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)
About the Library Freedom Project, the ACLU, and Tor
The Library Freedom Project (LFP), along with its partners the ACLU and the Tor Project, provides trainings for library communities, teaching people their rights under the law, and how to find and use free and open source, privacy protective technologies.
LFP had a bit of excitement last summer, when it and the Tor Project worked with the Kilton Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, to set up a Tor relay. Those who run Tor relays are providing a public service, as Tor is a free, open network that helps people defend against mass surveillance by providing them anonymity online. Tor depends on thousands of volunteers who run “relays” (computer servers that support the Tor network).
Libraries are ideal locations to host Tor relays, because they are staunch supporters of intellectual freedom and privacy, and because they provide access to other essential internet services. This was the spirit behind the Kilton Library seeking to become one of the many nodes in Tor’s worldwide internet freedom system.
Tor is used by human rights activists, diplomats, journalists, government officials, and anyone else who values privacy. For instance, Journalists in repressive countries use it to publish their work without fear of government surveillance, censorship or prosecution. Domestic violence survivors use it, so that they cannot be tracked by former partners. People in African countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa use it to report poaching of endangered animals without fear of retribution.
Human Rights Watch recommends Tor for human rights advocates in their report about censorship in China. Reporters without borders suggests that journalists and bloggers all over the world should use Tor to keep themselves and their sources safe.
Tor was originally developed by the US Navy, and still gets funding from the State Department, as it is used by many high officials in the US Government.
When LFP announced the Tor relay project at the Kilton Library, that project received popular media attention and overwhelming community support. Then, in mid-August (2015), the Boston office of the Department of Homeland Security contacted the Portsmouth and Lebanon Police Departments, to warn them, falsely, that Tor’s primary use is to aid and abet criminal activity. In the face of this Federal Law Enforcement pressure, the Kilton Library shut down the project.
The Lebanon Library Board of Trustees let stand its unanimous June decision to devote some of the library’s excess bandwidth to a node, or “relay,” for Tor, after a full room of about 50 residents and other interested members of the public expressed their support for Lebanon’s participation in the system at a meeting Tuesday night.
“With any freedom there is risk,” library board Chairman Francis Oscadal said. “It came to me that I could vote in favor of the good … or I could vote against the bad. “I’d rather vote for the good because there is value to this.”
Interview with Alison Macrina
Lisa: So the good guys won in Kilton! Is the Tor relay still up and going strong?
Alison: Quick note: we won in Lebanon, New Hampshire. The name of the library is Kilton Library, of the Lebanon Libraries. And yes, the board and community decided unanimously to keep the relay online. Chuck McAndrew, the IT librarian, recently turned it from a non-exit into an exit, so we’re going to write a blog post soon detailing the success of the pilot and encouraging other libraries to get on board.
Lisa: Can other libraries contact you about setting up their own Tor relay?
Alison: Yes, they can contact us at email@example.com for all the information and supporting materials they might need. We have a questionnaire for them to fill out regarding their network details. And then we can schedule a time for us to do a site visit.
Lisa: What is your advice to Librarians who are thinking about setting up a Tor relay, that might be getting pressured by their local law enforcement to not do so?
Alison: We can’t guarantee that law enforcement won’t try to halt other libraries from participating in this project, but we can use Kilton Library’s example in case such a thing happens again. If law enforcement pressures another library, we will do what we did in Lebanon — rally a network of global support to stand behind the library and urge them to continue their participation in the project. We think that our overwhelming victory at Kilton shows us that we’ll be victorious at other libraries, should it come to that.
Lisa: So there’s nothing inherently criminal about using Tor any more than there is something inherently criminal about using the Internet?
Alison: Not at all! Privacy-enhancing technologies like Tor are
perfectly legal. Tools like Tor are also the best ways to protect
ourselves against government and corporate surveillance. By using and promoting Tor Browser and running Tor relays, libraries can help
ordinary people protect their privacy and other basic civil rights.
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.