After the public overwhelmingly voted to name a new British Natural Environment Research Council vessel "Boaty McBoatface," the UK government pulled a switcheroo, declaring the will of the people to be secondary to the judgment of humourless bureaucrats, and summarily named the ship the R.R.S. David Attenborough. Read the rest
Derryl Murphy writes, "Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra (I know) a new contract a month before the election when he still had time on his contract, and Chopra's working hard to pillage the postal system in Canada. So I did this up for a little fun, but the word needs to get out there." Read the rest
Cassetteboy, last seen with this amazing video about David Cameron's relationship with dead pigs, is back with a new video that mashes up the UK Prime Minister and Home Secretary/Sith Lord Theresa May describing the real powers in the notorious Snoopers Charter (a far-reaching spying bill), set to the Police's "I'll Be Watching You" (what else?). Read the rest
Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "The Librarian of Congress is a pretty obscure position in our government, but they have a huge impact on our Internet freedom. They have a major say in things like fair use, DMCA implementation, phone unlocking, and online access -- things that affect all of us." Read the rest
Michael Moore, perhaps Flint, MI's most famous son, has written an open letter to people who are heartsick at the thought of a whole generation of mostly poor, mostly black children being given permanent brain damage through lead poisoning, thanks to the deliberate indifference of the state's Republican administration and the greedy people who elected them. Read the rest
Martha Lane Fox, the UK's first Champion for Digital Inclusion and occasional Boing Boing contributor, has given a spectacular speech in which she calls on the UK government to create a public-service Internet institution called Dot Everyone, to make the UK the most digital nation on the planet, in a way that promotes "the civic, public and non-commercial." Read the rest
The Toronto Library Board appointed by the disgraced former mayor Rob Ford has continued its programme of cutting library budgets, cutting way past the bone and threatening the Toronto public library system altogether. Read the rest
The Port Authority in the Welsh town of Milford has installed a "Mosquito" -- a sonic weapon that produces tones that are mostly perceptible to children and teenagers -- at the library, where it has been used during opening hours. Read the rest
Sherwin from Public Knowledge writes, "The Copyright Office and the Library of Congress think that copyright law and the DMCA make it illegal to unlock your phone and take it to a new carrier. This is plainly ridiculous: a year ago, 114,000 Americans wrote the White House to tell them that, and the White House agreed. So did the FCC. And, eventually, so did the phone companies, who say they'll work to unlock most consumers' phones for them. But the law has stayed the same. It's still illegal for you, even if you've paid off your entire contract, to take it upon yourself to unlock your own phone." Read the rest
Kirsten From Edri writes, "European Digital Rights (EDRi) has launched WePromise.EU to put digital civil rights on the agenda of the European election. The platform is based on a two-sided promise: On the one hand, parliamentary candidates will be able to endorse a ten point 'Charter of Digital Rights' that supports an open digital environment. On the other, citizens across Europe can in turn sign the petition and promise to vote for candidates that have endorsed the Charter." Read the rest
The ACLU is representing Scott and Sharon Lane, the parents of a child known in the proceedings as "CC," in a case against the Sabine Parish, Louisiana School Board, where their child was ridiculed for his Buddhist faith, and was forced to endure Christian indoctrination, including forced prayer, in the class. They say that their son's sixth grade curriculum included exam questions like "ISN'T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (the correct answer was "LORD"). The school superintendent told them that they had no business being upset by this, because the school is in the Bible Belt, and he recommended sending the child to a school 25 miles away where there were "more Asians."
The ACLU is calling on supporters of the Lanes and CC to sign a petition to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking for a "an immediate investigation into unlawful religious discrimination in Sabine Parish public schools."
To the right, the charming logo of Negreet High, whose school team is the "Negreet Indians." Read the rest
Holmes from Fight for the Future writes, "Think local police in America should be able to read your emails and texts without a warrant? No? Well right now they can. Want to fix that? Then please sign this 'We the People' petition asking Obama for a response. It's at 70,000 signatures and it needs 100,000 by tomorrow for a response. It's tantalizingly close. Once the petition hits 100,000 signatures, Obama must take a position, and movement in Congress becomes much more likely." Read the rest
A group of writers from around the world, including Nobel laureates, have signed onto a petition calling on the world's governments to limit online surveillance. I was honored to be asked to be among the initial signatories, in good company with the likes of Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Martin Amis, Günter Grass, Pico Ayer, Will Self, Irvine Welsh, Jeanette Winterson, Lionel Shriver, Paul Auster, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Lethem, and many, many others. The petition is now open for your signature in support of a set of simple, important core principles: Read the rest