The Information Program works to increase access to knowledge and protect civil liberties in the digital environment. The following is a roundup of news and analysis that the program team has been watching in the past week. This week’s top story concerns a new tool for anonymous communication between journalists and sources launched by the New Yorker.
You can keep up to date on the latest stories to catch the Information Program team’s attention on our Pinboard page.
The New Yorker releases Strongbox platform for safer news leaking
The New Yorker has announced Strongbox, a tool for anonymous communication between journalists and sources via Tor. Written by the late Aaron Swartz and hacker-turned security journalist Kevin Poulsen, the underlying code, DeadDrop, will be open source. The Source collects first reactions and responses, which are cautiously welcoming.
New Yorker | Source Pt 1 | Source Pt 2
Peru: TransPacific Partnership negotiations
EFF reports that early arrival in Lima has enabled it to get ahead of the 17th round of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty and discusses the backroom manoeuvrings to increase the term of copyright still further and regulate temporary reproductions of copyrighted files such as computer caches. EFF also reports on protests surrounding the meetings.
US: CALEA II
CDT reports that a group of leading security experts including Matt Blaze (University of Pennsylvania), Susan Landau, Roger Dingledine (TOR Project3), Ed Felten (Princeton), Bruce Schneier, and Philip Zimmermann (developer of PGP) have written a report explaining the fundamental security flaws in the FBI’s proposed CALEA II, which would require ISPs to modify their services to make them wiretap-friendly.
US: EPIC asks FTC to investigate SnapChat
EPIC has filed a complaint with the FTC regarding SnapChat, a mobile app publisher that encourages users to share intimate photos and videos on the basis that they can then be deleted permanently. According to the complaint, such material can be accessed by other users after it is supposed to have been deleted.
Pew report on “Teens, Social Media and Privacy”
The Pew Internet and American Life Project, together with the Berkman Center, issues a new report on how teenagers share information about themselves on social media sites. Danah Boyd reflects on two conclusions, that “race is a factor in explaining differences in teen social media use” and “teens are sharing a lot of content, but they’re also quite savvy.”
Pew report | Danah Boyd commentary
Is “cyber war” just a scare tactic?
“Officials warn of looming cyber-Armageddon. Critics say that’s a subterfuge to erode online privacy and accountability.” An interview with EFF’s Lee Tien.
This sarcastic game about privacy (published under a Creative Commons license), created by a four-person team of Austrian game designers and activists, is based on research into the data broker market. Players start as small backroom data dealers and play to become data moguls running giant empires. Learn how to trick your users and make cash with their personal data! In the video clip, from TEDxVienna, team leader Wolfie Christl explains the background.
Game | Video
UK: Shakespeare review on open data
In this blog posting, the Open Knowledge Foundation analyses the newly published Shakespeare Review of public sector information. Among the highlights: the review recommends the speedy release of more data, the removal of restrictive licensing, open access to publicly funded research, and the establishment of the economics value of open data through research and auditing.
World Health Assembly preview
In this blog posting, Intellectual Property Watch lays out its hopes for the UN World Health Assembly, taking place in Geneva May 20–28. IPW hopes to reopen the R&D Resolution in order to address the failures of the current system of incentives to generate the research and development needed to meet urgent healthcare needs in developing countries. Knowledge Ecology International’s Jamie Love has published his presentation on R&D and access to medicines in Europe, presented to the EU Parliament on May 16.
IPWatch | KEI
Civil society calls for openness in global telecoms policymaking
In this closing statement delivered to the World Telecommunications/ICT Policy Forum, a group of civil society organizations including CDT, Consumers International, and APC calls on the ITU to ensure openness, transparency, and inclusivity in policy processes.
Audio: The Digital Rights Movement
In this podcast, author and Temple University professor Hector Postigo discusses his new book, The Digital Rights Movement.