Archive for June, 2014

Restore the 4th on the 3rd

Posted: June 28, 2014 in Direct Action

Restore the 4th end surveillance

When: Saturday, June 21, 2014, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Where: Burnside Park, downtown Providence

The Rhode Island anti-racial profiling bill which civil-rights advocates have worked long and hard on is now stuck in the Senate, and politicians are about to go home after they pass the budget. Time is short, but if we act fast we can get this bill passed!

Please sign and share this petition

Act Now: Pass Historic Agreement of Community & Police

Then please call Senate and House leaders, and your own legislators: Senate President Paiva-Weed, 222-6655 or — House. Speaker Mattiello, 401.222.4266 or Ask Paiva-Weed to pass the Community-Police Relationship Act now while we have this rare agreement to prevent racial profiling in our State. Ask Mattiello for the quick introduction of this bill.

The Senate bill is S2976.

Notes from meeting of Sat., June 7, 2014, Knight Memorial Library, Elmwood Ave., Providence 2PM

Present: Terry Cummings, Chris Currie, Peter Nightingale, Cathy Orloff, Patricia Raub, and Randall Rose    (Note, this was our last meeting at this library, at least for the summer, since they have no air-conditioning.  Next meeting is at Rochambeau Library, Sat. July 12, 2PM.)

  1. Reset the Net – Peter summarized.  It happened this past week: many people around the country (world?) taking steps to encrypt in order to prevent government surveillance. Question: is it already too late b/c NSA has beat us to it and hardwired all hardware?  E. Snowden was cited as saying that encryption does work if you do it right and take care of your own computer.  Some thought maybe it’s good to attract government spies, let them waste their time following false leads, etc.? Counterpoint was: do we want to bog down the NSA system, since some of what they do is ferreting out real terrorists and real potential violence?  Issue of what if you send your encrypted email to someone who does not encrypt?  They can’t read it?  Question again of whether we want to run a workshop on how to encrypt?    At the least we could teach protection from commercial spying, ad blockers, etc. Snowden led cyber-parties with the same purpose. Some use Tor browser.  Sends messages point to point, can’t be tracked. (see footnote) Also there is “dead drop” – people put info on thumb drives and leave them at pre-arranged locations. Decided to put this on the agenda for July meeting and continue to consider a workshop. (See this page for more.)
  2. “Restore the Fourth” movement (refers to the 4th Amendment re: privacy) – Alex Marthews from MA is part of a weekly conference call discussion group.  They are discussing drafting a bill that would restrict license plate readers, make sure the info. is not retained, etc.  Others can join.  It happens on Wed. evenings 8:30 PM.  Contact Randall for details.  They have divided up work on the bill drafting.  Randall is working on enforcement. They may also work on drones.  Noted that  enforcement is so important and so challenging: who is going to sift through millions of data and check to see which ones were appropriately deleted and which were appropriately retained due to suspected criminality?  Also question of whether it’s too late for this, since there is now technology with closed-circuit TV to read license plates from space?  And tell what an insect 5 ft. into the ground had for its most recent meal?  Consensus was it won’t solve everything, but it would be some progress.  Randall passed out a sample license plate law from Pittsburgh. Also the conference call is discussing the USA Freedom Act, which our group has opposed due to its being too weak.  Under consideration is a joint national call-in day to oppose this Act.  Randall said he would contact David Segal re: does this make sense?   Noted that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is seen as an obstacle here, as he seems to take pro NSA positions at committee hearings.  Also see #6 below re: Restore the Fourth demonstration July 4th wkend.
    1. USA Freedom Act, more on: Of all the anti-surveillance bills, it’s the one being taken most seriously by Congress.  Microsoft & Google had a full-page ad in the NY Times this week opposing this legislation.  Snowden says we should pass it.  ACLU has not dropped its support.  Patricia tried but could not find out what the National Lawyers Guild’s position on it is.  Randall said he is able to contact the RI branch of NLG, he will try to get their position on it.
    2. Question was raised as to why people from other groups like Greens, Socialists, don’t come to more of our meetings?  How could we encourage them to come back?  Suggestion that we each take a group and call them.  Terry also mentioned that he does most or all of the entries on our FaceBook page, but right now he is without a computer.  Tony A. also does some.  Patricia will contact Tony that Terry could use some help on this at least while he is computer-less.  Peter said he also goes on many other FB sites and comments on them re: privacy, etc., which he feels is effective.   Also noted that we need a moderator for the List Serve. Also suggested to send draft minutes to mtg. attendees for corrections and additions.
  3. 38 Studios Project – (In cooperation with Occupy Providence) – A demonstration is planned for THIS Wednesday, June 11 at 6PM at the State House.  The General Assembly will vote on the budget on Thursday.  Randall will try to get a Big Nazo puppet to be there, and maybe some music from a community band.  Suggestion to have a puppet that looks like an octopus or giant squid with blood, since “we’re being bled!!”   We will deliver petitions with over 1000 signatures. Some Tea Party and libertarians also oppose paying these bonds.  Be there!!!
  4. Questions for Candidates – Randall had emailed some proposed edits and additions earlier today, not all of us had seen them.  Suggested asking candidates what they would be willing to DO rather than just what they think.   Will continue working on them at July meeting, with the idea of holding a Candidate Forum in July or August to be ready for the primaries in early Sept.
    Warning that it might not be good if the questions get too far to the left politically, since part of our constituency is on the right.
  5. We are planning a “Restore the Fourth” demonstration over the 4th of July weekend.  Friday is the 4th, so Thursday the 3rd was selected. Location will be the India Point pedestrian ramp over I-195.  Some suggested the name “Enforce the Fourth!”  We will make banners, which will be seen by many drivers going toward the Cape for the holiday.  Thursday, July 3, 3-6PM, rain date is Fri. July 4, same times. This is before our next meeting, so watch email for updates.

NEXT MEETING: Saturday, July 12, Rochambeau Library, 2PM.

Cathy Orloff, facilitator and note taker

Note added after the meeting: Tor uses a network of computers of volunteers who install software that allows these computers to functions as relays. People using Tor rely on these volunteers who donate a small fraction of their bandwidth to the project. Here are more details. Go back

Monthly Meeting: June 7, 2014

Posted: June 7, 2014 in Meetings

2pm Knight Memorial Library on 275 Elmwood Ave., Providence.

Progress on privacy

Posted: June 7, 2014 in Privacy
  • Guardian launches SecureDrop system for whistleblowers to share files

    The Guardian has launched a secure platform for whistleblowers to securely submit confidential documents to the newspaper’s reporters.

    The launch comes a year to the day since the Guardian posted the first of a series of NSA documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, sparking a worldwide debate on surveillance, privacy, and civil liberties.

  • Google Renews Battle With the NSA by Open Sourcing Email Encryption Tool

    Google is taking another step towards an internet that can stand up to snooping from the NSA.

    Today, the company released the source code for a new web browser plugin that encrypts your email messages before they’re sent across the net. Dubbed End-to-End, the plugin aims to prevent interlopers from reading messages even if they gain access to the computer servers that drive your web email service of choice. So, if you’re using Googles’s Gmail, it could thwart the NSA and other snoopers even if they have access to Google’s network.

  • LEAP Encryption Access Project

    LEAP is a non-profit dedicated to giving all internet users access to secure communication by making encryption technology easy to use and widely available.

  • Open WhisperSystems

    Open WhisperSystems is the maker of RedPhone and TextSecure, free and open-source software designed to allow users to make end-to-end encrypted phone calls and text messages from their regular mobile phone.

  • Tails

    Tails is a live operating system that can started on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. Tails provides a platform to solve many surveillance problems by “doing the right thing” out of the box by default, protecting even less tech-savvy users from the most likely and highest impact risks.

  • Tor Project

    Tor Project is an organization conducting extensive research and building technology solutions, including the Tor Browser Bundle, used by journalists to anonymize their web browsing habits and physical location. The Tor Project is passionate about bringing technology, training, and greater awareness in digital security for journalists around the world.

RI Coalition for Human and Civil Rights
Notes from Meeting, Saturday, May 10, 2014 2PM
Knight Memorial Library, Elmwood Avenue, Providence

(Preceded by an Occupy Providence meeting, same location)

Present: Terry Cummings, Cathy Orloff, Patricia Raub, Randall Rose, Nick Schmader, Wally Sillanpoa. Also Jake, to speak later, and his friend Deming. Facilitator: Terry Cummings

The meeting was to be brief, followed by a presentation on computer security by Jake (sorry I did not get last name, see notes to follow) Agenda: 1) Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); 2) USA Freedom Act; 3) Reset the Net; 4) Extraordinary Rendition Band; 5) Racial Profiling; 6) Announcements; 7) Next Meeting

  1. EFF – Randall reported that they want to expand, especially among campus groups. Thus, Patricia and Randall would probably be more involved. Wally also suggested Marshall Feldman, an active faculty member at URI downtown, Urban Studies. Wally can contact him on this.
  2. USA Freedom Act – A watered-down version passed the House of Reps; it is closer to Obama’s proposal. Question of whether we want to support it as better than nothing, or oppose it? Would it look bad for our group to oppose a bill that on the face of it is limiting government surveillance of US citizens? Is the government privatizing spying on us? Should we support the use of “secret” and “court” in the same sentence? Perhaps we could neither support nor oppose, just say we have “grave reservations” as it stands, because of secret courts, etc.? Or does that look as if we’re afraid to take a position on it? Suggestion to consult National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and get their specific arguments re: this bill. Also, if we make a statement, what would we do with it? It could go on our website, Face Book and a press release. Maybe send to members of Congress also. It’s important to not convey a feeling of hopelessness to the public; they already are too much that way now. We need to make them feel that some positive changes can be made with concerted action. Nick volunteered to contact CCR and Patricia the NLG. Randall also mentioned the Federation of American Scientists. The consensus seemed to be that we will probably oppose it after we have strong arguments in place.
  3. Reset the Net. A movement to limit net surveillance. Happening in early June. Many people put banners on their websites; it is somewhat effective re: passage of bills. Should we put their banner on our website? Their ad would allow people to download privacy tools. Easy to do. Also maybe a street demonstration? Discussion over having street protests attended by very few. Demoralizing? Big turnouts take a lot of prep time and work. What about the CT people whose meeting many of us attended in March? Randall says they are not set up for protests, they do not have a unified email. Our group has had two protests recently, both of which got media coverage and had decent attendance. Possibly combine anti-surveillance with racial profiling for a demonstration? Discussion of how DARE and Olneyville Neighborhood Assn (ONA) have led the way on racial profiling. How can we not upstage them, but rather cooperate effectively? At least contact them and have a dialogue – maybe for some action in May or June, while the legislature is still in session? Police use drones in low-income neighborhoods, so there are some links. Approach them in solidarity.
  4. Extraordinary Rendition Band – Cathy said since Extraordinary Rendition means the US policy of kidnapping suspected terrorists and flying them to countries that use torture to be “interrogated” there, she thinks it is an inappropriate name for a band that entertains. Many people do not know that ER has this horrible meaning. True, it is also a play on words eg the “rendition” of a musical piece. They played at the RISD graduation last year; Cathy’s LTE in opposition was published; the band replied justifying themselves. Comments in favor are that they play for free at many community events; good people, etc. But C. said they never carry signs protesting the kidnapping/torture part, so this has the effect of further desensitizing Americans to some serious crimes by our government. Cathy said she would contact them directly herself, but also wanted the group to take the position that the ER band is helping the US violate human rights, and would they consider changing their name? Motion passed to table it for now, with the possibility of telling the band in the future of these concerns
  5. Randall noted that at our April mtg. we agreed to draw up questions on civil/human rights for candidates, and then decide if we want to have a forum. But no-one spearheaded it, so nothing happened on this. Cathy agreed to get this moving this month.
  6. Announcements:
    • Nick: “Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream” Symposium on Climate Change. Saturday, June 14, Unitarian Church in South County.
    • Terry: First Unitarian in Providence: Reed, Whitehouse and Cicciline will havean open meeting on Climate Change. Friday, May 16, 9:30 AM Benefit and Benovolent St. Terry – Has an activist friend in Occupy who would like t o speak to our group. Probably at next meeting.
  7. Next Meeting: Saturday June 7, 2pm, at same location: Knight Memorial Library.

Notes by Cathy Orloff
This was followed by Jake on computer security.

Let our People pay!

Posted: June 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

38 Studios rally, May 29, 2014.