Archive for September, 2013

TA3M Seattle, September 2013

September 2013 Speaker 1:

Jason Self, “The FSF, LibrePlanet, And GNU”

Jason Self, a free software and free culture activist, will be giving a talk entitled “The FSF, LibrePlanet, And GNU”. In this talk, Jason gives an introduction to the Free Software Foundation, their efforts for Free Society – including it’s anti-Surveillance campaign, their free software projects, including including GNU/Linux, their local LibrePlanet Washington State community, and some related upcoming events.

September 2013 Speaker 2:

Jerry Whiting, “Life Online Post-PRISM: tiptoeing through cyberspace”

If you’ve been awake and paying attention the last month you know that the National Security Agency among others has been eavesdropping, wiretapping, and invading our privacy for years. Jerry will review what the NSA can and can’t do, as well as what the NSA does and doesn’t do.

More importantly he’ll discuss what we as individuals can do in response including truly secure password hygiene, encryption and cryptography that actually works, Tor, the anonymizing network, and a new security model that assumes ever-present surveillance. A Tor relay will be configured and given away as well as flash drives and CDs full of tools and toys.

Jerry Whiting engages in what he calls “political computing” providing assistance and guidance to activists, NGOs, and others. He has done encryption and cryptography for 15+ years, runs Tor relays, and lectures on related topics. Founder of Azalea Software, he served on Seattle’s Citizens Telecommunications & Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) for 4 years and publishes JetCityOrange. Jerry has done presentations for #OccupySeattle, Seattle Mini Maker Faire, ToorCamp, and Ada Books. He works with elders of the Black Panther Party, the Tibetan diaspora, and others engaged in the struggle around the world.


Copied for archiving from: https://wiki.openitp.org/events:techno-activism_3rd_mondays:september_2013

What Seattle City Light smart meter forums are like, where to find the next one

 

Here’s a summary from Seattle Privacy correspondent Molly Connelly of the August 19 Seattle City Light forum on Smart Meters:

I went to the AMI (smart meters) forum last night. SCL didn’t do a presentation, and instead just had tables set up for Q&A on Health, Privacy, and Customer benefits, and said they are in the “listening phase” and haven’t made any concrete decisions yet.
Customer Benefits table: City Council approved SCL’s AMI plan in 2012, but they haven’t yet authorized funding for it, and meters will not be purchased until budget authority is given. (This means that potential meter vendors are still unknown, so we don’t know what models will be used and can’t do any kind of security audit on them yet.) (There is still an option to tell City Council to deny funding). Doesn’t sound like federal funding is available for new meters.
Estimated timeline: 2014 get Council to approve funding, secure vendor contracts; 2015 install smart meters (or digital meters if consumer opts out). Opt-out clause is a yes for now, but policy is subject to Council approval, and not clear about additional consumer costs associated with this. Existing analog meters do need to be replaced, options are 1. smart meter, or 2. digital meter (similar to analog but easier to read, no two-way communication, still need a meter reader to physically look at it). Digital meters can’t be converted to smart meters. Industrial/office buildings give useful info about energy usage – potentially could only have smart meters on these buildings (and not residences) and still get good data to help cycle/load energy in efficient manner.
Privacy Questions table: Staffed by SCL employee Kelly E, very friendly/smart/seemed transparent/open to suggestions. Tech citizens concerned about security vulnerability to unauthorized third party access; say wireless can never be truly secure. SCL open to having an independent auditor to test/analyze meter security vulnerability. SCL requires a subpeona to give records to law enforcement and has a legal dept. that reviews all requests before sharing info; mostly deals with fraud issues and sporadic grow-ops.  Citizens concerned about warrantless Fed access, section 215/gag orders etc.
SCL seems unfamiliar with this, and said they don’t know what a fusion center is. Re: danger of federal agencies accessing data without a warrant – SCL suggested a Council ordinance to forbid it. We asserted that if we create a system where big data exists, the Feds will find a way to access it regardless, NSA and co. track record proves this again and again; real-time in-home behavioral data would be an irresistible target for their dragnet surveillance efforts. SCL says meter data can be shared with third parties for “work related to the utility” e.g.  for a conservation effort or fraud detection effort. Tech citizens noted that this option could easily be exploited for data mining.
SCL rep emphasized that SCL is a public utility, owned by the citizens, and offered to create an AMI stakeholders group of citizens to meet regularly and further discuss the privacy issues with her.
SCL rep emphasized that SCL is a public utility, owned by the citizens, and offered to create an AMI stakeholders group of citizens to meet regularly and further discuss the privacy issues with her.
Readers, please note, I’m not publishing the email of the SCL rep because I don’t want her spammed, but if you want to write and encourage the formation of a stakeholders group, please email contact [at] seattleprivacy.org and we’ll get you the email.
Citizen consensus: the inside of our home is the last remaining refuge of privacy (ALPR, cameras, phone GPS etc track our every public movement; NSA tracks every email and phone call. Home is last refuge. Must protect it. This seems like an argument that would resonate strongly with general public). Loss of privacy due to high probability of govt. dragnet surveillance (and third party hacking and data mining) trumps potential environmental and cost benefits of smart meters. Might be helpful to present SCL and City Council with alternative solutions to the problems that smart meters are intended to solve.

The next Seattle City Light forum on Smart Meters is happening September 10 at Seattle Center:

Downtown
Seattle Center – Shaw Room
Seattle Center
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109
*Shaw Room is located on the corner of 1st Ave N and Republican St.
(North of Key Arena)

Tuesday, September 10
5 – 7:30 p.m.South
Seattle Housing Authority NewHolly – Gathering Hall
7054 32nd Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118
Thursday, September 26
5 – 7:30 p.m.

 

 

Technologists, you are needed: Seattle Techno Activism Third Mondays (TA3M) launches

Despite the news today that NSA’s cryptography defeating programs violate every conceivable contract regarding privacy, from HIPAA to run-of-the-mill end user license agreements, the news is good if it’s persuading people like security expert Bruce Schneier to call for help from technologists to restore democratic principles.

In today’s Guardian, he writes, “We need to demand that real technologists be involved in any key government decision making on these issues. We’ve had enough of lawyers and politicians not fully understanding technology; we need technologists at the table when we build tech policy. To the engineers, I say this: we built the internet, and some of us have helped to subvert it. Now, those of us who love liberty have to fix it.”

Although Schneier is writing about a much larger issue than we at SeattlePrivacy ever set out to address, or even suspected existed, the fundamental concern is similar. Our entire society depends on a technical infrastructure now. It is not possible to govern or to report news without acknowledging that fact and drawing on the expertise of technical professionals. Similarly, as a society we must commit ourselves to ensuring that our technologists have access to education about ethics, civil liberties, history, and related fields that provide the information and context that can help us avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

With this in mind, we invite you to join us at the next meeting of the Seattle Chapter of Techno-Activism, 3rd Mondays (MTA3M). Info here:

What: TA3M-Seattle #1
When: 3rd Monday, Sep 16, 2013, 6:30-9:00pm
Where: Black Coffee Coop, 501 E. Pine St; Seattle, WA 98122 <http://blackcoffeecoop.com/>

Welcome to the first TA3M-Seattle meeting!

TA3M-Seattle (Techno-Activism, 3rd Mondays) is a monthly event for people that either work on or want to learn more about online surveillance and censorship, the open source tools that are used to combat it, and issues and initiatives associated with this area. The idea is to bring together software developers, activists, concerned citizens, and others, so we they can both educate each other, and share knowledge.

For more information about TA3M-Seattle, see the wiki:
<https://wiki.openitp.org/events:techno-activism_3rd_mondays:seattle>

We are proud to have two excellent speakers lined up for our first event!

Schedule:

6:30-7:00 (30m), pre-event networking
7:00-7:10 (10m), welcome
7:10-7:50 (30m), Jason Self, “The FSF, LibrePlanet, And GNU”
7:40-7:55 (15m), break, networking
7:55-9:00 (65m), Jerry Whiting, “Life Online Post-PRISM”

Speaker 1:

Jason Self,  “The FSF, LibrePlanet, And GNU”

Jason Self, a free software and free culture activist, will be giving a talk entitled “The FSF, LibrePlanet, And GNU”. In this talk, Jason gives an introduction to the Free Software Foundation, their efforts for Free Society – including its anti-Surveillance campaign, their free software projects, including including GNU/Linux, their local LibrePlanet Washington State community, and related upcoming events.

Speaker 2:

Jerry Whiting, “Life Online Post-PRISM: tiptoeing through cyberspace”

If you’ve been awake and paying attention the last month you know that the National Security Agency among others has been eavesdropping, wiretapping, and invading our privacy for years. Jerry will review what the NSA can and can’t do, as well as what the NSA does and doesn’t do.

More importantly he’ll discuss what we as individuals can do in response including truly secure password hygiene, encryption and cryptography that actually works, Tor, the anonymizing network, and a new security model that assumes ever-present surveillance. A Tor relay will be configured and given away as well as flash drives and CDs full of tools and toys.

Jerry Whiting engages in what he calls “political computing” providing assistance and guidance to activists, NGOs, and others. He has done encryption and cryptography for 15+ years, runs Tor relays, and lectures on related topics. Founder of Azalea Software, he served on Seattle’s Citizens Telecommunications & Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) for 4 years and publishes JetCityOrange. Jerry has done presentations for #OccupySeattle, Seattle Mini Maker Faire, ToorCamp, and Ada Books. He works with elders of the Black Panther Party, the Tibetan diaspora, and others engaged in the struggle around the world.

###