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PP: The NeXT Big Thing
Freeing the world of lobbyists is only half the battle.
Congratulations are in order for Rick Falkvinge, Christian Engström, and all the other pirates in Sweden. They've carried off the impossible. It took the greens eight years to get where the pirates got in just over three.
And if there's one thing the pirates understand it's how to adapt to new worlds and keep close track on the way the wind blows.
Lobbyists - the friends of the Carla Brunis and Sarkozys of the world - are presently one of the biggest threats to democracy everywhere. These intellectually dormant fat cats will gladly push the planet into an Orwellian nightmare rather than do any real creative work of their own. The world never owed them a living, much less their incomparable riches. They've appropriated revenues and employment opportunities from artists and other media channels. They've tried to run the whole show themselves.
It's not going to work anymore.
But lobbyists and transparency in government are only half the issue. And here's why.
Rick Falkvinge is a former chief programmer for Microsoft in Sweden. Christian Engström is a former programmer and IT entrepreneur. They both should know the score. And yet screen dumps from their computers seem to indicate they don't.
Rick Falkvinge has more to teach people about the true history and nature of copyright than the uninitiated can imagine. He's done the research. He's taken time to go back through history and let others benefit from what he's been able to learn.
He, 'Dr K' in the UK, and the site you're at now are the three major voices proclaiming for years now that the Internet represents an incredible cultural upheaval, the greatest since the printing press and possibly the greatest ever in the history of the human race.
This isn't something one can have an opinion about; it's just fact. Like it or not, this is how the world's changed and like it or not, we'll have to change with it.
There are so many things the Internet represents but at the same time the Internet is always going to be under attack. The Internet thrives by being free, by being beyond the ability of anyone to limit it in any way. This is what the Swedish Pirate Party's programme is all about: it's the same old civil rights people fought so hard for but now they're online too.
And the powers that be don't like that. They regard the Internet as a toy, says Brussels bound pirate Christian Engström. And he's right.
But here's the catch: you must never let your guard down. The bad people will try to move in again as soon as you do.
They're just sitting there, waiting for an excuse to push through further legislation about the Internet. They don't like the Internet, they absolutely do not like transparency, they prefer the good old way where you can get hidden perks and pseudo-bribes and live a good life as a member of an unofficial elite class.
They can get public support if they can succeed in scaring people about the dangers of the Internet.
The Internet is fortunately very safe. It's only the computers connected to it that have issues. What's surprising is that so many people who should be knowledgeable totally lack a clue. It is so totally not OK anymore to run Windows online. Yes, it comes down to a crappy commercial product. Of course it does: 90% of the suckers online use it.
The statistics are overwhelming and embarrassing for any Windows user. 97% of all electronic mail is automatically generated by corrupted Windows computers. Windows has over 200,000 strains of malware in the wild attacking it every nanosecond. No other computing platform has ever had or will ever have such issues. Windows will always have such issues because Windows wasn't built for the Internet, Microsoft were too late to react, and Microsoft are too greedy to do the right thing.
Instead they're now hiring on big time 'mafia lawyers' to pose as their 'security czars' at their local offices around the world. These supposed 'security gurus' know less about security than your average AOL user. They've may have had their hands held through crash courses in basic security but there's no retention there - the diploma and the initials are all that matter. It's the egregious CV with all the legal merits that attracts.
And it's the task of these judicial torpedoes to 'contain the damage' - to use whatever's necessary to stop any mention anywhere that Windows might not be good for the Internet. When 'ILOVEYOU' broke worldwide in May 2000 it took the BBC over 48 hours to admit it was a Windows thing and nothing else. The same thing happened in other countries. Swedish media were besieged with calls asking for details but they said nothing.
Rick Falkvinge, Christian Engström, and all the rest are spot on when they describe the Internet as the greatest cultural event of all time. But the Internet is of no use to anyone if it's infected with viruses, zombies, trojans, worms, and who knows what other obscenities only Windows computers could propagate.
The Internet is of no use to anyone if 97% of its power is being wasted and 90% of its users are afraid to use it properly and realise its full potential.