Jury Nullification – a tactic being used in the US to right some wrongs in the judicial system.

Jury Nullification – a tactic being used in the US to right some wrongs in the judicial system.

I’m not sure how applicable this is to the UK right now, but I though it was interesting and relevant.

As readers might have noticed, this blog has stagnated a little over the last couple of months. Well, it is a new year, and I hope to keep it more up to date. This will probably mean more content but not all of it being psychedelically tinged.

Silk Road is dead. Long live Silk road.

Silk Road is dead. Long live Silk road.

“From a quick scout around I’ve counted at least 5 publicly stated projects with the said aim of replacing becoming “Silk Road 2.0″ and many many more gathering info and building alliances.
And this is what Law Enforcement is now parading as a victory? Over two years of investigation, millions of dollars spent and for what so a couple of armchair programmers can build it again in a few days while in the meantime vendors simply move to other site’s .”

Why I Left Facebook (and why choosing your social network matters)

We live in a corporate world.

We buy our food from corporations, we buy gadgets from corporations, we buy clothes. Some people buy whole lifestyles. But corporations are not accountable. They don’t care about you. By their very nature they are driven by profit and profit only. And it is becoming plain to many of us that this lack of corporate accountability is the root of a lot of problems we see in society today.

We also live in a world where the spread of information is increasing at a rapid rate, and we are more connected to each other than ever before. Online social media has become very important. The ability to link up with like-minded souls from across the globe is a beautiful thing. Whether it be the sharing of a piece of art, music or simply an expressed sentiment, knowing that somebody out there feels the same way as you do is always uplifting. Conversely, hearing other people’s opinions that don’t match yours is a valuable tool for stimulating thought and debate.

It is through these little sparks of connectedness, expressed on a daily basis, that we feel more unified with the global society at large. And as the global systemic crisis, marked by our unsustainable debt-based economy, starts to manifest itself in top-down pressures on the people, unification at a grass roots level is needed now more than ever. Through a vast number of individuals expressing their identity online, concensus’s can be formed. New social links can be forged, and with a free and open platform for expression, solutions to these problems can have space to grow.

Unfortunately, that platform is not Facebook.

Facebook Inc. is a public company. It has shareholders. Shareholders are interested in profits, which means that every user who decides to publish content on the platform is providing them with an opportunity to monetize that content. Which means that events like this: http://thenextweb.com/media/2012/02/28/if-youre-not-careful-facebook-could-make-you-a-spokesperson-for-personal-lubricant/ and this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24141835 should not be much of a surprise.

And aside from advertising revenue, they might see that it is more profitable to supress or censor certain content that isn’t in line with their other business interests (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/facebook-censorship). If the people in charge of deciding what is fit for publishing on their platform are only motivated by profit, there is no room for freedom of speech.

And aside from the use of personal data to sell products, and the censorship, there is also a policy of removing the pages of political protest groups that are not in line with Facebook corporate policy (http://boingboing.net/2011/04/29/facebook-celebrates.html).

This is a corporate platform, where we the users provide the value. As long as our content is within the acceptable range of debate and is not politically charged in a way that might detriment their other business interests, Facebook allows free speech. Free, but monitored by the state.

Since the leaks by Edward Snowden revealing the extent of NSA spying and the complicity of most of the big internet corporations, it is safe to assume that anything posted by a user to one of these platforms is open to government intrusion (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/23/nsa-prism-costs-tech-companies-paid). There is no privacy here.

So, we as contributors to a social network have a choice to make. Should the expression, the connectedness, the joy of social networking be all for these profitmakers to exploit? Or should we submit our content to a non-corporate, community owned, uncensored, un-serveilled platform where freedom of speech and ideas can thrive without the profit motive interfering.

It is tough to say no to Facebook. I have experienced first-hand this ‘social suicide’, and it can leave you feeling disconnected and longing to re-establish links that were easiest to sustain on a network filled with all your friends.

That is why Facebook Inc, is worth so much money, because it has all the people! But it will never be the free platform that is so needed right now.

Alternatives are sprouting up, and although they do not have the appeal of having ‘all the people’ as registered users, they DO have the qualities that are needed to allow freedom of ideas to emerge.

I have started moving towards these other networks (such as https://joindiaspora.com/ and http://buddycloud.com/). I hope that others will see the benefits that can be reaped from choosing our own free social network, and join me.

But I am more than aware… it might take some time.

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