How surveillance stifles dissent on the Internet

“People who said they had ‘nothing to hide’ were in fact more likely to censor themselves.” Kaveh Waddell reports on resarch by Elizabeth Stoycheff that, given current practices of government and comercial entities around the world, rules out the Internet as a tool to promote democracy.
www.theatlantic.com

“This structure of surveillance will stop us doing things which are right, that we know we should be doing.”
Anthony Barnett speaking in October 2013

No, America isn’t 100 percent safe from terrorism. And that’s a good thing.

“Threats constantly change, yet our political discourse suggests that our vulnerabilities are simply for lack of resources, commitment or competence.” Juliette Kayyem disagrees and instead asks US Americans to minimize risks, maximize defenses and maintain spirit.
www.washingtonpost.com

What’s your favourite desktop and why?

In response to Voice of the Masses
My favourite Desktop is Unity because it is not MATE. This has been bugging me for quite some time.
Like almost everyone else on the planet, I was unhappy when in 2011 Canonical declared Unity Ubuntu’s new default desktop. After years of using GNOME 2, I just thought that Unity felt a bit awkward. But I stuck with it, mainly for a perceived lack of alternatives and my wish to avoid PPAs if at all possible.
Fast-forward a few years and, thanks to the excellent Martin Wimpress, I hear of MATE Desktop Environment almost every other podcast I listen to. With the release of Ubuntu 15.10, MATE is finally elevated to official flavour status and I was sure to be making the switch away from Unity.
I ended up using MATE for about one day before going back to Unity. It was quite an uncomfortable thing to have to admit, but there was a problem:
After years of using Unity, I just thought that MATE felt a bit awkward…
ubuntu-mate.org

Die Barbaren sind wir

In German
“Empörend ist aber das kalte Schulterzucken, mit dem viele Politiker, Journalisten, Leitartikler das hinzunehmen oder, schlimmer, voranzutreiben scheinen, diese europäische Regression, dieses kontinentale und institutionelle Versagen angesichts der Flüchtlinge.” Georg Diez sieht gemeinsame europäische Werte in Gefahr und reaktionäre Eliten in der Verantwortung.
www.spiegel.de

Can we afford to ignore what Katie Hopkins says about migrants drowning in the Med?

“So while we ought noisily to challenge her incitement to hatred and violence against the most vulnerable groups in society and to condemn the fact that major media outlets are providing her with the microphone to do this, we also need to organise for a different kind of politics in which those escaping war and poverty are welcomed and not left to drown in the seas that surround us.“ Des Freedman regards Katie Hopkins as merely a sideshow in an age of neoliberal politicians protecting uninhibited cross-border flow of capital while barring people fleeing poverty and persecution and refusing to help them when they vanish into the sea.
www.opendemocracy.net

Britain’s criminally stupid attitudes to race and immigration are beyond parody

“We fear the arrival of immigrants that we have drawn here with the wealth we stole from them. For much of the rest of the world we must be the focus of bitter amusement, characters in a satire we don’t understand.” Frankie Boyle is not even trying to be funny.
www.theguardian.com

Germanwings-Absturz: Wenn Sicherheitstechnik sich gegen die Sicherheit richtet

In German
“Gäbe es keine Panzertür, dann hätte es diesen Absturz nicht gegeben … Dieses nachgerüstete 9/11-Geschwür ist Materialisierung eines vergifteten Zeitgeistes, dieses paranoiden Misstrauens.” Sascha Lobo und ein annonymer Pilot betrachten den Absturz von Flug 4U9525 als Flugzeugentführung infolge unzulänglicher Sicherheitskonzepte.
www.spiegel.de

Security theatre is the practice of investing in countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually achieve it.”
Wikipedia

Underground London: adventures in the secret city beneath our feet

“Today, we’ve been so inculcated with fear and distracted by obligations and consumer junk, we can’t even be bothered to ask why numerous miles of warm, fluorescently lit tunnels under Chancery Lane are laying mothballed while people with no homes freeze to death on the streets above them—forced to sleep in hypothermic conditions by anti-homeless spikes installed on ledges outside shops, luxury flats and offices.” Bradley Garrett regards urban exploration as an apathy killer, spreading stories that help us perceive worlds other than the ones presented to us.
www.theguardian.com

Ein Dank an die Lokführer

In German
“Wenn Manager ‘Personal abbauen’, nehmen wir es hin. Wenn die Abhängigen für ihre Interessen kämpfen, herrscht Empörung. Der Bahnstreik ist kein Skandal, sondern ein Geschenk.” Jakob Augstein sieht sich durch den gegenwärtigen Bahnstreik an die Macht der Arbeitnehmer erinnert.
www.spiegel.de

David Simon on why he created The Wire¹

“Collective responsibilty without personal freedom or without personal liberty is tyranny, it’s totalitarianism. Conversely, personal freedom and personal liberty without a collective responsibility where we have a shared sense that you are part of society and that you owe it to society to participate fully and to seek utilitarian solutions to society’s problems—that’s just selfish. That’s just bad citizenship. That’s a recipe for a second rate society. [sic]” David Simon speaking at the Observer Ideas festival 2014 in London.
www.theguardian.com

1. “Despite only receiving average ratings and never winning major television awards, The Wire has been described by many critics as one of the greatest TV dramas of all time.”

The most wanted man in the world

“The question for us is not what new story will come out next. The question is, what are we going to do about it?” James Bamford interviews Edward Snowden, who regards the use of strong encryption in your everyday communication as a viable means to end mass surveillance.
www.wired.com

Also watch United States of Secrets, a two-part series detailing how the US government came to monitor and collect the communications of millions around the world.

Secrecy concerns around TTIP

“Shrouded in secrecy, our world leaders are currently negotiating a deal that will let multinational corporations wield power over national governments; lower environmental and safety standards across the EU; bring workers’ rights down to appalling US levels; and threaten the NHS as we know it.” Jim Sheridan expresses his concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its implications for the United Kingdom. Similar anxieties exist in Germany. Is Europe about to be sold down the river?
www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

Now then

“What Amazon and many other companies began to do in the late 1990s was build up a giant world of the past on their computer servers. A historical universe that is constantly mined to find new ways of giving back to you today what you liked yesterday—with variations.” Adam Curtis highlights the mechanisms that help to narrow and simplify our experiences to the point that we are in danger of getting stuck in a static, ever-narrowing version of ourselves, locked into place, “perpetually repeating the past and terrified of change and the future”.
www.bbc.co.uk

World processor

“Such are the perverse rewards we reap when we permit tech culture to become our culture. The profits and power flow to the platform owners and their political sponsors. We get the surveillance, the data mining, the soaring inequality, and the canned pep talks from bosses who have been upsold on analytics software.” Jacob Silverman critically examines today’s employment practices using past issues of Processed World as a guide to the great digital reorganization of work.
www.thebaffler.com

David McCoy on The Lancet Commission

“In contrast to the easy cross-border flow of capital, commodities and profits, the Commission notes the lack of freedom for ordinary people to migrate in pursuit of a safe and secure life, and it deplores the plight of undocumented migrants who are denied essential health care in spite of international treaties that are supposed to guarantee universal rights and entitlements.” After correctly identifying the undemocratic and unequal distribution of power as an underlying cause of health inequities, David McCoy sees The Lancet-UiO Commission on Global Governance For Health Commissioners falling disappointingly short in its recommendations.
www.medact.org

Wenn die Maschinenstürmer doch recht behalten

In German
“Einerseits steige die Verfügbarkeit von digitalisierbaren Dingen und Diensten dramatisch, bei immer weiter sinkenden Preisen. Andererseits kämen die Erträge der neuen Produktionsweisen nur wenigen zugute, was in einer potenziell extremen Polarisierung von Einkommen und Entfaltungschancen resultiere.” Henrik Müller sieht uns einem verarmenden Produktivitätswachstum ausgeliefert.
www.spiegel.de

The secret government rulebook for labeling you a terrorist

“This combination—a broad definition of what constitutes terrorism and a low threshold for designating someone a terrorist—opens the way to ensnaring innocent people in secret government dragnets. It can also be counterproductive. When resources are devoted to tracking people who are not genuine risks to national security, the actual threats get fewer resources—and might go unnoticed.” Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux report on the Obama administration’s expansion of the terrorist watchlist system.
firstlook.org