US election security: still a dumpster fire

Securing Our Cyber Future, Stanford Cyber Policy Center's new report on election security, depicts a US electoral system whose glaring vulnerabilities are still in place, three years after the chaos of the 2016 elections. Read the rest

Private Join and Compute is Google's free/open source tool to allow "mulitparty computation" of encrypted data without decryption

Private Join and Compute is a new free/open Google tool that implements the longstanding cryptographic concept of "commutative encryption," which allows untrusted parties to merge their datasets without revealing their contents to one another, do mathematical work on the data, and learn the outcome of that work without either of them seeing the underlying data. Read the rest

Chrome-derived browsers threaten to fork from Google, refuse to eliminate ad-blocker features

Google's decision to restrict access to the Chrome API needed for full ad-blocking to paid enterprise customers was especially worrisome because Chrome's free/open derivative, Chromium, is the basis for many other browsers, including Microsoft's Edge, as well as Opera and the privacy-focused Brave. Read the rest

How DRM has permitted Google to have an "open source" browser that is still under its exclusive control

A year ago, Benjamin "Mako" Hill gave a groundbreaking lecture explaining how Big Tech companies had managed to monopolize all the benefits of free software licenses, using a combination of dirty tricks to ensure that the tools that were nominally owned by no one and licensed under free and open terms nevertheless remained under their control, so that the contributions that software developers made to "open" projects ended up benefiting big companies without big companies having to return the favor. Read the rest

Rogess: chess with roguelike combat

Roguelike games (previously) are "a subgenre of role-playing video game characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels, turn-based gameplay, tile-based graphics, and permanent death of the player character" (Wikipedia). Read the rest

People with diabetes are scouring the internet for a discontinued insulin pump that can be reprogrammed as an "artificial pancreas"

Since 2014, open source hackers have been perfecting the OpenAPS, an "open artificial pancreas" made by modifying the firmware of discontinued Medtronic insulin pumps, which were discontinued due to the very security flaw that makes them user modifiable (that flaw also leaves them vulnerable to malicious modifications). Read the rest

Platform cooperativism (or, how to turn gig-economy jobs into $22.25/hour jobs)

Frequent Boing Boing contributor Clive Thompson (previously) has a great short piece in this month's Wired about platform cooperativism: replacing parasitical Silicon Valley companies that sit between workers and their customers with worker-owned co-ops that take the smallest commission possible in order to maintain the apps that customers and workers use to find each other. Read the rest

Ecuadorean authorities have unjustly arrested free software developer Ola Bini as part of their Assange dragnet

Ola Bini is a Swedish free/open source software developer who lives in Quito, Ecudaor; as he prepared to depart for a long-planned (and previously publicly announced) vacation in Japan, he was seized by Ecuadorean police, who claimed he was fleeing the country after the arrest of Julian Assange; authorities had a warrant for a "Russian hacker" (Bini is neither Russian, nor a hacker) and they have held him without reading him his rights, offering him a translator, or allowing him to contact his lawyer. Read the rest

Public Sans: a free/open font from the United States Web Design System

Public Sans is a free, open font (available in weights from 100-900, download here) from the federal United States Web Design System with a Github project that you can contribute to: it's billed as "A strong, neutral typeface for text or display." (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

A rapidly proliferating software license bars use by companies with poor labor practices

Katt Gu and Suji Yan's Anti 996 License allows developers to prohibit the use of their code by companies that do not adhere to basic labor practices (996 is a Chinese software industry term for shops where coders work 9AM-9PM, 6 days/week). Read the rest

"Open source" companies are playing games with licensing to sneak in proprietary code, freeze out competitors, fight enclosure

Writing new software licenses is a seemingly irresistible vice in the free and open source world, and the decades since the first GPL have been filled with bitter disputes and splits over licensing, with new licenses proliferating for motives both noble and base. Read the rest

After years of insisting that DRM in HTML wouldn't block open source implementations, Google says it won't support open source implementations

The bitter, yearslong debate at the World Wide Web Consortium over a proposal to standardize DRM for web browsers included frequent assurances by the pro-DRM side (notably Google, whose Widevine DRM was in line to be the principal beneficiary) that this wouldn't affect the ability of free/open source authors to implement the standard. Read the rest

A glowing, 3D printed rose that "blooms" when you touch its petals

Daren Schwenke's 3D printed blooming rose embeds a capacitive touch sensor -- a magnetic wire -- in one of the leaves, which trips an Arduino-controlled actuator that changes the rose's lighting and causes the petals -- 3D printed and then shaped over a hot chandelier bulb -- to splay open or fold closed. Read the rest

Electronic Health Records: a murderous, publicly subsidized, $13B/year grift by way of shitty software

In 2009, the bipartisan HITECH Act pledged $36 billion to subsidize the adoption of Electronic Health Records throughout America's fragmented, profit-driven health system, promising that the system would modernize American health care, save $80 billion (and countless lives), and deliver a host of other benefits; a decade later, the EHR industry has blossomed from $2B to $13B, and adoption is up from 9% to 96%, and it's a catastrophe. Read the rest

Alias: a smart-speaker "parasite" that blocks your speaker's sensors until you activate it

Alias is an open source hardware/free-open firmware "parasite" that fits over your smart speaker's sensors and fills them with white noise; the Alias has its own (non-networked, user-controlled) mic and speaker and when you speak a magic phrase, the Alias temporarily stops the white noise and transmits your commands to the speaker; Alias also lets you specify strings of commands and other useful utilities that restore control over your smart-speaker to you. Read the rest

Tim Maughan's Infinite Detail: a debut sf novel about counterculture, resistance, and the post-internet apocalypse

Tim Maughan has long been one of the most promising up-and-coming, avante garde UK science fiction writers, whose post-cyberpunk short fiction mixed radical politics with a love of graffiti and a postmodern filmmaker's eye: now, with his debut novel Infinite Detail, Maughan shows that he has what it takes to work at longer lengths, and can sustain a first-rate adventure story that grabs and never lets go, without sacrificing the political and technological insights that give his work depth that will stay with you long after the book is done. Read the rest

Common Voice: Mozilla releases the largest dataset of voice samples for free, for all

42,000 Mozilla supporters contributed to Common Voice, a free-open dataset of 1,361 hours of voice recordings in 18 languages, which is now free for anyone to use as a set of "high quality, transcribed voice data... available to startups, researchers, and anyone interested in voice-enabled technologies" -- in a field plagued with sampling bias problems, this is a dataset that aims to be diverse, representative and inclusive, and it's growing by the day (you can contribute your voice too!) -- the whole project is inspiring. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

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