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

Monthly archive: November 2014

Help plan 2015

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We scheduled two in-person planning meetings for the rest of the year. Hope you can join us. The first meeting will be Sunday, December 7th starting at 1pm. It will be at encuentro 5 (e5) near the Park St. MBTA station in Boston. The address is 9 Hamilton Place, Suite 2A, Boston, MA 02108. Little to no off street parking is available, but parking garages are near by. This meeting will be our election year review. The second meeting will be Saturday, December 13th starting at 3pm. It will be at the Banx room of the Worcester Public Library, which is near the entrance. The address is 3 Salem St, Worcester, MA 01608. Free parking is available close by. The second meeting will focus on the 2015 budget and fundraising. Both meetings will discuss how we can open up decision making/participation to more people, our issue development process and include an tutorial on how to use our CiviCRM tool ( PirateCon 2015 may be on the agenda as well.

published under Main Topic, Organizing | Comments Off on Help plan 2015

Vote for dates for last two planning meetings of 2014

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We decided to have two in-person meetings before the end of the year. One will be in the Boston area. The other will be in the Worcester area. The first one will be be an election year review. The second will focus on the 2015 budget and fundraising. PirateCon 2015 may be on the agenda as well. Both will discuss how we can open up decision making/participation to more people, our issue development process and include an tutorial on how to use our CiviCRM tool ( Please fill out the poll below to vote on what days work for you: Thanks!

published under Issues, Main Topic, Organizing, Out And About | Comments Off on Vote for dates for last two planning meetings of 2014

USA Freedom Act is Dead, Section 215 Next

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The watered down USA Freedom Act did not clear the Senate yesterday, though Senators Warren and Markey voted for its cloture motion. Back in May, Representatives, Kennedy, Lynch, and Tsongas voted for the even worse House version. We appreciate the effort that the EFF, ACLU and other civil liberties organizations put into getting this bill passed. Unfortunately, the likely final bill would have made mass surveillance more acceptable and wouldn’t have done enough to end it. The Republican histrionics that this bill would have helped terrorists was a wonder to watch.  The fact that the NSA’s mass surveillance of everyone on the planet hasn’t stopped a single terrorist attack is lost on the nattering nabobs who will soon control the Senate. Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which is one of the supports for such mass surveillance programs, expires next year.  If the USA Freedom Act had passed, we wouldn’t see that fine day until 2017, sixteen years after it was put in place.  While the Senate and House leadership will attempt to renew it, it is up to us to make sure they don’t.

published under Main Topic, Privacy | Comments Off on USA Freedom Act is Dead, Section 215 Next

Oppose the USA Freedom Act!

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The original USA Freedom Act had some merit.  Then the House watered it down.  Now the Senate is considering voting on a less watered down version.  Either way, it isn’t enough. The USA Freedom Act would give providers immunity, wouldn’t stop bulk collection of data and will extend Section 215 and other major provisions of the PATRIOT Act for another two years.  What little transparency and oversight it requires just not strong enough. Now we hear that the felony streaming part of the SOPA bill will be added. A lot more we don’t like can get added if this bill gets to the floor. I urge you to call Senator Elizabeth Warren at (202) 224-4543 and Senator Ed Markey (202) 224-2742 tonight and urge them to oppose this bill. Thanks!

published under Civil Liberties, Main Topic, Privacy | Comments Off on Oppose the USA Freedom Act!

Pirate Candidates Wanted!

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Is open & accountable government important to you? Is the increasing militarization of police the 10th step too far? Tired of the same people in office election after election? Local government not meeting your needs? Be a Pirate candidate! Hundreds of municipal offices are up for a vote this year. Mayor, city council, select board, and school committee are just a taste of what voters will choose this year.  They oversee taxes, local government spending, contracts with ISPs & cable companies and what tools police and schools use to spy on us. What better place to be keep government transparent and out of our private lives than as an elected local official. If you like what we stand for, we want to help you get into office. Getting on the ballot is easy, and winning is in sight.  If not you who, if not now when? Fill out our candidate form below and we’ll get back to you quickly about running for local office. Thanks! * indicates required First Name * Last Name * Email Address * Phone Number () – (###) ###-#### Street Address Zip Code

published under Elections, Main Topic | Comments Off on Pirate Candidates Wanted!

Call for Net Neutrality propaganda to be in 12/15 SCATV broadcast

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We have an opportunity as Pirates to bring our own point of view and make a program about net neutrality at SCATV, to air on Monday, December 15th 6-6:30pm.  We’d love to hear from you (Pirates and non-Pirates alike) at, send us footage, and articles that you think would be good to show on a half-hour program in a few weeks.  Below are some ideas that Pirates have been expounding on in Massachusetts.  In theory, the show might be taped and aired before the FCC announces any decision regarding net neutrality. For people who are keeping bipartisan score out in media-land the Democrats are for net neutrality these days and the Republicans seem to be against it.  As Pirates, we’re pro net neutrality for a lot of differing reasons. When every single innovator, regardless of the size of their bank account, can step into the arena this keeps an entire sector vibrant and competitive.  Creating paid priority fast lanes erects a barrier to entry that isn’t based on technological aptitude or market potential.  We should concern ourselves with keeping the market competitive and reestablish net neutrality. Getting rid of net neutrality will not solve the many technical issues that telecoms face in creating new networks as well as maintaining existing networks.  Money alone has never been a good motivator with telecoms, who often insist on monopolies when they enter Massachusetts towns and cities, if they enter at all.  On average, most citizens of the Commonwealth have one to two choices of ISPs if they want broadband, and the cost per speed has either increased or been stagnant for several years here while actual speeds have remained the same. Lack of net neutrality will have consequences that echo throughout our society and not just affect companies and citizens who can actually pay … Read more

published under Issues, Main Topic, Net Neutrality, Organizing, Out And About, Press | Comments Off on Call for Net Neutrality propaganda to be in 12/15 SCATV broadcast

Help make PirateCon 2015 better

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We skipped PirateCon in 2014 to focus on our candidates, but we are planning one for 2015. We need your feedback to make it even better than PirateCon 2013. We created a questionaire to get your feedback. Please submit your response by end of day on Monday, December 1st (midnight). If you aren’t sure what happens at a PirateCon, take a look at the videos from our 2013 & 2012 conferences. Is there a survey question you feel we missed? Suggest it in the comments below and we will work to get it in.

published under Main Topic, Organizing | Comments Off on Help make PirateCon 2015 better

Four Three-letter Agencies weigh in on ICREACH

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In August 2014, the Intercept published a story about ICREACH, a distributed query system developed by the NSA, and used by the FBI, CIA, DIA (defense intelligence agency), and DEA (drug enforcement agency). According to the article, ICREACH houses and provides access to over 850 billion metadata records. Of course, one of my first reactions was “gosh, this would make a great FOIA request”, and I proceeded to write to every agency named in the Intercept article. Not every agency has gotten back to me, but the responses I’ve received so far have been illuminating. Here’s the basic text of the request: Dear FOIA officer: Under the Freedom of Information Act, I am requesting a copy of the following records: User manuals and training materials for the ICREACH query system. If there are any fees for searching for, reviewing, or copying the records, please notify me before processing if the amount exceeds $25.00. I am making this request for personal, non-commercial use. If you deny all or any part of this request, please cite each specific exemption you think justifies your refusal to release the information and notify me of appeal procedures available under the law. I would prefer to receive responsive documents in electronic form (e.g., as .pdf files emailed to steve@…; or, on a CD mailed to the return address listed above). Thanks you for your time and attention. DIA’s Response DIA responded first, on September 11 2014. Dear Dr. Revilak: This is an interim response to your August 30, 2014. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for information concerning copies of user manuals and training materials for the ICREACH query system. We received your request on September 9, 2014 and assigned it case number 0465-2014. Please use this number in all future correspondence with us about this … Read more

published under Main Topic, Transparency | Comments Off on Four Three-letter Agencies weigh in on ICREACH

A Letter to the Editors of the Eagle-Tribune

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On Nov 5th, the Eagle-Tribune published an article titled Minimal showing earns Falchuck’s party a spot on future ballots which prompted me to write a letter to their editor. The Eagle-Tribute never published my letter, so I’m posting it here instead. Hello Eagle-Tribune, I recently read the article “Minimal showing earns Falchuck’s party a spot on future ballots” from the Nov. 5th edition of the Eagle-Tribune, and was very puzzled by Sec. Galvin’s remarks. Secretary Galvin states “The Pirate Party is another example. It didn’t run a statewide candidate Tuesday and will be stripped of its recognition.” The Massachusetts Pirate Party was formed in 2010 and ran its first candidates in the 2014 election. We are currently a political designation, and have yet to achieve full party status. I am surprised that Sec. Galvin intends to strip us of a recognition that we have yet to attain. I’m also puzzled by another of Secretary Galvin’s remarks: “There are only two legal parties in Massachusetts – Democrats and Republicans … The rest of them are not a party. They’re independents striving to become a party.” As your article nicely pointed out, the most recent elections have given Massachusetts two new political parties: the Greens and the United Independence Party. That is a total of four parties, not two. Was Secretary Gavin not informed about the subject of your article? We contratulate the Greens and the United Independent Party on their successes during the 2014 elections. Steve Revilak Quartermaster Massachusetts Pirate Party

published under Elections, Main Topic | Comments Off on A Letter to the Editors of the Eagle-Tribune

Boston for Net Neutrality!, Today, 6:30pm

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After Obama came out for net neutrality as a result of our protests last Thursday, we are working to keep the pressure on the FCC.  There will be protest parties for Internet freedom nationwide. In Boston, Fight for the Future is organizing with the “Break the Chains” dance party. Gather outside the event at 6:30pm and we’ll grab a photo op with the dance party participants in support of net neutrality. WHAT: Protest for net neutrality! No compromise! No delay! WHERE: Outside “Break the Chains” party @ MakeShift Boston, 549 Columbus Ave (Near Back Bay & Symphony MBTA stops) WHEN: Gather at 6:30pm, group photo at 7pm BRING: Cell phones, tablets, and laptops with loaded. SHARE: The Facebook event or this page. WHY NOW? After Fight for the Future and other Net Neutrality advocates organized protests in 30+ cities last week, the President finally made his support for Title II reclassification for net neutrality public. In a few days time, we all pulled together protests that changed the net neutrality debate completely. Now we have to focus all of our pressure on FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. We don’t have much time before Wheeler tries to delay any action and kill net neutrality. In Hungary, thousands of citizens just beat back a tyrannical Internet Tax, with massive protests where they held their cell phones in the air. A threat to Internet users’ freedom anywhere is a threat to internet users’ freedom everywhere. On Thursday November 13th, we’ll march with our phones, tablets, and laptops to take a stand for real net neutrality.

published under Main Topic, Net Neutrality | Comments Off on Boston for Net Neutrality!, Today, 6:30pm
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