My last post might have seemed slightly over the top - and indeed was meant to be. After all, it's not as if the US really wants to subvert the entire edifice of European civil liberties simply to sell a few more albums and films, is it?
Well, those cables have delivered again, and suggested that is *precisely* what is going on here:
Among the treasure troves of recently released WikiLeaks cables, we find one whose significance has bypassed Swedish media. In short: every law proposal, every ordinance, and every governmental report hostile to the net, youth, and civil liberties here in Sweden in recent years have been commissioned by the US government and industry interests.
I can understand that the significance has been missed, because it takes a whole lot of knowledge in this domain to recognize the topics discussed. When you do, however, you realize that the cable lists orders for the Swedish Government to implement a series of measures that significantly weakens Sweden’s competitive advantage in the IT field against the US. We had concluded this was the case, but had believed things had come from a large number of different sources. That was wrong. It was all coordinated, and the Swedish Government had received a checklist to tick off. The Government is described in the cables as “fully on board”.
Since 2006, the Pirate Party has claimed that traffic data retention (trafikdatalagring), the expansion of police powers (polismetodutredningen), the law proposal that attempted to introduce Three Strikes (Renforsutredningen), the political trial against and persecution of The Pirate Bay, the new rights for the copyright industry to get subscriber data from ISPs (Ipred) — a power that even the Police don’t have — and the general wiretapping law (FRA-lagen) all have been part of a greater whole, a whole controlled by American interests. It has sounded quite a bit like Conspiracies ’R’ Us. Nutjobby. We have said that the American government is pushing for a systematic dismantlement of civil liberties in Europe and elsewhere to not risk the dominance of American industry interests, in particular in the area of copyright and patent monopolies.
But all of a sudden, there it was, in black on white.It's a long post, from the indefatigable Rick Falkvinge, but I really urge you to read it, because it lays out in extraordinary detail how the US has pushed Sweden to meet six demands that will be all-too-familiar to readers of this blog:
That is, the US has been driving the entire copyright legislation programme for Sweden. And it would be remarkable if it had not made exactly the same demands to every other European country - indeed, we know from previous leaks that it has, at least for some of them.
- Adopt “Three Strikes” making it possible to disconnect prople from the internet without a trial (“injunctive relief“), and implement the IPRED directive in a way that the copyright industry can get internet subscriber identities behind IP addresses (which was not mandatory, my note).
- Prosecute to the fullest extent the owners of The Pirate Bay. (This doesn’t really need translation, except that it’s very noteworthy that the executive branch is ordered to interfere with the work of the judicial one, which is illegal in Sweden too.)
- Transfer scarce police resources from investigating real crimes and devote them to safeguarding American monopolistic interests against ordinary citizens.
- Take large-scale initiatives against people sharing music, movies and porn.
- Make it possible for the copyright industry to sue people (“pursue new civil remedies“) with a minimum of hassle.
- Abolish the messenger immunity, making Internet Service Providers liable for copyright monopoly infractions happening in their wires, and force them to interfere with the traffic.
In the face of this incontrovertible evidence that European governments have been abjectly serving the US government and copyright industries, not their own electorates, we must make sure that they are forced to explain this almost unbelievable betrayal of the political system that elected them, and must not allow them to pretend that nothing has happened, and that it is business as usual.
It would be nice to think that this final flood of cables from Wikileaks will clean Europe's Augean stables of all this stinking political manure, but I'm not holding my breath - just my nose....