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Paul Merrell

LEAKED: Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global | Wolf Street - 0 views

  • Much has been written, at least in the alternative media, about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), two multilateral trade treaties being negotiated between the representatives of dozens of national governments and armies of corporate lawyers and lobbyists (on which you can read more here, here and here). However, much less is known about the decidedly more secretive Trade in Services Act (TiSA), which involves more countries than either of the other two. At least until now, that is. Thanks to a leaked document jointly published by the Associated Whistleblowing Press and Filtrala, the potential ramifications of the treaty being hashed out behind hermetically sealed doors in Geneva are finally seeping out into the public arena.
  • If signed, the treaty would affect all services ranging from electronic transactions and data flow, to veterinary and architecture services. It would almost certainly open the floodgates to the final wave of privatization of public services, including the provision of healthcare, education and water. Meanwhile, already privatized companies would be prevented from a re-transfer to the public sector by a so-called barring “ratchet clause” – even if the privatization failed. More worrisome still, the proposal stipulates that no participating state can stop the use, storage and exchange of personal data relating to their territorial base. Here’s more from Rosa Pavanelli, general secretary of Public Services International (PSI):
  • The leaked documents confirm our worst fears that TiSA is being used to further the interests of some of the largest corporations on earth (…) Negotiation of unrestricted data movement, internet neutrality and how electronic signatures can be used strike at the heart of individuals’ rights. Governments must come clean about what they are negotiating in these secret trade deals. Fat chance of that, especially in light of the fact that the text is designed to be almost impossible to repeal, and is to be “considered confidential” for five years after being signed. What that effectively means is that the U.S. approach to data protection (read: virtually non-existent) could very soon become the norm across 50 countries spanning the breadth and depth of the industrial world.
  • ...1 more annotation...
  • The main players in the top-secret negotiations are the United States and all 28 members of the European Union. However, the broad scope of the treaty also includes Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey. Combined they represent almost 70 percent of all trade in services worldwide. An explicit goal of the TiSA negotiations is to overcome the exceptions in GATS that protect certain non-tariff trade barriers, such as data protection. For example, the draft Financial Services Annex of TiSA, published by Wikileaks in June 2014, would allow financial institutions, such as banks, the free transfer of data, including personal data, from one country to another. As Ralf Bendrath, a senior policy advisor to the MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, writes in State Watch, this would constitute a radical carve-out from current European data protection rules:
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Outernet | Discussions [Outernet is NOT The Internet...] - 1 views

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    [# ! ... nor it pretends to be, # ! just an #alternative / #interactive #information #channel. # ! #stop #gratuitous #critics, by thxse [sic.] determined to keep on # ! #monopolizing #information, #opinion & #entertainment.] "Welcome to the official discussion forum for Outernet: Humanity's Public Library. If you are new to the forum, please look at the FAQ before poting questions. This forum is monitored regularly by Outernet staff and is a place to ask questions about the project or, even better, create discussion around various aspects of the project. "
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    "Welcome to the official discussion forum for Outernet: Humanity's Public Library. If you are new to the forum, please look at the FAQ before poting questions. This forum is monitored regularly by Outernet staff and is a place to ask questions about the project or, even better, create discussion around various aspects of the project. "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Democracy.OS - 0 views

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    "We are working on a user-friendly, open-source, vote and debate tool, crafted for parliaments, parties and decision-making institutions that will allow citizens to get informed, join the conversation and vote on topics, just how they want their representatives to vote."
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    "We are working on a user-friendly, open-source, vote and debate tool, crafted for parliaments, parties and decision-making institutions that will allow citizens to get informed, join the conversation and vote on topics, just how they want their representatives to vote."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

IGF 2014: Istanbul [2-5 September 2014] - 0 views

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    "IGF 2014 The Ninth Annual IGF Meeting will be held in Istanbul, Turkey on 2-5 September 2014. The venue of the meeting is Lütfi Kirdar International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC). The overarching theme for the meeting is: "Connecting Continents for Enhanced Multistakeholder Internet Governance" with the following subthemes."
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    "IGF 2014 The Ninth Annual IGF Meeting will be held in Istanbul, Turkey on 2-5 September 2014. The venue of the meeting is Lütfi Kirdar International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC). The overarching theme for the meeting is: "Connecting Continents for Enhanced Multistakeholder Internet Governance" with the following subthemes."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Copyright Reform: The European Parliament Must Follow the Reda Report! | La Quadrature du Net * - 0 views

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    "Submitted on 26 Jan 2015 - 11:47 copyright creative contribution Andrus Ansip Günther Oettinger press release Printer-friendly version Send by email Français Paris, January 26, 2015 - Yesterday, MEP Julia Reda presented in the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European Parliament a report on the harmonization of copyright in Europe. She tables modest but welcome proposals for a reform of copyright, several of which have been supported by La Quadrature du Net." [# ! And You can still take part... https://www.discuto.io/en/consultation/6240?page=2]
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    "Submitted on 26 Jan 2015 - 11:47 copyright creative contribution Andrus Ansip Günther Oettinger press release Printer-friendly version Send by email Français Paris, January 26, 2015 - Yesterday, MEP Julia Reda presented in the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European Parliament a report on the harmonization of copyright in Europe. She tables modest but welcome proposals for a reform of copyright, several of which have been supported by La Quadrature du Net." [# ! And You can still take part... https://www.discuto.io/en/consultation/6240?page=2]
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    "Submitted on 26 Jan 2015 - 11:47 copyright creative contribution Andrus Ansip Günther Oettinger press release Printer-friendly version Send by email Français Paris, January 26, 2015 - Yesterday, MEP Julia Reda presented in the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European Parliament a report on the harmonization of copyright in Europe. She tables modest but welcome proposals for a reform of copyright, several of which have been supported by La Quadrature du Net." [# ! And You can still take part... https://www.discuto.io/en/consultation/6240?page=2]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Evaluation of the EU Copyright Directive | Discuto - 2 views

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    "DRAFT REPORT on the implementation of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (2014/2256(INI))"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Senator Ron Wyden: don't betray the Internet! - 0 views

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    "Oregon's Senator Ron Wyden has long been a champion of the free and open Internet. Now, the future of the web rests in his hands. "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Nominate your heroes for the Free Software Awards - Free Software Foundation - working together for free software - 0 views

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    "Sharing is one of free software's key principles. People who contribute to the advancement of free software, and to society, are committed to sharing their ideas in order to create something we can all benefit from. Often, they don't ask for anything in return. That's why each year, the Free Software Foundation recognizes one deserving individual and one project with the Free Software Awards. Who do you think should receive the 17th annual awards? Nominate an individual or a project you'd like us to recognize--nominations will be accepted through Sunday, November 16th, 2014 at 23:59 UTC. "
Paul Merrell

Thousands Join Legal Fight Against UK Surveillance - And You Can, Too - The Intercept - 1 views

  • Thousands of people are signing up to join an unprecedented legal campaign against the United Kingdom’s leading electronic surveillance agency. On Monday, London-based human rights group Privacy International launched an initiative enabling anyone across the world to challenge covert spying operations involving Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, the National Security Agency’s British counterpart. The campaign was made possible following a historic court ruling earlier this month that deemed intelligence sharing between GCHQ and the NSA to have been unlawful because of the extreme secrecy shrouding it.
  • Consequently, members of the public now have a rare opportunity to take part in a lawsuit against the spying in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, a special British court that handles complaints about surveillance operations conducted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Privacy International is allowing anyone who wants to participate to submit their name, email address and phone number through a page on its website. The group plans to use the details to lodge a case with GCHQ and the court that will seek to discover whether each participant’s emails or phone calls have been covertly obtained by the agency in violation of the privacy and freedom of expression provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. If it is established that any of the communications have been unlawfully collected, the court could force GCHQ to delete them from its vast repositories of intercepted data.
  • By Tuesday evening, more than 10,000 people had already signed up to the campaign, a spokesman for Privacy International told The Intercept. In a statement announcing the campaign on Monday, Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said: “The public have a right to know if they were illegally spied on, and GCHQ must come clean on whose records they hold that they should never have had in the first place. “We have known for some time that the NSA and GCHQ have been engaged in mass surveillance, but never before could anyone explicitly find out if their phone calls, emails, or location histories were unlawfully shared between the U.S. and U.K. “There are few chances that people have to directly challenge the seemingly unrestrained surveillance state, but individuals now have a historic opportunity finally hold GCHQ accountable for their unlawful actions.”
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Don't Wreck The Net! Respond By January 6th - 0 views

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    "The European Commission is asking the public critical questions about the future of our online world, but these questions are buried throughout a lengthy consultation survey that will probably make your eyes water. We need you to tackle the survey and make your voice heard. It's not easy, so we're here to help. Go ahead, take a look at the public consultation. It's got five pages of oblique questions and too much smallprint for anyone's taste. But it's really all asking one thing: what are the roles and responsibilities of service providers in the digital world? Our survey survival guide helps you overcome the bureaucratic barrier and answer that question, because it's at risk of being ignored."
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    "The European Commission is asking the public critical questions about the future of our online world, but these questions are buried throughout a lengthy consultation survey that will probably make your eyes water. We need you to tackle the survey and make your voice heard. It's not easy, so we're here to help. Go ahead, take a look at the public consultation. It's got five pages of oblique questions and too much smallprint for anyone's taste. But it's really all asking one thing: what are the roles and responsibilities of service providers in the digital world? Our survey survival guide helps you overcome the bureaucratic barrier and answer that question, because it's at risk of being ignored."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Future of Open Source Survey 2016 | surveymonkey.com - 0 views

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    "* 1. Which of the following statements best represents your primary role with regard to open source? Which of the following statements best represents your primary role with regard to open source? Application Developer - I use open source to speed my development of applications Open Source Developer - I work full time contributing to open source projects Architect - I play a key role in the selection of technology, including open source, for my organization Security - I ensure that the applications we build and deploy are secure Development Management - I manage one or more teams of developers that build applications for my company IT Infrastructure and Operations Manager - Responsible for IT infrastructure and operations, identifying and justifying open source technologies and process changes in my company's infrastructure Legal - I am responsible for ensuring open source license compliance within my organization Executive Leader - I lead a company that utilizes open source in the development environment"
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    "* 1. Which of the following statements best represents your primary role with regard to open source? Which of the following statements best represents your primary role with regard to open source? Application Developer - I use open source to speed my development of applications Open Source Developer - I work full time contributing to open source projects Architect - I play a key role in the selection of technology, including open source, for my organization Security - I ensure that the applications we build and deploy are secure Development Management - I manage one or more teams of developers that build applications for my company IT Infrastructure and Operations Manager - Responsible for IT infrastructure and operations, identifying and justifying open source technologies and process changes in my company's infrastructure Legal - I am responsible for ensuring open source license compliance within my organization Executive Leader - I lead a company that utilizes open source in the development environment"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

What's your vision for the FSF? Fill out our survey - Free Software Foundation - working together for free software - 1 views

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    [ by Zak Rogoff - Published on Jan 08, 2016 08:01 PM 2015 was the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) thirtieth year defending and advancing computer users' rights. The free software community has sustained the Foundation throughout these decades and been deeply involved in our work. We continue to rely on the expertise of the free software movement to inform our initiatives and strategies. Taking the first step into our next thirty years, we want to hear your feedback, your suggestions, and your vision for the future of the FSF. Fill out the survey now!]
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    [ by Zak Rogoff - Published on Jan 08, 2016 08:01 PM 2015 was the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) thirtieth year defending and advancing computer users' rights. The free software community has sustained the Foundation throughout these decades and been deeply involved in our work. We continue to rely on the expertise of the free software movement to inform our initiatives and strategies. Taking the first step into our next thirty years, we want to hear your feedback, your suggestions, and your vision for the future of the FSF. Fill out the survey now!]
Paul Merrell

EFF Pries More Information on Zero Days from the Government's Grasp | Electronic Frontier Foundation - 0 views

  • Until just last week, the U.S. government kept up the charade that its use of a stockpile of security vulnerabilities for hacking was a closely held secret.1 In fact, in response to EFF’s FOIA suit to get access to the official U.S. policy on zero days, the government redacted every single reference to “offensive” use of vulnerabilities. To add insult to injury, the government’s claim was that even admitting to offensive use would cause damage to national security. Now, in the face of EFF’s brief marshaling overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the charade is over. In response to EFF’s motion for summary judgment, the government has disclosed a new version of the Vulnerabilities Equities Process, minus many of the worst redactions. First and foremost, it now admits that the “discovery of vulnerabilities in commercial information technology may present competing ‘equities’ for the [government’s] offensive and defensive mission.” That might seem painfully obvious—a flaw or backdoor in a Juniper router is dangerous for anyone running a network, whether that network is in the U.S. or Iran. But the government’s failure to adequately weigh these “competing equities” was so severe that in 2013 a group of experts appointed by President Obama recommended that the policy favor disclosure “in almost all instances for widely used code.” [.pdf].
  • The newly disclosed version of the Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP) also officially confirms what everyone already knew: the use of zero days isn’t confined to the spies. Rather, the policy states that the “law enforcement community may want to use information pertaining to a vulnerability for similar offensive or defensive purposes but for the ultimate end of law enforcement.” Similarly it explains that “counterintelligence equities can be defensive, offensive, and/or law enforcement-related” and may “also have prosecutorial responsibilities.” Given that the government is currently prosecuting users for committing crimes over Tor hidden services, and that it identified these individuals using vulnerabilities called a “Network Investigative Technique”, this too doesn’t exactly come as a shocker. Just a few weeks ago, the government swore that even acknowledging the mere fact that it uses vulnerabilities offensively “could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.” That’s a standard move in FOIA cases involving classified information, even though the government unnecessarily classifies documents at an astounding rate. In this case, the government relented only after nearly a year and a half of litigation by EFF. The government would be well advised to stop relying on such weak secrecy claims—it only risks undermining its own credibility.
  • The new version of the VEP also reveals significantly more information about the general process the government follows when a vulnerability is identified. In a nutshell, an agency that discovers a zero day is responsible for invoking the VEP, which then provides for centralized coordination and weighing of equities among all affected agencies. Along with a declaration from an official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, this new information provides more background on the reasons why the government decided to develop an overarching zero day policy in the first place: it “recognized that not all organizations see the entire picture of vulnerabilities, and each organization may have its own equities and concerns regarding the prioritization of patches and fixes, as well as its own distinct mission obligations.” We now know the VEP was finalized in February 2010, but the government apparently failed to implement it in any substantial way, prompting the presidential review group’s recommendation to prioritize disclosure over offensive hacking. We’re glad to have forced a little more transparency on this important issue, but the government is still foolishly holding on to a few last redactions, including refusing to name which agencies participate in the VEP. That’s just not supportable, and we’ll be in court next month to argue that the names of these agencies must be disclosed. 
Paul Merrell

NAS Report: A New Light in the Debate over Government Access to Encrypted Content - Lawfare - 0 views

  • The encryption debate dates back to Clinton administration proposals for the “clipper chip” and mandatory deposit of decryption keys. But that debate reached new prominence in connection with the FBI’s efforts to compel Apple to decrypt the phone of a dead terrorist in the San Bernardino case. A new study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine tries to shed some light, and turn down the heat, in the debate over whether government agencies should be provided access to plaintext versions of encrypted communications and other data. FBI and other law enforcement officials, and some intelligence officials, have argued that in the face of widespread encryption provided by smart phones, messaging apps, and other devices and software, the internet is “going dark.” These officials warn that encryption is restricting their access to information needed for criminal and national security investigations, arguing that they need a reliable, timely and scalable way to access it. Critics have raised legal and practical objections that regulations to ensure government access would pose unacceptable risks to privacy and civil liberties and undermine computer security in the face of rising cyber threats, and may be less necessary given the wider availability of data and alternative means of obtaining access to encrypted data. As the encryption debate has become increasingly polarized with participants on all sides making sweeping, sometimes absolutist, assertions, the new National Academies’ report doesn’t purport to tell anyone what to do, but rather provides a primer on the relevant issues.
Paul Merrell

India begins to embrace digital privacy. - 0 views

  • India is the world’s largest democracy and is home to 13.5 percent of the world’s internet users. So the Indian Supreme Court’s August ruling that privacy is a fundamental, constitutional right for all of the country’s 1.32 billion citizens was momentous. But now, close to three months later, it’s still unclear exactly how the decision will be implemented. Will it change everything for internet users? Or will the status quo remain? The most immediate consequence of the ruling is that tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Alibaba will be required to rein in their collection, utilization, and sharing of Indian user data. But the changes could go well beyond technology. If implemented properly, the decision could affect national politics, business, free speech, and society. It could encourage the country to continue to make large strides toward increased corporate and governmental transparency, stronger consumer confidence, and the establishment and growth of the Indian “individual” as opposed to the Indian collective identity. But that’s a pretty big if. Advertisement The privacy debate in India was in many ways sparked by a controversy that has shaken up the landscape of national politics for several months. It began in 2016 as a debate around a social security program that requires participating citizens to obtain biometric, or Aadhaar, cards. Each card has a unique 12-digit number and records an individual’s fingerprints and irises in order to confirm his or her identity. The program was devised to increase the ease with which citizens could receive social benefits and avoid instances of fraud. Over time, Aadhaar cards have become mandatory for integral tasks such as opening bank accounts, buying and selling property, and filing tax returns, much to the chagrin of citizens who are uncomfortable about handing over their personal data. Before the ruling, India had weak privacy protections in place, enabling unchecked data collection on citizens by private companies and the government. Over the past year, a number of large-scale data leaks and breaches that have impacted major Indian corporations, as well as the Aadhaar program itself, have prompted users to start asking questions about the security and uses of their personal data.
  • n order to bolster the ruling the government will also be introducing a set of data protection laws that are to be developed by a committee led by retired Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna. The committee will study the data protection landscape, develop a draft Data Protection Bill, and identify how, and whether, the Aadhaar Act should be amended based on the privacy ruling.
  • Should the data protection laws be implemented in an enforceable manner, the ruling will significantly impact the business landscape in India. Since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014, the government has made fostering and expanding the technology and startup sector a top priority. The startup scene has grown, giving rise to several promising e-commerce companies, but in 2014, only 12 percent of India’s internet users were online consumers. If the new data protection laws are truly impactful, companies will have to accept responsibility for collecting, utilizing, and protecting user data safely and fairly. Users would also have a stronger form of redress when their newly recognized rights are violated, which could transform how they engage with technology. This has the potential to not only increase consumer confidence but revitalize the Indian business sector, as it makes it more amenable and friendly to outside investors, users, and collaborators.
Paul Merrell

Can Dweb Save The Internet? 06/03/2019 - 0 views

  • On a mysterious farm just above the Pacific Ocean, the group who built the internet is inviting a small number of friends to a semi-secret gathering. They describe it as a camp "where diverse people can freely exchange ideas about the technologies, laws, markets, and agreements we need to move forward.” Forward indeed.It wasn’t that long ago that the internet was an open network of computers, blogs, sites, and posts.But then something happened -- and the open web was taken over by private, for-profit, closed networks. Facebook isn’t the web. YouTube isn’t the web. Google isn’t the web. They’re for-profit businesses that are looking to sell audiences to advertisers.Brewster Kahle is one of the early web innovators who built the Internet Archive as a public storehouse to protect the web’s history. Along with web luminaries such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf, he is working to protect and rebuild the open nature of the web.advertisementadvertisement“We demonstrated that the web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done,” Berners-Lee told Vanity Fair. The web has “ended up producing -- [through] no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform -- a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.”
  • o, they’re out to fix it, working on what they call the Dweb. The “d” in Dweb stands for distributed. In distributed systems, no one entity has control over the participation of any other entity.Berners-Lee is building a platform called Solid, designed to give people control over their own data. Other global projects also have the goal of taking take back the public web. Mastodon is decentralized Twitter. Peertube is a decentralized alternative to YouTube.This July 18 - 21, web activists plan to convene at the Decentralized Web Summit in San Francisco. Back in 2016, Kahle convened an early group of builders, archivists, policymaker, and journalists. He issued a challenge to  use decentralized technologies to “Lock the Web Open.” It’s hard to imagine he knew then how quickly the web would become a closed network.Last year's Dweb gathering convened more than 900 developers, activists, artists, researchers, lawyers, and students. Kahle opened the gathering by reminding attendees that the web used to be a place where everyone could play. "Today, I no longer feel like a player, I feel like I’m being played. Let’s build a decentralized web, let’s build a system we can depend on, a system that doesn’t feel creepy” he said, according to IEEE Spectrum.With the rising tide of concerns about how social networks have hacked our democracy, Kahle and his Dweb community will gather with increasing urgency around their mission.The internet began with an idealist mission to connect people and information for good. Today's web has yet to achieve that goal, but just maybe Dweb will build an internet more robust and open than the current infrastructure allows. That’s a mission worth fighting for.
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