Boing Boing 

Inside Islamic State's spookocracy


The leaked secret strategic plans of Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi -- who served in the Iraqi army under Saddam and later masterminded the Islamic State -- reveal the surveillance at the heart of Islamic State's military success.

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Surveillance self-defense kit for LGBTQ youth


The latest addition to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Surveillance Self-Defense series is a set of tools and instructions aimed specifically at LGBTQ kids, who have unique threat models (being outed) and adversaries (homophobic friends, parents, pastors).

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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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