Sustainable Economy

Today I found an article in El País about sustainable democracy. Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca, a sociology professor, suggests that liberalism is finally overtaking democracy, and that technocracy and economical interests will get their victory over the idea of equal participation for all citizens in the decision making processes for society.

For letting such well-made reasoning into their debate pages, El País appear to not have commented at all on the undemocratic processes around the approbation of the Sinde Act, or the Act of Sustainable Economy, that will likely be debated by a subcommittee in the Spanish senate on Monday, rather than going through parliamentary scrutiny. The reason is apparently that the parliament should not have to bother themselves with trivial matters when there are more important issues to discuss.

El País is loyal to PSOE. Ángeles González-Sinde is the Minister of Culture in the Zapatero cabinet. Zapatero is the Spanish president and chairman of PSOE.

Hidden deep in the bowels of text of the Sinde Act, among hundreds of articles on environmental sustainability, are a few articles on criminalization of file-sharing and file-sharing services. These new social phenomena have previously been declared compatible with Spanish law since anything else would be ridiculous, torrent trackers are just a socially accepted modern form of library, and you can anyway not be convicted for something you didn’t actually come in touch with.

The Sinde Act will create space for copyright owners to harass Spanish citizens in the same way Americans, Swedish and British citizens have been harassed in the past. Or leave the door open for scammers to harass citizens, like in Germany. If someone thought a constitutional ruling could provide some kind of safe-guard, through being an expression of common norms or general agreement of the values society should uphold, apparently they are wrong.

If someone thought that the legislative institutions of Spain will debate issues against which 200’000 Spanish citizens have protested in an open and democratic manner, apparently they are wrong. 200’000 citizens is nothing. Only 0.05% of the total population. Trivial.

Spain was put on the US Trade Department 301-list in 2008 and have remained there until the 2010 edition. The Sinde Act, or a law that breaks a long-standing tradition of constitutional interpretation in Spain, is a response to this listing and Spanish government representatives have of course been in contact with the US ambassador to find out how to remedy this awkward postition. Since 1974 the 301-lists give the US the right to unilateral trade sanctions. The US is the only country in the world that upholds unilateral sanctions, that is, the US decides on its own to punish a displeasing country. Is that allowed? Technically not. But the World Trade Organisation has approved the practise as long as the sanctions are passed through an arbitration panel. Through the 301-lists the US has also upheld, to the irritation of the globalised free markets, uncomfortable levels of protectionism.

These protests, the government and senate must reason, are a sign of poor understanding of global trade, probably conducted by extremists with bandwidth, connectivity and a sense for free culture. Values otherwise not present in the Spanish system. And the rest of Europe is reacting about as strongly as they reacted to the French law recently adopted which allows for arbitrary, non-judicial internet censorship. And the suspicions of professor Sánchez-Cuencas appear to be coming true a lot sooner than he probably wanted. It is three days left until the Spanish democracy is confronted with its fate.

UPDATE: It’s probably decent to say that there’s senate and parliamentary resistence, right? :)

SUNDAY UPDATE: Spanish internet full of protest-against-Sinde banners.

  1. december 18, 2010 kl. 15:41

    Just to note, the raid against me was not due to copyright claims, but rather dataintrång.

  2. Amelia Andersdotter
    december 18, 2010 kl. 17:05

    Aha. ”Unauthorized access”. That’s slightly more reasonable then. I was actually rather looking for information on police raids against file-sharers (there was one in Borås? and Linköping?) but I was too lazy to google the news archivers. Preferably I would like some stats on the amount of cease-and-desist letters sent out every year as well, but I guess no one has the responsibility to make that information public. WHICH IS BAD.

    We should demand that from APB and the state. :/

  3. december 18, 2010 kl. 17:20

    I thought it was interesting too that ”dataintrång” was translated to ”hacking”. And that my case, which wasn’t related to ”unauthorized access”, was described by the police as ”using too much bandwidth” – which is what script kiddies who DDoS are doing. Whom the newspapers call ”hackers”.

    In either case, yes. I’d like to see some statistics on how many letters they send out. Considering that they have lawful means to retrieve sensitive information, should not the public have the right to know what they’re doing with it?

  4. Amelia Andersdotter
    december 19, 2010 kl. 13:53

    Newspapers typically don’t call ddosing ”hacking”, at least not in European press. ”Attackers” I see frequently in European media, but then as I wrote earlier this week in Sweden this has actually turned into ”net activist” which, as well, is completely different from both ”hackers” and ”attackers”.

    The framework decision on unauthorized access to datasystems I think I recall defining restricting the access of data from a legitimate system as some form of unauthorized access, even though it’s non-sensical. I didn’t really start looking at this so much yet, but there’s a few documents people should be willing to but are of course mostly welcome to scrutinize: COD 2010/0273 on unauthorized access, updating framework decision 2005/222/JHA. It would also be in the parliament legislative observatory under the name COM(2010)517. Puttin any of those document numbers into google will also give you the correct documents.

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