Notes from meeting — June 7, 2014

Posted: June 10, 2014 in Meetings

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


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