Digital Security Tools for Organizing with the CLDC
We’re happy to share the rest of our conversation with Michele Gretes, director of the Digital Security project at the Civil Liberties Defense Center, and Cora Borradaile, who is on the board of the CLDC. For this podcast special, you’ll hear the two discuss different tools for more secure, encrypted communication that is available on various platforms to folks organizing. They publish guides on CLDC.org/Security. We discuss the end-to-end encrypted alternative to Slack (Keybase) **, pgp email encryption (particularly the enigmail tool), Signal Messenger, problems with Whatsapp, Cryptpad, Jitsi, Wire, VPNs and The Onion Router,the TorBrowser, OnionShare, Zoom, Protonmail and some of the challenges of running longstanding movement infrastructure such as the RiseUp collective does (plus their file sharing and pad services). Check our show notes for links to some of these projects.
** Keybase was just purchased by Zoom. See the CLDC article.
Norman Shamas updates on FOSTA and digital harm reduction
This week, we continue our look at sex, work and the state with guest, Norman Shamas. Norman Shamas is an activist and educator whose work focuses on human-centered information and digital security and privacy. Now, Norman is not a lawyer but shares their insights about the legal situation around FOSTA, or Fighting Online Sex Trafficking Act that passed into law in the U.S. last year and it’s implications for sex workers, for those trying to fight sex trafficking and for people communicating desire without coercion or monetary exchange, folks looking for a hookup. This interview was conducted for our Error451 podcast, an occasional project focusing on digital security and tech from an anarchist perspective, but because of the prescience of Norman’s words, we wanted to share it as an episode for the airwaves. Later in the interview we talk about Norman’s writing a bit, including issues around queer dating apps and how they’ve been used to persecute folks for their sexualities and genders in various parts of the world and how we can pressure app developers and platforms to take the security of their users more seriously.
For the full conversation including links to articles and subjects we talk about, as well as this week’s Sean Swain segment, check out our podcast version available at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org. Subcribing to our show is free and easy if you have a computer or a smart phone. There are some instructions up at our website under the “podcasting” tab at the top of the page.
If you’re in New York, there are rolling demo’s at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center where it was discovered that prisoners have been held with limited heat and electricity for days now during this time of record-breaking cold, as reported in the New York Times on February 1st. To keep up on actions around this, one can check out IWOCNYC, the New York City Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee where demo’s are being announced. If you’re concerned for the health and safety of the over 1,000 prisoners at the MDC Federal jail but can’t make it to a demo, the group Sunset Park for a Liberated Future has called for a phone zap. Those wanting to participate can call Warden Herman Quay & Associate Warden David Ortiz at 718-840-4200. You can also call
Nicole McFarland, US Marshall Assistant Chief at 718-840-4200 ext. 41740.
“I’m a resident of NYC and am very concerned about the situation at MDC. People are living in intolerable conditions without heat or hot meals. This is unacceptable and a violation of human rights. I believe this poses serious harm to the health and safety of people at MDC and fails to meet Eighth Amendment standards prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment. What is your action plan to stop this immediately? What do you commit to in ending this suffering of people in your custody?”
This week, we’d like to share a conversation had a little bit ago with Kali Kaneko, from LEAP. Leap Encryption Access Project, like pEp featured in our prior Error451 interview, is an open-source project meant to ease… access to encryption (and it’s a project). At a point in the past, LEAP had an interest in shifting paradigm of email but is now focusing mainly on distribution, upkeep, and improvement of it’s VPN service, Bitmask. Bitmask is partnering with Riseup Black and Calyx (and hopefully other trustworthy projects) to expand access to free, psuedonymized web traffic with ease.
Here’re a few links Kali sent my way for sharing and further investigation:
On this episode I’m joined by Hernani Marques, a hacker and member of the pEp Foundation, talking about Pretty Easy Privacy, a concerted attempt to make adoption of end-to-end email encryption easier and more ubiquitous through automation of key-making and management through partnering with programs like Outlook and Thunderbird. To learn more about pEp, check out the foundation’s website and follow or get in touch with Hernani via their website, vecirex.net.
If you have a topic or guest suggestion for Error451, find us via our contact page on our website and drop us a line. To hear past episodes of the podcast, click the link in these shownotes or find them up at our website or in our podcast feed. Subscribing to our show is free and easy.
a computer security engineer and an open source software developer. He writes about technical topics like digital and operational security, encryption tools, whistleblowing, and hacking using language that everyone can understand, but without dumbing it down. An avid user of Qubes and Linux, he develops security tools such as OnionShare.”
Micah is kind enough in this conversation to break down the Efail scandal that rocked security-minded folks in mid-May. A weakness in the way that many email clients handled PGP & S/MIME came to light months after it was discovered by a team of security investigators. Micah explains how this encryption works, what was found out, safer approaches to encrypted messaging. We also talk a little about threat modeling and quantum computing.
Send encrypted text messages to Micah using Signal Messenger at (415) 964-1601. Here’s a link to a cool article Micah published at The Intercept about a method of cheaply creating a second signal account, so you can give out a signal # without giving away your personal phone number.
A change of plans: instead of airing the interview with comrades in Yogyakarta about May Day repression of anarchists there, we’re including that in the radio show for next Sunday. So, instead, kick back with this new issue of #Error451 !
The CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act) got passed by the U.S. Congress earlier this year and signed into law by President Trump. It’s a revision of the 1986 Stored Communications Act. Basically, it allows U.S. cops from local up to Federal to request data belonging to persons of interest that is stored on overseas servers from the private corporations or organizations storing it. If the U.S. executive makes an agreement with the foreign power where the data is stored, that power also gets a degree of access to the data of persons of interest to the overseas powers. Basically, governments can more easily spy on folks around the world!
We talk a bit about the implications of the Act, how it came to pass and the types of practices and services folks can engage to help protect themselves from some of these government excesses.
This week on Error451, William Budington and Bursts chat about the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal. We’ve seen Congressional hearings and M. Zuckerburg give testimony, we’ve seen punditry, we’ve seen evasion.
For the episode, the two chat about what’s going on with the hullabaloo and different solutions privacy advocates have proposed.
This week’s installment of #error451 podcast, Bursts and William Budington speak about facial recognition technology. We chat about how different methods are employed, scanning of social media by police and security forces, different methods used to avoid it such as camouflage, lights, makeup and masks, the Google Arts & Culture app comparing people’s selfies to the contents of art museums and more.
This week on Error451, William Budington and Bursts chat about eavesdropping by digital devices. This conversation happened before the Cambridge Analytica & Facebook scandal, but covers some of the same material.
Do Facebook, Amazon, Google and other big data companies listen through your device to your conversations and target marketing at you based on your choices? What tools do platforms like those mentioned above have and what are their interests in your real-life movements, the sites you visit, how long you stay on a page and where you go next?
In a past episode, we had spoken about Apps tracking us and communicating via mic and speaker in subsonic levels with advertising devices. More on specifically Cambridge Analytica and Facebook is coming to Error451 soon!
In this week’s episode of The Final Straw Radio, we have three segments on two subjects. This week there’ll be no Sean Swain segment due to technical difficulties, but we hope to be hearing his clarion call towards dancing around the ashes of swivelization next week.
In part one, I spoke with Friday, a former J20 defendant and a supporter of the remaining 59 facing charges. We talk about the arrests, the case so far, what we saw come out of the first trial group in November of last year and the upcoming trail date set for April 17th, 2018. On Monday and Tuesday, April 2nd and 3rd there will be a call-in campaign for the for U.S. Attorney Liu to #DropJ20 and on Tuesday, April 10th there is a call for a day of solidarity with the J20 defendants. More info on that can be found in this episodes show notes or up at defendj20resistance.org alongside printable pdf’s plus ideas for solidarity actions alongside the #’s and scripts for the call-in campaign.
In part two of this episode, we’ll be airing a statement from episode 24 of the Hotwire. Here, you’ll hear LX, an anarchist and sex worker in the Midwest, where they’ll talk about their perspectives about the impacts of the laws, as well as views of recent struggles among strippers in NYC, NOLA & RVA, tools sex workers have made for themselves to share information, as well as words of encouragement for sex workers and ways that non-sex-workers can offer solidarity . You can find a full transcript of what LX has to say, alongside the rest of the Hotwire episode which we recommend giving a gander and listen, at their website.
Following LX’s breakdown of the law and some of the views around it, you’ll hear William Budington in the inaugural episode of season 2 of the occasionally weekly tech podcast from an anarchist perspective, #error451. William (a tech expert and trainer who is employed at the Electronic Frontier Foundation) breaks down the development of SESTA (which has been folded into the now-passed FOSTA (or Fight Online Sex Trafficking)) ACT, which awaits Trumps signature. The bills posed as anti-sex or human trafficking laws, however William argues, as do many groups who fight against sex trafficking in the U.S. plus consensual sex workers and their advocates, that FOSTA will hurt adults engaging in erotic services and drive them into the shadows where they in fact face more dangers, that FOSTA will take tools from their hands in keeping safer, and that even the US Department of Justice has warned that the Act will making finding and prosecuting actual human traffickers much, much harder.
Though there’ll be some overlap in what is said between William and LX, we wanted to keep the two presentations intact.
A quick announcement about former black panther and political prisoner, Herman Bell. Herman has been in prison for 45 years for the killing of two police officers during his time with the Black Liberation Army. He has expressed remorse for the killings and family members of one dead cops has expressed that they want Herman released. He has been granted parole to be released on April 17th but there has been a pushback by the Policeman’s Benevolent Association in NY state and they’ve been backed by Mayor deBlasio and Governor Cuomo in attempting to block Herman’s release. If you want to help press back, you can:
Here are THREE THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW to keep the pressure on in support of Herman Bell::
CALL New York State Governor Cuomo’s Office NOW 518-474-8390
Script for phone calls and emails:
“Governor Cuomo, my name is __________and I am a resident of [New York State/other state/other country]. I support the Parole Board’s decision to release Herman Bell and urge you and the Board to stand by the decision. I also support the recent appointment of new Parole Board Commissioners, and the direction of the new parole regulations, which base release decisions more on who a person is today than on the nature of their crime committed years ago. Returning Herman to his friends and family will help the heal the many harms caused by crime and decades of incarceration. The Board’s decision was just, merciful and lawful, and it will benefit our communities and New York State as a whole.”
TWEET at Governor Cuomo: use the following sample tweet:
“.@NYGovCuomo: stand by the Parole Board’s lawful & just decision to release Herman Bell. At 70 years old and after more than 40 years of incarceration, his release is overdue. #BringHermanHome.”
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