Peter "brokep" Sunde, the Pirate Bay co-founder who also started Flattr and made a bid for the European Parliament on behalf of the Finnish Pirate Party, has been arrested in Sweden. Sunde -- who is a friend of mine -- had been working his way through a series of unsuccessful appeals to his conviction for his role in running the Pirate Bay, which included a €10M fine. Sunde faces an eight-month sentence, which he was meant to begin serving in 2012.
I don't know what's next for Peter; his appeals have always turned on legal complexities that were somewhat esoteric. It may be that this is the last stop for him and that he will have to serve. He's written before about his struggles with depression. I hope that he is safe and as comfortable as he can be under the circumstances, and that he knows that he has friends and fans all over the world who care about what happens to him.
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Chinese censor prosecuted for taking bribes to censor remarks companies and government officials disliked
Censorship invites abuse. In China, the widespread practice of Internet censorship means that lots of people are authorized to hand down censorship orders and lots more people naturally turn to censorship when something on the Internet bugs them. This week, Chinese authorities prosecuted an "Internet policeman" who took payments from companies in return for censoring unfavorable remarks about them on social media. He's accused of censoring more than 2,500 posts in return for over $300K in payments. He also collaborated with another official to censor critical remarks about government officials. It seems unlikely that Gu, the Internet policeman who was arrested, and Liu, his collaborator, were the only two censors-for-hire in the Chinese system.
Lest you think that this problem is uniquely Chinese, consider that when Wikileaks leaked the Great Firewall of Australia's blacklist, we learned that more the half the sites on the list didn't meet the censorship criteria. And when the Danish and Swedish blacklists were analyzed, it emerged that more than 98 percent of the sites blocked did not meet the official criteria for censorship. And in the UK, the national firewall once blocked all of Wikipedia.
Makeup artist Psycho Sandra created an amazing, gross-out effect for her Hallowe'en costume last year: she created the illusion that she had made a domino mask of her own flayed skin. She's got a whole gallery of bloody makeup effects on her site, including a crazy zombie to die (and come back) for.
Under a new, extra-legal voluntary arrangement, Swedish telcos will turn over detailed call records, location data, and billing information to a wide variety of government agencies, including the tax authorities, police, and customs. The data will also include codes necessary to bypass Swedes' SIM PINs and covertly activate them over the air. Because this is a voluntary arrangement, there is no legal framework for it -- it wasn't the result of a law or act of Parliament. It's just a cozy arrangement between Sweden's carriers and the Swedish state.
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Four Swedish movie theaters have started publishing gender scores for the movies they exhibit, based on the films' ability to pass the Bechdel Test ("must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man"). A surprising number of movies fail this test. The initiative is supported by the Swedish Film Institute, a government agency that represents a major source of funding for Swedish film, and one of the region's cable operators is devoting a Sunday to movies that pass the test, which comes from Alison Bechdel's excellent comic, Dykes to Watch Out For.
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Experts from the Danish National History Museum have warned that pacus -- a relative of the piranha -- have been spotted in the Danish/Swedish Øresund channel. The pacu has been known to bite swimmers, and have been known to attack men's testicles, because "testicles sit nicely in their mouth." So men are being cautioned to avoid nude swimming in the channel, though the museum's Henrik Carl stresses that the risk is not very high, in the grand scheme of things: "You're more likely to drown than get your nuts bitten off."
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Swedish artist Johanna Mårtensson created this installation depicting a cityscape made of bread in 2009, and photographed it as it decayed, creating a series of pictures representing the destiny of all human folly come the day that we make ourselves extinct and vanish from the face of the Earth:
I was inspired by an article about how well the earth would do without us. Within 500 years all buildings would be half fallen or fallen, perfect homes for animals and plants. The forrest would soon grow in cities. After hand buildings as well as pollutions would be taken care of by bacterias and micro-organisms. An ufo that came here in a couple of of hundred thousand years would not see many signs of that a gang of primates ones thought that they where the lords of the planet.
Julian Assange has presented a set of
freedom-of-information data protection act liberated messages from GCHQ, the UK spy headquarters, concerning his own case. According to Assange, the messages reveal that UK spies believed that the Swedish rape inquiry against him was a "fit up" aimed at punishing him for his involvement in Wikileaks (many believe that the Swedish government would have aided in Assange's extradition to the USA, where there is a sealed Grand Jury indictment against him). He also revealed cables relating to the spies' candid opinion about his sheltering in the Ecuadorian embassy:
A message from September 2012, read out by Assange, apparently says: "They are trying to arrest him on suspicion of XYZ … It is definitely a fit-up… Their timings are too convenient right after Cablegate..."
...A second instant message conversation from August last year between two unknown people saw them call Assange a fool for thinking Sweden would drop its attempt to extradite him.
The conversation, as read out by Assange, goes: "He reckons he will stay in the Ecuadorian embassy for six to 12 months when the charges against him will be dropped, but that is not really how it works now is it? He's a fool… Yeah … A highly optimistic fool."
GCHQ acknowledges that the messages are real, but, "The disclosed material includes personal comments between some members of staff and do not reflect GCHQ's policies or views in any way."
Julian Assange reveals GCHQ messages discussing Swedish extradition [Giles Tremlett and Ben Quinn/Guardian]
Peter "brokep" Sunde -- who co-founded The Pirate Bay and founded Flattr, a system for allowing fans to directly pay the artists they love -- is standing for the European Parliament in Finland on behalf of the Finnish Pirate Party. Sunde was raised in Sweden, but has Finnish roots, and is able to run there. His platform sounds like an admirable and sensible one, and my personal experience of him is that he's a good, thoughtful and honorable person. If I were in Finland, he'd have my vote:
“Non-commercial file sharing should of course become legal and protected, and must re-think copyright all together. Copyright is not the thing that makes ARTISTS money, it’s only for their brokers and distributors,” Sunde says.
“I’d rather see us sponsor culture by pushing more money to music education, and facilities for your people to create music. It would be much more sane for cultural advancement then extending copyrights.”
If elected Sunde hopes to be aggressive rather than defensive. This means not just responding to treats to Internet freedom, such as ACTA, but ensuring that this type of legislation doesn’t even make it onto the political agenda in the first place.
“I think there’s a huge possibility for us to impact the EU and I would like to be part of it,” Sunde says.
The Pirates are delighted to have the Pirate Bay founder on board. Harri Kivistö, chairman of the the Finnish Pirate Party, says that Sunde’s candidacy will raise the visibility of the party during the upcoming election. Perhaps more importantly, his values fit well within the Pirate Party movement.
Pirate Bay Co-Founder to Run For European Parliament [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]
LELO, a Swedish sex-toy company, has produced an IKEA-style, assemble-it-yourself vibrator called GӒSM (what else?) that comes with its own Allen key.
GӒSM is the world’s first truly eco-friendly vibe, made with100% recycled materials and powered by a revolutionary new rotation charging method pioneered by LELO. Meanwhile, GӒSM arrives in an 8-piece set that you assemble yourself, allowing you to take pride in piecing together your pleasure, and the money saved on production costs goes directly to you!
This amazing eye-teeth makeup job comes from Swedish makeup artist PsychoSandra, who has an awful lot of equally astonishing samples on her site: "Haha I thought it was a long time since I did something with my lips. Wanted to do something weird, yes, I can say that it is weird. But pretty, it's not, but I had fun anyway. That's what counts, or?!;)"
At long last TPB:AFK, the Kickstarter-funded documentary about the persecution of The Pirate Bay is finished and online, and ready for you to download:
Peter Sunde, one of the three founders followed in the documentary, previously told TorrentFreak that he has mixed feelings about the final TPB AFK cut but that “it tells an important story.”
TPB-AFK highlights a lot of the negative events the three founders went through, ending with the final guilty verdict early last year. Needless to say these events had quite an impact on their lives.
“It’s still a fucked up story and the film makes me think about the past years of my life quite a lot,” Sunde says.
The Pirate Bay founder added that he might have chosen other material to include and that many of the good parts have been left out.
“It’s Simon’s decision what to include and it’s his view of our story. I like that he’s independent from us and that he’s promised to release lots of extra material for some of the things that I might have wanted to have included,” Sunde said.
TPB AFK: Watch and Download The Pirate Bay Documentary NOW [TorrentFreak/Ernesto]
Download via BitTorrent [The Pirate Bay]