployment, more poverty, conflicts and a brutally damaged environment. Allowing people freedom or the means to mobilise in such dire circumstances will not be desirable, will it?Read More Here http://www.rt.com/news/wikipedia-yandex-censorship-bill-936/http://questgarden.com/51/61/3/070519135841/process.htm
Tags: Russian Internet snooping, Russian Internet censorship, internet privacy, SOPA, western Internet snooping
Just a few of the providers
UK Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg faced Breakfast TV cameras this morning to announce government proposals re our fuel bills.
The energy industry was privatised by a previous Conservative government which has left customers paying a variety of charges. Whilst it was applauded by some many had qualms. In some ways it has proved to be good for UK householders but not as competitive as had been hoped. After all there are still only so many energy providers and suppliers.
Since privatisation of UK energy it has proved quite a battle to get the best deal. Each supplier has a range of tariffs. You may find that the tariff you opted for last year, which was brilliant then, is now the pits. You can change your provider but for some vulnerable householders this is not as easy as it could be. Securing the best deal around often needs the use of a computer and the Internet in order to "shop around".
Mr Clegg was interviewed on UK Breakfast TV April 11, 2012, explaining proposals which should hep energy customers get the best value for their money. The latest government initiative will mean that energy providers have to issue an update once a year regarding the best value deal available to its customers. Vulnerable customers, such as those living on a limited invalidity income or the elderly will receive a statement twice a year.
In theory this sounds a brilliant idea and it will help many. It may however confuse some customers and it will not cost the companies involved nothing, will it? The statements will have to involve the use of hard copy which will be far from eco friendly or cost free.
Will this mean that any associated costs will be passed down to customers and the prices be less attractive?
Mr Clegg claimed customers could save around £100 a year. He said, "We have secured a landmark deal with the six big energy companies who cover 99% of customers, to give customers a guaranteed offer of the best tariff for them."Right now, seven out of 10 customers are on the wrong tariff for their needs, so are paying too much. "Yet people rarely switch, despite the fact some families could save up to £100 a year. "There are currently over 120 different tariffs, making it very difficult to know where to start. That is going to change. "As of this autumn, your supplier will have to contact you with the best tariff for your needs - and if you call them, they'll have to offer you the best deal too."
Nick Clegg is a good speaker and the way he explained the changes they did sound positive. Of course the interviewers ciould not wait to get to the thorny issues of internet freedom and snooping by the authorities. Clegg may be a good speaker, and perhaps a genuine man, but you could see he was prepared but not happy to discuss the subject.
Having previously denied any knowledge of the government internet snooping plans, yesterday's announcement by Tory PM David Cameron that Mr Clegg and members of his party were well aware of the changes, Nick is in a sticky position. It was not hard to see that he was uncomfortable but he bluffed it out. In the end Mr Clegg said that he and his party accepted that some changes may be necessary but they would not allow the implementation of Draconian measures.
Well Mr Clegg, we shall soon see if you can put your money where your mouth is, won't we?
Tags: Nick Clegg, UK energy, energy providers, Gas, Electric, annual energy statements, internet snooping
Obama Privacy Bill of Rights: Is It What the U.S. Needs Or Not?
The post here was written in February 2012. Today July 11, 2012 there is news which relates to the article. Find it at the end of the report, after you refresh your memories as to the original content.
This blogger receives updates from various companies online. The latest included information on possible Internet privacy changes. It seems that many Western countries are intent on preventing us maintaining our Internet freedoms. Recently TEK reported that the Canadian government were looking at making changes. The UK has limited its users freedoms also. The latest email contained information about proposed US changes. Here is what it said:"The Obama Administration announced a privacy plan last week in hopes of increasing protections for consumer privacy. The Administration has been working toward this effort for several months and has created a framework consisting of a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, a multi-stakeholder process to determine how the rights will apply to the context of business, an adequate enforcement model, and a commitment to strengthen interoperability between the privacy standards in the U.S. and its global partners.
While privacy advocates welcomed the proposal, for the most part, some of them have voiced concerns about the enforcement of the plan. Others, including Adam Thierer, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, have also spoken out in opposition of the White House’s proposal.
According to Thierer, the intentions at the core of the plan appear to be good, but the consequences that may result instead could be very harmful. For instance, he believes the framework is strikingly similar to the privacy laws and regulations in Europe.
He told us that, if fully executed, the Administration’s approach could be damaging to consumers and competition for Internet businesses. In addition, Thierer said the plan could limit new services and lead to more government regulations over the Web.
In the White Paper released, the Administration asks Congress to adopt the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and give the FTC and state attorneys general the power to enforce them. However, given the election year and other pressing issues, Thierer pointed out that it was unlikely that anything would happen in this regard this year.
Do you think the U.S. needs “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights”? We’d love to hear your opinion"
There you have it. It is for you to decide how this may affect you and whether you find it acceptable.
July 11, 2012, RT has reported that last Friday US President Obama "quietly" signed an Executive Order allowing the White House to control all private communications in the country in the name of national security. What! The full RT report can be found here.
A pertinent line or two that you may find interesting reads, In explaining the order, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) writes that the president has authorized the DHS "the authority to seize private facilities when necessary, effectively shutting down or limiting civilian communications." Make of that what you will!Tags: SOPA, internet privacy, Obama signs order, US President Obama, US privacy