Berlin Senate approves five-year, citywide rent freeze

The Senate of Berlin has approved a five-year, citywide rent freeze in a bid to halt the city's skyrocketing rents, driven by increased demand that has attracted large-scale corporate landlords who have acquired swathes of properties and raised rents on them, pricing tenants out of their own neighborhoods. Next, the bill proceeds to the Berlin Parliament for approval; it is expected to pass, and will go in effect in January, and apply retroactively to June (heading off any last-minute rent-hikes ahead of the freeze). Read the rest

Drug dealers herded into designated zone to hawk their wares in Berlin Park

After police have proven unable to dissuade drug dealers from congregating in Berlin's Görlitzer Park, the manager of the park spray painted pink lines around designated areas for them to hang out and hawk their wares. The hope is that the dealers will no longer intimidate visitors throughout the park. From The Guardian:

“This method has purely practical reasoning behind it,” (park manager Cengiz) Demirci told local radio station RBB. “It’s not that we’re legalising the selling of drugs.”

Demirci said a much more effective solution would be if authorities gave the dealers work permits. The majority of them are asylum seekers who are not allowed to work while waiting for their claims to be processed. He added: “If they did that then 90% of them would stop what they’re doing immediately.”

Police chiefs criticised the move. “What is needed to ensure that the park is drug and crime free, is a constant police presence and judicial resolve,” Benjamin Jendro from the Berlin branch of the police trade union GdP told Bild...

The sharpest remarks came from Germany’s national anti-drugs tsar, Marlene Mortler, of the conservative Christian Social Union, who told the Funke Mediengruppe: “If this is true then it marks the capitulation of our constitutional state. We should not be issuing the dealers with a licence to deal.”

Read the rest

Berlin! Catch me tonight at Otherland books at 8PM (Houston, here I come!)

I'm coming to Berlin's Otherland books tonight at 8PM for a talk about my latest, Radicalized and the German edition of the first novella from it, Wie man einen Toaster überlistet ("How to Outsmart a Toaster," AKA "Unauthorized Bread"). Read the rest

Berlin! I'm coming to town tomorrow! (Houston, you're next)

Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 7th I'll be keynoting Berlin's Re:publica festival, as well as doing a signing for the German edition of my novella Unauthorized Bread, and an AMA about the EU Copyright Directive (International Space, 1230h) and then a general AMA (Deutschlandjahr Booth, 1345h). On Wednesday, May 8, I'll be at Otherland, Kreuzberg's sf bookstore, talking about the book some more.

After that, I'm off to Houston for a weekend at Comicpalooza, including a panel about copyright on May 10 at 12:30PM; presenting a keynote talk on May 11 at 12PM; and then another copyright panel on May 12 at 10:30AM.

See you soon! Tschüß!

(Image: Re:publica, CC-BY) Read the rest

Ottawa! I'm speaking tonight at the Writers Festival (and then Re:publica in Berlin and Comicpalooza in Houston!)

Tonight at 7:30PM, I'm giving a presentation about my new book, Radicalized, as part of the Ottawa Writers Festival, at Christ Church Cathedral (414 Sparks St.) -- I haven't spoken in Ottawa for years (maybe a decade?!) so I'm really looking forward to it. Read the rest

Ottawa! I'll be at the Writers Festival this Saturday night (then Berlin for Re:publica and Houston for Comicpalooza!)

This Saturday, May 4, at 7:30PM, I'll be presenting at the Ottawa Writers Festival, talking about my novel Radicalized and how it ties into surveillance, monopoly, refugees, climate change, racism and oligarchy -- all the good stuff! Read the rest

Halifax! I'm speaking at Atlseccon on April 24 (then Toronto, Ottawa, Berlin and Houston!)

I'm coming to Halifax to give the closing keynote on day one of Atlseccon on April 24th: it's only my second-ever visit to the city and the first time I've given a talk there, so I really hope you can make it! Read the rest

Reminder: I'm speaking in Berlin tonight at the DTK-Wasserturm

I'm in Berlin today, promoting the German edition of my novel Walkaway: the kindly folks at Otherland Books are hosting me tonight at a free event at DTK Wasserturm, where I'll be presenting with Marcus Richter. Hope to see you there! Tell your friends! Read the rest

I'm speaking in Berlin on November 5!

I'm going to be in Berlin next week to promote the German edition of my novel Walkaway: I'll be appearing at DTK-Wasserturm from 20h-22h, sponsored by Otherland Books. Entry is free -- I hope to see you there! Read the rest

This Wednesday, an EU committee voted to break the Internet: this Sunday, Berliners take to the streets to say NO!

On Wednesday, the Legislative Committee of the European Union narrowly voted to keep the two most controversial internet censorship and surveillance proposals in European history in the upcoming revision to the Copyright Directive -- as soon as July Fourth, the whole European Parliament could vote to make this the law of 28 EU member-states. Read the rest

Help Wanted: a new executive director for Simply Secure, a nonprofit focused on usability in crypto tools

For several years, I've been honored to volunteer on the advisory board of Simply Secure (previously) a nonprofit consultancy that does open research on usability in cryptographic privacy tools and consults with firms to help make their tools more broadly usable and accessible, especially for vulnerable groups who are often left out of consideration when secure tools are being designed. Read the rest

Coming to Europe: a lecture tour with Garnet "Disobedient Electronics" Hertz

Garnet Hertz is the designer/scholar/provocateur behind the amazing Disobedient Electronics project ("Building electronic objects can be an effective form of social argument or political protest"); though he is normally based at British Colombia's Emily Carr University, he's currently touring Europe with the Disobedient Electronics book on a Disobedient Electronics protest tour, with stops in London, Southampton, the Hague, Brussels, Paris, Berlin and Madiera. Read the rest

Berlin SWAT raids yield arrests in theft of manhole-sized gold coin

On Wednesday, heavily armed and armored Berlin police carried out a series of raids, arresting four suspects in the theft of a $3.9m, 220lb manhole-cover-sized gold coin from Berlin's Bode Museum in March. Read the rest

Paris pullout: Greenpeace projects anti-Trump message on Berlin's US Embassy

After yesterday's Trumpian vow to burn down the Earth and all who live there, Germany's Greenpeace office responded by projecting the above image onto the US embassy. Read the rest

What happens when you opt out of the "voluntary" pornoscanners at Berlin's Schönefeld airport

Yesterday morning, Matthias Kirschner opted out of the "voluntary" full-body scanners at Berlin's Schönefeld, and discovered that "voluntary" means that "if you don't do it, they will barrack you endlessly about your choice, punitively repeatedly perform the same searches over and over, and attempt to delay you so you almost miss your flight." Read the rest

Journalists around the world voice support for Netzpolitik after outrageous 'treason' investigation

Reporters and press freedom advocates from around the world have signed on to support Netzpolitik and condemn the German government's outrageous investigation.

Anti-NSA messages projected on US embassy in Berlin

Oliver Bienkowski, a guerrilla "light-graffiti" artist, splashed a projection of a caricature of Barack Obama's face on the side of the US embassy in Berlin, along with the phrase, "NSA IN DA HOUSE." Read the rest

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