Boing Boing 

As crypto wars begin, FBI silently removes sensible advice to encrypt your devices


The FBI used to publish excellent advice about encrypting your devices to keep your data secure when your stuff is lost or stolen; this advice has been silently dropped now that FBI Director James Comey is trying to stop manufacturers from using crypto by default.

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Australia outlaws warrant canaries


The exceptionally broad new surveillance bill lets the government do nearly unlimited warrantless mass surveillance, even of lawyer-client privileged communications, and bans warrant canaries, making it an offense to "disclose information about the existence or non-existence" of a warrant to spy on journalists.

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If you see something, play something?

TouchTone is a dark, smooth puzzle game about the surveillance state. The player manipulates simple, clean circuits of light -- and once they all connect, must review information logs and decide whether to flag them as suspicious.

"What once started as a simple game jam prototype has evolved into a platform for our outrage at the erosion of privacy in this post Snowden era," says Greg Wohlwend.

unnamed Wohlwend (Threes, Hundreds) created TouchTone with collaborator Mike Boxleiter under their Mikengreg label (Solipskier) -- their resumes are basically a list of the iOS games you most need to own, so that alone should make you interested even if you're not all about pondering the weighty consequences of our always-on, self-policing future (who isn't, though)?

Solving TouchTone's puzzles, which begin pleasingly simple and then gently increase in complexity (Wohlwend says "think laser chess," or a cross between a Rubix Cube and Khet), unlocks more of the story. I'm always suspicious of game developers who promise me "story" without a proper writer on board, and I haven't played enough of TouchTone to know how engrossing the text gets, but the stylish puzzles and atmosphere -- smooth, black glass world, the texture of dial-up sound -- are worth checking out regardless.

If you're interested in games about digital spying and civilian snitching, the information review portion of TouchTone reminds me of another neat little game you can play in your browser right now: AlethiCorp, fourth place winner of last year's Interactive Fiction Competition. Click that link and instantly summon the brilliant horror of an internal corporate website, from online company courses to team-building event RSVP requests. Your main job, though, is to review documents and snitch on those concerned -- unless you can somehow find a way to sabotage the org from the inside.

You can find TouchTone on the App Store.

How Harper's "anti-terror" bill ends privacy in Canada


Michael Geist writes, "Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is fast-tracking a bill that eviscerates privacy protections within the public sector that represents the most significant reduction in public sector privacy protection in Canadian history -- he' blocking the Privacy Commissioner of Canada from appearing as a witness at the committee studying the bill."

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A conversation about privacy and trust in open education

For Open Education Week, Jonathan Worth convened a conversation about privacy and trust in open education called Speaking Openly in which educators and scholars recorded a series of videos responding to one another's thoughts on the subject.

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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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Wikimedia sues the NSA


The Wikimedia Foundation -- which oversees Wikipedia -- eight other organizations, and the ACLU have filed a lawsuit against the DoJ and the NSA, contesting the spy agency's program of mass "upstream" surveillance.

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IT feudalism: the surveillance state and wealth gaps


My latest Guardian column examines the relationship between technology, surveillance and wealth disparity -- specifically the way that cheap mass surveillance makes it possible to sustain more unequal societies because it makes it cheaper to find and catch the dissidents who foment rebellion over the creation of hereditary elites.

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Ed Snowden says he'll face trial in the US

But only if he's guaranteed a "legal and impartial trial" -- that is, not a trial under ancient law like the Espionage Act.

VPNs: which ones value your privacy?

Torrentfreak has published its annual survey of privacy-oriented VPN services, digging into each one's technical, legal and business practices to see how seriously they take the business of protecting your privacy.

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Your voice-to-text speech is recorded and sent to strangers


Redditor Fallenmyst just started a job at Walk N'talk Technologies, where she listens to randomly sampled speech-to-text recordings from our mobile phones, correcting machine conversions.

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Personal technology is political


Dan Gillmor, who was the San Jose Mercury News's leading tech columnist during the dotcom years, and was one of the first reporters to go Mac, has switched over to using all free/open source software: Ubuntu GNU/Linux on a Thinkpad, Cyanogenmod on an Android phone.

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Laura Poitras's Citizenfour OPSEC


One of the most startling motifs of Citizenfour, Laura Poitras's Academy Award-winning documentary about Edward Snowden, is the use and abuse of cryptographic tools, which are at the center of the NSA's surveillance plans and Snowden's audacious act of whistleblowing.

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Citizenfour takes Oscar for Best Documentary

Citizenfour, Laura Poitras's brilliant documentary about Edward Snowden, won the Best Documentary Academy Award last night!

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Canada's new surveillance bill eliminates any pretense of privacy


Michael Geist writes, "Canada's proposed anti-terrorism legislation is currently being debated in the House of Commons, with the government already serving notice that it plans to limit debate. That decision has enormous privacy consequences, since the bill effectively creates a 'total information awareness' approach that represents a radical shift away from our traditional understanding of public sector privacy protection."

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Surveillance scandal blowing up Macedonian government

Macedonia's government -- which accused the opposition of planning a coup last week -- is reeling from a bombshell press-conference given by the opposition party, in which they were accused of mass, politically oriented surveillance.

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Anyone who makes you choose between privacy and security wants you to have neither

An excellent op-ed from the Open Rights Group: "When ORG defends privacy, we are fighting to protect people from abuses of power that leave them vulnerable."

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Samsung: watch what you say in front of our TVs, they're sending your words to third parties


Part of the Samsung Smarttv EULA: "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition."

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Ron Wyden to Eric Holder: before you go, how about all those requests for information?


Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has written a letter to outgoing Attorney General Eric "Too Big to Jail" Holder about all those other letters the senator has sent to the AG asking why, exactly, the DoJ thinks that mass spying is legal.

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Obama's empty surveillance promises


A year after the president's promise to rein in warrantless, illegal mass surveillance, he's revealed a plan that does nothing to fix the most egregious elements of American spying.

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Canarywatch: fine-grained, high-alert system to detect and reveal secret government snooping


In the age of secret government snooping warrants -- which come with gag orders prohibiting their recipients from revealing their existence -- "warrant canaries" have emerged as the best way to keep an eye on out-of-control, unaccountable spying, and now they've gotten better.

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Molly Crabapple's FBI file is 7,526 pages long (UPDATED, it's worse)


After a protracted battle with the Bureau, artist and journalist Molly Crabapple (previously) has gotten them to admit that they're keeping a whopping file on her, which they will release to her lawyers at the rate of 750 (heavily redacted) pages/month for the next ten months.

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Shameless: rogue Lords sneak Snooper's Charter back in AGAIN

Last Friday, four rogue Lords copy/pasted the repeatedly defeated "Snooper's Charter" spying bill into a pending bill as an amendment, only to withdraw it on Monday after the Lords were bombarded by an aghast public -- and now, incredibly, these Lords have reintroduced the same language as a new amendment.

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Snooper's Charter is dead: let's hammer a stake through its heart and fill its mouth with garlic

We killed the dreadful Snooper's Charter last week, again, for the third or fourth time, depending on how you count -- now how do we keep it from rising from the grave again and terrorizing Britain with the threat of total, ubiquitous, uncontrolled state spying?

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Google fought gag order over Wikileaks emails

The company says that it fought the warrants and their gag orders, and the reason they weren't able to follow Twitter's suit by disclosing the warrants' existence was that prosecutors were furious over the public backlash when Twitter got to disclose.

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Canada's spies surveil the whole world's downloads


A newly released Snowden leak jointly published by the CBC and The Intercept documents Canada's Communications Security Establishment's LEVITATION program, which spies on 15 million downloads from P2P, file lockers, and popular file distribution sites.

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NSA-themed art


This lovely piece of NSA-surveillance-themed art comes from Anthony Freda, previously featured here for his Normal Rockwell/Ferguson piece.

(Thanks, Hugh and Anthony!)

UPDATED Google handed Wikileaks staffers' email over to US Government, didn't tell anyone


Wikileaks has issued a furious denunciation of Google after it learned that the company turned over its staff email to the US Government in March 2012 without notifying it. Update: Google says it fought to disclose sooner.

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Britons: we have three days to kill the new Snooper's Charter

The all-pervasive spying bill that was struck down in 2012 is back.

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How to fix copyright in two easy steps (and one hard one)

My new Locus column, A New Deal for Copyright, summarizes the argument in my book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free, and proposes a set of policy changes we could make that would help artists make money in the Internet age while decoupling copyright from Internet surveillance and censorship.

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