Internet Crusaders

Common sense, isn't.

Internet Crusaders

Postby Elaura » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:19 pm

Who are these nut-jobs and why do they think it works?

I may be lumping too much together here, but in my estimation the following Internet crusades/crusaders achieve nothing useful and basically eat up bandwidth pointlessly:

Online Petitions - have absolutely no legal influence and "signatures" are so easily puppeted, they have no statistical value whatsoever. I could start an internet petition to get the color of the sky changed to green, get 100,000,000 unique "signatures", and accomplish nothing. No one considers internet petitions of any value in discovering "what the people want"; it's as simple as that.

People who believe "It's a 'free country' I can say what I want" - on your private or corporate-owned website. No, you can't. You have the right to follow site rules and the site owners have the right to ban your ass whether you follow them or not. That's all there is to it. You cannot appeal to the owner's ISP, if you get banned from his/her website unfairly. There is no higher court than the site owner. Just be lucky there is no physical danger in trespassing on someone else's website after being told to leave; bars have bouncers for a reason.

The "torch-and-pitchfork" crowd. As effective as this might be in old monster movies, it really doesn't work online. Gathering your posse together to ruin the lives of other people online because someone said something you didn't like . . . picture a bunch of grade-school bullies patrolling the neighborhood looking for the kid who wouldn't share his dessert at lunch. If you claim to be an adult, it isn't very good supporting evidence if you have to get all your friends to hate the same people you hate, just because you hate them. It also says very little of your friends if they do.

This one may be a little touchy, but I'll go there . . .
Joining a movement to honor a username who has passed away. I realize people you know online die; however, if you cannot personally verify the death of the person behind the username, there is a good chance you are simply feeding into someone's latest death-hoax. Many people use a lot of names online and they may retire them in rather unethical ways, such as returning to the same old sites as that person's brother, sister, spouse, or best friend and claiming that the beloved userX has passed away and she/he made a list of people to be notified in the event. Now, think of how silly you'll feel after petitioning to get this person honored in some fashion by the community? I believe I have enough experience to say the truly dearly departed will be honored appropriately by the people who actually know their given name and if someone online has actually died, privacy is usually not an issue anymore and a verifiable name is almost always given. If you wish to honor the dead, find out his/her favorite charity and make a donation, you know, do something useful.

Carrying someone else's banner. A good rule of thumb is, if they have a public relations department and at least one lawyer, they don't need volunteer champions. Even if they don't, if the "injured" party isn't interested in pursuing a complaint, let it drop. Bottom line: no one appreciates a tattle tale, least of all when the tattle tale isn't even involved. It is one thing to help the helpless, but it's awfully lonely up there on the soapbox when no one cares. I won't get into all the ways this can apply, but here's a real-world example: if I sign my husband's name to a legal document with or without his prior permission, if he doesn't mind, it is *NOT* forgery and you'll make a helluva lot of people angry for reporting it as such.
Here's a good online example: If I use assets from Monkey Island in a mod for Morrowind and whoever owns the copyright for Monkey Island now doesn't care, it isn't copyright infringement. For a trademark or copyright to be effective, it must be enforced vigilantly by the actual owner, not a third party. If you feel the need to be a hall monitor, go ahead and contact the owner with all the evidence, but don't be surprised if that entity either doesn't give a crap or is actually pleased with the free publicity.

Finally, "a-nony-mouse" When someone hacked into Sony because of some crappy policy or another, who got hurt? Sony? No, the millions of users of their servers. Innocent gamers who are just trying to have a little fun. When someone hacks into the traffic signs and changes the message, who gets hurt? The government? No, the poor commuters who have worked hard all day and just want to get home to their warm, comfy beds. A-nony-mouse does not refer to the perpetrators, it refers to the victims. Nameless, faceless innocent multitudes who are just trying to get through their own lives with as little fuss as possible. My advice, choose your heroes wisely. If your hero bases its existence on lying, cheating, stealing, and hiding, maybe you should re-think your priorities.

When you hear of some new internet crusade, think twice about who it benefits and who it hurts before you jump on the bandwagon.
Available for weddings, funerals, hand fasting, and baptisms.
Image
User avatar
Elaura
Chaplain
 
Posts: 2473
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:52 am
Location: About ten feet to Jac's left.
Title: Mrs.
Gender: Female

Re: Internet Crusaders

Postby Nessa » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:34 pm

Given the ... proclivities of certain agencies these days, I'd think participating in any of these "internet causes" is a REALLY bad idea from the start anyway. :ninja:
User avatar
Nessa
Journeyman
 
Posts: 192
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:31 am
Title: Queen
Gender: Female

Re: Internet Crusaders

Postby Elaura » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:45 pm

It's been a bad idea since the fifties in the US. The thing about "secret" activities, by the time they aren't secret anymore, they've been going on for ten years or more.

I wouldn't say any of the recent "revelations" concerning government scrutiny, the only thing that is new about it is how fast the news got around the world. It used to travel at the speed of the AP wire, now, it's instantaneous.
Available for weddings, funerals, hand fasting, and baptisms.
Image
User avatar
Elaura
Chaplain
 
Posts: 2473
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:52 am
Location: About ten feet to Jac's left.
Title: Mrs.
Gender: Female

Re: Internet Crusaders

Postby Nessa » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:43 am

Well I'm still in shock. I mean, I've been told that things were like that for awhile by security people. (You probably know the type: security clearance nerds. :biggrin: ) But now, knowing that it really is that bad is still like a slap.

Despite what people were saying I think I still wanted to believe my country didn't think I was a criminal simply because I exist. I'm naive like that sometimes. :lol:
User avatar
Nessa
Journeyman
 
Posts: 192
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:31 am
Title: Queen
Gender: Female

Re: Internet Crusaders

Postby neildarkstar » Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:10 am

In general, I agree with your assessment, Elaura, there are however a few things that deserve exception.

Online Petitions - have absolutely no legal influence and "signatures" are so easily puppeted, they have no statistical value whatsoever. I could start an internet petition to get the color of the sky changed to green, get 100,000,000 unique "signatures", and accomplish nothing. No one considers internet petitions of any value in discovering "what the people want"; it's as simple as that.


Again, in a general sense that is true, but in fact there are many exceptions to that. I would point out organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation who will occasionally ask for the signing of a petition, but more often urge you to contact your congressional representatives. When a petition alone is presented, it carries little or no weight, as you say. When a petition is presented in concert with a flood of calls and emails to congressmen from people who live in their districts, it is suddenly a different matter. Then, petitions and contact aside, but backed by them, the EFF moves into the next stage which is legal action against various agencies or corporate entities... and yes, they have been successful, though for some reason the average person doesn't hear much about it. The EFF joined by Google and Mozilla among others are the reason various attempts to reduce freedom on the internet have failed for the most part.

In a more well-known example, Take the NRA. They are highly active online, and often work with others like Paul Rand or the National Association of Gun Rights. Sen. Rand and the NAGR often use petitions, but in actuality I think the petition is more for their use than for submission to convince anyone of anything. As an example, the petitions are used to generate donations, and funds are then used for activism, lobbying and so forth. If you are a politician, and the NRA submits a petition and then follows that with a phone and email campaign, you cannot afford to ignore them. If you are a politician from a heavy pro-gun state, you have to know when the NRA and NAGR start lobbying, your next election may be determined by your response.

So, some online petitions actually DO work, but I'd say in general, only if accompanied by requests for people to make personal contact with representatives.

Is it dangerous to be actively involved with the NRA or NAGR? Perhaps, but only marginally so because the numbers are on your side, and then too, many members of less lethal agencies than the NSA have a high membership in those organizations. Your local Sheriff's Department, or perhaps your local police department for instance. In my town, you'll see NRA stickers on about every other vehicle, and one of those vehicles is our chief of police.

In the end though, just because a battle is not winnable doesn't mean it shouldn't be fought. Anything worth having is worth fighting for, and I think rights are up there in the top of that category. Evil is at work in our world, tirelessly, and every day. It sometimes wears the face of a serial killer, but more often the face of a government that just wants to protect you. You can join it, ignore it, or fight it with whatever tool is at hand, but the choice, as it should be, is yours.

Molon Labe
:biggrin:

PS @Nessa
I've worked with enough police agencies to know that you are ALWAYS presumed guilty of something, whether it's the matter at hand or some unknown crime. This provides justification for any form of police or government intervention, and dehumanizes you in the process. The NSA, TSA, DHS, ATF, etc. all have the welfare of law-abiding citizens uppermost in their minds... The problem is that, in their minds, there are NO law-abiding citizens outside their department.
"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." - Movie "Flypaper"
User avatar
neildarkstar
Jac's Hero of the Day
Jac's Hero of the Day
 
Posts: 2839
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:57 pm

Re: Internet Crusaders

Postby Elaura » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:36 am

I still believe internet petitions are pointless, at least as far as those who simply type in their username and location and feel like they've done something "proactive" (I hate that word). If an alarmist petition grabs someone's attention enough that they stop and actually do contact their congressperson, then I suppose the petition has served the same purpose as Humane Society commercials that show tortured dogs and cats to get viewers' attention and stoke their emotions.

You touched on the solution to the internet surveillance thing, Neil. Anonymity is in the numbers. I can, without reservation, say my emails are not being read by any government agency. I don't use trigger words, I don't surf and/or sign up for radical left or right wing online organizations, and I've never lied on any government forms. I'm one of a million vets on disability and one of millions of people who don't let anything owed to the government go into default. I don't speed, I don't steal, I don't travel, and I don't use illicit drugs.

It would be to no one's advantage to investigate me for anything.

On the other hand, if i traveled overseas a lot, had a lot of money and moved it frequently, stockpiled medicine, food, weapons or ammo, etc, I would get on the government's radar pretty quickly. Yes, there are people being watched who don't deserve to be and it is unconstitutional; however, I believe in this day and age it is unwise to lose one's head. Certainly railing against the system on the internet as if it truly provided any anonymity at all is not the way to go about staying out from under the microscope or making any change whatsoever.

The internet provides a good way to gather people to one's cause, but it also creates a traceable trail back to each and every member. In my opinion, Deer Season is not the time to wander through the forest wearing a fake fur coat and bleating about cruelty to animals. You make a great target and have already created the ideal get-out-of-jail-free card. Not only is it lonely on top of a soapbox when no one is listening, but there's also no one to tell you when you have a laser sight on your forehead.
Available for weddings, funerals, hand fasting, and baptisms.
Image
User avatar
Elaura
Chaplain
 
Posts: 2473
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:52 am
Location: About ten feet to Jac's left.
Title: Mrs.
Gender: Female

Re: Internet Crusaders

Postby neildarkstar » Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:04 pm

To each his own, eh? :) I'm no crusader, but I am an activist in some circles. In truth, I don't worry too much about the NSA or FBI looking over my shoulder, I've been on their radar for 40 years. My first wife's family was heavily involved with a group called "possee comitatus" - a militant far right radical organization. The fun part is doing exactly as you please while they watch.

Honestly, the soapbox could be lonely, if it wasn't so damned crowded these days... Some days it seems everybody and their dog has an agenda topromote, and their is no shortage of listeners. In fact, lately (since the Snowden thing) it seems everybody is on the soapbox, from the checker at the grocery store to the guy who picks up my garbage once a week. The reason bloggs usually don't work out is simply that there are way to many bloggers and how many O'Reillys or Hannitys, or Art Bells are needed? How many can one stand to listen to? :scared:

Perhaps you're right, and nobody is reading your emails, though I think many emails are read as a matter of course. There is also the thought that you don't do anything to get on the radar, but what about the people you're sending the email to? Or their friends? The NSA has started (or likely has been for some time) collecting contact lists from email services, and I think they check three deep, if I remember right. So if a friend of a friend is being watched, you will be watched too. Kinda makes the NSA sound like a case of the clap, eh? That is, you sleep with everybody your partner ever slept with... :D
"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." - Movie "Flypaper"
User avatar
neildarkstar
Jac's Hero of the Day
Jac's Hero of the Day
 
Posts: 2839
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:57 pm

Re: Internet Crusaders

Postby Elaura » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:24 pm

Ah well, there is a difference between being watched and being checked out. I can say it would be a waste of time to check me out again, since my Secret Clearance is still active and our entire family was checked out as my brother moved up the ladder at his job. Getting the clearance was a cinch because I already had an Oklahoma Gaming license. Before that, I was married into a strongly anti-Castro, anti-Kennedy Cuban family that was still active in international circles. I knew I was checked out as soon as I got my first passport, but the thing is, they found everything they expected and nothing they didn't.

You are so right about there being a few too many in the pulpit; however, I have clearly seen you are not a soapbox screamer. Your arguments are well thought out, well supported, and not along anyone's party line. You round out everything by sharing personal experiences as well. The people who amaze me are those who don't realize the people of the US were criminalized a generation ago (at least) and the reason for it is so they can get you *IF* they want you.

If all the people who state online that the government is actively watching them really were under surveillance, there wouldn't be anyone left to turn on the lights at Quantico. It might make some people feel like big shots to think Big Brother is watching them, but the truth is, Big Brother doesn't have the time, money, or manpower to thoroughly investigate half the people already on his own watch lists.

On the other hand, if they want you, if you've put yourself out there and gotten a big enough following to cause an itch, then they'll pick you up for smoking within 50 ft of a government building. The people you have to watch out for are the Gladys Kravitz' who can't help but stick their nose in everyone else's business, because they don't have anything interesting going on in their own lives. The White House is already encouraging people to report their neighbors, so when someone *does* get on their radar, then all the archived emails will be searched and they'll have evidence out the wazoo.

But to think someone is sitting in a room reading random emails? No happening. They have a computer program to find watchwords on webpages using search engines, but if people ever looked into what most Linguists do in the military, they'd understand why it would be impossible for any organization to read everyone's emails.
Available for weddings, funerals, hand fasting, and baptisms.
Image
User avatar
Elaura
Chaplain
 
Posts: 2473
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:52 am
Location: About ten feet to Jac's left.
Title: Mrs.
Gender: Female

Re: Internet Crusaders

Postby Nessa » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:27 pm

I suppose the moral of the story is, don't trust that silly pieces of paper mean anything. That pesky 4th Amendment (and others) doesn't enforce itself merely by existing. :frustrated:

Oh well, it took me this long to get a clue. Never said I was quick! :lol:
User avatar
Nessa
Journeyman
 
Posts: 192
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:31 am
Title: Queen
Gender: Female

Re: Internet Crusaders

Postby neildarkstar » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:34 am

The thing about silly pieces of paper like the bill of Rights and Constitution is that they are only worth as much as the effort taken by the people to keep them in force. If nobody gave a damn, or stood up for them, they would soon not exist at all. Even with support, they are fading fast. There are real groups that are effective though, like the EFF. Speaking of them, I got an email from them today, discussing the last years activities. Here's a part:
These documents gave new life to cases EFF filed in 2006 and prompted us to file another case challenging the surveillance under the First Amendment's Right to Association. Several critical FISA court opinions were released as a result of EFF's long-standing FOIA requests, giving journalists and individual users worldwide vital information about the dangerous scope and nature of the government's spying programs.

We've also contributed expertise and leadership to the the Stop Watching Us coalition and have been part of an exciting global movement in support of our “Necessary and Proportionate” principles—a set of rules that tell governments how to protect human rights in an age of sweeping digital surveillance capabilities. After a district court win against “National Security Letter” spying orders, we continue to challenge those warrantless demands—which we're otherwise gagged from discussing in any detail.

EFF's tech team has been diligently working towards our goal of encrypting the web, releasing software such as HTTPS Everywhere that makes mass surveillance more difficult by making encryption easy. We've got a couple of exciting projects coming out over the next couple of months, so stay tuned for the details.

On other fronts, we've made incredible progress fighting back against "trolls." Just today, a bill aimed at stopping patent trolls passed in the US House of Representatives, and we recently filed to nullify a patent used to shake down podcasters. We’ve participated in hearings across the country that have dismantled copyright trolls using the threat of litigation to extort payments from Internet users.


The documents mentioned are, of course, the Snowden leaks.

The EFF and groups like it (such as the NRA, NAGR, and even the ACLU occasionally) can use the power of government against government, and that is worth a little risk in my view.

The thing is that if everybody plays it safe and maintains a low profile, we have already lost. Government actively works to instill fear into those who would disagree, just look at Snowden. In the past, leaders of movements like the tax revolt were charged with sedition and imprisoned because they urged people to stop paying what they perceived as unconstitutional taxes. President Obama and his administration has brought more charges against whistleblowers under the espionage act than all previous presidents combined. If the point isn't to create fear, what else could it be? If you're afraid to speak your mind, or use trigger words, or to simply sign up for a web site that is prone to views unpopular with government, your freedom is already lost.
"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." - Movie "Flypaper"
User avatar
neildarkstar
Jac's Hero of the Day
Jac's Hero of the Day
 
Posts: 2839
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:57 pm

Next

Return to Beauty and Politics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

  • Advertisement
cron