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Posts Tagged ‘Access’

Aaron Swartz – Guerilla Open Access Manifesto

In Aaron Swartz, Anonymous, News, Science & Technology, USA, USA, Viral Videos, World Revolution on February 13, 2013 at 11:11 PM


Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.

There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future. Everything up until now will have been lost.

That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal — there’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can, something that’s already being done: we can fight back.

Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.

Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by the publishers and sharing them with your friends.

But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.

Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate require it — their shareholders would revolt at anything less. And the politicians they have bought off back them, passing laws giving them the exclusive power to decide who can make copies.

There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.

We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.

With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?

Aaron Swartz
July 2008, Eremo, Italy

U.N. Demands Access to Israeli Nuke Sites

In Israhell, News, NWO, Zionism on December 4, 2012 at 5:48 PM


Israel is under pressure from the UN to open up to the world the nuclear arsenal it denies even exists. In an overwhelming vote, the General Assembly approved a resolution urging the country to allow inspections of its atomic facilities.


Related Link: “Parastoo” Hacks IAEA Server, Demands Investigation Into Israel’s Nuclear Activities

U.N./Kucinich/Amnesty Denied Visit to Bradley Manning

In Bradley Manning, Manning, News, NWO, WikiLeaks on April 17, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Over the past few weeks, the defense has been working to facilitate an official visit for Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Mr. Juan Mendez (the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture), and a representative from Amnesty International. Despite multiple inquires from the defense and the interested parties, the Quantico Brig and the Government have denied the requests for an “official visit.”

More: Brig Fails to Follow Its Own Rules

Reporter grills U.S. Department of State Acting Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner during daily press briefing, pointing out the hypocrisy of the U.S. releasing their Human Rights report giving themselves a squeaky clean image, and at the same time denying the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur access to evaluate the condition of Pfc. Bradley Manning.

UN Human Rights Council representative Juan E. Méndez met with RT to examine the plight of Private Bradley Manning — the US soldier at the center of the WikiLeaks scandal.

Yemeni Journalist’s Program Allows Facebook & Twitter Access Despite Government Blocks

In Science & Technology, World Revolution, Yemen on February 27, 2011 at 11:45 PM

Walid Al-Saqaf’s alkasir is an unsung hero in the recent political overhaul in Egypt and the Arab world. Alkasir–meaning “circumventor”–is what has allowed many ordinary citizens to access Facebook and Twitter and share vital information despite government blocks.

“Given that the Arab world is suffering from political censorship, there is a strong need for this in the region,” Al-Saqaf tells Fast Company.

The site uses a “split tunnel” technology to help people access blocked websites and map censorship by verifying filtering of websites around the world. And part of its grassroots success is that it only focuses on blocked sites for ideas and opinion-sharing. And it feeds off of word of mouth. “I didn’t carry out formal marketing and that was intentional. I wanted people to investigate and find out on their own,” says Al-Saqaf.

The site evolved out of Al-Saqaf’s own experiences of censorship in his home country of Yemen. His site, is an open platform for Yemeni websites to voice their opinions, and the government blocked it after it started making room for dissident voices.

“I was a victim of censorship and I still am. The government blocked my site in 2008 and they didn’t give any reason for it. I believe it got blocked because it didn’t filter out any dissident content,” says Al-Shaqaf.

“My website became a platform for all voices, regardless of background or affiliation. I only had a small portion of dissident content, but I was seen as promoting dissidence,” he says.

And, “Instead of negotiating, they all of a sudden blocked it. And then they started negotiating, after they blocked it. The President’s media secretary, Abdo Borji, told me ‘We don’t like that your website has content that is against the national government of Yemen.’ They said ‘You need to block this list of websites. After that we won’t censor your website anymore.’ I said not only will I remain neutral, but I gave him the gift of Alkasir. I said ‘Hey, if you ever need to access a site that has been blocked, use this.'”

Timing was key, too. “People in Egypt were in a panic,” Al-Saqaf says. “They didn’t know what to do and they would email me saying they were so thankful. For some websites, you can’t even use proxies. But people would download this program and then they would be able to access updated reports.” And once people found out about the service, they would then tweet about it, which helped to spread the word.

And in Yemen specifically, though the tension has not yet exploded as it has in Egypt and Libya, he continues to promote from afar.

“Since the revolutionary atmosphere has built up in the region, I now aggregate thousands and thousands of Facebook posts that are calling for peaceful protests against the oppression. I opened a window on our homepage that displays a banner in Arabic that says ‘this is a revolutionary portal.’ When you click on it, it displays videos, pictures, and posts that all call for the end of the Yemeni regime.”

“I’m quite optimistic given the wave of change in the region,” says Al-Saqaf. “Libya’s regime is on the verge of collapse. Even if Yemen’s regime doesn’t fall, it’s giving concession after concession and releasing more activists, so I don’t think they’ll attack protestors. I hope they seek ways to surrender peacefully and not lead the way of Ghadaffi.”

Protestors are calling for the resignation of Yemeni’s long-standing dictator, Ali Abdallah Saleh.

“There are many corrupt apparatuses and they need to be tried fro their crimes against the people of Yemen,” says Al-Saqaf.

For the future, Al-Saqaf plans to expand Alkasir to be able to accommodate a range of web service access, including VOIP. So if Skype gets blocked, for example, Alkasir provides a way to access it.

He also finds other ways to use Alkasir. “I use it for research and maps, too, as the service identifies blocked sites. In that way it serves as a source of knowledge for scientists and academics and at the same time it empowers activists,” he says.


On Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST (GMT-5) AccessNow hosted a live streamed online symposium entitled: The Middle East, the Revolution, and the Internet.

Symposium participants included:

Frank La Rue: United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Marietje Schaake: Dutch Member of the European Parliament
Jillian York: Harvard University Berkman Center
Tarek Amr: Egyptian Digital Activist on Global Voices
Walid Al-Saqaf: Yemeni software developer and journalist
Mohamed ElGohary: Egyptian Activist
Aasil Ahmad: Democracy Activist
Brett Solomon: Access (Moderator)

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