14 Mar

The emerging agenda of the US Copyright Office is to whore out Copyrights, limit the Freedoms of Copyright owners and traffic Creative works to drum up some green, it seems. The Copyright Office is the only profitable government agency I hear. Makes Government sense to vulture off the dreams of citizens seeking to make livings in a downward spiraling economy. So when I received notice of TECH@STATE at GW, an annual initiative set in play by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I signed up.

I am happy I did.

I was known as the hardest working photographer in DC when I covered the White House, the Hill and places in between. Sometimes my image seeking, ended me up in places I sometimes wondered why am I here only to find out later, why. TECH@STATE turned out to be one of those lightbulb moments. I was meant to be at TECH@STATE to connect dots people would not otherwise know about. Or connect to in a world of Rapid Fire Remarks.

TECH@STATE was an initiative of the US Department of States OFFICE OF E DIPLOMACY. TECH@STATE was the offices 10th event. The event was presented in conjunction with the GLOBAL INTERNET FREEDOM and HUMAN RIGHTS DISTINGUISHED SPEAKER series held by GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL. The ‘sell sheet’ said “TECH@STATE:INTERNET FREEDOM will examine the techniques and methods that can be used to enhance and expand Internet Freedom,” all well and good to read until I saw who the Keynote Adress was from, my BBF (not) ANDREW McLAUGHLIN. Andrew is the former DEPUTY CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER of the UNITED STATES 2009-2011. Yes, Andrew helped move BO & MO into the WHITE HOUSE with an incredibly slick and greased Technological takeover that, hats off, left behind in the dust the GOP (does make one think GULP doesn’t it)

Plenary panels filled the rest of the morning, broken up with coffee, cookie, apple & banana breaks. Following the Modus Operandi was the IGNITE sessions except there was no Lottery Prize to be voted on by VC Venture Capital guys. Seems the cash was already all in. It was the themes that began to make me realize, I was not in Political Kansas anymore. The thread that tied the presenters together was Freedom USING THE INTERNET to spark and incite and get data in and out. Listen, as a Holocaust loser of family, I am conflicted knowing the cost of not getting the word out AND of getting the word out but not being able to get people to see the cost to life & soul, but I understood, RAPIDLY, this was not about getting the word out THIS Internet Freedom was about getting the word OR as it is in technology getting the WORMS in. One panelist, a homie, sounded the alarm to the days attendees still warming the seats (as with most events, once the brightest bulb in the pack leaves so do they) this is dangerous what they are doing. I heard him. I didn’t get the sense others were really listening to his reality check that ONCE YOU LET THE GENIE OUT OF THE BOTTLE IT IS HARD TO GET BACK IN.

Did I realize the SOS the panelist from TO was sounding? As I looked around the room, yes. I didn’t see traditional media. I saw his warning loud and clear. I saw VOA Voice of America. I didn’t see Fox or Greta or Sean or Bill. I didn’t see scrubbed young conservatives with pearls and/or bowties. What I saw? Let me tell you about after lunch. OMG. Enough to make me collapse in exhaustion and not stay for the Grip & Greet with “leading experts in Internet Freedom.”

The IGNITE presenters were DIGITAL DEFENDER PARTNERSHIPS, STATE OF INTERNET FREEDOM, LOCAL VIRTUAL ASSEMBLY: THE IMPLICATIONS OF MESH-NETWORKING IN RESTRICTED ENVIRONMENTS and LANTERN: INTERNET FREEDOM BY DESIGN. Adam Fisks logo, a lantern, was my WHOA factor. Shades of the Underground Railroad. If I had not clued in before I was clued in now. This forum was not about protecting copyrights, although STAVROS LAMBRIDINIS gave a wake up factor to how the EU is now approaching IP in the OPEN WORLD. Stavros says the EU is now banking on FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION something I stand for with my God project GOD IN THE TEMPLES OF GOVERNMENT, mission statement FREEDOM OF ARTISTIC EXPRESSION. Stavros says IP is a Human Right. Spot On. But there we part company. Stavros says IP is under the perview of Human Trafficking. It is in a unique way. But….

The kitser, nexus, of TECH@STATE emerged in the Breakout Sessions. INTERNET GOVERNANCE FOR TECHIES, the FUTURE OF ADVOCACY, NEXT GENERATION Anti-Censorship TOOLs….

Ian Schuler founder of NEW RIGHTS GROUP moderated the panel. Roger Dingledine, project leader/director/researcher of THE TOR PROJECT sat on the panel along with Doug Tygar of Berkleys Computer Science and Information Management and James Vasile director of Open Internet Tools Project. Description “Anti-censorship tools have become increasingly popular and as a result are being overwhelmed by demand. Online bottlenecks slow the tools and often make them inaccessible. At the same time, the technologies of internet repression, monitoring and control continue to advance and spread as the tools that oppressive governments use to restrict internet access and to track citizen online activities grow more sophisticated. Sophisticated, secure and scalable technologies are needed to continue to advance internet freedom. This panel will focus on enhancements and improvements to anti censorship tools and how they can be employed to help provide secure and unrestricted internet access to all citizens….” The other option was INTERNET GOVERNANCE FOR TECHIES.

And then…. I got it.

I looked around the room. I looked at the panel and yes, I asked a question prefaced with “I am shocked at what I just heard you are willing to sacrifice Americans to overthrow a regime.”
TECH@STATE, Hillary Clinton’s initiative, wasn’t about copyright at all. It is about the cyber work, hacking, that STATE encourages to upset foreign regimes. Benghazi is nothing compared to what is at risk here. Yes, for all the rumors I had dispensed of, the truth was here and now. The administration’s relationship with technological giants, the uprising in public squares in Middle East countries isn’t untouched or unprovoked by American hands.

THE TOR PROJECT founder laid out clearly the goal of TOR is to facilitate 3000 subversives in foreign governments get information in and out mitigating their loss of life but at a cost in that VOLUNTEERS, knowing or unknowing, were loaning their IPS the TOR (and other groups) were converting through multiple switches that flipped to disguise the ‘speaker’, the source, the subversive. Volunteers knowingly offer up their IPs. It’s the innocent visitor that becomes the sacrificial lamb of sorts not knowing their IP has been ‘loaned,’ conscripted by project coordinators to use for their end goal. There is no coincidence in groups like Hop The Fence attending the event. This is our STATE DEPARTMENT dollars at work.

The reality is, TOR’s founder admitted, is that TOR and other groups that facilitate STATE never really know WHO they presumed subversive is in that identities are not revealed. For all they know, TOR and groups like it maybe working with the regimes themselves, unwittingly. I’ve seen this movie before. It never ends well. The race, though, this stunned me, the TOR and other panelists are sharing in, they blatantly call an ARMS RACE. I read the news. Geez louise. It is a NUCLEAR arms race with, not 3000 subversive lives at risk but all of America- a game being played in hotspots like Sunnyvale California and elsewhere. This isn’t a game. It is real life. The war being fought isn’t just on foreign shores with guns and boats. It is a cyberwar being fought in basements and garages in America. And we will never know who the enemy is. It may be the nice lady next door or the granny wearing pink. Or the kid who got turned down by the girl of his dreams. The terrorist’s tool of choice is no longer the gun or PC. The terrorists tool of choice may be the Cyber Network set up for one intention by STATES hackers who then turn those skills on us.

There is no doubt that American companies activity in foreign countries has weight in cyberwarfare. Jean Case runs the Case Foundation with her husband Steve Case of AOL. A few years back Steve Case’s wife hosted a program at the US Chamber of Commerce on H Street in downtown DC. Sometimes links illustrate louder than words Middle Eastern countries were represented, all except Israel, that is. Jean Case is an activist for Philanthoactivism. Intel, Cisco and other technological giants announced their work to help employ youth in the West Bank, the Soros Economic Development Fund, Skoll Foundation , the European Investment bank, Aspen Institute, USAID, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Google to name a few, joined with the US-Palestine Development Fund .

Case was asked by then U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice to serve as a co-chair of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership to promote economic opportunity for the Palestinian people, prepare Palestinian youth for the responsibilities of citizenship and good governance, and marshal new private investment in the West Bank.

The information overload is conceptually conflicting. Terrorism is no longer a single enemy. Everyone in the social networking age is an enemy or complicit- knowingly or unknowingly as the world connects ‘on the go.’ Marketing of this season’s PDA of choice …. your cell phone… a walk by, a call is being pushed in more ways than one … …. and….. BOOM…


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