Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Want to help save democracy?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a super-secretive trade agreement that threatens everything you care about. It's been negotiated behind closed doors with ample input from over 600 corporate lobbyists -- but no access for journalists or the public. Sound bad? It gets worse. The corporate interest groups pushing for the TPP are the same folks that brought us SOPA, ACTA, and NAFTA."
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Eddan sez, "The Oakland City Council is in the final stretch of approving the funding of the Domain Awareness Center to be built in Oakland. Though there has been a great deal of public outcry at the City Council itself, it just keeps going forward especially because they're now trying to pitch this as a crime-fighting law enforcement tool. Which is especially important to be on the right side of in Oakland during a City Council/Mayor election year. The Public Safety Committee to meet Jan. 28 is made up of most of the City Council members that are most skeptical and least supportive of the way this Department of Homeland Security new gadget funding is dangled before a resource-poor and embattled police department."
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Ever since RSA got caught sabotaging its own products to aid the NSA
for a piddling $10M, it's been corporation-non-grata in the security world. Prominent experts
are bailing on the RSA conference where they'd been scheduled to speak. Now, a Fight for the Future petition
is asking Stephen Colbert to walk away from his guest speaker slot
. I hope he does -- Colbert's reputation is worth more than the fee he commands from RSA.
Alan sez, "Amnesty International have a petition up that asks for the release of Manning. The petition argues that both on humanitarian grounds and on account of the pre-trial treatment, Manning is deserving of a clemency release."
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It's make or break time for the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), with less than two days until a crucial vote. The Act injects some much-needed reform into the patent system (though it doesn't go far enough), and it's been moving strongly through Congress, coming out of committee with a 33-5 vote. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is asking its supporters to call their reps to tell them to support the bill.
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Marietje Schaake, the EU's most tech-savvy MEP, writes, "Recently I launched a global campaign against the trade in digital
arms from the EU: stopdigitalarms.eu
It is unacceptable that EU-made technologies are still exported,
deployed and operated by European companies to third countries
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The New York Times has endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership; a trade deal negotiated in utmost secrecy, without public participation, whose text is still not public. From leaks, we know that TPP wasn't just anti-democratic in its process -- it also contains numerous anti-democratic provisions that allow private offshore companies to overturn domestic law, especially laws that allow for free speech and privacy online. TPP is slated for fast-tracking through Congress, minimizing any scrutiny of a deal negotiated behind closed doors before it is turned into law. From what we've seen of TPP, it recapitulates all the worst elements of ACTA and then some. The Electronic Frontier Foundation needs you to write to your lawmaker demanding full and public debate on TPP.
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Jim from the Open Rights Group sez, "The UK's Parliament hasn't debated the consequences of the Edward Snowden revelations once: except to listen to pland reassurances right at the start, and to complain about the Guardian last week. Now Julian Huppert, Tom Watson and Dominic Raab have got a proper debate to open up the real questions about the extent and failure of oversight to prevent dragnet surveillance. If you're the UK, please ask your MP to go to the debate and start asking the difficult questions"
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A multilingual petition to Bob Iger asks for Disney's CEO and top management to do something about the (frankly, pretty terrible) condition of Disneyland Paris, a park I've stopped visiting (though it's closest to me), due to the poor staffing, poor maintenance, bad (and expensive) food and hotels, and large number of out-of-service attractions and shows.
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A coalition of European privacy, free speech and civil liberties groups have started a petition to the leaders of the EU, calling on them to stop governments from carrying out programs of mass, suspicionless, warrantless dragnet surveillance like Prism and Tempora (the US and UK programs revealed in Edward Snowden's NSA leaks). They need your signature, too:
We, the undersigned, call on our Heads of Government to clearly and unambiguously state their opposition to all systems of mass surveillance including the US's NSA PRISM system and similar systems in several countries in Europe. Europe’s leaders have not yet taken any action to stop this abuse of our right to privacy and freedom of expression.
We call on Europe’s leaders to place this issue firmly on the agenda for the next European Council Summit in October. They need to make it clear that they will do so.
They must take action to stop this abuse of our human rights.
The inaugural signatories include Index on Censorship, English PEN, Article 19, Privacy International, Open Rights Group and Liberty.
EU leaders: Stop mass surveillance
I'm one of the campaigns managers at 38 Degrees (the UK's largest online campaign organisation).
One of our members has recently started a petition calling on the UK government to update their web technology. When I saw it I immediately thought of boing boing and wondered if you could help spread the word.
To claim Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance in the UK people are being asked to use Internet Explorer 5 or 6 and other systems that are so out of date they are available on less than 2% of computers.
If you want to claim online you will need to take a step back to the 1990s and hunt through second hand shops for an old PC that you can power up.
It's a crazy situation.
Update Online DLA Claim System
Money wins Elections is an excellent, scrolling infographic that illustrates how money corrupts the American legislative process, showing that time and again, Congress has voted the way that the big money told it to, against the prevailing popular opinion. It's all in support of the American Anti-corruption Act, and it was created by Tony Chu for part of his MFA thesis project.
Money wins Elections
Thorne sez, "I grew up in a bookstore in a 150 year old Victorian mansion in Rock Hill, St. Louis. I lived in an upstairs room until I was about 10, and we needed the space for more books.
This weekend a demolition crew came into my family's store to take measurements for a proposed demolition. An out of state company wants to build an industrial storage facility on this location. This has been an operating independent family business for 30 years and I'm posting it because I believe this type of development needs attention. A friend started a change.org petition over the weekend.
Also - it's haunted."
Apparently, the landlord is an "older guy who just wants to sell the property," and the real leverage point here is whether the city grants permission for the demolition and the storage facility.
City of Rock Hill, Missouri: Stop the tear-down and redevelopment of The Book House
Book House Issues Call To Stave Off Eviction [Publishers Weekly]
The idea of forcing Congresscritters to wear NASCAR-style coveralls with the logos of their financial backers has been bandied about before, but here it is in official White House petition form.
Since most politicians' campaigns are largely funded by wealthy companies and individuals, it would give voters a better sense of who the candidate they are voting for is actually representing if the company's logo, or individual's name, was prominently displayed upon the candidate's clothing at all public appearances and campaign events. Once elected, the candidate would be required to continue to wear those "sponsor's" names during all official duties and visits to constituents. The size of a logo or name would vary with the size of a donation. For example, a $1 million dollar contribution would warrant a patch of about 4" by 8" on the chest, while a free meal from a lobbyist would be represented by a quarter-sized button. Individual donations under $1000 are exempt.
As funny as this is, it would be easy-ish to turn this into a browser plugin that looked for politicians' names in the pages you looked at, and automatically surrounded them with a semi-opaque halo of corporate logos that you could click on to see more.
Require Congressmen & Senators to wear logos of their financial backers on their clothing, much like NASCAR drivers do.
(via Beyond the Beyond)
(Image: Bobby Labonte, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from mulsanne's photostream)
(the GOP staffer who got fired
after penning an eminently sensible paper on copyright policy) sez, "The White House Petition
to reverse the decision to ban unlocking cellphones is at 72,000 signatures, but it needs to get to 100,000 signatures by February 24, 2013. On Friday Representative DeFazio tweeted in favor of reform - read the article about new prohibition on unlocking your own cellphone here