privacy always

In this day and age, privacy has never been more important. There are many privacy tools online from respected organizations, first and foremost among them is EFF – the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I personally use their Privacy Badger , their https Everywhere, and Panopticlick which prevents browser fingerprinting all of which are free. EFF also has Certbot which deploys Let’s Encrypt certificates with easy-to-follow, interactive instructions based on your webserver and operating system. EFF also has a manual for self-defense or SSD [surveillance self-defence] which may be read here and which has tutorials and briefs.

I also use Avast’s VPN which is paid but well worth it, especially if you use your computer in public spaces.

However there are many other privacy tools, eg. which provides knowledge and tools to protect your privacy against global mass surveillance. This page has many of their tools and explanations.

It should be noted that many experts recommend Firefox and Tor browser over Google Chrome.


Also review Panopticlick tool and its guide on browser fingerprinting, written by Bill Hess from PixelPrivacy.  The guide provides more context about why one would want to use a tool like Panopticlick.

privacy matters

The Free Software Foundation is currently engaging in several campaigns that we should all join.

There is the Privacy Pack from Reset the Internet

And finally there is the Tor Challenge from EFF



operation payback ( a bitch)

Pirates session
Burcu Bakioglu, Operation Payback (…is a Bitch): Hacktivism at the dawn of Copyright Controversies
Bodo Balasz, Informal Media Economies – What Can We Learn from the Pirates of Yesteryear?
Martin Fredriksson, The Ideology of Piracy and the Public Spheres of Modernity
Jinying Li, Piracy, Circulation, and Cultural Control in Cyber-Age China
moderator: Marcienne Martin

Unfortunately I was able to attend only the talk by Bakioglu.

  • culture of piracy is what they call copypasta [or copy paste]. It is a subversive culture. Response to it was to extend regulation and limitation of piracy.
  • The ‘culture’ perceived any copyright issues as a threat to creativity, to corruption exposure, privacy, an act of criminalization of society, surveillance.
  • They were a true networked society that was lateral: hoizontal modes of communication presenting alternative strategies of resistance.
  • Sites of struggle: The Pirate Bay. This alternative form of protest took the form of hacktivism. It is non-violent civil disobedience [DDOS attacks, site defacements etc.]
  • It used to be a sub-culture but now it is becoming mainstream.
  • Wikileaks and Assange are a model. Nodes that exchange information and give power. One therefore needs to intercept flow of information and leak it out.
  • Op Payback began when an Indian company was contracted and announced it would take down Pirate Bay [co. called].
  • Case of ACS Law solicitors whose site was taken down and in effort to remedy problem hurriedly put their site back up and inadvertently published secret information that stayed online for two hours and the info proved it was damaging enough to the company because it exposed its illegal dealings.

technologies of dissent – a2k4 – human rigths usa and EFF

Theresa Harris, Human Rights USA

Filtering is the best example of censorship. Eg. in Saudi Arabia or taking down videos of police brutality in Egypt. This software is provided by US companies.  How can you provide facebook to Iranians without it being used to arrest protestsors? should we provide this software or shouldn’t we?

Many have been dealing with this dilemma and the comapnies have not been held accountable. Comapnies claim that it is ‘business as usual’, and that they are not responsible for what those countries do with them.

We tend to focus on the technology and not the govt abuse of it. That is why the human rights framework is important. How is it different? It is a using a universal standard and not putting one country’s interest over another. Tying technology to progressive issues – eg. freedom of speech etc..

What are the steps to implement that? There could be voluntary codes of conduct for corporations. We could have domestic regulations. Putting this on an international treaty.

Eddan Katz, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Hilary Clinton’s speech was important bec it was well articulated. The freedom to connect helps transform society and that is described in Clinton’s speech. The US engages in practices of surveillance and the echelon system is also maintained. How do we then talk of the disruption of networks?

Censorship: gvt. providing money to develop technologies to express themselves.

Reservations about the speech: absence of freedom of speech framework and anonymity because of terrorism issues. EFF stands firm on the side of anonymity.

The issue of the protection of IP: technologies of surveillance are in place and being developed to apply copyright infringements.

Many companies are building the surveillance infra-structure. EFF proposes an instrumental approach: a direct action with the person causing harm; the capabilities approach; the ethics approach is not enough but we need the socio-technical impact. We can create an interesting balance between the human rights discourse and the technological infrastructure.

Read white paper called Surveillance Self-Defense International.

– A2K4 – perespectives on access to knowledge – APC

Questions to be discussed in the panel:

  • What is the relevance of A2K and human rights to each other? Which substantive aspects of human rights – for example, health, education, food, freedom of expression, and cultural rights – are implicated by A2K issues and how? Which methodological and institutional approaches hold relevance?
  • Do the A2K and human rights approaches fit together easily or in tension? What unique insights can each offer the other?  What would it mean to theorize A2K as a human right? Is access to knowledge better understood as a negative liberty or a positive entitlement?
  • Is the human rights framework – norms, institutions, and methodologies of advocacy – a useful one for advancing A2K goals? What are the risks, challenges, and opportunities involved in theorizing A2K as a human right? What venues, tools, allies and enemies might be acquired by this framing? [source:]
  • Jeremy Malcolm, Consumers International: A2K is about finding human rights dimensions to legal issues such as communication policies and intellectual properties etc.  A2K is a framework for other human rights issues.

    DSC00286Natasha Primo, Association for Progressive Communications: APC was a network of ISPs and started working with progressive NGOs and mainly in South Africa. Its membership is spreading across the world.

    What do these rights look like in the context of human rights? Access to info is also about access to tools which is access to infrastructure. APC outlined 7 themes: access to all, freed om of expression and association, access to knowledge, shared learning and creation – free and open source software and tech development, privacy, surveillance and encryption, governance of the internet, awareness, protection and realization of rights.

    What is A2K? this evolved and now deals with intellectual rights etc. The right to access to knowledge, the right to freedom of information [national and gvt.], the right to access to publicly-funded information.

    What then is the best strategy? A2K negative liberty or positive entitlement? should we step back from the human rights discourse and begin talking about development? is A2K a new right? interpreting an existing right in an information society contedst; claiming an existing right by pushing a human development agenda?

    APC talks also about linguistic access – ability to impart knowledge in their own language.

    Human rights or human development / human capabilities? There are development activists who claim human rights discourse is not useful – so do we then need to talk about development capabilities approach to social justice – including the rights-based approaches?

    Key principles of human development and the capabilities approach:

    must develop people’s capabilities to lead creative and fulfilling lives. Must allow us to examine the individual’s capacity for exercising choice of what to do and how to be without a context of real or substantive choice, rather than adaptive preferences. Should be the primary goal to economic development.

    10 capabilities and t he international bill of rights.: ability to live life, bodily health, bodily integrity, being treated with dignity, etc.

    Thinking of norms, institutions and methodologies for advocacy. Should we talk about human capabilities rather than human rights? how central is access to knowledge to human capabilities? what is the key challenge: to advocate for a new right or do we look at how realize existing rights and how we turn rights into capabilities? or both?