Boing Boing 

A guide to digital policy in Britain's forthcoming elections

4582945263_a01039563e_b What do the main parties say they will do in the digital realm if they're elected? tl;dr Tories are plainly ignorant of technological reality, Labour adds meaningless platitudes, Lib-Dems offer some milquetoast sanity, and UKIP wants foreigners put on a registry.

Glyn Moody sums up:

The political parties' manifestos offer a fascinating snapshot not just of the respective interests of different groups, but also of digital technology's march towards the center of politics. Nowadays, you can tell a lot about a party by looking at how it proposes to address the complex new issues being raised by the Internet and its impact on society, which makes perusing the full manifestos a worthwhile preparation for voting in the imminent UK General Election.

If you are eligible to vote, don't forget to use that power to help shape the next UK government's digital policies. It's not often the public is given this option: use it while you can.

Photo: Clive Darra (cc)

British austerity: a failed experiment abandoned by the rest of the world


Writing in the Guardian, Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman analyses the last five years of British austerity, using other developed nations in the EU and elsewhere as a benchmark for the growth we could have had -- it's not a pretty picture.

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Can a game show us what would happen under far-right rule?

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In a nifty series of articles, my friend Dan Griliopoulos has been modeling the United Kingdom's major political parties' stances in the simulation game Democracy 3. The latest piece tackles creepy far-righters UKIP, and the model isn't so favorable:

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Lessons from a brain tumor diagnosis

Jeff writes, "I received my diagnosis late on Friday afternoon of what would be a very long weekend. I had really hoped to avoid brain surgery in my life."

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New Hugo Award categories for puppies

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The "Puppies" are a coalition of right-wing and white-supremacist groups who pushed a slate of ideologically pure nominees onto the Hugo Award ballot, complaining that you could no longer judge books by their covers, and that science fiction had changed to reflect the world since the 1970s.

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Marissa Mayer makes 1,100 Yahooers jobless, calls it a "remix"


Why would a CEO be so tone-deaf as to call a mass-firing a "remix?" Because the only audience that matters today are shareholders, not the public.

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Privilege: you're probably not the one percent


If you live near a Whole Foods, if you don't have a relative in jail, if you don't know anyone on meth, you're not in the one percent.

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Drowned in the Mediterranean: Libyan refugees tell their stories

James Bridle writes: "There's huge debate in the UK about the deaths of people in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, but we rarely see or hear the people themselves."

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Helen Keller, feminist, radical socialist, anti-racist activist and civil libertarian


Helen Keller's activism on behalf of people with disabilities was rooted in her radical socialism, which held that the problems of the most vulnerable in society were the fault of capitalism, not genetics or industrial accidents.

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How to Teach Adults: Get a Job; Plan Your Class; Teach Your Students; Change the World

Dan Spalding's How to Teach Adults (free download) is an extraordinary document that mixes the practical and the philosophical, a book that explains how to be a better teacher, and how better teachers make a better world. Read the rest

On the Hugo Award hijacking

A group of right-wing Internet users calling themselves "Sad Pupping" have hijacked the Hugo Award ballot this year, buying voter-only memberships to the World Science Fiction Convention in order to fill the ballot with stories aligned with their political agenda, including one published by "Patriarchy Press," calling on Gamergate supporters to join in with them in seizing control of the award.

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NSA declares war on general purpose computers


NSA director Michael S Rogers says his agency wants "front doors" to all cryptography used in the USA, so that no one can have secrets it can't spy on -- but what he really means is that he wants to be in charge of which software can run on any general purpose computer.

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Obama moots mandatory voting


I agree that mandatory voting is a powerful check against moneyed interests hijacking the government, but Australia, which has both mandatory voting and preferential ranked ballots, has still managed to elect some fucking awful politicians.

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Icelandic Pirates soar: citizenship for Snowden?

The Icelandic Pirate Party is out-polling all the country's other parties, with 24% of the population backing them.

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Clinton's sensitive email was passed through a third-party spam filtering service


It's been years since the spam wars were at the front of the debate, but all the salient points from then remain salient today: when you let unaccountable third parties see your mail and decide which messages you can see, the potential for mischief is unlimited.

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Mysociety is looking for a new CEO


The nonprofit, which created Writetothem, Fixmystreet, and other crucial, ground-breaking civil society projects, is looking for a new CEO to help it spend its £3.6m Omidyar Network grant.

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Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology tells Cameron Tor is good, unstoppable


David Cameron has vowed to ban crypto if he wins the UK election, but Parliament's lead technical experts have told him that he can't, and shouldn't, mess with Tor and other cryptographic tools.

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