19 Jan

Electronic Frontier Foundation – The Internet at its Best

Today, we watch in awe as the Internet rallies to fight dangerous blacklist legislation, the PROTECT-IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House. The originality, creativity, and magnitude of action we’re seeing represents exactly what these bills would harm most: the value of a vibrant and open Internet that fosters these activities.

As the day goes on, we will continue to update you on Twitter (@EFF) and in this space. In the meantime, here are some of today’s #SOPAblackout highlights. Thank these organizations for their participation and go here to make your voice heard!

via Electronic Frontier Foundation – The Internet at its Best. EFF highlights some of the largest sites that participated in the SOPA/PIPA blackout.

17 Jul

guardian.co.uk – Networks are not always revolutionary

My corollary to O’Reilly’s "piracy/obscurity" quote is "fame won’t make you a success on its own, but no artist ever got rich on obscurity". That is, being widely loved isn’t sufficient for attaining fortune, but it is necessary to it.

By the same token, a global network that allows loosely coordinated groups of people to discover each other and act in concert while exposing their cause to the whole planet (especially its richest, most privileged residents) is not enough to overthrow a dictator — but I’m sure I wouldn’t want to try to stage a revolution without such a network.

via guardian.co.uk – Networks are not always revolutionary. Fair point I think, having the network or having fame isn’t enough to guarantee success but it does help.

20 Feb

ReadWriteWeb – Libya Shuts Down Internet

Rensys reports that Libya has completely shut down their Internet as of midnight Saturday local time.

Qaddafi’s Libya is engaging in the strategy that Mubarak’s Egypt used to little effect, clearly hoping for a radically different outcome.

via ReadWriteWeb – Libya Shuts Down Internet. Looks like Libyan domains such as bit.ly are still up however.

07 Feb

NYTimes.com – Missing Executive From Google Egypt Released

Wael Ghonim, the Google marketing executive and Egypt revolt hero who disappeared there more than a week ago, was released on Monday by Egyptian authorities, according to Google.

via NYTimes.com – Missing Executive From Google Egypt Released. Good to see Egypt released him, what about all the other people who don’t have Google and the world’s attention behind them however?

06 Feb

The San Francisco Chronicle – Google Exec Who Went Missing In Egypt Now A Spokesman For Opposition Group

A Google executive who has gone missing in Egypt has been "symbolically" named the spokesman for an opposition group, in an attempt to free him from being held by Egyptian authorities, CBS News reports.

Wael Ghonim, Google’s head of marketing for the middle east, flew into Egypt last week to participate in the demonstrations against the government. At some point he went missing, and one of his last tweets ominously read, "we are all ready to die."

The Egyptian government will not comment on whether it has Ghonim or not, but many suspect he is being held.

via The San Francisco Chronicle – Google Exec Who Went Missing In Egypt Now A Spokesman For Opposition Group. Scary times kids. Side note, the url for this article has to be one of the worse I’ve seen in a long time, they need some serious help in designing a decent a url structure.

03 Feb

NYTimes.com – Gangs Hunt Journalists and Rights Workers

Security forces and gangs chanting in favor of the Egyptian government hunted down journalists at their offices and in the hotels where many had taken refuge on Thursday in a widespread and overt campaign of intimidation aimed at suppressing reports from the capital.

By evening, it appeared that none of the major broadcasters were able to provide live footage of Tahrir Square, the epicenter of antigovernment protests. Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya television networks said their journalists had been hounded from the street and from the vantage points above the square where cameras had been placed, and both CNN and BBC appeared to be relying only on taped footage of the square.

via NYTimes.com – Gangs Hunt Journalists and Rights Workers. Bad news for any country when journalists aren’t able to freely report.

02 Feb

The Big Picture – A harrowing, historic week in Egypt

They have been days of chants and chaos, bloodshed mixed with moments of breathtaking solidarity between the protesters and the soldiers sent to subdue them. The flame of social unrest that first flickered in Tunisia has spread to Egypt, culminating with the announcement Tuesday by President Hosni Mubarak that after three decades in power, he would not run for another term. The clashes left government buildings in ashes, stores ransacked, and an economy teetering. Cairo’s international airport teemed with Americans and other foreigners trying to flee; Egypt’s tourism industry froze. At Cairo’s Liberation Square, Mubarak’s announcement was met with jeers and calls for an immediate resignation. Pro-Mubarak forces struck back, attacking the protesters in waves. The country of 80 million, rich in history but bereft of personal freedoms, awaits the next stage. Collected here are images from the last week focusing inside Egypt. — Lloyd Young

via The Big Picture – A harrowing, historic week in Egypt. Some incredibly powerful images here of the Egyptian protests.

24 Jan

The Atlantic – The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks

After more than ten days of intensive investigation and study, Facebook’s security team realized something very, very bad was going on. The country’s Internet service providers were running a malicious piece of code that was recording users’ login information when they went to sites like Facebook.

By January 5, it was clear that an entire country’s worth of passwords were in the process of being stolen right in the midst of the greatest political upheaval in two decades. Sullivan and his team decided they needed a country-level solution — and fast.

Though Sullivan said Facebook has encountered a wide variety of security problems and been involved in various political situations, they’d never seen anything like what was happening in Tunisia.
“We’ve had to deal with ISPs in the past who have tried to filter or block our site,” Sullivan said. “In this case, we were confronted by ISPs that were doing something unprecedented in that they were being very active in their attempts to intercept user information.”

If you need a parable for the potential and pitfalls of a social-media enabled revolution, this is it: the very tool that people are using for their activism becomes the very means by which their identities could be compromised. When the details are filled in on the abstractions of Clay Shirky and Evgeny Morozov’s work on the promise (former) and danger (latter) of Internet activism, the ground truth seems to be that both had their visions play out simultaneously.

The Atlantic – The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks. I’m not sure what’s more shocking, that a country wide keylogger was in use, or that Facebook took these actions to defend their users and freedom of speech.