hautepop

digital culture and social media and privacy & security and social theory and urbanism and architecture and fashion and anthropology and politics and research

Knight News Challenge: Briar: A Secure News and Discussion System

Briar is competing for funding on the Knight News Challenge

newschallenge:

1. What do you propose to do?

To equip journalists, activists and civil society groups with easy-to-use, secure communication tools that work with or without internet access.

3. Describe the network with which you intend to build or work.

We will work with the emerging global network of citizen journalists, bloggers and activists in authoritarian countries who rely on digital media to make their voices heard, and with the support networks such as Telecomix that help them deal with threats to their freedom and safety online.

5. Who is working on it?

This is an open source project with one full-time contributor and several part-time contributors. Michael Rogers is a P2P software developer with a PhD in the design of censorship-resistant networks. Eleanor Saitta is a security analyst with a decade of experience in threat modeling who’s working on tools for social resilience and direct democracy. Along with other developers and security experts, we also have a user experience designer with a security-specific background.

The project’s source code and design documents are available at http://briar.sf.net, but we will not release a prebuilt application until we’re sure the software is safe to use.

6. What part of the project have you already built?

We’re approximately half way to a beta release, with 35,000 lines of code written so far, comprising most of the underlying security and communication components. The next task is to develop the user interface for the integrated messaging, blogging and discussion software.

We’ll shortly be running a requirements gathering workshop and a series of usability studies with activists in the UK. When we reach the beta stage we’ll ask contacts in several countries for help with translations and beta testing under safe conditions.

The communication protocol will be submitted to a peer-reviewed information security conference to ensure it’s safe to use.

A message from Michael:
Viral marketing doesn’t work, tell everyone you know‏
"It seems that as well as picking 100 entries themselves, the Knight News Challenge judges will be sending through to the next round the five entries that get the most likes and reblogs on Tumblr and mentions on Twitter."

So dear Tumblr, any love you have to give it is much appreciated - just hit that reblog button or give it a tweet.

If you’re a coder / activist / UX or graphic designer / cryptographer / or otherwise think this might be something you’d like to hear more about or get involved in, the mailing list is at http://briar.sf.net or contact Michael at m—[at]gmx.us

The funding URL again: http://newschallenge.tumblr.com/post/19480700983/briar-a-secure-news-and-discussion-system

(Source: newschallenge1)

Gawker » Apple’s Gay Culture Bans Don’t Make It Moral or Pure

Following my post yesterday about Apple censoring a line drawing of a naked man in Ulysses-the-iPad-comic-edition…

So not only did Ulysses Seen get censored, so did a comic version of The Importance Of Being Earnest which featured, OMG, a gay kiss scene. Playboy can have an app, that’s fine, and so can Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, and the comic Kick Ass can show a man and a woman having sex, that’s cool too. But Apple must protect iPad users’ eyes from cartoon gays…

Back in February, Apple VP Phil Schiller tried to justify this double standard: 

"The difference is this is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format,”

But no, that’s not true: the established Brit fash mag Dazed & Confused is calling its iPad version “The Iran Edition” for the amount of oiled naked flesh it will have to cut out of not just editorial fashion shoots but also adverts.

Apparently wholesome American softcore is fine (Playboy, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition). European nakedness, on the other hand, is surely too perverse to be allowed (Dazed & Confused), and anything (a) gay or (b) based more on fandom than commercial visual tropes must be banninated (Ulysses Seen, Importance of Being Earnest).

The Steve Jobs position on all this? This isn’t censorship, it’s freedom - "Freedom From Porn”, quoth Mr Jobs.  But wait, what about those of us who would like to make our own sexual decisions? “You Might Care More About Porn When You Have Kids.”

Oh wuh-te-fuh Mr Jobs, are you treating your entire customer base like they’re all “pre-pregnant”?

Gawker » Apple’s Gay Culture Bans Don’t Make It Moral or Pure

Following my post yesterday about Apple censoring a line drawing of a naked man in Ulysses-the-iPad-comic-edition…

So not only did Ulysses Seen get censored, so did a comic version of The Importance Of Being Earnest which featured, OMG, a gay kiss scene. Playboy can have an app, that’s fine, and so can Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, and the comic Kick Ass can show a man and a woman having sex, that’s cool too. But Apple must protect iPad users’ eyes from cartoon gays…

Back in February, Apple VP Phil Schiller tried to justify this double standard:

"The difference is this is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format,”

But no, that’s not true: the established Brit fash mag Dazed & Confused is calling its iPad version “The Iran Edition” for the amount of oiled naked flesh it will have to cut out of not just editorial fashion shoots but also adverts.

Apparently wholesome American softcore is fine (Playboy, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition). European nakedness, on the other hand, is surely too perverse to be allowed (Dazed & Confused), and anything (a) gay or (b) based more on fandom than commercial visual tropes must be banninated (Ulysses Seen, Importance of Being Earnest).

The Steve Jobs position on all this? This isn’t censorship, it’s freedom - "Freedom From Porn”, quoth Mr Jobs. But wait, what about those of us who would like to make our own sexual decisions? “You Might Care More About Porn When You Have Kids.”

Oh wuh-te-fuh Mr Jobs, are you treating your entire customer base like they’re all “pre-pregnant”?

Webcomic of James Joyce’s Ulysses censured on Apple’s App store:

"“Apple has strict guidelines and a rating system to prevent ‘adult content.’ Their highest mature content rating is 17+, which doesn’t seem to be a problem since no one reads Ulysses at sixteen anyway. But their guidelines also mean no nudity whatsoever. Which is something we never planned for,” Berry told Robot 6

"Joyce’s novel is pretty explicit in its language and themes, so much so that in 1932 it won one of the most important court decisions about censorship in American history. While the first chapter of the book, the one now at iTunes, doesn’t contain "offensive language" our comic does have frank nudity. Something we figured we might have to pixelate or cover with "fig leaves". But Apple’s policy prohibits even that. So we were forced to either scrap the idea of moving to the tablet with Apple or re-design our pages."

In the iPad Apple have created a gadget that’s not much good for work or typing, but great for watching things one-handed in casual reclining positions on the sofa or in bed. In other words, it’s made for porn - and surely that’s deliberate? The market for people who want to read books on electronic screens is limited - screen fatigue, plus keen readers are often pretty attached to books-as-objects. The market for people who want a way to watch porn that’s a bit more personal/private than wanking in front of your desktop PC? Huge.

But now we find that iPad applications can’t contain nudity even of the drawn-on sort - not simply no porn, but even no kinky Japanese anime. (And this added to the porn-for-iPad challenge of Apple’s rules on video formats.)

Is Jobs genuinely trying to mount a challenge to the Porn Law of Competing Media Formats - viz, that adopted by the porn industry wins? Betamax vs. VHS, and subsequently Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD… And surely the iPad vs. a forthcoming Google tablet PC. Assuming the latter’s less censoriously prudish, isn’t porn-on-your-tablet the killer app?