How the White House is celebrating Back to the Future Day!


Our man in the White House, Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, alerts us to the Administration's celebration of Back To The Future Day that includes:

* The release of President Obama's updated Strategy for American Innovation

* Tom's post on the White House blog about the power of imagination, titled "Science Fiction to Science Fact"

* A series of online conversations with scientists and innovators about the future! Read the rest

Right to Encrypt is under fire in America. is fighting for your crypto rights.


The Intercept just published an amazing article by Jim Bamford yesterday talking about how the NSA exploited a backdoor in Vodafone to spy on Greek politicians and journalists during the 2004 Olympics.

Bamford is an American author and journalist best known for his writing about United States intelligence agencies, and in particular the National Security Agency.

In a meticulous investigation, Bamford reports at the Intercept that the NSA was behind the notorious, legendary “Athens Affair”. After the 2004 Olympics, the Greek government discovered that an unknown attacker had hacked into Vodafone’s “lawful intercept” system, the phone company’s method of wiretapping voice calls. The attacker spied on phone calls of the president and other Greek politicians and journalists before the hack was found out.

Freedom of the Press Foundation director Trevor Timm wrote for the Guardian about why this is exactly why encryption backdoors are so dangerous.

What are encryption backdoors? For non-techie readers, basically these are ways the government can unencrypt your "locked" communications if they decide they want to see your private material for any secret reason.

And in related news, rumor has it the White House is nearing a decision on whether to embrace the right to encryption for American citizens, or join the FBI in calling for backdoors.

Dozens of civil liberties groups, including Freedom of the Press Foundation, launched this site and petition today that feeds into the White House petition system:

If you care about this issue, right now is the time to take action. Read the rest

Copyfighting, jailbreaking legend Ed Felten is the White House's new deputy CTO

He'll serve under the brilliant Megan Smith, the CTO. Read the rest

Science hackers Ariel Waldman and Eri Gentry: White House's "Champions for Change!"

You've likely read on Boing Boing about Ariel Waldman, creator of Spacehack and lead instigator of Science Hack Day, and Eri Gentry, co-founder of BioCurious. Congratulations are due this week to Ariel and Eri who were honored by the White House along with ten other "Champions of Change" dedicated to "increasing public engagement in science and science literacy!" Eri and Ariel are both colleagues of mine at Institute for the Future, and Ariel is also collaborating with Boing Boing on a fantastic event that we will announce in the coming weeks. Check out Ariel's post at the White House site, titled "Hacking Science and Space Exploration." Read the rest

Thursday: White House/Tom Kalil Google Hangout about the maker movement

On Thursday (3/28) at 3pm ET, Boing Boing pal and White House innovation advisor Tom Kalil is hosting a Google Hangout to talk about the maker movement! Tom has been instrumental in helping President Obama and the administration understand the value of maker culture in sci/tech education. Joining Tom in the Hangout will be folks like MAKE founder Dale Dougherty, Super Awesome Maker Show's Super Awesome Sylvia, and Ford future tech lead Venkatesh Prasad. "White House Hangout: The Maker Movement"

(Above, President Obama checks out a soccer-playing robot built by Blue Bell, PA high school students. Photo by Pete Souza.) Read the rest