tv Book TV CSPAN April 14, 2012 9:00am-10:00am EDT
it follows 1982's to power, and 2003 is master of the senate. here he is on q&a 2008 with an update on how volume four was taking shape. >> this is really a book not just about lyndon johnson on about robert kennedy, jack kennedy and the interplay of the person knows, particularly robert. and it's a very complicated story that i don't think people know of two very complicated people. ..
>> rebecca mackinnon says internet users write the being infringed on by governments and corporations. she points to changes and facebook's privacy policies and demands by government to google sensory information. and users to concede their personal freedoms on line. this is about an hour. [applause] >> on behalf of the world affairs council i am your moderator. joseph menn. i will introduce our distinguished guests. i would like to say a word about rebecca mackinnon's book which i think is very valuable. a real contribution. it is called "consent of the networked" and it has just come
out. the closest parallel was have any more of's book the net illusion but that came out a few years ago and was more of a polemic against cyberutopianism and the naive belief that the internet will free all people everywhere. at the time that was pretty badly needed and now with the events that moved so rapidly and the greater surveillance and monitoring and censorship has become so much the norm in so much of the world that it is time for a much more fact based what is going on on the ground everywhere sort of effort and that is what rebecca has done. very valuable. miss mackinnon is a journalist and activist whose work focuses on the internet, human rights and foreign policy. she is co-founder of global voices on line and found a member of the global network initiative. flynn in mandarin chinese she
worked for cnn in beijing for nine years serving as the beijing bureau chief and correspondent and tokyo bureau chief and correspondent. she taught online journalism and conducted research for chinese censorship the university of hong kong. she was at the center on press and public policy. a research fellow at the brooklyn center for internet at harvard. and senior fellow at the new america foundation. cheese examine u.s. policies related to the internet, even rights and global internet freedom. jillian york is director of international freedom of expression at the frontier foundation based in san francisco. a long-term activist she is interested in government censorship, policing of content in corporate online space is, anonymity surveillance technology and tools for activism.
prior to joining a f f she spent three years at the internet society and harvard. he writes about free expression, politics and the internet with party and a focus on the arab world. she is on the board of directors of global voices on line and has written for a variety of publications including al-jazeera, the guardian, foreign policy and bloomberg. please join me in welcoming rebecca mackinnon and jillian york. [applause] >> as a professional journalist i get to ask the first series of questions before we turn it over to the audience. i would like to start with you, rebecca. you call your book for a new way of looking at the way internet policies are conducted and empowerment on network users, regular people who use the internet both to hold our government accountable wherever it they are and also corporations which can be as
powerful as nation states. and in the past couple of months with the online protests over the rather aggressive anti copyright measures that were withdrawn in congress people feel this can actually work. internet protests and sharing of information can lead to changes in government policy but it doesn't seem as easy when it comes to corporations who are not responsible to voters. what would it take to get companies to balance their drive for profits with these more moral questions? >> we can look to other sectors, you have milton friedman, writing an essay that is the only responsible activity of a business is producing value for shareholders. the first earth day, a real social awakening about
sustainability and the fact that the long term generating for society, and for itself, just short-term profits. it is about delivering value to society and being sustainable. within a larger context. and whether your product contributing to the kind of life and the kind of planet we want to have. when it comes to the internet, communications companies and internet companies and service providers and so on what we are seeing is an awakening that we need digital sustainability. it is not acceptable for companies to hire 12-year-olds back to profits. and. air and water even though it might maximize profits. the idea that it is acceptable
has been a legitimate. it was more controversial some time back. we are now recognizing that unless we have entered an era in which all aspects of our lives, we depend on digital platforms. and how we conduct business for education and politics. and the structure in which these networks are structured, in terms of private terms is not compatible with the values and the freedom we expect and the freedoms and right and ability to hold government accountable to people risking their lives around the world every day. if these platforms and services are not contributing to sustainable manner to the world we want to have that is not acceptable. >> if i could follow up before i
turn to jillian are there any early examples of an online effort or effort by consumers in the u.s. to change that have been successful in changing a company's policy to here or some other country? that is for you. >> we are starting to see for instance recently google plus rolled out its new social networking service and they started out with a very similar identity policy to facebook which is your required to use your real name and a lot of users didn't like that. they had been hoping google would be different. and people started actually using google's platform to lobby google's management to change the policy. they have now begun to adjust policy to allow pseudonyms in some cases and not everybody is happy. there is a lot to be worked out but you have seen google's
executives at least willing to adjust and to listen. that is an example of when people get organized at least with some companies and even with facebook you have seen jillian and other activists involved with getting facebook to make certain features more secure. it would be harder for governments to have people's accounts for instance and have been advising them, here are some things you need to do. definitely, there are cases when you get enough people going to the companies and staying here is the right thing to do. will increase trust and increase the value of your service. not just commercial value but the way in which people value an environment as a trust worthy place to be and that is in your interest in the long run.
>> thanks for that. jillian, rebecca describes an arms race between surveillance and the techniques for avoiding surveillance. china is the acknowledged master of this and there are lots of other countries attempting to follow suit. notably recently iran which has been keeping up its surveillance ability. and on the other side we have a couple of scruffy activists who are cobbling together things that allow people to debate. maybe being unkind to activists they are motivated by idealism. doesn't seem like a fair fight. how is that battle going? is there anything regular people
can do? >> when it comes to that surveillance, we have seen increases in iran and syria which is likely helped by iran and it is really an unfair fight. activists are trying to utilize the internet for whenever means of protest and ordinary everyday things but then you have these governments basically spying on their citizens. the way the fight is right now is organizations -- plenty of organizations in the u.s. can't even name the mall and in europe are working to try to put similar standards as to what rebecca has discussed. the similar standards that exist for social networking company's to surveillance companies so one of my colleagues was in brussels last week testifying to the european parliament about how these tools are used and how we think we can hold these companies accountable.
some of the regulations proposed is problematic just as the crypto wars blocked encryption technology from being exported. regulations on encryption. we had these crypto words and the dirksen senate office building export technology. there are similar issues putting regulations on surveillance technology as things stand right now. assyrians are permitted from accessing certain tools because existing commerce and treasury department regulations. the fear is to strike a balance between insuring the surveillance tools don't get in the wrong hands the also that communications tools are accessible to all. it seemed like an unfair fight. in terms of what people can do i think we should be looking at the same sort of models. users need to be aware. not just users. a lot of these have multiple
uses but stakeholders and everyone needs to be aware of how these tools are being used. in the past year we have seen a lot of awareness raising on the subject not just from race groups but if you look at bloomberg's coverage has been quite incredible in terms of how and where and what is going on so i do think people are becoming more aware. >> it is nice that they call things, wiretappers, accessible to the general public. you see a problem there. if we look at that export issue, as i understand it there are virtually no regulations preventing the export from u.s. and european countries, pretty capable equipment to have some unpleasant places except the ones we -- it is all what we
use. it is used for stopping corn or catching bad people and can also be used to spy on everybody. is there any way to change that? is there any way to have greater restrictions or do you think there's a chance investor or public pressure in. is hard to imagine -- hate to pick on them but there's a company -- they don't sell machines to people on the street and if there was an e.f. inspired boycott it wouldn't make difference to their bottom line. how do you impact companies like that? >> there is a big difference. some companies produce tools used for home use as well. in those cases is much easier but when you have tools -- e s s advocated know your customer standards where companies would be required to be transparent to they're selling it to and what they're selling and what it will
be used for. that is our position at the moment but i have seen other proposals from other organizations that deal with similar ways of handling it. it is a difficult fight and ultimately we will have to force the hand of these companies to be transparent. without the shareholders it is quite difficult to get them to move on that. >> a definite way we're starting to see socially responsible investors move into this sector and they haven't been thinking until recently about technology companies in terms of the downside and whether there are certain companies -- so that is part of it. part of it is greater awareness. a lot of these companies have been getting away with it with no public reporting on what they have been doing or anything else for a very long time. there hasn't been enough
reporting on a lot of these issues. as jillian says, these companies are not required to be transparent and report on where they are selling. also you have a problem that the u.s. government is one of the biggest customers of these tools and european governments are massive customers of these tools. are they saying anything to the companies? are they expressing concern about who else is being sold these technologies and trying to exercise some kind of influence through their buying power? we are only going to buy products for people who said certain standards of the dish
they could have standards for their vendors. if you are a vendor on surveillance and security technology we need to know certain things about what you are doing and we will report that publicly. they could do that if they wanted to and that would have a huge effect. there is a lot that could be done that would at least shed light on what is happening. these companies are not consumer products, if the broader investor market if this information is more regularly in the wall street journal which it has begun to be but before then it really wasn't. >> the face of activism has been morphing a lot. digital activism has been in fluent with the occupy movement
and most of their movements from here on out. of fundamental part of the program. it was also very much in evidence in protect ip in congress. the thing most people think about is anonymous. things that are against the law. because it is so diffuse, you can sit down with the leadership and say point your guns over here but for both of you is there much hope of that getting moderated or channels? if people are annoyed with the behavior of companies or government is that just the easiest thing to do? sign up to participate against something they don't like?
>> it is interesting because we have seen a lot of despicable things by anonymous and also packing the web site of the syrian foreign ministry. is difficult for me to look at something like that. in the case of syria, face to face by putting up instructions how to use the internet safely in syria. it is hard for me to look at that. i do because i do believe that the tax can be used against governments against huge companies in positive ways, they are more often used against small independent media and human-rights sites that can't defend themselves. i keep the stance that i don't think a tax like that are a good idea but what we saw with the protests over the past -- almost a month ago. with the protect ip act we saw a different kind of action taking root. people raising their voices
instead of lobbying grenades for horrible analogy. it is difficult because when we looked over what happened with protests around those two act it doesn't necessarily seem like those numbers are replicable. i have gotten the question a lot over the last couple weeks. where we on the tipping point or where we just barely--the number of people involved in the number of organizations and companies involved or where we barely there and i can't answer that. i don't know if we will be able to see that sort of action replicated easily. >> to speak to the anonymous point. maybe we can talk more about online piracy activism against that, there have been cases where the anonymous has done some helpful things like in
syria and helping dissidents. but the attitude that the ends justify the means, many members of anonymous have trouble -- having begun my academic career as the student of the chinese and russian revolution, ok, if a certain police department does something that violates citizens' rights, is it constructive to hacker computers and the personal information about their employees and family on the internet and home addresses. i'm not sure what problem that solve. barge did not act intelligentt
in the cellphones system. by exposing account information, what is that achieving? how that resolving the abuse of power, other corporate entities. king john was a really bad king so robin hood went around robbing from the rich to feed the poor and an acting civil disobedience and that is great but he didn't solve any problems of bad governance. he didn't bring anything forward. and romantic. what problem the end up solving? none. it took people who were more constructive that we need to come up with a new way of governing that it and the divine right of kings and we need to have -- to build new structures.
they actually kind of help to solve entrenched problems of bad governance. coming back to what jillian was saying, what we saw were protests around bad legislation and bad governance and people trying to figure out what are the solutions? is a positive step in the right direction. it makes me sound so old. i hear from a lot of people, some people have affiliations with anonymous or affiliations with different packer groups. the ends justifies the means and innocent people will get hurt. the war against massive abuses
of power and collateral damage and that language release there's day. and the chinese and soviet revolution which had similar language. and human rights were concerned. >> i figured mostly from copyright, we spent a lot of ink in the journal's talking about copyright and a lot in congress and there seems to be dramatically less about human rights. maybe just because people in america make more money on copyright than they do human-rights. the broad question, is there a lack of balance in the discussion about not just
copyright but security. we have -- it's head in the senate may or may not pass and smaller cybersecurity efforts. and the copyright language can be pretty shortsighted technologically in terms of people's individual rights. i ask both of you to where copyright and security privacy in terms of where the security is putting its emphasis. >> if i could take a crack at it, we are facing a common problem with internet related legislation not only in the united states but not in the democratic world. legislators are faced with a problem. we have a tax on our network. and intellectual property. or child porn or cyberbullying
or constituencies saying do something. they want to do something to resolve that particular problem. whatever basket that problem happens to be in so they go for a solution. without thinking about how that solution will affect these other areas. because i think what happens is legislators because the internet is so new tend to think of problems on the internet like you fix your toaster or your refrigerator or your computer and it is fixed. you got to fix the problem. rather than -- this is a space in which society is extending into and contains the same contradictions we have like in the city of san francisco. if you when the one hundred% solve the crime problem and have zero crime you have some trade off that may be unacceptable because something like north korea. if you don't want that you have to think about what kind of
solutions balance other concerns and rights. how do i make sure all affected stakeholders are consulted. that is what you do if you're governing a physical play but legislators are not used to thinking in those terms when they are solving problems in the digital realm. i think what was good about what we saw with the stop online piracy act and the debate about this particular legislation which was trying to solve a problem and one constituency was screaming about the problem. without consulting with everybody else who was going to be affected to see what are the other ways of solving the problem that might not be quite so damaging for free expression and put technical mechanisms that look like a chinese fire wall and legal mechanisms that impose unacceptable burdens on internet companies to police
their users. just have a broader conversation about what the solutions are just as you have a broader conversation in coming back to security. so get policeing and physical space. it is just whacking the criminals and cracking down you are knocking yourself the crime problem. you don't have the community by in or involvement and turn people against you and your measures will lack legitimacy. and so again how you get the buy in from the stakeholders when you are going after resolving a problem and whether it is child protection or cybersecurity or copyright legislation has not taken that approach and that is why it tends to fail and they keep coming back trying to add more legislation and it doesn't solve the problem. just makes everybody else that. >> there are a couple great examples outside of the u.s.. in tunisia talking about tomorrow it will be announced
whether or not the government has to filter pornography. this was a long series of appeals and the final appeal was made to the country's highest court and tomorrow it is determined they have to filter pornography they have to reemployment the same system that existed and what that means for to nietzsche is the fear the government will overreach. that is the same thing we saw with the stock online piracy act. that decision allows the government's walking website, the same fear that that will be used to overreach or cause collateral damage. we're seeing this in india and the number of countries around the world and generally speaking-that is where we're seeing in tunisia. >> let's turn to audience
questions. if you have any more things to ask please send them up. this is a question i am thinking for rebecca. maybe not. maybe jillian. how significant is the experiment with online free speech in iceland and in parentheses immi. can it raised the bar on the expression on line internationally? are there other models? i have no idea the questioner is talking about. i'm counting on one of you to bail me out. >> the modern media initiative. i am afraid to admit i followed that production closely over the last year. >> i am not sure where it stands at the moment either. i know that there was discussion of setting up basically a set of laws and regulatory structures that would make iceland kind of
the haven for online free expression. >> including wiki leaks. >> and so on come ironclad protection against surveillance and what not. the details of which i would have to let go and check. it is unclear how far they have gotten. not sure. >> there is no free speech haven where you can host everything and not worry about it. >> there are people talking about creating islands like man-made islands in the ocean that have no legal national jurisdiction. that is kind of no actual nation state has the ability to demand access to servers. but the problem is in any nation state there is law enforcement
issues and constituencies demanding that terror be fought and nasty people who do bad things to children be chased and so on and so on so it is hard to ironclad things from state actress. if you do have law-enforcement access even in a very democratic society how do you ensure that is not being abused and how you have the right checks and ensuring it is accountable? this is the problem all democracies are struggling with the. we haven't worked out a model. there is no model democracy right now that has gotten it right. i know there are a couple people sitting around who work on this full time as well. there are some countries who have gotten some pieces of it better than other pieces and you could cobble together the laws from several countries and say this is ideal but i don't know
if i have even seen anybody put together -- here is what the model of laws and regulations and kind of political checks and balances and corporate practices all combined. here is what you need if you want to have digital infrastructure and corporate behavior that is really going to be democracy compatible. free expression, civil liberties, keep compatibility. here are the models to go after. i haven't seen that anywhere. we need it desperately. >> here's another question for you. another broad one. is it possible to have censorship without violating human rights? what is the balance struck between the two? >> that is a tough one. do you want to --
>> there are some people who argue that it is not. it is possible to have censorship -- the whole point of censorship is people don't know what you are blocking. i suppose in theory if human beings were perfect you probably could. if government was perfect and so on. even in europe, there are a number of countries in europe that have blocking systems, censorship systems in place for child pornography and there have been studies done on a couple levels. one is mission creep and mistakes made in terms of some of the sites that end up on the list and based on leaks and other information that has come out in pretty much most cases there is some overblocking that happens so it is what people in the field call collateral censorship. it is very hard to do it
completely right without accidentally censoring stuff you didn't intend to center even if you're getting it right. it is also very easy for stuff to get on the list in weird ways. in the u.k. it is not sort of mandatory but there is this kind of watch list that most internet service providers use for blocking child porn and for short time wiki leaks -- or wikipedia was blocked because there was an oasis album cover with a pre pubescent girl on it and somebody in the organization making a watch list put that wikipedia page on the list as child porn. there are these borderline cases that sometimes end up on the list and then who is exercising that power and how do you get it off the list? the other thing is people doing
research on censorship of child porn, is it solving the child porn problem? is it resulting in a reduction of exploitation of children? the answer is it doesn't look like it is. it is putting a band-aid on a problem for the general population. the sick people who want the material are finding ways to get it. the people going about their kidnapping kids and exploiting them are doing it. it is diverting people's attention from the problem and not enough police resources are going into the hard problem of human policeing. that is the other issue with censorship. there needs to be a lot more research. in what cases does censorship solve the problem you are trying to solve? assuming it is a legitimate problem in the first place? like child porn is a legitimate problem? >> i would agree. i was interpreting the question
more philosophically but when it comes to filtering or blocking of websites i don't believe it is ever the solution. if you look at the way the u.s. deals with child pornography which is managing photos in a database and taking down a website, going after -- that is a much better solution to what other governments do which is blocking and enforcing the problem under ground. i would agree with what rebecca said that it is not solve the problem and the same goes for other issues as well. if we look to the united kingdom where last summer during the riots there were pushedes to twitter and facebook to sensor certain content. that was another example of the same thing where it by doing that with it solve the problem or just push people to use other tools that are less recognizable and work made by other means? the same thing just this week. the uk put out another paper
recommended against censorship was online extremism. not sure how that will solve the problem. i would say that no form of blocking of websites is censorship. i don't think there's a way to do it while still respecting human rights. >> another question. with the new york times story this weekend that the justice department monitored reporters without approval by a judge, how much they for on line from the government the u.s. is over chinese? it seems both the u.s. and china monitor their own citizens when they decide to. >> that is certainly true in terms of potential access. the difference is what is done with the information ultimately. there are a few more controls in terms of what the u.s. government accesses under
circumstances. those controls are loose end and accountable and not sufficiently subject to constraint. that said, in china you can post tweet and have a policeman show up at your doorstep and take you into the tension. to my knowledge that has not happened in this country. in a tourist who was coming to this country wasn't allowed in but wasn't quite so bad has torturing him. we are definitely entering into a recognition that if you want to be untraceable, if you really want to be completely sort of
not monitored or you want to be ironclad sure that you are not monitored don't conduct your conversation electronically or your interaction. you need to be completely and a lot. journalists and diplomats working in china have assumed this from the beginning. you are going to a meeting with a source, leave your cellphone at home with the battery out and don't arrange the meeting electronically. sometimes you just show up at somebody's house and go for a long walk and you might be seen. the postal service is the most sure way to communicate with people. absolutely true. handwritten letters. you need a warrant. the government needs a warrant. it is clear the protections are
very clear cut. if you read your e-mail they're not clear cut at all. there are all sorts of loopholes. if you are using e-mail, hot male or whatever, if it is 180 days old is fair game. electronic communications and government access written back in the 80s and when they assume e-mail is stored by company's server it had to be abandoned. there are all kinds of loopholes. there was a study last year and national security matters that were issued to companies for access to some of those accounts were set of accounts and the percentage of requirements that were of dubious legality was quite high and the percentage of
instances in which the companies actually challenged the legitimacy of the request was quite low. so things that companies could challenge they're not challenging on behalf of their users. that is the more troubling thing and if a company like at&t was found to have done a few years ago collaborates with blatantly illegal surveillance. in 2006 i believe it was a whistle-blower who retired from at&t let it be known, here in san francisco, the nsa has a secret room and they have gotten the engineers to funnel all communications through that room and it was being captured. there were no warrants or subpoenas or national security issues issued to see this information could be looked at.
and others tried to sue at&t with a class-action lawsuit and was thrown out. why? because at&t is in yen from liability for collaborating with blatantly illegal acts from the pfizer amendment act. which obama as a candidate said he wanted to overturn and before he got elected decided maybe not and now he definitely doesn't and his administration is not favorable to revising the patriot act. and lack of accountability. rihanna china. i spent enough time in china to know the united states is nowhere near like china. of you are trying to organize a
protest, occupy wall street would not happen. they occupied tianmen square. that did not work. they don't fare so well. still, there are very troubling trends. >> a pretty thorough answer. another question from mark laser. what happened to the money the state department of the u.s. had to promote internet freedom? hillary clinton gave a big speech. what happened next? >> see if i can give a broad overview rather than the detailed and why anyone. a lot of that money has gone to circumvention technology. anonymity enabling technology tools used by people here, used
by police and people in other countries. tools that i would call for the most part relatively neutral and that has gone toward training. < neutral. and we have also seen -- we have also seen contention over which tools the money is going to. whether those rules are effective or save and who they are targeting. there has been a lot of back-and-forth in washington over specific tools. won't get into that. the broad answer is i think those schools have been incredibly useful in enabling a number of countries all over the world and that is wonderful. but in terms of the rest of where the money is going i haven't seen a whole lot of -- trying to couch this language
but i just haven't seen proof that money has gone to the right place and is making a difference. circumvention tools are wonderful. they do help people get around censorship in a number of places but they are not a silver bullet. i personally believe funding and generally speaking they need to be diversified. we have not figured out how to do that. >> i think that is fairly thorough. some digital companies -- and a member of the audience alleges that some digital companies build a back door into their software government access. is this true? are there any legal restrictions that would prevent that? >> a lot of technologies are required to have access built
into them. >> which is different from a back door? [talking over each other] >> it is a back. >> it is a back door. it is lawful access. it depends on the technology. >> is there a version -- there have been great fear is in other countries that windows comes with its own peak and -- >> in china -- [inaudible] >> it was hacked. there was a lot of software that has flaws in it that hackers
exploiting to access other people's computers. but that is not the same as a backdoor. that is not something the u.s. government or some other government requires for the company deliberately built so that others could access user information. >> we could preserve the night -- deniability by exploit. >> not knowing the intent of the person writing the question it would be worth pointing out that a number of these companies even if they don't have back door that i can't think of a good example of one that does but a lot of companies don't have safeguards in place for how they deal with legal requests from other countries so obviously this is rebecca's area of expertise and goes back to why some of these protections are now being put in place.
why some of the stakeholder initiatives are forming but at the same time we still do see companies illegally examples of companies handing information to foreign governments without much consideration of what that sort of legal process is and even more commonly we see companies taking down content at the request of foreign governments without any consideration at all. there is a great study done recently by the center internet society in india, india has this law that allows anybody to go ahead and request an intermediary to take down content. there are certain parameters that are very broad and this organization did a study where they submitted nine requests, mostly american companies. seven of nine, don't quote me on that were complied with and they were all outrageous requests. i do think a lot of these companies are not -- not only
are the terms of service not compliant with free-speech principles but they are taking down content at the request of anybody. >> one example -- not sure what the questioner was really asking but skype, in order to market its software in china, went into a joint venture arrangement with a chinese company called tom and it turned out that that version of skype was blogging everybody's text messages and sending them to a public security bureau computers in china and there was a researcher in canada who uncovered this and apparently the skype office claimed they didn't actually know, they were unaware it was as bad but they knew the company
had been doing something. this kind of speaks to a lot of companies not thinking through how they are going to protect their users's interests. there are a number of chinese companies trying to do business in the united states and running against a lot of suspicion the chinese government might have the back door in a lot of these technologies and kind of worry about that. this is why it is globally in the interest of industry everywhere to set up the mechanisms to prove we are really -- we have a global standard on how we are protecting user information and we are allowing ourselves to be kind of audited that we are adhering to these standards and a lot more trust in our net works if that would happen. commerce would benefit. the entire network would be more valuable if that happened. >> i want to follow up on that.
one of the things that is quite valuable in your book is you talk about the in serious pressure on companies to collaborate. china has some nifty technology as government has but the most powerful tool is the fact accompanies cooperate with their law which pushes the burden of censorship down on to them. that gets vague and maddening and they overreach. that is one of the things that drove google out of the country. as happened in lots of places in lots of ways, with your global network initiative you try to get company's to sign up for it to adhere to sir invest practices and explain what they are. that has been around for a while and there hasn't been a mass of adoption by the facebooks and silicon valley companies. how is that going? will more companies participate?
>> when you look at other initiatives it takes a few years to build momentum. if you look at fair labor association or initiatives in the extractive industry to get mine gas companies to be held accountable. it can take a while to get the industry to accept -- we have two more companies. we are talking to a bunch of other ones. there's a range of companies recognizing they can't go alone and need to figure out how to demonstrate to the public that they are trustworthy and it takes a long time to go through their legal departments and get the sign off. it can take a couple years for a company to get all the sign offs throughout the corporation to join in the initiative.
it takes a while and we are this year going through our first year of independent assessment where you have independent assessor's looking at to what extent are the companies actually living up to their commitments. that process is still ongoing and the report is not out yet. that is also a test. it takes a while. it is like 1970 earth day where you didn't get companies when it comes to environmental standards for human rights standards just wake up one day and say i am going to do the right thing. it took a massive social political consumer shareholder movement over decades to get companies to recognize their responsibility. we have not seen too much pressure coming from the public or consumers or users or
government or from investors on company's to try to step up and recognize there is this new component to sustainability called civil liberty. until you get a similarly strong and broad movement in which some of the social licence to operate includes respect for civil liberties and the like, if a company can get away with not being held accountable it will. it is going to commit to as little as it can get away with not committing to. these kinds of things don't happen overnight and they don't happen without a whole ecosystem of people saying this is what we value about a company and this is what we don't value about a company. >> one of the greatest things that happen with the global network initiative is one of the companies that joined more recently is a different type of company than google or yahoo! and microsoft in web sins.
what is interesting about this company . what is interesting about this company and they produceense . what is interesting about this company and they produce. what is interesting about this company and they produce children's software for their homes. better than the company -- the government doing at. yemen was using the technology to sensor political content and other things. when web sense found out they were quite angry and attempted to stop yemen from further up to date. what happened was they ended up coming around on this. in the past year i don't know their particular interests but in the past year with all of the news around surveillance exports and filtering exports i believe this company saw this as the right time to step up and push those standards and i hope it will cause other companies like that to consider this as well.
>> might have time for two more questions or this might be it depending how long answers you can spend some of your time on. what should individuals do to ensure their privacy is protected as much as possible on the internet? so turn it off. >> i think the first step is a lot of what rebecca's book talks about. as the general public we need to care about this. people don't start caring about censorship until affects them personally but these privacy questions affect all of us. we just don't think they do because we are not criminals so we think we are immune. presumably. that is where we need to move forward and pushed companies whether it is pushing them to join the global network initiative for adopt their own
policies or this is a matter of something that needs to happen. >> what she said. it is public awareness. it is being aware in part of what you are using and how that information is being shared. who has access to. a lot of people use stuff on the internet for mobile devices without really paying attention to how private or public it really is. so part of that is public education. you kidding ourselves. educating our children to think about is this -- posting this thing on my friend's facebook page but is it as public as me sticking it on the wall and letting everybody see it just magnified? think about what you are doing and what its implications are and the lot of that is
socialization because the technology is so new. look both ways before you cross the street. there was a time when nobody was used cars and things were much more chaotic and you socialize yourself to live in a new kind of environment with your technology and we have socialized ourselves to this. that is part of it in terms of education from primary schools. >> let me get one last quick question and synthesized from a couple questions in here. this is one of those relatively new things that targeted advertising and the mining of information about individuals. supposedly this is to show dog lovers and for dog food as opposed to cat food, it goes into this world of shatter we middle men who are auctioning the right to advertise to you in a split second.
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