In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which […] we cannot read?
My answer to that question is no, we must not.
Since the Conservative Part achieved a majority in the elections, the previously shelved Draft Communications Data Bill (also known as the Snooper’s Charter) is back on the list of things the government wants to push through at the earliest possible opportunity. The original draft bill required internet and other service providers to retain records of all communications for 12 months, including emails, web phone calls and use of social media and it is unlikely that it will have changed much since it was first tabled.
The bill currently has the support of the National Crime Agency, Met Police and City of London Police.
It is not too late to start lobbying our MPs in the hope that they will vote against this bill.
The British people are in danger of ‘sleep-walking into a surveillance society!’
If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear is a saying that I seen being quoted by politicians more and more lately; it is the thought that if you are honest, law-abiding and open then you will have no problems with the government looking into what you are saying and doing. I am a firm believer in privacy and believe that it is a right that no government should be able remove.
I know that it is very easy being tracked if you use an RFID travel card or carry your mobile phone with you, even walking in public through a built-up area the chances of you ending up on CCTV are very good.
It is even easier to track a person online, with cookies being placed on our computers, ISPs tracking where we go, search companies retaining all our searches and now governments wanting access to everything we say and do.
It is fortunate that in this modern, hyper-connected world there are tools available to end-users to allow us a modicum of privacy online. I have included links and some information on three of them below.
The Onion Router (Tor)
Tor allows internet users to surf the web anonymously and is used for both legal and illegal purposes.
From the Electronic Freedom Foundation Surveillance Self Defence page:
Tor is a volunteer-run service that provides both privacy and anonymity online by masking who you are and where you are connecting. The service also protects you from the Tor network itself.
For people who might need occasional anonymity and privacy when accessing websites, Tor Browser provides a quick and easy way to use the Tor network.
Users are able to download a version of the Firefox browser modified to work through the Tor network:
The Tor Browser works just like other web browsers, except that it sends your communications through Tor, making it harder for people who are monitoring you to know exactly what you’re doing online, and harder for people monitoring the sites you use to know where you’re connecting from. Keep in mind that only activities you do inside of Tor Browser itself will be anonymized. Having Tor Browser installed on your computer does not make things you do on the same computer using other software (such as your regular web browser) anonymous.
The Tor Project also provides secure browsing apps for Android & iPhone users.
The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails) is a Debian-based live CD/USB with the goal of providing complete Internet anonymity for the user. The product ships with several Internet applications, including web browser, IRC client, mail client and instant messenger, all pre-configured with security in mind and with all traffic anonymised. To achieve this, Tails uses the Tor network to make Internet traffic very hard to trace.
When your computer boots up after the USB or CD is inserted, instead of booting with the installed operating system it will start up the Tails temporary OS that will be run off the CD/USB. When shut down all traces of the temporary OS will be removed from the computer and when the CD/USB is removed the standard OS will begin when next the computer is turned on.
is a cryptographic protocol that provides encryption for instant messaging conversations.
Websites worth visiting
The Library Freedom Project is a partnership among librarians, technologists, attorneys, and privacy advocates which aims to make real the promise of intellectual freedom in libraries. By teaching librarians about surveillance threats, privacy rights and responsibilities, and digital tools to stop surveillance, we hope to create a privacy-centric paradigm shift in libraries and the local communities they serve.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. The EFF works to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows.
The Open Rights Group upholds human rights like free expression and privacy. We condemn and work against repressive laws or systems that deny people these rights.
The ORG campaigns, lobbies, goes to court — whatever it takes to build and support a movement for freedom in the digital age.
Introduce your students to what Libraries are capable of in the Information Age.
Good for an introduction to the Library lesson at the start of the school year and more!
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (http://www.shakespeare.org.uk/), the non-profit organisation that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, has launched its Shakescraft competition where budding digital architects from all over the world can, for the first time, use their imaginations to digitally design New Place, the grand family home in Stratford-upon-Avon where William Shakespeare and his family lived for 19 years.
Shakescraft is free to enter, and available in three different age categories; under 11’s, 12 – 16 year olds, and over 16’s. Judges are looking for Minecraft fans to design their very own version of Shakespeare’s home based on the footprint of New Place, with the most imaginative creations in with a chance to win some fantastic Minecraft and Shakespeare goodies worth £100.
The competition coincides with work starting on the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s project to transform the site of Shakespeare’s New Place into a contemporary heritage landmark in celebration of 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy.
Julie Crawshaw, Shakespeare’s New Place project manager at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “We recently welcomed dozens of local primary school classes to the site of New Place and it was really encouraging to see their interest and enthusiasm for Shakespeare. I know from personal experience how kids of all ages love Minecraft, so this competition is a fantastic opportunity to ignite young people’s interest in Shakespeare, and have fun at the same time.
Although his house no longer stands, we’re sure of the footprint of the site thanks to recent archaeological discoveries, so it’ll be really interesting to see people’s ideas of how Shakespeare would have lived and entertained in this grand family home.”
For details on how to enter, visit www.shakescraft.com. The competition closes on 31 August 2015, with winners announced in September.
About Shakespeare’s New Place
William Shakespeare bought New Place in 1597 at the height of his career as a successful playwright, and was considered the largest house in Stratford-upon -Avon at the time. Sadly, New Place no longer exists after it was demolished in 1759 by its then owner, Reverend Francis Gastrell, who was reputedly annoyed by visiting fans of Shakespeare, as well as a tax dispute with the local parish.
With much of its heritage hidden below ground or in the extensive archives of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, it has been difficult for many visitors to get a real sense of the site’s significance and history. But now, the £5.25million project to re-imagine the site of New Place will tell the story of the world famous playwright at the height of his success as a family man, writer and prominent citizen of Stratford-upon-Avon. This is the single most significant Shakespearian project anywhere in the world to commemorate 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy, and due to reopen on 23 April 2016, the 400th anniversary of his death.
Over the past two weeks I have been introducing students to cloud-based services.
I have started with Google services, specifically Google Docs, Slides and Calendar.
They were shocked and awed at the practical display of how multiple users can edit documents (I had previously created two gmail accounts for this purpose). I did have one student bemoan the fact that this technology means the end of the “my computer crashed and I lost my homework” excuse. They started discussing how they could use a multiple edit document as a chat service and they were even more amazed when I showed them that there is chat functionality built in to Docs so they can talk as well as work. I also pointed out that if they were chatting in the middle of a joint essay they may forget to delete their comments and hand in something inappropriate to their teacher.
This week I will be showing how Google docs can be edited via mobile devices and introduce them to using Picasa to store images for projects.
I have also created Pinterest accounts for my teaching gmail accounts and will show my students how to use them to store websites and online information as proto-bibliographies.
Following on from this I will introduce them to free (legal) software and how to stay safe (and anonymous) online.
Google is now offering Google Earth free of charge. A licence previously cost $399.
To find out more and sign up for a free key follow this link:
The BBC has created a games site to allow children & teens to create their own games. It ties in with the CBBC show Technobabble.
It’s a starter kit. It requires no technical knowledge, no download and works just as well on mobile and tablets as desktop.
The only requirements are access to the web, a willingness to experiment and an idea. In minutes a child can create a game.
– Martin Wilson BBC head of digital creativity for future media
The BBC has unveiled a computer game called The Doctor and the Dalek, as part of the Make it Digital initiative to get more young people into computer coding.
It is voiced by Peter Capaldi and the story, starring a friendly Dalek, is written by Doctor Who series writer Phil Ford.
Find the best books and media for teens, as selected by library staff and educators across the United States! The Teen Book Finder, generously funded by a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, offers easy access to the titles honored each year by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. The Teen Book Finder allows users to search for books by title, author, genre, award, or list; create a reading list with the favorites button; share what you’re reading on Facebook and Twitter; and find a copy of the book in your local library, all from one screen! Not sure where to start? YALSA offers three different book titles as hot picks on the homepage each day.