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The Day We Fight Back – February 11th 2014

February 11th is a unified day of internet action. From the site:

DEAR USERS OF THE INTERNET,

In January 2012 we defeated the SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation with the largest Internet protest in history. Today we face another critical threat, one that again undermines the Internet and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.

In celebration of the win against SOPA and PIPA two years ago, and in memory of one of it’s leaders, Aaron Swartz, we are planning a day of protest against mass surveillance, to take place this February 11th.

Together we will push back against powers that seek to observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action. Together, we will make it clear that such behavior is not compatible with democratic governance. Together, if we persist, we will win this fight.

Fight on if you want an internet that is still, at least, a little bit “free.”

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Stop Watching Us

The revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance apparatus, if true, represent a stunning abuse of our basic rights. We demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA’s spying programs.

Sign the letter to congress, follow them on Twitter.

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DVDs and Blu-rays will now carry two unskippable government warnings

Guess who doesn’t have to watch these warnings? Pirates. ICE is essentially penalizing people who already pay money for DVDs and Blu-Ray by making them watch two stupid videos before they can watch their legally-obtained DVDs. Pathetic.

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Senate Bill Would Make Leaks a Felony

If the government does it, it can’t be a crime:

Legislation introduced in the Senate this week would broadly criminalize leaks of classified information.  The bill (S. 355) sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) would make it a felony for a government employee or contractor who has authorized access to classified information to disclose such information to an unauthorized person in violation of his or her nondisclosure agreement.

Nixon would’ve been happy about this. Just declare your illegal activities classified and you’re safe. Who wants to get thrown in Federal prison for doing the right thing and snitching? Even if you’re right and you literally save the world from an illegal war you’ll be legally culpable.

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The Case Against COICA

The Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) is bad mojo that will not only limit creativity but stifle business. It will unconstitutionally restrict freedom of speech, raise the cost of doing business on the internet in a time when the economy is already in the toilet, and create an internet blacklist in America.

The EFF has a larger look at the bill, and none of it is good.

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U.S. Tortures Innocent Canadian Man, Gets Away With It

This is the United States in 2010: They can abduct an innocent man on false charges, keep him imprisoned for 10 months in a kennel barely big enough for a dog, torture him, release him without admitting any wrongdoing on their part, and then have the highest court in the land refuse to hear his case. Due to National Security. Which are the same auspices under which they tortured an innocent man.

This is capital-fucking-W Wrong and there is nothing that can make it right.

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“The kid who doesn’t exist”

In-depth reporting from the Indianapolis Star about an 18-year-old with no official identity. Almost sounds like the premise for a Philip K Dick story. Since he doesn’t have a social security number he can’t get a driver’s license, part-time job, or qualify for financial aid programs for college.

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The FBI Wants Your ISP To Spy On You

and keep your web history logged for up to 2 years. Land of the free, eh? What’s almost as troubling as the privacy implications is the fact that the FBI apparently doesn’t even know what exactly they want to the ISP to store, yet. The FBI just feels like they should be allowed to do this, and fuck you if you don’t like it.

It’s amazing to me that spying on American citizens with no probable cause is an OK thing to talk about in public, now. How did we get here?

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South Carolina “Subversives” Must Now Pay $5 Fee

This is, apparently, not a joke. They actually expect people who are planning to overthrow the US Government to register with them, and pay $5 for the privilege of filling out a form that explains their plans.

Somewhere, Kurt Vonnegut can’t believe this shit.

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Adobe and “Open Government” is Utter Bullshit

Chris Foresman takes on Adobe’s push for government use of it’s Flash, PDF, and other assorted proprietary formats. It’s funny when an article that just presents facts can be so scathing:

After just a cursory browsing, here are some of the usability and data accessibility issues we observed. You can’t select, copy, or paste any text. Your browser’s font override features won’t work, so you can’t adjust the font or its size to be more readable. Your browser’s built-in in-page search won’t work, and you can’t use the keyboard to scroll through the text. …

Sounds pretty open to me.

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Aaron Swartz’s FBI File

A light-hearted romp for the whole family.

Since SWARTZ is the potential subject of an ongoing investigation, it is requested that SWARTZ not be approached by agents.

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Mashup Australia

Australia gets on the open dataset train, with a little contest. Here’s to hoping it’s contagious.

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Philadelphia Libraries Saved With Last-Minute Legislation

Passed by a vote of 32 to 17, just days before they’d have been shut down (presumably) for good.

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Britain To Put CCTV Cameras Inside Private Homes

They’ve gone fully around to using Orwell as an instruction manual.

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The Guardian Using Crowdsourcing To Uncover MP Expenses

With 700,000 documents to comb though it is a totally rational approach. It can either take a team of experts 2 years or it can take “everyone” a few days.

Obviously the potential is there to game the system and make your guy look good or the other guy look bad, but review is a lot cheaper than the original work.

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U.S. State Department speaks to Twitter over Iran

The reason Twitter got to delay it’s maintenance today was apparently in large part due to Gov’t intervention.

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US Government Launches Data.gov

Open Data from Uncle Sam. via Waxy