The Tor project is soliciting donations in its first fundraising drive

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The nonprofit foundation that oversees development on Tor, the anonymity and privacy tool, has launched its first ever major cash fundraiser, seeking support for its crucial work. Read the rest

Mozilla will let go of Thunderbird

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The Mozilla Foundation stopped active development of the Thunderbird stand-alone email client in 2012, a year before Edward Snowden's revelations about mass email interception by spy agencies sparked an exodus from webmail platforms. Read the rest

Open source hardware autonomous tractor uses repurposed drone autopilot

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Matt Reimer's homebrew autonomous tractor uses open source components to accomplish the kind of automation that John Deere's super-proprietary tractors are known for. Read the rest

Syria secretly sentenced free software developer Bassel Khartabil to death

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Khartabil has been imprisoned in a Syria's Adra Prison since 2012, though as of October, he has been transferred to an undisclosed location. The free software/open culture activist was the lead for Creative Commons Syria and has contributed to Wikipedia, Firefox and many other projects. Read the rest

Google releases critical AI program under a free/open license

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Tensorflow, a sophisticated machine learning program that underpins Google Translate, speech recognition, image recognition and many other critical Google services, is now available under an Apache license, one of the least restrictive free/open licenses. Read the rest

TPP will ban rules that require source-code disclosure

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As we pick through the secret, 2,000-page treaty, we're learning an awful lot of awfulness, but this one is particularly terrible. Read the rest

Firefox's new privacy mode also blocks tracking ads

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Mozilla has shipped a new version of Firefox whose private mode also blocks tracking beacons for ad networks, which will make private Web usage much harder to track. Read the rest

Fighting Uber's Death Star with a Rebel Alliance of co-op platforms

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As Mark Andreessen noted, software is eating the world because once it's developed, it scales to infinity. That means that once a worker's co-op of drivers clones Uber's platform in free/open code, drivers in every city in the world can disrupt the company, throw off its rent-seeking, and fill their pockets with the money the company siphons off for providing very little at the margins. Read the rest

Citizen Maths: free/open adult math education for practical real-world numeracy

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Without scientific understanding, we don’t run the government, the government runs us” -Carl Sagan, in his final interview.

Last week we released a big batch of new CC-BY licensed content for Citizen Maths a free online course for adults who want to improve their grasp of maths at what in the UK is known as Level 2 (the level that 16 year old school leavers are expected to reach, though many do not).

Economics research considered unreplicable

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Andrew C. Chang and Phillip Li undertook a study of "67 papers published in 13 well-regarded economics journals" for the US Federal Reserve and attempted to replicate their conclusions, using the code and data-sets provided by the authors: in two-thirds of cases, they were unable to replicate the findings without help with the authors; with the help of authors, they were still only able to replicate 49% of the papers. Read the rest

Algorithmic guilt: defendants must be able to inspect source code in forensic devices

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Some day, you may be the defendant in a criminal trial that turns on whether the software in a forensic device reached a reliable conclusion about a DNA test or other piece of evidence. Wouldn't you like to have your own experts check the source code on that device? Read the rest

100 bold ideas the BBC can use to fight back

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With five more years of Tory government on the horizon, the BBC is at its most perilous moment. Government ministers are attacking it in every way, from wanting to cut the license fee to demanding that it end all popular programming so as not to "compete" with the private sector. Read the rest

The Open Source Party

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Jon Lebkowsky writes, "Just as Open Source provided an free-as-in-freedom alternative to proprietary software, an Open Source Party can provide a free alternative to proprietary politics. Read the rest

The sad truth about your computer

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Another XKCD bullseye for Randall Munroe. It's all just a tangle of things you put in to fix the things that you put in to fix the things. As the tooltip says: Read the rest

Dear Internet of Things: human beings are not things

My new Locus column is What If People Were Sensors, Not Things to be Sensed? Read the rest

Platform Cooperativism: a worker-owned Uber for everything

Nathan Schneider writes, "The seeds are being planted for a new kind of online economy. For all the wonders the Internet brings us, it is dominated by an economics of monopoly, extraction, and surveillance." Read the rest

Windows 10 EULA: Microsoft can killswitch your unauthorized hardware and pirate games

When you click through the Windows 10 "agreement," you agree to let Microsoft subject your games and hardware to authenticity tests and to shut down anything it doesn't like the looks of. Read the rest

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