Cory Doctorow lecture about freedom, surveillance and technology

Angry cat with a network cable criticizing the NSAI just listened to a Cory Doctorow lecture he gave at the Central European University in Budapest.

The lecture recounts the same themes and ideas he talked about in numerous other lectures and wrote about in his book “Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free“. The difference about this lecture is that it was targeted at a somewhat less-technically oriented audience, and therefore includes basic high-level explanations as to why there are no such things as “golden keys” to cryptography.

I recommend sharing this with less technically inclined friends and family who care about freedom, surveillance and related policy.

Also, this cat.

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EFF’s App will not be available on the iPhone

EFF's logoThe Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is making a cool app. It lets you stay up to date on the important issues EFF is dealing with. Issues like the right to innovate, online privacy and internet censorship. It also informs you when and where and which actions can you take if you want to actively influence these issues.

But iPhone users will not enjoy this wealth of information. Because they are trapped. Because the guardian they chose to supposedly guard them from the horrors of faulty or overly complex technology, mostly guards its own interests, to the determinant of everything else. Including free speech. And this is one thing EFF cannot stand for.

They are trying to add DRM to HTML. Really?

StopI can’t believe that in 2011 people still think DRM can work for anything but limit end user choices, security and privacy. Here is an article from EFF  explaining what is going on with this on the HTML standardization front. Please join this struggle and sign EFF’s petition.

In case you don’t know or understand what this is all about, here is my attempt at explaining, by writing a fictional conversation between a DRM Programmer and a Technology Literate User.

DRM Programmer: I want you to buy my data (Movie/Music/Book/Game) and then be able to read (Watch/Listen to/Play) it but not copy it.

Technology Literate User: That is impossible, on computers reading is copying.

D: I will protect the data by encrypting it.

T: If you encrypt the data I won’t be able to read it.

D: I will give you a decryption key so you can decrypt the data and read it.

T: If you give me the decryption key, and let me read the data, I can then write (E.g. save) it, unencrypted, to somewhere else, and therefore copy it.

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Dispora – good idea, but the implementation might be going the wrong way

Diaspora had been getting a lot of press lately, and while I do think that utilizing peer-too-peer and distributed computing technologies to give users back the control over their social and personal information us a good idea, I`m not sure that server-style software is the right way to achieve this.

If breakup of the dominance of big, centralized, services in the social computing sphere is to be achieved, it should be done in the same manner that central FTP archives were made obsolete by P2P software and IM networks by multi-protocol clients – By writing convenient desktop software that will merge in the services of multiple providers to eliminate differentiation and facilitate competition.

EFF’s guide to observing packet spoofing by ISPs

When the link to EFF’s guide for Detecting packet injection popped up in my feed reader I was looking forward to learning the means EFF would offer the general public to learn and deal with the problem of bandwidth discrimination.

I was hoping to find a “user friendly” article that would allow me to explain and demonstrate this problem the less technically oriented among my peers.

However, the approach offered by the article, utilizing Wireshark to analyze network traffic, is well beyond the capabilities of common computer users, so I was greatly disappointed.