Susanne Posel, Contributor
At the World Wide Web (WWW2012) conference in Lyon, Neelie Kroes (who attended the Bilderberg Group conference in Chantilly, Virginia), vice-president of the European Commission, spoke about the UK’s “responsibility” and their digital agenda.
Kroes claims that “with a truly open, universal platform, we can deliver choice and competition; innovation and opportunity; freedom and democratic accountability.”
She spoke extensively about copyright material and licensing systems and that these controls “guarantee that Europeans miss out on great content, they discourage business innovation, and they fail to serve the creative people in whose name they were established.”
Yet, Viviane Reding, the European Commission’s vice-president stated that: “People give out their data often without thinking about it. They have no idea that it will be sold to third parties.”
Reding’s current project is called the Data Protection Directive of 1995 which focuses on maintaining a business system friendly to foreign investments. Mining for personal data from Internet users can be very lucrative to foreign investors and corporations.
As personal data online becomes “commercial property” the lines are obviously being blurred; and therefore loopholes can be used to manipulate the system.
Hillary Clinton, also an attendee at Bilderberg Group conferences, spoke to the inaugural meeting of the Open Government Partnership in Brasilia where she proclaimed that nation’s individuality rests in its ability to be an open society.
Clinton described closed societies as resistant to “change, ideas, cultures and beliefs that are different from theirs will quickly find that in an internet world they will be left behind.”
“We believe those governments that hide from public view and dismiss ideas of openness and the aspirations of their people for greater freedom will find it increasingly difficult to create a secure society,” Clinton continued.
She called recent events in Africa “remarkable”, and only now that they have been infiltrated by the UN land grabs, private corporate interests, Obama’s pledge to assist corporation’s use of agricultural lands on the continent, they have the potential to be a more open society.
The Open Government Partnership has 55 members; all of which have published “national action plan[s]” on how they will make their governments more transparent and strengthen democracy.
“If ideas just remain theoretical, they are not much use to anyone,” she said. “But we now have tools that previous advocates of open information could not even dream of. We are releasing enormous quantities of public data, making complex budgets available online, and connecting leaders with citizens, as we have seen in this past year of the Arab awakening.”
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google has recently said that he believes the biggest threat to Internet freedom is “a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry’s attempts to crack down on piracy, and the rise of ‘restrictive’ walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly control what software can be released on their platforms.”
Brin’s concerns are the censorship that countries like China, Saudi Arabia and Iran implement to alter their Internet for their citizens. “There’s a lot to be lost,” Brin said.
Ricken Patel, co-founder of Avaaz, the 14 million member online activist network that has provided communication equipment and training to Syrian activists, echoed Brin’s warning:
We’ve seen a massive attack on the freedom of the web. Governments are realizing the power of this medium to organize people and they are trying to clamp down across the world, not just in places like China and North Korea; we’re seeing bills in the United States, in Italy, all across the world.
Iran has announced that it will introduce a sealed “national internet” in just a few months. They hope to protect themselves from further cyber-attacks from countries like the US and Israel.
The US and China have been engaged in a covert battle in which coordinated cyber-attacks are the weapon of choice.
The Pentagon and US State Department, along with their Chinese counterparts have played “war games” while uncovering state-sponsored espionage and massive theft of sensitive information.
Curiously, during the first exercise, both China and the US described what they would do if they were attacked by a sophisticated computer virus, such as Stuxnet, which disabled centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear program.
In the second, they detailed their reaction if the attack was known to have been launched from the other side.
The US and the UK have increased pressure on China. Both governments see China as chiefly responsible for the theft of billions of dollars of plans and intellectual property from defense manufacturers, government departments, and private companies at the heart of America’s national infrastructure.
A spokesperson for the US State Department stated:
The United States is committed to engaging countries to build a global environment in which all states recognize and adhere to norms of acceptable behavior in cyberspace.
Susanne Posel is the Chief Editor of Occupy Corporatism. Our alternative news site is dedicated to reporting the news as it actually happens; not as it is spun by the corporately funded mainstream media. You can find us on our Facebook page.