This is a continuation of a prolonged court, the earlier bits of which are here: Day 1 part 1 and part 2 , Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 part 1 and part 2 of this trial were covered in March, 2014 (write-ups by me at links). Day 5 is more or less covered by days 6 and 7.… Day 6 is here. Day 7 part 1 is here – sorry about having had to chop this up into short little bits, it seems my original write up was too long for WordPress to format correctly… part 2 is here.
Dr. Baglow’s impression of my coverage of the court hearings, as per Twitter, is here.
Which brings us to the first day of the ‘fall session’ of the trial, where the defense part of this case starts.
Aside – I understand that the court-ordered ‘blogosphere expert’ will be testifying on Thursday..
I showed up in court nice and early – long before the information desk folks (on the 2nd floor of the Elgin St. Courthouse in Ottawa – but facing the main Elgin St. entrance) got the memo about which courtroom this particular civil case will be heard in. However, as time passed on, I learned that the case will have been heard in Courtroom #20 – the courtroom closest to the main/front entrance (and thus dubbed ‘the smoker’s courtroom’). Here are the players:
Justice: Polowin, J.
Plaintiff: Baglow, John
Lawyer: Burnet, Peter Francis
Defendant: Smith, Roger
Lawyer: Kulaszka, Barbara
As the ‘players’ arrived on the ‘playing field’, these were my observations:
Barbara Kulaszka (BK) looked her steadfast self: short hair kissed with just a tiny bit of silver, billowing lawyer’s robes framing her slender frame, she was her true self.
Peter Burnet, (PB) slightly balding and silver, looked distinguished (edit: a complained-of phrase has been removed here).
Roger Smith looked dashing in his tan slacks, brown shoes, blue blazer, dark (black or charcoal) shirt with a blue-inside-a-gray-striped shirt and blue thin-striped tie, his silver hair dashing, his cheekbones chiseled above his silver, manicured beard/mustache.
Dr. Baglow wore his signature outfit: black suit, blue shirt (opened collar, as if to stress his ‘blue collar’ sympathies), the ubiquitous riding boots (with delicate and adorable little silver trimmings), silver watch, rings on the ring and pinkie fingers of his left hand, silver hair and tailored silver mustache accentuated by the gun-metal framed spectacles he twirled in his hands more than he wore.
The charismatic Mark Fournier wore a new-looking dark blue suit with a thin gray stripe, black shoes and a cream, open-necked shirt.
Connie Fournier was elegant in form-fitting dark trousers which flattered her shape and a dark violet, v-necked thin-knit pullover (with cute button-sleeve detail) which highlighted her fine, strawberry-blond hair cut into a flattering bob.
To complete the picture, let me just say that the same Court Clerk (from the spring) who did not want to be blogged about (and worried she’d be ‘Twittered’) presided over the case, fussing over the improperly entered ‘stuff’ from the spring and lamenting that it will fall to her to re-enter and correct it all. The ‘Madam Court Reporter’ was a pretty young woman sporting longish black hair with flattering bangs. Her trim figure was perfectly framed in a navy blue, long-sleeved knit dress accentuated by a thin brown belt with gold-coloured metal trimmigs. Her pumps were impeccable!
Also, the CCLA, an intervenor in this case, was not represented by Mr Frankel, but by a competent-looking young woman in a black-and-white striped shirt, black slacks and blazer and bright red flat shoes (which she shed while she sat cross-legged on the spectator bench) – I understand Mr. Frankel will rejoin the case later in this week.
Courtroom #20 differed from most court rooms in that on the right side, it sported a sturdy-looking gray sofa with 4 fluffy-looking pillows. I can only presume that Dr. Baglow’s past blood-pressure difficulties motivated the court to pick a courtroom with a sofa in it. Otherwise, Courtroom #20 was much like most of the courtrooms in the Elgin St. Courthouse in Ottawa: creamy-white walls with the ‘head’ wall (behind the judge) being a wood-panel in the same tan colour as the doors and the wooden-bits of the spectator benches, bearing the Canadian Coat of Arms. (The back wall – not the benches!) The seat bit of the upholstered spectator benches was a muted pink, which clashed rather badly with the crude orange-red of the floor carpeting.
It is difficult to describe the air of expectation one can only experience in the courtroom, with everyone present and waiting for the judge to arrive. I can only liken it to a cross-section of the feeling which, as a 14-month-old (OK – I’m an Aspie and remember this), you are expecting the vaccine-baring MD to enter the room where your mother is holding you down overlapped with the dread you feel as you are sitting at a desk, awaiting your fist Calculus exam paper to arrive. Add to this the distinct staccato of high heels in the distance – it is ever present, even if completely unrelated to the judge’s arrival – and you approach the hushed tenseness that awaiting the judge’s arrival in the courtroom accompanies!
As in – no movie could possibly do it justice!!! No amount of suspense could possibly capture the breathlessness of these moments!!!
At 10:05, Madam Justice Polowin, J., entered.
Her hair was longer and lighter than before – and her (paler than before) face looked puffy and strained. Yet, her eyes looked as intelligent and as sharp as ever!
The first session of the first morning of a hearing are usually taken up with tedious ‘housekeeping’ or ‘administrative’ matters. Not so in Madam Justice Polowin’s courtroom today! We went straight to the start of the defense’s case!!!
The first person to take the stand was Roger Smith (aka Peter O’Donnel). He explained that even though ‘Roger Smith’ is his legal name, it is not ‘unique’ – both ‘Roger’ and ‘Smith’ being ‘common names’. ‘ Peter O’Donnel’, however was somewhat less unique – and as it was his birth name, he used it extensively (though not exclusively – he sometimes picked ‘humorous nicnames’) in his online activities.
It is my impression that Roger Smith is a very reluctant defender: it seems to me that he believes that his only defense lies in his truly held beliefs (and that promoting these is in the public good), but that he also thinks that having to justify his deeply held ‘political beliefs’ in front of a judge is very inappropriate of itself (regardless of the eventual ruling) and subversive of our democracy itself – akin to having to having one’s very thoughts needing to br sanctioned by a court of law….which, obviously, is a violation of the most fundamental freedom – the freedom of thought. So, it seems to me, he is very reluctant to present his beliefs and convictions to the court – yet, his only defense (it seems to me) lies in him claiming to ‘truly believe’ what he had said/written/posted on the internet. As in – it seems to me as though Roger Smith believes that it is not his statement of his beliefs, but his convictions themselves, which are on trial here – a form of ‘thought-crime-policing’, if you will.
And, since (in my never-humble-opinion) he thinks ‘thought-crime’ ought not be a ‘crime’ (if you excuse my clumsy expression of the principle), he is having difficulty with the whole matter.
As in, defending his views would be a bit of a violation of the ‘thought-is-not-a crime’ bit.
At least, that is the impression I have been left with following his testimony and the bit of cross-examination I saw.
The testimony bit of the day merely repeated what had been entered into the record in the past – just the light it had been cast in was ‘slightly’ different. And by ‘slightly’, I mean ‘a lot’. As in, the bits that the prosecution entered in as ‘strong’ evidence now seemed rather silly and frivolous…which is not much of a comfort, since in a civil case of libel, ‘malice’ is presumed and needs to be disproved, rather that that whole ‘innocent until proven guilty’ bit of jurisprudence….
Yes, much revolved around SmallDeadAnimals (SDA) and Jay Currie’s blog posts, as well as Free Dominion and the Conservative blogosphere in general…plus Dr. Dawg’s blog – ‘progressive’ site run by the plaintiff (civil prosecution).
Roger Smith’s background – from Math and Science to an Honours’ BA in Geography in order to become a ‘Climatologist’ (‘Climate Scientist’ in Newspeak), along with the necessary Global Warming/Anthropogenic Climate Change baggage – was discussed, as was the means by which Roger Smith makes his living as well as his online identity – all this was explored at great length.
Then we got into the relevant bits – the 7 words which are the subject of this lawsuit (and which I therefore fear to mention – on the pain of ‘re-publishing slanderous material’) and the context in which they had been uttered.
It seemed to this court observer that Mr. Smith not only proved (beyond a reasonable doubt- a much more strenuous test that required in a civil lawsuit) that he believed the truthfullness of his statements, but also that stating them in an online forum was ‘in the public interest’.
Actually, this is where things got rather interesting – after the lunch break (1-2 pm), when Roger Smith had finished his testimony and his cross examination by PB commenced!
PB seemed obsessed with the idea that Roger Smith’s view of what constituted ‘appropriate speech’ was ‘beyond the pale’.
Which is rather funny – considering me being in the audience (and the only person there in the courtroom with the express purpose to report to you, my dear readers, on the contents of this hearing)!!!
If you read my blog regularly, you may know that I am a free speech absolutist – because I am an anti-slavery fundamentalist.
Perhaps it is my Asperger’s that informs this bit of me, but, for better or worse, I cannot help but see this issue in black-and-white – with no gray in between.
Roger Smith said he drew the line between what ought to be permitted speech and not somewhere between what Ernst Zundel said and what is routinely said online by people whom ‘the progressives’ label as ‘Neo-Nazis’ but who are in reality no such thing.
As in – according to Roger Smith – Ernst Zundel was ‘illegal speech’ while the wrongly villified ‘neo-nazis’ who were not really ‘neo-nazis’ were OK…if you actually listened to what they truly said rather than just buying into their rhetoric.
But, PJ tried very very hard to paint this in the worst light possible – as in, he tried to twist Roger Smith’s words into saying that Ernst Zundel’s crap (and his claims ARE crap) was OK but the Neo-Nazis were not OK.
It seemed to me that Roger Smith, naturally nervous, being on the stand and all, did not really understand where PB was aiming with this ‘twisting’. But, the judge sure did! And, she put PB in his place on it, too.
However, this was not the only bit of testimony that PB tried to twist – and I am not entirely certain that the judge (much less Roger Smith, who was justifiably nervous, arguing for his retirement fund and all) quite got the manipulation or not.
Anyhow, that is where I had to leave off – having real-life obligations and all….I do hope to be filled in on the bits I missed and report to you tomorrow!!!
Of course, not all Muslims will kidnap anyone, much less underage girls.
But, this episode with Boko Haram (or, as their full name is, ‘Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad’ – and they are most definitely Muslims who are following the literal example of their prophet) has stirred up a lot of emotions in me, for reasons that, perhaps, it is time for me to share.
A distant cousin of mine was, just a few short years ago, working for an aid agency in Africa when he and several of his co-workers were kidnapped by Al Shabaab – they were later released under undisclosed terms, but, that is not my story and am not at a liberty to share it.
There is a much older story, which I can share, because it happened to me – personally.
This was my first encounter with Islam – but it was an encounter that had made a very deep impression on me and, as I was already interested in studying the various religions (on the other side of the Iron Curtain, I was only able to study ancient ones) and this encounter started my decades long study of Islam and Sharia…
I know, I know – thou shall not drink and blog is THE golden rule of blogging, but, I admit, I have had to have had a glass or two of wine to get my courage up to write about this….
First, a bit of background….
I went to a language school – 72 kids in a country of 15 million got picked every year to enter, based on a barrage of aptitude tests. I was not supposed to be permitted to be tested, but, through an administrative error (and a signature forgery on my part – which had never been discovered), I managed to get myself tested. I tested so high on the aptitude to learn languages that even my dad’s status as an only partially rehabilitated political dissident could not get me excluded, because the linguists on the admissions board insisted. (I learned about this much, much later when one of my former teachers came to visit me in Canada.) Suffice it to say – I was admitted to this elite language school where I learned a number of languages.
As part of this school, I was exposed to a lot more ‘foreigners’ than most other schoolchildren behind the Iron Curtain were.
I had ‘pen pals’ in few of the ‘brother socialist countries’ and even though our letters were supervised by the school, their letters (and especially the photos from my pen pal in the Irkutsk) were quite eye-opening.
In addition, when foreign dignitaries from other countries would come, or sports competitors would visit, we would be the schoolchildren paraded out and presented to meet them – as we could communicate in their language (or, in some cases, in Russian – which was the case with, say Cuban visitors, etc.).
For example, the town I was from holds world-famous horse races. Even Dick Francis mentions having raced there. When I was about 11, 5 of us girls were sent to officially ‘entertain’ the Cuban delegation to this race….with no adult to ensure our safety. It was the first time I was kissed by a man….but I got myself and the other girls away before it got out of control! (Some of the other girls were even jealous that I got kissed and they didn’t…we were so innocent!)
But, school was not the only place where I met ‘foreigners’.
Even though he was a political dissident, my father was also a world-class scientist who specialized in artificial intelligence. By the time I was in the language school in the late 70’s, he had published a number of ground-breaking books on the subject. And, even though they had to be published under his bosses’ name (my father’s name was deemed too inflammatory), he was well known in scientific circles. As such, he got sent to Moscow a number of times (whenever they stole some Western tech and needed him to reverse-engineer it). In Moscow, he met other scientists sent there and visiting there from other countries. He was well liked and respected – he is, after all, a smart cookie!
So, a number of these scientists (mostly from ‘brother nations’) had visited my daddy at our home – and he and I would take them sight seeing. Sometimes, there would be several scientists, some speaking only English as our common tongue while others speaking only Russian. As I was perfectly fluent in Russian, I would act as the interpreter for the Russian-speaking scientists while he translated for the English speaking ones. Again, these were fascinating experiences that greatly broadened my horizons.
Thus, when I was 13 years old and we were in the process of escaping from behind the Iron Curtain, I was much more ‘worldly’ than an average child of my age.
Yet, nothing in my exposure to people from various lands and cultures had prepared me in the least to my encounter with Islam….
So, what happened?
We were escaping from The People’s Socialist Paradise – towards freedom!
My parents exploited some red tape to get visas for all three of us to Yugoslavia: the one ‘socialist’ country that was not 100% compliant with the Soviet Union’s policy and thus gave some hope of getting out. Nothing was guaranteed – we could have been caught and our lives ruined, or we could win the lottery and get out. Our chances were about 70/30 in favour of success – if we avoided Serb-controlled border points (the Serbs were loyal to the Soviets and would send us straight to jail, the Croats would let us out just to spite the Soviets – we knew this and hoped to capitalize on it – excuse the pun!).
In order to get out of Yugoslavia legally – which was our wish, as breaking the laws of the country we fled to (in our case, Austria) would be contrary to the code of lawful behaviour. After all, if we sought protection from a country, breaking their laws in entering it would have been unthinkable for us!
So, once we entered Yugoslavia (an absolutely awesome holiday place), we went straight to Belgrade to seek visas from the Austrian and German embassies.
Aside: we had heard that the conditions in Germany were much better for refugees than in Austria, so we sought a visa to go there – but then we heard that the rules for seeking a political asylum required us to file in the first country we entered where we could seek political asylum, and that would have been Austria, so we abandoned the attempt to get German visas (even though they were willing to grant them to us) and decided to seek asylum in Austria.
When we got to Belgrade, we were too poor to stay in a hotel – we stayed instead at a campground just North of the city. We had two pup-tents: one for my parents (orange) and one for me (yellow). It must be made clear that European campsites are nowhere near as private as North American ones – indeed, there is little or no privacy at all as one tent is very close to another, with no trees or bushes in between.
We set up our tents and went to the Austrian and German embassies to seek visas. Both embassies were only open between 8 am and noon, and there were lineups outside the doors (so we did not get into the German embassy on the first or second day).
The second day of us staying at the campsite, a rich oil sheik with an entourage of several SUVs (armed men) and two air conditioned luxury tour buses (women and children) set up camp in the same campground that we were staying at – just under a steep slope that was too steep to set tents up on, but which formed a natural amphitheater. In the evening, they started playing very exotic eastern music – and some of the women and girls were dancing. It did not take long for many of us ‘other campers’ to gather and sit on that slope and watch in utter fascination something so very exotic and tantalizing! It was beautiful!
It was on our third day waiting outside the German embassy that a shot, plump, smiling, 50-ish man approached my father. He opened his wallet and pulled out a VERY thick stack of $100US bills – and, speaking broken English/German, he asked my father to sell me to him.
My father flatly refused.
The smiling man would not be rebuffed so easily: he kept talking to my father, explaining that I was not for him – he wanted to buy me as a birthday present for his son!
Needless to say, my father did not sell me. Like I said, he is a smart cookie and a good guy to boot!
That evening, at the campground, the sheik’s entourage put on another performance! And, fascinated, we went to watch…
This evening, the women and girls dancing started inviting the gathered watchers to join in the dancing, teaching both women and men the moves. Of course, I wanted to join in – but my dad, looking more grim than I ever remembered him, would not let me.
Then an 8-or-so year old girl came around, offering sweets to everyone – again, I was eager to taste it but my dad forbade me to take one.
It was then that he pointed out that down by one of those buses was that guy who had tried to buy me ‘as a birthday present to his son’. Indeed, that was the very sheik who was the owner of this harem and entourage…and he kept staring at me.
That night, after everyone seemed to go to sleep, my dad poked his head into my tent and said that we were leaving – right now!!!
We packed in a huge rush – not even putting the tents into their cases – and drove out of the campground. Two dark vehicles from the sheik’s spot followed us. We drove at relatively high speeds through Belgrade – with the two dark vehicles on our tail. I don’t know quite how, but, eventually, my dad lost them and we drove far, far away…
Back then, I did not grasp the full significance of what had happened. Sure, I was frightened – but, well, not enough….I simply had no concept of how serious the situation was or just how drastically my life would have been altered had my father not had the foresight he did.
There is a very, very long tradition of hunting down Slavic girls for Islamic harems…something I was totally unaware of then.
Did you know that the very word ‘slave’ comes form ‘Slav’?
Because so many of us have been hunted down and sold into slavery in Muslim lands?
Way more of us were enslaved in the Muslim lands than there ever were black slaves sold to Europe or the Americas….
Mohammed himself had a Slavic Christian girl, Miriam, as a sex slave – given to him by the fathers of Constantinopole in the hopes it would appease him…
The hijab itself is indeed a variation of the Slavic head-dress – which so enchanted Mohammed that he imposed it on all of his ‘wives’!
After Mohammad’s example (a man ALL Muslims are ordered by the Koran and the Hadith to emulate), it became a ‘fashion’, a status symbol, for pious Muslims of means to own a Slavic Christian sex slave.
As in, Slavic AND Christian girl is the highest value sex slave, but a Christian of any race is acceptable…
And THAT is who Boko Haram consider it acceptable to capture, hold and sell Christian girls into sex-slavery – they are following the example set by Mohammed, which their religion, Islam, demands that they emulate.
I truly and honestly feel for these girls – but for my father’s wisdom, I would have been one of them!!!
Wow. Telecom giants and repressive regimes are teaming up to use a little-known UN agency to make the Internet more expensive,1 surveilled,2 and censored.3
We need you to take a stand as part of a global community right now.
Internet freedom means connection with loved ones, open innovation, and free expression without interference by Big Telecom or repressive governments. All this is under threat right now, but you can make a difference in just a few seconds.
You are part of what’s shaping up to be the largest movement in history, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
We’re already working together globally to stop new Internet restrictions from being imposed through trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),4 and we’ve taken massive strides in Canada to push back against Big Telecom’s price-gouging activities.5 This kind of success is unique and inspiring, and it’s something you should be proud of.
Please don’t let them take it away from you – raise your voice now.
Thank you so much for being a part of this,
Steve, on behalf of your OpenMedia Team
P.S. Whether it’s stopping Big Telecom price-gouging and online surveillance in Canada, or opening the secret negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to citizen comments, we’re bringing the pro-Internet community together to amplify your voice. Our community can only continue to be successful with stable support; you can help by becoming an Ally.
 See our blog, ITU proposals threaten Internet freedom and access, or the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Two Page Memo on Telecom Operators Proposal for New Internet Charging Scheme [PDF]
 See our blog, UN proposals threaten the Internet as we know it, or the Wired magazine article, The Kremlin’s New Internet Surveillance Plan Goes Live Today
 See GigaOM: Is the UN the next big threat to Internet freedom?
 See the successes with the StopTheTrap.net campaign so far listed in this recent letter to supporters: It’s time to amplify our voice against the TPP’s Internet trap
 See our infographic about the famous StopTheMeter.ca campaign here, or learn more about how we recently pushed for (and won) transparency around Big Telecom’s costs here.
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Many people think that it is a reasonable limitation on the freedom of free speech to prohibit someone from yelling ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded theatre – provided, that is, that there is no fire.
That little caveat – provided that there is no fire – is often forgotten by those who wold consider this to be a reasonable limitation of free speech. This, indeed, is not surprising – failure to recognize real warnings of danger and simply treating unpopular statements equally, whether they are true or not, is symptomatic of the individuals who most loudly profess that this limitation on the freedom of speech is somehow ‘reasonable’.
According to these people, giving a warning of a real ad present peril (like, say, a fire in a crowded theatre) is worse than letting everyone sit complacently until they burn to death.
I must admit, there was a time when I was persuaded that if there indeed were no fire, then shouting a warning of it ought not happen. OK, I still think that it ought not happen – but not because there are laws against it.
To explain my change of mind, I have to digress a little bit to some examples on utilitarian morality from philosophy. Not that I am particularly versed in philosophy – my ideas are mostly self-reasoned, but a little education has made me widen the scope of my reasoning.
There is that classical moral dilema question: if you see an uncontrollable train going down some tracks where it will hit six people, but there is a lever you can pull that will divert that train onto another set of tracks, where it will only kill one person, should you pull the lever?
Most ‘utilitarians’ will say that yes, you should, because one death is less tragic than 6 deaths.
I don’t think this is anywhere near as clear cut.
If the train stays on its original track, you (presuming the uncontrollable-ness of the train is not your fault to start off with) are not responsible for the deaths of those 6 people.
If, however, you do pull the lever, you will be the direct cause of the death of that 1 person.
People are not cogs, interchangeable for each other. We are individuals. And, if you pull that lever, you will indeed be guilty of causing the death of that individual. What is more, since you have had time to consider it, that constitutes premeditation. You would therefore be commiting murder.
This means that the question itself is improperly formulated.
Rather, it ought to ask if you could pull that lever and save the 6 people – but in the process murder 1 person, with all the legal consequences this carries, should you still pull that lever?
Because that is the real question: is saving the lives of 6 people worth murdering someone – and, perhaps, spending the rest of your life in prison as a result! After all, real actions have real consequences…
Similarly, the person who shouts ‘FIRE!” in a crowded theatre has not actually killed anyone.
It is the people who act before checking whether their actions are based on fact or not, and those who put their lives above others by trampling them to death to save themselves, who are guilty of, well, the trampling. Not the person who – rightly or wrongly – shouts ‘Fire!’
It is always the tramplers who are the ones guilty of the trampling.
But, because there are many of them, and our moral compass has for too long been corrupted by the profoundly immoral Judeo-Christian doctrine of ‘scapegoating’, of ‘vicarious redemption’, that we are willing to put the blame of the many ‘tramplers’ onto the one who may not, indeed, have done any ‘trampling’ at all!
It is precisely this predisposition we have of shifting the blame for the actions of the individuals who actually carry them out onto a scapegoat who is said to have ’caused’ their bad or immoral behaviour that is going to be the downfall of our society!
It is precisely this scapegoating which is at the heart of political correctness and the erosion of the freedoms which we ought to be able to exercise unfettered.
How have we improved our lot if we have liberated ourselves from Christian religious dogmas, if we permit its worst shackles to still imprison our morality, albeit under the new name of ‘political correctnes’?
So, now, I agree with Christopher Hitchens on this point:
I have said this often – and in many ways.
I have lamented the disconnect that exists between the people who fight for civil liberties in general and freedom of speech in particular and those who are battling the copyright trolls and those hardly audible voices that are trying to raise alarm about the abuse of patent laws.
Part of the problem – in my never-humble-opinion is that each of these groups comes from a completely different sphere of interest/infuence and, for all practical purposes, from different cultures.
They do not dress alike.
They do not follow the same trends in popular culture.
They do not agree on what ‘societal norms’ are today.
They do not read the same news sources.
And – perhaps most importantly – they do not use language the same way: not only do they not use the same words to express themselves, when they do use ‘common’ words, they do not use them in the same sense.
Example: when Canadian Free Speech acvocate Ezra Levant was being sued for defamation by an HRC troll by the name of Vigna, one of the ‘defamatory’ statements was that Mr. Levant accused Mr. Vigna of ‘hacking’. The judge then started a bit of a lengthy discussion about what does the term ‘hacking’ really mean: the consensus – undisputed by Mr. Levant’s sounsel – was that ‘hacking’ implies an illegal act!
Sitting in the audience, I came close to screaming out: it does no such thing!!!
‘Hacking’ simply means ‘an innovative use of existing code/coding’!
I can easily say that I ‘hacked together’ a new app from bits of code I had from before: no illegal activiy implied! Sure, many people can use hacking for illegal purposes, but ‘cracking a problem’ is not the same as ‘cracking a safe’ – so the word ‘cracking’ does not, in itself, have illegal connotations.
Same with ‘hacking’.
BTW: Mr. Levant was found to have defamed Mr. Vigna for saying he had ‘hacked’ something…
No wonder that the first two groups (civil libertarians/free speachers and anti-copyright-people) as ureasonable and weird… (The last group is perhaps less distasteful to each of the first two, but, being mostly scientists, they are just not that great at communicating just how dire the situation really is….they are trained to overcome problems – not bitch about them: so, that is what they do. Which does not mean the problem is not there and is not desctroying our way of life!)
So, why is the message not resonating?
Perhaps this following article articulates this very point a little bit better than I ever could:
‘At this point in the discussion, the copyright industry will complain that they only take action for the illegal bitpatterns found, and that there is no infraction on the right to legal communications. And in doing so, they put themselves in the exact same spot as the old East German Stasi, which also steamed open all letters sent in the mail – but only took action on those with illegal content, just like the copyright industry describes as their preferred scenario. Stasi, too, sorted legal from illegal, and left the legal alone.’
And that is exactly what the copyright industry is demanding: decrypt and check all the communication, permit the legal bits through and hand the rest over to law-enforcement agencies!
Please, consider the following court ruling in the UK: All UK ISPs are now compelled to block access to Pirate Bay.
onsider what is necessary to accomplish this: each and every bit of communication has to be decrypted, analyzed and then either permitted to pass through or not.
That means that a private company not only has the right – it is compelled to – read each and every single email everyone sends.
What do they do with the information they receive in this manner? The ruling does not bother itself with such mundane details….
Sorry – please, insert the worst invectives of your choice here….
Because in a very real sense, this does indeed mean the end of private speech on the internet and the end of anonymous speech on the internet.
And let’s not forget our not-so-distant history: anonymous speach is the cornerstone of liberty!
Without anonymous speach, there would be no Federalist Papers.
Without anonymous speach, there would be no way to overthrow tyrants.
No wonder those who want to hold power will use any pretext that presents itself in order to eliminate private communication and anonymous speech!!!
The mainstream media is not really shouting loudly about the horrible tyranny in Belarus – which does not mean that we should simply sweep what is going on there under the rug. We must stand up for human rights of all people – even far away in a forgotten corner of Europe…
Like Mr. Hannan, I think we should stand up and condemn what is going on there and lend moral – if not more – support to those who are actively working to improve civil liberties in Belarus.
First step, of course, is education.
If you live in Ottawa or its environs, you will soon have an excellent opportunity for educating yourself about the situation in Belarus. On th 25th of April, 2012, at 7 pm, the Freethinking Film Society is going to host an information evening about Belarus at the National Archives Library in Ottawa, where they will be screening ‘Europe’s Last Tyrant’:
For those on the other side of the pond, it will also be screened at the London Film Festival on April 15, 2012 in Shortwave (10 Bermondsey Square, London SE1 3UN). For ticket info, see here. (Sorry about the late notice – just found this out myself).
For the rest: keep your eyes open for a screening in your area. This is not something we should remain ignorant about!
Of course, CISPA does not replace SOPA, it is a separate thing altogether. The backroom negotiations to re-introduce SOPA are already underway…