Friday Feb 17 – 5:30-8 pm – Join EFF and the Internet Archive for an “Apple Pie Potluck and Constitutional Law Teach-In”

A set of nine blank, white picket placards attached to wooden stakes on an isolated background

Apple Pie Potluck and Constitutional Law Teach-In — Friday Feb 17th 5:30-9PM

EFF and other lawyers will lead a conversation about the current issues and threats in constitutional law. Focusing on specific sections and amendments we will talk about current cases on censorship, surveillance, search and seizure, and more.

Workshops on using encryption tools and maybe musical performances will accompany.
If you want to present, perform, or have other ideas, please email us.

When: Friday, February 17th 5:30pm-9pm (program 6-8)
Where: Internet Archive
300 Funston Ave. SF, CA 94118
Potluck-style: Please bring apple pie or other food
Reserve your free ticket here
Streamed via Facebook Live
Donations welcome

Lawyers Attending:

  • Cindy Cohn – Executive Director of EFF
  • Corynne McSherry – Legal Director of EFF
  • Stephanie Lacambra – Staff Attorney at EFF
  • Victoria Baranetsky – First Look Media Technology Legal Fellow for the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Geoff King – Lecturer at UC Berkeley, and Non-Residential Fellow at Stanford Center for Internet and Society
  • Bill Fernholz – Lecturer In Residence at Berkeley Law

For those who cannot attend in person, we will stream the event on Facebook Live, so make sure you’re following us on Facebook.

Brewster Kahle: Howl For Aaron Swartz

It’s never easy on January 11th. This year will be no exception.

Brewster Kahle recorded this in the Fall of 2015. Today is the first time it has been published.

Howl for Aaron Swartz

Written by Brewster Kahle, shortly after Aaron’s Death, on January 11, 2013.

Howl for Aaron Swartz
New ways to create culture
Smashed by lawsuits and bullying
Laws that paint most of us criminal

Inspiring young leaders
Sharing everything
Living open source lives
Inspiring communities selflessly

Organizing, preserving
Sharing, promoting
Then crushed by government
Crushed by politicians, for a modest fee
Crushed by corporate spreadsheet outsourced business development

New ways
New communities
Then infiltrated, baited
Set-up, arrested

Celebrating public spaces
Learning, trying, exploring
Targeted by corporate security snipers
Ending up in databases
Ending up in prison

Traps set by those that promised change
Surveillance, wide-eyes, watching everyone now
Government surveillance that cannot be discussed or questioned
Corporate surveillance that is accepted with a click

Terrorists here, Terrorists there
More guns in schools to promote more guns, business
Rendition, torture
Manning, solitary, power

Open minds
Open source
Open eyes
Open society

Public access to the public domain
Now closed out of our devices
Closed out of owning books
Hands off
Do not open
Criminal prosecution

Traps designed by the silicon wizards
With remarkable abilities to self-justify
Traps sprung by a generation
That vowed not to repeat
COINTELPRO and dirty tricks and Democratic National Conventions

Government-produced malware so sophisticated
That career engineers go home each night thinking what?
Saying what to their families and friends?

Debt for school
Debt for houses
Debt for life
Credit scores, treadmills, with chains

Inspiring and optimistic explorers navigating a sea of traps set by us
I see traps ensnare our inspiring generation
Leaders and discoverers finding new ways and getting crushed for it

Ortiz is Retiring – January 11 Approaching…

Be sure to tweet your January 11 events to us, so we can let everyone know about them.

Well, Carmen Ortiz is finally retiring:

From a Daily Beast article, that gets it about right (although it spells Aaron’s name wrong):

During her time in office, Ortiz came under fire for pursuing harsh charges in some high-profile cases, including that of internet activist Aaron Schwartz. Schwartz was accused of downloading free articles from an MIT archive, against terms of use. Ortiz’s office charged Schwartz with 13 felony accounts, which threatened up to 30 years in prison. Schwartz committed suicide before his trial. The incident prompted over 60,000 to accuse Ortiz of “overreach” and petition for her removal.

There is a rally going on at the Boston courthouse in memory of Aaron, from 3-6pm EST on the fourth anniversary of Aaron’s death, January 11, 2017.

Here’s more about Marty Gottesfeld, from ShadowProof’s Kevin Gosztola:

Wife Of Activist Jailed For Digital Sit-In Seeks Help From Trump

Dana and marty

 

From the article:

Gottesfeld was arrested in Miami in February last year and faces a conspiracy charge and charges of “intent to damage a protected computer,” which are offenses under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison and could pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution.

Carmen Ortiz, who zealously prosecuted Aaron Swartz until he committed suicide in 2013, is the federal prosecutor leading the effort to prosecute Gottesfeld.

“I’d like [Trump] to use his influence to get the charges dropped against Marty because of the nature of the whistleblowing, because Marty didn’t hurt anybody whereas the doctors at the hospital did hurt people and they’re not facing any charges,” Dana Gottesfeld, Marty’s wife, told Shadowproof in an interview.

She also would like Trump to support Justina’s Law, which she said is legislation that “would protect children that become wards of the state from medical testing that doesn’t benefit them.”

 

 

Lauri Love – A Call to Action to Friends in the US

As read at the Aaron Swartz Day Evening Event, on November 5, 2016, at the request of Noah Swartz                    Free Lauri Love Website

By Mustafa Al-Bassam (friend of Lauri)

Lauri Love is a computer scientist from the UK, who was a long-time friend of Aaron Swartz. He is facing extradition to the United States for various CFAA charges, including his alleged involvement in a series of online protests that followed Aaron’s persecution and untimely death. He is being pursued by the US criminal justice system for allegedly protesting abuses of that same system, with prosecutors in three US court districts accusing Mr Love of hacking into various government websites.

In July 2015, Lauri was arrested by UK officials on the request of the US government, who had issued several indictments and corresponding extradition warrants. The FBI and Department of Justice allege that Lauri has been involved in hacking into various governmental agencies, including the US Army, NASA, the Federal Reserve and the Environmental Protection Agency. Britain’s National Crime Agency had actually arrested Lauri two years before but never found enough evidence to charge him. Now he is facing extradition to face charges in the United States.

Lauri’s case bears very close resemblance to that of Gary McKinnon’s, who fought a 10 year battle against extradition to the US. Gary was accused of hacking into US military and NASA networks. Gary ultimately won after Home Secretary Theresa May blocked the extradition due to concerns over Gary’s mental health as he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and battled with depression and anxiety.

Like Gary, Lauri is also diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and suffers from depression and anxiety; he needs to be close to his family and needs health care that he would not be able to access in the US prison system. Human Rights Watch, reporting on the state of US prison conditions, has noted “disturbing delays in providing vital medical help” and “serious concerns about the overall quality of medical help for federal inmates.” I’m sure most of you are aware of the lack of adequate care in the US prison system, and those of you who have been following Chelsea’s case know how her recent suicide attempt resulted in being sentenced to solitary confinement. In the UK a suicidal inmate would instead be offered the help they require, rather than being punished. Lauri’s family has serious concerns about this as he has a long history of suicidal tendencies. If extradited, he would be thrust into a cell an ocean away from the support system that has sustained him.

On September 2016 a British Judge ruled in favor of extradition, passing the case to Secretary of State Amber Rudd. While Lauri can appeal to the High Court, the Secretary of State no longer has power to block the extradition on human rights grounds like in Gary’s case. This means that Rudd will have no choice to approve the extradition.

In light of this, and thanks to campaigning by the Courage Foundation and friends, 114 British Members of Parliament have recently signed a letter to Barack Obama to call on him to stop Lauri’s extradition. Support from the British public and politicians has been immense, but unfortunately there has been little attention bought to this case in the US, which is much needed.

If Lauri were to be extradited, even if he survived his time in prison awaiting trial, it’s likely that a sentence given to him by a US court would destroy his life. While in the UK it’s common for convicted hackers to return to a normal life within a few years, the US justice system could easily sentence Lauri to a nearly life long prison term, or fine him for an amount large enough that he would spend the rest of his life paying it back. His US charges would land him up to 99 years in prison.

I myself was threatened with extradition to the US by the FBI in 2011 due to my involvement in hacktivism. My case ultimately ended up being heard in the UK, and I ended up relatively unscathed having spent no time in jail, compared to my co-defendants in the US, including Barrett Brown and Jeremy Hammond, who are still in jail to this day. I do not wish for anyone else to become another victim of the disproportionate US justice system, including Lauri.

We call on friends in the US who are concerned about the unjust nature of the CFAA, the overly harsh US sentencing system and the mental health limitations of the US prison system to campaign and raise awareness for Lauri’s case. The US justice system has international consequences, and it would be extremely powerful if American citizens campaign in solidarity on behalf of international citizens in recognition of these harsh laws.

Please spread the word about Lauri’s case. You can find out more at freelauri.com. I hope that some of you will spend your time tonight talking about how to raise awareness for those, like Aaron, who find themselves at risk of being crushed under the US’s overly harsh, outdated, and misused hacking laws.

President Obama Should Give Chelsea Manning Time Served

ChelseaManning-TimeServedSoon after Chelsea Manning prepared her statement for this year’s Aaron Swartz Day, her legal appeal team launched a #timeserved campaign (link to official commutation petition), asking President Obama to commute her 35 year sentence.

 

There’s a petition at Whitehouse.gov that needs 100,000 signatures by December 14th.

As the November 14th announcement by Fight for the Future explains, Commuting Chelsea’s sentence makes sense for a number of reasons:

  • She has already been in prison for almost 7 years.
  • 11 months of that was in solitary confinement. (This was before she had ever been tried and convicted of any crimes.)
  • Chelsea’s 11 months in solitary confinement was particularly brutal.  2 months was spent in 105 degree temperatures in complete darkness, in a cage in a tent *in Kuwait). (Yes, literally, a cage inside of a tent. In the dark for two months straight.
  • For the next 9 months, spent in solitary confinement at Quantico, Virginia, she had to stare straight ahead at the wall all day. (Read this first hand account from Chelsea about her time in solitary confinement.
  • Since that time, she has been incarcerated for another 6 years.
  • This means that Chelsea has already served more time than any whistleblower in U.S. history.

She writes in her commutation statement that she decided to not accept a plea deal because she thought the court would sentence her fairly.  (Alas, she made a mistake in doing so, as it obviously did not sentence her fairly.)

Just last month, after initially disappearing for a week, her lawyers announced that she had been placed in solitary confinement as punishment for her suicide attempt last July.

As soon as she was placed in solitary confinement again, it was too much for her, and she attempted to take her own life again. (The Guardian provides this excellent account of medical experts decrying the use of solitary confinement for this purpose.)

Chelsea has now been told that she will soon be charged for the second suicide attempt, and will most likely receive more solitary confinement as punishment for it.

How long can this go on? Indefinitely, apparently.

If President Obama doesn’t commute her sentence, there is nothing to stop this pattern from repeating.

Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s attorney for her ACLU case,  has written a letter to President Obama asking him to commute Chelsea’s sentence. As he explains in the New York Times article, “I worry about the sustainability of her current conditions and her ability to keep fighting under these relentless abuses.”

Please sign the petition and help spread the word.

Resources:

Whitehouse.gov petition

Blog post from Fight for the Future announcing the #timeserved campaign

Official commutation application/petition

Chelsea’s medium post with her statement, from the application:

Chase’s Strangio, Chelsea’s ACLU attorney, writes a post to Obama

Please Sign and Share Chelsea Manning’s Petition for Time Served

Please sign the petition: Tell Obama to give Chelsea #timeserved

ChelseaManning-TimeServed

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full text of the Whitehouse.gov petition:

Commute Chelsea Manning’s Sentence to Time Served

Chelsea Manning has been incarcerated since May 2010, including in unlawful, unusually harsh solitary confinement for 11 months before her trial. She has spent the past six years helping others.

Chelsea has already served more time in prison than any individual in United States history who disclosed information in the public interest. Her disclosures harmed no one.

President Obama, as you and the medical community have recognized, prisoners who face solitary confinement are more likely to commit suicide.

Chelsea is a woman in a men’s facility facing ongoing mistreatment. She has attempted suicide and has been punished with additional time in solitary confinement for her desperation. Her life is at risk and you can save her.

Please commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence to time served.

Chelsea Manning’s Statement for the Fourth Annual Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon

Please sign the petition: “President Obama: Give Chelsea Manning #timeserved.”

chelsea_large clean cropped(As read to the crowd at Aaron Swartz Day, at the Internet Archive, San Francisco, November 5, 2016)

By Chelsea Manning

Thinking forward, I can imagine — or envision really — a world of endless possibilities. This is a world where new technology can clean up the environment and start to repair centuries of human activity. Our cities become more integrated, optimized, and harmonized. Our health would improve, and improvements in safety would dramatically decrease accidental deaths. New opportunities for work, education and recreation would spread. Our lives would be better — a “utopia.”

That said — I can also envision a world of despair. This is a world where technology has divided society into two distinctly unequal classes. Military, law enforcement, and intelligence, and indistinguishably blended. This world fosters an extensive police and surveillance state. What I like to call “microcrimes,” which are relatively minor actions that — for those who don’t have power — are policed and enforced aggressively, and follows you for the rest of your life. Identification cards and keys, as well as arfits and their cousins intertwined and enmeshed into all aspects of life — from shopping at the store, to walking into a subway station. Loss of unskilled jobs would cause depression and idolness. In essence, our lives would be worse — a “dystopia.”

Yet, these two worlds are not mutually exclusive. These worlds, in some regard, actually exist. The debates over issues such as income inequality, economic policy, and civil liberties are no longer separated from the technology sector. Our actions when it comes to the development of algorithms and platforms are increasingly acting as a new “invisible arbiter,” determining who wins and who loses in a zero sum game. There’s now commercial, political and legal separation — and sometimes discrimination.

In fact, our technology has rapidly gentrified our cities. Just take a moment sometime and look around you. We have created an increasingly segregated society. This is especially visible there in the San Francisco Bay Area. Of course, there is no conspiracy, but it is becoming clear that those of us who are skilled and lucky can end up working in Palo Alto, Mountain View, or downtown San Francisco — while others move further and further away from the opportunities in our cities and in our corporations.

Consider machine learning — how are our logical “black boxes” working? Neural Networks provide us with opportunities for noticing correlations — like how Republicans are more likely to own a truck or SUV, and Democrats are more likely to use public transportation or car sharing. The enormous information asymmetry that is developing between algorithms, their mechanisms, and public understanding is particularly troubling. Are our algorithms creating self-fulfilling prophecies? Can they go horribly wrong? Sometimes this can be comical — just look at the “deep dream” technique that produces trippy jpegs. Or it can be dangerous and deadly. This is especially the case for “self-driving” or “self-flying” vehicles. If we weaponize our algorithms for the politically uncertain “cyberwar gap” — I must point out here that the prefix “cyber” makes me gag — are we going to be able to contain and control these when they can start to adapt?

Is the Google search engine going to suddenly “come alive” and claim global, military, and political superiority in order to more effectively provide relevant search results? You might laugh, but, do we know whether this is really possible or not? I suspect you know the answer.

Who is responsible if things go wrong? If a car crashes and injures you, who takes the blame? If a state created computer virus goes berserk, who do you point the finger at?

We need to make our algorithms and machine learning mechanisms as accountable and transparent as possible. We should carefully and thoughtfully tread, as our sometimes awkward selves quickly enter into the politics and ethics of technology.

There’s already been a promising debate in the public. Even in the “mainstream,” we are seeing opinion columns and editorials that are asking these questions. We are bringing our conundrums to light of an increasingly curious, diligent and aware public. We have a responsibility to continue to encourage the spread of this debate. Now, what about our “sprawling surveillance apparatus?” Apple and the FBI had a legal feud over phone encryption this year. How many other feuds are happening behind the scenes? How many small and medium-sized companies and organizations responding? Are they quietly complying?

Even if we can legally protect our information, how do we protect our information for the long term, when someone can potentially just build a quantum computer 10 or 15 years from now that makes it horribly obsolete? We need to develop a viable “post-quantum” encryption system. There are several current proposals — such as “lattice-based cryptography,” which I have found an interest in myself lately — out there that are worth exploring.

Time is not on our side. It’s one thing to worry about encryption of frequently expiring credit card information. What about medical records — or, mental health records? What about users of SecureDrop? How can we protect journalistic sources for years to come?

I just want you to ponder these things when you go home, or to your hotel, or wherever you just happen to sleep: Are we doing the right things? Are we paying attention to the right issues? Is what we are creating, developing or modifying going to have an impact on someone? What is it going to look like? Can you think of anything from your own work and experience?

Aaron was an insatiably curious person. His boundless curiosity reminds me of the physicist Richard Feinman. This was his greatest strength. Yet we now know, from Aaron, that curiosity might be punished, so it might be good to think through any necessary legal defenses ahead of time.

Nevertheless, we need to continue to be curious. We need to ask questions. How else are we going to understand our world?

Taking A Break To Watch History Unfold Real Quick… and Archive It!

Hi Folks,

We’ve decided to take just two days off from publishing Aaron Swartz Day content, and pick up Wednesday morning with the videos and transcripts from last this last weekend’s event.

Remember to VOTE! If you are in San Francisco on Tuesday evening at 6pm, come down and hang out with us at the Internet Archive:

Election Night at the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is informally open to our employees, their families and friends, and our community to watch the election results next Tuesday night. This is a spur-of-the-moment invitation and an experiment. If there are enough people interested, we will use the great room.

The Internet Archive’s blog post mentions a $10 ticket cost (Eventbrite) to cover the cost of pizza and soda. Additionally though, we also still have lots of awesomely fresh made salsa and other goodies from Aaron Swartz Day.

The event will run from 6pm until the election is called — 11pm at the latest. We will limit the number of people and we reserve the right to ask anyone to leave for any reason.

If you are interested in volunteering to help that evening, please contact Salem at salem(@)archive.org.

RE: voting and the Internet Archive

You can also read these articles about the Political Ad Archive and use the actual Political Ad Archive itself, or even just the the data from the Political Ad Archive.

We are just scratching the surface of information that we are going to glean from this year’s amazing archive!

See you there! 6pm! Internet Archive!

Chelsea’s OK. A little message of clarification…

Message of clarification from Chelsea Manning (as read before her statement was read, at Aaron Swartz Day, November 5, 2016):

“I know that all of you must be worried. Surely, many of you, have seen or heard about last month’s suicide attempt. This was covered in the NY Times by Charlie Savage. I am fine. Thankfully, I was not hospitalized.

I want to thank you all for your concern, and your well wishes. However, I think we should focus on the statement that I provided to the Times which explains a much more immediate concern.”

Editor’s note: This post went up retroactively. Sorry! Trying to get everything up in order, even it if takes a bit…

November 5-6, 2016