What is the Pirate Organization?
Great video that sheds a different light on who the real pirates are. Or put it in like this: Pirates are the good guys.
SOPA was a bill to give the US government the right to block access
to any website it deemed to be in breach of copyright law.
Opposing this American plan to create a state cyberpolice
were such online platforms as Anonymous, Wikipedia, Reddit, 4chan, and deviantART.
Many governments see cyberspace as a sovereign territory that should be under state control.
But to organizations like Anonymous, cyberspace is a public good that cannot be owned or centrally controlled.
Acts of piracy have always been a response to the control of uncharted capitalist frontiers.
Piracy is not a random act.
It is predictable and lies at the core of capitalism.
The conflict over the control of cyberspace is just the latest in a long history of struggles.
It all began in the 17th century, when capitalism expanded into the first uncharted territory
The European states were competing for ownership of trade routes.
To impose their own rules, they created monopolies called the East India companies.
The Dutch version, known as the VOC,
was designed to rule over the trade routes the Dutch had discovered.
For the Dutch, both competing companies and indigenous merchants were considered pirates.
From the state’s point of view,
anyone not respecting the standards imposed by the ruler is a pirate.
So piracy is a matter of perspective, and those in power tend to
impose their own perspective on the rest of the world.
That’s why the Dutch government saw nothing wrong when, in 1603,
a Dutch Admiral attacked a Portuguese ship along the spice route.
In fact, the Dutch government had sanctioned the attack by providing a letter of marque and reprisal.
Those given this authority were known as Privateers or Corsairs.
So what the Portuguese considered an act of piracy was for the Dutch,
a valiant move enforcing control of a sea route they claimed to own.
Many pirates believed the high seas to be a public good to be used freely for the benefit of everyone.
But in uncharted territories, it is unclear who the legitimate owners are,
and who the pirates are.
Stories of pirates are not unique to Hollywood tales of a bygone era.
History repeats itself whenever capitalism expands into uncharted territory—
and that includes cyber- and outer-space,
so Johnny Depp won’t be out of work anytime soon.
In the early 20th century,
the British government created a monopoly to enforce rules in the latest capitalist territory—the airwaves.
And the BBC was born.
Its purpose was to create rules for programmers and for listeners,
such as allowing only religious shows and classical music.
His Majesty’s subjects were to listen to the broadcasts in silence
using only BBC-approved receivers.
But the popularity of offshore pirate radio made the government rethink the rules of broadcasting.
And since the end of the BBC’s monopoly in 1967,
the airwaves have been free of censorship and treated as a public good.
The funny thing is,
every time capitalism expands into new territories, state monopolies are used to define the rules and gain control.
Or did you actually believe that capitalism and free markets were one and the same thing?
Today, the issue of net neutrality in cyberspace
echoes the struggles for freedom of the seas and freedom of the airwaves.
Remember the Dutch corsairs attacking the Portuguese ship?
Well, in 2001, the Chinese government authorized 10,000 cyber-pirates turned cyber-corsairs
to attack American targets in reprisal for a US drone intrusion.
Since then, both the US and China have been tracking cyber-pirates online
to offer them jobs as cyber-corsairs.
Using cyber-weapons such as the Stuxnet and Flame viruses,
cyber-corsairs fight for control over cyberspace,
a strategic territory on which so many industries depend.
So ask yourself: Who shall we trust to control cyberspace?
A for-profit like Google, sometimes backed by the NSA?
A nonprofit like ICANN, supported by the U.S. government?
Or a collective of stateless cyber-activists like Anonymous?
Clearly, we owe multiple pirate organizations for their view of the sea as a common good,
for unleashing free radio broadcasting, and for defending net neutrality.
Some say that sea pirates were the only ones accepting women on board in the 17th century —
thank you guys!
But the story is not over: capitalism has entered a new age of expansion,
and gene maps and outerspace are the new uncharted territories of the 21st century.
Who will you trust to control them?