Posts Tagged ‘Flickr’
As a child, I spent many an hour watching shows like “The Lone Ranger” and “Zorro” with my dad. My father made sure we were all grounded in super hero lore, where you will find ample justification for secret identities.
When I progressed from comics to real books I continued on in the same vein, reading the Scarlet Pimpernel books when I could get hold of them in high school. Maybe that’s why I have never questioned the validity of the idea that anonymity is so important for freedom.
Anonymity offers protection; we can say what needs to be said Without anonymity, fear of repercussion can silence the truth. Without a shield of anonymity, people must first weigh the harm speaking out can cause themselves and their families. For many the risk is too great.
It is the goal of repressive government to silence dissent, but it is positively disturbing to find this in our democratic governments.
In case you’re new to Byron’s story, he was a young man who had everything: a beautiful wife, a beautiful home, and a challenging security business. He lost all those things, along with his liberty for nearly a year, because he chose to protest the G20. Byron is fortunate, however, because he hasn’t lost everything, he still has the trust and strong support of his friends and family. The crown has dropped almost all the charges against him. Yet although the remaining charges appear dubious, they keep the sword of Damocles hanging over his head, with the possibility of possible further incarceration. As well the charges provide the basis for keeping Byron restrained under onerous bail conditions which compromise Byron’s ability to work in his chosen profession to earn needed funds to pay for his defence, among other things. And making things harder still, PayPal summarily closed Byron’s donation account, but it is still possible to make donations.
Byron Sonne did not wear a mask. He went about his business openly, broadcasting words and images on publicly accessible Internet venues like Flickr and Twitter. I very much doubt Byron was trying to hide his identity online; he certainly had the technical expertise to do so had that been his intent. He wouldn’t have lasted two minutes in the computer security business without the ability to cover his digital tracks online. I believe that it is telling that he made no real effort to do so.
The way our legal system has dealt with Byron Sonne raises disturbing questions:
- Is justice blind, or are some Canadian citizens treated differently under the law?
- Are Canadian citizens allowed to question what our government does?
- Are we allowed to observe the actions our government and its representatives?
- If we take photographs of police will we be arrested?
- Are citizens allowed anonymity or can we be compelled to provide identity papers without cause?
- Are we allowed to hold our government accountable?
- Do citizens still have any civil liberties?
- Are Canadians even allowed to discuss such things?
In Canada Private Member’s Bill 309 seeks to criminalize the act of covering your face. There are many legitimate reasons to cover a human face. Hallowe’en masks are common today, but human beings have found cause to wear masks much longer, over centuries, religions and cultures.
Sometimes actors wear masks.
Allergy sufferers often wear masks to protect themselves from airborne allergens.
There are many cultures and religions requiring the covering of various parts of the human head.
Let us not forget, this is Canada. Many Canadians have had cause to wear hoods, hats and scarves to protect our heads from the elements.
All of these are excellent reasons for this Private Member’s bill to fail. After all, how often do Private Member’s Bill’s get passed, anyway? But Canada currently has a majority government, so it is very likely that this law will be passed.
If the wearing of a mask ~ or more telling, the covering of a face ~ in itself becomes a crime, it will be a horrendous blow to free speech in Canada. Some might feel that this law isn’t so bad, because Bill 309 would only make it illegal in certain circumstances. Except that the definition is broad enough it can be applied to any circumstance.
And the government gets to decide. The result of such legislation will make it far more dangerous for citizens to attend any sort of political protest at all. Even if you attend a peaceful protest without wearing a mask, things might get out of hand. You might not even be attending such a protest, but walking along the public streets minding your own business, yet may find yourself swept up and kettled by the police. This happened to many uninvolved Toronto residents during the G20.
If Bill 309 becomes law, the simple act of covering your face with your sleeve against tear gas in the air could lead to criminal charges.
Ironically there have been far too many instances of police officers removing their badges – and thus, choosing anonymity – prior to exceeding the scope of their legal authority and behaving in a criminal manner. Yet this far more dangerous behaviour (and evidence of premeditation) has resulted in little if any repercussion and is not covered in this bill.
It isn’t possible to have a healthy democracy unless citizens have the right to free speech and peaceful protest.
What would you call a professional security consultant who tests the vaunted security apparatus of the billion Dollar G20 Summit that descended on Toronto like a pall last year?
You’d call him Byron Sonne.
In the children’s story I reference in the title, the child that pointed out the deficiencies in the Emperor’s wardrobe was listened to.
In Canada, for doing much the same thing — pointing out the deficiencies of the G20 security apparatus — Byron Sonne was arrested, incarcerated without bail for nearly a year, and is now undergoing the rigors of a trial.
Three days were scheduled for the Charter arguments — to decide whether the protections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms have been breached by law enforcement in this case. The Charter argument has stretched into two weeks.
The Toronto Star has released a video of one of Byron’s interrogations by Detective Tam Bui a day after his arrest on June 22nd last year. Watching this video is an up close and personal look at the Canadian justice system.
The reason citizens need some kind of protection from the law is that the law is far more powerful than most citizens will ever be.
In the video, we see the detective ask Byron about a whole host of things that he did.
- Taking photographs in public places and posting them on Flickr.
- Posting comments about the increased police presence for the G20 on Twitter.
- Owning a potato cannon and air guns.
- Possessing a variety of chemicals for various purposes that might be combined to make bombs.
“…why don’t you go down to Canadian Tire, why don’t you arrest them because they have all the ingredients…”
—Byron Sonne interrogation video released by the Toronto Star
I’m not a lawyer, but I didn’t think that any of these things are illegal.
Taking photographs in the public spaces of the municipality where you live isn’t illegal. Or, it didn’t used to be.
And when did taking photographs of law enforcement officers become illegal?
Back when I was in the seventh grade, I was on a class trip with my first camera when I happened across an RCMP officer dressed in the distinctive Red Serge “Review Order” dress uniform. I asked him to pose for me. And he did.
Now I’m an adult who takes plenty of photographs everywhere I go with my digital camera. And I post photographs on Flickr too. But these days, when I find myself photographing police officers, at the KW Multicultural festival for instance, I wonder: is this going to get me arrested?
I post comments about things that I perceive to be threats to democracy on Identi.ca, Twitter and Facebook all the time. I blog a lot, too. Is this going to get me arrested?
Personally, I’ve never owned anything like a potato cannon or an air gun. My older brother wanted an air rifle, just like Ralphie, when he was a kid. When he didn’t get one, he built himself a slingshot that I lacked the strength to use. But I’ve seen children using working trebuchets built by amateur enthusiasts at medieval festivals. The incredibly popular “Angry Birds” computer game involves shooting birds out of catapults to knock things down. How many people like playing shoot’em-up video games? . Clearly, people like shooting things.
Years ago I allowed my brother-in-law to put a plaster head I’d sculpted in my high school art class on a cedar rail fence and shoot it into plaster dust with his real hunting rifle. You know, one of those long guns that the Federal Government doesn’t want to have registered?
As a life long mystery buff. I’ve been reading and watching mysteries my whole life. I recall a Columbo episode that involved a chef killing someone with a frozen fish, then defrosting it and feeding the murder weapon to the guests at a dinner party. Most anything can become a murder weapon.
And if we are going to start talking about possessing chemicals that are legal to own, but that can then be combined to make a bomb, that covers an awful lot of ground. If you know anything about chemicals, you know that cleaning supplies can be used in many ways their manufacturers did not intended. I know never to mix bleach and ammonia because combined they make poison gas. Many perfectly useful things can be combined to make explosives.
This is a very structured, organized shelf of chemicals you have here. My understanding is that ammonium nitrate can be used in the construction of an incendiary device or an explosive device, is that correct?
Yeah, but so can lighter fluid, so can your barbeque tank in your back yard, so can cooking oil in your house.
You’re a chemist, or an engineer or you definitely have a chemical background…
not a licensed engineer
OK. Do you have elements here that could be combined to make an explosive device?
Ah, No, because I would not combine them into an explosive device.
But that wasn’t exactly my question. I’m asking do the elements exist. When we take a laundry list of items out of your house, and if we combine them in a certain manner could create an explosive device.
I think that this interview might be over officer.
If you watch the interview closely, you will see that Byron and the Detective are in agreement that none of the bits of “evidence” the detective asks Byron about are in and of themselves illegal. The detective doesn’t question that, instead, what he does is to try to get Byron to agree that the chemicals could be used to make a bomb, and that the cumulative effect of the evidence is how bad things look, and what other people might think of this or that.
Have I missed something? I thought that our legal system was based on facts and evidence, not innuendo.
What did Byron Sonne actually do?
He took photographs documenting the G20′s massive influx of security cameras, the deployment of security fences around public buildings, and police officers visible on public streets.
Byron Sonne pointed out security flaws in the G20 security apparatus.
And now he’s pointing out flaws in the Canadian justice system.
For an idea of what has been happening in court, read the notes published here: colah / ByronTrialNotes
Read Byron Sonne’s Twitter stream @torontogoat
See Byron Sonne’s toronto_goat’s photostream on Flickr.
The Daily Ruse
as it chronicles the story of law and democracy in Canada.
~ laurelrusswurm, 19 November, 2011
I fell in love with Robert Redford in The Sting when he was young and I was younger. Redford is one of the cinema’s greatest undervalued comedians; his timing is flawless as showcased in early work like “Barefoot In The Park” or later “Legal Eagles”. He even brought humour to his portrayal of “the Sundance Kid,” for whom his film festival is named.
But Redford has put in some brilliant performances in political films over the years.
He turned in a brilliant performance in a cautionary tale called “The Candidate,” which demonstrates clearly how degraded democracies can become.
But there are two movies I was reminded of when I read about today’s WikiLeaks story.
At the end of the movie “Three Days of the Condor,” the inadvertent hero Redford plays achieves freedom the only possible way:
by releasing the classified information to the media.
Because we know that even though he is a whistle blower, once the world knows he will be safe.
And we know the news media will ensure that the story gets out.
We know that.
There are countless stories of the bravery of reporters who risked, and in many cases lost– their lives in pursuit of a story that was important to them and the public. And it still happens.
But that doesn’t alter the fact that the world has changed a lot in the last few decades. In many cases, the News Media is not doing the job we believe it is. Citizens around the globe have NOT been told about the dangers of ACTA or the importance of Net Neutrality to free speech and democracy.
Part of it is, I am sure, that technological advances, in particular the Internet, has caused great upheavals in the Media business. As ownership has been increasingly centralized, downsizing, “dumbing down” and decimation of staff has left many newsrooms in very reduced and weakened states. The agendas of the corporate masters more often determines what is reported and how.
So we are very fortunate to have WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks was gifted with a heap of really important information. In order to ensure dissemination, they passed them around to five major news outlets located in 5 different countries. Each were aware the others had the story, so they ALL had no CHOICE but to publish, with or without corporate or government approval.
In this way, WikiLeaks guaranteed that the story broke and spread.
UK: The Guardian US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomacy crisis
SPAIN: El Pais The greater infiltration of history reveals the secrets of American foreign policy (Google translation to English)
USA: New York Times: Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels
FRANCE: LeMonde WikiLeaks: Behind the Scenes of American diplomacy (Google translation to English)
Now that it is out, there is no stopping it.
Al Jazeera: Secret US embassy cables revealed
Perth Now: Australia on WikiLeaks ‘cablegate’
boingboing: Wikileaks secret US Embassy cable site live
This will go on for months. Maybe years.
US ambassador to the UK complains about the loss of *privacy* of those writing the cables – http://bit.ly/eHlQWC #wikileaks
There is a huge amount of information, and it will take time to digest, but at least it has gotten out. That’s a good thing.
Der Spiegel also has an interactive map.
Have you noticed that you can hit the “play” button on the Spiegel map and it shows the cable-bubbles appearing year after year?
– Doug Saunders, European Bureau Chief, The Globe and Mail
The map shows Canadian cables for:
- Vancouver 44
- Calgary 14
- Ottawa 1948
- Montreal 82
- Quebec 52
- Halifax 136
Of course, no Canadian news outlet was selected as a recipient of any of these WikiLeaks cables.
I mean, at least if there was a Canadian media partner, there would be someone to bully/entreat over upcoming Cdn coverage. #wl
–Kady O’Malley, CBC reporter
Canada’s government funded public broadcaster, the CBC, uses an American “Licensing” scheme which doesn’t allow even purely non-profit fair dealing reuse of their publications by Canadian citizens. So why would WikiLeaks even CONSIDER releasing this story to CBC?
Clearly, just like in “Three Days of the Condor,” WikiLeaks wants to spread the story as far and wide and as fast as possible. So that it can’t be stopped.
The Globe likes to call itself “Canada’s National Newspaper,” but like that other television broadcaster, the Globe is owned by Bell Canada Enterprises. I assume that this corporate connection would be the reason why the Globe has been first so quiet and about the fact Canadian Internet rates are shortly to go through the roof due to Usage Based Billing. It is only recently that it’s been possible to find UBB on their website at all. Now that they are, the bias is thick enough to cut with a knife.
As a blogger I prefer not to link to Globe articles because in the past they’ve broken links by placing articled behind a paywall.
So I can’t imagine the Globe standing up to government pressure to suppress the WikiLeaks story.
Having a Canadian Government in the process of pushing through Bill C-32 in the face of Universal opposition to appease the American Government, it’s easy to imagine our government buckling at the first sign of American disapproval.
So WikiLeaks released the Cables to 5 dispersed news outlets as a strategy to ensure that the story will break. Because that is the reason for the very existance of WikiLeaks: to get the story out. Even if it means the end of WikiLeaks.
Which is, of course, why WikiLeaks is so incredibly dangerous to governments who want to act without oversight or scrutiny. And why Wikileaks is the destination of choice for whistleblowers with politically sensitive leaks go. Because WikiLeaks is in it to get the story out. Period.
Even so, WikiLeaks has been down every time I’ve attempted to visit their site today.
I saw an unsubstantiated report that they were suffering a DDoS attack. And it isn’t hard to imagine where such an attack may have originated.
Of course, their servers may simply have gone down under the onslaught of un-official media outlets (like me).
Of course there have been tales of military personnel wishing for the demise of WikiLeaks. If they didn’t like WikiLeaks before this…
This story is out. It can’t be put back in the bottle. And that’s good.
If WikiLeaks is targeted, or taken down, what I worry about is the next story.
we are ALL in this together
Fortunately, I’m not alone in my concerns.
When Iceland’s Modern Media Initiative gets referendum approval, they are aiming to be good to go by 2012.
ICELAND TO BECOME INTERNATIONAL TRANSPARENCY HAVEN
“I am proud to advise the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative’s proposal to create a global safe haven for investigative journalism. I believe this proposal is a strong way of encouraging integrity and responsive government around the world, including in Iceland. In my work investigating corruption I have seen how important it is to have have robust mechanisms to get information out to the public. Iceland, with its fresh perspectives and courageous, independent people seems to be the perfect place to initiate such an effort towards global transparency and justice.”
—Eva Joly MEP – Icelandic Modern Media Initiative
That will be good for us all. Lets keep our fingers crossed that WikiLeaks can last that long.
Just In: WikiLeaks is Live!
Now you can peruse the Secret US Embassy Cables yourself.
Get ‘em while they’re hot.
Robert Redford photo by Public Citizen published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.
The United States is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I would think that should afford their citizens a reasonable expectation that the American Government would take these human rights into account when drafting government policy.
Before stripping these inalienable rights from citizens.
What is happening under government auspices at TSA (Transit Security Administration) checkpoints in airports across the United States is wrong.
At best, the “BS Scanners” are an invasion of privacy, at worst, a serious health risk.
Clearly what is being done to citizens by the TSA contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Here, for your information, is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some of the bits both the American Government and the TSA need to remember:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
The General Assembly
Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
- Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
- Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
- Article 3
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.
- Article 4
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
- Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
- Article 6
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
- Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against all types of discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to any form of discrimination.
- Article 8
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
- Article 9
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
- Article 10
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
- Article 11
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
- Article 12
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
- Article 13
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
- Article 14
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
- Article 15
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
- Article 16
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
- Article 17
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
- Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
- Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
- Article 20
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
- Article 21
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
- Article 22
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
- Article 23
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
- Article 24
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
- Article 25
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
- Article 26
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
- Article 27
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
- Article 28
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
- Article 29
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
- Article 30
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
—Universal Declaration of Human Rights Wikipedia
To my American friends
I hope none of you need to fly.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is excerpted from an official document of the United Nations. The policy of this organization is to keep most of its documents in the public domain in order to disseminate “as widely as possible the ideas (contained) in the United Nations Publications”.