18 April 2012

CISPA and Journalism

18 April 2012
This is not about photography, per se..but the CISPA bill will effect us all and if any of you out there want to be a photojournalist then your ability to "report" will become more and more limited.  You will loose your "freedom" to create documentary photography stories that you may want to create.  Your work will become limited.  I remember when I was working during the Bush administration, covering the conflict in the Middle East, I could not publish many realities in American news outlets.  We could not publish images of American soldier coffins with flags,  no one would purchase photo stories about the defense contractors in Iraq, or the gas lines.  My images and stories were published all over the world, except for in America.  I became black listed for such behind the scene stories.  I was relieved when Obama took office, and I would have the ability to tell the American people and survive, behind the scene stories once again.  Well folks, CISPA will change all that, and more forever...and it could get much worse.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is a bill that would allow companies doing business in the US to collect records of American citizens online activities, worldwide.  This includes all American journalists, photographers, investigative journalists, news agencies, associations, You Tube and bloggers.  This is a bill in my opinion, is very serious indeed. 

It was developed to help stop "cybersecurity threats" and for "cybersecurity purposes"  The bill is weak in definition, and it does not narrow the categories that the companies are to report to the American government.  This leaves the door open to any kind of interpretation, censor any speech that a company believes could "downgrade the network."  It is supposed to "protect theft or misappropriation of private or government information."  This includes intellectual property.  This gives a powerful weapon to close websites that provide important information to the American public and to the world.  The New York Times, could face problems with this bill because they published information from WikiLeaks.  They could censor international sites from American view who has information that the government does not want the American people to know about.

It reminds me of the European history pre-WWII, or the American Japanese scare and arrests on American soil.  I don't want to be forced to "wear a star" so others can identity me as a "cyber terrorist", or a "propaganda terrorists", (a new term that I read about lately, more on that later) and an American enemy, because I am writing this article.  As far as I am concerned this is the next step towards Fascism, by controlling the people, controlling the media and inserting fear that you may just get arrested the next time you cross over into American borders. 

How does the CISPA effect journalists? 
The bill disregards our Fourth Amendment rights as they apply to journalists and documentary filmmakers working on subject matter related to US military operations, foreign policy and other subjects that the Homeland Security finds offensive. 

Wait, what does homeland security have to do with CISPA the "internet eye in the sky?"  It has everything to do with it, when a person writes "keywords" that are a concern to American homeland security, that person is added to a "Homeland Security watch list" and if that person is researching, investigating, photographing, filmmaking on any of these subjects, then they will be added onto this list.  When someone is on the list, then the government, Homeland Security will have the right to arrest, question, or detain that person without any explanation, rights to make a phone call, for any amount of time and without any legal representation.  Now that is a hard call and a scary one.

The fourth amendment reads: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Is not the passing of CISPA creating the legal ability for the government (what ever branch) to follow citizens actions, opinions, online published papers, published articles, images, or emails and conversations using the written word or even voiced such as on Skype or Google, against the fourth amendment?  This action will Kill the Forth Amendment. 

In the end, it boils down to who is reading the key words and what kind of mood they are in that day if they report you or not. If anyone in the corporation feels that the citizen in this case, journalist, is approaching information that concerns the said "national interest, sensitive, secret or protected from disclosure then that information," journalist will be considered a "threat".  Remember it is the government or "homeland security" that can distinguish which materials are public or protected from disclosure not the companies.

CISPA puts the companies into the position of becoming "informers" with the promise of shielding them from any legal responsibility.  The government and these companies, (see supporters of CISPA list) tell the citizens that the law protects the populations and tech companies from cyber attacks.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers"

That freedom was suppressed in Germany by President Paul Von Hindenburg, as Adolf Hitler was coming into power.  Hitler suppressed press freedom through the Joseph Goebbels' Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda where which the government acted as a central point for all media, issuing orders as to what stories could or could not be told. In this way, important realities were kept from the citizens and the journalists did not have a choice to take action in fear of execution. 

This bill instills increased fear among the American people.  I always hear people say, "Well, I'm not doing anything wrong, they can do what they want.  I have nothing to hide."  Wait a minute, does this mean because you are a "good person" that you will watch our civil rights drift away?  What happens when you become really angry about what can most likely happen in America's future when our freedoms are really gone and you want to say something or do something about it, like create a petition?  If the CISPA bill passes, you will be faced with the fear regarding, your postings on Facebook, web searches, sending emails, writing blog posts, any communication online...for fear that someone could "come knocking" on your door.  This has already happened to over 50,000 American citizens, and some of them have quietly been deported.

If "they" don't like what you are doing, they will have the right to: shut you down, your website, your blog, your business, and your existence.

Reporters Without Borders put it this way, "The definition of potential threats is even broader. It targets ‘‘efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy” a system or network, the “theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information”.  CISPA in its current form is written in broad scope.  The information that the companies share is not narrow and limited.  Information sharing should be about increasing Internet users' security, not government surveillance.

Related Articles:
Stop the Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act

CISPA Supporters List
True America: Where Lies Become the Truth
Procedures for handling Assemblies and Mass Demonstrations in D.C. 

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA)

18 April 2012
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) would allow companies doing business in the US to collect exact records of all of our online activities and hand them over to the US government, without ever notifying us that we are being watched. No warrant, no legal cause and no due process required. To make matters worse, the bill provides the government and corporations with blanket immunity to protect them from being sued for violation of privacy and other illegal actions.

The bill’s supporters claim that consumer information will be protected, but the reality is that huge loopholes would make everything we do online fair game -- and nowadays, from banking to shopping, our private information is all stored on the Internet.

CISPA is being moved forward in Congress and will be voted upon in days. Let’s raise a massive outcry to stop corporations from giving the US a blank check to monitor our every move.

Right now, the US is poised to pass a new law that would permit US agents to spy on almost everything we do online. But we can stop them before the final vote.

Companies that we trust with our personal information, like Microsoft and Facebook, are key supporters of this bill that lets corporations share all user activity and content with US government agents without needing a warrant in the name of cyber-security -- nullifying privacy guarantees for almost everyone around the world, no matter where we live and surf online.

If enough of us speak out, we can stop companies that profit from our business from supporting cyber-spying. Sign the petition to these key net corporations now:

Click below to take action:


This year, we helped stop SOPA, PIPA and ACTA -- all dire threats to the Internet. Now, let’s block CISPA and end the US government attack on our Internet.
Related Articles:
CISPA Supporters List
 CISPA and Journalism
True America: Where Lies Become the Truth
Procedures for handling Assemblies and Mass Demonstrations in D.C. 

16 April 2012

Olympus E-510

I had a client the other day for my photo tours (a plug) and she had an Olympus E-510 that I could not figure out how to use in "manual mode"  I like my clients to use manual mode when they are learning how to use the camera and take images.  I believe that working in manual really helps the photographer to understand the technical side so that they can become as creative as they want.  They will learn to "rule" the camera, rather than the camera being in charge of what style of images they take. 

I felt sort-of "bad" because I did not know her camera and I was there to teach.  Usually, I can take a digital like canons, nikons and pentax digital cameras and figure them out quickly so we can run around and take images.  It was a very rainy day and the client decided that she wanted to sit down and learn the functions of her camera.

The Olympus brand has some of their own "Olympus lingo" and we did not have a manual so we had to play around with it.  We ended up taking some nice shots and I can't wait until she gets back home to send some to me.  I will put them online, with her permission, of course! 

The Olympus E-510 is actually a nice camera once you figure it out.  It has some options that some of the others do not have; you can take images in "live view" mode, meaning that you can view your image through the LCD rather than the view finder.  This is what makes the camera work a bit differently than most.  The other nice option is when you want to view your image in the LCD, the image rotates according to how you are holding your camera!  It also has four different "play" view modes, single shot, thumbnails multiple shots, a slide show and a calendar.  The camera automatically sorts the images by dates, so in calendar mode you can click the date and view the images taken on that specific day. 

Below are some bullet points of what we discovered, in case it can help any of you:
    * the "sswf" on the top of your camera, blinks when you turn it on.  This means: that the dust cleaner is active.  it means: super sonic wave filter (Olympus terms)
    * P on your dialer means program mode
    * S means shutter mode
    * A means aperture mode
    * M means manual mode
    * To change settings:  click on info you will see that screen that we kept looking at;  here is where you can change your ISO, and other setting:  click okay (in the center dial on the right) and the ISO page will show up, press the arrows to change that setting. 
    * White Balance (WB) click okay after you change the ISO, then the arrow until the WB setting is highlights, then okay;  here you can change it to overcast, auto, sunny, inside etc...scroll to the desired setting and click okay.
    * You can do the same with metering (area, spot etc), HQ and SQ means high quality and standard quality.
    * Flash: you can set the flash manually in the same way that you change your other settings above: 1/4;  1/16 and 1/64
    * Your camera is one of 4 digital that lets you take live view: this is that button we would press to see the image on the screen when taking photos.  (I will try to describe it here: the small button on the right side that has the screen icon, near just below that IS button) when you press on that, it goes to live screen.  The mirror in the camera flips up (that noise that you hear) and the view finder blacks out.  This is when you get all that stuff you don't like onto your LCD screen.   (Now we know)
    * You can use that "display mode" with all the icons, and switch between them by pressing the info button.
    * Here is something important:  In live view mode your camera will not autofocus when you press the shutter button 1/2 way; BUT you can press the AEL button to autofocus.
    * You will hear the mirror (That sound you kept hearing) when taking a picture in live view mode; the mirror will open, focus take the picture and snap up again.
    * IS button means: image stabilization. there are two settings:  one for static subjects(IS2)  and one for subjects moving horizontal. (IS 1)  This stabilizes your camera, while shooting in live mode to reduce the camera shake.
    * When taking a shot in live view, you can magnify the view by clicking on the Okay button. to remove the magnification, click okay again.
    * You have different "play" modes:  standard one photo view, multiple image view and slideshow view.  To change your view:  press menu > scroll to play (the play icon) scroll to click the views. click okay.