The Party of Open: Open Government, Open Culture, Open Innovation & People First

Monthly archive: February 2013

Supreme Court Kills 4th Amendment On-line

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Yesterday the Supreme Court killed our 4th Amendment right to privacy on-line. In a 5-4 vote, they ruled that the ACLU and other plaintiffs did not have standing to bring their case challenging the FISA Amendments Act that allowed warrantless wiretapping. Since they concluded that “a fear of surveillance does not give rise to standing” and such warrantless government surveillance is secret, no one can challenge the Constitutionality of such surveillance. This Catch-22 is a recipe for unchecked government power. We now know that the NSA’s secret domestic intelligence program has a name: Ragtime. According to a new book, Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry, about three dozen NSA officials have access to Ragtime’s surveillance data. Additionally, a small number of people in the NSA’s general counsel’s office review the list of citizens surveilled to make sure they have connections to al-Qaeda.  While Ragtime may only be able to process 50 different data sets at one time, the facility that the NSA is building in Utah will likely increase that number as well as allow the NSA to store larger amounts of our communications for increasingly longer periods of time. Doubtless some will say that the existing NSA safeguards are enough to protect innocent people from getting caught up in a government dragnet. However, recent surveillance of the Occupy movement, COINTELPRO and Watergate show government officials will use their power to go after even peaceful dissent. The 4th Amendment was a check on that power. A check that five members of the Supreme Court, many of whom claim to want to return the Constitution to the original intent of the Founding Fathers, feel we don’t need on-line. It is up us to protect our privacy and overturn such unjust and undemocratic laws.  We cannot trust those in power to do … Read more

published under Freedom of Speech, Main Topic, Privacy | Comments Off on Supreme Court Kills 4th Amendment On-line

Intl. Privacy Day & CryptoParty – Sat., 2/23 (Flyer)

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What: International Privacy Day and CryptoParty Why: To stand up for our right to privacy When: Saturday, Feb. 23rd Rally – 1pm-3pm Cryptoparty – 3pm-5pm Where: Rally – State House, assemble at 40 Beacon St. Cryptoparty – Encuentro 5, 9 Hamilton Place, Suite 2A, Boston, a quick walk from the State House and will last two hours. Space is limited to around 35 people. The current Cryptoparty schedule of how-to talks is: Why protect yourself (3-3:30pm) – Various Using Tor (3:30-4pm) – Steve Using I2P (4-4:30pm) – Erik Encrypting your File & disks (4:30-5pm) – Shidash How you can help: Spread the word by posting this page and flyer (pdf at the link):

published under Civil Liberties, Main Topic, Out And About, Privacy | Comments Off on Intl. Privacy Day & CryptoParty – Sat., 2/23 (Flyer)

Videographers needed for 2/23 IDP CryptoParty

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Saturday, Feb. 23rd, we will be celebrating International Day of Privacy with a rally at the State House with other groups after noon. After the rally we will be holding a CryptoParty starting at 3pm.  It will focus on using various tools to protect your privacy on the Internet. The Cryptoparty will be at Encuentro 5, 9 Hamilton Place, Suite 2A, Boston, a quick walk from the State House and will last two hours.  Space is limited to around 35 people.  The current schedule of how-to talks is: Why protect yourself (3-3:30pm) – Various Using Tor (3:30-4pm) – Steve Using I2P (4-4:30pm) – Erik Encrypting your File & disks (4:30-5pm) – Shidash We need one or more videographers for the talks so we can put the talks up for others to share and learn from.  If you can help, please email us at  If you can help publicize the rally or Cryptoparty, or help with the either event, just email us.  Thanks!

published under Civil Liberties, Out And About, Privacy | Comments Off on Videographers needed for 2/23 IDP CryptoParty

Why you should oppose the AG’s Mass. electronic wiretapping bill

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Here is the video from my appearance on the Two Hot Heads show on Unregular Radio. Alex Marthews from the Campaign for Digital Fourth Amendment Rights joined me to discuss the No TSA on the MBTA march and rally as well as Mass. electronic wiretapping bill the AG submitted to the Mass. legislature. Alex posted a transcript some of the discussion. Thanks to Mike Cann and Heather Mack for having us on. The text of the AG’s bill to expand electronic wiretapping is not available officially yet, though CDFAR managed to get a copy, but Alex was kind enough to let me post his analysis of it.  The AG clearly wants to the ability to spy on us for the flimsiest of reasons and make it easier to spy on us in bulk: The new Coakley bill, “An Act Updating the Wire Interception Law”, under a microscope Want to know the details of what the new Coakley bill, An Act Updating the Wire Interception Law, really includes? Wonderful. I can already tell we’re going to be friends. Here’s an advance hint: What do simple marijuana possession,annoying telephone calls, burglary, neglecting to depart a public assembly on the orders of police, failing to display the correct posters relating to the illegality of firearms and explosives in your school, and the sale of arrowheads used for hunting, have in common? If you guessed “It isn’t legal in Massachusetts right now to take out an electronic wiretapping warrant for offenses this minor, but it would be under this bill”, then congratulations, you win the Grand Prize. On, to a more detailed discussion! There are three main points of this legislation: To remove the requirement that an electronic wiretapping warrant be connected with organized crime, or indeed with serious crimes more generally. To legalize mass interception of … Read more

published under Privacy | 2 Comments

Stay safe out there

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With day two of the Blizzard of 2013 on us, we hope everyone is safe from the blizzard. While Governor Patrick’s travel ban is excessive ($500 fine and/or a year in jail – don’t we have enough folks in jail?), staying safe at home is good advice. Happy shoveling and may everyone have good friends for company, as well as heat, food and electricity to keep warm and comfortable.

published under Travel | Comments Off on Stay safe out there

Pirate Lunch This Week, Wed., Feb. 6th, noon

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The next Pirate Lunch will be this Wednesday, February 6th starting at noon.  It will be at Tavern in the Square, 730 Mass. Avenue, Central Sq., Cambridge, MA.  For more info see: map & directions; Google Calendar reminder.

published under Fun and Games | Comments Off on Pirate Lunch This Week, Wed., Feb. 6th, noon

Cryptoparty on Feb. 23rd

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For Saturday, Feb. 23rd, we are organizing a Cryptoparty as part of the International Day for Privacy #IDP13 Protest.  If you want to help with the protest or the cryptoparty, please contact us at

published under Privacy | Comments Off on Cryptoparty on Feb. 23rd

TSA out of the MBTA & other actions today

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The TSA out of the MBTA action kicks off soon. Hope you can make it. I’ll be on The Two Hotheads show on Unregular Radio around 3pm to talk about the AG’s attempts to increase surveillance by state government. The Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon at BUILDs at BU starts today and goes through 7pm Sunday.

published under Privacy, Transparency | Comments Off on TSA out of the MBTA & other actions today

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