The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Google: US law enforcement tried to get videos removed from YouTube

The technology giant's biannual transparency report reveals a 70% rise in takedown requests from US government or police, Josh Halliday, Tuesday 25 October 2011 

Google office. Photograph: Walter Bieri/AP

Google faced down demands from a US law enforcement agency to take down YouTube videos allegedly showing police brutality earlier this year, figures released for the first time show.

The technology giant's biannual transparency report shows that Google refused the demands from the unnamed authority in the first half of this year.

According to the report, Google separately declined orders by other police authorities to remove videos that allegedly defamed law enforcement officials.

The demands formed part of a 70% rise in takedown requests from the US government or police, and were revealed as part of an effort to highlight online censorship around the world.

Figures revealed for the first time show that the US demanded private information about more than 11,000 Google users between January and June this year, almost equal to the number of requests made by 25 other developed countries, including the UK and Russia.

Governments around the world requested private data about 25,440 people in the first half of this year, with 11,057 of those people in the US.

It is the first time Google has released details about how many of its users are targeted by authorities, as opposed to the number of requests made by countries.

"For the first time, we're not only disclosing the number of requests for user data, but we're showing the number of users or accounts that are specified in those requests too," said Dorothy Chou, a senior policy analyst at Google.

"We believe that providing this level of detail highlights the need to modernize laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which regulates government access to user information and was written 25 years ago—long before the average person had ever heard of email."

Brazil made the most content removal requests in the first half of this year, according to the report, followed by Germany, the US and South Korea.

Related Article:

United States Marine Corps. Sgt. Shamar Thomas from Roosevelt, NY went toe to toe with the New York Police Department. An activist in the Occupy Wall Street movement, Thomas voiced his opinions of the NYPD police brutality that had and has been plaguing the #OWS movement. 

Thomas is a 24-year-old Marine Veteran (2 tours in Iraq), he currently plays amateur football and is in college.

Thomas comes from a long line of people who sacrifice for their country: Mother, Army Veteran (Iraq), Step father, Army, active duty (Afghanistan), Grand father, Air Force veteran (Vietnam), Great Grand Father Navy veteran (World War II).

YouTube footage of protesters being pepper-sprayed

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Google Opens Internet Research Institute

Jakarta Globe, October 26, 2011       

Related articles

Berlin. A new institute funded by Google to explore the impact of the digital age has opened in Germany.

A new institute funded by Google to
explore the impact of the digital age
has opened in Germany. 
(AFP Photo)   
The Institute for Internet and Society at Berlin's Humboldt University will tackle issues such as Internet privacy, freedom of expression and civil liberties.

Google Inc. has committed €4.5 million ($6.26 million) to the institute for the first three years as part of its recent push to invest in Germany, which has often been critical of the Internet giant's practices.

Google vice president David Drummond expressed hope Tuesday that the institute "will be based on a philosophy of openness, open access, standards and an ability to innovation."

Associated Press
Related Article:

Internet Role in Human Rights Gets Spotlight

Jakarta Globe, October 26, 2011       

Related articles

Technology titans and political activists are grappling with how to make social responsibility and human rights part of the fabric of doing business on the Internet.

Facebook in September began rolling out the latest in a
 rapid-fire series of enhancements to the leading social
 network as nascent rival Google+ opened its membership
to the world. (AFP Photo)   
A Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference will wrap Wednesday in San Francisco after two days of networking and brainstorming regarding how to ensure that the Internet is a tool for human rights instead of a weapon of oppression.

"Today we face a series of challenges to the intersections of human rights, connected technology, and government," said Michael Posner, US assistant secretary of state for the bureau of democracy, human rights and labor.

"It is a busy intersection and a lot of people want to put up traffic lights," he continued in a keynote presentation.

The goal of the conference was to collaborate on principles for entrepreneurs to balance pursuit of profit with making sure their creations are used for social good instead of evil.

"Silicon Valley has always been the epicenter of technological innovation," said conference organizer Brett Solomon.

"But now it is also a digital beacon of hope," he said. "From the creation of the chip to the writing of the code... we can commit together to make sure the technologies are a force for good."

Engineers, entrepreneurs, and executives joined with political analysts, activists, and charity groups to delve into the vital role that the Internet plays in social reform.

Sponsors of the gathering include Google, Facebook, Skype, Mozilla and Yahoo!

"I view the Internet as the greatest opportunity to advance human rights in our lifetime," Facebook vice president of global communication and public policy Elliot Schrage told attendees. "The Internet gives people a voice, and we need to make sure it stays that way."

Threats targeted at the conference included Western technology firms cooperating with governments to censor what is shared on the Internet or track down people disliked by authorities.

"The bottom line is: we're here because of the actions of governments," Google public policy director Bob Boorstin said.

"It's not just repressive regimes, but democratic ones too," he said. "We know more than 40 regimes that are actively blocking content around the world."

Google on Tuesday updated its online Transparency Report to provide the public with more insights into government requests for information about its users and demands that it remove content from its services.

"Like other technology and communications companies, Google regularly receives requests from government agencies and courts around the world to remove content from our services and hand over user data," Google said.

In the first six months of this year, US courts and law enforcement made 5,950 requests for data on users, Google said, 93 percent of which were fully or partially complied with. Most requests involved criminal investigations.

India was next with 1,739 data requests, 70 percent of which were fully or partially complied with, Google said.

Google said officials in India also asked for the removal of YouTube videos showing protests against social leaders or containing offensive language aimed at religious leaders. Most of the requests were denied.

China asked that 121 items be removed from Google during the same period.

Western countries that ramped up the number of requests for Google to take down items included Britain, France, Germany, and Spain, according to the Mountain View, California--based company.

Among the hot conference topics was how much regulation is appropriate for objectives ranging from net neutrality to protecting copyrights or fighting crime.

"We saw the British government fantasizing about a kill switch and witnessed the implications of the Patriot Act in the United States," European Parliament member Marietje Schaake of the Netherlands said in a video.

"I'm against over regulating this space when it is not needed, but we may need we may need regulation to keep it open to competition," she continued.

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark saw the world at a tipping point where democracy was working, sometimes painfully, thanks to the Internet.

"The street finds its own uses for technology and I'm pretty happy if we could just avoid getting in the way," Newmark said during a panel discussion of Internet regulation.

"It is more important to use the Internet to give a voice to people who never have a voice and give a break to people who never get a break," he concluded.


I.B.M. Names Virginia Rometty as New Chief Executive

The New York Times, by STEVE LOHR, October 25, 2011

Virginia M. Rometty, 54, will succeed Samuel J. Palmisano as the next
chief executive of I.B.M. at the start of next year.

Virginia M. Rometty, a senior vice president at I.B.M., will be the company’s next chief executive, the directors announced on Tuesday. She will succeed Samuel J. Palmisano, who will remain as chairman, at the start of next year.

Ms. Rometty, 54, is well known within the technology industry, but not widely beyond. She has led strategically important sectors of the company as it has shifted to services and analytic software.

The board choice of Ms. Rometty, who managed an important merger as well as sales in important new markets, ends a competition that has been under way for years. The leading candidates were always from within the company’s executive ranks.

A leading rival to succeed Mr. Palmisano, analysts say, was Steven A. Mills, the senior vice president who led I.B.M.’s highly profitable and growing software division. But Mr. Mills’ age, analysts say, was likely an obstacle. Mr. Mills has just turned 60, the traditional retirement age for I.B.M. chief executives.

 Mr. Palmisano, in an interview Tuesday, singled out Mr. Mills for praise, saying “he’s done a phenomenal job.”

The selection of Ms. Rometty for the top job at I.B.M. will make her one of the highest-profile women executives in corporate America, joining a small group of women chief executives that includes Ursula Burns of Xerox, Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, Ellen J. Kullman of DuPont and Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard.

Gender, according to Mr. Palmisano, did not figure into Ms. Rometty’s selection. “Ginni got it because she deserved it,” Mr. Palmisano said in an interview, using the informal first name by which she is known to friends and colleagues.

“It’s got zero to do with progressive social policies,” Mr. Palmisano added.

Ms. Rometty, who graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in computer science, joined I.B.M. in 1981 as a systems engineer. She quickly moved up to a series of management jobs, working with clients in industries including banking, insurance, telecommunications, manufacturing and health care.

For much of the last decade, Ms. Rometty has led the growth and development of I.B.M.’s huge services business. She championed the purchase of the big business consulting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, for $3.5 billion in 2002. Ms. Rometty was then put in charge of coordinating the work of the acquired firm’s consultants with I.B.M.’s technologists, to tailor services and software offering for specific industries. “She did the deal, and she made it work,” Mr. Palmisano said.

In 2009, Ms. Rometty became senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy. Part of the job is leading the I.B.M. drive to sharply increase its business in overseas growth markets, like China, India, Brazil and dozens of emerging markets, including several African nations. Such markets now account for 23 percent of I.B.M.’s revenue, and should reach 30 percent by 2015, the company projects.

Mr. Rometty’s top marketing job includes spotting opportunities to use the science coming out of I.B.M.’s labs in new products and services. For example, Ms. Rometty has pushed to expand the company’s fast-growing analytics unit, which uses clever software to sift through the vast amounts of data inside companies, on the Web and social networks, to help clients look for sales and cost-saving opportunities.

“It’s not about capturing markets, it’s about making new markets,” Ms. Rometty said in a brief interview.

Mr. Palmisano turned 60 in July.

Under Mr. Palmisano, who became chief executive in 2002, I.B.M. sold its personal computer and some other hardware lines, and focused increasingly on services and software. I.B.M. sells mainly to business and governments, leaving consumer technology to others.

The formula has proved successful. The company’s profits have increased sharply since Mr. Palmisano took over, and its stock price climbed steadily. Earlier this year, I.B.M. passed Microsoft to become the second most valuable technology company, measured by market capitalization, trailing only Apple, the consumer technology powerhouse.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Turkey earthquake: Twitter plea for help gets 17,000 responses

Journalist Erhan Çelik asks his Twitter followers to offer accommodation to those made homeless by the earthquake, Constanze Letsch in Istanbul and Peter Walker, Monday 24 October 2011 

Turkish people sit on a street in Ercis after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake
on Sunday. Photograph: Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images

As with the previous deadly earthquakes in Turkey, within hours of the 7.2 magnitude tremor which destroyed dozens of buildings in the east of the country on Sunday came complaints that not enough was being done to help the victims. This time, however, the anguished onlookers could do more about it – through social media.

At the heart of these efforts was Erhan Çelik, a journalist for Turkey's Kanal 7 TV station. Around five hours after the quake struck in Van province, as it become clear that many thousands of people had been made homeless, he suggested – in an idea initially devised by another journalist, Ahmet Tezcan – to his 22,000Twitter followers that those willing to offer accommodation to quake victims could send him an email. He used #ÊvimEvindirVan – or my home is your home, Van – as a Twitter hashtag, the searchable label which helps topics spread through the site.

About seven hours later he tweeted: "There are 17,000 mails in my inbox. I'll send them all to the Istanbul governorate. I thank you all in the name of earthquake victims."

Soon afterwards came the message that authorities in Istanbul would now take offers of accommodation directly and these should no longer be emailed to him. There is now a 24-hour hotline for such offers to be made.

Offers also came directly via Twitter. "I am a policeman in Istanbul. We can house one family," one read. Another said: "My house is small but I can sleep in my daughter's room for a while. I am waiting for a family of two or three people."

If this wasn't enough, Çelik also used Twitter to help persuade three mobile phone companies, Turkcell, Avea and Vodafone, to grant people in the quake-stricken region free texts and talktime, after some complained they were unable to contact loved ones they feared were trapped.

Awak from Çelik's one-man efforts, Facebook also played a role, with users sharing emergency phone numbers and starting pages giving instructions on where to deliver aid, some of which was being delivered free of a charge by freight companies.

There was, however, an inevitable darker side to all this. Van province has a majority Kurdish population and is a centre of activity for the banned pro-independence Kurdish Workers' party, or PKK.

One Turkish TV host prompted protests by asking why Kurds who sometimes battled the police should expect help from them, while Çelik said he had received abusive replies after tweeting condolences in Kurdish as well as Turkish.

He tweeted later: "It is very sad that the tweet i posted in the early morning caused discontent. While one side shows such fantastic solidarity, the racists are on the other." He later repeated the joint-language message of condolence.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

US software is being used to clamp down on Internet freedom in Syria

The Next Web,  by NANCY MESSIEH, 23 October 2011

California-based Blue Coat Systems is the latest western software company to have its name associated with Internet censorship in the Middle East.

According to the Washington Post, Telecomix, a group founded by Swedish hackers in 2006, was the first to report that the company’s software is being used by the Syrian regime in its efforts to limit access to sites used by Syrian activists. The report has gotten the attention of US officials, who are said to be investigating the matter.

While according to a statement from Blue Coat, no sales were made directly to the Syrian government, it is possible that a third party was involved. With the software available for sale on eBay, unregulated use of the software is easier than ever.

Blue Coat’s software is meant to be used as a means of protection, but at the same time, it can also be used as a monitoring and censoring tool to clamp down on online freedom of expression.

In Syria’s case, it is believed that Blue Coat is being used to limit access to specific sites as well as social media like Twitter and Facebook, in addition to being used to monitor the online communication of Syrian activists.

Blue Coat’s website provides a description of what its software is capable of doing:

  • With the Web Application Policy Engine, IT administrators can set and enforce policies by operation, application or category, enabling IT administrators to manage the data loss and employee productivity risks associated with social media and other web-based applications.

In the hands of a business or company, Blue Coat is a software suite used to ensure productivity. In the hands of an autocratic government, it becomes a tool of oppression.

Blue Coat is certainly not the first, and most likely won’t be the last western software company whose name will come up in the list of tools being used to clamp down on Internet use by autocratic regimes. Canadian company Netsweep is one such company whose name has been associated with the several countries in the Middle East, and French company Amesys has had its name associated with Libyan censorship, while others have been known to even give discounts in exchange forbug tracking.

Without any sort of regulation,  software created like companies like Blue Coat Systems continue to fall into the wrong hands, there is no limit to how regimes like that of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad can continue to control and monitor Internet use in their countries.

Pratap Chatterjee of London’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, who reported on theissue, told the Washington Post,  ”A lot of the manufacturers don’t know or don’t want to know who’s buying their technology because they could be subject to fines or prosecution in their countries.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Technology lets developing nations fight corruption

Deutsche Welle, 19 October 2011 

Cell phone use has expanded
rapidly in Africa
Technology can be used to spur business growth in developing countries, a UN agency says. The Internet, computers and mobile phones facilitate banking services and improve access to market information.

Information and communication technology (ICT) enables private sector growth in developing countries, according to report published Wednesday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The African ICT sector is growing rapidly. Last year, there were close to 500 million mobile phone subscribers.

But there are wide disparities across the African continent. In 2010, less than one in 10 Ethiopians had a mobile phone compared to more than seven in 10 Ghanaians, according to the International Telecommunications Union. This year, Ghana was reclassified by the World Bank as a lower middle income economy.

Enlarging the market by taking it to the poor

Despite Ghana's high mobile phone usage, ICT has yet to make a substantial contribution to the country's private sector development, according to the World Bank. It estimates 80 percent of the business sector is informal.

"The IT revolution [in Africa] is enabling smaller farmers to have access to information which they didn't have earlier, but not much has changed for larger companies," said Sebastian Kahlfeld, a senior fund manager at DWS Investments, Deutsche Bank's investment arm. 

Mobiles aren't used just for
communication, they are also
payment devices
Mobile phones in particular are enabling access to services like banking and information, according Sebastien Dessus, the World Bank's lead economist for Ghana.

"In theory, [ICT] can play a role in enlarging markets because access to information improves and transaction costs are reduced," he noted.

Farmers now use mobile phones to obtain market information on the latest prices for their crops. In Ghana, cashew nut farmers can use a phone application to compare trader bid prices. And since 2008, the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange has granted farmers access to real-time information via text messages, electronic display boards and a website.

Kenya's mobile banking system, M-Pesa is bringing banking services to millions. The service has 20,000 agents in the country compared to 400 for the largest bank, according to UNCTAD ICT analysis chief Tobjoern Fredriksson.

Apart from providing banking services, ICT has also helped create employment for thousands since it was launched in 2007. The service, which was developed for person-to-person transactions, is now being used by small entrepreneurs to carry out payments, Fredriksson said.

Technology helps but is not the only solution

But technology is not only good for enlarging the market and empowering small-scale businesses, it can also be used to fight corruption, according to UNCTAD. ICT improves transparency and accountability, said Johan Hellstroem, a researcher at Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions.

"The very presence of mobile phones decreases corruption and secret activities because it leaves footprints and audit trails," he added.

Corruption is third leading constraint to doing business in a country after electricity and tax rates, according to a 2010 World Bank survey.

Crowdsourcing techniques like Kenya's Ushahidi can be used to report incidents of bribes or corruption. Similar initiatives are springing up all over Africa; with stopthebribe in Nigeria, and No bakshish in Cameroon. Through such initiatives and global ones like bribespot and corruption tracker, ICT is empowering people to take a stance against corruption, according to Transparency International (TI). 

Bribes are often needed get
something done in African countries
The platforms are providing means of discussing corruption and mobilizing people while providing them with ways to avoid paying bribes, said TI spokeswoman Natalie Baharav. But challenges remain.

"An integrated approach that includes an offline approach is needed," Baharav said, noting that Internet access was still very low in most countries.

For Hellstroem, the challenge is changing people who are corrupt.

"It's the users who are corrupt and they are the part of the corruption that is hard to address," Hellstroem said. 

Experts can only speculate on the extent that ICT will have on private sector development in Africa or other developing countries. For investors, it is the current financial climate that matters.

"If you aren't certain about European banks, then you are not going to invest in a Nigerian bank," said Kahlfeld of DWS Investments. "Global stability is essential for investors to invest in African markets."

Author: Chiponda Chimbelu
Editor: Sean Sinico

Related Article:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

From a single hashtag, a protest circled the world

Reuters, by Ben Berkowitz, NEW YORK, Mon Oct 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protesters meditate while a sign bearing their twitter
 handle hangs from a railing in Zuccotti Park in New York October 1, 2011. 
(Credit: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi)

(Reuters) - It all started innocuously enough with a July 13 blog post urging people to #OccupyWallStreet, as though such a thing (Twitter hashtag and all) were possible.

It turns out, with enough momentum and a keen sense of how to use social media, it actually is.

The Occupy movement, decentralized and leaderless, has mobilized thousands of people around the world almost exclusively via the Internet. To a large degree through Twitter, and also with platforms like Facebook and Meetup, crowds have connected and gathered.

As with any movement, a spark is needed to start word spreading. SocialFlow, a social media marketing company, did an analysis for Reuters of the history of the Occupy hashtag on Twitter and the ways it spread and took root.

The first apparent mention was that July 13 blog post by activist group Adbusters ( but the idea was slow to get traction.

The next Twitter mention was on July 20 ( from a Costa Rican film producer named Francisco Guerrero, linking to a blog post on a site called Wake Up from Your Slumber that reiterated the Adbusters call to action (

The site, founded in 2006 "to expose America's fraudulent monetary system and the evil of charging interest on money loaned," is a reference to the biblical verse Romans 13:11 that reads in part: "The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed."

Guerrero's post was retweeted once and then there was silence until two July 23 tweets -- one from the Spanish user Gurzbo ( and one from a retired high school chemistry teacher in Long Island, New York named Cindy tweeting as gemswinc. (

Gurzbo's post was not passed along by anyone but Cindy's was, by eight people, including a Delaware-based opponent of the Federal Reserve, a vegan information rights supporter, a Washington-based environmentalist and an Alabama-based progressive blogger.

Again, there was relative silence for nearly two weeks, until LazyBookworm tweeted the Occupy hashtag again on August 5. ( That got seven retweets, largely from a crowd of organic food supporters and poets.


The notion of Occupy Wall Street was out there but it was not gaining much attention -- until, of course, it did, suddenly and with force.

Social media experts trace the expansion to hyper-local tweeters, people who cover the pulse of communities at a level of detail not even local papers can match.

In New York, credit goes to the Twitter account of Newyorkist, whose more than 11,000 tweets chronicle the city in block-by-block detail. His was one of the first well-followed accounts to mention the protests in mid-September.

Trendistic, which tracks hashtag trends on Twitter, shows that OccupyWallStreet first showed up in any volume around 11 p.m. on September 16, the evening before the occupation of lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park began. Within 24 hours, the tag represented nearly 1 of every 500 uses of a hashtag.

The first two weeks of the movement were slow, media coverage was slim and little happened beyond the taking of the concrete park itself. But then a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge prompted hundreds of arrests and the spark was ignited.

On October 1, #OccupyBoston started to show up on Twitter. Within a couple of weeks, #OccupyDenver and #OccupySD and others appeared.

The Occupy Wall Street page on Facebook started on September 19 with a YouTube video of the early protests. By September 22, it reached critical mass.

"Newcomers today, welcome! Feel free to post. Advertise your own pages of resistance. Network until it works," read one posting meant to inspire protests elsewhere.

For young activists around the world, who grew up with the Internet and the smartphone, Facebook and Twitter have become crucial in expanding the movement.

They are pioneering platforms like Vibe that lets people anonymously share text, photos and video over short distances for brief periods of time -- perfect for use at rallies.

"No one owns a (Twitter) hashtag, it has no leadership, it has no organization, it has no creed but it's quite appropriate to the architecture of the net. This is a distributed revolt," said Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at City University of New York and author of the well-known blog BuzzMachine.

Some reports say the protesters have raised as much as $300,000 in donations to cover everything from pizza to video equipment but others put the figure much lower.

The Alliance for Global Justice, which calls itself "the fiscal sponsor for Occupy Wall Street," has raised $23,200 via


As of Monday afternoon, Facebook listed no fewer than 125 Occupy-related pages, from New York to Tulsa and all points in between. Roughly 1 in every 500 hashtags used on Twitter on Monday, all around the world, was the movement's own #OWS.

The websites keep proliferating -- We Are the 99 Percent, Parents for Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Together, even the parody Occupy Sesame Street (concerned mostly with the plight of monsters living in garbage cans).

Online streaming video has also been a huge resource for the protesters, using cheap cameras and high-speed wireless Internet access.

Supporters, opponents and the merely curious got the chance last Saturday to watch the Occupy Wall Street protesters decide whether to occupy a major public park, Washington Square Park, in the Greenwich Village area.

They saw warnings the police were about to arrive in riot gear and with horses, vans and buses to take away protesters if there were mass arrests. Local media reported about 10 arrests among the 3,000 or so people in the park.

As the seconds to a possible confrontation ticked down, the tension led to various reactions from those watching online.

"Anyone arrested is a political prisoner," said one.

"Here comes Czar Bloomberg's Cossacks," said another, in reference to New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the appearance of the mounted police.

There were "we are watching" messages of support from cities across the United States and some who found it the best entertainment going on a Saturday night.

"So much more exciting than a TV show" was one comment.

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz; Additional reporting by Martin Howell and Anthony DeRosa in New York; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Germany spyware: Minister calls for probe of state use

BBC News, 11 October 2011 

Germany has strict laws about spying on citizens
Germany's justice minister has called for a national and state level probe into the use of controversial computer software to spy on people.

The German state of Bavaria has admitted using the spyware, but claimed it had acted within the law.

Three other states have also confirmed they have used spyware in order to investigate serious criminal offences, a German newspaper reports.

Use of the software was exposed by a German hacker group.

The Berlin-based Chaos Computer Club (CCC) said it had analysed a "lawful interception" malware programme called Federal Trojan, used by the German police force.

They found that, once installed, the programme allows its operators to monitor exactly what the user is looking at - from which websites they have visited, to the emails they send and receive and the calls made through Skype.

"The malware cannot only siphon away intimate data but also offers a remote control or backdoor functionality for uploading and executing arbitrary other programs," the group wrote on its website.

The program, it said, had "significant design and implementation flaws", which made "all of the functionality available to anyone on the internet".

Strong feelings

The CCC had analysed a laptop allegedly belonging to a man accused of illegally exporting pharmaceuticals. His lawyer claims the Trojan program was installed on his client's computer when it passed through airport customs.

Bavaria Interior Minister Joachim Herrman has confirmed that state officials have been using the software since 2009 - though he made no mention of any specific incidents - and insisted that they had acted within the law. However, he promised a review of the software's use.

The Deutsche Welle newspaper reported on Tuesday that three other states - Baden-Wurttemberg, Brandenburg and Lower Saxony had confirmed using spyware, although it is not clear if all four states had used the same software.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has called on the federal and state governments to launch an investigation into the matter.

"Trying to play down or trivialise the matter won't do," she said. "The citizen, in both the public and private spheres, must be protected from snooping through strict state control mechanisms."

The BBC's Stephen Evans says the incident has sparked a row because Germans, given the country's Nazi and Communist past, feel strongly about spying on citizens. Germany's constitution stipulates strict protection against it, he adds.