Boing Boing 

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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Stats-based response to UK Tories' call for social media terrorism policing


David Cameron wants social media companies to invent a terrorism-detection algorithm and send all the "bad guys" it detects to the police -- but this will fall prey to the well-known (to statisticians) "paradox of the false positive," producing tens of thousands of false leads that will drown the cops.

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Chinese government wants to ban puns


Chinese media regulators have called on broadcasters to end the widespread, longstanding practice of using puns, idiom and wordplay in everyday communications, advertisement, jokes, and political speech.

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Brian Krebs's "Spam Nation"

In Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door, Brian Krebs offers a fascinating look at the mass-scale cybercrime that underpins the spam in your inbox and provides an inside peek at a violent fight among its principle players. Cory Doctorow reviews.Read the rest

Proposal to fight Twitter abuse with volunteer juries


Now that Twitter has admitted it has a troll problem, it has to figure out how to scale up its human review of abuse complaints.

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FBI investigating Denver cops who erased citizen video of beatdown


Denver police were videoed savagely beating David Flores and his pregnant girlfriend by Levi Frasier, who had his tablet confiscated and the video deleted after one of the cops shouted "camera" -- but the video had already backed up to the cloud.

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BMG and Rightscorp sue ISP for right to decide who may use the Internet


The giant, criminal rootkit distributor and the dying, sleazy extortion racket want a judge to say that ISPs should disconnect people from the Internet on their say-so.

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Fundraiser tee: #000000 {lives:matter;}


$12: 1/3 of profits go to Ferguson Public Library, 1/3 to This Week In Blackness Media and 1/3 to Feed the Children of Ferguson. (Thanks, Clive!)

Uberdystopian: the surge-priced nightmare future


Paul Ford's short story "One Day, I Will Die on Mars," depicts a chilling, all-too-believable dystopian world where Uber becomes a massive transhuman immortal colony-organism that treats its labor force as its gut-flora, to be continuously measured and perfected or discarded.

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Found Night Valeish poetry: Collection of surreal changelog and patch-note messages

@thestrangelog collects "the strange poetry of changelogs and patch notes," publishing them verbatim ("All byzantine emperors will now have clothes regardless of what DLCs are enabled.").

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New emoji for Unicode 8, including "TACO"


The Unicode Consortium is finalizing its plans for version 8, and 37 new emoji are among the candidates for the final release, including "ZIPPER-MOUTH FACE," "MONEY-MOUTH FACE," "SIGN OF THE HORNS" and "TACO".

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Firefox switches default search from Google to Yahoo


In some ways, it's the inevitable outcome of Google's increased focus on Chrome and Yahoo's increased focus on getting anyone, anywhere to care about it before it runs out of money.

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Secret history of the poop emoji


The 2007 project to bring emoji to Android -- and thence to the Web -- involved an epic battle over the inclusion of the much-loved "pile of poop" emoji, whose significance to the Japanese market was poorly understood by various reactionary elements at Google.

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Free/CC book on transmedia activism


Sasha Costanza-Chock writes, "My book about transmedia organizing is now available for free, Creative Commons licensed download from the MIT Press!"

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Router for gamers lets you filter games by distance

The forthcoming Netduma router has a geofilter that lets you restrict the games you join by distance, so you only play against nearby gamers, eliminating a leading cause of lag.

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Whatsapp integrates Moxie Marlinspike's Textsecure end-to-end crypto


It's the largest-ever deployment of end-to-end crypto, and assuming they didn't add any back-doors or make critical errors, this means that hundreds of millions of users can now communicate without being spied upon by governments, crooks, cops, spies or voyeurs.

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EFF backs new nonprofit free certificate authority "Let's Encrypt"

It will be overseen by Internet Security Research Group with backing from EFF, Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai and others, and will offer free HTTPS certificates to all comers, making it radically easier and cheaper to encrypt the Web and make it resistant to mass surveillance.

Currently, most Internet traffic is unencrypted, meaning most interactions you have with websites leave your accounts vulnerable to eavesdropping by everyone from a minimally competent hacker to the U.S. government. The HTTPS protocol—in contrast to HTTP—encrypts your connection and verifies the authenticity of sites, protecting your data and personal information. EFF has been campaigning successfully for a number of years to spread HTTPS from payment pages and banking sites to email, social networking, and other types of sites. But there are still hundreds of millions of domains that lack this protection.

The new Let's Encrypt project aims to solve that. Let's Encrypt is a new free certificate authority, which will begin issuing server certificates in 2015. Server certificates are the anchor for any website that wants to offer HTTPS and encrypted traffic, proving that the server you are talking to is the server you intended to talk to. But these certificates have historically been expensive, as well as tricky to install and bothersome to update. The Let's Encrypt authority will offer server certificates at zero cost, supported by sophisticated new security protocols. The certificates will have automatic enrollment and renewal, and there will be publicly available records of all certificate issuance and revocation.

Let's Encrypt

New, Free Certificate Authority to Dramatically Increase Encrypted Internet Traffic [EFF]

GOP set up Twitter "numbers stations" to get around Super PAC rules

Super PACs are allowed to raise unlimited funds to support election campaigns, but can't coordinate with those campaigns; this especially means that campaigns can't share expensive private poll data with PACs to help fine tune their campaigns -- which is exactly what Republicans did with their cryptic, unlabelled Twitter accounts that acted as dead-drops with messages like "CA-40/43-44/49-44/44-50/36-44/49-10/16/14-52-->49/476-10s" to let affiliated PACs know what the polls had shown.

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