FreedomBox is the name of an award-winning project devoted to building small, low-cost computers that protect peoples´ privacy, security and anonymity while they use the Internet. On January 21, 2015, Version 0.3 of FreedomBox has been released. Speaking at the Elevate festival Graz, Austria, free software advocate and consultant James Vasile outlines the technical and political background and present status of development.
In this presentation at the legendary location for the legacy of Austrian avantgarde art, Forum Stadtpark, Vasile looks back at the way communication used to work in the early days of the internet. Stressing the importance of trust in communication networks, he proposes the FreedomBox as a possibility to create a convenient way for users to access encryption technology and to re-establish personal trust as the foundation of online interactions. The boxes themselves work as Debian plug servers and allow to run various software, including encrypted VOIP and email. They can also be used for routing connections around national censorship firewalls, or to replace social networking sites like facebook. For a software...
Alec Empire, one of the founders of music collective Atari Teenage Riot, gave the keynote speech at the annual event of Chaos Computer Club 2014. The artist, who uses an old Atari 1040 ST for his compositions, talks about a variety of topics ranging from the beauty found in machine code and sheet music to the connections between the fight for privacy and the promotion of authors’ rights.
Drawing upon his personal experiences with streaming services and censorship in the music industry, he speaks out against passive consumerism and for an alliance between hackers, musicians and other artists to shape the digital culture of the future.
In 2013, blog author and security expert Bruce Schneier was invited by google to give a talk as part of the “Authors at Google” series. Under the title “Liars and Outliers”, Schneier compared our use of technology and our relationship to tech companies to medieval feudalism, where the weak give up their rights for the promise to be protected by the powerful. He links this concept to the average user’s inability to control their own devices, and to the power amassed by almost monopolist corporations and service providers.
A l’occasion de la Nuit de Hack 2013, le fondateur du groupe La Quadrature du Net parlait des implications de la collection d’information par les giants de l’industrie de communication comme skype et facebook, l’importance des whistleblowers, et sur les valeurs fondamentales de son investissement dans les droits des citoyens et la partage libre de la connaissance.
On the occasion of the 2013 Nuit de Hack, the founder of the French citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net spoke about the implications of data mining by telecommunication giants like skype and facebook, the importance of whistleblowers and about the fundamental values behind his dedication to citizens’ rights and freedom of information.
At the SXSW conference 2014 in Austin (Texas), Edward Snowden addressed the tech community, encouraging them to play the role of ‘firefighters’ who have the ability to craft solutions and make society safer. Answering questions submitted via twitter, he reflects on differences between data mining done by companies and governmental surveillance, the role of private contractors to the development of policies, and steps everyone can take to counter mass surveillance.
Laura Poitras talks about “Citizenfour”, her documentary about Edward Snowden, the NSA, and surveillance that won the `Academy Award´. Yes, this is what professionals also call the Oscar - it is now official that the arts have, after many years of activists risking their sanity, freedom and their families, joined the new clash of cultures on the sensitive and progressive side. During a Q&A at the 52nd New York Film Festival, she recalls her transformation from a documentary journalist into an activist during the production of the film that narrates her stay with Glenn Greenwald and Snowden in a hotel in Hong Kong.
Citizenfour won the 2014 Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Documentary and the International Documentary Association award for best documentary feature. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for 2015. (our first update from February, 2015: “It has won the Oscar in this...
What would Marshall McLuhan think about the way the internet has evolved during the last decades? This interview followed days of presentation and discussion at the Ars Electronica symposium on the topic of Origins in 2011, the year of Marshall McLuhan’s 100th anniversary. There, lead scientists of the Large Hadron Collider experiment at CERN, Geneva, explained their technical set-up, their middle- and long-term research goals and discussed their possible significance with other scientists and philosophers. Derrick de Kerckhove sits down with Leo Findeisen to discuss how Marshall McLuhan might have reacted to the state of the art in experimental physics. McLuhan has been one the founders of Media Theory as we know and de Kerckhove has been his long-time assistant back in the days.
* How would you explain the relevance of McLuhan´s work to a fourteen-year-old, a member of the Always-On generation that lives a digital life at the current stage of the information revolution?
* Would McLuhan have laughed about the fact that the World Wide Web was a technical spin-off from...
Groklaw is slang for “to really grasp the world of law”, or in Pamela Jones’s words, a “place where lawyers and geeks could explain things to each other and work together, so they’d understand each other’s work better.”
In this document, a lady well-known in the free world, Pamela Jones, delivers a short message of “thank you” on behalf of thousands of computer geeks and lawyers swarming around their unique online platform, groklaw.net. This sound file is a rare piece of digital history as one will otherwise only find drawings of her or texts by her, she had learned the hard way to be very protective of her privacy.
In 2003, Jones was working as a paralegal, a research assistant, at an US law firm. Being technically minded, she was able to help out fixing problems with the IT infrastructure and was proficient in using both operation systems, Microsoft and Linux. Next to researching cases she had also joined the emergent blogger movement when a major attack on the entire model of Free Software and its legal security was launched: The infamous...
In a lengthy and dense, yet very understandable interview, two young European intellectuals from Paris and Berlin are dealing with one issue of endangered digital freedom after the other. They count amoung the most knowledgable and experienced analysts of the interplay between political, technical, artistic and private engagement, a crucial quality in these kinds of cultural conflicts. Their ongoing work can be visited at laquadrature.net and netzpolitik.org (in German language). The prolific information video about ACTA that is mentioned can be watched here.
Thom Yorke, Robert del Naja (3D), Occupy Movement, Occupy London
In a rare interview scenario for internationally acclaimed artists, Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Robert de Naja (3D) of Massive Attack are talking about their views on the recent, global phenomenon of the Occupy Movement. They have been playing a Thank-You-concert for the Protagonists of Occupy London on December 6th, 2011, at a newly squatted venue called “Bank of Ideas” that had been used by the bank UBS before. Thom Yorke speaks of the documentary “Inside Job” to have opened his eyes about the conceptual architecture of complexity that the finance systems has construed for itself and believes that most politicians do not understand more than he and are merely told to “mop up” the...