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Free weekly #3: Pulitzer for NSA, drones and pink prisons

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In this edition: the US about drones and net neutrality, Pulitzer and NSA and Snowden helps Putin

 

But for a start there is Turkey again. This time it is not about Erdogan's fight against Twitter or other social media. Although don’t count on that this is over soon, Erdogan is determined to get it his way …

But before he continuous with that Erdogan came with a small intermezzo – he found something new: apparently he suddenly is pro-gay! At least – that would be the conclusion based on the official explanation. He plans separate prisons specifically for homosexuals. Why? No, this is of course not to stigmatise them any further, not at all! No – he feels that they are in danger in prison, so they have to be separated to be protected, stupid! So soon there will not be only the Pink Panther in Istanbul, but you’ll find there as well the pink prison…

 

Ok, let’s cross the Atlantic. Two topics from the U.S. made it into this newsletter. Let’s start with the good news: the use of drones will become a bit more open. An federal court ordered that the U.S. administration has to give inside into the decision to use drones against Anwar al-Awlaki. OK, this is a small step to give more insight into the use of drones - and very limited as al-Awlaki was an U.S. citizen. But it is a start to more transparency. And more transparency will eventually lead to more democratic control and to a discussion about the instrument itself and how this fits with human rights.

 

The other news is less positive: around net neutrality the U.S. is moving backwards. Once the country of the free net the U.S. might now be on the way of falling behind others - especially when taking into account that last week saw the adoption of the Marco Civil in Brazil, fixing net neutrality by law, and two weeks earlier the European Parliament adopted a bill that prohibits the internet of two classes. For the U.S. in the contrary last week brought a good bye to net neutrality. The FCC announced that it will allow “fast lanes” for companies that can afford paying for it. The content on fast lanes will be delivered first. With this a net with two classes will be created – allowing internet providers to discriminate data. This is a farewell to the egalitarian principle that made the internet to what it is today, a vibrant source of innovation. Ok, this change was forced by a court ruling so the FCC had not much choice. But – Obama had, as he could have intervened after the ruling. Unfortunately he forgot about his 2008 election promise to stand firm for the net neutrality …

 

The last two weeks brought also recognition for The Guardian and The Washington Post for all their effort around the NSA affair, finally! Both won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for their work that helped to understand what the information revealed by Edward Snowden and to trigger the debate about the security and privacy and how fare governments should be allowed to go when spying on their own people or other nations. Without their work the discussion would have not been possible. Leaking the information is one thing – but it has to be put into context to make sense and to see the real dimension. Well done – and well deserved!

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_SnowdenandPutin.pngSpeaking about Edward Snowden: as good as he is as whistleblower as bad he is in politics. He absolutely misjudged the situation when he agreed to appear on the TV with Vladimir Putin. Putin has his own agenda - and Snowden was a perfect tool in his goals. Putin has only interest in dividing Europe and the U.S. - and for this Snowden and the NSA affair are perfect tools. Just a little reminder for Europeans so that the spying remains in their heads ...

 

To close this edition there are two positive news. The first is about transsexuals in India. The constitutional court ruled that they have to be recognised as third sex. With that India is the third country that recognises them. Transsexuals used to play a big role in India's history and culture. But when it became a part of the British Empire the colonial law was forced onto the country - with all its conservative regulations. Good that finally one more part of this outdated regulations has been removed!

The last news comes from the Netherlands. The First Chamber of Parliament approved finally a bill allowing a consultative referendum. This is a first step - and once in use it allows to practice the use of referenda. And at some point politics might be far enough to open up for the next stage!

 

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