At long last, America's racist, crazy tough-on-crime prosecutors are losing elections


Historically, being an elected prosecutor was a sweet gig: operating with "unchecked power and no transparency," you generally got to run unopposed for re-election, and on the rare instances in which someone did dare to run against the incumbent, the incumbent usually won. Read the rest

Nightwork: the extraordinary, exuberant history of rulebreaking at MIT

MIT has a complicated relationship with disobedience. On the one hand, the university has spent more than a century cultivating and celebrating a "hacker culture" that involves huge, ambitious, thoughtful and delightful pranks undertaken with the tacit approval of the university. On the other hand -- well, on the other hand: Star Simpson, Bunnie Huang, and Aaron Swartz. In Nightwork, first published in 2003 and updated in 2011, MIT Historian T. F. Peterson explores this contradictory relationship and celebrates the very best, while suggesting a path for getting rid of the very worst.

ACLU files a lawsuit to repeal the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, used to prosecute Aaron Swartz


The ACLU is suing to repeal parts of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a 1980s-vintage hacking law that makes it a felony to "exceed authorization" on a remote computer, and which companies and the US government have used to prosecute researchers who violated websites' terms of service. Read the rest

Vice now has a Securedrop for anonymous whistleblower docs


Securedrop is a robust, secure, anonymous system for whistleblowers to convey documents to news organizations, created by Aaron Swartz and taken up by the Freedom of the Press Foundation after his death. Read the rest

Aaron Swartz's "Against School" - business leaders have been decrying education since 1845


"Against School" is a previously unpublished Aaron Swartz essay about the centuries of word-perfect complaints about the US public school system, which have led to mass-scale, sneak privatization of the public system. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning reviews book of Aaron Swartz's writing


Today is the third anniversary of Aaron Swartz's death, and it was marked by the publication of an anthology of Aaron's writing, The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz with an introduction by Lawrence Lessig (I wrote an introduction to one of the sections). Read the rest

Brewster Kahle remembers Aaron Swartz: "an open source life"


Today is the third anniversary of Aaron Swartz's death. Lisa Rein writes, "In memory of Aaron, I transcribed Brewster Kahle's amazing talk from the San Francisco Memorial in 2013. He explains the simple qualities and goals of Aaron's 'Open Source Life,' how those goals were so greatly misunderstood by the powers that be, and how we can all work together to make positive changes in these areas in the future, for the benefit of the greater good." Read the rest

Channeling my @aaronsw: from the collected writings of Aaron Swartz


This week, the New Press publishes The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz , a collection of the writings of our late, lamented friend. The collection is introduced by Lawrence Lessig, and I wrote the introduction to Aaron's media writings, which you'll find below. Read the rest

What will it take to get MIT to stand up for its own students and researchers?


In 2007, 19-year-old MIT Media Lab student named Star Simpson went to Boston's Logan Airport to meet a friend wearing a sweater she'd decorated with LEDs in the shape of a star; the Logan police responded (with machine guns) to a call about a "dark-skinned man" with a suspicious device. Read the rest

How the DHS is stalling the release of the Aaron Swartz files


Lisa Rein writes, "When Jacob Appelbaum called for transparency in Aaron Swartz's FOIA case, he was talking about Kevin Poulsen's ongoing case against the Department of Homeland Security, a case that MIT managed to intervene in." Read the rest

What does the prisoner phone-recording leak mean for prisoners and their families?


Lisa Rein writes, "On November 12th, The Intercept published a story about one of its SecureDrop uploads: 70 million records of prisoner phone data. The hack exposed that at least 14,000 phone calls between prisoners and their attorneys had been improperly recorded, and neither the calls themselves or the millions of metadata records about the calls were being stored securely." Read the rest

Scholars and activists stand in solidarity with shuttered research-sharing sites


This week, the scholarly publishing giant Elsevier filed suit against Sci-Hub and Library Genesis, two sites where academics and researchers practiced civil disobedience by sharing the academic papers that Elsevier claims -- despite having acquired the papers for free from researchers, and despite having had them refereed and overseen by editorial boards staffed by more volunteering academics. Read the rest

Kickstarting "From DeadDrop to SecureDrop" about Aaron Swartz's last project

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Journalist/educator Lisa Rein is looking for $20,000 to complete a documentary called "From DeadDrop to SecureDrop," which chronicles the development of the last technology project that Aaron Swartz worked on: a tool to help whistleblowers and journalists communicate and exchange documents in secret. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning's statement for Aaron Swartz Day 2015


Lisa Rein writes, "Chelsea Manning prepared a statement for this year's "Aaron Swartz Day Celebration of Hackers and Whistleblowers That Make The World A Better Place" that took place at the Internet Archive, in San Francisco, on November 7th. It's pretty amazing. Read the rest

To do in San Francisco: Aaron Swartz Day mini-con on privacy-enabling tech


Lisa Rein writes, "While the San Francisco Aaron Swartz International Hackathon is going on downstairs at the Internet Archive, we're having a little privacy-enabling mini-conference upstairs." Read the rest

MIT and Boston U open legal clinic for innovative tech projects

The Entrepreneurship & Intellectual Property Law Clinic was partly inspired by the death of Aaron Swartz, who was hounded by federal prosecutors with MIT's complicity. Read the rest

Senators announce "Aaron Swartz Should Have Faced More Jail Time" bill

Senators Mark Kirk [R-IL] and Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY] announced a bill that increases the maximum jail time for "obtaining information from a protected computer without authorization" -- which covers anything you do that violates the BS Terms of Service we all break all day long. Read the rest

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