We asked Jiew about her role at Prachatai, her long-standing commitment to independent media, and the difficulties of trying to run an Internet company in Thailand.
When did you first go online and were your friends and colleagues also online then?
I connected to the internet for the first time in 1997 when I got my first Hotmail account. Only a few of colleagues, friends and family were online by that time. I basically used e-mail to communicate with overseas colleagues and those working in remote offices. E-mail was my main purpose of going online at that time.
When did you get involved with Prachatai and how do you spend your time being both webmaster and director?
I got involved with Prachatai since it started in mid 2004. As a director I am in charge for overall performance of Prachatai which includes informing/consulting the direction, tasks, and challenge of running Prachatai to board members. My job also includes looking after financial tasks such as seeking grants. I have to develop proposals based on consultation with board members and staff in Prachatai. Writing proposals and reports alone already requires a huge amount of time especially when Prachatai is trying to preserve its independence and try not to depend on only 1-2 sources of funding. Moreover, human resource management is another part of my job description as a director.
Being a webmaster is compulsory as I have to know everything about running a website including basic understanding of programming and designing. I have to cooperate with my IT personnel and some outsource consultants to develop Prachatai in the way that reflects its characteristics and yet be user-friendly to audiences and editorial crews with a limitation on our budget. In addition, Prachatai webboard was a part of engaging the audiences to enhance two-way communication and participatory of readers, then it was important that I decided to take care of this part.
Why did you get involved in Prachatai and the Thai Netizen Network?
I got involved with Prachatai as I agreed to the idea of the founder to build up an independent media to provide an alternative source of information. As my academic background is journalism and I had worked on HIV/AIDS advocacy, these made me well-understood of the role of media and rights of people to gain and share views and information. About Thai Netizen Network, I took part since it was formed because of my concern about the rights of internet users especially when the Computer Crime Act was recently enacted.
Tell us more about the arrests and the two cases brought against you.
For the first case, the police initially brought a search warrant to investigate my office. They later showed an arrest warrant to everyone's surprise. Never before there has been any sign of the arrest. I even have been cooperating with them as a witness and a website director.
In the arrest warrant, there was only one charge for allowing a user to post a forum topic deemed insult to the Monarchy. One year and three months later, nine more charges are added into public prosecution.
The second arrest was another strike of surprise. I was stopped upon return from the Internet at Liberty 2010 conference in Budapest and was brought immediately to Khon Kaen province. This case actually took place long before the first one when a Khon Kaen citizen lodged a complaint to the police against Prachatai in April 2008.
However, my charges this time are not only Section 14 and Section 15 of the Computer-Related Crime Act, but also lese majeste and raising unrest among people. The cause of the complaint is comments after an interview of a Thai man who refused to stand for the Royal Anthem. This proves that the law can be abused to disturb individuals because the charge can be filed anywhere and the accused ones need to report accordingly.
How have these events this impacted your life?
First of all, it can be very discouraging to be charged for running an independent media to let people voice their opinions and help the minority to be heard. It also made me worried about how my family feels and thus it gave me a hard time managing relationships.
I can hardly have a long-term plan in life. Having to report in Khon Kaen once a month is already too much to live peacefully, let alone preparing for trials coming next year.
Prachatai webboard, as an important work of mine, had to be shut down. It was not easy to give up on what I have laid a strong foundation, but the burden on both Prachatai and users themselves had been too much to manage. I felt like we can no longer guarantee a safe and free channel for people to express socially and politically.
What kind of effect has enforcement of the Computer Crime Act and Lèse Majesté laws had on civil liberties and human rights in Thailand?
Definitions of offences according to Computer-Related Crime Act can be even more broadly interpreted than those of lèse majesté law. Most charges for lèse majesté that took place on the internet were accompanied by "computer crime" charges. In case that the offence turns out not to be lèse majesté, it can still violate Section 14 of the Computer Crime Act.
Moreover, websites owners are forced to strictly keep their eyes on user-generated contents. This liability causes censorship to tense up and limits people's ability to speak up.
What has been the impact of these laws on the information technology industries in Thailand?
The laws require internet service providers and websites to invest a large amount of effort in monitoring and keeping logs of their services. They also have to comply massive censorship, let alone the loss of reputation that occurs when users cannot access websites.
The new regulation can also damage the economy. Technical burden can redirect online business startups to invest in overseas services instead of local ones. It might eventually prevent them from being founded.
Today Facebook announced three new features that help move the social networking giant closer to satisfying EFF's Bill of Privacy Rights for Social Networking. While EFF continues to have outstanding issues with Facebook, we greatly appreciate these important steps toward giving Facebook users more transparency and control when it comes to how the information they post to Facebook is shared, and more power to take their Facebook data with them if they ever choose to leave the service. While Facebook has taken some good steps here, and we recognize that this is just the first iteration of the new features, we do have several additional recommendations, noted below. We will continue to dialogue with Facebook on these issues.
Clearer Application Controls and The Right to Informed Decision-Making
Today Facebook introduced new application controls, which offer more transparency regarding when and what user information is requested by third-party applications running on Facebook's Platform. Facebook is also moving the application controls into the privacy controls section of the site, where users concerned about app privacy are more likely to find and interact with them.
We think that this is an important step forward in terms of providing more transparency to users about where their Facebook data is going and who’s using it. However, we hope that Facebook will soon take a few steps farther, both by providing a more complete picture of how much information is going to the apps that you install, and also by providing information about how much information is going to the apps that your friends have installed.
This would help address privacy concerns over the "app gap," by which Facebook apps that your friends install can access your information even if you don’t use the app yourself. Additional transparency that shows when those apps are accessing your data can help you make informed choices about your privacy options, and may make you rethink whether you want to share any information at all over the Facebook Platform.
Even though we appreciate the steps Facebook has taken, in the future we would like to see even more transparency on the information pulled by applications. The new controls very helpfully showed the most recent information obtained by each app. However, to give a more complete understanding of applications’ behavior, we have two suggestions.
Recommendation 1: Allow users the option of receiving a notice in their newsfeeds whenever a selected application requests data, rather than just allowing them to see only the last data request. While perhaps few users would adopt this option, those that did could evaluate and rate those apps and tell the world about any unusual behavior.
Recommendation 2: Showing a more complete history of an app's behavior, beyond just the last information that was pulled, would allow users to see the frequency and patterns in application information requests and would help them make better choices about which apps they want to continue using.
The Redesigned "Groups" Feature and The Right to Control
Next, Facebook is introducing additional user control through a redesigned "Groups" feature, which should more easily allow people to choose to share certain information only with subsets of their friends. If widely adopted by users, this will go a long way to enabling better control over contextual privacy.
Context is critical for people to effectuate their privacy preferences. Users know that information that is appropriate to share with one set of their Facebook friends may not be appropriate to share with another. For example, a school teacher might wish to share information about her vacation or family with family and personal friends, but not with other teachers, parents, or students. To get the most out of social networking without unduly sacrificing privacy, it is critical that users be able to easily share information with subsets of one's Facebook friends. Facebook has had "friend lists" for this purpose but they were complicated and difficult to use correctly. So while the "friend list" function could be a useful feature for power-users, it was not widely adopted.
Accordingly, we greatly appreciate the additional control provided by the newly redesigned Groups feature, which will allow people to more easily share information only with particular subsets of their friends. Notably, rather than setting the default for new groups to "Open" — where both group membership and content is public — Facebook has wisely set the default group privacy level to "Closed," meaning that although group membership is public, the content shared within the group is only available to group members. Facebook has also provided an even more private option: "Secret" groups, where both the membership list and content are only available within the group itself.
EFF applauds this new Groups feature, which goes a long way to providing users even more control over their contextual privacy.
We have a further suggestion, however:
Recommendation 3: As a strong proponent of the power of anonymous and pseudonymous speech, EFF further recommends that Facebook also allow for another category of groups: anonymous groups. There are many people, such as violence survivors or HIV positive individuals or religious groups, who may want to have a group discussion without revealing their identities. Facebook should enhance the Groups feature by allowing for the creation of groups where the membership list is secret from members (i.e. just available to the group’s administrators, if anyone), and where group members can interact using pseudonyms rather than their real names.
Our longstanding concern for anonymous speech aside, though, EFF is very pleased with today’s Groups revamp, which we hope will provide users with a powerful new tool for managing their privacy on the Facebook site.
The New Downloadable Data Option and The Right to Leave
EFF's Bill of Privacy Rights states users "should be able to easily, efficiently and freely take their uploaded information away from that service and move it to a different one in a usable format." EFF believes that data portability is a critical component in encouraging competition among social networks on privacy. We are very excited to see that Facebook is taking a big step in this direction by giving users the ability to download and locally store copies of most of their information in a single ZIP file. This new downloadable data file including an archive of your Facebook "wall" as well as your photos, videos, notes, events, and private messages, along with a list of your friends’ names.
The ZIP file does not include your friends' contact information, however. This raises the somewhat tricky question of how to treat contact information of other users for portability purposes. While many people consider their address books to be "theirs," those whose addresses are in someone else's address books may have an independent privacy interest in their email addresses and similar contact information. Friends may have a legitimate concern about their contact information being given to other services, be they social networking or something else, via Facebook export. This makes address books a hard problem when trying to draw the line between your data and your friends' data. Thankfully, Facebook has indicated a willingness to consider possible solutions to this problem, and we at EFF have a few concrete recommendations on that score.
Currently, Facebook users can export their friends’ contact information in two rather roundabout ways. First, they can sync their iPhone address book using Facebook’s iPhone app. Second, they can export their friends’ email addresses to Yahoo! Mail, and then pull the information from Yahoo! (instructions here). However, these options don’t provide sufficient portability for the majority of users, and also don’t consider the privacy of the friends whose data is being exported.
Recommendation 4: EFF thinks that the best balance between privacy interests and portability is to allow an easier and more direct export of contact information of people on your friend list (to the extent that information has been made visible to you), while also...
Recommendation 5: ...providing a setting whereby your friends can opt-out of such export of their contact information. This opt-out should also apply to other export options such as those available through Yahoo! Mail and the iPhone.
Recommendation 6: As an additional privacy measure, we think that the contact information of your friends — subject to their opt-out — should be available as a separate file, rather than or in addition to being included in the downloadable file of all your Facebook content. While contact information can be the most critical aspect of portability for moving to a new service, people may not want to share their complete Facebook data file with a new service as a part of a transition. A separate contacts file would enable users to easily upload to another service only the contact information of their friends, without simultaneously having to provide all of the other data they’ve downloaded from Facebook, such as photos, wall posts, etc.
Turning back to today’s changes, we have two additional suggestions to better enhance privacy, the final one aimed at users rather than Facebook itself.
Recommendation 7: To help preserve privacy, the privacy permission level for each piece of data should be included in the export — e.g., if you shared a photo with only your friends, there should be metadata attached to that photo in the downloadable file that indicates that privacy setting. This would allow users to upload their data to another service without having to re-assign privacy levels to every post.
Recommendation 8: Finally, a suggestion for users: while we’re pleased that Facebook is giving users an easy way to export all of their data, it’s important for users to recognize that the ZIP file will contain a ton of sensitive information, and may reside on your computer indefinitely. Accordingly, we recommend that users encrypt the data after downloading. GNU Privacy Guard, a robust free software encryption program that implements the OpenPGP standard, can provide an appropriate level of protection, and there are other tools that can do the same.
Remaining Concerns About Facebook and Privacy
In June of this year, EFF, the ACLU of Northern California, and a coalition of privacy groups wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urging Facebook to give users true control over their personal data by taking six critical steps to protect members' information. Facebook's response to the privacy group letter was only notably positive on one step: protecting the privacy of users’ communications with the site by using HTTPS encryption, which remains a work in progress.
Today, we are delighted that Facebook implemented another one of these steps, by making it far easier to export user's uploaded information. However, the remaining steps are important, and we will continue our dialogue with Facebook on each of these issues.
This morning's Politico brought with it great news for those who care about free speech and fair use online:
A markup on SJC Chairman Leahy’s IP infringement bill was postponed late Wednesday, as staffers anticipated the chamber would finish legislative work and adjourn for recess before the hearing could commence. The change in plans should delight some of the bill’s critics, at least, who expressed concern that the legislation was moving forward quickly.
Translation: The Senate Judiciary Committee won't be considering the dangerously flawed "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act" (COICA) bill until after the midterm elections, at least.
This is a real victory! The entertainment industry and their allies in Congress had hoped this bill would be quickly approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with no debate before the Senators went home for the October recess.
Massive thanks to all of you who used our Action Center to write to your Senators to oppose this bill. Thanks as well to the 87 Internet scientists and engineers whose open letter to Congress played a key role in today's success, and to all the other voices that helped sound the alarm.
Make no mistake, though: this bill will be back soon enough, and Congress will again need to hear from concerned citizens like you. So stay tuned to EFF.org for any new developments.
Today EFF, joined by Public Knowledge, the Computer & Communications Industry Association and the Apache Software Foundation, filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case in which Microsoft is trying to make it easier to invalidate an issued U.S. patent. If successful, this challenge should help in the fight against bad patents by lowering the standard required to prove that the patent is invalid to the same one required to prove infringement. It should especially help the free and open source community.
Here’s some background: In court, parties have to prove their case by some “standard of proof.” In almost all civil cases, the standard is “preponderance of the evidence” – meaning it is more likely than not that the facts are true. When the question is invalidating a patent, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided that a defendant trying to prove a patent invalid must do so by a higher standard than normal civil cases, that of “clear and convincing” evidence. “Clear and convincing” means that the facts are “highly probable,” which is a much more difficult standard to meet when trying to invalidate a patent than just a preponderance.
Microsoft is asking the Supreme Court to consider the Federal Circuit’s standard of proof rule in a case brought against it by i4i Ltd. for patent infringement. i4i claimed its patent covered editing documents containing markup languages like XML (Microsoft Word had XML editing capabilities).
In a case three years ago, the Supreme Court had suggested that this high standard of proof should not apply where the prior art involved was not considered by the Patent Office before it issued the patent. Even still, the Federal Circuit has left the clear and convincing evidence standard untouched. In this case, Microsoft had indeed argued that i4i’s patent was invalid because the disclosed invention had been embodied in a software product sold in the United States more than a year before the patent application was filed – prior art that the patent examiner did not consider.
EFF argues in its brief that the Federal Circuit’s requirement that an accused infringer prove patent invalidity by “clear and convincing” evidence unfairly burdens patent defendants, especially in the free and open source software context. The standard undermines the traditional patent bargain between private patent owners and the public and threatens to impede innovation and the dissemination of knowledge. EFF is of course concerned with the effect illegitimate patents have on innovation.
While the Supreme Court rarely agrees to hear petitions such as Microsoft’s, we hope it will choose to hear this one. It’s long past time to level the patent playing field.
On Friday, the Director of a popular alternative Thai news portal Prachatai was arrested by the Thai government. Chiranuch Premchaipoen — popularly known as Jiew — was charged under the intermediary liability provisions of the 2007 Computer Crime Act and for "Lèse Majesté," or defamation of the Thai royal family. She faces a 32-year prison sentence.
Jiew's crime? In 2008, Prachatai published an interview with Chotisak Onsoong, a Thai man known for refusing to stand at attention during the Thai Royal Anthem — a dangerous political act in Thailand, though not technically a crime. The interview received huge attention, drawing over 200 comments from Thai citizens. On April 28, 2008, complaints were filed against Prachatai alleging that several comments on that interview were a defamation to the Monarchy. An arrest warrant for Jiew was issued on Septemeber 8, 2009, but no summons was received by Jiew until her arrest this past Friday.
The timing of Jiew's arrest suggests that it's intended more as political intimidation than as simple law-enforcement. Jiew was arrested at Bangkok International Airport, immediately upon her return home from speaking at a pair of conferences promoting the free and open internet — The Internet at Libertyconference in Budapest, Hungary and the United Nations Internet Governance Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania. At both conferences, Jiew spoke passionately about the importance of freedom online and her innocence in the cross-fires of tumultuous Thai politics.
For outsiders trying to make sense of political turmoil in Thailand, the common tragedy is the obstruction of individuals' freedom of expression through the misuse of media law. As Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva once explained, both democracy and reverence for the King is betrayed when Lèse Majesté is a subterfuge for political repression.
So as the Thai government sets out to tame the Internet and Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya tries to frame Prachatai as an example of inciting hatred, Jiew, her fellow guardians of freedom at the Thai Netizen Network, and their friends inspire online activists across the globe to stand up against authoritarian control of the Internet.
We'll be following Jiew's story as it unfolds here at EFF.org.
UPDATE: Update: Chiranuch Premchaipoen was released on bail, and now faces 2 criminal trials for internet intermediary liability and for Lèse Majesté.
We, the undersigned, have played various parts in building a network called the Internet. We wrote and debugged the software; we defined the standards and protocols that talk over that network. Many of us invented parts of it. We're just a little proud of the social and economic benefits that our project, the Internet, has brought with it.
We are writing to oppose the Committee's proposed new Internet censorship and copyright bill. If enacted, this legislation will risk fragmenting the Internet's global domain name system (DNS), create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure. In exchange for this, the bill will introduce censorship that will simultaneously be circumvented by deliberate infringers while hampering innocent parties' ability to communicate.
All censorship schemes impact speech beyond the category they were intended to restrict, but this bill will be particularly egregious in that regard because it causes entire domains to vanish from the Web, not just infringing pages or files. Worse, an incredible range of useful, law-abiding sites can be blacklisted under this bill. These problems will be enough to ensure that alternative name-lookup infrastructures will come into widespread use, outside the control of US service providers but easily used by American citizens. Errors and divergences will appear between these new services and the current global DNS, and contradictory addresses will confuse browsers and frustrate the people using them. These problems will be widespread and will affect sites other than those blacklisted by the American government.
The US government has regularly claimed that it supports a free and open Internet, both domestically and abroad. We can't have a free and open Internet without a global domain name system that sits above the political concerns and objectives of any one government or industry. To date, the leading role the US
has played in this infrastructure has been fairly uncontroversial because America is seen as a trustworthy arbiter and a neutral bastion of free expression. If the US suddenly begins to use its central position in the DNS for censorship that advances its political and economic agenda, the consequences will be far-reaching and destructive.
Senators, we believe the Internet is too important and too valuable to be endangered in this way, and implore you to put this bill aside.
The letter is signed by the following:
David P. Reed, who played an important role in the development of TCP/IP and designed the UDP protocol that makes real-time applications like VOIP possible today; former Professor at MIT
Paul Vixie, author of BIND, the most widely-used DNS server software, and President of the Internet Systems Consortium
Jim Gettys, editor of the HTTP/1.1 protocol standards, which we use to do everything on the Web.
Bill Jennings, who was VP of Engineering at Cisco for 10 years and responsible for building much of the hardware and embedded software for Cisco's core router products and high-end Ethernet switches.
Steve Bellovin, one of the originators of USENET; found and fixed numerous security flaws in DNS; Professor at Columbia.
Gene Spafford, who analyzed the first catastrophic Internet worm and made many subsequent contributions to computer security; Professor at Purdue.
Dan Kaminsky, renowned security researcher who in 2008 found and helped to fix a grave security vulnerability in the entire planet's DNS systems.
David Ulevitch, CEO of OpenDNS, which offers alternative DNS services for enhanced security.
John Vittal, Created the first full email client and the email standards.
Esther Dyson, chairman, EDventure Holdings; founding chairman, ICANN; former chairman, EFF; active investor in many start-ups that support commerce, news and advertising on the Internet; director, Sunlight Foundation
Brian Pinkerton, Founder of WebCrawler, the first big Internet search engine.
Dr. Craig Partridge, Architect of how email is routed through the Internet, and designed the world's fastest router in the mid 1990s.
David J. Farber, helped to conceive and organize the major American research networks CSNET, NSFNet, and NREN; former chief technologist at the FCC; Professor at Carnegie Mellon; EFF board member.
John Gilmore, co-designed BOOTP (RFC 951), which became DHCP, the way you get an IP address when you plug into an Ethernet or get on a WiFi access point. Current EFF board member.
Karl Auerbach, Former North American publicly elected member of the Board of Directors of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
Paul Timmins, designed and runs the multi-state network of a medium sized telephone and internet company in the Midwest.
Lou Katz, I was the founder and first President of the Usenix Association, which published much of the academic research about the Internet, opening networking to commercial and other entities.
Walt Daniels, IBM’s contributor to MIME, the mechanism used to add attachments to emails.
Gordon E. Peterson II, designer and implementer of the first commercially available LAN system, and member of the Anti-Spam Research Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
John Adams, operations engineer at Twitter, signing as a private citizen
Alex Rubenstein, founder of Net Access Corporation. We are an Internet Service Provider for nearly 15 years, and I have served on the ARIN AC.
Roland Alden, Originator of the vCard interchange standard; builder of Internet infrastructure in several developing countries.
Lyndon Nerenberg, Author/inventor of RFC3516 IMAP BINARY and contributor to the core IMAP protocol and extension.
James Hiebert, I performed early experiments using TCP Anycast to track routing instability in Border Gateway Protocol.
Dr. Richard Clayton, designer of Turnpike, widely used Windows-based Internet access suite. Prominent Computer Security researcher at Cambridge University.
Brandon Ross, designed the networks of MindSpring and NetRail.
James Ausman, helped build the first commercial web site and worked on the Apache web server that runs two-thirds of the Web.
Michael Laufer, worked on the different networks they dealt with including the Milnet, other US Govt nets, and regional (NSF) nets that became the basis of the Internet. Also designed, built, and deployed the first commercial VPN infrastructure (I think) as well as dial up nets that were part of AOL and many other things.
Janet Plato, I worked for Advanced Network and Service from 1992 or so running the US Internet core before it went public, and then doing dial engineering until we were acquired by UUNet. While at UUnet I worked in EMEA Engineering where I helped engineer their European STM16 backbone.
Thomas Hutton, I was one of the original architects of CERFnet - one of the original NFSnet regional networks that was later purchased by AT&T. In addition, I am currently chair of the CENIC HPR (High Performance Research) technical committee. This body directs CENIC in their managment and evolution of Calren2, the California research and education network.
Phil Lapsley, co-author of the Internet Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP), RFC 977, and developer of the NNTP reference implementation in 1986 ... still in use today almost 25 years later.
Stephen Wolff. While at NSF I nurtured, led, and funded the NSFNET from its infancy until by 1994 I had privatized, commercialized, and decommissioned the NSFNET Backbone; these actions stimulated the commercial activity that led to the Internet of today.
Bob Schulman , worked on University of Illinois’ ANTS system in the Center for Advanced Computation in 1976 when ANTS connected a few hosts to the ARPAnet.
Noel D. Humphreys, As a lawyer I worked on the American Bar Association committee that drafted guidelines for use of public key encryption infrastructure in the early days of the internet.
Ramaswamy P. Aditya, I built various networks and web/mail content and application hosting providers including AS10368 (DNAI) which is now part of AS6079 (RCN), which I did network engineering and peering for, and then I did network engineering for AS25 (UC Berkeley), followed and now I do network engineering for AS177-179 and others (UMich).
Haudy Kazemi, Implemented Internet connections (from the physical lines, firewalls, and routers to configuring DNS and setting up Internet-facing servers) to join several companies to the Internet and enable them to provide digital services to others.
Mike Meyer, I helped debug the NNTP software in the 80s, and desktop web browsers and servers in the 90s.
Richard S. Kulawiec, 30 years designing/operating academic/commercial/ISP systems and networks.
Michael Alexander, I have been involved with networking since before the Internet existed. Among other things I was part of the team that connected the MTS mainframe at Michigan to the Merit Network. I was also involved in some of the early work on Email with Mailnet at MIT and wrote network drivers for IP over ISDN for Macintosh computers.
Gordon Cook, I led the OTA study between 1990 and 1992 and since April 1992 have been self employed as editor publisher of the cook report.
Thomas Donnelly, I help support the infrastructure for the world’s most widely used web server control panel.
Peter Rubenstein, I helped design and run the ISP transit backbone of AOL, the ATDN.
Owen DeLong, I am an elected member of the ARIN Advisory Council. I am the resource holder of record on a number of domains. I have been active on the internet for more than 20 years. I was involved in getting some of the first internet connections into primary and secondary schools before commercial providers like AT&T started sponsoring events like Net-Day.
Erik Fair, co-author, RFC 1627, RFC 977, former firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tony Rall, I was involved in providing Internet access to the IBM corporation - from the late 80s until last year. I worked within the company to ensure that Internet access was as "open" and transparent as possible.
Bret Clark, Spectra Access. We are New Hampshire's largest wireless Internet service providers and have built a large footprint of Internet Access for businesses in New Hampshire.
Paul Fleming, Run as33182 as a large hosting provider (5gbps+). develop monitoring software suite.
David M. Kristol, Co-author, RFCs 2109, 2965 ("HTTP State Management") Contributor, RFC 2616 ("Hypertext Transfer Protocol")
Anthony G. Lauck, I helped design and standardize routing protocols and local area network protocols and served on the Internet Architecture Board.
Judith Axler Turner, I started the first NSF-approved commercial service on the Internet, the Chronicle of Higher Education's job ads, in 1993.
Jason Novinger , I was the Network Administrator for Lawrence Freenet, a small wireless ISP in Lawrence, KS.
Dustin Jurman, I am the CEO of Rapid Systems Corporation a Network Service Provider, and Systems builder responsible for 60 Million of NOFA funding.
Blake Pfankuch, Over the years I have implemented thousands if not tens of thousands of webservers, DNS servers and supporting infrastructure.
Dave Shambley, retired engineer (EE -rf-wireless- computers) and active in the design of web site and associated graphics.
Stefan Schmidt, I had sole technical responsibility for running all of the freenet.de / AS5430 DNS Infrastructure with roughly 120.000 Domains and approximately 1.5 million DSL subscribers for the last 9 years and have been actively involved in the development of the PowerDNS authoritative and recursive DNS Servers for the last 4 years.
Dave Skinner, I was an early provider of net connectivity in central Oregon. Currently I provide hosting services.
Richard Hartmann, Backbone manager and project manager at Globalways AG, a German ISP.
Curtis Maurand, founder of a small internet company in Maine in 1994. started delivering low cost broadband to municipalities and businesses before acquired by Time-Warner.
James DeLeskie, internetMCI Sr. Network Engineer, Teleglobe Principal Network Architect
Bernie Cosell, I was a member of the team at BBN that wrote the code for the original ARPAnet IMP. I also did a big chunk of the redesign of the TELNET protocol [addding DO/DONT/WILL/WONT].
Nathan Eisenberg, Atlas Networks Senior System Administrator, manager of 25K sq. ft. of data centers which provide services to Starbucks, Oracle, and local state
Jon Loeliger, I have implemented OSPF, one of the main routing protocols used to determine IP packet delivery. At other companies, I have helped design and build the actual computers used to implement core routers or storage delivery systems. At another company, we installed network services (T-1 lines and ISP service) into Hotels and Airports across the country.
Tim Rutherford, managed DNS (amongst other duties) for an C4.NET since 1997.
Ron Lachman , I am co-founder of Ultra DNS. I am co-founder of Sandpiper networks (arguably, inventor of the CDN) I am "namesake" founder of Lachman TCP/IP (millions of copies of TCP on Unix System V and many other other platforms) Joint developer of NFS along with Sun MicroSystems.
Jeromie Reeves, Network Administrator & Consultant. I have a small couple hundred user Wireless ISP and work with or have stakes in many other networks.
Alia Atlas, I designed software in a core router (Avici) and have various RFCs around resiliency, MPLS, and ICMP.
Marco Coelho, As the owner of Argon Technologies Inc., a company that has been in the business of providing Internet service for the past 13 years.
David J. Bowie, intimately involved in deployment and maintenance of the Arpanet as it evolved from 16 sites to what it is today.
Scott Rodgers, I have been an ISP on Cape Cod Massachusetts for 17 years and I agree that this bill is poison.
William Schultz, for the past 10 years I've worked on hundreds of networks around the US and have worked for a major voice and data carrier. I do not agree with Internet censorship in any degree, at all.
Rebecca Hargrave Malamud, helped advance many large-scale Internet projects, and have been working the web since its invention.
Kelly J. Kane - Shared web hosting network operator. Tom DeReggi, 15yr ISP/WISP veteran, RapidDSL. Doug Moeller, Chief Technical Officer, Autonet Mobile, Inc.
David Boyes, Operations Coordinator, SESQUInet, First mainframe web server, First Internet tools for VM/CMS, Caretaker, NSS1, Caretaker ENSS3, Author, Chronos Appt Management Protocol, Broadcast operator, IETF telepresence, IETF 28/29
Jim Warren, I was one of Vint Cerf’s grad students and worked for a bit on the early protocols for the old ARPAnet ... back before it became the DARPAnet
Christopher Nielsen, I have worked for several internet startups, building everything from email and usenet infrastructure to large-scale clusters. I am currently a Sr. Operations Engineer for a product and shopping search engine startup.
David Barrett, Founder and CEO of Expensify, former engineering manager for Akamai. I helped build Red Swoosh, which delivers large files for legitimate content owners, and was acquired by Akamai, which hosts 20% of the internet by powering the world's top 20,000 websites.
David Hiers, I have designed dozens of Internet edge networks, several transit networks, and currently operate a VOIP infrastructure for 20,000 business subscribers.
Jay Reitz, Co-founder and VP of Engineering of hubpages.com, the 60th largest website in the US with 14M monthly US visitors.
Peter H. Schmidt, I co-founded the company (Midnight Networks) that created the protocol test software (ANVL) that ensured routers from all vendors could actually interoperate to implement the Internet.
Harold Sinclair, design, build, and operate DNS, Mail, and Application platforms on the Internet.
John Todd, I invented and operate a DNS-based telephony directory "freenum.org" which uses the DNS to replace telephone numbers.
Christopher Gerstorff, technician for a wireless broadband internet provider, Rapid Systems, Inc.
Robert Rodgers, Engineer at Juniper and Cisco. Worked on routers and mobile systems.
Illene Jones, I have had a part in creating the software that runs on the servers.
Brandon Applegate, I have worked in the ISP sector since the mid-1990s as a network engineer.
Leslie Carr, Craigslist Network Engineer
Doug Dodds, wrote several pieces of software for ARPANet in the 1970s, including BBN TENEX User Telnet and the HERMES email system.
Jamie Rishaw, Formerly, network architect to Big-10 Universities, the Dalai Lama, NFL and Playboy. Currently active in DNS Security steering and planning, and Global Network Operations.
Jeff Hodges, Protocol Architect: LDAPv3, SAML, Liberty Alliance ID-FF ID-WSF
Bob Hingen, worked at BBN and helped build the Arpanet and early Internet. I have been very active in the IETF and am the co-inventor of IPv6.
David M. Miller, CTO / Exec VP for DNS Made Easy (largest IP Anycast Managed Enterprise DNS Provider in the world by number of domain names served).
Ben Kamen, started an Atari based BBS in 1982 and has worked with networks ever since.
Brian Lloyd, key contributor to the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) used by with modems to connect to the Internet; co-wrote the California Department of Education's, K-12 Network Technology Planning Guide in the early 1990s
Steven Back, network administrator for many domain names related to medical studies
Brad Templeton, founder of ClariNet Communications, the world's first ".com" company and the net's first online newspaper; EFF board member.
Edward Henigin, CTO of Texas.net (San Antonio's first ISP founded in 1994), Data Foundry (Data Center outsourcing), Giganews (#1 ranked Usenet provider) and Golden Frog (Encryption service).
With all of this talk about copyright trolls and spamigation, it is easy to get confused. Who is suing over copies of Far Cry and The Hurt Locker? Who is suing bloggers? Who is trying to protect their anonymity? Who is defending fair use? What do newspapers have to do with any of this? In order to cut through the confusion, here’s a concise guide to copyright trolls currently in the wild, with status updates.
Leading the pack for sheer numbers is a Washington, D.C., law firm calling itself the U.S. Copyright Group(USCG), that has filed several "John Doe" lawsuits in D.C., implicating well over 14,000 individuals. This firm has learned one lesson from the RIAA suits: the only group whose bottom line benefits from this kind of mass litigation is the lawyers. As we reported last week, several of the Does in these cases are fighting back in earnest, albeit with mixed results: on the one hand the judge in two of the cases has rejected various efforts to protect the anonymity of the Does, insisting that they cannot file papers anonymously. However, the same judge has issuedorders requiring USCG to justify suing two of the Does in the District of Columbia, as the Defendants claim to have no contacts with the District. Meanwhile, in South Dakota, ISP MidContinent Communications stood up for its customers and moved to quash an improperly issued subpoena for their identities. Last week, a federal judge granted that motion.
Righthaven LLC, which has brought over 130 lawsuits in Nevada federal court claiming copyright infringement, has a different angle, preferring to acquire the copyrights rather than represent the owner. Righthaven focuses on news: it trolls by (a) scouring the Internet for newspaper stories (or parts thereof) originating with the Las Vegas Review-Journal that have been posted on blogs, forums and webpages, (b) acquiring the copyright to that particular newspaper story, and then (c) suing the poster for copyright infringement.
Righthaven demands sums up to $150,000, and uses the threat of these out-of-proportion damages to push defendants into quick settlements. Some attorneys are advising bloggers to simply follow the rule laid down by the Las Vegas Review-Journal's parent company and refrain from quoting anything more than the headline and first paragraph of news articles. Following this advice essentially allows a newspaper to decide what constitutes fair use, a term they are motivated to construe as narrowly as possible. Still others suggest that "the easiest way to avoid copyright infringement claims is to avoid copying," which is true only in the sense that the easiest way to avoid getting robbed is to have no possessions. Quoting, linking, aggregating all involve "copying" and all are integral to any number of perfectly legal creative, often non-commercial, uses of copyrighted works. Indeed, these uses are what makes the internet such a remarkable tool for fostering innovation.
Some Righthaven defendants are fighting back. For example, Democratic Underground, an independent discussion forum that was sued based on a 5-sentence excerpt a user posted on the forum. Democratic Underground filed its Answer and Counterclaim Monday; more on that here. And just last week, a judge in another Righthaven case strongly suggested that a post on another site was protected by the legal doctrines of fair use and implied license.
Then there’s the relative newbies, such as Lucas Entertainment and Mick Haig Productions, both represented by attorney Evan Stone. Lucas has sued 53 BitTorrent users it alleged uploaded and downloaded the Kings of New York, a gay porn movie. After suing the users as “Does,” based on their IP addresses, it promptly subpoenaed the identities of people associated with those IP addresses. Unfortunately, many of those people, who are not comfortable being publicly identified in connection with pornography, will feel they have no choice but to settle rather than having their name publicly disclosed, no matter how meritorious their defenses. Mick Haig upped the ante by suing 670 BitTorrent users, and Larry Flynt Publications has gotten in on the act as well. Subpoenas and threat letters are likely to follow soon.
These lawsuits reflect a business model that depends on two things:
Cookie-cutter litigation tactics, such as filing one lawsuit against thousands of legally unrelated people in a court convenient to the lawyers, even if it means the targets will have to defend themselves thousands of miles from home; or creating a “model pleading” which can be quickly revised with a few new facts to sue a new person. These tactics are crucial: they keep costs down, which in turn boosts profits.
Vulnerable defendants. Many defendants will be eager to settle because they cannot afford the risk of an award of substantial damages if the case went to trial. Others may have strong defenses that would win at trial, but are unable to obtain counsel far from home (e.g., the defendants in the USCG cases, many of whom appear to be located thousands of miles away from the court where they’ve been sued), unable to afford counsel (e.g., the numerous nonprofits and individual bloggers targeted by Righthaven), or afraid of the consequence of having their personal information made public (e.g., the defendants targeted by Lucas Entertainment).
EFF is trying to help by assisting people in finding lower cost or pro bono counsel, allowing people to fight back without the costs of defense bankrupting them. But in the meantime, these lawsuits are causing tremendous collateral damage — to the individuals targeted, to due process, and to the legal profession (which doesn’t need another example of unscrupulous lawyering). To be clear, no one is arguing that copyright owners don’t have a legal right to protect their works. But it’s quite another thing to game the legal system — and waste judicial resources, i.e., your tax dollars — to make a profit.
The New York Times reported this morning on a Federal government plan to put government-mandated back doors in all communications systems, including all encryption software. The Times said the Obama administration is drafting a law that would impose a new "mandate" that all communications services be "able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages" — including ordering "[d]evelopers of software that enables peer-to-peer communication [to] redesign their service to allow interception".
Throughout the 1990s, EFF and others fought the "crypto wars" to ensure that the public would have the right to strong encryption tools that protect our privacy and security — with no back doors and no intentional weaknesses. We fought in court and in Congress to protect privacy rights and challenge restrictions on encryption, and to make sure the public could use encryption to protect itself. In a 1999 decision in the EFF-led Bernstein case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals observed that
[w]hether we are surveilled by our government, by criminals, or by our neighbors, it is fair to say that never has our ability to shield our affairs from prying eyes been at such a low ebb. The availability and use of secure encryption may offer an opportunity to reclaim some portion of the privacy we have lost. Government efforts to control encryption thus may well implicate not only the First Amendment rights of cryptographers intent on pushing the boundaries of their science, but also the constitutional rights of each of us as potential recipients of encryption's bounty.
For a decade, the government backed off of attempts to force encryption developers to weaken their products and include back doors, and the crypto wars seemed to have been won. (Indeed, journalist Steven Levy declared victory for the civil libertarian side in 2001.) In the past ten years, even as the U.S. government has sought (or simply taken) vastly expanded surveillance powers, it never attempted to ban the development and use of secure encryption.
Now the government is again proposing to do so, following in the footsteps of regimes like the United Arab Emirates that have recently said some privacy tools are too secure and must be kept out of civilian hands.
As the Internet security community explained years ago, intentionally weakening security and including back doors is a recipe for disaster. "Lawful intercept" systems built under current laws have already been abused for unlawful spying by governments and criminals. Trying to force technology developers to include back doors is a recipe for disaster for our already-fragile on-line security and privacy. And like the COICA Internet censorship bill, it takes a page from the world's most repressive regimes' Internet-control playbook. This is exactly the wrong message for the U.S. government to be sending to the rest of the world.
The crypto wars are back in full force, and it's time for everyone who cares about privacy to stand up and defend it: no back doors and no bans on the tools that protect our communications.