Last week on the Internet: privacy in the “emancipated” society – a review, Wikileaks vs. Google, Barrett Brown speaks out, FOSDEM, Pirate Bay is back!
- Privacy in the “emancipated” society of 2015 might be one of the main topics of this year. ‘Parks and Recreation‘, a Golden Globe nominated comedy series, takes on online privacy and on the “you’re on your own” situation in which we find ourselves regarding online privacy in the face of big tech companies and non-representative governments.
- Science Magazine also has a special issue on privacy and a quiz on “What’s your digital privacy IQ?”, both trying to create awareness on a key issue of democracy, Privacy.
- Meanwhile, a year after reform push, NSA Still Collects Bulk Domestic Data and still lacks a way to assess value. And not only that, but new documents reveal NSA’s Attacks on VPN, SSL, TLS, SSH, Tor.
- At the same time, German spy agency saves millions of phone records, a new report states. New revelations from the documents released by Edward Snowden, show how Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet over file downloads.
- What happens when governments, which call themselves democratic, spend their time (and our money) on creating loopholes in laws that permit them to build backdoors and other flaws in technologies we use in order to spy on us? In EU, the majority of businesses are unprepared for new cyber security legislation. In US, the government is saying that The Internet of Things is “A Security Disaster Waiting To Happen”. China seems to be doing better, with IT vendors crying foul at new Chinese security rules requiring built-in backdoors. Meanwhile, EU’s ‘Counter-Terrorism Co-ordinator’ wants to force internet companies to Hand Over Their Crypto Keys. We see some kind of alignment here and David Cameron’s web spying proposals are not late in joining China’s, together with US’s and EU’s.
- Contrary to what China, US, EU, UK (and many others on the list) want and find fit for our society regarding online activity, Europe’s largest association of hackers, Chaos Computer Club, respond and reject the “militarization” of networks and instead propose secure networks and technical training for the public.
Google handed out data to the US Government in the WikiLeaks espionage case. Now, WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government in a bulk manner and without a warrant. Google’s announcement regarding this case comes after two and a half years since the abusive and arbitrary US government’s requests. ′A very real violation of privacy’, WikiLeaks editor says of Google email release. A more detailed conversation can be found in the press conference “US/Sweden espionage case against WikiLeaks/Assange” that took place at Geneva Press Club, where Sarah Harrison and Kristinn Hrafnsson participated, among others.
Barret Brown, the investigative journalist who was facing over 100 years in jail for mainly copy-pasting a public link, is another victim of US government banding the laws in their witch hunt for silencing and intimidating challenging voices. He is sentenced to 63 months in federal prison, but he is finally allowed to speak. The growing US trend of politically motivated prosecutions, built upon “creative” interpretations of laws is confirmed also by Ladar Levison, the brave owner of Lavabit: “Prosecutors used the same legal strategy against Barrett Brown as they did me. Are you next?”
In the context sketched by the events presented above and with a theme proposed by Center for Democracy & Technology: Everybody Dies: What is Your Digital Legacy?, here are some new tools and information for protecting yourself online:
- from Mozzila – Get smart on privacy;
- from Internet Society – Four Basic Steps to Protecting Your Digital Privacy in 2015;
- monthly news from Tactical Technology Collective – In the Loop;
- from Future Learn – Introduction to Cyber Security (free online course – started on 26th Jan);
- from Purism – Librem 15: The First Free/Libre Software High-end Laptop That Respects Your Essential Freedoms and Privacy;
Censorship is another thing many governments love, the Turkish Government being one of them: Facebook Caves to Turkish Government Censorship;
Speaking about censorship, here is the (not so) fictional Department of Dirty in UK:
- FOSDEM is a free event for software developers to meet, share ideas and collaborate. Every year, thousands of developers of free and open source software from all over the world gather at the event in Brussels. This year it took place at Brussels’s Libre University, from 31 January to 1 February and had 551 lectures and over 5000 hackers participating.
- In the copyright land here are a couple of reasons why we should Never trust a corporation to do a library’s job.
- Furthermore, read about how copyright law is Eating Away At Our Cultural History: And It’s Time To Fix That.
- While highly waited The Pirate Bay’s comeback came one day earlier, the Spanish Government orders Pirate Bay Blockade. But new development seems to be at horizon with the Old Pirate Bay initiative to Share $100,000 with Devs, Mods and Uploaders.
- In its first transparency report, it is welcomed to see that Reddit Rejects 62% of All Copyright Complaints.
- The Creative Commons Film Festival seems to have a good start this year in Madrid with two new sessions Expanded-Cinema and Live-Cinema, plus many new videos licensed Creative Commons.
Featured image: Laptop privacy with sweater – Meme Binge // CC BY 2.0