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

Monthly archive: July 2013

PirateCon 2013 End Note: Alex Marthews

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Alex Marthews, President of Digital Fourth ( gives the PirateCon 2013 End Note Speech: How to Prevent the Coming Surveillance Dystopia. He kills it. (Though, I’m biased.) -Bluestreak  

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More PirateCon 2013 Talk Videos

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Maurice Morales put up a few more videos of the talks from PirateCon 2013: Open Government, Part 1 – Michael Morisy, Shauna Gordon-McKeon, Steve Buckley and Barry Rafkind Open Government, Part 2 – Michael Morisy, Shauna Gordon-McKeon, Steve Buckley and Barry Rafkind Don’t Agonize, Organize! – Evan Greer, Véronique Vermorel, Gregg Housh Have any suggestions for future talks or events? Is there an issue you want to know more about? We would love to hear your suggestions! Tell us in a comment. Thanks!

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General Meeting Sunday, Pirate Picnic August 3rd

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Art Beat was a lot of fun last Saturday, even if it was far too hot. Here are a few more events we are running or thought Pirates should know about. This Sunday at 2pm we will have a general meeting to plan our upcoming projects. It will be at REDACTED. Social hour is 4-5pm. Just show up or tell us in advance via the FB event. On Saturday, August 3rd, we will hold a Pirate Picnic on George’s Island. Kids are welcome. We will leave on the noon ferry which departs from Long Wharf in Boston near the New England Aquarium. Tickets on-line. Also, there is a Solidarity With Private Bradley Manning Stand-Out in Boston on July 27th at 1pm. Got other events you think Pirates should know about? Just add them to the comments.

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July 20th: All Eyes on Artbeat

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(Image courtesy of the World Disaster Report) Each time I go into the city of Boston, I find myself playing a little game, something I call “spot the surveillance camera”. Look around and you’ll see them mounted next to traffic signals, on rooftops, on the sides of buildings, and so fourth. Surveillance cameras have become pervasive, to the point where it’s surprising to find yourself in an area where there aren’t at least a few cameras watching. I shouldn’t pick on Boston though, since you can play this game nearly anywhere you go. In the past few months, we’ve seen surveillance cameras joined by their close cousin, the automatic license plate reader (ALPR). ALPRs snap photographs of automobile license plates, and are capable of deciphering the plate’s letters and numbers. Some police departments collect and store this information in a database, so that over time, the police have a detailed picture of where your car traveled, and when. What happens to this information? It really depends on where you are, since the policies are all over the map. Through FOIA requests, the ACLU is undertaking a project to catalog what the different policies are: Does the thought of all this surveillance make you want to stay home and close the shades? Fear not — the surveillance cameras are coming to a home near you, if not to your very own home! Here, I’m referring to the XBox Kinect. According to Extremetech, Microsoft has applied for a patent that involves using the Kinect’s camera to count the number of people in the room; if there are more people than the content provider allows, the device owner might be asked to purchase a license for a larger number of viewers. So much open culture, eh? Speaking of open culture, are any … Read more

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How Likely is the TSA to Catch a Subway Bomber? Not very.

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(PHOTO: REUTERS/Jason Reed. A TSA agent dons rubber gloves at Washington Reagan National Airport. Courtesy of Boing boing.) On July 4th, there were several Restore the Fourth demonstrations in Boston, and we Pirates were proud to participate. They were good demonstrations, and it was encouraging to see how much the issue of mass surveillance resonated with people. After the day’s events, I came across this tweet from @AnonInMass, regarding TSA bag searches on the MBTA. We’ve all heard about the TSA’s bag searches (and we demonstrated against them in February). But @AnonInMass’s tweet got me thinking: how effective are these searches? In other words, what’s the probability that a TSA bag search will prevent a bomber from getting on to the subway? Let’s spend a little time trying to answer this question, even if it’s nothing more than a back-of-the-envelope estimate. This estimate involves assumptions, but I’ll try to do this in a way that casts the TSA in a positive light. In other words, let’s try to give the TSA the benefit of the doubt, and see how well they do. First, we need to know something about the number of trips taken on the T. For this information, I’ll turn to the 13th edition of the MBTA’s Ridership and Service Statistics. Page 5 of the pdf shows the average weekday ridership of the red, orange, blue, and green lines is 719,934 (this is “Total Heavy Rail” plus “Total Green Line”). As far as I know, the TSA only conducts bag searches at subway stations; therefore we should only consider subway ridership. Next, we need to know something about how ridership is distributed throughout the day; if the TSA were trying to maximize the effectiveness of bag searches, it would make more sense for them to search during peak … Read more

published under Civil Liberties, Main Topic, Privacy | 2 Comments

Restore the 4th!

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On this July 4th, the Massachusetts Pirate Party joins with the Restore the 4th coalition to protest our government’s continuing efforts to subvert the 4th Amendment of our constitution. We will not stand idly by while our right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures is trampled in the name of security. You can find out more about the July 4th protests in Boston at the Facebook event or consult the schedule. July 4th ‎#RESTORETHE4THMA SCHEDULE OF EVENTS 09:00 – 10:00: Gathering outside the Old State House in preparation for the day. 10:00 – 11:00: Listening reverently to the Declaration of Independence. We need to be respectful, save the protests for after. 11:00 – 12:00: We’ll spend a bit of time at the Old State House milling about and talking with the crowds that gathered for the reading. We will then head just up the street to some mobile stores to perform a ‘cease & desist’ regarding the data they are handing over to the U.S. Government. Afterwards we will make our way to Boston Common. 12:00 – 13:00: We’ll be demonstrating on the Common as well as gathering signatures against the upcoming MA wiretapping bill. This bill looks to largely expand the use of surveillance against MA citizens. 13:00 – 14:00: We’ll make our way over to Dewey Square. 14:30-17:00: March throughtout Boston including Faneuil Hall, and the Esplanade! What to bring: Water, fliers and SIGNS, lots of SIGNS.  Here are some ideas they came up with for some slogans: Restore the Fourth! No Warrant, No Search Repeal the Patriot Act / NDAA Don’t Spy on Me Abolish DHS No “Random” Searches Snowden is a Hero Secret Courts/Laws are not Transparent.  

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PirateCon 2013 a success!

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A huge thanks to everyone who made PirateCon 2013 a success! It would not have been possible without the work of Lucia, Steve, Kendra, Sevan, Joe, Maurice, Jason, John and James. Many thanks to our speakers David House, Michael Morisy, Shauna Gordon-McKeon, Steve Buckley, Barry Rafkind, Gregg Housh, Alex Marthews, Rich Aucoin, Peter Dilworth, Jordyn Bonds, Eli Feghali, Evan Greer, Véronique Vermorel and the many lighting talk speakers. Without the efforts of our speakers, the conference would have been much less interesting and informative. Thanks also to all of our attendees for making PirateCon 2013 our best attended event. Their questions and insights were great. We had a great deal of fun afterwards at the post-conference dinner and it was great eighteen people shared dinner and talked about advancing Pirate Politics in Massachusetts. Maurice Morales has put up the video he took of a number of the talks. We will post more as they become available. Opening the Gates: How To Challenge Our Nation’s Two-Party Monopoly – Keynote by David House Crowdfunding – Peter Dilworth, Jordyn Bonds and Eli Feghali Captain James talks about our journey forward

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