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Tag: Security

Virtual Gonzo Zine Library, Winter 2020: Surviving Dark Times

Posted in Creative Commons, and Zines

This is the Winter 2020 edition of the Virtual Gonzo Zine Library.

The VGZL is a zine reading list and miniature zine distro. From time to time, I curate some of my favorite zines — zines that I think everyone should be reading, including myself.

These are the main selections from this edition of my reading list. I’ve selected a few bonus zines as well as some other resources to consider, too.

Yes Magazine: Documenting Protests While Protecting Protesters

Posted in Journalism, and Yes! Magazine

Often working with just their phones, community journalists can shine light on movements, expose police brutality, and help protect activists from getting “disappeared” by an authoritarian government. At the same time, the wrong tweet—or especially livestream—can leave people in the street exposed to increased police surveillance.

From “snatch and grab” arrests in unmarked vans, to raids on the homes of perceived organizers, activists have good reason to be concerned. From Portland, Oregon, to Philadelphia, law enforcement acknowledge using livestreams and other social media to gather evidence.

As activists begin to face serious charges from the most recent wave of protests, there’s also more attention on the risks posed by inexperienced or unethical community journalists. Meanwhile, more people are protesting for the first time, with some newly taking up the role of community journalist. As such, a debate that’s been bubbling beneath the surface since at least the Occupy movement and Arab Spring is bursting to the forefront: the question of whether, and how, protests should be documented in real time online.

Activism & Shared Social Media: How Can We Close The ‘Occupy Hole’?

Posted in Creative Commons, Journalism, and Occupy Wall Street

I got quoted in an article about Micah White, the self-styled “Occupy Founder” that recently spent time hob-nobbing with the 1% at Davos. In passing, the article covered another issue: the problem of stolen shared social media accounts during the Occupy Wall Street movement.

During the national Occupy movement, it became routine to hear about camps with a stolen Facebook or Twitter account. One person would get into a disagreement with the rest of the social media working group and run off with the whole account.

When this happens with a commercial business, or a nonprofit or any undertaking that’s conventionally organized under capitalism, the owner can prove ownership of the account and get Twitter to give it back. With a leaderless movement like Occupy, you and your comrades are on your own.

Threat Modeling For Activists: Tips For Secure Organizing & Activism

Posted in Creative Commons, and Journalism

Threat modeling is a fancy term for “knowing how to protect yourself in different situations.”

The idea of “threat modeling” originated in the military before being adopted by security experts. While the field includes many advanced concepts that don’t interest us here, threat modeling can help us get a handle on our personal security choices. In an age of mass surveillance, choosing what steps to take can feel overwhelming. For a lot of people, it may be easier to do nothing at all than worry about protecting yourself online.

Unfortunately, even if you feel like “you’ve got nothing to hide,” many of us are still vulnerable: to government repression, to police brutality and surveillance, and to threats from fascist forces. Even if you’re completely safe, your social networks might be used to target other people close to you. You might not even be aware that someone near you is taking actions that make them a target for surveillance.

Kit On Online Privacy & Repression Under Trump, Media Lies About Cannabis On Halloween

Posted in Act Out!, Audio, Journalism, and Ministry of Hemp

Once a month, I appear on Black Tower Radio.

This time, Jake and I discussed what the media got wrong about cannabis edibles and CBD candy on Halloween 2017. Then, we talked about the American police state after Trump’s inauguration, the J20 defendants, and some simple alternatives to Google and Twitter.

Reclaim Your Online Privacy: Alternatives To Facebook, Twitter & Google

Posted in Act Out!, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Video

Imagine a police state so bent on repressing dissent that people were targeted by the government just for visiting a web page or liking a page on Facebook?

This dystopian scenario isn’t science fiction, and it isn’t something happening in a far off country — it’s happening in the United States. No really, let’s take a look at a recent example: On an auspicious Friday the 13th in October, the federal government dropped its demand that Facebook turn over information about anyone who had simply “liked” a page dedicated to protesting Donald Trump’s inauguration. And while it wasn’t successful, this isn’t the first time the feds tried to target anyone who’d even looked up information on the massive January 20 protests.

While the government backed down when challenged by groups like the ACLU and cyberliberties watchdog Electronic Frontier Foundation, this was still a clear attempt to silence even the most basic forms of dissent and it’s almost certain we haven’t seen the last of this kind of thing. Keep in mind that dozens of people arrested for protesting the inauguration are STILL facing decades in prison, and we can only guess at the horrors the Cheeto Gestapo might have unleashed with access to even more information about Trump’s opponents.

And if you think this all sounds Orwellian, you are absolutely correct.