The Weight of Thought

Bottos, a photography major and gender studies minor, runs a Tumblr page where she often uploads selfies as well as pictures of her work.

Since starting the Tumblr in 2010, she has received hundreds of cruel anonymous messages. Last week, she decided to turn the words of hate into a feminist art project; she screencapped some of the messages and posted them over pictures of herself.

The Tumblr post, called “Anonymous,” is a work in progress, she told BuzzFeed. But it nonetheless quickly went viral, garnering over 85,000 notes and drawing in about 20,000 new followers.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) has twice died in Congress, following objections from privacy advocates. Like a resilient zombie, it has risen once again and a new version of the bill — which passed the House in the summer — is getting support from some Senators, bolstered by NSA officials.
The bill, ostensibly aimed at protecting U.S. commerce from cyberattacks, enables companies and goverment agencies giving to share more cyber information, including the content and personal information attached to emails.

Mozilla, the open-source software community responsible for the Firefox browser, has released a new download that allows users to identify who’s tracking their Internet movements.

Dubbed “Lightbeam,” the free Firefox extension will enable users to see which third party companies are monitoring their online presence, a move that Mozilla states will “illuminate the inner workings of the web.”

“It’s a stake in the ground in terms of letting people know the ways they are being tracked,” said Mark Surman, Mozilla’s executive director, to the UK-based Independent. “At Mozilla, we believe everyone should be in control of their user data and privacy and we want people to make informed decisions about their Web experience.”

From Silicon Valley to the South Pacific, counterattacks to revelations of widespread National Security Agency surveillance are taking shape, from a surge of new encrypted email programs to technology that sprinkles the Internet with red flag terms to confuse would-be snoops.

Policy makers, privacy advocates and political leaders around the world have been outraged at the near weekly disclosures from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden that expose sweeping U.S. government surveillance programs.

Can you imagine a world where access to spiritual information was blocked by the government? What if you stopped by an internet cafe, only to find your favorite website was banned by a public web filter, or your friend’s natural health website was blocked because it mentioned ‘spiritual healing’ techniques? A disturbing movement to censor perfectly legal spiritual information is growing (right now in the UK, but other countries are poised to jump on the bandwagon), and will continue unchecked unless people become aware of the problem and protest it. Find out more about the UK filter, and how it will affect you, below.

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, has launched a blistering attack on US espionage at the UN general assembly, accusing the NSA of violating international law by its indiscriminate collection of personal information of Brazilian citizens and economic espionage targeted on the country’s strategic industries.

Rousseff’s angry speech was a direct challenge to President Barack Obama, who was waiting in the wings to deliver his own address to the UN general assembly, and represented the most serious diplomatic fallout to date from the revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Rousseff had already put off a planned visit to Washington in protest at US spying, after NSA documents leaked by Snowden revealed that the US electronic eavesdropping agency had monitored the Brazilian president’s phone calls, as well as Brazilian embassies and spied on the state oil corporation, Petrobras.

Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian told MSPs today that “I have no idea what I’m doing — and that’s awesome.” The statement, delivered at Datto Partner Conference 2013, also included this: “You can disrupt an industry from anywhere. You don’t need to be in Silicon Valley.” But that’s not all.

Among his other key points:

There is unlimited demand for creative people — developers, developers, developers. “And there’s not enough supply.”
He called modern education a “mind job” because the best developers are often self-taught and education often doesn’t reward creativity.
“We need more people making stuff.”
“I was a history major. I was wondering ‘what the hell am I going to do?’ Fortunately, I was a developer in high school.”

The recent revelations regarding the degree to which the US intelligence agency NSA monitors bank data in the European Union has infuriated many in Europe. “Now that we know what we have long been suspecting, we have to protest loudly and clearly,” Jan Philipp Albrecht, a legal expert for the Green Party in the European Parliament, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. He is demanding a suspension of the SWIFT agreement, which governs the transfer of some bank data from the EU to anti-terror authorities in the United States.

On Monday, SPIEGEL reported that the NSA monitors a significant share of international money transfers, including bank and credit card transactions. The information comes from documents in the possession of whistleblower Edward Snowden that SPIEGEL has been able to see. “Follow the Money” is the name of the NSA branch that handles the surveillance. Information obtained by “Follow the Money” then flows into a financial database known as Tracfin. In 2011, Tracfin had 180 million datasets — 84 percent of which are comprised of credit card data.

Brazil plans to divorce itself from the U.S.-centric Internet over Washington’s widespread online spying, a move that many experts fear will be a potentially dangerous first step toward fracturing a global network built with minimal interference by governments.

President Dilma Rousseff ordered a series of measures aimed at greater Brazilian online independence and security following revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted her communications, hacked into the state-owned Petrobras oil company’s network and spied on Brazilians who entrusted their personal data to U.S. tech companies such as Facebook and Google.

Internet security experts are calling for a campaign to rewrite Web security in the wake of disclosures that the U.S. National Security Agency has developed the capability to break encryption protecting millions of sites.

But they acknowledged the task won’t be easy, in part because internet security has relied heavily on brilliant government scientists who now appear suspect to many.

Leading technologists said they felt betrayed that the NSA, which has contributed to some important security standards, was trying to ensure they stayed weak enough that the agency could break them. Some said they were stunned that the government would value its monitoring ability so much that it was willing to reduce everyone’s security.

"We had the assumption that they could use their capacity to make weak standards, but that would make everyone in the U.S. insecure," said Johns Hopkins cryptography professor Matthew Green. "We thought they would never be crazy enough to shoot out the ground they were standing on, and now we’re not so sure."