Cyberculture agenda: RIP, Caspar Bowden… Hacking Team revelations… Reddit woes…

Zero-day exploits are like gold to hackers. Keep them all in one place and you’re asking to get robbed.

Caspar Bowden: NSA Hearing LIBE European Parliament, 24 September 2013

As a tribute to the intelligence, commitment and knowledge of this valiant defender of our digital liberties, we publish an inspiring address to the European Parliament in 2013, in grateful memory.

I met Caspar in 2001 while working for EFF; he was working for the Foundation for Internet Policy Research, which tirelessly lobbied the Lords and Parliament on the new surveillance powers that the Blair government wanted to bring in.

In Memoriam: Caspar Bowden

Like so many of his friends and colleagues across the world, we were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Caspar Bowden, the British privacy activist and co-founder of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR).

Among a community filled with perceptive advocates for a better future, Caspar Bowden stood out as one of the most prescient and the most determined. With a far-reaching knowledge of both policy and technology, he was frequently years ahead of his contemporaries in identifying upcoming issues, and never hesitated to transform his own life and career to better meet those challenges.


The smoke may have cleared from the Reddit uprising, but the clock is now ticking for interim CEO Ellen Pao to prove she can lead the chaotic community while some analysts predict her ouster




Ellen Pao Steps Down as CEO After Reddit Revolt

Ellen Pao Steps Down as CEO After Reddit Revolt

Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao resigned today after facing an all-out revolt on the site in the wake of the firing of a popular employee.

Pao’s Reddit Resignation Seen As Setback for Tech Equality

As news of Ellen Pao’s resignation as interim CEO of Reddit spread across the Twitter-sphere, many saw sexism in play.

Testifying before two Senate committees on Wednesday about the threat he says strong encryption presents to law enforcement, FBI Director James Comey didn’t so much propose a solution as wish for one.


The FBI and Department of Justice on Wednesday targeted a new set of threats to national security and law enforcement: not ISIS, or pedophiles, but Apple and Google.

Those companies and others that provide or will soon provide end-to-end encryption make it impossible to read intercepted digital messages — and without naming names, FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates said that they will “work with” those companies to ensure access to their customers’ communications.


Google’s Ad System Has Become Too Big to Control

Google’s Ad System Has Become Too Big to Control

Google AdSense has been tied to discriminatory practices, and the platform may be so big that Google has lost control of its machine.

After months of citing hypothetical crimes as a reason to give law enforcement a magical key to unlock encrypted digital messages, FBI Director James Comey has latched onto a new bogeyman: ISIS.

The FBI wants to ensure everyday people can’t use strong encryption. For over nine months FBI Director James Comey has been pushing the FBI’s twenty-year-old talking points about why he wants to reduce the security in your devices, rather than help you increase it. Director Comey will appear at two hearings about cryptography on July 8: The first in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, followed by another in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

When you pick up the phone, who you’re calling is none of the government’s business. The NSA’s domestic surveillance of phone metadata was the first program to be disclosed based on documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden, and Americans have been furious about it ever since. The courts ruled it illegal, and Congress let the section of the Patriot Act that justified it expire(though the program lives on in a different form as part of the USA Freedom Act).

Digital technology and its modes of production, representation, distribution, and circulation remodel the conditions of possibility: the definition of Being, the structuring of the Social, the instrumentalization of the Political, the animation of the Cultural.

stop-blockedRather than taking operators to court, copyright holders are increasingly relying on Internet providers to block ‘pirate’ domains.

Brian Lynch and Courtnie Swearingen, two attorneys and Reddit moderators for the popular subreddit r/iAmA, released an op-ed today in the New York Times that catalogued the frustrations that led to the blackout on the subreddit — and later, much of the website — nearly a week ago, when the company abruptly fired talent director Victoria Taylor, also known as /u/chooter. “Ms. Taylor’s sudden termination is just the most recent example of management’s making changes without thinking through what those changes might mean for the people who use the site on a daily basis,” they wrote. According to the pair, which in turn…
Firefox has been around since 2002 and Mozilla is looking to rebuild fundamental parts of the browser for the first time. Mozilla’s Director of Engineering, Dave Camp, posted a message to the Mozilla mailing list saying that while Firefox is “built on Web technologies” the company could “do a much better job of capitalizing on it.” The browser’s interface as we know it today was built on top of Mozilla’s XML User Interface Language (XUL), which was invented to “fill the gaps” that HTML had at the time. According to Camp’s email, because XUL isn’t a Web technology it doesn’t get as much attention…
Reddit’s Meltdown Exposes Its Huge Conundrum

Reddit’s Meltdown Exposes Its Huge Conundrum

Reddit is defined by its users’ participation—including, crucially, the contributions of volunteer moderators. If Reddit doesn’t keep them happy, Reddit doesn’t exist.


After Europe, it might be America’s turn to enjoy the ‘right to be forgotten‘. A consumer advocacy group in the US is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate why Google hasn’t extended this option to users in the country. Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project director John Simpson wrote to the FTC yesterday, complaining that though Google claims to be dedicated to user privacy, its reluctance to allow Americans to remove ‘irrelevant’ search results is “unfair and deceptive.”
Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 12.06.28 PM“What is cybersex, and how do I get some? If that’s what you’re asking yourself, you’ve come to the right place.” So begins the 1993 book The Joy of Cybersex, an early guide to the online world of sexual content, right as it was emerging into mainstream consciousness.


The 3 New Frontiers of Local Advertising

It’s no secret that digital marketing has replaced traditional marketing, but that’s become especially true in terms of local advertising. This post highlights three new frontiers of local advertising and marketing.

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