eff

Five things I plan to do in 2007

This is sort of a New Year's resolution... In no particular order:

  1. Write a book.
  2. Learn at least one new programming language.
  3. Donate money to (or become member of) either the EFF, the FSF, the CCC, or another similarly important organization.
  4. Make use of my rights as a citizen and write letters to elected politicians, urging them to promote certain topics/issues/laws (privacy, democracy, transparency) and to combat others (software patents, voting computers, data retention, mass surveillance and lots more comes to mind).
  5. Work on and support selected Free Software projects in my spare time, especially projects which are of a greater importance to the Free Software movement (or the Free Culture movement; or freedom; or privacy; or anonymity; or democracy) than the 158th IRC client or the 276th tetris clone. Some examples: LinuxBIOS, Nouveau, Tor, Gnash, and Democracy Player to name just a few projects. General motto: Choose your battles!

Oh, and one more thing: Do the most important duty as a citizen of any democratic country — help to save democracy by killing voting computers.

Yeah, so that makes six things I plan to do in 2007. Sue me.

Donations for a good cause

You still got some money left after buying all those Christmas presents? How about donating some of it for a good cause:

  • Wikipedia

    Wikipedia is entering 2007 as one of the 10 most visited websites in the world. That's a great proof of our success. However, with this success comes a new set of challenges and responsibilities. As we plan for the future of Wikipedia and all of the Wikimedia projects, our two most important goals now are the reliability of our content and the long-term sustainability of every project in which we are involved.

    To meet these goals we have a lot of work to do, so I am asking for your help. In the coming year, the Wikimedia Foundation anticipates dramatically increasing spending to keep up with server and traffic capacity demands, add new staff on the organizational level, improve our software and develop methods to better ensure high quality content, all while making progress toward our goal of giving free knowledge to everyone.

    -- Florence Devouard, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation

  • Creative Commons

    It's once again time to show your support for Creative Commons. Digital technologies are connecting people in ways that were never before possible – but that network is fragile. Creative Commons needs your support to help enable a participatory culture – a culture in which everyone can actively engage in the creativity that surrounds us. We need your support to assure access to cultural, scientific, and educational content that has been pre-cleared for use by its authors.

  • Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    Freedom is more precious than anything else we have and we need to protect it while we still can.

    -- Eben Moglen in his FSF year end video appeal (OGG, 24 MB)

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

    EFF is a nonprofit group of passionate people — lawyers, technologists, volunteers, and visionaries — working to protect your digital rights.

  • Tor: anonymity online

    Tor is a toolset for a wide range of organizations and people that want to improve their safety and security on the Internet. Using Tor can help you anonymize web browsing and publishing, instant messaging, IRC, SSH, and other applications that use the TCP protocol. Tor also provides a platform on which software developers can build new applications with built-in anonymity, safety, and privacy features.

Or how about some organizations not directly related to Free Culture or Free Software?

  • Amnesty International (AI)

    Amnesty International (AI) is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights. AI’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.

  • Red Cross

    The International Red Cross (and Red Crescent Movement) is an international humanitarian movement whose stated mission is to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for the human being, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering, without any discrimination based on nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.

Look behind you, a Three-Headed Monkey!

Funny ad by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA):

Pirate Ad

There's a PDF version, too.

Btw, finding out what the subject of this post has to do with the contents of it is left as an exercise to the reader.

(via Starfrosch, originally from the EFF)

Unintended Consequences: Seven Years under the DMCA

The EFF has published a paper called "Unintended Consequences: Seven Years under the DMCA". It contains a huge list of things which went wrong since the DMCA was introduced.

The conclusion:

Years of experience with the "anti-circumvention" provisions of the DMCA demonstrate that the statute reaches too far, chilling a wide variety of legitimate activities in ways Congress did not intend. As an increasing number of copyright works are wrapped in technological protection measures, it is likely that the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions will be applied in further unforeseen contexts, hindering the legitimate activities of innovators, researchers, the press, and the public at large.

(via Symlink)

EFF cracks the DocuColor Tracking Dot code

If you haven't yet read about it, some printer brands place tiny, almost invisible yellow dots on every page you print. These dots encode certain information (date, time, printer serial number, or similar things). I think you can easily imagine the security and privacy implications. The EFF has now cracked the DocuColor Tracking Dot code.

They have also written a program which decodes the dot patterns. The code is released under the terms of the GPL.

(via Boing Boing and CCC)

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