Hail Napster: How Napster led to moral decline and NSA Surveillance seen in CitizenFour

Internet Access Screenshot

The Internet of Things (IoT) and online practices of late have really turned into the Wild Wild West. Hacking, identify theft, rude behavior, scams, dishonesty, and malicious attacks are now very commonplace. Ads blanket your view of web pages with often deceptive hidden links or malware. It’s often not apparent if a person is who they say they are. It’s become a lawless environment. Heck, even our own U.S. government & NSA are involved in hacking and clandestine Internet activity. But, how did the Digital Age deteriorate so to this point?

Napster Logo
Napster Logo

One of the earliest and most instrumental web sites that helped shape our online behavior and this social change was Napster, the first music file sharing web site, which allowed free music file sharing from about 1999 – 2001. It was eventually shut down for copyright violations, which the company should have known was unlawful. Because of this, I believe Napster helped to shape (deteriorate) today’s Internet rules and etique more than any other single tech or social net advance. I believe it also gave the NSA agency more political cover in their bold surveillance programs here in the U.S., as reported in the documentary, CitizenFour. And since about 2009, hacking into medical, government, and company web sites has become much more commonplace. Because of these omline practices, many laws, long held traditions, and common decency have been tossed aside.

As I dwelled on the documentary, CiticenFour, and our economic, social, and political challenges, I am reminded of the role that Napster played via technology in changing the way we obtain music, and in ushering more free wheeling practices on the Internet. Today, I find the philosophy, “If it ain’t locked down, it’s yours,” very problematic. This new era philosophy is also reaping havoc on social & public policy. And in a round about way, CitizenFour is bringing discussion to the moral failures of our time, which could be corrected, or made worse, by Digital Age advances.

CitizenFour
CitizenFour

I was recently reading about the Anthem & UCLA health plan data breachs and how as many as 80M subscribers and affiliates had personal information stolen. I grew up in the 60s during an era of “free expression.” But we didn’t steal! And I can say [today] that the only laws we didn’t respect were ones that were WRONG! All but a couple have since been corrected.

Today, many people, organizations, and companies outright thumb their noses at our laws, while they attempt to rewrite them through activism, lobbying, and PACS. Often their efforts are morally and legally wrong. For instance, the news reports of Planned Parenthood being involved in selling fetal [abortion] organs. Where in Roe v. Wade did the court provide for that? These groups don’t care about the country, nor the consequences of their actions. There is ample evidence today that these kinds of widespread dishonest beliefs and methods of conducts, are responsible for most of the upheaval and suffering around the world. In the U.S., this becomes even more complicated through disinformation through political activism and the media, i.e. the “spin game.” But what we need are wisdom, leadership, and trust.

Knowledge is where spiritual enlightenment meets wisdom
Knowledge is where spiritual enlightenment meets wisdom

I seem to recall a couple of years ago all the excitement in the U.S. news media about the “Arab Spring.” My understanding of this was that the Internet Age had finally had its presence felt in the very troubled Middle East, and reports were everywhere that mobile devices & Internet connectivity were going to enable local populations to take back control over their own communities, states, and countries. But here we are two years later, and we don’t hear about the Arab Spring. We don’t hear about freedom. We don’t even hear about self-governance. All we hear about is ISIS, beatings, beheadings, and thousands on migrants in desperate need of help! How in the #%!*? did freedom disolve to this?

Arab Spring North Africa

I think the leadership of the U.S. was philosophically complicet in the failures of the Arab Spring, when the Obama administration shared that they too would shut down the Internet in the event there were some type of uprising here in the states. Furthermore, I have a gut sense that leaders around the world, albeit of free nations, or vicious dictaters over troubled regions, have been sent signals that the West will not intervene politically. So I’m confused. How can we on one hand say that we want people to be free to self govern, while at the same time say that if you actually try and do it, you’ll be “turned off” digitally?

And for the above reasons, I attribute the free wheeling philosophies of the Digital Age to the slow U.S. & global economy and general lack of trust and unrest. I additionally feels these views empowered NSA to feel it was permissible to collect information on good Americans, which could potentially be used/sold in matters unrelated to homeland security.

Today’s digital age philosophy has also minimized the lawlessness in data breaches in areas like medical and other web sites, which is compromising the availability of new mHealth technologies, but also slowing global growth. The philosophy also deflects the moral failures of outsourcing millions of American jobs with little regard to future consequences. And lastly, these free-wheeling views have given activist groups unprecidented say via social media on such matters of public policy and spending, to the dentriment of others much more in need. In the end, it seems the best “liar” wins. Truth and regard for your fellow American comes 2nd.

Today’s dishonest practices have spilled over into conflicting policies on telemarketing too, for example. Though overseen by the FCC, telemarketers can legally obtain and use telephone technology that had been coveted by terrorists and stalkers! FCC instructs affected Americans to file Do Not Call List complaints on their web site. But that web site is probably hacked too. Telemarketers now even give a recorded call back message that you must add YOUR number to THEIR Do Not Call List, which is false. This is just another broad attempt to skirt the law. FCC law is undermined here by an industry permitted to use what would otherwise be defined as “clandestine” equipment.

In another FCC matter, Congress passed the CALM Act in 2012 to end loud TV commercials, which among other things, poses health issues for millions of Americans. But the loud TV commercials continue. FCC recommends filing complaints on each and every loud commercial. Be we could do that until the cows come home.

Still, in recent years, much of the focus of new laws and enforcement has with sexual expression and sexual orientation, at the expense of many more at-risk [esp. homeless] Americans, jobs leaving the country, failed domestic policies, and protecting our borders.

Homless man awaits help
Homless man awaits help

The country (and Internet’s) new philisophy also led to very little legal action on the 2008 collapse of our banking system, an investigation of the false information leading to the Iraq War (now ISIS), and the ill effects of millions of undocumented workers in the U.S. who are depressing wages, overcrowding cities, and straining city services. There is irony here too – that despite so much emphasis on free expression, there is little substantive discussion on issues like illegal immigration, as Donald Trump has found found out, because the discussion of the subject facts & terms is “politically incorrect.”

Knowledge is Power
Knowledge is Power

Any discussion seems to lead to opposing sides spewing false statements and trying to exploit social media for their own devices. Today, Congress and states are left with trying to craft policy that will not withstand the test of time. So, Hail Napster for helping to make this all possible. But, maybe we were headed there nonetheless, and Napster just gave us the opportunity to screw ourselves! But not everyone used Napster & file sharing. I didn’t.

Helping those in need with knowledge, opportunity, and mental health and medical care.
Helping those in need with knowledge, opportunity, and mental health and medical care.

While we as citizens are told to stand down and accept a more lawless society, our government has broadened its domestic powers with policy like the Patriot Act, which permits local police to acquire military weaponry, forbidden by the Constitution. It has become a gray area. These weapons could someday be used against Americans wanting to demonstrate because they disagree with policy. Not a comforting thought. I admit the documentary, CitizenFour, opened my eyes to a lot of this.

But, I was already disappointed with our country of late. There’s a lot to be concerned about. We have policy that is likely to bring about failure, and widespread suffering. Some of these policies are not even founded in law or the U.S. Constitution.

While some hail Napster as one of the great innovations of the Digital Age, I view it as perhaps the 1st major failure of the Internet, the “nuclear bomb” of sorts of the Digital Age. It revealed how we as a society could cast aside longstanding law and moral practices morality, merely for greed! The Napster & NSA failures [CitizenFour documentary] should remind us of our larger responsibilities as a democracy and free society. There is an inherent imperitive “moral clause” in self-goverance. Once this is breached, we must act swiftly to repair it before decay & lawlessness spread. Our 911 tragedy revealed a lot about failed U.S. policies. It also gave way to the Patriot Act and the government’s endless claims over privacy, in the absence of war or any verifiable threat.

Prosperity is based on sound information.
Prosperity is based on sound information.

For me personally, I am still waiting to find out who killed President John F. Kennedy. Why the secrecy? Today the government wants to behave like they’re still in the 1960s. Or like the Catholic church of old!

Napster also changed the way we view intellectual property, commerce, and common decency over the Internet. More than any other single piece of technology, Napster was able to coerce millions of Americans and Internet users down an immoral course to obtaining music without paying for it. This no doubt helped shape today’s lawless social order on the Internet.

Artificial intelligence comes in many forms. Let us not forget who we serve.
Artificial intelligence comes in many forms. Let us not forget who we serve.

So where are we headed now? These technologies are far less useful without trust and adoption. I sense that millions of Internet users are holding back on new purchases and projects today because of uncertainties over Internet privacy and adoption.

On one hand, I can make the argument that the Internet has done more HARM than GOOD. Many mobile apps are in violation of reasonable protections of privacy. Everyone has been assuming that some knowledgeable group or government agency has been reviewing the Permission Agreements which we all [x] sign on. But the truth is, the permissions are often open ended and unreasonable, and few know to what degree their privacy is compromised. Up until the 1980s or so, our country had many highly respected public interest organizations looking out for us. Today, that seems limited to the ACLU, which I’m not even sure if they’re based in America. With so much clandestine surveillance and conflicts of interests, I fear public interest organizations can no longer protect us.

Napster ushered in a seedy new era for the Internet, breaking laws, lowering morals.
Napster ushered in a seedy new era for the Internet, breaking laws, lowering morals.

I was never a Napster member or fan. Despite being very techie, I never illegally downloaded a single song. Not that I wouldn’t on occassion borrow and copy a CD from a friend. But infrequently. And between good friends. Still, Napster did serve as a means to an end. It helped to solve the contraints and fair pricing of today’s music.

In 2015, we find ourselves in familiar territory again needing technology to solve the “unfairness” in the unavailability of TV programs. Access to programs must be fair and reasonable, which we learned in language used by the presiding judge in the DeflateGate NFL case, throwing out Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension on appeal.

In looking back, and forward, each one of us must decide for ourselves on what we view as right and wrong.

Today, we are bombarded with misinformation from groups with hidden financial interests in matters. Still, despite my criticisms on this blog, I am actually an OPTIMIST!

Below, I share a link to my Dec. 2014 blog on change:

Our Capacity for Change is Rooted in the Power of God, Free Will, and Social Media

People want to glorify Napster and others of the Internet Age. I grew up in the 60s, and we didn’t believe in stealing. We only wanted to be left to do our thing!  I find Napster and NSA surveillance [in documentary CitizenFour] strikingly in agreement. Both felt it OK to steal information! That’s what Watergate was about. It didn’t work out well for them.

This 2013 Napster story by The Guardian takes a look back at Napster.

Napster Story chronicled by The Guardian

ABOUT ME: I worked w/ computers and technology in nuclear medical imaging from 1975-1992, where I learned to write basic code, author medical procedures, troubleshoot instrumentation. 1982-1992 owned my own imaging company. A 1992 auto accident, injury & hydrocephalus condition led to efforts w/ assistive cognitive technologies, design of an mHealth diagnostic app (1997), and work in the neurosciencees & music therapy. I have also consulted in legal cases in failure to warn, and am becoming more involved in cognitive accessibility, where accessibility and protections are largely ignored. I currently own the domain CognitiveAccessibility.org.

On a positive note, read my blog on the brain-buzzing science of basketball.

Peace to you,

Stephen Dolle
www.StephenDolle.com
Newport Beach, CA

Our Capacity for Change is Rooted in your Higher Power, Free Will, and Social Media

The power of FREE WILL is a brain science supported mechanism to enable change within ourselves, and to further change proposed by others. Change can occur in small or even very large groups in almost an instant. Change occurs by movement, sharing, and adoption of collective thought. In neuroscience terminology, it begins via a process in the brain termed “brain wave entrainment,” and messages are received and assimiliated from others.

The four levels of brain wave states are shown in this illustration
The four levels of brain wave states are shown in this illustration
A schematic showing how brain wave entrainment occurs.
A schematic showing how brain wave entrainment occurs.

The brain wave entrainment can come from a friend, a stranger, a parent, a teacher, or even an individual during a violant assault. The change is best adopted and sustainable when done via “free will.” But it doesn’t necessarily have to be. There are many people undergoing psychotherapy treatment today for actions and emotions “forced” them months and years earlier, to which they seem to have no free will to change. This typically is a rebound response to a traumatic event that the individual was forced to entrain with, and have become confused as to how & why they entrained with the messenger.

Young children captivated by their play in a drum circle
Young children captivated by their play in a drum circle

Since the beginning of time, persons in positions of authority have acted to control others, using a variety of teaching and team-building methods that have been passed on in families, among populations, and among professions, including, churches. Entrainment is both a genetic, and a conditioned mechanism. We generally control it by whom we associate with. And as modern life and personal protections have evolved, we’ve generally had more rewarding experiences with this, and increasing quality of life. At it’s best, change is most effective if done freely and under conditions of “free will.” And free will must be permitted culturally in terms of accepted social and religious traditions, and in accordance with governing laws and regulations.

Drumming and the Brain.diagram

I believe religious traditions in particular carry tremendous weight in granting permission to participate in certain types of activities. And when these barriers are removed, one can truly exercise FREE WILL to receive and assimilate information from others via brain wave entrainment, and ultimately, to CHANGE and grow from this experience. In a nutshell, we learn by engaging and assimilating outside information.

I have been putting on group drum circles, or “drumming,” since about 2006. Free form assimilation of drum circle play in an “impromptu” setting occurs through improvisation, listening, assimilating, and playing of the instruments. The neuroscience mechanism by which this occurs is termed “brain wave entrainment.” Studies have shown that in a free form or impromptu drum circle, participant’s brain waves will begin to act alike in as little as 8-10 minutes. If it is a prearranged and rehearsed piece, it could potentially occur sooner. This occurs in group activities like sports too, where entrainment is furthered through “coordinated movements,” particularly ones with a set pattern and timing. The fascinating aspect of brain science and learning, is that we are designed to process information in patterns, especially, reproducible “rhythmic” patterns, as human brain waves move across the brain in patterns. The more order and pattern our information is, the easier the assimilation and ultimately, learning.

Early Mayan Basketball
Early Mayan Basketball
Basketball Kevin Durant
Basketball Kevin Durant

However, brain wave entrainment occurs in everyday life far more than you might realize. In order to process information around us into our five senses, we must assimilate the information into recognizable brain wave patterns, or create new ones so we may understand and store it. We entrain while reading a book or working on a project. We entrain in conversations with others, particularly persons we love and trust. Familiarity greatly improves entrainment because we would already have permission to entrain, and this permission makes it more likely that the assimilation will be done under free will. If we believe and accept what the individual is sharing, entrainment occurs much more readily.

The inspiration for writing this blog originally came while writing a blog on how group drum circles can be helpful in reforming the behavior of gang members. After I finished it, I had dwelled and apparently, “prayed” on trying to understand the brain mechanism that binds gang members together. And then it occurred to me how easily we can be “tricked” or coerced into doing things that we might otherwise not normally do. And then it was a revellation of sorts where I understood the mechanism, and first wrote this blog. In my initial publishing, featured the design of the human brain as done by our creator, or God. And then I applied this to present day where social media is now used in brain wave entrainment. It is a matter of debate or conjecture whether it was a creator, or God, or evolution that helped up develop brain wave entrainment so that we could communicate, work as a group, and be more fit to survive. Since this idea initially came to me like a revelation, I kept that theme in much of this piece.

Combating Gang Violence thru Group Drumming and the Psychology of Human Behavior Members

In my revelation, there was no sensation of religion or religious practice. It was more about seeing what is possible thru group thought and behavior. I applied analysis from what I know of science, physics, and human behavior and work in the neurosciences, especially, my work with drum circles. I felt coming together in collective thought under conditions of FREE WILL was the most determinnig factor for change and learning.

I reasoned how we are free to love, to hate, or empathetic, and a gamut of many other thoughts and feelings. But I felt our most powerful learning environment is when we come together for mutually agreeable reason. Our defenses are down. We’ve offered our attentiveness. And now all this is remaining is sharing the information, and assimilating it into action. In free will, results can also be tragic too. People are often misled into agreeing to activities and relationships that end up very badly. It is often difficult to know this will be the outcome as it is occuring, freely entrained with another individual or group of individuals. This has occured in religious sects and churches too. Ultimately, it is free will and our choices that define our connections in life, and possible connections with a higher power.

Prosperity is based on sound information.
Prosperity is based on sound information.

What I find truly fascinating is the study of human behavior and human potential when given free will to ACT without constraint, without consequence, and without coersion, in which path each would choose. There IS irrefutably a connectedness force on earth amongst us that when we assemble in large numbers, we can greatly influence one another. With all of our advances in technology and now social networking, this effect can occur without a group of people physically being together. The power for change is in our collective thought, and today is now possible thru the power of social media. For good or worse, change still comes down to our ability to have free will.

Let’s switch reasoning for a moment and speak about about how this cause & affect and free will applies to LOVE. When we freely act to express love w/o any expectation of something in return, other than the feeling of that moment, we are acting selflessly out of love. I believe this also applies to the power of faith, when you believe in something unknown without any expectation of getting something in return. Perhaps just feeling the connection is all we are seeking. But I believe there’s more.

Great pic NHF members affected by hydrtocephalus at a 2015 Orange County fundraiser.
Great pic NHF members affected by hydrtocephalus at a 2015 Orange County fundraiser.

There has to be a reward for expressing ourselves freely, through a mutual action to unite and collectively change each, to change others, and affect change around us thru a collective thought and “knowing.” In a lifetime, if this happens to you once, or even twice, you are lucky. It is that powerful. Some say it is connecting to the Holy Spirit. Others say it is extraordinary brain activity now termed trance states. But since the beginning of time, this thrill has been perhaps the most elucive experience in life. And has led many a person to do things they later regret.

I recently felt that this collective power of thought and free will to experience life is the communion that God wants for us in life, to “complete” him (or her). I believe this is why we are here, to learn to complete this en route to a greater mission. This free will of human behavior is what sets us apart from every other bit of life here on earth. We are the only ones with free will, the wherewithall to assemble knowledge, and the ability to freely act upon it. It is truly powerful when we come together and collectively choose the same thought or action, which can be for good or evil. Evil is powerful too as it can trick us into entrainment and collective thought. But evil relies on deception, or a “false connection.” Still, evil finds power over victims via human connectedness.

Living plants tend to speak for you letting you know everything is OK.
Living plants tend to speak for you letting you know everything is OK.

Brain wave entrainment happens with plants & animals too. Plants have been shown to respond to human words, thoughts, and touch. Human & animal brains are equally capable of entrainment and influence thru group behavior. In group behavior, we mirror other’s thoughts & actions, sometimes unaware what we are doing. Entrainment is exciting. Entrainment becomes addictive! People and animals can get caught up in group brain wave entrainment, and do things they ordinarily wouldn’t do. This is termed “group hypnosis.” Most of the time it’s a good thing. But sometimes it isn’t. The difference between good and bad behavior is similar to a drug getting you high versus your natural endorphins. One is organic, while the other is cause & affect.

Drumming in the Workplace

Drum circles help to reduce stress and stimulate the brain for optimal function in the workplace
Drum circles help to reduce stress and stimulate the brain for optimal function in the workplace

I have had many great experiences during my drum circles where drummers freely come together & play, not knowing what we’ll play. We trust the process, and the music and spontaneonity just happens. This also widely occurs at sporting events, parties, war, rioting, prayer, and even mourning.  The real power in free will is coming together in communal agreement to change or create ideas and product. When done this way, what’s produced is often self-sustaining. But evil & trickery has benefits too, in controlling others. But it uses a false premise and connection, and it will collapse on itself when put under stress, i.e. why criminals often turn on each other.

Drumming for Wellness

Stephen Dolle facilitates a drumming for wellness workshop at a private home in Orange County
Stephen Dolle facilitates a drumming for wellness workshop at a private home in Orange County

FREE WILL is the most powerful force known to man. But are yet to put it to the test! We’ve only been in communal world thought now for the last 50-75 years. With advances in social media, we will be able to harness communal thought for great social change. I hope that it is for the good. Let’s hope that it is done freely, as that is God’s will for us.

If you are interested in contacting me, please contact me via the information below.

Stephen Dolle

Dolle Communications

Email: contact [at] dollecommunications.com

http://www.dollecommunications.com/