Cyberculture agenda: “Edward Snowden, two years later

Legislation ending the US government’s bulk collection of telephone data is “a historic victory for the rights of every citizen,” former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden said in a commentary June 4

Two years ago, the first story based on the Snowden archive was published in the Guardian, revealing a program of domestic mass surveillance which, at least in its original form, ended this week. To commemorate that anniversary, Edward Snowden himself reflected in a New York Times Op-Ed on the “power of an informed public” when it comes to the worldwide debate over surveillance and privacy.

But we realized from the start that the debate provoked by these disclosures would be at least as much about journalism as privacy or state secrecy. And that was a debate we not only anticipated but actively sought, one that would examine the role journalism ought to play in a democracy and the proper relationship of journalists to those who wield the greatest political and economic power.

Writing in the NYT, Snowden celebrates the second anniversary of his disclosures by celebrating the “profound difference” in the surveillance debate since then. Read the rest

Two years ago today, Glenn Greenwald published in the Guardian a single document confirming a key piece of the NSA’s surveillance program, a document that fundamentally transformed EFF’s long-running battle for an end to unchecked government surveillance. To recap briefly, the document was a secret court order issued under Section 215 of the Patriot Act directing Verizon to provide “on an ongoing daily basis” all call records for any call “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls” and any call made “between the United States and abroad.” As the days passed, we learned that this document was only one of many crucial disclosures made by Edward Snowden, an NSA whistleblower who has made incredible personal sacrifices in order to disclose information that the American people, and the world, have long deserved to know.

On 18 May (18 days ago) I started a little experiment. Using SocialBro I started a private Twitter list called People Who Interact. This list was automatically created – out of everyone who either replied to a tweet I wrote, or RTed a tweet of mine. The summary of the results – a screenshot from SocialBro – is here:



How You Can Help to Fix EU Copyright Law

copyright-brandedThe pro-copyright lobbies are the best organised in the world. Second only to the tobacco lobby. They gather up employees and contractors and tell them real people and real internet users are bad people who want to harm them.

Life after Snowden: Journalist’s new moral responsibility
Columbia Journalism Review
They made similar noises over Wikileaks. In both cases, in time, the claims of …. Infuriating to the British state, no doubt. But, we would all agree, wonderful if the information in question was trying to escape the control of China, or Turkey or ..
"Open Court" co-founder wearing a t-shirt that says "I am the law." The slogan implies that every citizen, including lawmakers, is subject to the same laws. Image edited by Anna Poludenko-Young.

“Open Court” co-founder wearing a t-shirt that says “I am the law.” The slogan implies that every citizen, including lawmakers, is subject to the same laws. Image edited by Anna Poludenko-Young.


Larry Page has a message for anyone who doubts the future that Google and others are building: “We should be optimists.”

googlepopHelped by the MPAA, Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood launched a secret campaign to revive SOPA-like censorship efforts in the United States.


A new study has shown that of workplace ideas submitted by employees, ideas that came from Twitter users were rated significantly more positively by other employees and experts than the ideas of non-users. The findings underline the relevance of Twitter as an insight and information platform – it’s how we utilise that data that’s key.
Russia’s troll factory

An outstanding expose of Internet Research Agency, a St Petersburg, Russia-based army of trolls for hire who post pro-Kremlin messages to comment forums all day. Read the rest


The first Sony executives knew about the calamitous data breach, which would send their emails spilling across the Web, was an image of a skeleton flashing up on their computers screens with the warning: “…this is just a beginning.” If the hackers hadn’t decided to publicly embarrass the company, it’s likely that many weeks, if not months, could have passed before it became aware of the leaks. A report by the Ponomon Institute, a privacy and data security research center, found the average time to detect an attack in 2014 was 170 days, rising to 259 days if an insider with access to a…
If you’ve been on any of Google’s Web services today, you may have missed a small but important change – they no longer directly link to your Google+ profile. Previously your name would be displayed with a ‘+’ preceding it, and clicking on it would lead to your Google+ profile.
Rethinking ‘public service’ in a globalized digital ecology

As globalization transforms the nation-state and the forms of community associated with it, what are the implications for public service broadcasting?

Pirate Bay co-founder Frederik Neij was released from prison in Sweden yesterday.

Within days of David Cameron’s Queen’s Speech promise to ban the use of effective crypto in the UK, David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur for Freedom of Expression effectively called this a plan to make UK into a rogue state. Read the rest

The Inside Story of Google’s Bizarre Plunge Into VR

David Coz worked in Google’s Paris office, but what he really wanted was a job at the mothership in Silicon Valley. Last spring, the French-born Coz turned up at Google headquarters in Mountain View hoping to chat about his latest project with anyone who would listen. “I came with my prototype and my luggage,” he […]

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