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Mind Power

“There appears to be a widespread assumption that intellectual property (i.e., things produced by the mind, such as books, songs and inventions) is less worthy of protection than physical property such as cars, homes, real estate, livestock and jewelry”, – noted Merrill Matthews, Jr. and Tom Giovanetti in their article “Why Intellectual Property is Important?” People who would never walk into someone’s house and take a stereo without permission or paying for it might feel no guilt whatsoever in stealing software or downloading a song from the Internet without paying for it or seeking permission from the artist or recording company. Although people often can get free use of someone’s intellectual property, does that make it right? Does it really hurt anyone? Is intellectual property really all that important?

We live in a society that not only consumes intellectual property; we live in a society that creates it. Undermining intellectual property protections undermines one of the pillars on which our economy (and our global competitiveness) rests.

Intellectual property (IP) rights are valuable assets for business – possibly among the most important it possesses. And many people have already realized how important it is to protect intellectual property.

IP encourages innovation and rewards entrepreneurs, drives economic growth and competitiveness, creates and supports good jobs, protects consumers and families, and helps generate breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

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Digital Activism: What is ‘Hacktivism’?

The excessive surveillance has brought to life a phenomenon known today as ‘hacktivism’. As described at www.thehacktivist.com, hacktivism “is the fusion of hacking and activism; politics and technology“. It can be said that a hacktivist uses the same tools and techniques as a hacker, but does so in order to disrupt services and bring attention to a political or social cause. These tools include web site defacements, redirects, denial-of-service attacks, information theft, web site parodies, virtual sit-ins, and virtual sabotage. Whether hacktivism is a crime may be debated. Opponents argue that hacktivism causes damage in a forum where there is already ample opportunity for nondisruptive free speech. Others insist that such an act is the equivalent of a protest and is therefore protected as a form of free speech.

To get a better understanding of what ‘hacktivism’ is and who the ‘hacktivists’ are, watch the videos below:

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Real World vs Electronic World: the Question of Surveillance


New tools and technology have really opened the door of opportunity for sharing, creating, and distributing content. Since these tools have made it easy to share content, they have also made it easy to steal content. That’s why the question of surveillance is very important nowadays. We have asked several young people of different age, profession and country what do they think about the role internet surveillance plays in our everyday life. Find their answers below.

Maya, 25
Profession: teacher
Country: Finland

“For the last years the danger that some organizations, companies and people are getting access to personal information has dramatically increased. I realize that nothing is really private anymore and the users don’t have any power. I don’t have any power. Today all the information about the person is in provider’s hands. People start to worry about their private life. People’s awareness causes deviance and social activity. As a result different social movements appear. They try to fight for their rights. And they use social media, because it’s the easiest way to share information with people and involve them into action.”


Thomas, 30
Profession: lawyer
Country: Russia

“Online privacy has become one of the most urgent topics nowadays. And there is nothing surprising. Because of massive investments in internal security, Internet culture is changing. Anonymity will soon become a precious thing. Closed user groups have already gained momentum in communities that have a heightened awareness and demand for privacy. Decentralized infrastructure is needed. There are a lot of organizations and foundations nowadays, who discuss such problems. For example “The Electronic Frontier Foundation” is among those, who reacted to problems of communication privacy online. I know, that they developed a toolset called “Tor”. It can be used by organizations and people that want to improve their safety and security on the Internet.”

Maria, 26
Profession: public relations manager
Country: Sweden

“A lot of users do not even realize how often they are being surveilled. Of course there are people who aren’t aware of the extent to which they’re being monitored, but there are others, who are afraid their information could be used!”

And what do you think about Internet Surveillance? Please leave your comments below!

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Slacktivists fight back!

Social networking sites, micro-blogging services, content-sharing sites, blogs (like this one!), web pages, wikipedia, twitter and much more, have introduced the opportunity for wide-scale, online social participation with the opportunity to send out information and updates on a national and international scale. Online participation/activism has however received a lot of criticism of being a lazy way of getting involved in different causes even referring it to ‘slacktivism’. The definition on slacktivism on Wikipedia reads: “The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist”. There is also a worry that online activities will detract from real life activism.

Online activism – we need more research

And we don’t really know what effects online participation can actually have. According to us, there is not enough research on this matter. Also, research is not keeping up with the pace that activism is unfolding online.

“Where traditional activism begins and online activities start?”

There are many new tools, way to share information, activities online that are bordering traditional public, sphere activities. These days, we don’t really know where traditional activism begins, and online activities start. They are intermeshed – intertwined. This reflects the real world, since there is no clear line between the two spheres. We live in a complex world – and we participate online as well as offline. And we don’t really know what activities can have the greatest impact – which is why online activism shouldn’t lose importance or be attacked – this might actually prove to be just as effective as traditional activities. But as mentioned more research on this is needed.

Working together to obtain a powerful movement

We believe it is important to draw from the strengths of both offline and online activism and combine them to create a new sphere where maximal impacts in order to create a specific social and political change are obtained. How to create this must be further analyzed, but we see many organizations that are moving towards utilizing both tools/means in a new creative way that in the end will turn into action and change in policies, laws and structures. For instance, Amnesty still has the activity groups that meet off-line, but instead of sending letters they send electronic letters and have interactive communities online and they are able to gather Amnesty activists around one cause in a matter of days, or even hours, thanks to the power of the internet.

“Internet has provided activists with new opportunities to build networks, across borders, and exchange alternative information or distribute information in a more cost-efficient way.”

The same goes for many other organizations with transnational width and activities.  The wide accessibility of different online activities, which have a wide range of levels in engagement and commitments, makes online activism easy for people to get involved in. In short, Internet has provided activists with new opportunities to build networks, across borders, and exchange alternative information or distribute information in a more cost-efficient way. It also provided activists and civil society organizations more control over the content of their message and the tools to independently inform citizens and sympathizers worldwide.

“We are still social animals, and we don’t believe this will end.”

To sum up, we would argue that online activism can in fact strengthen offline, public sphere activism. By its cost-effective advantage and fast-paced information dispersion that facilitates awareness of issues could in fact translate into further action for some people, who might otherwise have remained ignorant and inactive. Successful actions, we believe, move beyond the limits of internet, which is fragmentation and availability, and diversifies their media strategies to include more traditional forms of media such as print, TV, or radio. And face-to-face meetings will be as important in the future as it has always been, we are still social animals, and we don’t believe this will end.

 “We are all slacktivists – and proud of it!”

Examples of slacktivist activities are those lists on ‘End violence against women’ you sign on Facebook, or the twitter messages you disperse on a particular day to celebrate or create attention towards something, or the publication you share on your blog on how we have now reached 7 billion people and what implications this might have (on 31 October 2011 this will be the case- UNFPA). However, we can’t all work in the development aid sector – the UN, FAO and the World Bank are workplaces very few people reach. Many of us know that but we still want to direct attention to a particular cause, or feel like we are involved. We are all slacktivists – and proud of it. The alternative would be not to get involved and ignore important messages about the state of the world. Would that be better?

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Nike Women & The ‘Make Yourself’ Movement

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In 2010, Nike ignited the Make Yourself movement to inspire and motivate women everywhere to achieve their goals and become the best ‘versions’ of themselves, whatever this may be: fit, proud, fast, healthy, strong or beautiful. As a part of … Continue reading

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