What I find strange is that(Please correct me on this one) there just doesn't seem to be a political group of technologist who lobby(the original meaning) against politicians. In truth, technology-related policies should be consulted and heard by people who use and develop the said technologies.
What's worse about this retaliation is that anyone participating it would have an illusion of having done something without actually having done anything(i.e., impact). At the end of the day, you might walk home feeling good about yourself for having fought for a cause, but some harsh reality check needs to be done.
As per the second paragraph, refer to one of the replies on this comment(https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7038058):
> An abbreviated list of groups who do that: EFF, Public Knowledge, Demand Progress, Engine Advocacy, CDT, OTI, Free Press. Many of these have multiple registered lobbyists walking the halls of Congress and taking meetings.
I stand corrected.
The goal of this is campaign is to drive calls to Congress on 02/11, making clever memes is simply the vector by which we spread word of the campaign. Calls do very much have an effect on how representatives vote. For evidence of this I highly recommend reading the Communicating with Congress series of studies by the Congressional Management Foundation . Alternatively, ask who has worked as a staffer: calls make a big difference.
It's so very, very easy to be cynical about this kind of thing, but it's a trap. It's weird to quote Plato, but he sums it up pretty well: "The chief penalty [of good people who refuse to lead] is to be governed by someone worse."
As I've stated I am rather ignorant of such groups. I stand corrected. Now, awareness of those groups should be more spread, wouldn't you agree?
Or are you saying they should form a Super PAC? But in that case, it won't exactly be "traditional lobbying", would it? It would be just paying politicians to do what they're asking them. I don't know whether that would be good or bad given the current corrupt lobbying system that the government has gotten accustomed to, but at least we should call it what it is before we dive in.
Thank you. As I've stated I am rather ignorant of such groups. I stand corrected.
There are indeed technology consultants that inform these govt policy: they're called lobbyists and their influence is often proportional to how much their self-interest will prosper. this is why the system doesn't work and Hacker's like Aaron need to step in. None of us believe we'll walk away from this having fixed anything, it is an ongoing process to keep the system in check. The point, however, is to simply concentrate our anger and focus over a month into, as a hacker, doing SOMETHING proactive against this.
It is fine to walk home and celebrate a small victory.
It may not be fine to walk home and celebrate a victory, however small, when that victory is nothing but an illusion. Exactly what kind of victory will this movement achieve? From what I can tell it's another let's-feel-good-about-ourselves-by-shouting-at-same-time.
It makes you feel great, sure, but in the end what have you achieved? Two child comments from my comment have corrected me of groups who are fighting back. Perhaps a donation? Spreading awareness of the groups?
A political motion needs to happen continuously. A day's worth party may be fun, but in the end it's a party. People walk home and do not follow.
I don't know any but one name on this list, but a quick check leads me to believe we're screwed.
DHS Data Privacy Board Members list from '09:
Chairman Howard Beals has no conflict of interest, I suppose:
D. Reed Freeman, ex-CPO of Gator Networks will fight for YOUR right to privacy, I'm sure:
I'm also pretty sure a majority of people here @ HN will defend THEIR practices of collecting metrics, too. What's the difference? USGuv was tasked to protect & they took it too far, IMO. The Corps, privates & independents with knowledge, coding skills & processing power are tracking for profit... and have taken it too far, IMO.
What victory? Keep what in check?
Opinions without objective consequences don't matter.
Excuse my pedantry, but I think the need is not so much to lobby against politicians (which is to implicitly reject the concept of a polity and go for an everyone-for-themselves model instead), but to lobby against competing interests. In short, technologists need to lobby for their interests more effectively, which will mean doing a better job of articulating what our interests are, and why others should accept some crimping of their interests for the greater good. One recent and good example of this is the observation that compromising privacy limits our ability to export hardware and software and thus comes at an economic cost to taxpayers.
This is an opinion: They killed him.
To change the entrenched you need big industry players behind you and a willingness as a customer to lose something in the exchange for their new benefit.
While government surveillance and open access are both information issues, we definitely should not be construing what he would or wouldn't believe about revelations that were made after his death.
If we're taking a literal interpretation of his Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, he may well be on the front lines fighting for a world with zero privacy from anyone.
The spying scandals are bad enough on their own. Adding Aaron's death into the mix just muddles the message and confuses people who are less informed.
I should point out that I don't think Aaron should have been hounded to his death (tho' equally if he were mentally ill, anything could have pushed him over the edge). But that doesn't make what he did right. It has for 20 years baffled me that people can demand respect for the GPL et al but be happy to ride roughshod over anyone else's licenses.
But even disregarding that, I don't get why you are baffled: The GPL is a hack intended to spread freedoms. Many who support the GPL do not support it out of some desire to respect IP laws, but as a means of reducing the use of more restrictive licenses. E.g. to maximise access to knowledge or maximise the ability to modify and use data.
Wanting the data in JSTOR freed up, possibly regardless of copyright status, is entirely consistent with supporting the GPL in those cases.
For some this is a moral or ethical issue - it is perfectly possible to consider the current state of copyright an immoral restriction of personal freedoms.
The purpose of the GPL is not to prevent people from modifying and building on the code. The purpose... well, let me quote from http://www.gnu.org/licenses/quick-guide-gplv3.html :
There are four freedoms that every user should have:
the freedom to use the software for any purpose,
the freedom to change the software to suit your needs,
the freedom to share the software with your friends and neighbors, and
the freedom to share the changes you make.
Only if distributing software without its source was also made illegal.
WTF?!? No way! (although to be fair I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "use of code").
Companies would still be free to "protect" their code through secrecy: releasing only the compiled version and not the source code
This is exactly what the GPL is designed to avoid.
As you quoted above "the freedom to change the software to suit your needs" - that requires the source code!
...sort of. Source code access is important, sure, but here are a few more important issues that are basically orthogonal:
* The right to redistribute software
* The right to modify software (without source code?!?! Sure; imagine if I took Windows, removed the license protection code, and distributed that copy to you).
* The right to use software -- this, incredibly, can be a problem:
I'm not saying it is a realistic possibility in today's world, but it is not as though the copyright system is the only system we could have.
Nothig. But then, a company wouldn't have the entire governemnt's power to persue and extract money from people using their software. It's a completely different equilibrium, you can't just look at one side of it.
And I'm not saying it's a good thing either. Altough I defend that it's not smart to depend ("depend" excludes games, by the way) on proprietary software, I never tought it was immoral to create it, until the NSA scandal. Now I don't have any firm opinion about it.
There are many, myself included, who would be happy with this endgame. As long as no one can ever be prosecuted for creating a work, I am happy.
The GPL is needed because of the effects of copyright, not vice versa.
You can do this even with IP... if you're building SaaS instead of shrinkwrap, due to the GPL's most relevant restrictions here all hinging on the act of distribution of the actual software.
Without IP, there can neither be GPL (which licenses IP rights) nor close source proprietary (which is another model of licensing IP rights).
It's similar in essence to forbidding slavery — some rhetorician might suggest that it abridges people's freedom to own each other, but the actual intent is to preserve a greater amount of freedom.
I'm pretty sure the TSA also thinks its restrictions on air travel lead to greater freedom of mobility.
No! The GPL and it's ilk are not and never have been about restrictions that in practice prevent people from monetizing software. When are people going to get that? The source code has to be supplied. You can still charge for access to it. I could make $KILLERAPP and charge $1000 for it, and not allow it to be public, but as long as when a customer buys it, I give them access to the source, I'm still GPL compliant.
Yeah yeah, this is where you go off about "in practice". Still wrong. In practice it doesn't prevent anything, in fact is is the practices used by companies (and people) that prevent them from using GPL, not the other way around.
You're glazing over a lot of practical issues. For example, if you charge money for a product you are distributing under the GPL, once it has been purchased once, nobody else needs to purchase it because the first customer can simply give it away to everyone for free and you have no recourse.
Can you think of even one GPL product that has been successful through sales of GPL licenses? Because I really can't. In practice, companies that make money from GPL software almost never make their money from selling the software.
Actually yes, I can think of a quite a few. Redhat is a good example of a huge industry built around GPL software.
That really isn't the point though, and allow me to summarize your misconception.
"nobody else needs to purchase it because the first customer can simply give it away to everyone for free and you have no recourse."
Explain to me how this applies to GPL and not the BSD, (I doubt you can) and you will see how (at least this particular) argument is flawed.
The only companies that make money on software containing GPL'd code are doing it server-side with pre-GPLV3 or AGPL'd code. I've worked at a lot of companies that used and created open source software; and the rules are invariably the same: No GPL'd software allowed into the source tree, period.
That's only different if you are selling other people's software. If so, why should anybody have any simpaty?
The discussion is about whether someone could run a business that is every bit as financially successful as a business that sells proprietary software, by asking for money for GPL software, and not having any other sources of income. Some posters seem to think this is feasible; I would disagree.
Is such abuse the most effective way to reach financially success? Maybe. Does it matter?
No you wouldn't. The GPL doesn't allow you to restrict the end user's ability to redistribute it. That "not allow it to be public" clause violates that.
You just said that the GPL doesn't prevent people from doing anything that is allowed by the GPL, therefore the GPL doesn't prevent anything. Like, that is literally the argument you just used. Just sayin'.
Yup, definitely stopping people from monetizing software!
Taken from wikipedia:
Negative rights are permissions not to do things,
or entitlements to be left alone. Often the distinction
is invoked by libertarians who think of a negative right
as an entitlement to "non-interference" such as a
right against being assaulted.
Rights considered negative rights may include civil and
political rights such as freedom of speech, private property,
freedom from violent crime, freedom of worship, habeas corpus,
a fair trial, and freedom from slavery.
GPL might have been about freedom at the time when it was introduced. Nowadays I and most businesses are scanning every piece of software for GPL in order to verify whether it is free.
I'm not saying that I would not contribute it non-GPL software. I do not mind companies closing their products.
However, GPL people do mind companies closing their software. So, those companies not using GPL libraries, no matter how useful is perfectly OK result.
I doubt they'll miss a few people who don't appreciate the issues being conflated, if doing so gains them some of the anti-SOPA folks who are willing to act.
Even when it came to fighting SOPA, much of the motivated base was under-informed and dealing in half-truths, exaggerations, fallacious arguments, etc.
But it worked.
Not only would it be more specific to do so, it would be more respectful as well. Referring to someone by his first name, who has not given you that name himself, arrogates an degree of familiarity which I strongly suspect never existed between Swartz and most of those who, in the last year, have been talking about "Aaron" this and "Aaron" that like they were the best of friends. It's just rude, and jarringly so, given the apparently ubiquitious degree of respect extended to Swartz, especially in the wake of his regrettable suicide.
"Information, such as research papers, that has been written for the purpose of being disseminated and paid for with tax money, should not be locked up"
"The government ought not spy on people."
What does the first one have to do with privacy at all?
And let's not forget, Aaron didn't pass away, he committed suicide. Case related stressors may have caused this, but it's also not right to make him the poster child for every anti-government/anti NSA campaign on the Internet.
Movements like this are part of Aaron's legacy. We know not the will of the dead. We can, however, celebrate the value and contribution of their lives. His was extraordinary (though all too short). What is so wrong with continuing the work he was so passionate about?
I find this campaign to be in bad taste and on the brink of classlessness, despite the fact that I believe in the cause.
It's funny all these people putting down "social networking", when most of us here work for companies who pay a shit ton of money to advertise and gain traction on "social networks". Then, on top of that, there are many of us here working to build more and improve social networking.
You bitch about how the media is corrupting the public's mind, yet you scoff at organizations that tries to use the media to rally for support of meaningful causes....
Every. Single. Time. Someone wants to do something positive, you guys just come and shit all over it.
I think the true slacktivism is people who bitch about slacktivism and offers no other solutions.
edit: I wrote the above because there was no clear "call to action" other than changing one's Facebook profile picture (seriously?) but, according to the "Open Letter" , I guess we're all supposed to call our legislators that day.
Now if the top 100 sites in the US shut down for a day in protest ...
... we'd call them hypocritical.
"free society" here should be really re-worded to "free US society".
as long as there is a intelligence apparatus in the US at all, spying on the rest of the world will continue. by definition.
the NSA is monitoring all internet traffic as it would be really hard to know beforehand if it only pertains to US citizens. not sure what exactly you're trying to achieve here. the NSA either monitors facebook or it doesn't.
That is part of the reason we have a detention facility at Guantanemo.
> No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Note how it mentions citizens, any person, and persons within the jurisdiction as three separate things... ?
I'm not saying it is wrong to restrict it, just that the constitution should have been so amended for it to be considered a constitutional question.
However, there probably needs to some kind of bill to support or other action to be urging representatives to do, other than contacting them saying that "spying is bad". The Open Letter to HN from EFF, Demand Progress, and Cory Doctorow  mentions some of these, but the campaign site here doesn't seem to contain any mention of them.
The policy didn't change with SOPA or CISPA or whatever name they've snuck some of the same shit in by now. The policy is: more surveillance, more police state, less liberty.
the arm chair politics of Kony 2012 and all those missing children on facebook.
in reality we need to make people sick to their stomachs and use fear tactics the same way US politics does.
Documentaries, advertising, real life examples, sense of urgency.
I mean, we can just follow the doctrines of propoganda set before us daily :D
it's the masses that have power, not the community of hacker news.
I assume all the avatar and banner changing is leading to February 11, the day in which we change our avatars and banners.
The ideal would be some model legislative proposals or some sort of nominally nonpartisan congressional committee with teeth along the lines of the Church committee in the 1970s (but even that ran into significant opposition at the time, being accused of treason and so on by the usual self-appointed superpatriots.
The basic problem is threefold.
1. The United States has a strong economic and strategic interest in preserving the international status quo or moving it in a more liberal direction (qua trade, promulgation of legal mutualism and so forth). Naturally, maintaining this position is going to involve extensive intelligence-gathering activities.
2. While this is often denigrated as a form of neo-colonialism, there's a fair degree of evidence that it results in better overall outcomes globally; were it to withdraw and leave a power vacuum, that space would be occupied by less scrupulous actors. Although the EU is second to the US in economic power (or even first by some measures) the EU is ineffective at projecting power and less able to provide security to its allies, both practically and politically (consider the rather milquetoast response to the protests in Ukraine, for example). For examples of the alternative, consider the autocratic and cynically populist governance of the Russian Federation or the relative opacity of Chinese jurisprudence.
3. Given the ever-lower barriers to collection and aggregation of data resulting from technology, private actors are able to accumulate and leverage huge pools of data, from Facebook to credit bureaux and consumer intelligence brokers such as Axciom. Until people are willing tolerate limits on private sector activity (and thus financial opportunity) similar to those resulting from EU data protection laws or the like, it's simply not realistic to expect that government should limit itself to technological capabilities that are less than the private sector or even abstain from aggregating publicly available data. This would just result in a a different kind of power vacuum. For all its faults, government is procedurally accountable to the citizenry, whereas private entities are accountable only to shareholders, and shareholdings are fungible in a way that citizenship is not.
As I've said a few times before, I think the US needs a movement for a privacy amendment to the constitution that spells out the scope and limitations of individual's control over their personal information, as opposed to the hand-wavey and contentious judicial interpretations we operate under at present. Putting this in place is a decade-long project, at minimum.
Saying that those services give you a choice not to use them is throwing sand in our face. We know that Facebook and maybe Google, too, collect information about people not using their services. They also track their users' behavior when they're not expecting it. Worst of all is the fact that most people don't fully grasp the deal those companies offer: they give you free services in exchange for your private information.
This reminds me of that recent South Park episode where Cartman goes to investigate the NSA while tweeting his every thought. This kind of fight requires serious thinking about privacy in this day and age. Sure, it's bad that a government spies on people, but it isn't any better that some of the world's most powerful corporations trick people into being spied on and into becoming unknowing informants on their friends. This is a very serious and very broad issue. Let's not make it just about the NSA.
What made you think that's the point of this? This isn't about convincing the NSA of anything.
> Today we face a different threat, one that undermines the Internet, and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.
Let's not forget that the NSA revelations are at the base of the mass surveillance outrage.
And the large parts of the public who are not yet aware, or not aware enough to care.
The NSA is at the very end of a very long list of targets, each one of which may help put pressure on and/or have some power over the next target on the list.
Who am I kidding? I would not fight back even if I did have the time. Even if this were not horseshit. I would be dicking around with golang and flagging banal questions on StackExchange.
How about instead we save some energy and invest it in better encryption and security?
A nice attempt at sorting out people through self-selection who are to be put on a special surveillance list.
Society is not about liberty; it's about control, surveillance, obedience, in exchange from keeping aliens at bay.
If everyone's my brother I don't need "society", because there are no aliens.
On the other hand, if every brother is a potential or covert alien, then I need a very intense system of control.
I'm not sure it's possible to have society without surveillance; they are sides of the same coin.
This is the actual line:
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Some other misattributed variations are here:
Yeah, other people always come with some kind of surveilance and disagreement, but that's a consequence, not the goal.
How is that? You're born in a given society (country) and usually you never change societies, so there's no choice involved.
Almost nobody likes that option.
Something tells me that Aaron would be pissed that they're using his name this way. Aaron got arrested for actually fighting for openness, not tweeting about how he supports openness. If you want to fight the NSA, write your member of Congress. Join a protest. Leak info about what the government is doing. But please don't just post messages to your Facebook so you can feel like you're doing something.
Ever since the NSA business leaked, I've been thinking about this problem. It took me a few months to wrap my head around all the crazy stuff that's been going on but I've started building some systems that I think might have a chance of helping out.
"Call Congress Now"- using Twilio, you can call Congress folk from your browser (for free).
Here are some Congress people who some consider are doing some shady stuff:
But it's pretty hard to get the word out about websites like that. In a sense, nobody passively cares enough to call Congress. Only when the Congress folks do something that brings about outrage do people care enough to really pick up the phone (or click the twilio button, as it were). So I built the /u/CongressionalHound, a bot on reddit that hunts for mentions of current sitting members of Congress in submitted articles and displays information about them in the comments:
If you are a mod and want me to run the bot on your subreddit, PM the bot and I'll have it saunter on over and get to work. Slowly putting the bot on subreddits that give me permission or invite me to. My hope is that when articles about the NSA, or Obamacare, or the shutdown, or or or any big political issue comes up, that the bot will channel people towards getting in touch with their representatives and senators and effectively voicing their opinions.
Both of these are prototypes and there are major known bugs in both, but I think they can serve as examples of systems that could help citizens better impact their government through the power of the internet.
Did I just skim over a paragraph somewhere on the site? All I see are banners, social media buttons, and a mask to put over your profile picture.
Raising awareness is fine and good, but thanks to Ed Snowden (who fought back in a much more effective way than by changing his gravatar), we already know that the NSA are spying on everyone, everywhere.
They stuck a Ben Franklin quote on there. It's a good quote. But where are the public officials running on a pro-surveillance platform? Whose door should we beat down while carrying our torches and pitchforks? That battle is lost several times a second when we voluntarily step into the body scanner at the airport that both the TSA and the terrorists know doesn't catch everything.
I'm not ready to start a revolution. And I just don't feel like anything less than a revolution will do, at this point. The only thing I can do is leave -- and hope that my new home isn't doing the same thing or worse without having been caught yet.
But this sucks. I hate feeling powerless. So I guess I'm off to post some witty anti-NSA propaganda to my Facebook page!
I wish those guys luck in trying to push against government surveillance towards private for profit transnational corporations' surveillance, but there is no way I would support this kind of initiative.
Either you fight against surveillance or you don't, but fighting some form of surveillance and promoting another is not fight against surveillance.
I don't especially like them or what they do, but we need them... I'm also surprised at the massive backlash and the revelatory nature of the Snowden leaks... I was expecting that NSA and GCHQ would engage in precisely these kinds of activities - its exactly what they are there for - I am surprised that anyone ever had any different expectations, but clearly a large majority did.
Are we suggesting that society has come far enough that we can do without espionage altogether?
They are there to keep an eye on suspected bad guys, not to watch us all constantly.
What they can do is fire 75% of their staff and stick to the rules.
And in the US, as posted on here the other day, the FBI is responsible for national security now.
What you really want is to create an ongoing movement both with a visible effect early enough to influence others reaction to what is announced in the SOTU, and which continues so as to itself respond to whatever is proposed in the SOTU.
Because terrorism is the use of violence or threat of violence directed at civilian populations or otherwise outside the generally accepted norms of warfare to effect political change, and spying, while it may support the use or threat of violence, is, in and of itself, neither the use nor threat of violence.
edit: to be clearer - the issue is that we have left violent action open as an option and it isn't hard for a few people to take that option. Is this what we want politics to be?
Edit since parent updated: "Be creative" is just too broad and if you want to imply the authors are saying "be violent if you want" then it's what YOU are implying, not them. Besides, I have yet to see a Internet protest that turned out violent because of the protesters. Not in a large scale at least.
So reading "be violent" where it says "be creative" is a long stretch (thus my initial response).
Now, if the authors should be liable if anything violent happens because they did not add "please don't be violent", then this a whole different (and larger) discussion about all the crazy things happening in the judicial system (that would allow someone to be sued). At the end, people are liable for their own acts.
Let's leave this discussion for when/if they actually are explicit about using violence, instead of trying to read between the lines so early (and with so little information to base it on).
This should not actually be a complicated inquiry.
Why would dead links help?
Funny ... no mention of CISPA, which interestingly was not heavily protested like SOPA and PIPA were, is reputed to be worse, and while initially passed in November 2011 was passed again in April 2013 after SOPA and PIPA were defeated.
Thankfully, it never passed the Senate ... but I wouldn't call that a "win" compared to the victory over SOPA / PIPA.
Presumably the NSA's capacities are limited by its budget. Presumably its budget is limited by political considerations. Presumably a popular social networking campaign, however lame, will be impact on politicians' willingness to lavish funds upon it.
I'd rather everybody involved set up and promoted GPG instead, but that probably isn't going to happen.
And if you don't join it, they'll also go out of their way to spy on you.
I would have exterminated humanity in the 80's if it hadn't been for ubiquitous surveillance.
People: "Stop spying on us!"
NSA: "Well, we kind of want to, but if you insist.."
People: "Alright then, cool."
(NSA calmly continues doing whatever they damn well please)
People: "Stop spying on us!"
NSA: "Fuck you, peasants."
People: "No, fuck you! We'll write to some thoroughly
corrupt sociopaths and they'll stop your spying
because they care about our well-being!!"
NSA: "Good luck with that."
(NSA calmly continues doing whatever they damn well please)
That escalated quickly.
Think about it for a moment. They operate in complete secrecy behind the scenes. You have no power over them, but they have massive power over you. Clearly, neither the NSA nor the government are accountable to you or people in general because you simply have no recourse against any injustice they commit against you. If the government imprisons you without due process, for example, you're effectively supposed to complain about it to the very same government, which will then.. punish itself?
In what alternate universe is this a good arrangement?
We vote these people into office. We have the power. The government is people - just people we've decided get extra power so they can get things done.
Please, please, please don't ever forget this. The moment you start thinking of the government as some impenetrable adversary, you've already lost. Being politically active is how change happens, not falling into the dems-vs-republicans-vs-whoever trap of "the other guy is bad".
The government is us.
You play the game that is stacked 100% in their favour, and you cannot expect to win. Your vote or that of even 1 million (or even 10 million) other people will not change 1 single micron of the overall outcome. Think of all the well-intentioned people in the past, say 100 years or so, that in all good conscience cast their vote, just hoping to make that change. Did that positive change happen? Of course not, look where we are.
Bow out and make other changes to protect yourself; voting is the least effective use of your time.
In that time period legitimate democratic processes have brought about the 40-hour work week; the abolition of child labor; substantial improvements in the legal rights and protection of women, racial minorities, and sexual minorities; regulatory systems to protect the purity and wholesomeness of food and the efficacy and safety of medication; programs like Social Security and Medicare which have virtually eliminated the kind of wide-scale destitution of the elderly that previous generations had seen; environmental protections for water and air; and a host of other reforms enacted for the popular interest and by popular demand.
Many other democratic nations in the world can tell the same story about the 20th century as well.
These achievements are all incomplete and flawed, and obviously there have been many outrages, but modern democracies are by and large the most humane, least violent, and most responsive governments in human history.
That's because their tax cattle is still docile. You see, as long as people remain obedient and calm, governments don't need to get violent. That's the way outright slavery works too: a slave-master only whips his slaves when they resist him.
Make no mistake though, governments are not your friends. They don't give a fuck about your well-being, and they're not here to help humanity. It's the exact opposite.
That's exactly the way they want you to think. To imagine you can affect "policy" through writing something on a piece of paper and dropping it in a box. See how absurd that idea sounds when put like that?
-But that's exactly how it's supposed to work. You realize that a piece of paper with text on it doesn't actually compel any politician to do anything for you or anyone else. They're still very much free to break all their campaign promises, which they invariably do, and they'll be doing whatever they want until it's time to tell you what you want to hear again.
Elections are a sham. A distraction meant to give us the illusion that we have a say in anything. Again, the real and only solution is to stop believing that anyone has the right to rule over anyone else. In other words, stop believing in "political authority": http://spot.colorado.edu/~huemer/book3.htm
Enjoy being a defeatist apathetic loon, I guess.
Did you really think they'd just shrug and give up their plans then? "Oh well, the people don't actually want SOPA. I guess we'll just have to give up on our plans", huh? :P
Do you think they were trying to pass SOPA because people wanted it? Did it look like they stopped there? CISPA, anyone? -Who knows what came after CISPA? -Did anyone even notice? Did they pass some comparable liberty/privacy -raping bullshit already, while the world's people weren't looking?
Do you think it everything is alright when your government is stealthily passing draconian legislation left and right, and a massive public outcry is required to even delay the process for a while?
> Enjoy being a defeatist apathetic loon, I guess.
Look, it doesn't take a genius to realize that governments really aren't looking out for you, or any other ordinary person for that matter. You just have to open your eyes to what they're actually doing. Actions speak louder than words, and their actions most definitely don't benefit the people.
If reading that (or my other posts) makes you "think" (using the word loosely) that I'm some tinfoil-hat nutcase, enjoy being a clueless, statist sheep then, I guess. Feel free to just sit by and watch as a police state engulfs you and your family.
That's not an intrinsical property of governments. In fact, it's even possible to prove that a government is transparent (I doubt any current one is), you just need to publish all the money transfers.
The problem with this "movement" is that it fails to make an argument for its beliefs. It's just pure group-think.
An NSA data mining robot reading my facebook wall is no more a threat to my freedom than Google reading my gmail. The threat comes from the abuse of that information: that some politician (or Google employee) has it out for me and blackmails me (or something like that). Maybe I'll get upset when we have evidence of that happening a bunch.
And though many people don't believe it anymore, there is in fact a real threat on the other side of this: there are actual terrorists in the world who want to kill Americans.
Now here's something I can't figure out: the very people up in arms about the NSA spying on us think that it's a great idea for the government to know all the most intimate details of my life via a government-run single-payer healthcare system.
Uncle Sam reading my latest tweet seems a whole lot less intrusive on my freedom than him telling me I must go to the doctor, get insurance, quit smoking, lose some weight, not eat or drink certain kinds of foods...