[NetBehaviour] Pirate Bay Founder: 'I Have Given Up'

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Sat Dec 12 21:11:30 CET 2015

Society may produce exceptional spaces though?

On 12 December 2015 03:31:08 GMT-08:00, ruth catlow <ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org> wrote:
>I like his final statement- that the Internet is the same as society- 
>not an exceptional place.
>On 12/12/15 11:24, marc garrett wrote:
>> I've just copied this from the Nettime list,
>> and thought others here may be interested in the subject...
>> wishing you well.
>> marc
>> < 
>> >
>> Pirate Bay Founder: 'I Have Given Up'
>> Written by JOOST MOLLEN
>> December 11, 2015 // 02:26 PM EST
>> "The internet is shit today. It's broken. It was probably always
>> broken, but it's worse than ever."
>> My conversation with, Peter Sunde, one of the founders and
>> spokespersons of The Pirate Bay, did not start out optimistically.
>> There's good reason for that: In the last couple of months, the
>> contemporary download culture shows heavy signs of defeat in the
>> battle for the internet.
>> Last month we saw Demonii disappear. It was the biggest torrent
>> tracker on the internet, responsible for over 50 million trackers a
>> year. Additionally, the MPAA took down YIFY and Popcorn Time. Then
>> news got out that the Dutch Release Team, an uploading collective,
>> made a legal settlement with anti-piracy group BREIN.
>> While it might look like torrenters are are still fighting this
>> battle, Sunde claims that the reality is more definitive: "We have
>> already lost."
>> Back in 2003 Peter Sunde, together with Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid
>> Svartholm, started The Pirate Bay, a website that would become the
>> biggest and most famous file-sharing website in the world. In 2009,
>> the three founders were convicted of "assisting [others] in copyright
>> infringement" in a highly controversial trial.
>> Sunde was incarcerated in 2014 and released a year later. After his
>> time in jail he started blogging about the centralization of power by
>> the European Union; ran as a candidate for the Finnish Pirate Party
>> during the elections to the European Parliament; and founded Flattr,
>> micro donation system for software developers.
>> I wanted to speak with Sunde about the current state of the free and
>> open internet, but this conversation quickly changed into an
>> ideological exchange about society and capitalism -- which is,
>> according to Sunde, the real problem.
>> The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.
>> **MOTHERBOARD: Hey Peter, I was planning on asking you if things are
>> going well, but you made it pretty clear that that isn't the case.**
>> Peter Sunde: No, I don't see any good happening. People are too easy
>> to content with things.
>> Take the net neutrality law in Europe. It's terrible, but people are
>> happy and go like "it could be worse." That is absolutely not the
>> right attitude. Facebook brings the internet to Africa and poor
>> countries, but they're only giving limited access to their own
>> services and make money off of poor people. And getting government
>> grants to do that, because they do PR well.
>> Finland actually made internet access a human right a while back.
>> was a clever thing of Finland. But that's like the only positive
>> I have seen in any country anywhere in the world regarding the
>> internet
>> **So, how bad is the state of the open internet?**
>> Well, we don't have an open internet. We haven't had an open internet
>> for a long time. So, we can't really talk about the open internet
>> because it does not exist anymore. The problem is, nobody stops
>> anything. We are losing privileges and rights all of the time. We are
>> not gaining anything anywhere. The trend is just going in one
>> direction: a more closed and more controlled internet. That has a big
>> impact on our society. Because they are the same thing today. If you
>> have a more oppressed internet, you have a more oppressed society. So
>> that's something we should focus on.
>> But still we think of the internet like this new kind Wild West
>> and things are not in chains yet, so we don't care because everything
>> will be OK anyhow. But that is not really the case. We have never
>> this amount of centralization, extreme inequality, extreme capitalism
>> in any system before. But according to the marketing done by people
>> like Mark Zuckerberg and companies like Google, it's all to help with
>> the open network and to spread democracy, and so on. At the same
>> they are capitalistic monopolies. So it's like trusting the enemy to
>> do the good deeds. It is really bizarre.
>> **Do you think because a lot of people don't consider the internet to
>> be real or a real place, they care less about its well-being?**
>> Well, one thing is, we have been growing up with an understanding of
>> the importance of things like a telephone line or television. So if
>> would start to treat our telephone lines or TV channels like we treat
>> the internet, people would get really upset. If someone would tell
>> you, you can't call a friend, you would understand then that this is
>> very bad thing that is happening. You understand your rights. But
>> people don't have that with the internet. If someone would tell you,
>> you can't use Skype for that and that, you don't get the feeling it's
>> about you personally. Just by being a virtual thing, it's suddenly
>> directed at you. You don't see someone spying on you, you don't see
>> something censored, you don't see it when someone deletes stuff out
>> the search results out of Google. I think that's the biggest problem
>> to get people's attention. You don't see the problems, so people
>> feel connected to it.
>> I would rather not care about it myself. Because it's very hard to do
>> something about it, and not become a paranoid conspiracy person. And
>> you don't want to be that. So rather just give up. That's kind of
>> people have been thinking, I think.
>> **What is it exactly that you have given up?**
>> Well, I have given up the idea that we can win this fight for the
>> internet.
>> The situation is not going to be any different, because apparently
>> that is something people are not interested in fixing. Or we can't
>> people to care enough. Maybe it's a mixture, but this is kind of the
>> situation we are in, so its useless to do anything about it.
>> We have become somehow the Black Knight from Monty Python's Holy
>> Grail. We have maybe half of our head left and we are still fighting,
>> we still think we have a chance of winning this battle.
>> **So what can people do to change this?**
>> Nothing.
>> **Nothing?**
>> No, I think we are at that point. I think it's really important
>> understand this. We lost this fight. Just admit defeat and make sure
>> next time you understand why you lost this fight and make sure it
>> doesn't happen again when we try and win the war.
>> **Right, so what is this war about and what should we do to win it?**
>> Well, I think, to win the war, we first of need to understand what
>> fight is and for me it's clear that we are dealing with ideological
>> thing: extreme capitalism that's ruling, extreme lobbying that's
>> ruling and the centralization of power. The internet is just a part
>> a bigger puzzle.
>> And the other thing with activism is that you have to get momentum
>> attention and such. We have been really bad at that. So we stopped
>> ACTA, but then it just came back with a different name. By that time,
>> we had used all our resources and public attention on that.
>> The reason that the real world is the big target for me, is because
>> the internet is emulating the real world. We are trying to recreate
>> this capitalistic society we have on top of the internet. So the
>> internet has been mostly fuel on the capitalistic fire, by kind of
>> pretending to be something which will connect the whole world, but
>> actually having a capitalistic agenda.
>> Look at all the biggest companies in the world, they are all based on
>> the internet. Look at what they are selling: nothing. Facebook has no
>> product. Airbnb, the biggest hotel chain in the world, has no hotels.
>> Uber, the biggest taxi company in the world, has no taxis whatsoever.
>> The amount of employees in these companies are smaller then ever
>> before and the profits are, in turn, larger. Apple and Google are
>> passing oil companies by far. Minecraft got sold for $2.6 billion and
>> WhatsApp for like $19 billion. These are insane amounts of money for
>> nothing. That is why the internet and capitalism are so in love with
>> each other.
>> **You told me the internet is broken, that it was always broken. What
>> do you mean by that and do we have extreme capitalism to blame for
>> it?**
>> Well, the thing is the internet is really stupid. It works really
>> simply in a simple manner and it doesn't take any adjustments for
>> censorship. Like, if one cable is gone, you take the traffic through
>> some other place. But thanks to the centralization of the internet,
>> (possible) censorship or surveillance tech is a whole lot harder to
>> get around. Also, because the internet was an American invention,
>> also still have control of it and ICANN can actually force any
>> top level domain to be censored or disconnected. For me that's, a
>> really broken design.
>> But it has always been broken, we just never really cared about it,
>> because there always have been a few good people that made sure that
>> nothing bad happened before. But I think that's the wrong idea.
>> let bad thing happen as quick as possible so we can fix them and make
>> sure it does not happen in the future. We are prolonging this
>> inevitable total failure, which is not helping us at all.
>> **So, we should just let it crash and burn down, pick up the pieces
>> and start over?**
>> Yes, with the focus on the big war on this extreme capitalism. I
>> couldn't vote, but I was hoping Sarah Palin won last time in the US
>> elections. I'm hoping Donald Trump wins this year's election. For the
>> reason that it will fuck up that country so much faster then if a
>> bad President wins. Our whole world is just so focused on money,
>> money, money. That's the biggest problem. That's why everything fucks
>> up. That's the target we have to fix. We need to make sure that we
>> going to get a different focus in life.
>> Hopefully technology will give us robots that will take away all the
>> jobs, which will cause like a massive worldwide unemployment;
>> like 60 percent. People will be so unhappy. That would be great,
>> because then you can finally see capitalism crashing so hard. There
>> going to be a lot of fear, lost blood, and lost lives to get to that
>> point, but I think that's the only positive thing I see, that we are
>> going to have a total system collapse in the future. Hopefully as
>> quick as possible. I would rather be 50 then be like 85 when the
>> system is crashing.
>> **This all sounds quite like some sort of Marxist revolution: a total
>> crash of the capitalist system.**
>> Well, yeah, I totally agree with that. I'm a socialist. I know Marx
>> and communism did not work before, but I think in the future you have
>> the possibility of having total communism and equal access to
>> everything for everybody. Most people I meet, no matter if they are a
>> communist or a capitalist, agree with me on this, because they
>> understand the potential.
>> **So, is there like a concrete thing we should focus on? Or do we
>> to aim for a new way of thinking? A new ideology?**
>> Well, I think the focus needs to be that the internet is exactly the
>> same as society. People might realize that it's not a really good
>> to have all of our data and files on Google, Facebook and company
>> servers. All of these things need to be communicated al the way to
>> political top, of course. But stop treating internet like it's a
>> different thing and start focusing on what you actually want your
>> society to look like. We have to fix society, before we can fix the
>> internet. That's the only thing.
>> -- 
>> Marc Garrett
>> Co-Founder, Co-Director and main editor ofFurtherfield.
>> Furtherfield - A living, breathing, thriving network
>> http://www.furtherfield.org - for art, technology and social change 
>> since 1997
>> Furtherfield Gallery & Commons,
>> Finsbury Park, London N4 2NQ
>> T +44(0)208 802 1301/+44(0)208 802 2827
>> M +44(0)7717 887923
>> www.furtherfield.org <http://www.furtherfield.org>
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