Last week on the Internet: Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace anniversary, strong net neutrality rules, FSF new campaign and certified laptop
- On 8th of February, we celebrated the 19th anniversary of John Perry Barlow’s visionary and powerful text A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. “Weary giants of flesh and steel”, how the co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation was naming in his text the Governments of the Industrial World, are showing today their old authoritarian values. They are fighting strongly, but clearly self-destructing, the new paradigm of what Barlow called “Cyberspace, the new home of Mind”.
- Last week, a court finally ruled that the UK-US surveillance regime was unlawful for seven years: UK access to NSA mass surveillance data was illegal. At the same, time a new report by the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe says that mass surveillance is a fundamental threat to human rights.
- While western spy agencies secretly rely on hackers for intelligence and expertise, FBI put Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond on a secret terrorist watchlist and UK spies commit illegal DoS attacks against Anonymous. Luckily we can hear Jeremy Hammond‘s point of view, even if he is in prison. His first hand experience with hacking and US government is especially valuable in this discussion. He states that the government’s cyberterrorism ‘concerns’ are a pretext for their own hacking operations.
- Germany, like many other countries, is publicly showing concern for their citizens in front of US’s mass surveillance programs, while in secret it is happy to be part of these programs. The German data protection commissioners take action against EU data transfers to US under the ‘Safe Harbor’ program, while the German subsidiary of US telecoms provider, MCI, gave to the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) access to its phone lines (GE).
- In US, Obama’s attempts to rein in NSA are seen by some well known privacy defenders as ‘an insult’ to 96% of world’s population.
- Secrecy and the unchecked state power are always a danger, and some of its first victims are journalists. Wikileaks’s secret criminal investigation is troubling for journalists and it is showing many important flaws in the system.
- While governments and companies alike try to convince us, in any way possible, that privacy is dead, we should ask ourselves: [pull_quote_center]If privacy was really dead, would everyone be trying so hard to kill it? [/pull_quote_center]
- Phil Zimmermann, the creator of the PGP encryption system, is arguing that “Intelligence agencies have never had it so good“ and that protecting privacy by using encryption in our everyday computing would not be a compromise on security, as our governments try to convince us: [pull_quote_center]To complain that end-to-end encryption is crippling them? It’s like having a couple of missing pixels in a large display[/pull_quote_center]But UK’s Security services want the whole display and more; they are capable of bypassing encryption, a new public draft code reveals.
- While we discuss encryption and the future of internet encryption, it is good to know that today the world’s email encryption software relies on one guy, who was going broke…but not anymore. Some good intentioned people and some PR opportunists, seized the moment and helped the GPG project to continue securing our communications.
- Laura Poitras wins with Citizenfour the DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary. Edward Snowden, the protagonist of the documentary, is the living proof of the importance of encryption for democracy. And for that, here are 2 new guides for making your daily computing safe: from EFF a great rich resource – Surveillance Self-Defense; and for your website/domain a free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA) Let’s Encrypt.
- DemocracyOS, the promising collaborative decision making tool, is taking coverage under BBC: Democracy at the touch of a button?
- Ecuador is having some pretty interesting projects going on and it seems that it just became the first country to roll out its own digital currency.
- FCC chairman announces strict net neutrality rules, which is declared (for now) as a victory for net neutrality, but it has to be taken across the finish line. Here are some reasons why Net Neutrality is so imporant. To make sure things will develop in the right direction, Join the Battle for Net Neutrality now!
- Sir Tim Berners-Lee, founding director of World Wide Web Foundation, gave an interview last week to the the European Commission guest blog, speaking about net neutrality.
- The artist who snooped on Google’s data farm is reversing the surveillor-surveilled roles.
Free Software & Open Source
- Some interesting news about several unexpected actors of the Open Source environment:
– the US Army has just open-sourced its security software;
– Ford Foundation expands Creative Commons licensing for all grant-funded projects;
– Open source is now part of Romania’s Digital Agenda (23-Dec-14).
Libreboot X200 laptop is now FSF-certified to respect your freedom. It can easily become a part of anyone’s arsenal for facing today’s undemocratic challenges.
- Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, has some points to make in memory of the liberties lost in The War on Piracy. But the boat keeps sailing with the top torrent tracker hitting record breaking 30 million peers, thus keeping the hopes high for better winds.