Cyberculture agenda: A big loss: “Ian “Debian” Murdock dies after threatening suicide

[ previous ] [ Contents ] [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ A ] [ next ] Written by Ian A. Murdock, Revised 01/06/94 Debian Linux is a brand-new kind of Linux distribution. Rather than being developed by one isolated individual or group, as other


Ian Murdock is half of the founding team of Debian, a popular and foundational flavor of GNU/Linux from which Ubuntu and Mint are descended. Earlier this week, he posted a series of bizarre, racialized tweets in which he threatened to commit suicide to call attention to the police brutality he was experiencing. He is now dead, though the cause of his death has not been disclosed. (more…)

2015-top-torrent-sitesDuring December, all self-respecting search engines produce an overview of the most popular search terms of the past year.

The Return of the Patent Troll: 2015 in Review

As another year goes by without action from Congress, patent trolls have returned in record numbers. The first half of 2015 saw an unprecedented number of patents suits, with most of the growth fueled by patent trolls filing in the Eastern District of Texas. If there is any lesson from this year, it is that the patent troll problem is increasingly localized to one troll-friendly federal district. Any comprehensive patent reform effort will need to address this phenomenon.

The First Ten Years of the Pirate Party: Lessons Learned and Road Ahead

Supporters of German wing of Pirate Party (Piraten Partei) wave their flags during rally against state and corporate surveillance policies in Berlin

Infopolicy: Exactly ten years ago, on January 1 2006 at 20:30 CET, the Swedish and first Pirate Party was launched by me setting up an ugly website. Since then, we delivered on the proof of concept on June 7, 2009, and the movement grew from there. We weren’t always successful, though, and it’s important to be humble and do a little retrospection.

Corporations that make digital devices and software used by millions around the world for work, play and school had a spotty record of protecting that data in 2015. Because companies are responsible for safeguarding intensely private customer information, it’s important that companies do better. There were bright spots—in June our annual Who Has Your Back?  report showed that many major technology companies are adopting best practices around transparency and protecting user data when the government comes knocking.

Reddit in 2015

It’s the last day of the year 2015, and it’s been a heck of a year for Reddit, Inc. We’re once again wrapping up the year, mourning over our lack of hoverboards, whilst simultaneously thanking our lucky stars we didn’t end up actually dressing like this.

Artificial Intelligence Finally Entered Our Everyday World

Artificial intelligence is changing not only the way we use our computers and smartphones but the way we interact with the real world.

The days of optimizing user interface on a website and calling it a day are as archaic as door-to-door Britannica salesmen. The digital experience of the future is an omni-channel, multi-stage, behaviorally targeted, device-agnostic, user-journey-centric experience that seems part science-fiction, part psychology, and part technology. To understand the future of digital experience, we must stay abreast of emerging patterns and learn to let go of aging paradigms that no longer make sense in today’s (and tomorrow’s) virtual ecosystem.

Gollum and Erdogan. Widely shared.

Smeagol/Gollum and Erdogan. Widely shared.

With a 47-year-old Turkish doctor facing jail time for comparing one of the most powerful political leaders on Middle Earth to the Lord of the Rings character Gollum, demand grew for Elijah Wood to intervene.

Online bullying and abuse is a major concern, and there are countless examples of the pain and suffering caused by such behaviors. As such, Twitter’s taken another step towards tackling such behaviors on their platform, re-vamping the official ‘Twitter Rules’ to clarify what’s considered to be abusive behavior and hateful conduct.


There’s no way to turn off the “recovery” feature that sends your disk encryption keys to Microsoft by default, without notice — though you can (and should) ask Microsoft to forget the keys later. (more…)

New Wireless Tech Will Free Us From the Tyranny of Carriers

Soon, your phone will be able to switch between carriers without you having to swap out cards or phone numbers–even if you’re in the middle of a call.


More overtly political than security events like Vegas’s Defcon, more regular than New York’s HOPE, CCC events in Hamburg are an annual gathering of the hacktivist tribes. (more…)

Mobile developer Apalon has announced the top 10 emojis of 2015, based on data from its Emoji Keypad app on iOS. The data showed positive emojis are the most popular with users, with the ‘face with tears of joy’ emoji coming in at the No. 1 spot. This same emoji was recently selected as the ‘word of the year‘ by Oxford Dictionaries.

Security’s Biggest Winners and Losers in 2015

Security’s Biggest Winners and Losers in 2015

2015 had several wins for privacy and security—but they were kept in check by losses and failures.


Facebook is desperate to ensure that the Internet never takes hold in developing nations — they want a walled garden that they get to own and operate. (more…)

How the Internet of Things Got Hacked

How the Internet of Things Got Hacked

From cars to medical devices to guns, this was the year hackers found and exploited computers in everything.

Under the glare of the modern surveillance state, EFF’s long-held goal ofencrypting the web has only grown more pressing. And crypto remains on the march, with promising developments ranging from the public beta launch of the Let’s Encrypt project, to the expansion of CloudFlare’s Universal SSL program, or the Facebook announcement of PGP-encrypted notifications. But there’s also been misguided chatter from law enforcement and elected officials, calling to weaken that crypto with backdoors, “golden keys,” and other efforts to undermine security.

Sometimes news events make your point better than you ever could. That was the case this year as we completed the triennial rulemaking cycle of requesting exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA)’s restrictions on circumventing DRM.


For an increasing number of Internet users in parts of the Middle East, posting to social media is a liability, a risk not worth taking. Since the 2011 uprisings, the region has seen an increase in laws governing online speech, as well as an increase in arrests related to political speech. 2015 has been a particularly bad year for those wishing to speak freely about their governments.

The Best of the Weird Internet in 2015

The Internet has always been weird. It’s weird because it encourages us to pursue increasingly fragmentary slivers of experience, and weirder still because it allows us to share those shavings with others like us. In this regard, at least, 2015 may not have been unusual, but it was still thick with a surreal slurry all its own. This was, after all, the year when Jon Hendren, a Twitter personality who goes by the handle @fart, trolled an HLN interviewer by responding to questions about Edward Snowden as if he’d been asked about Edward Scissorhands instead. And that wasn’t even the silliest Snowden-specific prank of the season.

In a world first, a machine plays chess by evaluating the board rather than using brute force to work out every possible move. From September 2015…

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