James Goodale: It’s a bad time for press freedoms

Julian Assange WikiLeaks 006 450x270 James Goodale: It’s a bad time for press freedoms

tl;dr if it was Bush people would be pissed as hell

@CJR:

James Goodale has a message for journalists: Wake up. In his new book, Fighting for the Press (CUNY Journalism Press, 2013), Goodale, chief counsel to The New York Times when its editors published the Pentagon Papers in 1971, argues that President Obama is worse for press freedom than former President Richard Nixon was.

The Obama administration has prosecuted more alleged leakers of national security information under the 1917 Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined, a course critics say is overly aggressive. Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote in a March op-ed that the administration “has a particular, chilling intolerance” for those who leak. If the Obama administration indicts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act, Goodale argues, the president will have succeeded where Nixon failed by using the act to “end-run” the First Amendment.

Goodale spoke with CJR about why he chose to write about the Pentagon Papers now and what he sees as the key threats to press freedom today. The conversation has been condensed and edited for length and clarity. Fighting for the Press comes out on April 30.

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‘IT for Oppression’

Unit 61398 Chinese Army Hacking Jobs With Great Benefits 450x337 IT for Oppression

Bruce Schneier’s a security specialist with his own Internet meme. And while most people believe that technology elevates, improves things, Schneier holds that technology magnifies, makes things bigger, good and bad:

Whether it’s Syria using Facebook to help identify and arrest dissidents or China using its “Great Firewall” to limit access to international news throughout the country, repressive regimes all over the world are using the Internet to more efficiently implement surveillance, censorship, propaganda, and control. They’re getting really good at it, and the IT industry is helping. We’re helping by creating business applications — categories of applications, really — that are being repurposed by oppressive governments for their own use:

  • What is called censorship when practiced by a government is content filtering when practiced by an organization. Many companies want to keep their employees from viewing porn or updating their Facebook pages while at work. In the other direction, data loss prevention software keeps employees from sending proprietary corporate information outside the network and also serves as a censorship tool. Governments can use these products for their own ends.
  • Propaganda is really just another name for marketing. All sorts of companies offer social media-based marketing services designed to fool consumers into believing there is “buzz” around a product or brand. The only thing different in a government propaganda campaign is the content of the messages.
  • Surveillance is necessary for personalized marketing, the primary profit stream of the Internet. Companies have built massive Internet surveillance systems designed to track users’ behavior all over the Internet and closely monitor their habits. These systems track not only individuals but also relationships between individuals, to deduce their interests so as to advertise to them more effectively. It’s a totalitarian’s dream.
  • Control is how companies protect their business models by limiting what people can do with their computers. These same technologies can easily be co-opted by governments that want to ensure that only certain computer programs are run inside their countries or that their citizens never see particular news programs.

What goes unsaid in his essay is that the leader of the tech industry, and the most heavily-equipped to use IT — and therefor IT for oppression — is a lot closer to home. (more…)

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Anonymous hits Israel over Gaza strikes

Anonymous Hacks Hundreds of Israeli Sites Unleashes Lethal Digital Attack in Response to Gaza Bombing 450x287 Anonymous hits Israel over Gaza strikes

tl;dr Anonymous reports $3 billion damages in attack on Israel, Israel reports ‘minor’ damage

@Salon:

During Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense against Palestinians in Gaza last November, Anonymous hackers launched a mass attack on Israeli government websites. In response to the eight day assault that killed 133 Palestinians, Anonymous’ #OpIsrael defaced thousands of Israeli sites and provided information for Gazans facing Internet and communications blackouts. 60 million hacking attempts were reportedly made.

Last week, Israeli airstrikes once again hit targets in Gaza, officially breaking a ceasefire established last November (although cross-border clashes have informally breached the ceasefire in recent months, leaving four Palestinians dead). In retaliation, Anonymous relaunched #OpIsrael this weekend, and according to an Anonymous spokesperson offering a partial damage report, 60,000 websites, 40,000 Facebook pages, 5,000 twitter accounts and 30,000 Israeli bank accounts got hacked, causing an estimated $3-plus billion damage, the hacker collective claim. “Not bad for 24 hours,” Anonymous noted.

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Facebook outage took several other sites with it

tl;dr they own a lot of tubes

Facebook1 Facebook outage took several other sites with it

@WaPo:

A Facebook glitch briefly took down a large number of sites that use the social network’s login credentials on Thursday — highlighting just how wide Facebook’s reach has become.The glitch lasted a few minutes and affected only those who were logged into Facebook at the time. But there were widespread reports of users having trouble getting to sites such as Gawker, CNN, Mashable and, yes, The Washington Post. When users tried to visit those sites, they were sent to a Facebook page that displayed an error. To get around the bug, users had to log out of the social network.
Facebook released a short statement after the outage, saying, “For a short period of time, there was a bug that redirected people from third party sites integrated with Facebook to Facebook.com. The issue was quickly resolved.”The company has yet to provide further information about the flaw or say how many Web sites may have been affected.While the outage was a short-lived problem with a fairly quick work-around, some sites with Facebook integration may find it troubling that a flaw in Facebook’s code could affect so many users.

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ATF Keeps Its Name, but Adds a New One

tl;dr it isn’t Department of Arming Mexican Drug Lords and Narcoterrorists,

foto1095 450x303 ATF Keeps Its Name, but Adds a New One

Interestingly enough, the M16 “in the white” like that means it’s probably homemade. The M204 grenade launcher and US military handguard, on the other hand… (img by dead link)

@WSJ Law Blog:

As Evan Perez reported in the WSJ last month, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been thinking about turning its unwieldy seven-word name into something a little snappier. At the time, he wrote that Violent Crime Bureau was a candidate.

Now, quietly, the name change has happened—at least a little bit. For a few days now, the bureau has featured the new name at the top of its home page (atf.gov), just below the old name. The site’s top banner reads, “Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives / The Violent Crime Bureau.”

The new name doesn’t have any legal status yet. Asked about changing names Wednesday, ATF acting director B. Todd Jones said, “That’s a concept that we batted around.” He added that the agency was focused on returning to its fundamental mission and said, “How it’s labeled is less important than what it does.”

The Violent Crime Bureau moniker reflects the agency’s ambition to take the lead in tackling violent-crime outbreaks in big cities such as Philadelphia that have seen an increase in murders and drug-related shootings. The agency’s current name is something of an anachronism because it brings fewer than a hundred alcohol and tobacco cases a year. And its reputation as a firearms regulator took a hit because of the Fast and Furious scandal, the subject of a new report from the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Read @WSJ Law Blog. 

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Yar, dis be yer reminder!

bordaxerifle1 450x726 Yar, dis be yer reminder!

Dis handy multitasker be jolly at cuttin’ below foes near ‘n far, (img Pirates & Zombies)

Just wantin’ to remind ye all that this day be International Speak Like a Scurvy Pirate Day, wit’ a wee wee bit ‘o scurvy pirate history.

That up thar be a boardin’ ax. If it looks like it fires like a musketoon, ’tis because ’tis a combination gun. So many thin’s ’bout life on th’ high Seven Seas involved makin’ one thin’ do lots ‘o thin’s, ‘n th’ boardin’ ax be no exception.

Th’ modern fire ax did bearn directly from it ‘n wit’ jolly reason, ’tis a true multi-device ‘o th’ the hour. Not only could ye swin’ it to murder someone, ye could shoot people wit’ it. And also ’tis an ax, fer all ye other choppin’ duties. Take a shiv to your load, no sense in shoulderin’ an ax an’ a whole ‘nother flintlock.

Th’ boardin’ ax was also jolly fer choppin’ apart doors ‘n chests, a necessary step in acquirin’ lovely booty. Truly, th’ boardin’ ax be one ‘o th’ greatest scurvy pirate inventions ‘n to ’tis day be somethin’ all ye pirates own. Because ye never be knowin’ when ye have to shoot someone, then hack at them some afterwards.

Special thanks to Post Like a Pirate for assisting with the translation.

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