All posts by lisa

Plan A November 4th Hackathon In Your Town

Hackathons are being planned for November 4th – or anytime that whole week really – in San Francisco, New York, and even Cairo, Egypt!

So far, the projects are the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s SecureDrop and these topics:

  1. Ethical Algorithms
  2. Usable Crypto
  3. Post-Quantum Crypto
  4. FOIA

Send an email to lisa@lisarein.com if you are planning a hackathon :-)

We are putting together new “Hackathon 101” materials  too!

So, if you have good “how to have a hackathon” resources, please email them too! :-)

 

 

Setting the Record Straight

Seems like a good time for a reminder. (This content is from our “Setting the Record Straight” page that has been up since October 2014.)

FACT: Aaron implemented a piece of software that downloaded articles from the JSTOR website faster than JSTOR originally intended. Aaron’s software downloaded articles from the JSTOR website to Aaron’s laptop, just like a live person would have downloaded them, but without his having to sit there and click through each of the steps manually.  Source: Alex Stamos, http://unhandled.com/2013/01/12/the-truth-about-aaron-swartzs-crime/

FACT: Aaron did not hack into any of MIT’s computers. The CFAA requires that a person gain access to a computer that they weren’t authorized to access. Aaron was obviously authorized to access his own laptop.

FACT: Aaron did not hack into MIT’s network. Aaron connected his laptop to MIT’s open network by walking into an open computer closet on MITs open campus and simply plugging into an unused ethernet port.  Source: Alex Stamos, http://unhandled.com/2013/01/12/the-truth-about-aaron-swartzs-crime/

FACT: Aaron was a “Fellow” at the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at the time. Aaron was exactly the type of academic researcher that MIT meant to have downloading articles from the JSTOR database over its open network. Aaron’s past research in this regard was the basis of a Stanford Law Review Article where he found troubling connections between corporations and their funding of legal research. Source: Stanford Law Review
http://www.stanfordlawreview.org/print/article/punitive-damages-remunerated-research-and-legal-profession

FACT: Aaron wasn’t even violating JSTOR’s Terms of Service at the time. JSTOR and MIT had contractual agreements allowing unlimited downloads to any computers on MITs network.
Source: Alex Stamos, http://unhandled.com/2013/01/12/the-truth-about-aaron-swartzs-crime/

FACT: Downloading JSTOR articles was one minor footnote among the many amazing projects Aaron was working on at the time. From the fall of 2010 until his death in 2013, Aaron’s projects included, but were not limited to: SecureDrop, the leak-protecting technology for journalists now implemented by outlets ranging from The New Yorker to Forbes to The Guardian; the SOPA/PIPA fight, The Flaming Sword of Justice (now The Good Fight), a podcast about activism which went on to reach the top of the iTunes charts; VictoryKit, an online campaigning toolset still mobilizing activists around the world; and co-founding Demand Progress.

 

Aaron Swartz Was No Criminal; Was Fully “Authorized” to Download JSTOR Articles

Republished from 2014

Aaron Swartz Was No Criminal

By Dan Purcell for BoingBoing.

aaronboingboingFrom the article:

You might ask, like I did, what Aaron’s actions had to do with “computer crimes.” Aaron hadn’t broken into a secure network and stolen credit card numbers. He hadn’t stolen anyone’s healthcare data. He hadn’t violated anyone’s privacy. He hadn’t caused anybody to lose any money. There are things that are “computer crimes” that we all recognize are invasive and dangerous, and this was not one of them.

But Steve Heymann did what bureaucrats and functionaries often choose to do. He wanted make a big case to justify his existence and justify his budget. The casualties be damned.

..He had the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which is an over broad federal statute that has been made more broad by federal prosecutors trying to stretch its terms. But under the indictment in Aaron’s case, the government still had to prove that Aaron had gained unauthorized access to a computer system. Our defense was really pretty simple. There were going to be other nuances, and we were going to talk a lot about Aaron’s motivations and the type of person Aaron was, but our bottom line was going to be that Aaron had done only what MIT permitted him to do. He hadn’t gained unauthorized access to anything. He had gained access to JSTOR with full authorization from MIT. Just like anyone in the jury pool, anyone reading Boing Boing, or anyone in the country could have done.

We hoped that the jury would understand that and would acquit Aaron, and it quickly became obvious to us that there really wasn’t going to be opportunity to resolve the case short of trial because Steve Heymann was unreasonable.

Of course, after Aaron’s passing, it’s really easy for them to say “35 years. That was a bluff. It was never gonna happen.” That was not what they were telling us. Heymann always insisted on a sentence of hard time in Federal Prison. We said, “this is really a very trivial thing. Can’t we resolve it with probation or some other thing that made a little more sense and would make it possible for Aaron to go on with his life?”

He said “no.” He insisted that Aaron plead to a felony and serve prison time. And of course, what he said, as prosecutors often do, is that if we go to trial, it won’t be so easy, and if we lose, well, this is a tough judge, and the prosecution is going to recommend a very difficult sentence. Aaron may end up having a term of years.

Time for this year’s Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon

TICKETS 

The Internet Archive is hosting the Fifth Annual Aaron Swartz Day International Hackathon and Evening Event:

Location: Internet Archive, 300 Funston Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

November 4, 2017, from 6:00-7:00 (Reception)               7:30pm – 9:30 pm (Speakers)

The purpose of the evening event, as always, is to inspire direct action toward improving the world. Everyone has been asked to speak about whatever they feel is most important.

The event will take place following this year’s San Francisco Aaron Swartz International Hackathon, which is going on Saturday, November 4, from 10-6 and Sunday, November 5, from 11am-6pm at the Internet Archive.

Hackathon Reception: 6:00pm-7:00pm(A paid ticket for the evening event also gets you in to the Hackathon Reception.) 

Come talk to the speakers and the rest of the Aaron Swartz Day community, and join us in celebrating many incredible things that we’ve accomplished by this year! (Although there is still much work to be done.)

We will toast to the launch of the Pursuance Project (an open source, end-to-end encrypted Project Management suite, envisioned by Barrett Brown and brought to life by Steve Phillips).

Migrate your way upstairs: 7:00-7:30pm – The speakers are starting early, at 7:30pm this year – and we are also providing a stretch break at 8:15pm – and for those to come in that might have arrived late.

Speakers upstairs begin at 7:30 pm.

Speakers in reverse order:                

Chelsea Manning (Network Security Expert, Former Intelligence Analyst)

Lisa Rein (Chelsea Manning’s Archivist, Co-founder Creative Commons, Co-founder Aaron Swartz Day)

Daniel Rigmaiden (Transparency Advocate)

Barrett Brown (Journalist, Activist, Founder of the Pursuance Project) (via SKYPE)

Jason Leopold (Senior Investigative Reporter, Buzzfeed News)

Jennifer Helsby (Lead Developer, SecureDrop, Freedom of the Press Foundation)

Cindy Cohn (Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Gabriella Coleman (Hacker Anthropologist, Author, Researcher, Educator)

Caroline Sinders (Designer/Researcher, Wikimedia Foundation, Creative Dissent Fellow, YBCA)

Brewster Kahle (Co-founder and Digital Librarian, Internet Archive, Co-founder Aaron Swartz Day)

Steve Phillips (Project Manager, Pursuance)

Mek Karpeles (Citizen of the World, Internet Archive)

Brenton Cheng (Senior Engineer, Open Library, Internet Archive)

TICKETS

About the Speakers (speaker bios are at the bottom of this invite):

Chelsea Manning – Network Security Expert, Transparency Advocate

Chelsea E. Manning is a network security expert, whistleblower, and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst. While serving 7 years of an unprecedented 35 year sentence for a high-profile leak of government documents, she became a prominent and vocal advocate for government transparency and transgender rights, both on Twitter and through her op-ed columns for The Guardian and The New York Times. She currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area, where she writes about technology, artificial intelligence, and human rights.

Lisa Rein – Chelsea Manning’s Archivist, Co-founder, Aaron Swartz  Day & Creative Commons

Lisa Rein is Chelsea Manning’s archivist, and ran her @xychelsea Twitter account from December 2015 – May 2017. She is a co-founder of Creative Commons, where she worked with Aaron Swartz on its technical specification, when he was only 15. She is a writer, musician and technology consultant, and lectures for San Francisco State University’s BECA department. Lisa is the Digital Librarian for the Dr. Timothy Leary Futique Trust.

Daniel Rigmaiden – Transparency Advocate

Daniel Rigmaiden became a government transparency advocate after U.S. law enforcement used a secret cell phone surveillance device to locate him inside his home. The device, often called a “Stingray,” simulates a cell tower and tricks cell phones into connecting to a law enforcement controlled cellular network used to identify, locate, and sometimes collect the communications content of cell phone users. Before Rigmaiden brought Stingrays into the public spotlight in 2011, law enforcement concealed use of the device from judges, defense attorneys and defendants, and would typically not obtain a proper warrant before deploying the device.

Barrett Brown – Journalist, Activist, and Founder of the Pursuance Project

Barrett Brown is a writer and anarchist activist. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, the Guardian, The Intercept, Huffington Post, New York Press, Skeptic, The Daily Beast, al-Jazeera, and dozens of other outlets. In 2009 he founded Project PM, a distributed think-tank, which was later re-purposed to oversee a crowd-sourced investigation into the private espionage industry and the intelligence community at large via e-mails stolen from federal contractors and other sources. In 2011 and 2012 he worked with Anonymous on campaigns involving the Tunisian revolution, government misconduct, and other issues. In mid-2012 he was arrested and later sentenced to four years in federal prison on charges stemming from his investigations and work with Anonymous. While imprisoned, he won the National Magazine Award for his column, The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Prison. Upon his release, in late 2016, he began work on the Pursuance System, a platform for mass civic engagement and coordinated opposition. His third book, a memoir/manifesto, will be released in 2018 by Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux.

Jason Leopold, Senior Investigative Reporter, Buzzfeed News

Jason Leopold is an Emmy-nominated investigative reporter on the BuzzFeed News Investigative Team. Leopold’s reporting and aggressive use of the Freedom of Information Act has been profiled by dozens of media outlets, including a 2015 front-page story in The New York Times. Politico referred to Leopold in 2015 as “perhaps the most prolific Freedom of Information requester.” That year, Leopold, dubbed a ‘FOIA terrorist’ by the US government testified before Congress about FOIA (PDF) (Video). In 2016, Leopold was awarded the FOI award from Investigative Reporters & Editors and was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Hall of Fame by the Newseum Institute and the First Amendment Center.

Jennifer Helsby, Lead Developer, SecureDrop (Freedom of the Press Foundation)

Jennifer is Lead Developer of SecureDrop. Prior to joining FPF, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Data Science and Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she worked on applying machine learning methods to problems in public policy. Jennifer is also the CTO and co-founder of Lucy Parsons Labs, a non-profit that focuses on police accountability and surveillance oversight. In a former life, she studied the large scale structure of the universe, and received her Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Chicago in 2015.

Cindy Cohn – Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Cindy Cohn is the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. From 2000-2015 she served as EFF’s Legal Director as well as its General Counsel.The National Law Journal named Ms. Cohn one of 100 most influential lawyers in America in 2013, noting: “[I]f Big Brother is watching, he better look out for Cindy Cohn.”

Gabriella Coleman – Hacker Anthropologist, Author, Researcher, Educator

Gabriella (Biella) Coleman holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University. Trained as an anthropologist, her scholarship explores the politics and cultures of hacking, with a focus on the sociopolitical implications of the free software movement and the digital protest ensemble Anonymous. She has authored two books, Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking (Princeton University Press, 2012) and Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous (Verso, 2014).

Caroline Sinders – Researcher/Designer, Wikimedia Foundation

Caroline Sinders is a machine learning designer/user researcher, artist. For the past few years, she has been focusing on the intersections of natural language processing, artificial intelligence, abuse, online harassment and politics in digital, conversational spaces. Caroline is a designer and researcher at the Wikimedia Foundation, and a Creative Dissent fellow with YBCA. She holds a masters from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program from New York University.

Brewster Kahle, Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive

Brewster Kahle has spent his career intent on a singular focus: providing Universal Access to All Knowledge. He is the founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, which now preserves 20 petabytes of data – the books, Web pages, music, television, and software of our cultural heritage, working with more than 400 library and university partners to create a digital library, accessible to all.

Steve Phillips, Project Manager, Pursuance Project

Steve Phillips is a programmer, philosopher, and cypherpunk, and is currently the Project Manager of Barrett Brown’s Pursuance Project. In 2010, after double-majoring in mathematics and philosophy at UC Santa Barbara, Steve co-founded Santa Barbara Hackerspace. In 2012, in response to his concerns over rumored mass surveillance, he created his first secure application, Cloakcast. And in 2015, he spoke at the DEF CON hacker conference, where he presented CrypTag. Steve has written over 1,000,000 words of philosophy culminating in a new philosophical methodology, Executable Philosophy.

Mek Karpeles, Citizen of the World, Internet Archive

Mek is a citizen of the world at the Internet Archive. His life mission is to organize a living map of the world’s knowledge. With it, he aspires to empower every person to overcome oppression, find and create opportunity, and reach their fullest potential to do good. Mek’s favorite media includes non-fiction books and academic journals — tools to educate the future — which he proudly helps make available through his work on Open Library.

Brenton Cheng, Senior Engineer, Open Library, Internet Archive

Brenton Cheng is a technology-wielding explorer, inventor, and systems thinker. He spearheads the technical and product development of Open Library and the user-facing Archive.org website. He is also an adjunct professor in the Performing Arts & Social Justice department at University of San Francisco.

TICKETS

For more information, contact:

Lisa Rein, Co-founder, Aaron Swartz Day
lisa@lisarein.com
http://www.aaronswartzday.org

 

Come to the Opening Reception for “A Becoming Resemblance” – August 2, 6-8pm – Fridman Gallery, NYC

Opening Reception – August 2, 2017 – 6-8pm

Fridman Gallery – 287 Spring Street, New York

Fridman Gallery is pleased to present A Becoming Resemblance, an exhibition by Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Chelsea E. Manning, investigating emerging technologies of genomic identity construction and our societal moment.

In 2015, Heather began to produce 3D printed portraits derived from the DNA extracted from cheek swabs and hair clippings Chelsea mailed out of prison. Incarcerated since her gender transition and subject to a strict policy on visitation, Chelsea’s image was suppressed from 2013 until her release from prison in May this year. The artistic collaboration with Heather gave Chelsea back a form of visibility, a human face she had been denied.

As Chelsea described the collaboration: “Prisons try very hard to make us inhuman and unreal by denying our image, and thus our existence, to the rest of the world. Imagery has become a kind of proof of existence. The use of DNA in art provides a cutting edge and a very post-modern—almost ‘post-post-modern’—analysis of thought, identity, and expression. It combines chemistry, biology, information, and our ideas of beauty and identity.”

More about A Becoming Resemblance In the Press:

Today We Fight to Protect Free Speech On The Internet

I know it sounds ridiculous to imagine, but without Net Neutrality, the cable companies have the power to slow down traffic that doesn’t pay extra fees for the privilege of not being interfered with.

It’s really about FREE SPEECH people. If we lose Net Neutrality, it means people with more money will be able to silence online voices those that don’t.

1000s of participants, including Netflix, Twitter, Amazon, GoDaddy, Google, Snapchat, and Facebook!

From this post about the campaign:

Sites and apps participating include:  Automattic (WordPress), Amazon, Mozilla, Netflix, Etsy, Kickstarter, Soundcloud, Dropbox, Spotify, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Medium, Y Combinator, GitHub, Pantheon, Opera, Bittorrent Inc., Shapeways, Nextdoor, Stack Overflow, Funny Or Die, Dreamhost, and CREDO Mobile, Goldenfrog, Fark, Chess.com, Namecheap, DuckDuckGo, Checkout.com, Sonic, Ting, ProtonMail, O’Reilly Media, SlashDot, Dribble, Dischord, SourceForge, and Union Square Ventures.

Organizations participating include Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund, Demand Progress, Center for Media Justice, EFF, Internet Association, Internet Archive, World Wide Web Foundation, Creative Commons, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Greenpeace, Common Cause, ACLU, Rock the Vote, American Library Association, Daily Kos, OpenMedia, The Nation, PCCC, MoveOn, OFA, Public Knowledge, OTI, Color of Change, MoveOn, Free Software Foundation, Internet Creators Guild, the Women’s March, and many others.

It’s REALLY nice to see Netflix on board, as they would not be the successful company today, without Net Neutrality.

What does that mean? It means that they weren’t charged extra based on the nature of their usage. It means that all traffic on the internet is given the same priority. So the internet will allow your pages to load as fast as anyone else’s page.

So please write to the FCC today – and let’s keep the pressure on, every day, until the FCC stops with its current mission of internet destruction.

From the Battle for the Net page:

Cable companies are famous for high prices and poor service. Several rank as the most hated companies in America. Now, they’re lobbying the FCC and Congress to end net neutrality. Why? It’s simple: if they win the power to slow sites down, they can bully any site into paying millions to escape the “slow lane.” This would amount to a tax on every sector of the American economy. Every site would cost more, since they’d all have to pay big cable. Worse, it would extinguish the startups and independent voices who can’t afford to pay. If we lose net neutrality, the Internet will never be the same.

Two Important Articles Re: Surveillance of President Trump and other Americans

These two articles (from Friday March 24) really help to better explain many of the complex issues involved in President Trump’s “wiretapping” claims.

The first is a great interview with former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley by Dennis J. Bernstein. The second is an awesome surveillance primer by Charlie Savage.

Surveillance State Goes After Trump
By Dennis J Bernstein for Consortium News

* Although Trump’s accusations of Obama personally ordering Trump tower to be “wiretapped” remain unsubstantiated, it’s only technically incorrect because he used the word “wiretapped” which implies specifically tapping a phone land line, as opposed to “monitoring” all communications of a target, which includes cell phone communications, email, and anything else.

* So, in a more general sense, Trumps calls WERE picked up, while government agencies were “monitoring other targets.”

* To be clear, Rowley said “I think Trump is vindicated” on this issue. So, although Trump may have been confused about the correct term to use, the essence of what he was saying was true; his communications were been intercepted. (As House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has stated: there is evidence of U.S. intelligence picking up conversations by Trump while monitoring other targets.)

* Also due to this technical difference between “wiretapping” and “surveillance” or the “monitoring” of the targets in question, FBI Director Comey was technically telling the truth when he said that they had found no evidence of the wiretapping mentioned in Trump’s tweets.

* Congressional Spying was actually the exact reason that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was created; as a result of the Frank Church Committee (created when Senator Frank Church found out he was being surveilled by the NSA).

* Looking back at history, flimsy Title III orders were used by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover against Martin Luther King Jr.  (to hide microphones in his hotels), and they were based on guilt by association.

* These orders had “very little probable cause” and were usually “a paragraph or two alleging that an associate or a cousin of an associate was a communist.” These were the kinds of orders used to spy on Frank Church and others.

* With all this in mind, you would think that Congress would have considered the downsides to mass surveillance, but it looks like the last 30 years of congresspeople that came in forgot about the problem.

There are more points than this! You should read the whole thing :)

Second article:
Amid Trump Inquiry, a Primer on Surveillance Practices and Privacy

By Charlie Savage for the New York Times

* Incidental collection is standard operating procedure.

* The private information of Americans is routinely intercepted in this process.

* There are repositories of “raw” (unprocessed) emails and phone calls that are place into “repositories” that intelligence analysts can then query, looking for specific information relevant to what they are working on, using keywords or names.

* When writing surveillance-based reports for broader dissemination within the intelligence community, analysts are supposed to “minimize” any privacy intrusion into Americans, “masking” any names and private information.

* Minimization rules have exceptions for leaving the private information “unmasked” if it’s impossible to understand the foreign intelligence otherwise.

* “One issue of concern is the ‘backdoor search loophole’ – when officials search raw repositories of surveillance information intending to pull out and read any incidentally collected private messages of an American – especially when those messages were gathered without a warrant in the first place.”

* The FISA Amendments Act will expire at the end of 2017 unless congress enacts new legislation extending it.

There are more points than this! You should read the whole thing.

The First Amendment Protects Journalists From Revealing Sources, Period

A concerning development occurred during the congressional hearings today on Russian Interference in the Election (link goes straight to testimony): Trey Goudy (a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence) implied that the FBI had somehow dropped the ball by not going after New York Times and Washington Post journalists for protecting their sources when publishing classified information in the public interest.

It was quite odd watching a room ponder the prospect of charging the press with criminal activity for what is considered standard journalistic First Amendment protected practice (of publishing classified information) as if it were some kind of allowable solution to what’s been going on with the current round of White House leaks.

This issue has already been decided on quite clearly by the Supreme Court in the Pentagon Papers case, United States v. New York Times, 328 F. Supp. 324, 329 (S.D.N.Y. 1971).

This has mostly to do with something Justice Gurfein referred to as a “cantankerous press.”

As Gurfein writes in his decision:

The First Amendment concept of a “free press” must be read in the light of the struggle of free men against prior restraint of publication. From the time of Blackstone it was a tenet of the founding fathers that precensorship was the primary evil to be dealt with in the First Amendment…

The security of the Nation is not at the ramparts alone. Security also lies in the value of our free institutions. A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, an ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know…it is not merely the opinion of the editorial writer or of the columnist which is protected by the First Amendment. It is the free flow of information so that the public will be informed about the Government and its actions.

These are troubled times. There is no greater safety valve for discontent and cynicism about the affairs of Government than freedom of expression in any form. This has been the genius of our institutions throughout our history. It is one of the marked traits of our national life that distinguish us from other nations under different forms of government.

Here’s Trevor Timm (Freedom of the Press Foundation) explaining this in a brief 1 1/2 minute video. This clip is from the upcoming film “From DeadDrop To SecureDrop.” (Transcription below):

 

 

Transcription:

The Supreme Court case that came out of the Pentagon Papers was one of the most important First Amendment cases of the twentieth century. It essentially is affirmed that newspapers in the United States have the constitutional right to publish information – even that the government considers “Top Secret” – that’s in the public interest, and that they cannot be censored, or what courts refer to as “the government can’t issue a ‘prior restraint.’

The opinion was written incredibly fast – from the start of the case where it went from the District court to the Supreme Court took only 13 days, which is incredibly fast. If you ever read the history of Supreme Court opinions, it usually takes years to get there. And so, all nine judges wrote separate opinions, but the core of the case still stands, which is that unless there are extreme extreme circumstances – which we have never seen in this country – that newspapers and journalists have the right to publish classified information. And because of this, we have learned so much more about what our government does behind closed doors.

Often, what they do, that is immoral and wasteful and illegal, we never would have known without this decision.