Two OA videos and an article

Today I came upon two videos on open access and the internet, both inspiring, and one unsettling. First, the unsettling bit. Peter Sunde, of PirateBay fame, recently spoke at the Brain Bar Budapest conference on his view on the internet's relation to society. It's pretty bleak. In a subsequent interview with TNW he said,


I would say we, as the people, kind of lost the internet back to the capitalist society, which we were hoping to take it back from. We had this small opening of a decentralized internet but we lost it by being naive. These companies try to sound good in order to take over, that they’re actually ‘giving’ you something. Like Spotify gives you music and has great passion for music, and all of the successful PR around it.

But what it does to us in the long term is more like smoking. Big data and Big Tobacco are really similar in that sense. Before, we didn’t realize how dangerous tobacco actually was, but now we know it gives you cancer. We didn’t know that big data could be thing, but now we know it is. We’ve been smoking all our lives on big data’s products and now we can’t quit.

Big data is like big tobacco. Presumed to be safe for decades and when we understood the cancer it brought, it was hard for people to quit.


In regard to solutions, Sunde names some inspiring ideas, like Iceland, where the Pirate Party, running on a platform of groundbreaking digital policies, almost got into government. Dramatic changes on a national level, no matter how small the population is, could have great effects in the global community. Basically meaning that countries can lead by example.

Sunde, who’s half Norwegian and half Finnish, says that another good example of leading digital policies on a national level is when Finland made access to the internet a human right in 2010. By giving people these rights, the government had to define what the internet actually is and prevented future discussions about censorship — bolstering people’s rights against further centralization.

If nation states can actually facilitate further decentralization, like Sunde suggests, then we might actually be able to hamper the immense power of big corporations. Countries like Estonia have shown that politicians can come up with digital policies that actually preserve citizens’ right in a digital age.


However, we humans are illogical creatures that don’t necessarily do the things that are good for us: “It’s better for the people, but we don’t want to suffer that one single down-time second of our beloved tobacco.”

The second is an interview with Sasha Elbakyan, creator and maintainer  of SciHub (despite an academic blacklisting and several international court injunctions and warrants). I met Sasha in a bar in Moscow almost 2 years ago, and here she is in her same glory speaking at the Geek Picnic 2017 in Moscow (dubbed into English, but I guess there is a Russian version somewehere