Category Archives: Internet Archive

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!

Invitation to this year’s Aaron Swartz Day Evening Event

ASDAY.Poster.Final
(Click for Hi-Res Poster Image Suitable for printing.)

TICKETS

The Internet Archive is hosting an Aaron Swartz Day Celebration on what would have been Aaron’s 30th birthday weekend*:

November 5, 2016, from 6:30-7:30 (reception)               8pm – 9:30 pm (speakers)

This year, we celebrate our community’s continued goal of making the world a better place, (like Aaron did).

To do this, we’ve assembled a unique collection of speakers to give you some very important messages.

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

Reception: 6:30pm-7:30pm – Come mingle with the speakers and enjoy nectar, wine & tasty nibbles.

Migrate your way upstairs: 7:30-8:00pm – We decided to give folks a little window of time to finish up  their nibbles and wine at the reception, exchange contact info,  and make their way upstairs to grab a seat to watch the speakers, which will begin promptly at 8pm.

Speakers 8:00 pm -10:00pm:

 A Special Statement from Chelsea Manning (in celebration of this year’s Aaron Swartz Day and International Hackathon)

Tiffiniy Cheng (Co-founder and Co-director Fight for the Future)

Cindy Cohn (Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Shari Steele (Executive Director, Tor Project)

Yan Zhu (Security Expert, Friend of Chelsea Manning)

Alison Macrina (Founder and Executive Director, Library Freedom Project)

Conor Schaefer (DevOps Engineer, SecureDrop)

Brewster Kahle (Digital Librarian, Internet Archive) w/Vinay Goel  (Senior Data Engineer, Internet Archive)

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

TICKETS

For more information, contact:

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

*Aaron’s date of birth was November 8, 1986

OpenArchive: A Mobile Application That Saves To The Internet Archive

A photo of the OpenArchive App on a Nexus 5 phone.Interview with OpenArchive’s Founder, Natalie Cadranel.

OpenArchive is a free, open-source mobile application dedicated to
maintaining the privacy, provenance, and preservation of audiovisual civic media. Conceived during the Arab Spring and Occupy, and currently available in beta for Android, it unites the efforts of Tor, Creative Commons, and the Internet Archive to foster a virtual commons where civil liberties and digital rights are protected.

Founder, Natalie Cadranel, and supporters of the OpenArchive project will be at the San Francisco Hackathon this weekend, ready to collaborate with folks. This is your chance to get your hands on the code and contribute to the Internet Archive’s first secure, open-source mobile application. You can join the beta-testing community here.

Natalie is an archivist, researcher, and independent media advocate.  After finishing her master’s at UC Berkeley’s ISchool, she launched the OpenArchive App. The background and inspiration for the project is highlighted in her journal article Preserving Mobilized Culture. She will be engaging with the community at the San Francisco Aaron Swartz Hackathon, on Saturday from 10am – Noon, and looks forward to sharing it in the venue and spirit it was conceived.

Citizens armed with mobile devices are becoming history’s first
responders, amassing rich, contextualized, and crucial records of
their movements and breaking news. However, most of these recordings presently reside on social media platforms that can chill free speech and are subject to government censorship, privacy breaches, and data loss. While social media is an acceptable distribution platform, it does not provide sufficient privacy protections or archival preservation of this vital media.

OpenArchive’s mission is to preserve, amplify, and route mobile media to user-created collections in an accessible public trust (The Internet Archive and beyond) outside the corporate walled gardens currently dominating the online media ecosystem.

Lisa: So, is the idea that, while you are posting something to Facebook or Twitter, you might also post it to the Internet Archive, for safekeeping, for future generations?

Natalie: Definitely. This application is an alternative to social media and intended to meet the needs of three primary groups:

1) citizen journalists who no longer trust social media and want to share their documentation with organizations that respect their civil liberties and are committed to preservation and contextualization

2) archivists who are looking for effective ways to collect and preserve community media while respecting the media-creators’ intentions, and

3) those interested in using and remixing the media like news outlets, researchers, scholars, and artists.

Lisa: What gave you the idea to build this?

Natalie: As a former journalist for IndyMedia, an archivist, and digital rights activist, I became increasingly concerned about the lifecycle of sensitive mobile media during global uprisings starting in 2010. I interviewed citizen journalists, archivists, and refugees from Iran’s Green Movement about the challenges surrounding their information gathering and distribution processes.

The ethical collection, contextualization, and amplification of citizen media are issues that crystallized during these conversations. Privacy and authentication emerged as critical concerns for people who had very sensitive media on their phones, which often included documentation of human rights abuses. Popular social media platforms were not secure enough to protect users’ identities or conducive for long-term preservation and there were no alternatives at the time.

Lisa: Explain more about this problem of our social media-filled world that could just be deleted, should a corporation, such as Facebook, get bought and disappear someday.

Natalie: Companies are committed to their bottom line, not long-term preservation or user privacy.  While they are currently fantastic distribution platforms, users cannot rely on them to safeguard and preserve their content.

This platform is facilitating a timeline of a “people’s history” that
preserves and respects contributors’ content. Another benefit of
contributing this media to an archive is that it increases the
interoperability of it for future use and makes it widely available without betraying user identities or intentions.

Lisa: So when you upload to the Internet Archive, you are adding it to a personal collection at the Internet Archive, as if you had uploaded through its website?

Natalie: Yes. Exactly.

Lisa: What kinds of things might people be able to help you hack on at the hackathon?

Natalie: We currently need help with some usability and design
refinements. There are open issues on the GitHub site.

 

 

 

Aaron’s Open Library Project Lives On

Giovanni Damiola has just been added as a speaker for Saturday’s Celebration of Hackers and Whistleblowers. He will say a few words about how he and Jessamyn West have been working on the Open Library project this past year. The Open Library was one of Aaron’s first projects, right after Creative Commons.

Giovanni was a hacker at last year’s San Francisco Aaron Swartz Day
Hackathon. He ended up getting a job at the Internet Archive shortly after last year’s event, and has now taken on Aaron’s beloved Open Library project, which attempts to create “a page for every book” in existence. Giovanni revamped the site to be more stable, and a re-index found 500,000 books, authors and editions lying around. Here’s an up to date “status report on the project from Librarian Jessamyn West. It’s also a project you can hack on at the hackathon this weekend.

The Open Library lends books to people in countries with no public libraries, and Jessamyn  frequently uses Google translate just to read and reply to email from all over the world.

Although originally envisioned by Aaron as providing, “a page for every book, so you can find the book, so you can buy it, or borrow it,  it’s become much more than that, and is, in fact,  a lifeline to information for many countries.

As Jessamyn explains, “I was around when Open Library was first getting started, and I think the people who built it and designed it were way ahead of their time. I’m really happy to get to carry-on Aaron’s legacy of sharing as much as possible to as many people as possible.”