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

Monthly archive: November 2015

Petition: No Giveaways To Video Game Makers!

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We started a petition to oppose the expansion of Massachusetts’ film tax credits to video game companies.  Rhode Island lost $75 million backing video game developer 38 Studios. If a subsidy bill passes, Massachusetts tax payers could lose that amount every year and a half. Our own calculations indicate that Massachusetts could be giving away $50 million every year in tax payer money to video games companies. Over ten years, the cost could be at least half a billion dollars. What government services will we need to cut over the next ten years to balance this $500 million dollar subsidy? Massachusetts has a vibrant software industry that has fostered hundreds of companies. This industry was built without the benefit of tax credits from Massachusetts tax payers. The video game industry does not need special treatment and it certainly doesn’t need to be subsidized $500 million over the next ten years. H.2487 and H.2606 are still in committee, so now is the time to get people to sign. If you want an easier url to share use: https://tinyurl.com/NoGiveawaysToVideoGameMakers The tax dollars you save may be your own.  

published under Corporate Welfare, Main Topic | Comments Off on Petition: No Giveaways To Video Game Makers!

If we don’t fix the climate, Beacon Hill will be an island

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As Boston’s Climate March turned left and headed up Beacon Hill, a woman to my left improvised a marching chant: “If we don’t fix the climate, Beacon Hill will be an island”. After a few rounds, she stopped to laugh, saying “hey, I’m trying to be creative”. She succeeded. Beacon Hill is a large hill in Boston’s downtown section, some blocks away from the harbor. If the sea level were to rise enough, the harbor would reach inward, surround Beacon Hill, and turn it into an island. The imagery was completely appropriate for the moment. As a Pirate, I spend a lot of time talking about transparency, policy, technology, and the ways in which the internet can be a tool for social change. We spend less time talking about climate and environment. That’s not to undermine the importance of climate, because it is an extremely important issue. We recognize that there are many amazing people working on climate justice, we trust them to take the lead, and we’ll come out in support when we can. There are commonalities to these struggles, and I think it’s worth pointing out a few. Let’s take US copyright law as an example. Our first copyright law granted a 14 year term, with the option for a 14 year extension. Today, copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years, which we like to call the “Micky Mouse Protection Act”. (The name comes from the notion that copyright terms will continue to be extended so that Micky Mouse never enters the public domain.) How did we get here? It boils down to selfishness on behalf of a few large rightsholders. A few companies make lots of money from old copyrighted works, and they’ll be dammed to see those works pass into the public … Read more

published under Main Topic, Organizing | Comments Off on If we don’t fix the climate, Beacon Hill will be an island

NSA: Sorry, no Jetplow Exploit here

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About a year ago, Der Spiegel posted excerpts of the NSA’s ANT (Advanced Networking Technology) catalog. Essentially, it’s a little catalog full of nifty spy gadgets and zero-day exploits, for use by NSA’s Tailored Access Operations group. Jetplow was one of the catalog’s little stocking stuffers; it’s a persistent back-door exploit for Cisco ASA firewalls. Bruce Schneier’s blog has a page dedicated to Jetplow, as does the nicely named website, IC Off the Record. Being a computer scientist with a interest in network security, I (natually) gravitated towards Jetplow. Everyone and their uncle uses Cisco ASAs; Jetplow would be a perfect candidate for responsible disclosure of software vulnerabilities, and would likely have significant value for the security research community. A few days after NSA intercepted it, my FOIA letter arrived at their headquarters in Ft. Meade. January 5, 2014 National Security Agency Attn: FOIA/PA Office (DJ4) 9800 Savage Road, Suite 6248 Ft. George G. Meade, MD 20755-6248 Dear NSA FOIA/PA Office: This is a Freedom of Information Act request, as described in http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/foia/foia_handbook.shtml I am seeking the following records: The source code for the JETPLOW firmware persistence implant for Cisco PIX and ASA series firewalls. (See Appendix A, which was obtained from http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/a-941262.html) Cisco PIX and ASA firewalls are widely deployed by US industry. If the NSA has discovered firmware exploits for these devices, then other entities have surely discovered the same (or similar) exploits. The existence of such exploits (1) exposes users of PIX and ASA firewalls to network attacks, and (2) generally reduces the level of security for the assets these PIX and ASA firewalls were intended to protect. I am seeking this information for public good, and because I believe this information is in the general public interest. I intend to pass copies of the source code … Read more

published under Main Topic, Privacy | Comments Off on NSA: Sorry, no Jetplow Exploit here

Putting Paris in Perspective

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On Friday November 13th a group of armed fellows shot up, and attempted to blow up parts of Paris. In the process, they killed approximately 130 people. That’s tragic. I’m sad that it happened, and I feel really bad for the people affected. But then again, I’m from the United States — where mass shootings are quickly becoming a routine thing. Our mass shootings generally involve a smaller number of fatalities, but we definitely make up for it in volume. Shootingtracker.com tracks mass shootings in the US, which they define as “when four or more people are shot in an event, or related series of events, likely without a cooling off period.” Their data covers 2013–2015 in detail, but we can summarize it like this Year # mass shootings # killed # wounded 2013 363 502 1,266 2014 336 383 1,239 2015 (through 11/8/2015) 325 406 1,196 Bear in mind that these are only mass shootings — four people or more. We’re not talking about homicide in general. We can look at other kinds of killings. According to the Guardian’s The Counted project, 1019 people were killed by police (so far) in 2015, 900 of these by gunshot. We can also look at significantly greater death tolls due to done strikes, or US military campaigns in Iraq or Afghanistan. Why am I lumping all of these things together? There are many different ways to categorize violence, but I tend to gravitate to the spectrum of “worse”. Along this spectrum, we can say that the type of violence A is worse than type of violence B if A produces more causalities than B. Put another way, the more people get killed, the worse it is. Let’s show some relationships along this scale. I’ll use “>” to mean “worse than”. civilian deaths … Read more

published under Main Topic, Peace & War, Security | Comments Off on Putting Paris in Perspective

Tonight’s Cryptoparty is canceled

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The Somerville cryptoparty scheduled for tonight has been canceled due to illness. Keep an eye out here or at cryptoparty.in/boston for when the next one will be.  It shouldn’t be any later than January. If you want to help out with other cryptoparties in New England, join our cryptoparty@masspirates.org email list. You can sign up at https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/cryptoparty_masspirates.org/.  Anyone who wants to organize cryptoparties and share ideas for making them better, even non-Pirates, is welcome to join.

published under Cryptoparty, Main Topic | Comments Off on Tonight’s Cryptoparty is canceled

Urgent: Stop banksters from stealing people’s houses!

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The Massachusetts House and Senate passed S.2057/S.2015 which says it will clear titles to foreclosed properties, but is really an attempt by banksters to limit the rights of people who have been illegally foreclosed on to challenge their foreclosure.  S.2057 would sanction the theft of property.  Please contact Governor Baker today and tell him to veto this bill. From our friends at the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending (MAAPL): Unfortunately, the bad foreclosure bill (S.2057/S.2015) has passed in both the Massachusetts House and Senate. It moves now to the Governor to make a decision to sign or veto by 11/29/15! In the industry’s HUGE rush, we have weakened the bill significantly… BUT a bill designed to strip hundreds of years of constitutional rights to property must never be implemented! A bill ratifying 10s of thousands of illegal foreclosures with false promises of cleared property records, of money damages and of protections for those still in their homes post-foreclosure – NONE of it true… The unprecedented wealth transfer to the very wealthiest, the pillaging of working people, people of color, women must be reversed! This is NOT the time to let the industry’s lies and abuse of our legislative process, let their bill to protect all the illegal foreclosures and sweep under the carpet the even more pervasive illegalities! Make 1 call for Justice NOW – as soon as you receive this – #1call4justice! Call Massachusetts Governor Baker at: Phone: 617.725.4005, 888.870.7770 (in state) OR 413.784.1200 (if we can fill those tapes, leave a message in DC at Phone: 202.624.7713); AND consider a fax to: 617.727.9725; If you can only email, go to: http://www.mass.gov/governor/constituent-services/contact-governor-office/ Message: “Veto Senate 2057 (was S.2015) – it does not clear titles; it ratifies the illegal taking of property from Massachusetts residents in violation of our constitutional property rights; It does NOT guarantee money … Read more

published under Economy, Main Topic | Comments Off on Urgent: Stop banksters from stealing people’s houses!

Cryptoparty, Wednesday, 6-9pm

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The next Somerville cryptoparty will be this Wednesday, November 25th. It will be from 6-9pm at Parts and Crafts, 577 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143. Since it is the day before Thanksgiving, we will likely keep it low key.  It will have key signing and there will be people who are happy to answer your computer and networking security questions. We will also figure out when the next few Somerville cryptoparties will be there.  It is BYOB and there will be snacks.  Hope you can make it! If you want to help out with this or other cryptoparties in New England, join our cryptoparty@masspirates.org email list. You can sign up at https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/cryptoparty_masspirates.org/.  Anyone who wants to organize cryptoparties and share ideas for making them better, even non-Pirates, is welcome to join. Please note that photography and video recording of participants is not allowed at cryptoparties without their permission. Help promote it locally with one of these flyers:

published under Cryptoparty, Main Topic | Comments Off on Cryptoparty, Wednesday, 6-9pm

Tomorrow: Surveillance Talk at Boston Anarchist Bookfair, Sat., 1pm

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Quartermaster Steve will also give a talk called “The surveillance state and what to do about it” at the Boston Anarchist Bookfair this Saturday.  It is from 1pm to 2:30pm in Room 222. Presentation slides: The Surveillance State, and what to do about it Also, we will be tabling at the bookfair the whole weekend (Nov. 21 & 22) and want your help. The Bookfair will be at the Boston University George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave., in Boston. If you can help us table, even just for an hour, please sign up.  Thanks!

published under Main Topic, Out And About, Privacy | 1 Comment

2nd Campaign Meeting a Success, 3rd on 12/6

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Our second 2016 campaign meeting was Sunday.  We laid out a general strategy for the next two months and came up with some draft issues.   We have two more meetings planned: Sunday, Dec. 6th at Pizzeria Regina, 353 Cambridge St., Allston (Boston), just off the Pike. It starts at 3pm and ends at 5pm.  Tell us you are coming so we know how big to make the reservation. Saturday, Dec. 19th, and we will post a poll for the location soon. If you cannot make any of the meetings,  you can also sign up to help out.

published under Elections, Main Topic | Comments Off on 2nd Campaign Meeting a Success, 3rd on 12/6

Boston Anarchist Bookfair This Weekend

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We will be tabling at the Boston Anarchist Bookfair, this weekend (Nov. 21 & 22), and want your help.  We will tell people about the Pirate Party and teach people how to encrypt their communications. Quartermaster Steve will also give a talk called “The surveillance state and what to do about it” from 1pm to 2:30pm in Room 222. The Bookfair will be at the Boston University George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave., in Boston. If you can help us table, even just for an hour, please sign up.  Thanks!

published under Main Topic, Out And About, Privacy | Comments Off on Boston Anarchist Bookfair This Weekend
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Speak at PirateCon, April 29th

Speak at PirateCon, April 29th

Pirate Organizers Wanted

Help organize a local Pirate chapter

IRC Meetings Tuesday Night

The Mass. Pirate Party weekly chat is every Tuesday at 9pm, Eastern time. To get on:

  1. Go to https://webchat.pirateirc.net/
  2. Fill out the web form with the Nickname of your choice and enter #masspirates in the Channel box next to it, then click the Connect button
  3. Start typing and reading

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