Faced with network surveillance, Hong Kong student demonstrators go P2P


The makers of Firechat, a wireless P2P chat app that works phone-to-phone over Bluetooth and wifi, say they've seen a surge of new users from Hong Kong's student demonstrators, who are locked in pitched battle with the territory's police as they fight for the right to choose HK's leaders without interference with Beijing, against a backdrop of growing wealth inequality.

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15 lessons from 15 years of blogging


Anil Dash has been at it for 15 years (slightly longer than me, but only slightly!) and his reflections on a decade and a half of blogging -- through major life changes from marriage to parenthood -- really chime with me, especially:

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Screenshots of despair: the slide-deck

From the magesterial Screenshots of Despair tumblr (featuring dialog boxes to make you quail with terror and despair of your sanity), comes a slide-deck of the best of the worst to include in your own presentations.

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Get 2600's archives from 1987

Emmanuel Goldstein from 2600 Magazine writes, "Volume 4 of The Hacker Digest has been put into PDF format, comprised of issues of 2600 Magazine from 1987."

This was the first year that 2600 adopted the digest format. For the first time ever, a hacker magazine would show up on newsstands and in bookstores around the world. New concepts such as cellular phone fraud and electronic mailboxes for $20 a month were introduced to the public and scrutinized in the pages of 2600, while traditions like the letters section, payphone photos, and 2600 meetings were in their infancy. The hacker spirit from these early issues is remarkably similar to that of today: defiant, curious, and overflowing with data.

VOLUME 4 OF THE HACKER DIGEST RELEASED ALONG WITH DETAILS ON ITS HISTORY

(Thanks, Emmanuel!)

Privacy for Normal People


My latest Guardian column, Privacy technology everyone can use would make us all more secure, makes the case for privacy technology as something that anyone can -- and should use, discussing the work being done by the charitable Simply Secure foundation that launches today (site is not yet up as of this writing), with the mandate to create usable interfaces to cryptographic tools, and to teach crypto developers how to make their tools accessible to non-technical people.

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Downvoting considered harmful

A study [PDF] published in a journal of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence found that sites that have a "downvote" button to punish bad comments lock the downvoted users into spirals of ever-more-prolific, ever-lower-quality posting due to a perception of having been martyred by the downvoters.

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Bruce Sterling's "The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things"

It's a new long-form essay in the tradition of Sterling's must-read, groundbreaking 2005 book Shaping Things, a critical perspective on what it means to have a house full of "smart" stuff that answers to giant corporations and the states that exert leverage over them.

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Hacker puppets answer your questions about the net

Gus writes, "Two of us who help produce the Hackers On Planet Earth conference and the Off The Hook radio show are starting a new season of The Media Show, our media/digital literacy show; we'd love to invite Boing Boing readers to participate in the crowdfunding and questions for our next season."

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Feds wanted to fine Yahoo $250K/day for fighting PRISM


We've known since the start that Yahoo fought the NSA's Prism surveillance program tooth-and-nail; but as unsealed court docs show, the Feds made the process into a harrowing ordeal, and sweet-talked gullible judges into dropping the hammer on Y.

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#InternetSlowdown jams Congress's switchboard

Yesterday's net-wide campaign for Net Neutrality put through more than 1,000 calls per minute to Congress!

How to get rid of annoying website "lightbox" blocks


You know those websites that dim themselves out and make you click through a "lightbox" that stops you from reading until you look at an ad, join a mailing list, or stand on one foot while whistling "The Stars and Stripes Forever" -- all you need is a little web-fu and you can make them go away.

How to view 'locked' content on websites.

(via Reddit)

Meet the anti-Net Neutrality arms dealers who love network discrimination

IBM, Cisco, Intel, and Sandvine make huge bank selling ISPs the networking gear needed to discriminate against online services that haven't paid bribes for access to the "fast lane" -- but it's totally a coincidence that they've told the US government to make sure that the FCC doesn't ban the corrupt practice.

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Tabnapping: a new phishing attack [2010]

Aza Raskin's Tabnapping is a proof-of-concept for a fiendish attack: a tab that waits until you're not watching, then turns itself into a convincing Google login screen that you assume you must have opened.

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Starred review in Kirkus for INFORMATION DOESN'T WANT TO BE FREE, Cory's next book


My next book, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, comes out in November, but the reviews have just started to come in. Kirkus gave it a stellar review. Many thanks to @neilhimself and @amandapalmer for their wonderful introductions!

In his best-selling novel Ready Player One, Ernest Cline predicted that decades from now, Doctorow (Homeland, 2013, etc.) should share the presidency of the Internet with actor Wil Wheaton. Consider this manifesto to be Doctorow’s qualifications for the job.

The author provides a guide to the operation of the Internet that not only makes sense, but is also written for general readers. Using straightforward language and clear analogies, Doctorow breaks down the complex issues and tangled arguments surrounding technology, commerce, copyright, intellectual property, crowd funding, privacy and value—not to mention the tricky situation of becoming “Internet Famous.” Following a characteristically thoughtful introduction by novelist Neil Gaiman, rock star Amanda Palmer offers a blunt summary of today’s world: “We are a new generation of artists, makers, supporters, and consumers who believe that the old system through which we exchanged content and money is dead. Not dying: dead.” So the primary thesis of the book becomes a question of, where do we go from here? Identifying the Web’s constituents as creators, investors, intermediaries and audiences is just the first smart move. Doctorow also files his forthright, tactically savvy arguments under three “laws,” the most important of which has been well-broadcast: “Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you and won’t give you the key, that lock isn’t there for your benefit.”

Read the whole review