Posts Tagged ‘activism’

From Lifehacker

“Just months after the internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA were taken off the floor, a new and similarly scrutinized bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) has passed through the House of Representatives and is on its way to the Senate. So, what’s the bill all about, and does it really resemble SOPA? Let’s take a look.

We wrote this back when CISPA first came about, but it seems like the bill that won’t die. As of April 18th, 2013, CISPA has resurfaced and passed the House of Representatives, with a few minor differences.

The Basics of CISPAs

If passed, CISPA would amend the National Security Act of 1947 to allow government agencies to swap customer data from Internet service providers and websites if that data is a threat to “cyber-security.” On a basic level the bill is meant to provide a means for companies and the government to share information with one another to fight against cyber threats. These threats are defined as:

The term cyber threat information’ means information directly pertaining to a vulnerability of, or threat to, a system or network of a government or private entity, including information pertaining to the protection of a system or network from-
(A) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or
(B) efforts to gain unauthorized access to a system or network, including efforts to gain such unauthorized access to steal or misappropriate private or government information.

The information gathered can be used to obtain information for five express purposes:

  1. Cybersecurity
  2. Investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crimes
  3. Protection of individuals from the danger of death or physical injury
  4. Protection of minors from physical or psychological harm
  5. Protection of the national security of the United States

Essentially, CISPA makes it possible for private companies to share potential cyber threat information with the government if the government concludes it needs it for cyber security information (and vice versa) immediately, without a complicated process.

Why Technology Companies Are Supporting CISPA

The main reason companies are supporting CISPA is because it takes the pressure to regulate users off the private company (you can find a huge list of the key players and their positions over on ProPublica). CISPA transfers that role and responsibility over to a government entity. Effectively, it protects companies from being sued if they break their Terms of Service to hand over user information if it’s deemed a threat to cyber security.

In Facebook’s letter of support, Joel Kaplan, Vice President of U.S. Public Policy, puts the reason behind its support simply:

Your legislation removes burdensome rules that currently can inhibit protection of the cyber ecosystem, and helps provide a more established structure for sharing within the cyber community while still respecting the privacy rights and expectations of our users. Through timely sharing of threat information, both public and private entities will be able to more effectively combat malicious activity in cyberspace and protect consumers.

CISPA transfers the burdensome task of regulating its users content and activity to a government entity and this makes a company’s job simple. For instance, if you were posting code snippets of a proposed cyber attack on your private Facebook page the government could request the information and Facebook would be able to hand over every piece of information they have on you immediately. However, this is an entirely voluntary step. If Facebook said no, the government agency asking for the information would have to find another means to get the information. From a company’s perspective, CISPA is an opportunity to share information about potential cyber attacks with a branch of the government that could act on it.

On the surface it’s not that horrible of a thing, but activists worry about the language used in the bill and how it could be construed in a variety of ways to violate a person’s privacy.

Why Technology Rights Groups Are Worried About CISPA

Much like SOPA, the wording in CISPA is broad and the broadness is the root of many of the concerns. A number of activists and rights groups have spoken out against the bill, including Anonymous who reportedly took down trade websites USTelecom and TechAmerica’s in retaliation for their support. The White House has also threatened to veto the bill if it passes. Digital rights group The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), issued a statement condemning CISPA’s surveillance possibilities:

Hundreds of thousands of Internet users spoke out against this bill, and their numbers will only grow as we move this debate to the Senate. We will not stand idly by as the basic freedoms to read and speak online without the shadow of government surveillance are endangered by such overbroad legislative proposals.

The privacy implications of the broadly defined “cybersecurity threat” is the cause for concern among CISPA’s opposition. It’s feared the information gathered would be released too easily and would violate the Fourth Amendment because it offers a simple, warrantless means to acquire personal data.

Several other advocacy groups echo this sentiment, including the American Library Association, which has this to say:

The ALA is concerned that all private electronic communications could be obtained by the government and used for many purposes–and not just for cybersecurity activities. H.R.3523 would permit, and sometimes even require, Internet service providers and other entities to monitor all electronic communications and share personal information with the government without effective oversight by claiming the sharing is for “cybersecurity purposes.”

CISPA could only be used if the government sees a cyber security danger in one of the five purposes mentioned in the first section above. Opponents to CISPA worry that those five reasons would still open the door to spying because they’re broad enough to be applied to several different activities online.

It boils down to this: companies like Facebook and Microsoft are supporting CISPA because it’s beneficial for them. The opposition is against it because it worries the bill could be used as a simple way to spy on people.

You can read the full text—including new amendments—of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s website and track its amendment progress to see if the language is tightened up as it heads to the Senate. If you find yourself against CISPA, civic organization Avaaz has a petition and Demand Progress has set up links to contact your representative.”


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rats-cover-450x600“These days, law enforcement at all levels — from the local cop shop to obscure federal agencies — uses snitches to trap ordinary people. Snitches tell lies that send their friends to jail. Paid agents provocateurs talk or trick otherwise harmless people into committing crimes. In many places, Snitch culture has virtually replaced real investigation of real crimes.

Don’t think you’re exempt if you’re a “law-abiding citizen.” The most trusting, naive, innocent people often make the easiest targets for these weaselly, lying, opportunistic vermin. Snitches specialize in targeting the vulnerable.

You may be in danger if you are:

  • A political activist
  • A recreational drug user
  • A hobbyist or business person who works with “sensitive” materials
  • A member of an unpopular religion
  • A gun owner or dealer
  • A participant in the underground economy
  • A photographer or videographer
  • A controversial thinker or writer
  • Or you just happen to hang out with the wrong people

Snitches are everywhere and they’re hard to detect. This brief, FREE ebook, Rats, can help you:

  • Identify a snitch
  • Protect yourself against snitches and agents provocateurs
  • Protect your friends or colleagues
  • Know how to handle yourself if you get arrested

It could even help you avoid being pressured into becoming a snitch, yourself.

Rats is the work of ex-cops, lawyers, security experts, experienced activists, outlaws, former outlaws, trained interrogators, and more. In the hour or so it takes you to read their information, you’ll gain a lifetime’s worth of armor against snitches, informers, informants, agents provocateurs, narcs, finks, and similar vermin.

Download the Rats ebook now. Share it with your friends. Spread it around. Offer copies for download you your own site or mirror this entire page. All we ask is that you provide a link back to http://rats-nosnitch.com/. Information is power — the power of free people against a growing police state.

If you want to read the book in one of the ereader formats but don’t own a Kindle or a Nook, you can download free reader software for phones, Windows and Mac computers, and other devices. Free Kindle apps from Amazon.com. Free Nook apps from Barnes & Noble.”


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From NonViolentConflict

Bloggers cause anxiety. Governments are wary of these men and women, who are posting news, without being professional journalists.

Worse, bloggers sometimes raise sensitive issues which the media, now known as “traditional”, do not dare cover. Blogs have in some countries become a source of news in their own right.

Nearly 120,000 blogs are created every day. Certainly the blogosphere is not just adorned by gems of courage and truth. It is also often the source of confusion and dis-information and not all bloggers have the souls of reporters. That is why this handbook contains advice on creating and updating a blog, with no other ambition than that of free expression. For others it will be a struggle to draw attention to a particular issue. The first concern therefore is to make a publication visible (see the Jotman article). This hand-book also suggests ploys to get your blog well referenced online (see the Olivier Andrieu article) as well as “editorial” recommendations (Get your blog to stand out, by Mark Glazer).

Let’s acknowledge that blogs are a fantastic tool for freedom of expression. They have unloosed the tongues of ordinary citizens. People who were until now only consumers of news have become players in a new form of journalism, a “grassroots” journalism, as expressed by Dan Gillmor (Grassroots journalism — see the chapter What ethics should bloggers have?), that is “by the people for the people”. Blogs are more or less controllable for those who want to keep them under surveillance.

Governments that are most up to do date with new technology use the most sophisticated filtering or blocking techniques, preventing them from appearing on the Web at all. But bloggers don’t just sit back and let it happen. The essential question becomes how to blog in complete safety. With a normal IP address, a blogger can be tracked down and arrested. Anonymity allows them to keep their freedom (See “How to blog anonymously).

In countries where censorship holds sway, blogs are sometimes the only source of news. During the events in Burma in the autumn of 2007, pitting monks and the people against the military junta, bloggers were the main source of news for foreign journalists. Their video footage made it possible to gauge the scale of the protests and what demonstrators’ demands were.

For more than two months, marches were held in the streets, then a massive crackdown was launched against opponents that only the Burmese were able to show, so hard did it become for the few foreign journalists who managed to enter the country to get back out with their footage. And bloggers could not get the footage out without getting round online censorship imposed by the government.

This handbook seeks to help every blogger to fill in the “black holes” In news. The second part is devoted to techniques which can thwart filtering technology (Choosey our method to get round censorship by Nart Villeneuve). With a little good sense and persistence and above all finding the technique best suited to the situation, every blogger should be capable of shaking off censorship.

Clothilde Le Coz
Head of the Internet Freedom desk

Note Anonymiss Express: contains


Download The HandBook or read it at scribd

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From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense.

EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990 — well before the Internet was on most people’s radar — and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. From the beginning, EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights.

Blending the expertise of lawyers, policy analysts, activists, and technologists, EFF achieves significant victories on behalf of consumers and the general public. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the US government or large corporations. By mobilizing more than 61,000 concerned citizens through our Action Center, EFF beats back bad legislation. In addition to advising policymakers, EFF educates the press and public.

EFF is a donor-funded nonprofit and depends on your support to continue successfully defending your digital rights. Litigation is particularly expensive; because two-thirds of our budget comes from individual donors, every contribution is critical to helping EFF fight — and win — more cases.

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Taken from the ActivistSecurity Collective website:

“Welcome to the website of the ActivistSecurity Collective. The purpose of is to provide a home for some of our publications on practical security for activists and campaigners, all of which are free to download – see below.

We’ve put a lot of time into the Activist Security Handbook – it is now a whooping 70 pages of tightly written text – and we hope it will be of use to every kind of campaigner. Small parts are specific to the United Kingdom but the majority of it will be suitable to people working all over the world.

It has been written by UK activists who have successfully campaigned for over a decade in the face of increasing repression from the state and corporations. However, we need your feedback and your corrections. If we have missed something out or have gotten it wrong, then it is vital you let us know at info@activistsecurity.org. This is intended as a resource for the entire social justice/anti-capitalist/environmental/animal rights collective movement, so it needs your imput as well. We are also willing to do talks in the UK and abroad if needed.


1) The Security Handbook – practical security advice for campaigns and activists with updated article on mobile phone security.

2) Infiltrators, Informers and Grasses – a guide on what to do if you suspect you may have an insider in your group, practical advice on detecting them and best practise on what to do once you have confirmation.

3) A Guide to Secure Meetings in Pubs – a short and to-the-point guide to meeting in pubs and other public spaces.

For those who speak french there is a good online guide to secuity for activists at guide.boum.org. If you know of any more do let us know.

We are generally happy for activists and campaigners to reprint any of this material as long as they are not profiting from it. However, we would be grateful if you dropped us an email to let us know.


The ActivistSecurity.org collective has created a blog at network23.org/infiltrators with the aim of creating a repository documenting the infiltrators placed in various movements by the police and private security firms. We aim to provide an authoritive source which people can come to in order to bypass the rumour and disinformation that often accompany exposes.

Where an allegation is brought to our attention we will investigate as far as possible and if we agree we will give our collective’s endorsement to the expose. Follow links for our statements on Becki Todd / Vericola Ltd and Lynn Watson.

Computer Security

We do not specialise in this area. However, if you want to learn more, two useful sites are Tech Tools for Activists and Security @ ngo-in-a-box

NB: Security23 and The ActivistSecurity collective are completely seperate projects and are in no way affiliated with each other.

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