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

Monthly archive: November 2017

We are starting a video magazine

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Our quartermaster, Joseph, has led the efforts to have us start a regular video segment. We are starting with one a month and want to expand them to once a week in the future. If you want to help out, you can start by reviewing the previous meeting notes. We meet the Sunday night at 7pm on our discord channel. You can also join our Activists email list if you want to discuss the videos outside of meetings.

published under Help Needed, Main Topic | Leave a comment

Saturday: Town Government Workshop

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On Nov. 18th we will participate with the Milford Democratic and Republican town committees to teach how town government works and how to run for local office. It will be at the Milford Public Library, 80 Spruce St, Milford from 1 to 4pm. We plan to have our own workshops around the state. The next one will be on Dec. 9th, noon-3pm, in the Conference Board Room, Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut St, Holyoke. The Boston area workshop will be in January and the Worcester workshop will be in February. If you would like to host a workshop in your area or help with an existing workshop, please email us at info@masspirates.org.

published under Elections, Main Topic, Organizing | Leave a comment

Wiretapping Amendments are finally dead

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Late last night the Massachusetts House voted down or had withdrawn the three amendments that would have expanded our wiretapping laws dramatically. Against pressure from the Governor, the AG, all the DAs’ offices, and the police unions, we, the ACLU of Massachusetts, Restore the Fourth Massachusetts and other lovers of privacy again defeated the most serious threat to our privacy in years. Thanks to everyone who called and emailed their State Representatives urging them to reject these amendments! Without your help, our commonwealth would be less free.

published under Main Topic, Organizing, Privacy, Surveillance | Leave a comment

Today: Tell the House not to expand Commonwealth’s wiretapping laws

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Now that the Massachusetts Senate has finished its omnibus criminal justice reform package, the Massachusetts House is working on its version (H. 4011). While we convinced the Senate to oppose the wiretap amendments, 22 to 14, now the House will have a go.  Three amendments (#53, #115 and #174) would give prosecutors unprecedented new powers to wiretap phone calls, emails, instant messaging services, and other electronic devices. However, these bills would also expand who could be wiretapped. As Restore the 4th Massachusetts noted: Amendments #53 and #174 are especially pernicious, in expanding wiretaps to cover interceptions enabled by “pen register” orders; this could greatly expand ordinary people’s vulnerability to surveillance just by communicating with someone whose communications are considered relevant to a crime. The House is debating these amendments today and tomorrow with votes likely by Wednesday. Now is the time to tell our State Representatives to oppose these amendments.  Calls are best, but emails help too, if there are enough of them. You can find your representative’s contact info at https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator. Thanks!

published under Help Needed, Main Topic, Privacy, Security | Leave a comment

Thanks to the Boston Anarchist Bookfair 2017

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Thanks to the folks who made the Boston Anarchist Bookfair possible this year whether the organizers, speakers, vendors or participants.  We look forward to the 2018 bookfair. A big thanks to the Steve, Ben, Matt and Andrew for answering questions at our table and for the great cryptoparty talk Steve and Ben put on.

published under Main Topic, Out And About, Privacy, Surveillance | Leave a comment

11/18, Town Government Workshop

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In a first for us, on Nov. 18th we will be working with the Milford Democratic and Republican town committees to teach how town government works and how to run for local office. It will be at the Milford Public Library, 80 Spruce St, Milford from 1 to 4pm. We plan to have additional workshops around the state. The next one will be on Dec. 9th, noon-3pm, in the Conference Board Room, Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut St, Holyoke. The Boston area workshop will be in January and the Worcester workshop will be in February. If you would like to host a workshop in your area or help with an existing workshop, please email us at info@masspirates.org.

published under Elections, Main Topic, Organizing | Leave a comment

SESTA halted, but the fight isn’t over

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Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee voted SESTA (S.1693) out of Committee. SESTA would partially repeal section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA230) in the case of sex trafficking. CDA230 is what prevents Internet service providers from being sued by what people post on their sites. SESTA would upend CDS230 by making sites liable for the what users post on them or how they use the service. It would allow sites to be sued or even face criminal charges for facilitating, a vague term, sex trafficking. It would favor wealthy companies with large monitoring infrastructures and lawyers and likely would not help fight sex trafficking. Thankfully, Senator Ron Wyden also announced that he is placing a public hold on the bill. His action stops SESTA for now, but it will be back. We have to win over the Senate and make sure this bill never succeeds. Senator Ed Markey is on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee, but we haven’t found how he voted yet. We need contact Senators Warren and Markey and show them how harmful  SESTA would be to the Internet. Please call Senator Elizabeth Warren at (202) 224-4543 and Senator Ed Markey at (202) 224-2742. Please share this page with your friends and family in Massachusetts or other states.

published under Freedom of Speech, Innovation, Main Topic, Organizing | Leave a comment

Boston Anarchist Bookfair this weekend

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The Boston Anarchist Bookfair this weekend and we will be there. We will have a cryptotable both days and will be helping the Boston Cryptoparty folks with a Digital Security 101 Workshop on Saturday, 5-6:30pm on the Third floor in Room 322. Restore the Fourth has organized a talk on Saturday morning called Mass Surveillance: How Cops Spy On You And What You Can Do Talk. It will be 11am – 12:30pm on the Third floor in Room 321. The bookfair will be at the Boston University George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. Hours are 10am to 8pm Saturday and Sunday. Stop by and learn how to protect your privacy and security on-line.  Email us at info@masspirates.org if you want to help out.

published under Cryptoparty, Main Topic, Privacy | Leave a comment

Protect the open web today

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The US Senate is working on S.1693 SESTA — the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. This bill would repeal section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA230). CDA230 is the reason we have user shared content on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and many other sites. It is also what protects the comment sections of our site and all others on the Internet. CDA230 says that Internet sites are not legally liable for user posted content or comments. It does encourage sites to moderate themselves (and that does happen, if only to deal with comment spam) and takedown “bad” content and there is no increase in legal liability if sites do so or do not do so. SESTA would upend those rules by making sites liable for the what users post on them or how they use the service. It would allow sites to be sued or even face criminal charges for facilitating, a vague term, sex trafficking. As Techdirt writes: But the broadest of all is the term “facilitating.” That covers basically anything. That’s flat out saying “blame the tool for how it’s used.” Almost any service online can be used to “facilitate” sex trafficking in the hands of sex traffickers. I already discussed Airbnb above, but what about if someone uses Dropbox to host sex trafficking flyers? Or what if a sex trafficker creates advertisements in Google Docs? Or what if a pimp creates a blog on WordPress? What if they use Skype for phone calls? What if they use Stripe or Square for payments? All of those things can be facilitation under this law, and the companies would have no actual knowledge of what’s going on, but would face not only criminal liability but the ability of victims to sue them rather than the actual traffickers. Paradoxically, it would … Read more

published under Freedom of Speech, Innovation, Main Topic | 1 Comment

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