Rickard Falkvinge: EU Court Trashes Mass Surveillance

Rickard Falkvinge

Rickard Falkvinge

Pirate Party Vindicated By Highest EU Court, Killing Mass Surveillance Law

Yesterday, the European Court of Justice ruled the detested Data Retention Directive invalid. Retroactively invalid, even: the court ruled that it had never existed. The directive (a directive is sort of a federal law covering the EU) mandated all EU states to log all communications from all citizens: from whom, to whom, from where, using what method, and when. No communication would be unseen by the Government.

This wasn’t for the usual organizedcrime-terrorism-pedophiles-filesharing mantra. This was for everybody, with the express purpose of using your communications logs against you. The Pirate Party was founded as a direct reaction to this blanket violation; we were quoted in 2006 saying “this is worse than Stasi” in a context depicting us as though we were talking complete rubbish and nonsense.

Yesterday, the European Court of Justice – the highest court of the world’s largest economy – said the same thing in a historic verdict. The blanket violations are intolerable and inexcusable.

Read full article.

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Apr 10

Jean Lievens: LOOMIO – building public infrastructure tool for decision-making, held in the commons

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

BRING LOOMIO TO THE WORLD

LOOMIO is free and open-source software for anyone, anywhere, to participate in decisions that affect them.

“The world needs a better way to make decisions together. #Loomio is building it. You can help: http://thndr.it/1kaQhmy

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

We’re a small team of open-source developers, facilitators and activists in New Zealand. On Tuesday March 11, we’re crowdfunding to build a totally inclusive platform so anyone anywhere can participate in decisions that affect them. It’s called Loomio 1.0.

Learn more, support options.

LOOMIO Home Page

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Mar 11

Jean Lievens: Seven Job Creation Strategies for Open Cities

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Seven Job Creation Strategies for Shareable Cities

The sharing economy offers enormous potential to create jobs. Sharing leverages a wide variety of resources and lowers barriers to starting small businesses.

Cities can lower the cost of starting businesses by supporting innovations like shared workspaces, shared commercial kitchens, community-financed start-ups, community-owned commercial centers, and spaces for “pop-up” businesses.

Read full article — list, comments, examples.

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Dec 26

Independent Voter: 43% Prefer Zombies to Congress

IVNZombie Poll

It’s not exactly a vote of confidence in the powers that be: A sizable number of Americans think the undead would do a better job than our Representatives in Washington, D.C.

Americans ages 18 to 64 express slightly more confidence in zombies to run things than in the federal government. Seniors have more faith in the government.

Do over-the-top political attack ads work?

pissed off voterThe political advertising cycle is about to heat up again and outrageous attack ads are already hitting the airwaves. A new political advertisement attacking San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher is raising eyebrows because it is from a political action committee: Zombies for Responsible Government:

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWI7sEX3ME8

Two videos from the “Zombies for Responsible Government Opposing Nathan Fletcher for Mayor 2013” were posted within the past week. The group registered with the California Secretary of State in October.

Published reports said the documents filed with the San Diego City Clerk show the group was registered by David Bauer, a treasurer with the conservative Sacramento Valley Lincoln Club. However, those documents are not clear as to who is really behind the group.

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Nov 2

Jean Lievens: Enlivenment: Towards a Fundamental Shift in the Concepts of Nature, Culture, and Politics

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Enlivenment: Towards a Fundamental Shift in the Concepts of Nature, Culture, and Politics

Our mono-cultural worldview is literally preventing us from understanding the deeper causes of our multiple crises. Author Andreas Weber, in the below essay, gives us a glimpse of the different scientific paradigm now coming into focus. He calls it “Enlivenment,” because the new sciences are revealing organisms to be sentient, more-than-physical creatures that have subjective experiences and produce sense.

Enlivenment: Towards a Fundamental Shift in the Concepts of Nature, Culture, and Politics | Peer2Politics | Scoop.itWeber sees Enlivenment as an upgrade of the deficient categories of Enlightenment thought – a way to move beyond our modern metaphysics of dead matter and acknowledge the deeply creative processes embodied in all living organisms. The framework of Enlivenment that Weber outlines is a promising beginning for all those who stand ready to search for real solutions to the challenges of our future.

Learn more.

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Sep 4

Patrick Meier: Making All Voices Count Using SMS and Advanced Computing

Patrick Meier

Patrick Meier

Making All Voices Count Using SMS and Advanced Computing

Local communities in Uganda send UNICEF some 10,000 text messages (SMS) every week. These messages reflect the voices of Ugandan youths who use UNICEF’s U-report SMS platform to share their views on a range of social issues. Some messages are responses to polls created by UNICEF while others are unsolicited reports of problems that youths witness in their communities. About 40% of text messages received by UNICEF require an SMS reply providing advice or an answer to a question while 7% of messages require immediate action. Over 220,000 young people in Uganda have enrolled in U-report, with 200 to 1,000 new users joining on daily basis. UNICEF doesn’t have months or the staff to manually analyze this high volume and velocity of incoming text messages. This is where advanced computing comes in.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 26

Patrick Meier: Twitter as a Community Nervous System

Patrick Meier

Patrick Meier

Taking the Pulse of the Boston Marathon Bombings on Twitter

Social media networks are evolving a new nervous system for our planet. These real-time networks provide immediate feedback loops when media-rich societies experience a shock. My colleague Todd Mostak recently shared the tweet map below with me which depicts tweets referring to “marathon” (in red) shortly after the bombs went off during Boston’s marathon. The green dots represent all the other tweets posted at the time. Click on the map to enlarge. (It is always difficult to write about data visualizations of violent events because they don’t capture the human suffering, thus seemingly minimizing the tragic events).

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

Visualizing a social system at this scale gives a sense that we’re looking at a living, breathing organism, one that has just been wounded. This impression is even more stark in the dynamic visualization captured in the video below.

Read full post with additional video and graphics.

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Aug 12

Tom Atlee: Surveillance and parasitism harm society’s collective intelligence

Tom Atlee

Tom Atlee

Surveillance and parasitism harm society’s collective intelligence

What this post is about:  Society’s collective intelligence needs to be able to see clearly what’s going on and take action about it.  Both NSA surveillance and corporate suppression of activism interfere with that vital dynamic.  This post clarifies what’s going on in these dynamics and suggests strategies to counter them and increase society’s collective intelligence.

Any healthy living system will try to weed out challenges that threaten its functioning. That’s what immune systems do: they preserve business-as-usual in a body.

But this natural maintenance activity of a system can be counterproductive:
(a) when changing circumstances demand adaptive responses, when the system NEEDS to change its business-as-usual – and
(b) when the system has been parasitized by something that is using it for the parasite’s own purposes at the larger system’s expense.

Entire post below the line, with links.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 11

Jean Lievens: The Sharing Economy — Whole Living

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

The sharing economy: a whole new way of living

From accommodation to cars, the internet is turning us from consumers into providers and challenging established business models. We talk to Martin Varsavsky, founder of Fon – the largest Wi-Fi company in the world – and profile two more pioneers, from TaskRabbit.com and BlaBlaCar.com

In 2006, serial entrepreneur and investor Martín Varsavsky – inspired by a conviction that he could cloak the world in free Wi-Fi by encouraging people to share their home connections – founded Fon in Madrid. The company is now the largest Wi-Fi network in the world, with almost 12m hot spots in more than 100 countries.

“My general thinking at the time was that we live in a world in which benefits are only accrued through economic growth and the endless consumption of resources, and that there have to be other ways that are of more benefit to people,” he says. “Why should everyone have their own car when most of the time they are not using them? Think of a marina full of boats. How frequently do those boats go out?”

Today, it has been argued that the sharing economy – which is perhaps best defined as a way of sweating underutilised assets, by building communities around them and turning consumers into providers – has the potential to reboot businesses across most economic categories. Indeed, Forbes magazine recently estimated that total revenues for the sector could top $3.5bn this year, with growth exceeding 25%. However, when setting up Fon, Varsavsky became convinced that people needed a nudge or financial incentive before they’d happily share their assets.

Read full article.

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Aug 5

Mini-Me: Give Every Afghan a Radio? Or Give Every Afghan OpenBTS with a Radio App? + OpenBTS Meta-RECAP

Who?  Mini-Me?

Who? Mini-Me?

Huh?

Overheard in the World Cafe:

Speaker A:  My friend is creating a wide-area radio network for Afghanistan.

Speaker B:  Afghanistan has no infrastructure — including radio stations.  Although radio is popular, it is mostly shortwave, with a few local FM stations for the local Iman.  And electricity for radio stations is spotty at best including in Kabul.

Speaker A:  Well, I can build really cheap, “ultra” cheap, radio receivers.

Speaker B:  As long as you are doing that, why not give them OpenBTS cell phones running on ambient energy, and include a radio app?  Then get someone else — Google, Virgin Mobile, the Chinese or India — to focus on all-purpose cellular towers and tethered ballons?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 4