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From “security” to manipulation

// Posted by on 02/22/2014 (1:10 AM)

The United States has deliberately and publicly stated its intent to control the “third space”/cyberspace. Washington has used different arguments to do so mainly to attract support, or at least diminish opposition, from its citizens. Also, according to The Guardian… Read more

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The United States has deliberately and publicly stated its intent to control the “third space”/cyberspace. Washington has used different arguments to do so mainly to attract support, or at least diminish opposition, from its citizens. Also, according to The Guardian one of the arguments stated by the National Security Agency (NSA) is that it needs citizens’ private data to maintain a secure country and help prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11. However in their process to maintain security the espionage policies the US has adopted have completely erased the line between citizens’ private and public information.

Apart from distinguishing between private and public citizen information, the use that the government has made of the information they share with their citizens is also a topic to discuss. Journalists such as Gleen Greenwald argue that through different programs, which have been reveled not just by Edward Snowden, but also by whistleblowers Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning, the government has been able to control its population by manipulating public opinion through telecommunications in an attempt to preserve status quo as stated in The War on Wikileaks. This is why there’s a need to find alternatives to mainstream communicating channels where real journalists can disclose valuable information for public opinion like in the case of Wikileaks.

The Washington administration has also been able to control the “third space” internationally. They have succeeded in breaking political frontiers and establishing channels of interaction alongside politics, in homogenizing their “western culture” and democratic values in countless countries and in interfering in other countries national interest by upholding their security flag.  However, as stated in Farrell and Finnemore’s Foreign Affairs article “The End of Hipocracy” the last thing the United States has done is follow what it preaches. The United States has always kept in mind the interest of its elite, and this can be seen in how it has been reacting to current revolts around the world.

The President has publicly condemned the use of force in Ukraine, but is apparently less interested by the revolts in Venezuela. The Monroe Doctrine of America for the Americans seems to have been forgotten as no security or democracy flag is being taken to the Caracas administration even though human right violations are more than evident. Its hard to imagine but the control that Chavez and Maduro had over it citizens in regards to access to information and the control of such is not that different from the control of cyberspace that Bush and Obama have been exercising over their citizens in the last decade. Maybe this is the reason why international security seems to have taken a back seat in the United State’s agenda, its more convenient for Obama to have a population with little or no opinion regarding protests for government unconformity.

Sofia Potes

A00811281


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Internet privacy debate

// Posted by on 02/22/2014 (12:50 AM)

The internet has become an essential tool for our daily lives, from education and negotiation activities to leisure and recreation. Thousands of information is shared in this media, such as passwords, pictures, and of course, conversations. Nevertheless, in the recent… Read more

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The internet has become an essential tool for our daily lives, from education and negotiation activities to leisure and recreation. Thousands of information is shared in this media, such as passwords, pictures, and of course, conversations. Nevertheless, in the recent years, that hasn’t been an impediment for the states to violate the citizens’ right to privacy. In the interest of national welfare, states have begun taking actions, such as espionage and unwarranted investigations, which although justified as security measures, had come to attack one of the most essential rights.

Recent events have become the trigger for manifestations, debates and the fight to regain the internet privacy. But what is to be done? Terrorism is, for example, a major threat to national security, and it could be prevented by investigating the information circulation in the cyberspace. Therefore, the real question is: to what extent national security may be above the individual rights of citizens? Apparently, you cannot have both.

The lack of regulation in cyberspace has led to ambiguity for users and governments, dispelling the lines of permissiveness for one and others. However, although the regulation of this space would reduce the abusiveness of the states, the user would also be highly limited, contrary to the advantage that characterizes the internet.

Personally although I think there is some information that governments should keep for their own in order to protect the State and the citizen’s security, I also think that people should be able decide what is and what isn’t private information, and to keep it that way. This has obviously, completely and worldwide violated by the governments. I don’t think I would have done the same as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, but drastic actions must be taken to resolve the problem and these two men have shown that we can’t under the limits of what is permitted when such legality is becoming into injustices.

Therefore, it seems like citizens will have to lose some of their freedom in the internet in order to regain their privacy. Regulations are vital for solving the problem, so we must demand them, because right now the governments seem to me much more powerful rather the pressure that the regular citizen can put into the State.

World governments are supposedly ensuring our security. However, the process has damaged us enough as citizens. Is the price of our security worth? Is this the only way to be protected? Which is more dangerous: terrorism or a State with unlimited power?


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Information is power.

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (11:57 PM)

Information is power, information is knowledge.
According to the actions committed by Edward Snowden by filtering confidential USA documents and Julian Assange’s filtered governmental documents on the Wikileaks website, I must say that I am on their side because… Read more

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Information is power, information is knowledge.
According to the actions committed by Edward Snowden by filtering confidential USA documents and Julian Assange’s filtered governmental documents on the Wikileaks website, I must say that I am on their side because I also think that internet and personal privacy is vital for global society. States do not have the right to interfere in our business just by alleging that they are taking care of their national security. The only matter here is that the United States does not want any other governmental actor to be aware of its -not very political- international actions, which include acts of spy and suborns. What about the fact that USA made sure that Wikileaks could not sustain itself and operate by just making banks do some sort of boycott? What happens with our rights to express ourselves? Did they disappear already just because states do not want us to be aware of its actions? Internet was made for us. It’s our right to have it. No rules should apply and therefore I do not agree with creating some sort of boundaries, since these ones are established to determine the sovereignty of States, and Internet has no queen or king that rules it. If I were Snowden or Assange I would have done the same actions, but I am pretty sure I would have given every single name of the list. We have the right to know what do our states and politicians do. Why would we permit them to know about out personal stuff? Why can’t we do, read or write our personal opinions? The United States have to understand that we are free to do whatever we want to, obviously only those things that are correct and do not harm any individual. I am pretty much aware that national security is very important for every single State that is part of the international system, but so are our rights. All those persons that were implied in the documents have to know that whatever happens to them or any negative commentary that they receive from the society is because they deserve it. I think that this world des desperately needs people like Julian and Edward because they know what matters and what is good for the society. They want us to be aware of what is going on. They know that information is power and that with it the world will be full of knowledge, and therefore there would be no questions or bad actions towards us.

Maricarmen Estevez A01195258

 


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USA National Security

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (11:49 PM)

At the first moment, I would dare to think that USA government might be exaggerating its actions of the great surveillance of the Internet under the argument of protecting their citizen’s security. However, I might be watching the situation only… Read more

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At the first moment, I would dare to think that USA government might be exaggerating its actions of the great surveillance of the Internet under the argument of protecting their citizen’s security. However, I might be watching the situation only from my citizen position. If I start thinking from USA position as a State, its actions might be understandable till certain extent, even if it implies to seek an enemy everywhere. First of all, NSA’s mission is already stipulated (as it is shown in its website): this organization will be in charge of protecting “America’s vital national security information”, whatever it takes. Besides, it is stated in the 4th Amendment of the Constitution that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”. Emphasizing the part of “but upon probable cause”, actions carried on by Snowden and Assange are totally a reason to “violate their right to be secure”, as the State is acting supported by “reasonable searches”.
Of course that, from our citizen position, NSA’s interference is definitely against the moral and our right to privacy. However there have to be limits on what is published in the Internet and what is not. For example, according to an article by Glenn Greenwald, it was said that, among all of the documents disclosed by WikiLeaks, there were some that could uncover USA military plans in the Middle East. In this case, seek for national security is well supported. Let’s take into account that the State is acting to preserve itself, if we analyze the situation from a realist position, where power is the only thing that matters. In that case, WikiLeaks does represent a threat for USA national security, even if that was not their promoters’ intention, as, maybe, they just wanted let Americans get notice of the invasive actions of their government.
Despite of everything, I consider that Assange and Snowden were very brave by challenging USA government and its agencies, even when they knew these were really powerful. By that reason, I don’t think I would dare to do something like that, also because I wouldn’t have the courage to leave my family and friends due to my exile from the country (and not knowing if I will ever come back).

Karina Cantú
A00811472
Tec de Monterrey


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The Internet Privacy

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (11:48 PM)

https://www.wevideo.com/hub/#media/ci/152720745

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https://www.wevideo.com/hub/#media/ci/152720745


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About the government controlling the Internet

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (11:33 PM)

About the government controlling the Internet by Mauricio Vega

 

Thanks to Wikileaks and whistleblowers like Edward Snowden we have now definitive prove that the U.S. government, among others, is spying on citizens, organizations, organisms and other governments of all… Read more

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About the government controlling the Internet by Mauricio Vega

 

Thanks to Wikileaks and whistleblowers like Edward Snowden we have now definitive prove that the U.S. government, among others, is spying on citizens, organizations, organisms and other governments of all around the globe. This brings into the discussion an old debate between privacy and security. I first would like to address the issue from an American perspective. The U.S. has had this debate within probably since it was founded. On one side, freedom has always been a key pillar in the U.S. mindset but also in its legislation. As, Tocqueville said in his analysis of the American democracy, the type of political liberty lived by in that country had never been seen in Europe. He also claims that it was more than just the constitution, it was a way of living. On the other side we have an arguably equally important value: security. Due to the nature of the independence movement that led to the foundation of the USA, security has always played a mayor role. From the civil war to the Vietnam War, security has always driven foreign and domestic policy.  This is why, I think, even though the revelations of the NSA scandal were outrageous, the US population has not had an aggressive or loud enough reaction. Recent polls like the one made by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research (Jaycox, 2014) in January of this year, shows that 63% of Americans disapprove the government spying on them, that means almost 40% agrees with the measure. For a freedom fight population, this is, at least, surprising. I think Americans know that what their government is doing is morally wrong, but the benefits that come with their action i.e. peace of mind, makes it worth it.

 

From the rest of the world’s perspective, myself included, I think it is becoming very clear how dangerous can be the lack of Internet regulation in an international level. Normally, as consumers, we would be against regulation since it translates in more freedom for the users but we can now begin to realize that this “freedom” comes also with a price. We tend to forget who has the real tools and power to profit from the lack of regulation: the government, especially the American government since most of the Internet’s infrastructure is in their territory and under their supervision. Being classified as potential threats and being spied on by a government, specifically a foreign one, is not a good situation for the population since it can quickly escalate into human rights violations and arbitrary decision-making. That is why I would like to make a proposition (if not a provocation), in order to be debated. I think a general relatively fast solution would be to create a multilateral, international, interdisciplinary organization, conformed by ONGs, OITs, and States that regulates, legislates and holds power over the Internet. I realize it is an ambitious and dangerous endeavor in this anarchic international system, but the situation requires it. President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff has already talked about a similar idea, but nothing has been done. I would like to see what you think about this idea.

 

Works Cited

Jaycox, M. (2014, January 14). Polls Continue to Show Majority of Americans Against NSA Spying. Washinton, Washinton DC, United States.

Tocqueville, A. d. (2003). Democracy in America. Washington: Penguin Classics.

 

 


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Privacy vs National security

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (11:16 PM)

The internet is a tool that came into this world to revolutionize it. It has had a positive side in it: the internet can be a medium which gives the opportunity to talk to other people, do homework, etc. However,… Read more

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The internet is a tool that came into this world to revolutionize it. It has had a positive side in it: the internet can be a medium which gives the opportunity to talk to other people, do homework, etc. However, it is a double-row because the freedom of this service can be used for bad purposes such as pornography and theft, among others.

The internet can be used by all people around the world, giving us the opportunity to create accounts with passwords and freedom to use it according to our needs. But what happens when someone starts to get into your account, review your information and what you’re doing? What if it is the government who are doing it? Would you accept it or would reject it?

After the attacks of 9/11 United States looked to increase their safety. It began to do research to discover terrorist and possible terrorist suspects who attacked its. However, in my opinion that does not justify the fact that the government is in the networks of its citizens who had never been involved in any trouble for being “suspicious”.

Checking the internet was something that the government was not difficult because nobody knew about it, but at the moment this was released ,not only affect the USA for the other countries that found that espionage was being done to them , as Mexico , who discovered recently that the U.S. government had been reviewing their phone calls. This information was released by Snowden and draft hack President Calderon was authorized by the NSA (Lara , 2013) . Moreover people also must have felt anger and distrust of the government know that they were not getting information from the government for all documents were exposed, but this (the government) had the information  about them because of the espionage.

It is understood that probably all governments around the world use some kind of intelligence to maintain their position in front of others, to know what plans against them and ensure which is on its side.

“I’m willing to sacrifice all (…) because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building” (Snowden)  The government U.S. should have no rights of abuse of his power to investigate people who have done nothing against him.

It is clear that the government is playing with a double face. This is because it is not considering their society, which makes it a non-democratic country. Likewise, the facts show a crafted way to getting other governments to support the war in Afghanistan is wrong.  WikiLeaks has shown through the exhibition of documents that have been violations of human rights, military attacks on civilians, among others;  Where is the American country that wanted to be the example for everyone else?

The rules are essential in everything. That’s why they should be placed on the internet and it would continue being free. Applying standards could prevent child pornography and trafficking online. In the same way, citizens should be able to ask the state for information and receive it. I support Snowden in his position that in need to be two-way communication between citizens and government, likewise, should not be able to investigate the information from someone else unless there is an approve letter from a judge.

WikiLeaks and Snowden are an example of knowing and doing the right thing and injustice. Clearly, the got into trouble with the law, but did so because they want the U.S. government is as it was before:“ The example of all other countries, not a corrupt one”.

 

FERNANDA RODRIGUEZ ALEJO

A00811495

 

Lara (2013) “Calderón dio aval a espías. y lo espiaron; EU intervino su correo electrónico” Excelsior. Disponible en http://www.excelsior.com.mx/nacional/2013/10/21/924495 obtenido el 20 de febrero de 2014.


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Link to our Video.

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (10:31 PM)

 

Maricarmen Estevez

Lucia Sanchez

Ezequiel Palacios

Maria Mora

Sofia Potes

Karen Nuñez

Alessandro Giorgi

Claudia Resendez

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Maricarmen Estevez

Lucia Sanchez

Ezequiel Palacios

Maria Mora

Sofia Potes

Karen Nuñez

Alessandro Giorgi

Claudia Resendez


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Security or privacy?

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (9:34 PM)

After the terrorist attack in 9/11  the word security and privacy have taken another meaning. It is understandable that the U.S. government has taken measures necessary to prevent terrorist acts and to keep his country safe. One of these measures… Read more

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After the terrorist attack in 9/11  the word security and privacy have taken another meaning. It is understandable that the U.S. government has taken measures necessary to prevent terrorist acts and to keep his country safe. One of these measures has been the use of espionage, although from time before the U.S. government has used these measures to make foreign policy decisions, this time have focused not only on terrorists but also on their own citizens violating  their privacy.

However contrary to the public opinion, according to a CBS News survey only 36 percent of the country felt that government spying had ” gone too far ” . Similarly, a Pew survey – Washington Post found that 62 percent (including 69 percent of Democrats ) deemed fighting terrorism a higher priority than protecting privacy.

Understandably the citizens prefer their security and not take so much importance to their  privacy by not having anything to hide and with the fact that today with the internet, the television and the social networks are expanded increasingly more tools  to know personal information about everyone. However it is important to clarify the true use the government does with the information obtained through espionage due that some of the disclosures provided by Snowden for The Guardian show that there have been times when the goverment blame any citizen to be a potential suspect modifying the personal information and showing false information about that citizen.

On the question of whether restrictions should exist on the Internet  I consider that not necessarily, because the Internet is currently used for communication and dissemination of information , among many other things . But  being such a large network is a tool of certain actors to achieve theirs objectives and  this ones not necessarily are ethical or good, so the Internet becomes a double-edged sword. But USA  is a democratic country, which has always characterized by “defend” freedom in every way, so I don’t consider that putting restrictions on the Internet matches very well with that speech of freedom.

As mentioned above, the United States is a democratic regime where must exist a real relationship of trust between the government and its citizens, and for that reason is so the citizens voted for they. It’s necessary that the government inform the society about their decisions  and do that with  transparency in the published information. If the government makes decisions in the place of the society in the  long-term the trust will lost and social problems arise.

It’s understandable that States must ensure their national security, but violating the privacy of individuals and institutions is not the most ethical way to do it. I think that people like Snowden are citizens committed to their society. In the particular case of Snowden he had the access to confidential information and saw that this information was not necessarily the same as the United States government made known, so he decided to inform the public the truth of what is happening, giving them the option to start doing something about it or just let it go. Such leaks are a new way to encourage citizens to participate and become more involved in issues of public agenda to achieve the common good.

 

Karen Núñez

A00812195


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The real threat.

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (9:28 PM)

Attacks occurred on September 11 of 2011 triggered a new urgency to predict threats to the United States and every other nation. Although the headlines of the news were principally oriented to geopolitical strategies, the necessity of a better-prepared country… Read more

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Attacks occurred on September 11 of 2011 triggered a new urgency to predict threats to the United States and every other nation. Although the headlines of the news were principally oriented to geopolitical strategies, the necessity of a better-prepared country didn’t end there.
Experts on Nation’s Security turned their sight to the Internet. Therefore, in a decade of dependence on technology the fear of digital attacks began to rise in the Congress of the United States, who believed that the camouflage provided by the cyberspace could set the perfect scenario for what they called “cyber-terrorism”, which included espionage programs leaded by terrorists organizations targeting the United States.
What really happened since 9/11 is that World’s politics failed to reach the gigantic steps of telecommunications and virtual space. Therefore they didn’t identify the real threats and intending to protect national security, government violated the freedom of speech and the privacy prior given by the Constitution of the United States of America.
In that matter, Chris Clymer, manager of advisory services at SecureState affirmed “terrorist have focused on doing physical damages to the United States instead of cyber-wars”.
On the other hand, smartphones, tablets and such devices didn’t exist as popular as they are now back in 2011. Nevertheless, the real threats were not, are not and probably will not lay in the communication established via daily used apps (“angry birds”, Hotmail, whatsapp, and so). Instead, they will hide in the dark corners of the “deep web”, which is a space away from any controlled or regulated site of the Internet. In that place; hitmen, weapon traffic and human trade are a common practice. As a result, violating the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution by searching everyone’s data without a warrant and with no logical or sustained suspicious will only break the trust of citizens in their government and will not prevent the real threats of the cyberspace to explode.
Finally, if Internet continues being used as a way to complete unjustified investigations on innocent people and prohibiting the freedom of speech given by the Constitution what will happen is that the monster of anger and distrust will spark in the citizens and a more horizontal (and less vertical) communication between the government, the media and the people will be demanded resulting in real “sneak-leak” attacks not committed by other countries but by the local press and the average citizen, as already happened with the Snowden issue.

 

Itzel Hervert 888568


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Freedom?

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (9:23 PM)

Classifying the internet as a HUGE amount of information that MUST be completely accessible to all the users around the world, belongs to a very liberal way of thinking, and crashes with realist approaches of international relations, or theories, depending… Read more

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Classifying the internet as a HUGE amount of information that MUST be completely accessible to all the users around the world, belongs to a very liberal way of thinking, and crashes with realist approaches of international relations, or theories, depending on the analitical context this issue is treated with. Uploading information to a well-known digital space where possibly every person with access to the internet can reach, is an act that should require entire understanding and resposability towards from the people that use this information media. In other words, the internet, and the option people have to make use of it, is merely a service, not an obligation, and since it’s not a requirement for  almost anything, complaining abut the lack of security or privacy is just pointless. Human interaction tends to be hypocrite, thanks to its nature, and that implying the physical condition, conversations, points of view, arguments, even private agreements, why, then, is it a susprise to the human race, to be abused by the use of the technology, in a process of unknown data exchange, where no longer physical barriers are set by other humans?

thinking that the human race would have at least a hint of privacy to deal with information of other people in digital spaces which do not have the slightest restriction on most cases, is part of an issue of principles including even philosophical matters : not trying to say that the internet is a weapon of destruction, the information that makes people blame either the government or private transnational actors, belongs to a series of services that are part of an economic, political, and social system, and to think otherwise is to attempt against the principles of the Western model of politics , urging a trend of revolutionary nature , exaggerated to the problem of privacy.

Yes , it is true that political elites maintain their interests and more sensitive to other activities in an attempt to safeguard the national sovereignty of country, and even security, under the assumption that other nations , rival ideological blocs, to contextualize some events of past decades ( United States against the Soviet Union and viceversa) tried to take advantage of the weaknesses of the States , however , this does not give the right to the citizens of a country have to know each methodologies or mechanisms of action of governments, Understanding that these are collectively part of the decisions that political structures (formed by individuals) taken from certain criteria in order to defend their nation, and citizens do not share this logic to reveal the privacy of their private data.


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Passenger 17A, thank you. Our privacy comes first.

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (8:52 PM)

The United States of America’s government has alleged that not only Wikileaks is an organization that leaks confidential information of governments, including USA’s, and institutions but that it harms sovereignty, integrity, human rights, and national security. I cannot stop thinking… Read more

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The United States of America’s government has alleged that not only Wikileaks is an organization that leaks confidential information of governments, including USA’s, and institutions but that it harms sovereignty, integrity, human rights, and national security. I cannot stop thinking that such arguments sound sort of hypocrite since USA is only concerned in eliminating Wikileaks because that would mean that other States won’t be able to read USA’s plans and espionage acts to other countries. Also, the same applies to the arguments against Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, since USA alleges that all the documents that his website filtered damage the lives of those whose names were said, which I think is only a big excuse to make sure that United States’ national interests are not damaged.
On the other side, Edward Snowden has been accused by the United States of espionage acts and betrayal. But… What happens when you discover that people all over the world are being spied against their will? As Snowden said, leadership is about being the first one to act, and I am pretty sure that he did was what he knew and thought was correct. I think it is pretty shameful the fact that he did not leak every single document, but I have to respect his point of view, which is not harming the integrity of any individual but showing what is the government doing against us -and our human rights-.
I always thought that we had internet in order to express ourselves and be able to search and read any topic that was of our personal interest, but nowadays such thing is questionable because not every government admits it’s citizens to enjoy the facilities that internet and its social networks offer. We have territorial borders… Do we also have internet boundaries? I really hope that the answer is NO, but sadly governmental and institutional actions prove me wrong and tell me that we do have them. Internet was born in order to be free and it should remain the same way. I am aware that not every single individual knows to behave and use this tool for our common wealth, therefore the rules for internet should be designed in order to preserve the integrity and human rights of its users. But acts, such as Snowden’s or Assange’s cannot be tagged as incorrect! Because what they did was to communicate people what is really going on with their governments and lives.
I would love to say that if I were Snowden or Assange I would have done the same thing but I am sure that such acts need a lot of strength. Changing the world is a very tough task. There is one thing that I am sure about: we were not born to live in a society such as Orwell’s. The state has the obligation to show us every single movement that it does, remember that it represents us in the international community because we chose it.

 

Lucía Sánchez

A01195196


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Internet, democracy and national security

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (8:01 PM)

I agree with the ideas of Edward Snowden concerning the injustices committed by the U.S. authorities. Clearly the secret actions of the American government have violated human rights and national sovereignty of numerous States in several occasions, situation that must… Read more

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I agree with the ideas of Edward Snowden concerning the injustices committed by the U.S. authorities. Clearly the secret actions of the American government have violated human rights and national sovereignty of numerous States in several occasions, situation that must be stopped somehow. Additionally, the actions taken by the authorities contradict the principles of freedom and democracy on which the structure of the nation rests.

 

Equally interesting is the fact that one of the major concerns of Edward Snowden would be the international impact exerted by the actions of the United States. It is also important to note that before the exposure of any CIA material, Snowden weighed the benefits and harms caused by the actions committed by the authorities, thus deciding that he was being part of a system that does more harm than good, besides to consider that this structure proved to be a major threat for democracy.

 

On the other hand, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and other whistle-blowers have endangered the national security of the United States. Despite the injustices committed by the U.S. authorities, the movement that Snowden has done is wrong because he didn’t think that the secret information spread endangers the welfare of the American people, who aren’t responsible for the faults and injustices committed by the authorities. The consequences could be severe since the information released by Snowden clearly can be used to meet the national interests of other States, thus endangering the lives of Americans, which invalidates the moral legitimacy that Edward Snowden has given to its decisions and actions.

 

The Snowden and the Assange case, case show that the media, especially Internet, are becoming a strong tool of pressure to the policies and actions of states. I think that the use of technology and information exposure can lead to much more transparent and humanitarian government administrations, however, I think this great flow of secret information can also endanger the national security of any country being exposed. I also consider that control of the Internet by the State itself is necessary, nevertheless, this must be done within the territorial borders of every country, that is, the control of information from other countries violates the concept of sovereignty and runs disadvantage to other states, besides of threaten national security. Moreover, authorities intervention in the private information of cybernauts and the government harassment of “whistle-blowers” contradicts the principle of freedom of expression so characteristic in democratic societies. The phenomenon of the Internet, the vast amount of information and the speed with which it travels, is relatively new and is why it has not been developed a strong regulation of their use; it is necessary that a set of rules regulate the handling of this powerful tool, both for civilians and for government authorities.

 

Claudia Reséndez


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national security, freedom of speech and privacy

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (7:38 PM)

Estefanía Garza A01139092

After the statements by Edward Snowden about espionage and surveillance operatives of the National Security Agency United States (NSA ) , the exposure of secret CIA information shown by Julian Assange and Daniel Ellsberg’s leaked information of… Read more

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Estefanía Garza A01139092

After the statements by Edward Snowden about espionage and surveillance operatives of the National Security Agency United States (NSA ) , the exposure of secret CIA information shown by Julian Assange and Daniel Ellsberg’s leaked information of the Pentagon in WikiLeaks a great debate was generated that splits into different positions, both for and against the “whistleblowers”. The problems or questions I personally see from this are: how far can we exercise our freedom rights as a citizen and deliberate information the government does not show in a transparent manner? Is it right to question and ask for an accountability system that ensures your interests and your security when it is not given? Also, I consider important to analyze the concepts below as complementary factors and not entirely exclusive. The concepts are the national security and freedom of expression and privacy over the Internet. First of all, I should mention that with this post I ‘m not justifying or present a position in favor of spying and surveillance activities that the United States uses in order to protect the interests of the nation and citizens. However, it is important to question and analyze the difference between what is politically correct for a government and what is morally wrong for a citizen. To discern between the two is difficult when the two positions are not simultaneously occupy.

The interview that The Guardian made where Edward Snowden asked to disclose his identity regarding the NSA leaked information, openly declares that he knows he will be persecuted by the U.S. government, but that comes in second when rights is about, because he knows that what the government does is intrusion and manipulation of private information of users in Internet for government own interests, and treats citizens as alleged suspects which is morally wrong. “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions” but “I will be satisfied if the federations of secret law, unequal and compelling executive pardon powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.” But who decides or really judge what a government can and should do to protect the interests and maintain the security of its population? Are they public officials themselves who have the power to decide what is right and what is wrong for most, once we choose representatives (who are and not elected)? It’s easy to disagree with the government and the decision is made in regard to our well-being, but it is not easy raising our voice showing our disagreement, knowing that could have major implications in challenging our discontent with a much larger power than us.

The concept of national security versus privacy and individual freedom is present in both the role of the government and the unhappy citizen. We must criticize about both sides of the paradigm if we try to understand all this. Article Leaky Geopolitics shows WikiLeaks’ case and is mentioned as a page in a medium of information (internet) that surpasses the geopolitical control limits that countries have, since they are not entirely covered the ways in which information is handled, and has an apparent freedom of expression and privacy of people who surf the World Wide Web. However, the U.S. has found a way to use the internet to their advantage by spying and surveillance, and being aware of threats to the nation. But once the internet is used against U.S. interests- the example Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon released documents- , the people who communicate the information are sanctioned and sentenced as delinquents because that info affects the image and credibility of the U.S. government, but above all, information also shows the abuse of power government has and negatively affects citizens for political decisions that benefit them.

Here the paradigm is: How far reaches national security? How far can adversely affect the government to protect the national security of its own citizens, or even how far can citizens come through freedom of expression by the internet to refute the words of the government? What if one of the threats to the population is the government itself, to deprive us of information for political ends and personal interests? I personally would have done the same as Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Daniel Ellsberg , if I knew that the State, the one who swears protection and safeguard to the collective interests, is violating my rights as a citizen and as a human to generate strategies that benefit the State ‘s and not the population itself. My problem or what I would question here is what I think is right for me and for others, coincides with what is right for someone else, for another group of people or the government? The subjectivity gap between what is good for the government and what is good for one person is great. Hence comes the disputes and defenses by the State to say that measures are taken to ensure the safety of everyone in your nation, but the right for security of everyone does not agree with the right of freedom of expression and privacy of the citizen as an individual.


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Response to Samantha Lopez: Knowledge is Power

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (5:43 PM)

Emily & Molly Video Response

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Emily & Molly Video Response


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Response to “National Security vs. Internet Privacy”

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (4:49 PM)

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Digital America: knowledge is power

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (4:46 PM)

Samantha Dalaí López

The internet being relatively new is rapidly becoming a political ground where the absence of physical frontiers allows the spread of data at incredibly fast rates. The appearance of organizations such as Wikileaks… Read more

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Samantha Dalaí López

The internet being relatively new is rapidly becoming a political ground where the absence of physical frontiers allows the spread of data at incredibly fast rates. The appearance of organizations such as Wikileaks where people can share information that otherwise would be kept secret by the governments and institutions that control it all is a necessity. Why are things kept in secret in the first place? Well, because the government doesn’t want you to know what they’re doing to say it briefly. They say that it’s because then national security would be threatened but when you look at the information that they don’t want the public to know it becomes obvious that rather than being issues of security they are issues of politic and economic interest.  Whistleblowers, wikileaks and this information sharing centers, have uncovered many documents that report of the abuses committed by the governments which include human right violations such as the conditions at Guantanamo bay facilities, civilian deaths at Afghanistan and other places where U.S. has deployed military forces, the reports also include environmental crimes and economic corruption such as the practices that lead to Iceland’s bankruptcy and NSA’s illegal practices and overspendings. Of course this is to name a few, but obviously knowing this does not threaten ‘national security’ but instead reveals the abusive acts committed by governments.

 If the civilians cannot know what their governments are doing and if they knew and wouldn’t approve then there’s something wrong. Government is acting against the will of their people.

One of the questions that arises from this unjustified secrecy and lack of transparency on part of the government is, whose interests are they acting for?  Some of the organizations vouching for dismantling Wikileaks include banks and credit card companies…. That means economic entities that in no way should be that linked to government issues.

This is one side of the issue, the lack of transparency on part of the governments, but the exact opposite happens on part of the civilians. The NSA and the government in general have total access to civilian information. One of the recent leaks revealed how the U.S. government has access to a grand part of online information.  This is rather unjust, they won’t give away information but are capable of saving every single conversation on the internet, organize them, search for keywords and then spy on you because your conversation topics aren’t of their pleasure.  I’m not saying that they’re doing that to everyone, but they have the ability to do so and in my opinion that represents a threat on liberty and freedom of speech.  I believe that discussing ideas and sharing them with others that think the same way is a way of organizing but with governments watching over there’s no real freedom. There’s also the issue that the internet does not belong to a country, so the NSA can spy all over the world and not be stopped because they contract non-government companies (to whom they pay a lot) to do so. Recently it was confirmed that the US government spies on other governments which caused anger on part of many presidents and governments, so the threat is real. So civilians can’t know this information but entities outside of the government can do so and use the information in their favor. On the bright side, this is how information gets to us by whistleblowers.

I believe that the inequality on access to information is the main problem with this issue, while governments and secret organizations have all the information (and hence the power to use it for their own benefit), civilians have zero access to it, are being spied on and have no real liberty of organization or action. For example the boycott of wikileaks from these huge organizations like banks is an abuse and simply means that they don’t think people deserve to know what is really happening in the world, power is concentrated in a few hands and they’re not willing to give it over a bit.

 I believe in transparency and freedom, governments and their actions should be subjected to the will of the citizens and serve their interests.  If there’s any form of censorship on the internet and access to information it’s as if they were blindfolding and ignoring us. On the other hand I believe in privacy, the government shouldn’t know all what their citizens do because as an institution it has a lot of power that could be used against the individuals that don’t conform and this threat diminishes freedom of action and speech. In conclusion, the internet giving us access to information and the opportunity to organize ourselves offers a great weapon against the abuses of power. All of us should be watching over the powerful not the other way around.


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Freedom of speech, internet privacy and national security

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (4:29 PM)

 

The recent troubles induced by the publications of secret documents on Wikileaks have generated a new dilemma: Whether liberty is the principal priority or if is the national security.

Recently the webpage Wikileaks have revealed to secret documents of… Read more

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The recent troubles induced by the publications of secret documents on Wikileaks have generated a new dilemma: Whether liberty is the principal priority or if is the national security.

Recently the webpage Wikileaks have revealed to secret documents of the NSA and the Unites States government about how the administration has been manipulating the European public opinion related to the Afghan war and other confidential information (Greenwald, 2014). This provoked new debates between the citizens and the government.

Analysts and public opinion has gone between if Wikileaks is good or bad for society, o if it is the government. In this sense I, personally, considered the statement of Springer et al (2013) who says that this shouldn’t be the real debate.  The real issue is to define what are the merits of wikileaks and the sovereignty and national security role.

In my opinion, I think that both actors have their pros and cons. First, Wikileaks defends itself by saying that it about freedom of speech. Snowden wants to “reform civilization” (Snowden in Greenwald, 2014), I agree that people needs information in order to make decisions, and that a democratic country should work in freedom and press plurality basis.  But, I also think a country may hide some information in order to maintain the sovereignty and the stability of the State.

But, what is happening in the United States? , this information revealed that the war against Afghanistan, and other governmental, might not be totally justified. And for me there is a special issue on this debate, the problem besides if this webpage affects national security is that national security is not totally justified.

Another great question that has emerged is the limits of the internet, and how can it be regulated if it needs to be regulated.  In this sense, many countries not only U.S. have been having troubles.  Many social strikes have been organized by social networks on internet, people has the possibility to be listened around the world. For me, the internet has been an effective civilian “weapon” against the government decisions, but, ¿why should it be a “weapon”? , may be it could be an interlocutor. This goes in the sense that many riots have ended in violence (in other countries) , this makes me think that some people doesn’t know how to react at some news or some information, that would make it difficult for  both, the society and for the government .

Yes, I think that freedom of speech is important for a democratic state, but also are the obligations. I support this freedom with the condition that people don’t react with violence.  Finally, I think that in the debate between liberty and security, the role of the States is to protect the security of its citizens; in that case security goes first than the liberty. But the problem here is that the “national threat” is, now, not totally justified with the publication of these documents.

Jessika Juárez Rangel


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Response to Tec Blog: “Freedom of Speech vs. National Security”

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (4:21 PM)

By: Deirdre O’Halloran and Cora Andryc

 

 

Snowden Quotes:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/27-edward-snowden-quotes-about-u-s-government-spying-that-should-send-a-chill-up-your-spine/5338714

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By: Deirdre O’Halloran and Cora Andryc

 

 

Snowden Quotes:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/27-edward-snowden-quotes-about-u-s-government-spying-that-should-send-a-chill-up-your-spine/5338714


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Response to National Security vs. Internet Privacy

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (3:27 PM)

http://youtu.be/Z1inc1yaWPg

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http://youtu.be/Z1inc1yaWPg


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Response to Aranzazu at Tec

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (3:15 PM)

Sorry about the terrible sound quality! It was recorded on my phone.

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Sorry about the terrible sound quality! It was recorded on my phone.


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Response to Tec: The Regulation of the Internet

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (3:07 PM)

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Response to “National Security vs Freedom of Speech”

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (3:06 PM)

By Sarah Crawford

 

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By Sarah Crawford

 


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Response to TEC: Freedom of Speech vs. National Security

// Posted by on 02/21/2014 (3:03 PM)

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Response to National Security vs. Internet Privacy

// Posted by on 02/20/2014 (8:37 PM)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLG58k8r6dk

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLG58k8r6dk


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National Security vs. Internet Privacy

// Posted by on 02/20/2014 (8:05 PM)

Raúl Ochoa

A00811852

In my opinion, the internet is double-edged sword, both security and privacy are affected. The citizens will always want to be safe; it’s something the State has always been protecting, its national security. Now, that we face… Read more

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Raúl Ochoa

A00811852

In my opinion, the internet is double-edged sword, both security and privacy are affected. The citizens will always want to be safe; it’s something the State has always been protecting, its national security. Now, that we face this new domain, the internet; as everybody has access to it, so do people who might be a threat for one State. If one State has the chance to have control over all this information, it will not let that opportunity go away without taking advantage. We have seen the same situation in different times through history; during the colonialism, the great powers wanted to have control over territories, with the imperialism happened the same but with economics, and now with the internet it is not unexpected the States want to control it to ensure their security. Saying this, I’m not implying it is a justified action, but it is hard to make the governments not to do it. I believe that if the States want to control the internet, it could be understandable, but as I already said, not justifiable. If the State won’t set free some secret information, I think it should respect the privacy of the citizens.

The fact that Wikileaks has been targeted by US as a threat (Greenwald, 2010) doesn’t mean Wikileaks by itself can act against one State to damage it, but it allows other threats to take advantage of this information. On the other hand, what Snowden made could be also catalogued by US as a threat, but it could actually be linked to the principal with which American society was settled, trying always to do the right things. As Snowden mentioned in his interview (The Guardian, 2013), he took that decision of disclosing all that information because he didn’t want to live in a world where privacy is threatened by the government, which is going against democracy principals.

The difference is that in this case he showed that the NSA spied on their own citizens and political leaders. States that haven’t been affected by secretive files will not support these actions, instead they will continue recruiting and hiding information to ensure their security; no matter if they have to spy on their own citizens, the bi-directional dataveillance (Springer, 2012) will keep going as long as the State get benefits from not disclosing that information.  Now that Snowden has asylum in Russia, it represents a threat for US, because they (Russia) could get infiltrated in the NSA data through Snowden giving this country advantage in information arena. The fact that Russia will not give asylum again if Snowden gets out of Russia’s territory is being seen as an action that keeps him captive from liberty (The Guardian, 2014).


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Freedom of speech vs National security

// Posted by on 02/20/2014 (5:49 PM)

In this post, I will discuss how freedom of speech must be more important than national security.

There are countries in the world where censorship is systematically applied to citizen. One of them is China. In the Internet, the Chinese… Read more

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In this post, I will discuss how freedom of speech must be more important than national security.

There are countries in the world where censorship is systematically applied to citizen. One of them is China. In the Internet, the Chinese Google search system is not showing anything like “Tiananmen Protest”, and they will hunt you down if they know you searched for it. Also, if you publicly show any type of support to Tibet, as for a flag or a t-shirt, you get immediately and arbitrarily arrested.

Sadly, the United States is going towards this way. Resembling like an authoritarian government, even communist. I cannot get how, from one side, they can predicate the Bush Doctrine and go around the world spreading democracy and freedom, while on the other side they try for example to blackmail Swiss bankers in order to breach in something that is invaluable for Switzerland, that is Banking Secrecy. As the same Edward Snowden said:

“I realized that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.”

I cannot imagine, then, what they are doing with poor countries in Latin America or Africa. Thank God there is people that is telling us. The document by Greenwald, “The War on Wikileaks”. states that even in the European Union the US is manipulating people like puppets to make us believe we are supporting the war. Shame to our European governments too, but more and more people, like the Dutch showed, is highly concerned about who and what is happening around them; and like Julian Assange and the same Edward Snowden are willingly not to give up to make transparency effective.

Not only, I can cite the furious attempts of the US governments to try to take in Julian Assange from London, trying to apply extradition at any cost and even violating international law and diplomacy rules. You can say what you want about Assange’s crimes of sexual harassment or the principles of WikiLeaks, but the documents that they revealed are not invented, and those things happened while politicians on the U.S. were acting like hypocrites proclaiming freedom to the world. The article “The end of Hypocrisy”, by Farrell and Finnemore, is sharing my point of view on this.

Please, don’t take my opinions as only negative toward the US government. I honestly think that, what Assange and others showed to the world, is just one side of the medal. In the other side, I see how a country is trying to make the world a better place, and to give the holy rights of freedom and democracy to who is being oppressed. As the article about Leaky Geopolitics says, the bad guy is not only the US Foreign Policy, but also the whistleblowers are risking the security not only of nations, but also of people, when exposing secret documents.

But, if the costs are to completely ignore and even damage the principles of self-determination of people, privacy and freedom of speech, then well I admire all the whistleblowers everywhere in the world. Transparency in the actions of governments is a fundamental concept in 2014, and we cannot change it in the name of the democracy.

 

Alessandro Giorgi, A01224123, ITESM


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Response to “The Regulation of the Internet” Post by Tec

// Posted by on 02/20/2014 (2:32 PM)

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The regulation of the Internet

// Posted by on 02/20/2014 (5:09 AM)

By Aranzazu Ballesteros/Tecnológico de Monterrey/A01138247

In the last couple of years, evidence that the State spies on its citizens through cyberspace has become real and quite relevant. These situations have brought on a debate about human rights regarding the Internet. … Read more

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By Aranzazu Ballesteros/Tecnológico de Monterrey/A01138247

In the last couple of years, evidence that the State spies on its citizens through cyberspace has become real and quite relevant. These situations have brought on a debate about human rights regarding the Internet.  As the article number 12 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” (UN)

The fact that the State is aiming towards the control of the cyberspace is a violation of their citizens’ privacy and, therefore, it should not be permitted. However, it is important to remember that a State’s priority is to ensure its own safety, therefore, throughout history; secrecy has been allowed and encouraged. Nevertheless, safety and freedom should not be set as binary concepts. The State’s duty is to ensure both of these things happen at the same time, without having to sacrifice one for the other.

This is why the Internet cannot be a completely free space. The lack of regulations means there are no rules, therefore, any country can do anything they want without any further consequences. Now, this issue, as a topic, has emerged because of the fact that as a society we are now aware we are being spied. The people that made this happen, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, amongst others, are nowadays suffering the consequences of living between persecution and political asylum. But, why is this happening? Because there is no legislation that limits the power of the State in matters of secrecy and gives the citizens the right to know what is going on with their taxes. What these men did is a matter of accountability, however, because there are no regulations, it can be considered a crime.

Aside from the individual rights, these cases of cyberspace spying can also be viewed as violations of the sovereignty of the countries being spied. In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed that the United States spied on Mexico and Brazil, without any further consequences. These types of conducts are unacceptable given that they could cause more harm than wealth. If the spying continues, diplomatic issues could arise, even threatening global order and peace.

Finally, it is important to reiterate that in order to eliminate these problems, an international committee should establish these regulations; always considering that violating an individual’s right to privacy is a violation of their human rights.


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The State vs. the People? The dilemmas of the Internet for both the State and the Civil Society in the 21st Century.

// Posted by on 02/19/2014 (8:50 PM)

Joshua Hurtado Hurtado

A01139119

Being an IR student in the globalized, internet age, I find it deeply necessary to stop for a moment and think about how this new era in global politics can change the dynamics between the forms… Read more

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Joshua Hurtado Hurtado

A01139119

Being an IR student in the globalized, internet age, I find it deeply necessary to stop for a moment and think about how this new era in global politics can change the dynamics between the forms of political organization and the civil society. Having access to the internet means us, as citizens, have access to more information than ever before. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we are better informed, but it does mean that there is more information at our disposal.

Information, I believe, is power. Knowing about yourself and others mean you know what you are able to do and what your limits are. The same could be said for others. This is why the actions of Julian Assange and his collaborators at Wikileaks and the actions of Edward Snowden against the NSA espionage program will have a profound effect on making us, global citizens with internet access, question the limits of State surveillance.

I should start by discussing the Wikileaks case. As Springer et al. tell us in Leaky Geopolitics (2012), what is important to analyze regarding the Wikileaks case is not whether it is works for good or for evil forces. The analysis should instead revolve around two central questions: “What are the merits of the material published by Wikileaks? It is often claimed that this material is already known – but we might ask, known to whom? There are multiple levels of information asymmetry. Second, what does the varied response to Wikileaks tell us about the nature of power and sovereignty?” (Springer, et al., 2012, p. 688). The argument posed against some of the revelations from Wikileaks was that it was already known information. The question, however, was to whom it was known. Many of those revelations were known only to government officials and to certain analysts, but they were certainly not known to the general public. Had the general public known the information released, most likely there would have been a sector from the civil society that would have raised complaints against the government for violations of human rights.

This argument is sustained in the old debate of security vs. freedom. Violations of human rights in other parts of the world, the US government would argue, were necessary to protect the population from harm. That is indeed an understandable argument, especially as the fear of terrorism in the wake of 9/11 made the general public willing to sacrifice some comfort and privacy in the name of security. But, personally, I consider it would be a blatant lie to its population if the US government said it does so only to protect them. Another reason, complementary if not more important than security, has to do with staying as the hegemonic power in the international system. There are other reasons, of course, but they will be addressed when the Snowden case is discussed.

The other question raised, about the nature of power and sovereignty, must be disussed now. There are some authors, like Milton Mueller in his book Networks and States (2012) that indicate that states have started to acknowledge the power the internet can give to perceived threats (whether in the forms of terrorist groups or simply civilian protests). As such, decision-makers have begun to consider forms of internet governance, which Mueller classifies as follows: protection of intellectual property, cyber-security, content regulation, and critical control of the Internet (Mueller, 2012). The revelations from Wikileaks are useful because they raise the possibility that the civil society can become empowered and can make more demands to those in government.

The access to internet and to the use and spread of knowledge is very important as it opens channels of communication to more people. Authoritarian states, such as China, could potentially be harmed by giving more freedom to its population and it could provoke civil unrest, which the rulers in China definitely do not want. States are becoming very wary of this issues. Happenings such as the Arab spring, which toppled authoritarian regimes (even though the subsequent regimes were not much better) have demonstrated political leaders around the world the possibilities of what can happen when civilian protesters have access to information and channels of communication. But even democratic states are considering more regulation, because leaks such as those by Wikileaks prove that some actions and misinformation are done purely for political reasons (Springer et al., 2012). Wikileaks, as such, represents a threat to both governments and corporations, who wish to keep some information secret from the public eye and are attempting to destroy Wikileaks by cutting off methods of financing and by suing the organization (Greenwald, 2010).

If hiding information relevant to the public so they can make an informed choice is already unethical, then the effects are much worse when the government is actively trying to gather all data from all people, even its own population. This is why the revelations made by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, have made such an impact. Not only did the NSA gather information from foes or possible threats, but they also spied on political allies and they gathered any information they deemed could give the United States an edge. In other words, they also took part in industrial espionage.

What changes this revelations will make in public perception remain to be seen. But as long as there is a public debate, one in which the civil society is engaged in, the revelations of the NSA will not have been in vain.

References:

Greenwald, G., MacAskill, E., & Poitras, E. (2013, June 10). Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations. The Guardian. Retrieved on February 10, 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance

Greenwald, G. (2010, March 27). “The war on WikiLeaks and why it matters”. Salon.com. Retrieved on February 10, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.salon.com/2010/03/27/wikileaks/

Mueller, M. (2012) Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance. United States: The MIT Press.

Springer, et al. (2012). Leaky Geopolitics: The Ruptures and Transgressions of Wikileaks. Geopolitics, 17. 681-711.

 


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Response to “Internet Security: Privacy vs. National Security” by Ana Isabel & Sánchez Meléndez

// Posted by on 02/19/2014 (1:56 PM)

 

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Internet Privacy

// Posted by on 02/19/2014 (12:04 PM)

Arturo Alejandro Cruz M.

After reading the texts assigned, I realized the importance and the key role that internet privacy will play in the near future not only for governments but also for the common citizen, the internet war between… Read more

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Arturo Alejandro Cruz M.

After reading the texts assigned, I realized the importance and the key role that internet privacy will play in the near future not only for governments but also for the common citizen, the internet war between countries has blurred the line of the geographic frontiers and invade one of the most essential rights of every person, the right of confidentiality. It has always been the suspected, even before the internet era, that governments have been trying to control and review communications between countries and people that play an important role in the political decisions or people that could threaten the security and stability of the country, but these couldn’t be confirmed until the recent media exposure that the US government suffered through the leaks making it not only an international scandal of what have always been suspected, but as Farrell and Finnemore said “Their danger lies not in the new information that they reveal but in the documented confirmation they provide of what the United States is actually doing and why.”

The exposure that the US government suffered made us question about the coherence between their international stand and speech and the reality of their actions and how this exposures can affect international relationships among affected countries. Thanks to people like Snowden or Assange, I realized the need of two things, first the need of international agreements to establish cybernetics rules or boundaries, to preserve the sovereignty of all countries and second the need of local regulations to establish what could be consider a violation of the personal privacy and the role and scope of the government about what could be consider a national safety matter. It is understandable that every country stands for a speech about liberty and security of their nation, but the real question here is if this gives them the authority to violate the personal privacy related to cybernetic information? From a personal point of view, I think that it doesn’t, every citizen have the right to have a private life and the freedom of will, no government or organization have the right to violate that privacy unless the person in matter is suspicious of crime, felony or act that could risk the safety of the country, but even in that case, this person should be notified that is under suspect of a crime and that will be investigated.

There is always going to be a controversial dispute about if what Eduard Snowden or the site Wikileaks did was right or wrong, I consider that was right and that I would do the same, I don’t justify the act as an honorable act because at the end, this information also was private property, but this act opened our eyes to the fact that is an urge to regulate and establish boundaries about how people and governments behave on the cyber space and what could be consider or not as a violation of the personal privacy.


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Internet’s private sphere: a tale of secrecy and sovereignty

// Posted by on 02/18/2014 (7:30 PM)

- Roberto Alviso

Regarding the relationship established between the state and a citizen, two spheres of action could be identified in the liberal democracies: the private and the public sphere. This division outlines the space of action in which the… Read more

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- Roberto Alviso

Regarding the relationship established between the state and a citizen, two spheres of action could be identified in the liberal democracies: the private and the public sphere. This division outlines the space of action in which the state is competent and where it should not interfere. Civil, political and social rights help to define the mentioned division. However, the virtual space that the Internet has shaped since the spread of its usage to the non-specialized user lacks of regulation to establish this division.

To sustain that the Internet should be kept off of any regulation is a two way street. Going uphill this means that users can enter any site freely, share the information they want and express their opinion without any threat at some point they get bounded. The downhill road has a different scenery. This road gets us to the discretional agency of governmental institutions. As there is no legislation billed, the State can manage to articulate intricate justifications about how privacy violations are a fair cost to assure national security.

The rhetoric of United States’ had turned around its foundational idea of being a nation that will set the standards for the entire world. However, nothing mystical or divine should be interpreted by a nation’s foreign policy. Based on solely evidence that leakers such as Snowden and Assange’s team at Wikileaks have made public, proving what was already evident, it is established that the United States’ foreign policy is based on secrecy directed to its citizens and the international community.

Farell and Finnemore’s pointed it out well in Foreign Affairs’ article titled “The End of Hypocrisy”1, the United States has been acting incoherently at the international scenario. In a crusade to spread liberal values and democracy all over the world, the United States has started breaching the standards they want to defend by violating human rights, attacking civilians and ignoring any right to privacy. Its capability to maintain this two-faced impersonation emerges from the so protected, justified and mystified secrecy.

A strong position is to say that secrecy and datavaillance are needed to maintain national security. I am not arguing otherwise. What I remark is that one thing is to protect citizens from foreign attack and other is to turn our own people into constantly spied “potential enemies”. The discretional activities of the intelligence offices and the national security departments have articulated an institutional apparatus that is oiled by constant lies thrown at the faces of their nation’s citizens and those of the foreign community.

As Greenwald’s “The war on WikiLeaks and why it matters”2 article stresses, Assange and the organization he leads strengthen the fight for transparency. While dozens of private companies have authorization to access our personal data and to execute datavaillance, citizens are kept in the dark, allegedly to protect them.

The whistleblowing activities are a way to reduce asymmetry of information and return the citizens the power to know and criticize current governmental practices. Following this logic, citizens are again empowered to demand a change in these practices if they consider it appropriate. In a rough and general fashion, this is the recognition of people’s sovereignty over their country’s destiny.

Last Saturday, John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, visited China and held a meeting with President Xi Jinping. During the visit, Kerry declared that the United States supports the reduction of Chinese government’s blockage practices to monitor and filter Internet activity3. The argument is that freedom of the Internet will strengthen Chinese economy.

While the Internet should be sustained as an open access and surfing space, there is also the need to regulate its usage. As a tool, the Internet should not be used for criminal activities nor should the state have discretional attributions. The correspondent normative should be billed in order to protect citizen’s rights on the Internet (referred sometimes as digital rights) and prevent the state to incur in activities that violate them. Chinese government Internet regulation could be overwhelming for people at the United States. But how different is Chinese monitoring system from the surveillance system that the United States has built on the Internet?

At last, secrecy should not be used as camouflage for the government’s dirty practices. Democracies are based on the idea that sovereignty resides on the citizens of a country. The government should understand that by keeping citizens in the dark they are violating the entrustment they have received from them.

References

1Farrell, H. & Finnemore, M. (2013, December). “The End of Hipocrisy”. Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140155/henry-farrell-and-martha-finnemore/the-end-of-hypocrisy

2Greenwald, G. (2010, March 27). “The war on WikiLeaks and why it matters”. Salon.com. Retrieved from: http://www.salon.com/2010/03/27/wikileaks/

3The Associated Press. (2014, 15 February). “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urges Chinese leaders to support Internet freedom”. CTVNews. Retrieved from: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/u-s-secretary-of-state-john-kerry-urges-chinese-leaders-to-support-internet-freedom-1.1687974


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Internet Security – privacy vs national security

// Posted by on 02/18/2014 (12:38 PM)

“You can’t wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act” (The Guardian, 2013). This is what Edward Snowden, one of the most controversial american… Read more

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“You can’t wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act” (The Guardian, 2013). This is what Edward Snowden, one of the most controversial american whistleblowers responsible for the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance revelations, said to The Guardian newspaper this past year during an interview held in Hong Kong while his assylum there. Nervous but calm at the same time, almost as if he was just waiting for the CIA’s knock on the door, he held a large number of interviews stating that he didn’t regret his acts because “I [Snowden] can’t, in good conscience, allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretely building” (The Guardian, 2013).

This last statement leads to the purpose of this entry. Until what point the government is capable of permitting, or not permitting, people to use the internet as they wish? Are territorial and jurisdictional boundaries supposed to apply on cyberspace matters? Is “national security” more important tan civil and personal privacy? Until what point is the government eager to intervene on personal matters to achieve this so called security and prevention?

Another event we cannot leave aside are the WikiLeaks and his founder and editor, Julian Assange. As well as Snowden, Assange didn’t hesitate on revealing many disturbing “cables” on a website run by his team, that also uncovered many US Government secrets. According to journalist Glen Greenwald, “The WikiLeaks is being targeted by the U.S. Government for surveillance and disruption is beyond doubt. And it underscores how vital their work is and why it’s such a threat” (Greenwald, 2010). As he mentions later on, the fact that the US Government is so eager to cripple this site entirely, and more recently to imprison Snowden, gives a lot to say about the truth found in these documents. Snowden, as well as Assange, do not like to be considered as “heroes”. But, what if they are? As Snowden stated, a true leader is that who acts first, and the fact that he had the courage to leave the country and his comfortable life to make a very serious revelation that concerned the entire world couldn’t make him less of a Superman.

That being said, it is now our obligation to reflect on what is the US Government doing to “protect its citizens”. Not only are americans being spied on and being deprived of their privacy, but also us mexicans because we are “seen as a threat” to the state. I truly believe that the Government should set limits on their intromission on people’s free will and on their/our precious privacy. The so called “American Dream” that incited those aboard on the Mayflower a long time ago has turned into something far more dangerous, and more importantly, far more illegal in terms of Human Rights.

In terms of territorial cyberspace, I believe the internet was created for the people, so it belongs to the people. But, after analyzing Sassen’s point of view on digital networks, it could’t hurt us to interrogate these notions that assume “that digital space is a global and not national domain and capability”. Could that be the solution to all this massive surveillance the US government is doing? Or will it just be a victory for them to supress even more their people’s freedom of speech?

 

 

 

 

Ana Isabel  Sánchez Meléndez     A01034743

ITESM – Monterrey


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The Issue of Internet Security

// Posted by on 02/18/2014 (12:10 AM)

By: Aranzazu Ballesteros, Anais Sánchez, Roberto Alviso, Estefanía Garza, Fernanda Rodríguez, Raúl Ochoa, Carlos Escalante, Samantha López. From Tecnológico de Monterrey.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMzA1PZFsmU&feature=youtu.be 

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By: Aranzazu Ballesteros, Anais Sánchez, Roberto Alviso, Estefanía Garza, Fernanda Rodríguez, Raúl Ochoa, Carlos Escalante, Samantha López. From Tecnológico de Monterrey.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMzA1PZFsmU&feature=youtu.be 


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Should The Internet Really Be Anonymous?

// Posted by on 02/16/2014 (7:36 PM)

In the film, “We Are Legion,” the members of the group Anonymous talk about how information should be free.  In fact, the rationale for most of their internet attacks have something to do with a group or individual limiting the… Read more

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In the film, “We Are Legion,” the members of the group Anonymous talk about how information should be free.  In fact, the rationale for most of their internet attacks have something to do with a group or individual limiting the free spread of information on the internet.  However, during the film I could not help but wonder whether Anonymous is hypocritical in their actions?  They want information to be “free,” but they still keep their identities hidden while on the internet.  It seems to me that the notion of freedom comes along with a certain ownership of oneself.  In the most typical use of the term freedom, one thinks of individuals that want to gain the liberty to be who they are.  Consider, for example, Jews that were oppressed during the reign of Hitler.  Once Hitler’s reign came to an end, they achieved the freedom to be who they wanted to be.  They could practice their Jewish faith and possess the freedom to not hide who they are.  So going off this more typical depiction of the meaning of freedom, aren’t these individuals remaining “anonymous” going against the movement they claim to support?

I believe that alternative views of what the internet should be are much more useful to supporting the concept of freedom.  Consider Mark Zuckerberg, who we discussed in class thinks that the internet should make people feel free to be themselves.  We post information to sites such as Facebook, and as a result the world has a better idea of who we really are.  In a sense, one may consider it very freeing to share information about yourself over the internet.  It represents us owning up to aspects of our personalities, and being will to share these more intimate details with those who know us.  In my opinion, it is visionaries like Mark Zuckerberg who are truly supporting free information.  Mark Zuckerberg is saying, let’s not hide who we are.  Join this forum and have the freedom to be exactly who you are and share with those around you.  In contrast, Anonymous seeks to hide who they really are.  They have no interest in the liberation of expressing your true nature over the internet, and rather they choose to hide their identities from the world.  Is this really what it means for information to be free?

To give my personal opinion, I think that members of Anonymous may raise some reasonable questions about what information the government allows to be shared publicly, but raising these questions anonymously really does no one any good.  It seems that all they really want to do is make a scene and watch the world burn.  There is absolutely no reason that they cannot take a more productive approach to the things that they do.  Work with the government to find a more reasonable balance of free versus hidden information, as opposed to working against them.  They will never accomplish what they claim to desire unless they are willing to step into the public eye and create change through legitimate politics.  I do not necessarily agree with what it is that they want, but lets try to be a little less childish about this whole operation.


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Assange & Snowden: whistleblowers of the internet (Tec Collaboration)

// Posted by on 02/14/2014 (5:01 PM)

By: Molly Reilly, Deirdre O’Halloran, Rachel Hall, and Claire Hollingsworth

You can be in your own home on your personal computer or tablet, yet there are people out there who can see everything you search, watch, and do. When you… Read more

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By: Molly Reilly, Deirdre O’Halloran, Rachel Hall, and Claire Hollingsworth

You can be in your own home on your personal computer or tablet, yet there are people out there who can see everything you search, watch, and do. When you visit certain websites they install a “cookie,” which is a piece of data kept in your browser to track your activity once you’ve opened that web page. The purpose of this is to store information for your convenience (added items in a shopping cart, edits to your facebook page), however it seems crazy that numerous websites can then access your personal information. Tracking and third-party tracking cookies can be used to get hold of your long-term history; even beyond when you had authorized a site to put a cookie on your computer (created a username or account).

This lack of privacy and lack of regulations were just a few of the reasons Edward Snowden felt an obligation to the American people to expose the NSA. His core beliefs of freedom of privacy and freedom on the internet lead him to make this massive sacrifice and turn over confidential documents. Snowden was quoted in the guardian article Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations, as saying “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.” The lack of privacy at the corporate level through cookies and data tracking is a source of great concern, however the fact of government sponsored tracking is of much greater concern.

While it might not be completely ethical, corporations have gotten around the laws in order to capitalize on the data available on the internet for their own personal gain. The government, on the other hand should be there to set guidelines helping to protect us from these very corporations, not utilizing the same tactics they implement. Snowden exposed these policies in hopes of forcing government officials to rethink how they gather data and making a more transparent U.S. government. While we will never really know the extent to which Snowden made an impact on NSA policy, it has made everyone in the U.S. more aware and wary of the policy regarding privacy. We could say he has successfully completed his goal of transparency to a small degree, allowing this information exposed and analyzed.

The article “Leaky Geopolitics” looks at the unprecedented reactions of the “free world” in attempting to take down WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.  The author’s bias is evident from the very beginning: any charges against Assange were trumped up by a capitalist-governmental elite class to attempt to discredit him after the leaks began.  The way this article looks at the idea of crime — outside of formal charges, in the court of public opinion — seems to be a pretty accurate way of representing how people are perceived on the internet.  But the court of public opinion seems to be pretty divided on WikiLeaks: groups like Anonymous that prize freedom of information have stood behind the site, but other groups point to a security risk that can come from leaking government documents.

The idea that WikiLeaks and the public reaction to it can have such profound impacts on the geopolitical order –that it can lead people to question the authority of the state, and to think critically about issues of transparency and privacy — leads me to question if, in some ways, Assange and Snowden may have really won, regardless of the threats on their heads.  If the goal was to spur a conversation about these limits, it seems impossible to say that they didn’t achieve that goal with flying colors. The article also takes on the question of the government-industry connection in looking at the corporate responses of MasterCard, PayPal, etc, in taking on the role of protector and enforcer: roles usually reserved for the government, after extensive trial.  The success of WikiLeaks in exposing this portion of the problem also seems pretty undeniable.

In another article, “The War on Wikileaks and Why it matters” Author Glenn Greenwald illustrates the ways in which the U.S. Government has responded to the wikileaks. Wikileaks and Snowden have been a topic of great controversy and debate.  This has surely set the stage for political and public conversation surrounding privacy and regulation of the internet. As government officials the army and its supporters consider snowden to be a criminal and traitor, supporters of Snowden and the wikileaks revolution, see these actions as efforts to expose the government in the name of freedom of information.  Those opposed to wikileaks consider it a threat to American national safety, while Greenwald suggest sites like wikileaks are vital to Americans to provide information where the media is becoming more unreliable at “exactly a time when U.S. government secrecy is at an all-time high, the institutions osensibly responsible for investigation, oversight and exposure have failed”.  This is mostly because media and journalism are generally co-opted outlets controlled and regulated by the U.S. government more so than ever  as “private efforts to manipulate public opinion has proliferated”. Wikileaks, who consider their work to serve as the intelligence agency of the people, see the governments efforts to harass and ultimately destroy them altogether as a result of feeling threatened.

This provokes the idea, is information free?? If its not, should it be? Do we as citizens have the right to know information considered “classified”?  Wikileaks also exemplifies the rise of the term “netizen” in which people are turning to the web as a medium to facilitate social and political change. Is this a good thing? or potentially detrimental?  Setting aside personal views and opinions on the ethical side of wikileaks, it is undeniable that it has opened up the door for conversation as to whether digitization and diplomacy is helpful, or harmful.


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Protesters or Pirates (Tec Collaboration)

// Posted by on 02/14/2014 (4:58 PM)

          Does information really want to be free? Information may want to be free, however intellect does not. Intellect has forever been valued and should never be tampered with. People have the right to their own ideas, whether you publish… Read more

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          Does information really want to be free? Information may want to be free, however intellect does not. Intellect has forever been valued and should never be tampered with. People have the right to their own ideas, whether you publish it in a book or “tweet” it, every thought belongs to its owner. Anonymous should no longer be able to hack our systems and retrieve information that is not rightfully theirs. Although some of their motives may have universally positive impacts, their behavior outside of the law qualifies them as a near terrorist organization. According to the FBI, the definition of domestic terrorism is, “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the content of a government by mass destruction.” We believe by this definition the actions of the member from Anonymous are considered domestic terrorist.

WikiLeaks, run by the non-profit group Sunshine Press, is a website that promotes itself as “the intelligence agency of the people”.  The site is committed to exposing suppressed government & corporation corruption by publicizing many of their closely guarded secrets.  Over the past few years, it has become an increasingly hated target of numerous government and economic elites worldwide, as it has been responsible for the exposure of numerous confidential, incriminating documents that publicized the activities of many different governments and corporations.  Within our group, we tried to reason whether WikiLeaks should be regarded as free speech or illegal speech.  The general consensus was that, although WikiLeaks prides itself on being the intelligence agency of the people, it is generally threatening to the confidentiality and safety of the various world governments as well as the people themselves.  The Site is based on obtaining a wide-array of secret documents and sharing them with the public, but how do we know what effects that will have?  They are sharing incriminating information under the guise of free speech and we have to wonder to what degree is that justifiable?  There is an increasingly blurred line between what information should be “free”, as hackers can access almost anything and, as we have learned, the government can too.  In a society where the Internet and information are becoming more easily accessible and widely shared, it is difficult to decipher the boundaries between private and public.

        As Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore discuss in their article, “The End of Hypocrisy” the WikiLeaks group needs to be stopped. Farrel and Finnemore call the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, a “high-tech terrorist.” We totally agree with these two authors as high valued information, such as government operations should never be leaked to the public. There are certain facts and/or ideas that the American citizens and foreign countries should never find out. Hacking into the government database and retrieving knowledge and confidential documents should never happen. I do agree with Farrell and Finnemore that the American public should no longer be lied to about government information. We all deserve to know more, however not as much as the WikiLeaks uncover. There is certain restricted information that should forever be kept secret.

The argument of cyber libertarianism made David Golumbia, that information wants to be free, does not hold true in all cases. While many of us are willing and happy to publish our thoughts and ideas online for free in the form of blogs, tweets, and Wikipedia. This does not hold true in case of classified government documents. During the summer of 2013, Edward Snowden an employee of a company contracted by the National Security Agency. He leaked the details of two high-level intelligence programs the FBI and NSA use to collect information in order to protect American citizens from terrorists attacks. Upon the initial leak of information, the public was in shock of our government’s ability to collect information such as call logs and email chains. Upon further investigation, provide by the United States Congressional hearing of the FBI and it’s director Robert Mueller, it is the clear that this programs have provided the FBI with important information, crucial to protecting American citizens from terrorist attacks. Edwards Snowden’s actions do not classify him as a whistleblower but rather an American traitor.  The ability to share and spread information over the Internet does not mean that all information that is store in a digital format is meant to shared with the public. In Snowden’s interview with The Guardian, He explains how he exposed this information to make the public aware of the actions of it’s government, but no where in the article or interview does he go into the real specifics of the program. The truth behind the government’s abilities and actions are best explained in the Congressional hearing, available on C-span.

This is how information should be provided to the people, by our own government not by individual actors motivated by private agendas. While it is important to have oversight on our government and to hold them responsible for their actions, we do not believe that hacking and leaking is the most efficient and legitimate way to go about this. Hacking and leaking does not provide for any formal structure to prevent issues exposed by hackers from happening again. It simply gives instant gratification to those who feel that an injustice has occurred. This is not the way to build a safe and product society.

Transparency and accountability within government processes and corporations are expected now more than ever in the Internet era. The Internet has allowed people to access and share information more readily, which, in the case of Wikileaks, can have questionable ethical implications. The notion of “Information wants to be free” is the driving force behind Anonymous, hackers, and Wikileaks, but what does this really mean? Unfortunately, because of the dangerous consequences of Wikileaks in regards to government operations, the State has to respond in a more authoritarian way, which results in harsher penalties for hackers and cutting off access to revenue in the case of Wikileaks. The State is aware that their consequences are being scrutinized by the public, and in some ways, this is a good thing—the State can no longer can deceived the population. We have been grappling with the ethical motives behind Annoymous hacks and Wikileaks. What makes the debate harder is that some things that are leaked and brought to the public eye are done with good intentions—to bring hard issues to light, such as the dealings with the Ohio rape case. However, in most other cases, confidential information is someone’s property, and leaking that confidential information is piracy. Further, Wikileaks and Anonymous could be considered a “foreign terrorist organizations” because they are threatening organizations and intimidating their opposition. If you try to take down Anonymous response to their hackings, you get destroyed.

           In previous weeks, we’ve talked about the “third space” that the internet provides for a shared global culture. This idea of a shared space seemed to be a running theme in many of the arguments about WikiLeaks in the article “Leaky Geopolitics.” Many of the contributors discussed how a site like WikiLeaks provides a space for an overwhelming wealth of information and knowledge, but the article also expresses the concerns that a space like this presents: a challenge to the sovereignty of physical nations, the amorphous and expanding nature of WikiLeaks and the danger and the geopolitical influence such shared information has. But the authors also make a point to discuss how WikiLeaks points out flaws within our current geopolitical culture: the notion that a site of free flowing information like WikiLeaks must be controlled, the violent extent to which governments will go to do so and how this highlights issues such as hypercapitalism, privacy and political corruption. There doesn’t seem to be a distinct opinion on whether WikiLeaks is inherently “good” or “evil.” The debate mostly shows the uncertainty surrounding the site.

        The big issue presented by WikiLeaks is that it is completely unassociated with any state. In the first section by Simon Springer and Heather Chi, they describe how such a fluid flow of information will intrinsically pose a threat to and destabilize state power. Critical public scrutiny of state action opens up the idea of sovereignty and where power really lies. Springer and Chi emphasize the shift toward the values of transparency and accountability, yet the reaction of the state to leaked information is the authoritarian action of shutting down and blocking websites. Not only does WikiLeaks become a grey area of who controls what, but it also prompted governments to act in unexpectedly harsh ways. In democratic nations like the United States, the government’s need to strictly control WikiLeaks begins to question how democratic those actions are.

        What I found most interesting in this article, though, was Fiona McConnell’s concluding line about the overall perception of WikiLeaks: “WikiLeaks may have made certain procedures of foreign policy transparent, but having the information and acting upon it are two very different processes.” This brings up the question of whether WikiLeaks is really that much of a threat, or if nation states are overreacting in their handling of it. How do you control the flow of information in such a decentralized space such as the internet, and how do you determine if it’s even worth controlling at all?


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Snowden, Wikileaks, and Global Debate (Tec Collaboration)

// Posted by on 02/14/2014 (3:12 PM)

By Cassaundra Fincke, Kevin Carney, Sarah Crawford, and Emily Narduzzi

“The War on Wikileaks and Why It Matters,” written by Glenn Greenwald for Salon Magazine, provides an interesting analysis of the work being done at Wikileaks, and what our… Read more

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By Cassaundra Fincke, Kevin Carney, Sarah Crawford, and Emily Narduzzi

“The War on Wikileaks and Why It Matters,” written by Glenn Greenwald for Salon Magazine, provides an interesting analysis of the work being done at Wikileaks, and what our government trying to stop their existence says about our national privacy as a whole.  Essentially, Greenwald supports Wikileaks for their efforts to expose classified government information because some of the safety nets to expose improper governmental activities have been largely derailed.  He makes claims regarding how the media has been “co-opted” and “crippled by financial constraints,” which has affected our ability as citizens to see investigative reporting regarding the dealings of the government.  Furthermore, he states that our Congress provides almost no meaningful oversight in regards to regulating the secretive work of other government organization, and moreover, the Congress is largely controlled by the individuals who wish to maintain the secrecy of these governmental organizations.

According to Greenwald, this is where Wikileaks comes into play.  In the midst of an age gone digital, he attests that Wikileaks protects the American public because the government has secrecy “at an all time high.”  Wikileaks is essentially intended to keep the government honest because as long as they exist, they cannot act in secrecy without fear of being exposed to the general public.  Julian Assange, the editor of Wikileaks, claims that “the information which is concealed or suppressed is concealed or suppressed because the people who know it best understand that it has the ability to reform.  So they engage in work to prevent that reform…”  Greenwald applauds these efforts to expose information put forth by Wikileaks, and repeatedly commends the group for doing what the media and Congress fail to do for the American citizens in this day and age.  However, I raise the question, what do you mean by reform, and why are we seeking this large scale reformation?

I do not doubt that the US Government may be “at an all time high” with secrecy, but I do not believe they can really be blamed for being in such a state.  As a world power, the United States is susceptible to many threats, and we are also still within a time period where 9/11 is glued in the minds of every American citizen.  As a result, the American government takes steps to make sure that they can preserve our safety.  I do not know of a single government in the world that does, or should, keep military operations and top security items in the open for the public.  This is not even because I do not trust the American people, but more so because once information is in the open to the American people, then it is in the open to anyone with an internet connection.

As Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore discuss in their article, “The End of Hypocrisy,” this new lack of privacy also threatens all foreign policy of the United States.  Many governments and citizens around the globe have observed that the U.S government doesn’t always stick to its word, but because of the level of involvement the U.S has in global affairs there have been many blind eyes.  After Snowden’s disclosure these governments had the right and the obligation to address the hypocrisy of the U.S. So this disclosure has two possible effects on our foreign affairs.  It forces the government to face its hypocrisy and may force to government to remain steadfast in its policies and reconsider going against these policies for our self-interest.  The leaks could also possibly steer different nations to address the occasional hypocrisy of our country’s government.

From here arises questions regarding the leaking of our governmental information.  Are the leaks putting our foreign policy in jeopardy?  If so, how should the U.S go about fixing this?  As mentioned before total transparency in our government is not practical.  The leaks may force the U.S to disclose more foreign policy information and act in accordance to this.  Wikileaks not only brought up the issue of security and privacy but also the issue of foreign relations and the trustworthiness of the U.S. Is being a reliable country worth giving up the pursuit of self-interests?  The answer, I believe, is yes.  Now how much of this requires American transparency?

There obviously has to be some semblance of privacy in order to ensure effective military operations and a strengthened ability to protect our American way of life.  And returning to my question prior asked, I feel no need for this “reform” that Assange mentions.  I am extremely happy as an American citizen, and I am proud of the measures the American government takes to keep me safe.  I respect Wikileaks attempts to keep the government honest by knowing that they cannot do whatever they want in complete secrecy, but I worry about the harms Wikileaks poses to the American public.  One day they could choose to leak a piece of information that is truly determinantal to American society, and then their efforts to provide a system of checks and balances has turned into a very hazardous situation.  My opinion, if you really want a better way to keep our government accountable for their actions, then lets find a more structured way to do it.  Wikileaks is an independent organization with their own agenda, and I do not feel comfortable with them trying to keep our government honest all on their own accord.  I do not trust someone who states, “I enjoy crushing bastards, I like a good challenge.”  This all seems fine and well until something overly sensitive gets leaked and it affects our country’s ability to effectively respond to a dangerous situation.  You raise a good cause Wikileaks, but let’s be more structured about this, and please keep your independent reformation to yourself.

Additionally, the statement that “The NSA has become the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever,” is pretty ironic. The NSA’s job is essentially to protect our government who can therefore protect our country. With the intense secrecy, you would think that they would not be able to do their job. However, on the contrary, it does make sense that certain things need to be kept under wraps.  Our country would not operate as well as it does if everything was constantly exposed to the general public. It is quite interesting and confusing still, considering the wikileaks ethicality and role through the process. How do they choose what information to publicize? What is worth it to them to relay to the general public? Often times these outings can create situations of panic and can potentially cause more harm than good. It is hard to know the difference between crossing the line and posing genuine concern for our country’s safety. It is also extremely difficult for authority to step in and respond in these situations. As discussed in the riot article, at least at the moment, it would be extremely difficult (perhaps close to impossible) for police to keep an eye on these social media sites. “Police would need to monitor social media with a level of intelligence—attuned to popularity, cognizant of slang, filtering for location—that right now is beyond the reach of even sophisticated tech startups, let alone cash-strapped police departments.”

From reading the “Edward Snowden” article by Greenwald, MacAskill, and Poitras in The Guardian, it is clear that Snowden is of the cyber liberation school of thought. Snowden says he does not view himself as a hero for exposing the government because “what [he’s] doing is self-interested: [he doesn’t] want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.” The cyber liberation view argues that information wants to be free, meaning everyone should have the right of free speech in what they post on the internet, and have the assurance of privacy from companies and the government. As we all know, this is not the case today. As a high school student, you are constantly warned that college admission officers can easily hack onto your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts, and use what they see against you in the admission process. Once getting to college, this fear is even further instilled in us with higher stakes: potential employers will easily look up your social media accounts to screen them for things that may reflect poorly on job applicants. I was shocked to learn in class on Tuesday that some employers will even make you log into your Facebook in the middle of an interview, which many of us believe is a total violation of privacy and very unethical. The founding fathers of our country originally regulated government control in areas such as the right to privacy so that the government would not overstep their bounds. In this sense, Snowden is right to call the spying a “threat to democracy,” however some problems could arise with total internet freedom as well. For example, it has been said that the government is notified whenever someone Googles “how to make a bomb.” In cases like this where potential terrorists could be Googling these things, government surveillance and intervention could be seen as a positive thing. The fact that one can so easily Google search how to make an explosive bomb as well as many other harmful things is a scary thought in and of itself. However, I believe government regulation becomes too invasive when they start tapping phone lines and e-mail accounts. Where do you stand in this debate? What are some of the positives and negatives of cyber liberation you see?

I also noted a quite paradoxical aspect of this article. Throughout the beginning of the article, there are many quotes from Snowden saying things such as, “I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in.” However, the rest of piece focuses completely on Snowden’s background, job history, and how he came to the decision to expose the truth. This, along with every conversation I’ve had about government spying since this story broke, leads me to the conclusion that it is difficult, if not impossible to discuss this case without talking about Edward Snowden. Despite his intentions, he will forever be linked to this scandal (it is often even referred to as the Edward Snowden case). Having a person linked to political scandal gives the common people a hero as they can praise Snowden for exposing the truth about how their government is deceiving them, while also giving the government a scapegoat. Snowden has also remained very in control of how the story is told.

“I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was

legitimately in the public interest,” he said. “There are all sorts of documents that

would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t

my goal. Transparency is.” He purposely chose, he said, to give the documents to

journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be public and what should

remain concealed.

Snowden arguably chose to speak to Greenwald because he knew Greenwald also believes in cyber liberation, and would thus tell Snowden’s story and information in a favorable light. In that sense, one could argue that even though Snowden is exposing the truth, there is still a level of regulation at play in terms of what documents he discloses, and to whom he’ll tell his story.

Given that this is a collaboration week, we can have some great discussions about the effects of this scandal. Snowden cites his travels to Geneva as part of what prompted him to eventually speak out. He says, “much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he says. “I realized that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.” What are some differences between the U.S. and Mexican governments? What did you think of the Snowden case/ government spy leaks from an international perspective? Do you think government regulation is a good thing, or should we be pro- cyber liberation?

 


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new techonologies and their importance

// Posted by on 04/05/2013 (3:24 AM)

Dimitri Acosta García

The arrival of new technologies like telecommunications and cyberspace, in which online communication takes place, has modified the way we interact with the world. Because of this, cultures all over the sphere can share information, news, concerns,… Read more

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Dimitri Acosta García

The arrival of new technologies like telecommunications and cyberspace, in which online communication takes place, has modified the way we interact with the world. Because of this, cultures all over the sphere can share information, news, concerns, etc.; in other words, telecommunications and cyberspace have permitted to see the world not only geographically, rather as a global community.

This kind of technologies have contributed to homogenize some cultural aspects and some interests all over the world, which can be seen as a triumph of globalization; but, besides that homogenization, telecommunication and cyberspace can be seen as a tool of social organization, a tool of Democracy.

Mexico and USA are not far away of the reality stated above: social network has been used as a tool of Democracy that, at the same time, has risen the participation of social groups interested in their countries and, particularly, in the decisions of the ones who have the power of decision.

Occupy Wall Street movement, a group of citizens who were dissatisfied with the decisions taken by their president and the financial industry for the crisis of 2008, using social media could mobilize thousands of people all over America, and suddenly spread to other countries, claiming for a “soft regime change”.

In Mexico the situation was not so different than the USA. In the last presidential elections (2012) we were witnesses of the appearance of a bunch of young people called by themselves “#YOSOY132”, who were acquiring importance thanks to the facilities of the internet and the social media.

Another use of the telecommunications and social media is that, besides to be seen as a tool of social organization, can work as an alternative way of communication. Occupy Wall Street and “#YOSOY132” demanded in several occasions that the regular media underestimate their demands and even their presence. That’s why they decided to create their own news and their own information that, later, was seen by thousands thanks to the internet and social media.

USA AND HIS INFLUENCE IN MEXICO

Despite that Mexico is known for its traditions and culture, there’s no doubt about the influence of USA in this country, most precisely, since my point of view, in the northern states, which is not surprising because of its closeness.

TV series, movies, music, food, sports, traditions- like Halloween – are so rooted in Mexican culture. We all listen your singers, eat your food, watch your Hollywood movies and, in particular, I play your national sport every day and I know almost every baseball player in the Majors.

We, as a nation, are one of the most fervent consumers of your products. We buy Iphones once arrived to the country, we eat you crispy cream donuts once put on sale in the market, etc. , nevertheless, we are still proud of our roots as you are of yours.

 

 


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