The swedish kings of cyberwar

“Among the many questions posed by Scandinavia’s embrace of mass surveillance is one that has lingered at the margins throughout the Snowden debate: Are advanced democracies any different than their authoritarian counterparts in seeking to gain broad access into the private lives of citizens?” Hugh Eakin shines a light on the underreported activities of Sweden’s FRA in spying on people everywhere.
www.nybooks.com

With thanks to Michael August

WhatsApp backdoor allows snooping on encrypted messages

​“(Tobias) Boelter reported the backdoor vulnerability to Facebook in April 2016, but was told that Facebook was aware of the issue, that it was ‘expected behaviour’ and wasn’t being actively worked on.”
www.theguardian.com

Earlier, I posted two messages for my friends on Facebook. One with my Threema address, the other with the above quote and link to the article critical of Facebook’s conduct. Within hours, the latter had mysteriously disappeared from view. I don’t routinely use Facebook and now I know why: on this evidence, nobody gets to see much of what I post there, anyway…

Corporate censorship is the process by which editors in corporate media outlets intervene to disrupt the publishing of information that portrays their business or business partners in a negative light.”
wikipedia.org

The human factor

​“The episode should have been a non-event, and one that would not last long. The airplane was in the control of the pilots, and if they had done nothing, they would have done all they needed to do.” William Langewiesche examines the reasons behind the crash of Air France Flight 447, one of the “most perplexing and significant airline accidents of modern times”.
www.vanityfair.com

Why I won’t recommend Signal anymore

​“We need to remember that we’re fighting not only against government surveillance, but also against corporate surveillance as well. We need ways to defend against this, and using corporate solutions that create a dependency on these solutions, even if the communications themselves are not readable to them, there’s still the issue of metadata, and of course general availability of Google’s services to Signal.” Sander Venema disagrees on strategy, not cryptography.
sandervenema.ch

An American tragedy

​“The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.” David Remnick is not the only one who’s worried.
www.newyorker.com

Want people to behave better? Give them more privacy

“Team members had a kind of collective privacy—they were hidden from the constant scrutiny by management and other workers, even though within their shared workspace they were still visible to each other. The effect was to shrink the size of the surveillance audience and confine it to people the workers had a personal connection with. This kind of ‘privacy within team boundaries’ has been associated with better results in many workplaces, from Google to hospital emergency rooms.” David Berreby quotes research suggesting that workers often are more productive in an environment that does not monitor their every move.
www.psychologytoday.com

Business Calendar 2

“The professional and versatile app for reliable, complex calendar management. Highly customizable and in perfect sync with Google.” No doubt about it, Business Calendar 2 is a great app for Android that I would not want to be without. Which, for me at least, makes it even more disappointing that time zone management still does not meet my expectations. Will we ever see a reliable implementation of multi-time zone events?
www.businesscalendar.de

Syncronisation of your calendar and contacts with services other than Google is easy using CalDAV-Sync and CardDAV-Sync, respectively.

Human rights for Martians

​“Human rights introduce morality into law and offer limited legal enforcement to moral claims. But as morality is not one and the law is not a simple exercise in reasoning, moral conflict enters the legal archive and legal strictures regiment and control moral responsibility.” For Costas Douzinas, the human rights movement is an ongoing struggle to close the gap between the abstract man of the Declarations and the empirical human being.
www.opendemocracy.net

Corbyn’s critics are hellbent on destroying the party they claim to love

​“Contempt for Corbyn is rivalled only by disdain for the party that elected him. His critics argue that the membership is unrepresentative of the country as a whole. By definition most political memberships are, but that does not mean they represent nothing.” Gary Younge attempts a balanced analysis of the current state of the Labour party.
www.theguardian.com

Battle of the secure messaging apps: how Signal beats WhatsApp

​“While all three apps use the same secure-messaging protocol, they differ on exactly what information is encrypted, what metadata is collected, and what, precisely, is stored in the cloud—and therefore available, in theory at least, to government snoops and wily hackers.” Bottom line: Micah Lee recommends that you use Signal by Open Whisper Systems whenever you can.
theintercept.com

Suspension losses confirmed

“On most roads, and especially on rough ones, a 32 mm Compass tire will be faster than a 26 mm Compass tire. But a 42 mm Schwalbe Marathon will be slower than both, even though it’s wider—because it’s so stiff that its casing absorbs way more energy.” Jan Heine concludes that higher tire pressures do not result in faster speeds.
janheine.wordpress.com

The Left confuses globalisation with neo-liberalism and gets lost

“But the problem is not the global trends in supply chains etc. Rather it is that their elected representatives have become co-opted by neo-liberal elites who fully understand that state power can be skewed to work in their favour and deprive a vast majority of citizens of the benefits of such global economic activity.” Bill Mitchell questions the sustainability of economic growth with labour productivity growth continuing to outstrip growth in real wages.
bilbo.economicoutlook.net

After a campaign scarred by bigotry, it’s become OK to be racist in Britain

“The consequences won’t be faced by old Etonians or stripy-blazered Ukippers. They’ll descend on a grandad heading home from Friday prayers, or a Romanian mum caught on a bus speaking her mother tongue.” Aditya Chakrabortty expects things to get worse before they get better. I hope he’s wrong.
www.theguardian.com

Food for thought …no one told me there’d be days like these

“As bikepacking becomes ever more popular, it seems that there’s ever more people trying to tempt the unwary to venture away from the trail centre or off the sofa and into the hills. The words and images used, make it a tempting prospect but you must exercise caution, as these words and pictures are often gilded with half truths and exaggeration, making them a trap for the unwary and ill-prepared.” Bearbonesnorm attempts to redress the balance.
bearbonesbikepacking.blogspot.co.uk

How can the international system do more to tackle corruption?

“The international efforts to reduce corruption that have developed over the past 20 years constitute a massive agenda which is being worked through in multilateral institutions, individual countries, companies and civil society campaigns. It will take years of reform to fulfil the commitments that have been made. But the prize is enormous.” Claire Short is in an optimistic mood.
www.opendemocracy.net