April 18th, 2016 IRC Meeting

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Review & Decisions

  • Endorse Aaron James
  • PirateCon 2016 location. Community Church, NonProfit Center and Tent City seem to be our options. Tent City seems to have what we need for the lowest cost.
  • We have been asked to sign on to this Countering Violent Extremism letter (see below)

Campaigns Status

PirateCon 2016

  • Date set at 6/25. Have 1-2 speakers.
  • Looking for location
  • Looking at streaming options
  • Jamie working sign up page and conference page. Plan to have it done by Wed.

Piratecon. Potential spaces:

So far, we have two people interested in speaking. Looking for more speakers.


2016 Campaign

  • Aaron James running for 27th Middlesex State Rep. district
    • Vote to endorse
    • Signature gathering likely complete
    • Web site up

2016 Campaign Plan & Task Status

Upcoming Events

  1. 4/13, Digital Fourth meeting, noon-1pm, 101 Main Street, Cambridge
  2. 4/20, Digital Fourth meeting, noon-1pm, 101 Main Street, Cambridge
  3. 4/26, Middlesex Community College Cryptoparty
  4. 4/27, Digital Fourth meeting, noon-1pm, 101 Main Street, Cambridge
  5. 4/27, 6-9pm, Somerville Cryptoparty, 577 Somerville Ave., Somerville
  6. 4/30, Fossil Free Somerville Rally
  7. 5/3, 5pm, Last day to drop off nomination papers at cities/towns for signature validation
  8. 6/25, 9am-6pm, PirateCon 2016

Every Wed., Digital Fourth meeting, noon-1pm, 101 Main Street, Cambridge

Participants

  • jokeefe
  • srevilak

Observers

  • igel
  • davidd

Summary

Voted to formally endorse Aaron James as a candidate.

Voted to hold piratecon at Tent City Community room.

Voted to endorse Countering Violent Extremism letter (see below)

Piratecon is in two months. We'll try to get speakers lined up by 5/25.

Countering Violent Extremism Letter

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, write to express our deep concern regarding attempts to provide “counter-messaging” against violent extremism via the flawed and discriminatory “Countering Violent Extremism” program.

There is a long-standing convention that the U.S. government should not engage in producing propaganda for domestic consumption. In 1985, Nebraska Sen. Edward Zorinsky argued that propaganda should be kept out of America so as to distinguish the U.S. "from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity." Our best-known foreign messaging effort, Voice of America, produces material for foreign consumption that aims to present the perspective of the U.S. government on foreign affairs; but it was presumed, up til to changes introduced in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, to be improper for the US government to try to shape the views of its own people. CVE changes that long-standing practice. It targets “communities of concern” — i.e., American Muslims and Arab Americans — because federal law enforcement considers views of some in those communities to be “violent extremism.” The U.S. government has no business trying to “counter-message”, surveil or intervene with U.S. citizens or residents on the basis of peacefully held views about U.S. foreign policy.

Your administration recently announced a “shake-up” of counter-messaging efforts against ISIL, that rehouses those efforts out of the State Department and into the Department of Homeland Security. In February 2016, DHS announced funding of nearly $1 billion for state and local efforts through the Homeland Security Grant Program, with CVE designated as a program priority. Part of that effort has involved outreach to Silicon Valley, to prevent social media “platforms” from being “co-opted by terrorists.” We are increasingly concerned that technology companies which participate in government-commissioned counter-messaging and content monitoring initiatives, might be unaware of the significant opposition to such initiatives from broad coalitions of local community groups and national civil rights organizations. While tech companies may in fact participate if they choose, with appropriate disclosure, in US governmental “counter-messaging” efforts abroad, acceding to US governmental requests of this kind inevitably means that tech companies may be similarly required by, say, the Chinese government to participate in “counter-messaging” in the interests of Chinese foreign policy goals relating to those companies’ users in the United States. While US governmental counter-messaging abroad is constitutional, we believe it to be ineffective in the light of ongoing and widely known US counter-terrorism policies that cause needless civilian deaths.

We oppose the Department of Homeland Security's and other federal agencies’ CVE programs. They create an environment where Arab Americans and American Muslims are subjected to intrusive surveillance, monitoring, and potential prosecution, not based on particularized probable cause of involvement in actual crimes, but based solely on their First Amendment-protected speech. The infrastructure set in place by CVE, especially its “Shared Responsibility Committees” (“SRCs”), sets up enhanced surveillance on specific communities based on ethnicity and religion. It aims to recruit professionals from the Muslim community, have them interview people suspected of being at risk of “radicalization,” and refer those they interview to the FBI or other federal law enforcement agencies if they believe they are “radicals.” This would damage law enforcement-community relations in several ways. First, the professionals are envisioned as not having to tell their clients that they are also working with federal law enforcement, which compromises the confidentiality of the relationship between psychiatrists, teachers, mentors and their clients. Similar teams in the UK, where CVE originated under the name “Prevent,” have been used to subject Muslims, including young children, to ideological interventions and surveillance. As even most law enforcement agencies driving CVE programs admit publicly, there are no reliable signs that someone is on a pathway of “mobilizing toward violence” other than an actual leaked plan to commit violence. SRCs are likely to target youth who express dissenting viewpoints or awareness of the fact that Muslims experience discrimination, or who simply engage in age-appropriate behavior while being Muslim, to humiliating and frightening interventions that violate their expectations of privacy and confidentiality in health settings and their expectations of being permitted to speak and learn safely in educational settings. Last, if implemented via public health agencies as appears to have been proposed in Boston, SRCs open the public health agency to charges of having subordinated their own public health mission to a law enforcement agenda.

The FBI’s CVE website, titled “Don’t Be A Puppet,” encourages members of the public and particularly teenagers to identify and report language they regard as being “extreme” or “radical.” Their examples of language that is a precursor to violent extremism are all First Amendment-protected, and the government has no business disrupting them. “Mistrusting the government and law enforcement” is too common to serve as a useful indicator of radicalization; and the very idea that "taking pictures of government buildings" is a terrorist/radicalization indicator would be news to the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit Washington, DC every year. This website goes too far, in treating as suspicious and attempting to suppress legitimate political expression and activities that are sometimes laudable.

Last, the focus of CVE lays fault improperly on personal and psychological flaws on the part of people `susceptible to radicalization.’ If someone is angry at U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, that may not be a psychological problem of “alienation” on their part; it may be a psychologically healthy reaction to actual U.S. foreign policy, even if most people in the U.S. happen to disagree with that reaction. People can validly hold views that, say, the U.S. should get out of the Middle East, without this being a sign of “radicalization” deserving of governmental intervention.

The administration would be best served by rerouting the funds for CVE to programs with a far better evidentiary basis for their positive effect on levels of violence, such as foreign aid directed at girls’ elementary and secondary education programs; and by sending a message to American Muslims that Americans are sincere in our belief that you can hold any belief that the First Amendment protects, without fear of U.S. government harassment.


Minutes

 
21:05 < jokeefe> might as well start
21:05 < jokeefe> https://masspirates.org/wiki/April_18th,_2016_IRC_Meeting
21:05 < jokeefe> agenda
21:05 < jokeefe> ids - James O’Keefe, Somerville
21:05 < srevilak> steve revilak, arlington
21:06 < jokeefe> Review & Decisions
21:06 < jokeefe> Endorse Aaron James
21:06 < jokeefe> We never formally endorsed him.
21:06 < srevilak> I motion to endorse
21:06 < jokeefe> 2nd
21:06 < jokeefe> all in favor
21:06 < jokeefe> aye
21:06 < srevilak> aye
21:07 < jokeefe> any opoosed?
21:08 < jokeefe> motion passes
21:08 < jokeefe> PirateCon 2016 location
21:08 < jokeefe> Community Church, NonProfit Center and Tent City seem
        to be our options
21:09 < srevilak> I'm fine with tent city
21:09 < jokeefe> $300, $125, $400+ repectively, yes?
21:09 < srevilak> IIRC, tent city was $125.  Not sure about non-profit
        center
21:11 < jokeefe> ahoy Bluestreak
21:11 < Bluestreak> ahoy
21:11 < jokeefe> agenda -
        https://masspirates.org/wiki/April_18th,_2016_IRC_Meeting
21:11 < jokeefe> we endorsed Aaron
21:11 < jokeefe> Deciding on PirateCon 2016 location
21:12 < jokeefe> Community Church, NonProfit Center and Tent City seem
        to be our options
21:12 < jokeefe> $300, $125, $450 repectively
21:12 < jokeefe> sorry
21:12 < jokeefe> $300, $450, $125 repectively
21:13 < jokeefe> Suggest we go with Tent City
21:13 < srevilak> second
21:13 < Bluestreak> 3rd
21:14 < jokeefe> any opposed, then?
21:16 < jokeefe> motion passes then
21:16 < jokeefe> Countering Violent Extremism letter
21:17 < jokeefe> letter is in agenda
21:18 < jokeefe> here is the FBI’s don’t be a puppet website
        https://cve.fbi.gov/home.html
21:20 < jokeefe> BTW: looks like the US Marines were
        in town.  Either that or US Airforce Special Ops -
        https://twitter.com/Jeeyoon_Kim/status/722124895585492992
21:20 < srevilak> I'm in support of the letter.  Not a fan of
        self-directed propaganda
21:20 < Bluestreak> Because: Marathon
21:21 < jokeefe> Yes.
21:22 < jokeefe> Unless the DOD is lending $70 million V-22 osprey’s
        to police
21:23 < jokeefe> Bluestreak, what do you feel about the letter?
21:23 < Bluestreak> We don’t need any more state funded propaganda
21:23 < Bluestreak> So, support.
21:24 < jokeefe> I support as well
21:24 < jokeefe> Any opposed?
21:25 < Bluestreak> I’ve been living with the anti-weed propaganda
        for my whole life. Been paying for it my whole adult life.
21:25 < Bluestreak> “Mistrusting the government and law enforcement”
21:26 < Bluestreak> We are supposed to be entitled to be dissastified,
        this is why we get to have elections, right?
21:26 < jokeefe> some seem to think not
21:26 < Bluestreak> FTS
21:26 < Bluestreak> I am so tired of this.
21:26 < jokeefe> Motion passes then
21:27 < Bluestreak> aye
21:28 < jokeefe> We have two months till Pirate Con.  When should we
        set the deadline for conference talk submissions?
21:28 < srevilak>  jokeefe: how about a month from now?
21:29 < jokeefe> How about 5/25?
21:29 < srevilak> works for me
21:30 < jokeefe> ok with you Bluestreak?
21:31 < Bluestreak> Fine
21:32 < jokeefe> 5/25 it is
21:32 < jokeefe> I will get the pages up
21:33 < srevilak> thx, jokeefe
21:33 < jokeefe> Started work, but will finish by Weds.
21:33 < Bluestreak> I have a mamogram tomomorrw
21:33 < Bluestreak> I expect it take up half my day
21:34 < jokeefe> hope it is negative
21:34 < Bluestreak> Me too!
21:34 < jokeefe> :-)
21:34 < Bluestreak> Cancer treatment is a lot of work. Zzzzzzz
21:34 < jokeefe> yeah
21:35 < jokeefe> Aaron’s campaign is going well.  We gathered signatures
        Sunday.  Brought in 88.  Likely done.  Going door to door is the best
        method.
21:35 < jokeefe> 4/26 is the Middlesex Community College Cryptoparty
21:36 < jokeefe> Not open to non-Middlesex Community College
        students/faculty
21:36 < jokeefe> Will bring buttons/lit
21:36 < srevilak> nice
21:36 < jokeefe> Somerville cryptoparty is next day
21:36 < jokeefe> 4/30 is the Fossil Free Somerville Rally
21:37 < srevilak> I'll (probably) be at a ZBA meting on 4/26.  Then town
        meetings for the next few weeks
21:37 < jokeefe> Busy busy.  Thanks.  Arlington is better with you there.
21:37 < Bluestreak> 4/26 at what time?
21:37 < Bluestreak> oh nvm
21:37 < srevilak> Gosh, I sure  hope so ...
21:38 < jokeefe> That is all that I have for the agenda.  Anything else?
21:38 < Bluestreak> So that ALPR guy?
21:38 < srevilak> nothing here
21:38 < Bluestreak> Want to hear?
21:38 < jokeefe> how did it go?
21:38 < Bluestreak> He’s 19 goes to Northeastern very bright.
21:38 < Bluestreak> He and his pal/partner want to write an AI program.
21:39 < Bluestreak> They want the cities and towns of MA to give them
        access to the police data
21:39 < Bluestreak> of their ALPR
21:39 < Bluestreak> so that their AI program can work what I would best
        describe as a “precrime” analysis.
21:40 < Bluestreak> Yeah.
21:40 < Bluestreak> He seemed to want our endorsement?
21:40 < Bluestreak> I did not give it.
21:41 < Bluestreak> I told him our concerns. He seemed very interested
        in Noe’s notion: Will the information be made available to the defense
        or just the prosecution
21:41 < Bluestreak> Would make a good selling feature he thinks if
        defendants can access his information for free.
21:42 < jokeefe> Strikes me that that would be the minimum.
21:42 < jokeefe> he wasn’t concerned about the mass surveillance issue?
21:44 < Bluestreak> He is or he wouldn’t even have reached out to us. He
        wants to sell his idea. He wants access to the municipal info. He also
        proabably wants to sell them his program.
21:44 < Bluestreak> AI crime prediction program. Lovely.
21:44 < jokeefe> o k
21:44 < Bluestreak> He kept focusing on auto theft, but do we really
        need a program for that?
21:44 < Bluestreak> I told him it would most likely be used in the war
        on drugs
21:45 < jokeefe> Isn’t that what lojack is for?
21:45 < Bluestreak> That is: a means of persecuting PoC
21:45 < jokeefe> likely much faster
21:46 < Bluestreak> Anyway he said he would make the preliminary
        programming open source, but that it would self-develop because: AI
21:47 < jokeefe> open source surveillance tool
21:47 < Bluestreak> I smiled and complimented him for being very bright,
        but I thought to myself the notion of artificial intelligence put to
        the task of crime prediction was terrifying
21:47 < Bluestreak> Like I said, I did not give him our endorsement.
21:47 < srevilak> on the other hand, it could also predict what the
        police are going to do
21:47 < jokeefe> sounds wise
21:47 < Bluestreak> How so?
21:47 < Bluestreak> Steve, that sound interesting
21:48 < Bluestreak> How do you mean?
21:48 < srevilak> It's really not that novel.
21:48 < srevilak> You have some sort of predictive model for "when does
        X commit a crime"
21:48 < Bluestreak> Perhaps he should talk to you? :-D
21:48 < srevilak> X can be a member of police dept
21:50 < jokeefe> I would think that the model would have a large margin
        of error since there is a lot of explanatory data missing
21:50 < jokeefe> Thank you very much for meeting with him, Bluestreak.
21:50 < Bluestreak> NP. He was actually very likable. And it was nice
        to get out.
21:50 < jokeefe> Appreciate it that he wanted to meet with us about it.
21:53 < jokeefe> Anything else?
21:53 < srevilak> nothing here
21:54 < jokeefe> Shall we adjourn then?
21:54 < srevilak> motion to adjounr
21:54 < srevilak> motion to adjourn
21:55 < jokeefe> 2nd
21:55 < jokeefe> all in favor?
21:55 < srevilak> aye
21:55 < jokeefe> aye
21:55 < srevilak> will post transcript
21:56 < jokeefe> thanks