Michael Wharton There Is Always A Theory: politics, anarchy, religion, atheism and science. now with poetry!

12Oct/104

Twittocracy, Interactivism, Hacktivism & Cyber Anarchy: Cause

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What Is Going On With All Of This Internet Dramatica?

The internet is revolting. It is full of people, with radical ideas and it's hard to navigate the web without being directly exposed to other people's creative juices. Right now you are reading the thoughts and opinions of an individual adult European male called Michael Wharton, who has strong "opinions" and "theories" about the world around him. The internet is the only real forum for every literate, intelligent individual or organisations of like minded individuals to openly voice their views to the entire world (except China obviously).

The internet has been successfully, and unsuccessfully, used as tool for political campaigning. A great example of this was the recent British election in which several successful Twitter "#hashtag" campaigns went viral and may have contributed to the resultant hung parliament (well there is always a theory!). This shift towards a Twittocracy will have to retain its neutrality, especially with the huge budgets some parties have for online campaigns. Luckily, the people at Twitter have declared that, at least for now, they aren't promoting paid political trends and tweets

Cool Story Bro! What Happen? Whose Responsible This?

I'm in ur droid PWNING teh Sith!1!

R2D2 cat is in ur droid PWNING teh Sith!1!

Well, yeah, the internet used to be fun and frolics. It used to be Lolcats, Rick Astley, Badgers, Porn and Pies, but now the internet is serious business. Internet activism (or as I like to call it interactivism!) has been observable for a while now, but in the recent months it has been going through a renaissance and surge in popularity. Sites dedicated to particular humanitarian causes have attracted support through their own means for years. Now with the advent of social media and social networking sites, these causes can be spread much faster and wider by their own supporters, eliminating a lot of expense.

With this torrent of the masses flowing to these social networking services, like Twitter and Facebook, the spread of ideology and philosophy is incredibly easy. The ability for people to instantly share opinions and feelings with friends and strangers is a boon to most, but there are those who fear information overload. It's all down to personal choice, free will is essential on the internet.

Interactivism, Twittocracy Fine; But WTF Is Hacktivism?

Hacktivism is the last measure of interactivism; when petitions and protests and hashtags don't work. There are many forms of hacktivism being carried out all the time; whether it's journalists using illegal techniques to garner information then posting to Wikileaks, or members of elite hacker groups organising online raids or exploits (sploits) of particular targets. Although the former is the most publicised recently due to Wikileaks getting better at what they do, and various personal attacks upon its founder, the latter is the fastest growing.

Anonymous Hacktivism: Operation Payback Is A Bitch!

Open Letter From Anonymous

Open Letter From Anonymous Regarding Operation Payback

Anonymous (so named due to their frequent use of message/image boards such as 4chan where most users post using the default username "Anonymous") are now the self proclaimed last line of defence of the internet and self appointed guardians of net neutrality. They hide their personal identities to strengthen their group integrity, as an idea is impossible to destroy. Anonymous have also been successful in many past instances of hacktivism aimed at various nefarious parties; from Operation Chanology against the church of Scientology, to Operation Titstorm/Freeweb against the DMCA and ACTA laws in Australia and USA. Their most recent campaign; Operation Payback Is A Bitch! the main targets have been law firms (such as ACS:Law) based in Europe and the UK, law firms who have been encroaching on the personal freedoms of many innocent citizens. The legitimacy of these targets is debatable, but it is undeniable that in order to catch a copyright infringer, they have and will infringe all of our human rights. Anonymous have also aimed the Low Orbit Ion Canon at the Ministry of Sound website along with the RIAA, the MPAA and Gene Simmons as part of Operation Payback. Future plans for DDoS targets are discussed in a fluid manner on IRC channels and voted on democratically on affiliated Operation Payback sites. There is actually a precedent for this type of cyber-protest, back in 2004 the internet group Lycos launched; Make Love Not Spam a campaign against internet spammers using a similar DDoS method. News of these Operation Payback attacks does keep coming from certain affiliated sources such as Torrent Freak, but mainstream TV news sources (especially in the UK) have, at best been practically ignoring it, at worst misreporting it completely. There is always a theory that this is intentional, to prevent more people joining the cause and quell the fire storm coming from the internet. This will not work. When dealing with an internet phenomenon, there is no real way to keep it quiet if it is a popular enough idea. The latest news from the front is promising, as a result of ACS-Law's inability to keep data private, BT have recently deleted user data, much to the annoyance of the Ministry Of Sound.

Anonymous ACTA Video From The Operation Payback Site

How Does Interactivism Lead To Twittocracy / Cyber Anarchy?

Quite simply put, we are coming to a very crucial point in the development of humanity. We have several paths ahead of us, and we must exercise our free will and choose the right one (in my opinion Anarchy is hard to avoid). Down one could lead to a dystopian future with information being tightly controlled like George Orwell's 1984. Down another path we might find peace and unity through the free sharing of ideas and free expression of creativity. Maybe I'm being idealistic, but I'd rather live in a world where all my information is in the public domain than one where we are being lied to constantly and refused information.

The choices are being made now, by our politicians, but there are other forces at work other than plain old politics. Money is a major factor in the information war, the others are power and control. Artists and those who create digital media are not the primary benefactors of their work. The big production companies and corporate bosses make so much more than the actual creators that it sickens most people. We find it harder and harder to justify why these people deserve to live in luxury while we live in fear of repossession. This hacktivism will not be the last shot fired as long as the freedom and neutrality of the internet is threatened still. The anonymous legion will keep firing their lasers until they achieve great justice, maybe we will praise them as honoured brethren.

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4Aug/104

Science Versus Religion: Shoop

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Science Versus Religion: Shoop Da Whoop!

Science Versus Religion: Darkwings Versus Yahweh

Science Versus Religion - Darkwings Versus Yahweh: Shoop CLICK ON IMAGE FOR ORIGINAL SIZE

The age old battle of Science Versus Religion has been raging on since the invention of God. Obviously Science came first, then some upstart developed the concept of worship and deities.

Here I have represented the Scientific method with a "Holy Trinity" of scientific legends of our time. Charles Darwin with his theory of Evolution, Stephen Hawking with his theory of the Big Bang, and of course Richard Dawkins with his tireless efforts to promote secular, scientific, logical, reasoning and free thinking amongst the Religious community.

God / Yahweh is represented by an image I found: http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/andre/yahweh.html All glory to the original artist!

I really liked the anthropomorphising of the Hebrew lettering. I thought it fit the scheme well.

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2Jul/100

Your Freedom: A Forum For Internet Activism In The UK

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Your Freedom

Yesterday on the first of July Your Freedom was launched by the coalition Liberal Democrat/Conservative government. It seems that Nick Clegg is at the lead of the project, spearheading a new avenue of internet political interactivity. Over the last couple of years, there have been more and more politically charged social networking sites springing up on all bands of the political spectrum. Several of these were single policy sites, pushing a particular agenda, some were more broadly focused with a particular political slant. In the UK, the government is attempting to give all of these disparate viewpoints a forum for debate and discussion of ideas.

Although it's still a little shaky due to the fact that demand for the service is so much higher than anticipated, the functionality of the front end more than makes up for it. There's an intuitive tagging system, which allows all users to add tags to all campaigns, and all users can leave comments too. It's like we are truly entering a state of Twittocracy (well there is always a theory...), a society shaped by the majority, with their collective opinions being aggregated automatically through what I like to call Interactivism (maybe Hacktivism?) which is basically a marriage of internet and activism.

A number of campaigns are theoretically sound, but the methodology is lacking (poor spelling and grammar...). A great many campaigns are identical to others and sevceral recurring themes have sprung up; such as repealing the Digital Economy Act and the Legalization of Cannabis.

I believe that this proactive platform for public political promotion is pretty provocative. It is probably paramount to protect personal privacy and post (okay, enough alliteration...) anonymously to begin with. Compared with Petition The PM at Number 10 it is definitely an improvement in that it is much less patronising.

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9Jun/100

An Ode To War: Poem by Michael Wharton

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An Ode To War: A Poem by Michael Wharton


You are a weapon in the war against peace,
They use your fear to control your actions,
On either side they produce vile propaganda,
Take care to examine the motives of factions.

Why fight at all, what is your main objective?
Power, money, control, cruelty and corruption,
Power over the minds of the people and opinions,
Money is the constant for supply and production.

Control over land mass, of which there is finite,
Cruelty to those who disagree with your virtues.
Corruption of the virtues you pretend to uphold,
Evolution's Nature's job we have to let her choose.

We are at peace with war so it seems in the media,
The news is just numbers now, in bite size chunks.
Between targeted product informational programming,
Sold to you by plastic chicks and shredded hunks.

This may be very short and succinct but the topic and subject matter are distasteful and abhorrent, so I kept it concise. I didn't really have to include details of war or its atrocities, as we are all very much aware of the obvious physical realities. I wanted to keep it simple, as war often is; a struggle for resources at the cost of human life.

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13May/100

Internet Censorship: Cause

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Internet Censorship: The Internet Is Under Attack?

According to many key sources of internet trends, the recent governmental seizure of control over the internet has been perceived as a threat to global freedom. The internet culture has flourished from what once was the domain of the knowledgeable few, to what is often called "Web 2.0"; user generated and driven content, shared and open to all interactively and easily. Nowadays, most people between their childhood and retirement age will spend time online regularly. They do so to catch up on the latest news, kill time watching funny videos of cats, keep in touch with long lost friends and relatives, etc... The list of activities people perform regularly online is pretty endless, as new applications of the internet are coming along every day. Some of the things people do online are currently illegal, in quite a few countries, and for years now the governments of those (often developed) countries have been trying to figure out how to enforce laws on the internet. From copyright infringement to "Indecent Pornography", it has been a game of cat and mouse, as technology on both sides is developed to outsmart the other.

We were all made aware of this arms race when sites like Napster and The Pirate Bay were legally challenged, when news of sting operations on paedophile and terrorist networks hit the papers. We were glad of our Government's action against those who would harm or way of life. Now however, it is our governments themselves who are threatening our way of life; in a new development in this arms race, we the people are being targeted with internet censorship.

The ACTA has been implemented in several "Freedom Loving" countries such as Australia, America, and now the United Kingdom has followed suit with the Digital Economy Bill (The DEBill is now The Digital Economy Act since it was pushed through parliament... shouldn't have dragged my feet writing this blog...). Now we have internet censorship, blacklisted websites and filtered content.

Internet Censorship: Spreading The Word!

Internet Censorship Youtube Video Playlist:

So as far as I can tell, the internet is going to become more strictly controlled, surveilled, filtered and censored worldwide. Copyright piracy, inappropriate porn and terrorist communication are simply convenient distractions, so that dissent can be monitored and controlled. If any of the videos in the internet censorship playlist are removed, or if you can no longer gain access to this page then you will know that I was right.

Since the development of the internet, it has been used to express opinions and information freely with the rest of the world. Don't allow this tool to be used to gag and control you, speak out against this right infringement. Several organisations have interactivist campaigns you can join to let your voice be heard; The EFF, The ORG, 38 Degrees and of course Project Freeweb.

If we do nothing, we are in very real danger of losing access to the "real" internet like other less than free countries with more extreme levels of internet censorship ( an obvious example is the People's Republic of China (oh no, I guess that my site's blocked there now...)). Internet superstars such as Tim Berners Lee and John Perry Barlow have declared their opposition to internet censorship. Internet deity Google have spoken out against the global trend towards internet censorship measures and the state controlling the web. Google even released this handy tool to see how much your internet content is being filtered. We have to all stand together and say "No, we DO NOT WANT internet censorship, filtered content or our internet to be arbitrarily cut off!". Of course as with anything online, you have an overwhelming choice of mediums for interactivism to convey such a message!

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