"Please note: In less than 15 hours, the English Wikipedia will be blacked out globally to protest SOPA and PIPA."
The internet is one of the best tools the working class has to organize and fight for its interests. We must defend it.
Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.
This will be the first time the English Wikipedia has ever staged a public protest of this nature, and it’s a decision that wasn’t lightly made. Here’s how it’s been described by the three Wikipedia administrators who formally facilitated the community’s discussion. From the public statement, signed by User:NuclearWarfare, User:Risker and User:Billinghurst:
- It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web.
- Over the course of the past 72 hours, over 1800 Wikipedians have joined together to discuss proposed actions that the community might wish to take against SOPA and PIPA. This is by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia, which illustrates the level of concern that Wikipedians feel about this proposed legislation. The overwhelming majority of participants support community action to encourage greater public action in response to these two bills. Of the proposals considered by Wikipedians, those that would result in a “blackout” of the English Wikipedia, in concert with similar blackouts on other websites opposed to SOPA and PIPA, received the strongest support.
- On careful review of this discussion, the closing administrators note the broad-based support for action from Wikipedians around the world, not just from within the United States. The primary objection to a global blackout came from those who preferred that the blackout be limited to readers from the United States, with the rest of the world seeing a simple banner notice instead. We also noted that roughly 55% of those supporting a blackout preferred that it be a global one, with many pointing to concerns about similar legislation in other nations.
In making this decision, Wikipedians will be criticized for seeming to abandon neutrality to take a political position. That’s a real, legitimate issue. We want people to trust Wikipedia, not worry that it is trying to propagandize them.
But although Wikipedia’s articles are neutral, its existence is not. As Wikimedia Foundation board member Kat Walsh wrote on one of our mailing lists recently,
- We depend on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for us to operate. And we depend on a legal infrastructure that also allows other sites to host user-contributed material, both information and expression. For the most part, Wikimedia projects are organizing and summarizing and collecting the world’s knowledge. We’re putting it in context, and showing people how to make to sense of it.
- But that knowledge has to be published somewhere for anyone to find and use it. Where it can be censored without due process, it hurts the speaker, the public, and Wikimedia. Where you can only speak if you have sufficient resources to fight legal challenges, or if your views are pre-approved by someone who does, the same narrow set of ideas already popular will continue to be all anyone has meaningful access to.
The decision to shut down the English Wikipedia wasn’t made by me; it was made by editors, through a consensus decision-making process. But I support it.
Like Kat and the rest of the Wikimedia Foundation Board, I have increasingly begun to think of Wikipedia’s public voice, and the goodwill people have for Wikipedia, as a resource that wants to be used for the benefit of the public. Readers trust Wikipedia because they know that despite its faults, Wikipedia’s heart is in the right place. It’s not aiming to monetize their eyeballs or make them believe some particular thing, or sell them a product. Wikipedia has no hidden agenda: it just wants to be helpful.
That’s less true of other sites. Most are commercially motivated: their purpose is to make money. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a desire to make the world a better place — many do! — but it does mean that their positions and actions need to be understood in the context of conflicting interests.
My hope is that when Wikipedia shuts down on January 18, people will understand that we’re doing it for our readers. We support everyone’s right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they can’t pay for it. We believe in a free and open Internet where information can be shared without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA, and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States — don’t advance the interests of the general public. You can read a very good list of reasons to oppose SOPA and PIPA here, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Why is this a global action, rather than US-only? And why now, if some American legislators appear to be in tactical retreat on SOPA?
The reality is that we don’t think SOPA is going away, and PIPA is still quite active. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the Internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms. Our concern extends beyond SOPA and PIPA: they are just part of the problem. We want the Internet to remain free and open, everywhere, for everyone.
On January 18, we hope you’ll agree with us, and will do what you can to make your own voice heard.
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation
Network World – In an historic move, Microsoft on Monday submitted driver source code for inclusion in the Linux kernel under a GPLv2 license.The code consists of four drivers that are part of a technology called Linux Device Driver for Virtualization. The drivers, once added to the Linux kernel, will provide the hooks for any distribution of Linux to run on Windows Server 2008 and its Hyper-V hypervisor technology. Microsoft will provide ongoing maintenance of the code.
Linux backers hailed the submission as validation of the Linux development model and the Linux GPLv2 licensing.
Virtualization, cloud underlie Microsoft’s Linux kernel submissionMicrosoft’s Linux kernel submission raises virtualization questions
Microsoft said the move will foster more open source on Windows and help the vendor offer a consistent set of virtualization, management and administrative tools to support mixed virtualized infrastructure.
“Obviously we are tickled about it,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. “Hell has frozen over, the seas have parted,” he said with a chuckle.
Microsoft made the announcement at the annual OSCON open source conference that opened Monday in San Jose.Greg Kroah-Hartman, the Linux driver project lead and a Novell fellow, said he accepted 22,000 lines of Microsoft’s code at 9 a.m. PT Monday. Kroah-Hartman said the Microsoft code will be available as part of the next Linux public tree release in the next 24 hours. The code will become part of the 22.214.171.124 stable release.
“Then the whole world will be able to look at the code,” he said.
The stable release is an interim build between each main release, which come in three-month cycles. The first main kernel release to include the open source driver technology will come in December as part of the 2.6.32 release, Kroah-Hartman said.The drivers will initially be part of the Linux kernel’s staging tree, a place where code is stored and polished before it is moved into the main tree. The code of every first-time kernel submitter begins life in the staging tree.
Kroah-Hartman said Microsoft’s submission was routine. “They abided by every single rule and letter of what we require to submit code. If I was to refuse this code it would be wrong,” he said.
Microsoft’s most important open source act
Sam Ramji, who runs the Open Source Software Lab for Microsoft and is the company’s director of open source technology strategy, called the Linux kernel submission the company’s most important Linux/open source commitment ever.
“It is a significant piece of technology. It is a strategic technology and it is under the GPLv2 license that the Linux kernel uses, and which the community is organized around.”
[en] Global Day of Action against Data Retention
[es] Dia de acción global en contra de la retención de datos
[pt] Dia Mundial de Ação contra a Retenção de Dados
[ru] октября. День глобальных действий против сбора данных
October 11th: Global Day of Action against Data Retention
October 11th, marked a global day of action against Data Retention
. We wish to show our solidarity and support those who are being
forced by the by the E.U. Directive 2006/24/EC to participate in
pre-emptive surveillance of communications infrastructure. ISPs in
Europe are being forced by this Directive to be involuntary agents of
the police, to store your communications data. We wish to voice our
dissent of this attack on privacy and demonstrate our strong support and
solidarity for those who fight against this apalling turn of events.
The communication networks of the coming decades are being built now,
and we have an important decision to make: will the infrastructure of
the future be one that supports freedom or one that is designed to
facilitate surveillance and control?
Currently, our communication systems are being redesigned in order to
build a spectacularly efficient machine for maintaining total social
control. This work is being done by the democratic governments of the
world, and the UN, in the name of law enforcement. These governments
have a problem: the internet and new communication technologies are
undermining their capacity for lawful surveillance. Their solution to
this problem has been to attempt total surveillance of all communication
and to require that every internet server becomes a data gathering arm
of the government.
The new technologies of packet switching, digitization, and encryption
are fundamentally different from the communication technologies of the
past. Where once it was expensive and difficult to gather surveillance
data on a particular person, now one can gather detailed data on
millions of people with the push of a button. At the same time, these
new communication systems can also be designed to make surveillance
almost impossible. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground: either we
build systems that are secure or we build systems that are deeply
flawed, easily abused, and lend themselves to social control.
The old compact with the democratic states is over: there is no longer
an option of limited state surveillance. We must choose between greatly
diminished state surveillance or the capacity of total state
surveillance. This is simply the nature of the new communication
* Freedom of Expression: Everyone must be able to communicate
anonymously and privately. Our computers must not become outsourced
extensions of the state police. We must not be required to gather and
archive the communication data of our users. We must not be required to
allow back-door access to the government to listen in on anyone’s
* Freedom of Association: Everyone must be able to associate freely
without the government tracking and monitoring the network of whom we
associate with. We must be allowed to use communication tools that do
not reveal the sender and recipient. The government must not be allowed,
legally or technically, to build a map of how our social movements are
Much of the new surveillance we can fight with the voluntary adoption of
better protocols. Other aspects of the new surveillance we must fight
through political organizing, in the courts, in the streets, and by
active disobedience to the law.
The stakes in this struggle are too high. We must work now to keep open
the ability of social movements to communicate privately and freely. If
we do not, we have surrendered our ability to resist governments,
corporations, and injustice for many years to come.
For more information about the global day of action, see Freedom Not
Alexandria, Egypt : July 17–19
Alexandria will be hosting Wikimania 2008 this summer in the Library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina).
What is Wikimania?
Wikimania is a regular conference for all Wikimedians who contribute to one of the many Wikimedia Foundation projects.
Click on the link if u want to read more info, register or browse the schedule.
I feel That I owe Riseup something… I am so attracted to idea and proud to be Riseup user.
Blow The story of this great movement.
In our early days, all of Riseup’s servers were housed in people’s basements around Seattle. Though lovely in theory, in practice it meant that power outages, heat loving vermin shacking up with our boxes, and eco-conscious house guests turning off computers, could lead to collective panic. Our motto during this time was “Just as reliable as Hotmail.” We didn’t always know if we were doing the right thing spending so much time writing software, fixing bugs, and providing services, but we hoped it would grow and be good for the movement.
So here we are, seven years later, still hoping we are useful to people.
If you have any stories of how Riseup.net has affected your world, we would love to hear them, and might include a few in our newsletter this year. Please send them to email@example.com.
Today I got this mail from RiseUp… Another step towards information availability.
For seven years, riseup.net has provided secure, movement-run services
to thousands of folks like you. We feel that in an era of automated mass
surveillance, it is a deeply radical act to provide secure alternatives
to the corporate interweb. Although we still have a lot of work to do to
improve reliability and expand capacity, lately we have become limited
by the available tools.
Like us, you have probably learned to be very creative at using the
tools available to you. But organizing and movement building are really
different than promoting a band or managing an office. You can certainly
limp along with existing tools, until youtube restricts your video for
having political content, or facebook closes your account for violating
the laws of any jurisdiction on earth (you are most likely breaking the
Enter Riseup Labs. Where riseup.net provides services for the movement,
Riseup Labs exists to promote the development of tools to meet the
unique needs of movement organizing. We have already begun this work. In
cooperation with others, Riseup Labs is actively developing social
networking software that is geared specifically to the needs of network
organizing and democratic collaboration. We are also planning to make
riseup.net nearly impossible to shut down, provide new services, and
greatly enhance your security and privacy.
But these are just our ideas. We want to hear from you. So here’s our
plan. In order to get your input, we are creating a space to allow you
to discuss your needs with others, propose your own projects, and vote
on proposals from other people. We will work to develop the most desired
proposals by providing funding and mentorship. We call this initiative
the “Freedom Summer of Code”. We hope to access the vast talent of
activist techies worldwide by providing stipends to complete specific
You probably knew this part was coming: in order to pull this off, we
need seed money to get started. Amazingly, we have secured $5,000
matching funds, but these are only available to us if you donate too.
In early 2008, Riseup Labs will be able to accept US tax deductible
donations as a 501c3 charitable non-profit. If you live in the US, this
means that the more you give to Riseup Labs, the less you will be giving
to military conquest. How can you pass that up?
Please make donations to:
PO Box 4282
Seattle, WA 98194
in love and struggle,