Boing Boing 

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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I'll Vote Green If You Do: electoral kickstarter for minority parties

The UK Green Party has built a version of the kickstarter for elections I proposed last year: they're signing up people who promise to vote Green if enough of their neighbours will do the same.

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Facebook tells Native Americans that their names aren't "real"


Facebook's "real names" policy means that from time to time, it arbitrarily decides what its users are allowed to call themselves, which sucks if your name is something like Dana Lone Hill or Robin Kills The Enemy or Shane Creepingbear.

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Use Facebook while in South Carolina jail, go to solitary for 37 years


Prisons have a legitimate interest in controlling contraband, but in South Carolina, using social media from behind bars is a Class I offense, carrying stiffer penalties than murder, escape and hostage-taking.

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Nathan Barley: old comedy turned out to be a documentary about our future

When Charlie "Black Mirror" Brooker came up with his trustafarian new media parody Nathan Barley for TV Go Home, no one suspected the character would last this long -- or be so relevant.

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Fun with promoted Tweets


Andy Baio's been playing with Twitter's "promoted tweet" targeted ads, sending out tweets that are only seen by Twitter staff (hey, verify me already!), politicians (make better laws!), and, in one bizarre case, no one (a process Twitter calls "nullcasting").

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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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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One month to Net Neutrality showdown at FCC: add the countdown to your site!


Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Today is exactly one month before the FCC's much anticipated vote on new net neutrality rules -- this could be the most important vote for the future of the Internet in our lifetimes."

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Great Firewall of Cameron blocks sex-abuse charities


UK Prime Minister David Cameron demanded that ISPs opt their customers into "adult content" filters (and now Sky is opting in everyone whose account predates this announcement), ignoring all the people who correctly predicted that these filters would block important sites.

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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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Consumerist on Information Doesn't Want to Be Free


Consumerist's Kate Cox has turned in a long, excellent, in-depth review of my book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free, really nailing the book's thesis. Namely, that extremist copyright laws don't just mess up artists, but actually endanger all our privacy, freedom and whole digital lives.

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G+ Kremlinology: estimating the desolation of Google's social media ghost-town


Google's spent four years frog-marching its users into G+, its faltering social network, even tying company-wide bonuses to G+ performance, thus ensuring that all of Google's offerings did everything they could to cram us into G+ -- but it hasn't worked.

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Teens' use of social media is significantly shaped by race, class, geography, cultural background


danah boyd responds to A Teenager’s View on Social Media (written by an actual teen), pointing out that what white, affluent boys do with social media is not a full account of "how teens use the Internet.

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Rebooted Cluetrain Manifesto

Doc Searls and David Weinberger, two of the original Cluetrain Manifesto authors, have revisited their canonical work of Internet wisdom, publishing a new, remix-friendly document called New Clues; it's funny, sad, humble and inspiring.

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MP wants to ban email disclaimers


Tory International Development Minister Alan Duncan wants to get rid of long email disclaimers, but only secondarily because they're ridiculous: primarily, he's worried about the "forests' worth of paper" wasted by bizarre people from the past (e.g. lawyers) who print all their email.

Exciting progress towards surveillance-resistant email


Ladar Levison -- persecuted founder of the now-shuttered private mail service Lavabit, as used by Edward Snowden -- has made great progress on his Darkmail project, a joint initiative with Phil "PGP" Zimmerman's also shut-down Silent Circle private email service.

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New NSA leaks: does crypto still work?


Matthew Green's got an excellent postmortem on the huge dump of NSA docs Der Spiegel last weekend.

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Algorithmic cruelty


With its special end-of-year message, Facebook wants to show you, over and over, what your year "looked like"; in Eric Meyer's case, the photo was of his daughter, who died this year: "For those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by divorce or losing a job or any one of a hundred crises, we might not want another look at this past year."

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Algorithmically evolved masks that appear as faces to facial-recognition software


Sterling Crispin uses evolutionary algorithms to produce masks that satisfy facial recognition algorithms: "my goal is to show the machine what it’s looking for, to hold a mirror up to the all-seeing eye of the digital-panopticon we live in and let it stare back into its own mind."

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Sock-puppet- and traffic-analysis-resistant group conversation protocol

Dissent implements the Dining Cryptographers and Verifiable Shuffling algorithms to produce a group-conversation system that is resistant to traffic analysis. Feels like we're entering the second golden age of cypherpunk.

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HTML color clock


By converting the time to a hex-value, the What colour is it? clock does a lovely job of showing the relationships between adjacent colors in the "Web-safe" color palette. (via Waxy)

Tor Project declares solidarity with harassed colleague


Roger Dingledine from the Tor Project writes, "One of our colleagues has been the target of a sustained campaign of harassment for the past several months. We have decided to publish this statement to publicly declare our support for her, for every member of our organization, and for every member of our community who experiences this harassment.

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Google News shuts down in Spain


Spain's insane new compulsory fee for quoting news stories has shut down Google News there -- and will prevent any new news search-engines from emerging to replace it.

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Tech companies should do something about harassment, but not this

Online harassment is real, it's terrible, and tech companies can and should do more about it -- but when the normally sensible Jessica Valenti wrote in the Guardian that tech companies could solve online harassment in a snap by implementing a system like Youtube's Content ID, she wasn't just wrong, she was dangerously wrong.

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World-beating email EULA

I amuse myself (and sometimes others) with my email sig, which makes you promise to release me from any agreements I've gotten into with your employer -- but it turns out I'm a rank amateur.

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Parable of the Polygons: segregation and "slight" racism


Vi Hart and Nicky Case created a brilliant "playable post" that challenges you to arrange two groups of polygons to make them "happy" by ensuring that no more than 2/3 of their neighbors are different.

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Limited edition vinyl: John Perry Barlow reads "A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace"


EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow's visionary 1996 text A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace has stirred hearts since he penned it in 1996 -- and now you can own a beautiful recording Barlow reading it in his wonderful, gravelly voice.

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LISTEN: Systems thinking and medicine -- brilliant lecture on systemic problem-solving

The lecturer for the BBC's 2014 Reith lectures is Dr Atul Gawande, a celebrated author and MD whose book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right is a classic on how to think about systemic problem solving (which pays attention to how different people and activities come together to make and solve problems).

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