I usually don't wade into politics, but this hits too close to home to not voice an opinion, and there is a link to Ubuntu.
When I was growing up, I loved the music of Prism , a band that hails from Vancouver. Now that I call Vancouver home, I love them even more. Here's an interesting fact for the space lovers amongst us: "On Sunday, March 6, 2011, Prism's "Spaceship Superstar" was chosen as the wakeup song for the Space Shuttle Discovery crew members." How cool is that? If you love space, please take a listen. It will cheer you up and inspire you before you read the rest of my article.
Late last week some news broke about a different group with a lacklustre name and no musical talent. Terrible musicians who unfortunately stole the name of one of my favourite bands for their pet project - spying. Very disappointing. And, it seems they have a list of friends that you'll recognize.
News of this project and its goals did not come as a surprise to me, and likely not to you as well.
Take a deep breath and read this.
If the articles are a surprise to you, please consider the logical fallacy known as "false premise". Perhaps growing up you were given a premise that certain places are beacons of freedom and free speech and that they protect the same. You may have received this "information" from movies, television, newspapers, etc. And if you lived in certain places, you may have even sung songs to that effect. You were lied to.
So, knowing that these events have occurred and will continue to occur, what is an appropriate and direct action that you can take? On the surface it seems like an intractable problem to solve. Fortunately it's not. Here are a few simple steps that you can take right now to protect yourself, your friends and your family:
1) Start with yourself. Think about all the services you use and whether they are on the list. If they are, take immediate steps to discontinue their use. Are you a Verizon customer? Time to leave. Liking Facebook? What's stopping you from using Diaspora instead?
2) Next help your friends and loved ones. If you have people in your life that you care about that use services or products from the companies listed in the report, please reach out to them and help them leave TODAY. Does your best friend use Yahoo mail? Offer an alternative. Help make it easy for them.
3) Double down your efforts on Ubuntu. Encourage your friends who have been sitting on the sidelines to do the same. The only way to achieve freedom and the promise of a shared humanity is to build it. Don't waste your time trying to fix a broken political process that is built on greed and psychopathy. The best way forward is to build a system that works better. (Luckily, many of you reading this post are already involved in Ubuntu. Thank you! Please tell your friends.)
There is a saying that I like to cite in circumstances like this: "You can't change the world, but you *can* change your world."
Start simple. Start local. Be the change you want to see.
Image by "Colourless Rainbow" http://www.flickr.com/photos/irteza/ CC by-nc-sa