Megaupload is dead. So what?

Megaupload is dead. So what?

So, a justice court from a country abroad has decided that megaupload must be put to an end, along with their sistersite Megavideo, and so they’ve took it down yesterday evening. This is sad, and it’s a bad day for individual freedom. But it is not unexpected and you were warned this would happen and you choose to do nothing. But first, let’s look at what has been put offline.

 God bless Megaupload

Megaupload (for the one of you who don’t know what it was), was described as a filesharing website where everyone can find what they want. Be it illegal porn, clandestine copy of movies or TV show, applications or other software, cracked or fully legal, and every thing that can be put in a digital format and brings online (and believe me, that’s pretty much everything you can use with a computer or a smartphone). So, it looks like a good idea. Except for two or three little and neglectible point of details.

First, Megaupload is a company. Yeah, you’ve got free account, but they do everything they can to makes you buying a premium to have unlimited download (at least, as long as you paid the monthly 10$ fee for it). Yeah, Megaupload is a company whose jobs is to makes you pay to access files. Doesn’t it make you think about something?

Second, extreme centralization. They have more than one server, and kind of work like in a cloud, but your files are still in only one place. You share a link to access it, not a file. It’s more convenient you say (but sharing a .torrent is convenient to, and easy to do). So megaupload begins to have all of the illegal files the majors and governements were looking for in only one place. Big, obvious and easy target (since it’s a company).

Third, you know Megaupload because you want to see How I Met Your Mother. So, you were paying a media company because you did not want to pay for another media company. You were enforcing a monopoly because you are against a monopoly. You were saying that the whole media industry produces shit, only because that gives you legitimity to pay for the same shit (but to another one). Megaupload was a form of global licence, and it’s a bad idea (unless you can defines precisely who is an artist and who is not and tells me exactly how you can redistribute it with equity).

Fourth, you were using megaupload because you were scared by a government which tries to hunt down pirates that use peer to peer filesharing. Those system are extremely resilient, there are multiple copies of the same files all over the network and it cannot basically be shut down by a single justice decision. Yeah, Megaupload was a solution that government indirectly promoted by scaring people.

And I can continue for a long time, but people told me that endlessly raging is useless. I’ll just redirect you to a good article written by Bluetouff on reflets.info which wrote all of this, at the end of the year. (and yeah, use a seeks node to find more about it, I won’t do it for you).

Rage against the machine

So, last night it was shut down. And a lot of people were raging after it, accusing governement to tackle their liberties. Yeah, right. But that was a lot of people told you like, two days ago about SOPA and the black out stuff. Or the precedent years about ACTA, or when they try to makes you understand why HADOPI or ARJEL are extremly dangerous for our liberties (and for no community gain). So I tweeted this (and launched an easy troll I must confess):

Et donc #megaupload ferme et vous êtes perdus? #Decentralisez. #onvousaveeprevenus #alleemourir / And so #megaupload close and your lost? #Decentralize. #wetoldyouso #godie

Some people were answering and told me that they were fighting for their liberties. In fact, they’re not. Else, they would have fought fiercely when copwatch was taken down. Or when all of the websites we try to mirror with streisand (and I do not have all of them here) where taken down by one state or another. Or when Wikileaks was under an heavy attack from institution. If people really want to fight for their freedom, they’ll be in the street with the Occupiers, they will be asking their governement answers and justice for the infamous acts of some police forces. They will use their right to throw out their governement to choose a new one.

But instead, people (most of them, a lot of people are acting, in more or less usefull way, in more or less fun way and in more or less legal way) were just saying, "I do not care. I can still use Megaupload to see that stuff." Or Allostreaming (they will be shut down soon to, French governement has assigned all the major ISP to think about an effective blockade (details here). But now that megaupload is gone, what will you do? You’re to scared to use P2P, Direct download is now dead, streaming will follow, and (you can bet on this) major companies will provide you a not so good implementation of a global licence and you’ll accept that and you’ll be screwed. And they’ll win.

You made this happen

Yeah. You. Not someone else, not the major, not the governement or banks or aliens. You. By trading your liberties for confort (look at the iPhone, you cannot have anything that may looks like pornography on it. And Apple will soon sell school books. Same for google and for each and every monopolistic dragon that sleep on a treassure of data to mine. Each time you enter a URL in the google search bar, each time your’d rather download copyrighted material instead of free and opened one you’re playing their game. We warned you. Richard Stallman has been doing this for a long time and he was right, the EFF or LQDN were trying to give people enough knowledge about those shadow agreements to empower those people.

But you always choose the easy way, trusting companies or governement because they won’t hurt you. This is the cute cat theory. AS long as you can access your porn and your cute cats, you won’t protest. Yeah, that means those websites will be the last ones to be shut down by governement. And that’s why activists uses them to communicate. But then, you’ll focus only on cute cat access, not on information access. There is almost no media coverage of the Occupy movement here, but people does not care because some star does something trashy (or an election campaign running but without any programms from the candidates at least than 100 days to the election) and they control the focus and you are happy with it.

That’s why I’m a bit raging and yelling at people Y U NO DOING SOMETHING BEFOR IT HAPPENS!?! [insert cat picture here].

We spend an amazing amount of energy to try to warn you, for nothing. You let this happening.

Well, in fact, I was quite suprised that the US government shut down the Megaupload stuff. I mean, when you do politcian politics, you learn tha the people only need bread and games (since Caesar in the antic roma at least). But I think that with the crisis, a lot of people do not have bread anymore, so they probably thinks they can stop the games now because citizen will have other things on their mind. It’s either because they think they’ve lost the battle of the control and are tired to play games, or they think we have abandonned the ship and it’s time to show us who’s the boss.

What can you do?

Hang yourself. Really. If, at this point, you still don’t know what you can do, go hang yourself.

Or you can try to beat them at their own game. They do want us to pay to watch/listen at stuff? So be it. But then, do something usefull with your cash. Instead of giving them 10$ a month, give this cash to crowd funding entertainment project, like Pioneer One (a web serie that follow high standards of quality, and they’re at their 6th episode, only funded by crowd funding). Go on kickstarter they have a lot of project that can use your 10$. ANd most of them will reward you for that (being your name in the generic, a special edition, or whatever). There is more and more media licenced under Creative Commons, you can find a lot of free (as in freedom) music online. And some quality one. You can go to a concert. Stop feeding them. Stop copying their shit you would not pay for.

And if you still want your dose, the media junkies must go on The Pirate Bay. No governement has managed to shut them down. They are not a company. Their distribution system (bittorent) is decentralized. No one has still be condemned yet for using the .torrents. Don’t be afraid by them, they aren’tworth it.

Think. Use your brain. Use your civil duty to think. Change, have fun doing it and then change the world.


Licence and stuff

This version 1.2 of the txt has been written by okhin on the 20th of January of 2012. You can do anything with it, as long as you just tell people who wrote this text. If you really need a licence, it’s the WTFPL.

Why I won’t black out

Why I won’t black out

About this

First, a little introduction. You’ve got to know that if this text exists, it’s definitely not my fault but his. Proof:

11:41 < Gordontesos> alors blogue ! So, blog !

So, I’m a system administrator, a Telecomix agent, a total geek and probably someone that has some issues with people. I will probably hurt your feelings, but I do not want to take precautions and preserve people and, in fact, I do not care. I’m already making people cry with the stuff below, so learn to manage your feelings. Either you can think, and that won’t be a problem for you, either you can’t and then… well, why are you here?

Oh, no comments available. First, I’m too lazy to filter out spam, and I believe it must be my burden, not yours (so, I won’t use a captcha system which is almost useless, or a registration system). Instead of that, you can reach me on status.telecomix.org, on some IRC chans, on twitter, by mail (okhin AT okhin DOT fr), we can (and should!!) have divergent opinion, and if you want to answer, write your own part, kick me, destroy my argumentation and tell me where is it, that way I can exchange with you, publicly or not, your choice (but tell me before). We should debate and exchange, but I do not think a comment is the good way to do it.

And I’m not a native english speaker, so if you find grammar, typo or other stuff, send me an email with corrections and I’ll integrates them (and if you want credit for, you will got some).

Back to the topic

SOPA, PIPA, HADOPI, LOPPSI, LCEN, DADVSI, WHATEVER… Every now and then, governments try to lock up the internet, then people get angry and react and protest and put some black on their websites, their avatar and stuff like that. Even big companies try to do that. But guess what? You can still read this, even with the blackout. So, what’s happened?

A government (in the SOPA case, the US government) thinks that some websites can be dangerous for their citizens (or for national security, for their interest… whatever the reason used, it’s fallacious) and, those websites being out of US jurisdiction, they want to filter them out. To censor them. To deny people the right to access some information, even if it’s not under the US jurisdiction (because they want to shut down the DNS on .com, .org or other zones like that). They have been trying to do this for a long time (more or less every year in the last 10 years), mostly because they’re afraid of people being able to think by themselves. They’re trying to develop the idea that some thoughts are dangerous. They want to tell apart the harmless thoughts and the dangerous ones. They want to tell which citizen has the right to think freely and which one does not.

Don’t get me wrong. This is horribly bad and I’m fiercely opposing it. But I won’t black out anything. In fact, I’m working the other way around. I’m using my freedom of speech to expose my ideas in one persistent place, a thing I’ve never done before (and believe me, I’ve been living in the Cyberspace for a long time now).

Why?

First things first. I’m small. I have no impact on governments, because they are doing everything they can to deny me the right to speak my mind, the right to tell them why I’m in discordance with them. So google, or the ISPs, or the traffic operators, shutting down their operations. Yeah, that will show people what those so-called laws can do by provoking a worldwide net-panic. Me or my fellow hacktivists, bloggers or whatever, will have no impact on a political agenda, at least using political means. That’s not what we are good or trained for.

Second, black outing is just reacting. It’s a simple protest. I know it’s people’s right to protest, but I think their duty is to act. To do things. Not to fight a battle on the ground chosen by your opponents, because then you can’t win. They’re too big, they can ignore us (have a look at China for instance). Even in the Middle East, the situation does not change because of people going in the streets, but because of people starting thinking and doing stuff. I’m in favor of action. Decentralized, unorganized, chaotic action. Yeah, sure, blacking out will probably bring people to think about it, but look at the Occupy Movement. Or Indignados. Or whatever. 6 months later, they’re still out there and nothing has changed. Sure, I’m being pessimistic. But also rational. We’re good at rational stuff (you know, the "in case of emergency" plan your boss paid you to write, stuff like that, we’re the best one at that) and I’ve never been trained for managing feeling, political agenda and other stuff.

I respect the devotion of civil liberties groups such as the EFF or La Quadrature du Net, but they’re fighting a battle that was lost long ago. Lemme tell you what will happen next. The US government will tell us: ‘Ok, I got your point, SOPA is soooo bad. However, we need a way to fight pedophiles, drug dealers, IRS frauders, and that’s why we think this law is better than SOPA.’ And everybody will say ‘Yay, we’ve done it, they’ve changed their mind’. And when the dust comes to a rest, you will realize that you’re screwed, they have reduced your liberties, but they are the good guys because they make concessions. That’s how negotiations work, you just need to ask each and every marketer. To negotiate something, you have to lose something before entering the negotiation.

So, where does it leave us?

That leaves us to a point where governments write bills about freedom of communication. Either to defend it (there’s some discussion around Net Neutrality in the EU), or to amend it (SOPA, PIPA, WHATEVER). The thing is, they’re defining bills on freedom of speech, on Internet. They try to shove the meatspace into the cyberspace, into a place where we do not need them. Their role should be to give people access to their basic needs and freedoms. That’s all. That’s the purpose of states and law. From where I stand, the law is a concession made by individuals to be able to live into a community. It should not be something that hampers them, but rather something that empowers them (and protect them from inequalities).

So, those bills limiting our freedoms (and not for giving us a better community, but for spying on us and/or giving more money to lobbies), are outlawed from where I stand. I won’t give them power over me or substance by fighting these. If I’m doing so, I’ll open the door for another bill on the regulation of our freedom of communication. This is not acceptable. So when you black out, you’re telling SOPA is bad because of those (perfectly good) reasons. But you’re also telling ‘Hey, maybe they can make a better offer?’ And they will make you a better offer. But that’s not acceptable. They say they don’t negotiate with terrorists. We should not negotiate with them.

When someone bangs at my door, my phone or my mail, trying to sell me something I don’t want, I just tell him ‘No’. I do not need to argue about it, it’s No. I’m not interested in this kind of stuff. If he insists, I’ll slam the door at his face. If he comes back, I won’t open the door or answer the phone. We’ve already told them numerous times that we do not want bills about freedom of speech. Time to slam the door at their face (and to break their foot if they want to use it to force you to keep your door open).

Surfing under the radar 

Let’s take the initiative. Let’s move in unexpectable ways. Let’s do fun things, and let’s have a good laugh (not necessarily at them, humiliating them makes them stronger than denying them the right to exist). The point is that we have basically lost the battle when we have moved to centralized systems (yeah, I’m speaking about Google, Facebook and Twitter, but also of the .com registry). I plead guilty too: after all I have a national domain name (.fr) and a twitter account. I’m no better than some people outside. In fact, there’s a lot of them doing amazing stuff you’ve never heard about. So, they gave us the choice between the Blue and the Red pill. I’d rather do that.

The simplest way to do this is to enter the CypherSpace (yeah, CamelCase are sooo CyberPunk). Enter a Space of fully encrypted information (or noise). Abandon the clear text communication that anyone can listen, intercept, alter and/or block without you being able to detect it. Assume one or more pseudonyms or enter anonymous, they are mostly friendly people. Do not think about legality, because it will be forbidden (if it’s not the case, I gave them some months/year to make crypto system illegal). Speak your mind, frankly, without caution, you cannot avoid hurting people. Use TOR every day, always, even for getting your porn or your lolcats. Use OTR when you chat and [PGP][] when you mail. Move to decentralized platform (such as status.net for microblogging, diaspora for your social activities, host your own mail or ask a fellow hacker to do so, use seeks for your search needs). The tools needed to build this better place we all hope for already exist, so grow your own freedom. Don’t wait for states or companies to do it, because they won’t do anything else than selling you dreams.

You can go deeper (as they say in the movies). Build and use darknets and VPN to enforce even more anonymity. Have I told you about TOR? They have .onion. There’s also I2P and the .eep sites. You can set up a darknet easily using open software such as tinc, and you can encrypt it from end to end. You will go below the radar of the government if you use those tools on a day to day basis. Use them before it’s too late. Use them now. Mail your mother to wish her a happy birthday using a strong RSA 4096 bit key.

Host your domain name in out of range registry such as the 42 registry, the telecomix one, or start your own. Use free DNS resolvers (not opendns they’re liar, neither the google ones, they’re under the law of the US government) such as the one used by telecomix. Learn how those things works, try to build your own, ask for help, show them to your neighbor. Talk to them.

That brings me to the educational issue.

Crypto for the people

As I’ve said before, most of the tools needed to communicate safely and to bypass monitoring and censorship exist, and are easy to install (believe me, making a Syrian use Tor with bridges while they do not speak English and you do not speak Arabic is a proof that TOR is easy to use). People do not use it because they do not know it exists and they do not know why they would even need to use it.

That’s where enter education. You should teach your girlfriend, boyfriend, mother, father, duck, cat, etc. why they need to encrypt every and all bits of information (and noise) they emit and receive. That’s the hardest part and the most exhausting one, but organizations like EFF and La Quadrature Du Net are quite effective at it. As long as the people are open-minded and curious, showing them why they need to protect themselves online will be the hardest part. Then, they’ll ask the how-can-I-do-that question, and they will end up knowing a bit more how the Internet works, how a computer works, and being able to spread this knowledge to others. We need to be patient with the people that seek help. That won’t make you technically better (while you teach, you tend to learn slower, especially if you need to start from 0 every time you do it), but the documentation needed is still out there (but black-outed. See? that’s not a so good idea) and you can try to improve it, to translate it or to write it if it doesnot yet exist.

The real issue will reside in people who do not want to learn or understand. The ones that are happy like that, watching Fox news, TF1, feeding what used to be their brain with propaganda information telling them that everything is ok. You have two options. Try to save them, but that will kill you. You’ll cease to exist because all your spare time will be spent trying to give some dumb-ass some notions of self-respect, while they’ll consider you as a freak with dangerous thoughts. That will eat you, you’ve been warned. The other option is to live with that and to let them die. Yeah, that’s not fair, that’s not human, whatever, I do not care. But you can’t save people who do not want to be saved.

So, what will YOU do?


 Licence, copyright and version

This version 1.3.1 text has been written by okhin on the 18th of January of 2012. You can do anything with it, as long as you just tell people who wrote this text. If you really need a licence, it’s the WTFPL.

Kudos to zorun who mades me some proofreading.