The Party of Open: Open Government, Open Culture, Open Innovation & People First

Yearly archive: 2010

On the FCC’s net neutrality rules

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We haven’t read the new FCC net neutrality rules, because you need a Freedom of Information Act request to see them, so we haven’t decided our position on it, but here are a few perspectives: Dan Gilmore: But when it came to rules that might boost network neutrality — the notion that end users (you and me) should decide what content and services we want without interference from the ISPs — the FCC’s order paid lip service to the concept while enshrining its eventual demise. In theory, land-line carriers (traditional phone and cable companies, for the most part) won’t be allowed to play favorites. In practice, the new rules invite them to concoct new kinds of services that do precisely that.But even that fuzzy concept won’t apply to mobile carriers, which means that discrimination will be explicitly permitted by companies like AT&T and Verizon for customers of the iPhone and iPad, among other devices that are increasingly the most important entry point to the Internet. The rules are also an open invitation to ISPs to spy on their customers. Genachowski’s repeated references to users’ right to use “legal” content were code words for the entertainment industry’s push to have ISPs become their enforcement arms in the copyright wars. Hollywood wants your ISP to watch everything people do, and then block users who are alleged to be infringing. Harry Lewis brings up some past history on the disadvantages of allowing network providers to create fast and slow lanes for traffic. Steve Wozniak: The early Internet was so accidental, it also was free and open in this sense. The Internet has become as important as anything man has ever created. But those freedoms are being chipped away. Please, I beg you, open your senses to the will of the people to keep … Read more

published under Net Neutrality | Comments Off on On the FCC’s net neutrality rules

Draft Policy: Term of Copyright

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The Massachusetts Pirate Party is debating the term of copyright in order to form a policy on it. The “term” of copyright refers to the length of time for which a copyright is in effect. Currently it can get up as high as centuries, and is tending towards infinity. We think it is spiraling out of control, and we want to limit the term of copyright. But for exactly how long? One proposal is 14 years, and another is 5 years. A compromise proposal would split the difference between these two ideas. Please weigh in with your opinions by leaving a comment. The Pirate Party already has a great policy about fair use, public domain and other aspects of copyright. This debate should be limited in scope to simply the length of time. The Statute of Anne is regarded as the first copyright statute in Great Britain. In the years after the invention of the printing press, bibles and official documents were printed. Dissent was also printed, and there were disputes that content had been stolen from the original author. So a copyright law was developed. The original author had the sole right to publish the book for 14 years. (Old books were grandfathered in with 21 years.) It could be extended for 14 more years, but only by the original author, and only if they were alive at the end of the first copyright term. (Incidentally, the author was understood to be an individual rather than a corporation.) Although this was created in England under Queen Anne, a similar statute was later adopted in the U.S. after independence. The Swedish Pirate Party has called for a five year term of copyright. This is understandable because the world has sped up a lot with the Internet and electronic media. Most … Read more

published under Copyright | Tagged | 7 Comments

Open Thread: Posting and commenting standards

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So, we’re just getting all of this started, and as example taken from a couple of my favorite blogs, I figured I’d try and start a tradition using “open threads” for general forum blather and commenting. I think we should all try and hold each other accountable for supporting any blog entries or comments that we make with evidence from sources, as reliable as possible, via links. What say you all?

published under Copyright | Tagged | 1 Comment

Draft Position on the TSA and Travel Security

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At our last general meeting, we decided to post a draft position a week to get feedback and refine the policies we want to implement once we are elected. Our first draft position is on the TSA, Travel Security and are the better alternatives to naked scanners or groping by TSA employees.  Please add your comments so we can improve it.  Thanks! Government should be about serving the people who have voted to create it, and to a limited extent this does happen. Unfortunately there are several obstacles getting in the way. Media corporations have created a climate of systematic disinformation designed to skew voter opinions. Elected officials often feel compelled to sell their decisions in order to keep their jobs. And the cream has not risen to the top, meaning that the people making the decisions may not be experts in their fields. All of these factors have affected TSA security procedures. Since 2001, we have seen a series of high-profile attempts that each used different methods including box cutters, shoes, shampoo and underwear. Terrorists have constantly innovated. By contrast, the TSA has always reacted to the previous attack, rather than trying to anticipate the next one. They have focused on the objects we are bringing aboard, instead of focusing on the traveler. They are buying expensive equipment rather than hiring qualified personnel. The Israeli approach to security has its own problems but is more effective, emphasizes results rather than theater, and even costs less. But it’s a mistake to focus primarily on a specific security approach. Just like terrorists, we must constantly adapt our approach. My proposal is to align our security with our values and create a meritocracy that will put results over politics. Our values say that security should prevent attacks, should be inexpensive and easy … Read more

published under Privacy, Travel | 5 Comments

Wikileaks’ Benefit to Democracy

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With calls for the head of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, and’s government prompted censorship of Wikileaks, after the release of the latest State Department cables, it is worth reviewing some of the things Wikileaks has revealed that the US media has not (thanks to Greg Greenwald of for the summary): “We viscerally saw the grotesque realities of our war in Iraq with the Apache attack video on innocent civilians and journalists in Baghdad — and their small children — as they desperately scurried for cover.  We recently learned that the U.S. government adopted a formal policy of refusing to investigate the systematic human rights abuses of our new Iraqi client state, all of which took place under our deliberately blind eye.  We learned of 15,000 additional civilian deaths caused by the war in Iraq that we didn’t know of before.  We learned — as documented by The Washington Post‘s former Baghdad Bureau Chief — how clear, deliberate and extensive were the lies of top Bush officials about that war as it was unfolding:  “Thanks to WikiLeaks, though, I now know the extent to which top American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public,” she wrote. In this latest WikiLeaks release — probably the least informative of them all, at least so far — we learned a great deal as well.  Juan Cole today details the 10 most important revelations about the Middle East.  Scott Horton examines the revelation that the State Department pressured and bullied Germany out of criminally investigating the CIA’s kidnapping of one of their citizens who turned out to be completely innocent.  The head of the Bank of England got caught interfering in British politics to induce harsher austerity measures in violation of his duty to remain apolitical and removed from the political process, a scandal resulting in calls for his resignation.  British … Read more

published under Censorship, Transparency | Comments Off on Wikileaks’ Benefit to Democracy

Weekly chat will be this Sunday at 10pm

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The Mass. Pirate Party weekly chat is every Sunday at 10pm.  To get on: Go to Click the Launch Mibbit WebChat button Enter in a Nick of your choice and enter #mp-weekly in the Channel box next to it, then click the Go button Start typing and reading

published under Organizing | Comments Off on Weekly chat will be this Sunday at 10pm

We want your input on our next meeting

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We are scheduling our next meeting and we want your input on when it should be.  If you think you will attend, please visit: and fill out what dates/times you can make it.  Thanks!

published under Organizing | Comments Off on We want your input on our next meeting

COICA Likely Dead for the Lame Duck Session

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PC Magazine is reporting that Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, would put a hold on the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA).  With so few days left in this session, Senator Wyden’s action likely will kill the bill.  While this development is encouraging, we continue the fight to stop the bill.  If it fails for this session, Senator Leahy (D-VT) will introduce the bill for the next session. We need your help.

published under Censorship | Comments Off on COICA Likely Dead for the Lame Duck Session

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves COICA Censorship Bill

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We are one step closer to emulating the censorship of China and other authoritarian regimes. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act (COICA) this morning.  The following senators voted for it, many by proxy: Patrick J. Leahy — Vermont Herb Kohl — Wisconsin Jeff Sessions — Alabama Dianne Feinstein — California Orrin G. Hatch — Utah Russ Feingold — Wisconsin Chuck Grassley — Iowa Arlen Specter — Pennsylvania Jon Kyl — Arizona Chuck Schumer — New York Lindsey Graham — South Carolina Dick Durbin — Illinois John Cornyn — Texas Benjamin L. Cardin — Maryland Tom Coburn — Oklahoma Sheldon Whitehouse — Rhode Island Amy Klobuchar — Minnesota Al Franken — Minnesota Chris Coons — Delaware Whether the Senate or even the House of Representatives approves it, especially in this lame duck session, is an open question.  But while we fight to kill COICA, we should never forget the Senators who voted to impose censorship on the internet. Thanks to Tech Dirt for the list.

published under Censorship | 1 Comment

COICA internet censorship bill is back. Help fight it!

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The Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act (COICA) is being reintroduced and may be put to a vote before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.  It already has seventeen sponsors! What is COICA? COICA would allow the Department of Justice (DOJ) to force ISPs to block web sites and domain names that the DOJ thinks infringe on copyrighted material.  As the EFF states: The bill creates two blacklists of censored domains. The first is longer, and includes any sites where the DOJ decides that infringement is “central” to the purpose of the site. The bill gives ISPs and registrars strong legal incentives to censor the domains on that list. The Attorney General can also ask a court to put sites on a second, shorter blacklist; ISPs and registrars are required by law to censor those sites. It avoids due process and has no judicial review.  COICA is a censorship bill, plain and simple, and is counter to our 1st Amendment rights. As TechDirt points out, had this bill been law over the last hundred years, many of the technologies and industries we take for granted would have been considered illegal such as: Hollywood, the recording industry, radio, cable tv and mp3 players. Help fight it! The first battle is in the Senate, so please  sign the on-line petition against COICA, and, more importantly, contact both Massachusetts Senators and urge them to oppose COICA: Scott Brown (202) 224-4543 John Kerry (202) 224-2742 If you get a response from either Senators Brown or Kerry, please email us at info at masspirates dot org.  We would like to keep track of the responses our supporters are receiving. Thanks to for keeping track of this bill.

published under Censorship | 4 Comments
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