Democracy in the Digital Era

Published on Toward Freedom (first on The New Internationalist), by Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Feb 4, 2015.

Our current democratic models are crumbling and outdated. We need to make something more real and meaningful … //

… Naked in the system:

  • Some of the most amazing innovation and creativity in the history of humankind has emerged in conditions of extreme stress. As human beings we have now reached a stage where we have to evolve to the next level, or we will fail to deliver a sustainable world to the next generation.
  • But we are naked in this system of interconnectivity, and vulnerable because large corporations and states can download one’s digital persona as ‘commodity’, with no regard for local and global laws.
  • In a recent addition to the UN charter of human rights our digital persona should, in theory, enjoy the same rights to privacy as our offline persona. But this has had no effect in practice.
  • It is therefore of utmost importance that we encourage people to participate in digital democracies, that we encourage states to open their data, and that we protect our increasingly violated constitutional right to privacy.
  • Gold-eating (yes, they would sprinkle gold dust on their food) and private jets were idolized in a media owned, incidentally, by the bank proprietors
  • I have travelled the world, met people from all walks of life, physically and through the wonders of cyberspace. I have seen the remarkable progress of the digital era, but I have also witnessed its dystopia.
  • I know and know of so many people who have been imprisoned, are serving time or have been made stateless for exposing the raw truth, for enabling sharing, for blowing the whistle on the criminal behaviour of those who are supposed to protect us. People like Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, Barrett Brown, Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij, John Kiriakou and Edward Snowden. Jesselyn Radack, Samy Kamkar and Thomas Drake also paid a high price for their principles. While Aaron Swartz paid the ultimate price, taking his own life in January 2013 on the eve of his sentencing.
  • But there are tools out there for us to use which may free us if we apply them with our collective wisdom.
  • I am going to tell you a little story about my home-turf, Iceland, a country that many have looked to as a laboratory for a new, more real democracy; a beacon of hope for profound transformation.

Democracy laboratory: … //

… Safe haven:

  • One of the main reasons I co-created the Iceland Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) in 2010 was to build a new legal standard for the 21st century, not just for Iceland but for any nation or non-governmental organization that wanted to reuse or remix it. IMMI was envisioned and drafted by some of the best brains in the world, who have created transformative 21st-century alternatives to the current norms. These include, among others, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, John Perry Barlow (the godfather of IMMI), WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Daniel Domsheit-Berg, Liquid Feedback, Smári McCarthy, Cryptophone, Chaos Computer Club and Rop Gonggrep.
  • In her book, The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein illustrates how crises in societies have repeatedly been utilized and harnessed to push through legislation that infringes civil liberties and to amass more centralized state power, protecting self-interest at the cost of public-interest. Our media initiative has been developed to counter this tradition and use crisis as an opportunity to bring about fundamental changes in the best long-term interests of the public.
  • The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative was unanimously adopted as a parliamentary resolution in June 2010. It tasked the government to create a progressive environment for both the registration and operation of international media and publishing companies, start-up companies, human rights organizations and data centres.
  • Such changes could strengthen democratic foundations, promote necessary reform and increase transparency. This new policy has already enhanced the nation’s reputation abroad and created many economic and employment opportunities, although many of the necessary changes in law are yet to be made, due to the slow working processes of the ministries.
  • In order to reflect the global significance of our aims, IMMI became the International Modern Media Institute in 2011. We have the ideal conditions for creating a holistic media policy, within a legal environment that ensures the protection of freedom of expression, the work of investigative journalists and of those, such as whistleblowers, who publish materials of political weight and significance; and to raise awareness of the importance of protecting digital privacy.
  • The information society has little to offer if the ways of communicating information relevant to the public are constantly under attack. Although some countries have implemented progressive laws in this field, no one country has unified them all to create a safe haven. Iceland has a unique opportunity to take the lead in putting together a solid legal framework. We have cherry-picked the best laws from around the world in order to create a Safe Haven for Bits in Iceland, available for anyone to use.
  • It has become obvious that all laws relating to data protection and access are global in nature. They need to uphold human rights in the digital era, not only locally, but globally.
  • The data cloud moves in unpredictable ways over the unified spying frontiers of the ‘Five Eyes’ – the alliance of intelligence operations involving Australia, Canada, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Britain and the US. Currently there is no shield strong enough to protect our digital persona from such deep and unwarranted probing by mass surveillance.

Legal hacking: … //

… (full text).


Video: Liberty Report – Ron Paul, 18.45 min, uploaded by RonPaulInstitute, Feb. 7, 2015: … the vaccine controversy – who owns your body? – and the recent uptick in fighting in Ukraine – will the Merkel/Hollande mission to Moscow bear fruit? …;

India: The Emerging Power, on Geopolitical Analysis, by K.N. Pandita, Feb 5, 2015;

US Taxpayers Will be Robbed to Arm Poroshenko, on Global (first on Ron Paul Institute for Peace and, by Rep. Ron Paul, Feb 05, 2015;

Panic About Panic: Russia and the World-System Today, on Toward Freedom, by Immanuel Wallerstein, Feb 4, 2015;

Anti-terror fiasco, the failed Yemen Model, on Ron Paul Institute for Peace and, by Ron Paul, Feb 1, 2015;

Global anti-terror strategy, on Geopolitical Analysis, by K.N. Pandita, Jan 28, 2015;

Drone wars, the gamers recruited to kill – Guardian Docs, 9.32 min, uploaded by The Guardian, Feb 2, 2015: In tiny bunkers in the United States, young pilots are operating unmanned drones targeting ‘bad people’ in Pakistan … recruited at video game fairs by military leaders who know the value of games that glamourise ‘militainment’, drone pilots are left traumatised by the civilian casualties – or ‘collateral damage’ – their strikes cause. Psychologically distanced from the enemy, are drones the future of warfare?

Podiumsdiskussion bei der Rosa-Luxemburg-Konferenz 2015, 63.51 min;

The verdict on J&K, on KASHMIR and IDPs, by K.N. Pandita, Jan 19, 2015;

Justice denied to Pak refugees, on KASHMIR and IDPs, by K.N. Pandita, Jan 12, 2015;

Trust deficit: dangerous game, on KASHMIR and IDPs, by K.N. Pandita, Jan 9, 2015;

Deutschland im Würgegriff, 193.09 min;

99% v 1%: the data behind the Occupy movement, 5.41 min, uploaded by The Guardian, Nov 18, 2011: Guardian Animations;

The Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street, 5.49 min, uploaded by Encounter Books, Nov 16, 2011;

… and this:

  • Magicians of the Gods, snapshots of a work in progress, 88.40 min, uploaded by GrahamHancockDotCom, Jan 6, 2015: In late 2015 Graham Hancock will bring out his new book, ‘Magicians of the Gods’, the sequel to his worldwide bestseller ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’. In this lecture, recorded in March 2014 for Alternatives London at Saint James’s Church in Piccadilly, he reviews his past work and shares some of the research for the new book;
  • Fingerprints of the Gods – Graham Hancock, 109.12 min, uploaded by JourneytotheSourceDotInfo, July 30, 2014: Graham Hancock has become recognised as an unconventional thinker who raises legitimate questions about humanity’s history and prehistory and offers an increasingly popular challenge to the entrenched views of orthodox scholars. Listen to this fascinating discussion first aired in 1996 on the Coast to Coast a.m. show with Art Bell.

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