Use Technology to Mobilize Your Community

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The current federal leadership in the USA has many people concerned about their rights and freedoms. If you’re one of those people you can use these technological tools to help you stand up and fight back. Newsweek, rather surprisingly, compiled a list of tech tools that can be used to mobilize communities or be used to fund campaigns you support. As always, be sure to protect your online privacy and maybe even your in-person privacy. With the recent revelation of the Vault 7 leaks to Wikileaks it’s more important than ever before to speak up and stay safe.

Sleeping Giants

Sleeping Giants aims to take down what it calls “racist” websites by attacking their ad dollars. Since many companies rely on programmatic advertising, they might not be aware of what sites their ads appear on. Thus, Sleeping Giants notifies companies, requesting that they take action and block the offending websites, or risk alienating their customers. So far, they claim over a thousand brands have committed to removing their ads from such sites.

5 Calls
This app aims to get even the most phone-shy people to call their elected representatives daily. 5 Calls automates the process, providing numbers to officials based on the user’s location and offers easy scripts to follow. It’s available on Apple and Android devices. If only there was an app like this for calling one’s parents.

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Will Iceland be the “Switzerland of Data”?

Iceland is the de facto home of Wikileaks and is also a country concerned with privacy issues. The country is now considering leveraging their experience and reputation of being digital-data friendly to the next level. Presently, the country is considering branding itself as the “Switzerland of Data.”

If Iceland does move ahead with this, it means that the country will become one of the most important players in the 21st century similar to how Switzerland was with banks in the 20th.

The International Modern Media Institute (IMMI), a non-profit organisation, has played an instrumental role in designing and promoting the legal framework for Iceland’s new data privacy laws.

Following the country’s 2010 financial crisis, mass protests broke out against the nepotism, corruption and lack of transparency exposed by the collapse. A group of Icelandic activists began working on an initiative to create the world’s strongest media and free speech protection laws, as well as a state-of-the-art privacy law.

Birgitta Jónsdóttir is IMMI’s spokeswoman and now represents the Pirate Party in the Icelandic parliament. She met Al Jazeera at her office in Reykjavik and explained that one of IMMI’s goals is “to allow people working on human rights or investigative journalists, as well as people who want to host data on a massive scale, to be free from worrying about privacy issues”.

She added: “Iceland should become for information what Switzerland is for money.”

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Greenpeace Launches Wikileaks Inspired Site

Wikileaks has been a great source of information that governments and corporations wanted to deny or keep secret. Now Greenpeace has modelled a site, Arctic Truth, for whistleblowers who work in the world of arctic drilling for oil. As climate change turns the frozen north into accessible waters oil companies want to move in and further the reach of their harmful industry. Even people in the industry are realizing how dangerous it is to drill closer to the north pole than ever before and have started to speak up.

The website is intended to shield the identities of whistleblowers as part of an effort to attract those willing to report on problems. Vaguely modeled on Wikileaks, the site is intended to protect whistleblowers but whether that will be tested in the courts remains to be seen.

“We know there have been a lot of problems with Shell and other companies and we wanted to create a way for employees to feel safe and secure,” if they reported problems, Ms. Ferguson said.

Shell canceled its 2013 Arctic drilling program after both its drill ships experienced serious problems last year. Its big circular drillship Kulluk broke away as it was being towed south after the drill season and ran aground on Kodiak Island New Year’s Eve. It has been taken to Asia for repairs.

Read more at the Globe and Mail.
Check out Arctic Truth.

WikiLeaks Releases Syria Files

WikiLeaks continues to bring the world information that would otherwise be hidden from the masses, this time it’s millions of emails and documents from Syria. The Syria Files have been given to some media organizations to filter through (much like the last large release of documents from WikiLeaks).

This new release should shed light on the volatile situation in Syria and potential more. Already, it appears Italy was illegal helping Syria, who knows what else will be found. The more open and transparent countries are the more democratically they can function (the irony in all of this is WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being threatened by America).

“It helps us not merely to criticize one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it,” the announcement quotes Julian Assange, who is currently in the Ecuador embassy in London, where he is awaiting a decision on his appeal for political asylum.

There are 2,434,899 documents in the leak involving 678,752 different senders and 1,082,447 different recipients, WikiLeaks says. That’s about eight times the size of “Cablegate” in terms of a number of documents and 100 times the size in terms of data. Cablegate was the release by WikiLeaks of US State Department confidential cable exchanges between American embassies and Washington, which angered the US administration.

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WikiLeaks Founder Awarded Peace Medal

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been awarded a peace medal from the Sydney Peace Foundation for the work that WikiLeaks has been up to. I’m sure that this is given symbolical to Assange but intended to thank everyone who has contributed to the great work happening at WikiLeaks.

The peace foundation presented Mr Assange a gold medal in recognition of his “exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights” at a ceremony in London on Tuesday.

It is only the fourth time in the organisation’s 14-year history that the prize for extraordinary achievement in promoting peace with justice has been given out.

Previous winners are Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Japanese Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda.

Foundation director Professor Stuart Rees said the award was to honour Mr Assange’s work in challenging official secrecy.

Read the rest of the story here.

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