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From Joan--article--"Netflix Blacks Out The Revolution"

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  • Joan Sekler
    Netflix Blacks Out the Revolution Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:05 By Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks, The Daily Take | Op-Ed You might want to think twice about
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 21, 2012
      Netflix Blacks Out the Revolution

      Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:05 By Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks,
      The Daily Take | Op-Ed


      You might want to think twice about streaming that “subversive”
      documentary about the Weather Underground on Netflix. If Republicans
      have their way, you just might end up on a watch list somewhere.

      This week, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the
      1988 Video Protection Privacy Act, which forbids movie rental
      companies from sharing or selling their customers’ viewing history.
      The Senate is expected to take up the amendment soon. (which would
      allow companies to buy a customers' viewing history)

      If this passes, what you watch on Netflix may soon become public
      information that your friends, employers, and even the government will
      have access to. Are you regretting streaming the latest Harold and
      Kumar yet? Or all those soft-porn chick-flicks?

      Netflix favors the law change because it will help them branch into
      social media and connect Facebook customers to each other based on
      their similar tastes in films. Unmentioned by Netflix is the enormous
      profit-potential in selling your viewing history to advertisers who
      can target specific demographics based on your preference in movies.
      Also unmentioned by Netflix is just who else might get this
      information once it’s taken out of the privacy lockbox.

      The current version of the amendment does include a provision
      requiring Netflix to get their customers’ consent before sharing their
      viewing history. That’s helpful to those of us who are aware of the
      online threats to our privacy. But the vast majority of Americans,
      especially younger generations of Americans, are completely unaware
      that their privacy is in danger when they plug into the Internet. And
      it’ll probably end up being part of those notorious “terms and
      conditions” that you check the “I agree” box for, just to get onto the
      site.

      The recent fiasco with Instagram, and the ongoing privacy concerns
      with Facebook highlight how Americans willingly flock to social media
      without considering the consequences for their privacy or the value of
      anonymity. Today, we're sacrificing privacy for convenience and
      interconnection.

      We enthusiastically post our locations, our pictures, and our personal
      information on social media networks, all of which are monitored by
      advertisers, future employers, and even law enforcement.

      Your web experience is now carefully compiled and examined, so
      advertising can target you specifically. They've been collecting data
      on what websites you go to and what you search for on hundreds of
      websites and search engines – a blatant, but legal, violation of your
      individual privacy.

      Online data collection is now multi-billion dollar industry.

      This level of surveillance would have been horrifying to previous
      generations, including our Founding Fathers, who held privacy in the
      highest regard: they even enshrined that right in the Fourth Amendment
      of the Bill of Rights.

      Yet, in the 21st Century, we become conditioned to accept these
      invasions of our privacy as the new normal.

      In fact, it's increasingly looking like the United States is one
      generation away from completely forgetting what privacy means. And the
      consequences of this will be tragic for democracy in our republic.

      That’s because without privacy - without the ability to be anonymous –
      our ability to plan peaceful revolution or non-violent social change
      is radically scaled back. If big corporations or Big Brother are
      watching, then they can block or sabotage efforts before they even
      become public.

      It’s no secret that a massive surveillance system has been constructed
      in America post-9/11. We know about the warrantless wiretapping of
      American citizens. We know about Trapwire – a law enforcement tool
      that keeps track of our movements in major cities across the nation
      through closed circuit cameras, facial recognition software, and
      license plate readers.

      And we know about the enormous spy center being built by the NSA in
      Utah that will house all the data collected by the NSA since 9/11 –
      including emails, phone calls, text messages, and perhaps now Netflix
      viewing history – all of it in one source so that it's easily
      analyzed.

      The NSA can how hold the digital version of 500 quintillion pages of
      text. That's a lot of data.

      But, here’s what’s most important to remember as our privacy goes by
      the wayside: Social change hinges on privacy, and, in some cases, even
      total privacy – anonymity.

      This goes all the way back to the Boston Tea Party, when an anonymous
      activist known even to this day merely as Rusticus posted flyers
      around Boston that led directly to the Boston Tea Party. In today's
      America, Rusticus’ plans to vandalize the tea ships would have been
      exposed by the East India Company, and the Boston Tea Party shut down
      before it even started.

      In today's America, people couldn't have "conspired" to overthrow
      unjust laws like slavery, Susan B. Anthony couldn’t have conspired
      with Elizabeth Cady Stanton to illegally vote, and Martin Luther King
      and Rosa Parks may have been stopped before they could move Civil
      Rights into the spotlight. We might even still be fighting wars in
      Vietnam and Iraq.

      Sure, social media was a tremendous boost for both the Occupy Movement
      and the Arab Spring to get people into the streets. But it was also a
      tremendous tool for law enforcement in both parts of the world to
      squash those same movements.

      And tragically, the day may be near - indeed, it may already be here -
      when if you plan to protest the corporate takeover of our government,
      drone warfare, or indefinite detention, you'll find yourself in jail
      before you even get into the streets.

      Remember what happened in Minnesota in 2008 before the Republican
      National Convention? Forty-eight hours before the convention was to
      begin, police kicked in the doors of and arrested six activists, along
      with detaining hundreds of others, who were planning to protest the
      RNC. The Bush Administration took them out before they could even
      publicly exercise their First Amendment right to speak out.

      As our privacy rights are whittled away at like this, it’ll get more
      and more difficult – and more and more dangerous – to launch
      successful socially transformational movements because the
      powers-that-be, including the corporations or industries you may be
      protesting against, will know ahead of time what all your moves will
      be.

      Yes, it's annoying to get ads online that reflect your previous search
      histories, or have an embarrassing picture of you posted on Facebook
      show up elsewhere. And it could be downright incriminating to have
      your Netflix viewing history put on display for all to see. But
      really, these privacy violations pale in comparison to removing
      anonymity from both private endeavors and political action. That’s an
      outright violation of democracy itself.

      As people from Egypt to Burma to China will tell you, the fundamental
      ability of "we the people" to create social change and lead nonviolent
      revolutionary movements against unjust and oppressive forces is deeply
      in danger when a nation loses its privacy protections.

      The fight for privacy will be one of the signature battles moving
      forward during these uncertain times in America. And without privacy -
      and the ability to remain anonymous - genuine democracy will never
      again flourish in the Land of the Free.
    • Ernest Savage
      Well done Joan! If you want peace, work for justice with dignity for all.
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 21, 2012
        Well done Joan!

        If you want peace, work for justice with dignity for all.

        On Dec 21, 2012, at 9:22 AM, Joan Sekler <joan.sekler@...> wrote:

        > Netflix Blacks Out the Revolution
        >
        > Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:05 By Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks,
        > The Daily Take | Op-Ed
        >
        >
        > You might want to think twice about streaming that “subversive”
        > documentary about the Weather Underground on Netflix. If Republicans
        > have their way, you just might end up on a watch list somewhere.
        >
        > This week, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the
        > 1988 Video Protection Privacy Act, which forbids movie rental
        > companies from sharing or selling their customers’ viewing history.
        > The Senate is expected to take up the amendment soon. (which would
        > allow companies to buy a customers' viewing history)
        >
        > If this passes, what you watch on Netflix may soon become public
        > information that your friends, employers, and even the government will
        > have access to. Are you regretting streaming the latest Harold and
        > Kumar yet? Or all those soft-porn chick-flicks?
        >
        > Netflix favors the law change because it will help them branch into
        > social media and connect Facebook customers to each other based on
        > their similar tastes in films. Unmentioned by Netflix is the enormous
        > profit-potential in selling your viewing history to advertisers who
        > can target specific demographics based on your preference in movies.
        > Also unmentioned by Netflix is just who else might get this
        > information once it’s taken out of the privacy lockbox.
        >
        > The current version of the amendment does include a provision
        > requiring Netflix to get their customers’ consent before sharing their
        > viewing history. That’s helpful to those of us who are aware of the
        > online threats to our privacy. But the vast majority of Americans,
        > especially younger generations of Americans, are completely unaware
        > that their privacy is in danger when they plug into the Internet. And
        > it’ll probably end up being part of those notorious “terms and
        > conditions” that you check the “I agree” box for, just to get onto the
        > site.
        >
        > The recent fiasco with Instagram, and the ongoing privacy concerns
        > with Facebook highlight how Americans willingly flock to social media
        > without considering the consequences for their privacy or the value of
        > anonymity. Today, we're sacrificing privacy for convenience and
        > interconnection.
        >
        > We enthusiastically post our locations, our pictures, and our personal
        > information on social media networks, all of which are monitored by
        > advertisers, future employers, and even law enforcement.
        >
        > Your web experience is now carefully compiled and examined, so
        > advertising can target you specifically. They've been collecting data
        > on what websites you go to and what you search for on hundreds of
        > websites and search engines – a blatant, but legal, violation of your
        > individual privacy.
        >
        > Online data collection is now multi-billion dollar industry.
        >
        > This level of surveillance would have been horrifying to previous
        > generations, including our Founding Fathers, who held privacy in the
        > highest regard: they even enshrined that right in the Fourth Amendment
        > of the Bill of Rights.
        >
        > Yet, in the 21st Century, we become conditioned to accept these
        > invasions of our privacy as the new normal.
        >
        > In fact, it's increasingly looking like the United States is one
        > generation away from completely forgetting what privacy means. And the
        > consequences of this will be tragic for democracy in our republic.
        >
        > That’s because without privacy - without the ability to be anonymous –
        > our ability to plan peaceful revolution or non-violent social change
        > is radically scaled back. If big corporations or Big Brother are
        > watching, then they can block or sabotage efforts before they even
        > become public.
        >
        > It’s no secret that a massive surveillance system has been constructed
        > in America post-9/11. We know about the warrantless wiretapping of
        > American citizens. We know about Trapwire – a law enforcement tool
        > that keeps track of our movements in major cities across the nation
        > through closed circuit cameras, facial recognition software, and
        > license plate readers.
        >
        > And we know about the enormous spy center being built by the NSA in
        > Utah that will house all the data collected by the NSA since 9/11 –
        > including emails, phone calls, text messages, and perhaps now Netflix
        > viewing history – all of it in one source so that it's easily
        > analyzed.
        >
        > The NSA can how hold the digital version of 500 quintillion pages of
        > text. That's a lot of data.
        >
        > But, here’s what’s most important to remember as our privacy goes by
        > the wayside: Social change hinges on privacy, and, in some cases, even
        > total privacy – anonymity.
        >
        > This goes all the way back to the Boston Tea Party, when an anonymous
        > activist known even to this day merely as Rusticus posted flyers
        > around Boston that led directly to the Boston Tea Party. In today's
        > America, Rusticus’ plans to vandalize the tea ships would have been
        > exposed by the East India Company, and the Boston Tea Party shut down
        > before it even started.
        >
        > In today's America, people couldn't have "conspired" to overthrow
        > unjust laws like slavery, Susan B. Anthony couldn’t have conspired
        > with Elizabeth Cady Stanton to illegally vote, and Martin Luther King
        > and Rosa Parks may have been stopped before they could move Civil
        > Rights into the spotlight. We might even still be fighting wars in
        > Vietnam and Iraq.
        >
        > Sure, social media was a tremendous boost for both the Occupy Movement
        > and the Arab Spring to get people into the streets. But it was also a
        > tremendous tool for law enforcement in both parts of the world to
        > squash those same movements.
        >
        > And tragically, the day may be near - indeed, it may already be here -
        > when if you plan to protest the corporate takeover of our government,
        > drone warfare, or indefinite detention, you'll find yourself in jail
        > before you even get into the streets.
        >
        > Remember what happened in Minnesota in 2008 before the Republican
        > National Convention? Forty-eight hours before the convention was to
        > begin, police kicked in the doors of and arrested six activists, along
        > with detaining hundreds of others, who were planning to protest the
        > RNC. The Bush Administration took them out before they could even
        > publicly exercise their First Amendment right to speak out.
        >
        > As our privacy rights are whittled away at like this, it’ll get more
        > and more difficult – and more and more dangerous – to launch
        > successful socially transformational movements because the
        > powers-that-be, including the corporations or industries you may be
        > protesting against, will know ahead of time what all your moves will
        > be.
        >
        > Yes, it's annoying to get ads online that reflect your previous search
        > histories, or have an embarrassing picture of you posted on Facebook
        > show up elsewhere. And it could be downright incriminating to have
        > your Netflix viewing history put on display for all to see. But
        > really, these privacy violations pale in comparison to removing
        > anonymity from both private endeavors and political action. That’s an
        > outright violation of democracy itself.
        >
        > As people from Egypt to Burma to China will tell you, the fundamental
        > ability of "we the people" to create social change and lead nonviolent
        > revolutionary movements against unjust and oppressive forces is deeply
        > in danger when a nation loses its privacy protections.
        >
        > The fight for privacy will be one of the signature battles moving
        > forward during these uncertain times in America. And without privacy -
        > and the ability to remain anonymous - genuine democracy will never
        > again flourish in the Land of the Free.
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
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