Stop the Secrecy

Save the Internet, Save the World: The Defining Battle for Net Neutrality

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 15:52 -- Eva Prkachin

Guest blog by OpenMedia community member Cynthia Khoo

The world needs a hero, and that hero is you.

Our worldwide web is currently dangling above an alligator-filled moat, tied to the train tracks, strapped to a live bomb (tick-tock), and rapidly headed towards gory destruction at the end of a Comcast/Bell/ [insert-your-country's-biggest-telco-name-here]-branded conveyor belt. Time of death: 12:00am. Cause of death: Big Telecom, aggressive lobbying, money and power imbalances, and a misguided FCC net neutrality decision that ignores over 1.1 million comments and counting from everyday Internet users like you.

What does your lazy summer afternoon at the lake have to do with saving the open Internet?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 14:48 -- Eva Prkachin

Hi! I'm Alexa, OpenMedia's new Managing Director - great to meet you! I took a break from the behind the scenes work to share why I’m here. Summer days are perfect for chilling out, reconnecting with friends and family, and reflecting on what in our lives matters most. What matters to me is that my work contributes to building a more just and collaborative world for my kids. I care deeply about OpenMedia’s work to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. It’s an essential tool that creates transformative change. This is reason #1 for accepting my job at OpenMedia.

It’s one thing to say one cares about democracy and collaboration. It’s another thing to put these values into practice. I saw in OpenMedia an organization consciously and deliberately putting their values of participatory democracy and transparency into practice. This is why we use our Community Survey to shape our future work and also why we ask, “why are you inspired by the possibilities of an open Internet?”

The Verge: U.S. government workers' social security numbers stolen

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 15:31 -- Eva Prkachin

U.S. government employees are the latest victims of a massive, likely state-sponsored, cyber security breach. Do you worry about how well government entities look after the online data they store about us?

Article by Dante D'Orazio for the Verge

US government employees are the victims of the latest security breach. A contractor for the government has revealed that sensitive information on at least 25,000 workers has been obtained as a result of a cyber attack. The information includes standard personal details like Social Security numbers and birth dates, as well as workers' educational and criminal backgrounds. It also includes information on family members, relatives, and acquaintances.

Consumers Union: 65 groups to FCC: Stop TWC/Comcast merger

Mon, 08/25/2014 - 14:21 -- Eva Prkachin

Comcast and Time Warner Cable want to merge - giving the new company a virtual monopoly over the U.S. cable & Internet market. Those Comcast customer service nightmares you've been hearing so much about? Expect them to get a lot worse. That's why these 65 groups are coming together to tell the FCC to prevent Time Warner Cable and Comcast from merging.

Article by Consumers Union

Sixty-five organizations representing consumers, content producers, and social justice and democracy-reform advocates called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today to reject the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The FCC is currently reviewing the deal to determine whether it serves the public interest.

Wired: The NSA is hurting the Internet.

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 15:22 -- Eva Prkachin

"By treating the Internet as a giant surveillance platform, the NSA has betrayed the Internet and the world."

Article by Bruce Schneier for Wired

By treating the Internet as a giant surveillance platform, the NSA has betrayed the Internet and the world. It has subverted the products, protocols, and standards that we use to protect ourselves. It has left us all vulnerable—to foreign governments, to cybercriminals, to hackers. And it has transformed the Internet into a medium that no one can trust.

Motherboard: Big data vs an enigmatic medieval discovery

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 15:16 -- Eva Prkachin

See how the Internet is helping to solve this decades-long medieval text mystery

Article by Felipe Maia for Motherboard

The Voynich Manuscript might have been dropped to Earth by aliens; it might be a medieval cipher whose mystery outlived anyone who had the key; it also might be a prank and moneymaking scheme by some haggard rare bookseller. But whatever the book actually is, Brazilian scientists are pretty certain that the manuscript's text—which is written in a language and alphabet only found in the Voynich itself—isn't just gibberish. There's meaning in there, and complex network modeling or other big data tools might crack the enigma that has thus far proven unbreakable.

Motherboard: Municipal broadband networks given a fighting chance

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 12:56 -- Eva Prkachin

Citizens were outraged that Big Telecom has been trying to force states to enact laws preventing municipalities from building their own broadband networks. Now, the FCC and some members of Congress are starting to listen, and are looking into ways to preempt laws banning high-speed municipal networks. What do you think of this development?

Article by Sam Gustin for Motherboard

It's been called "the next big fight" in telecom policy: the battle over whether the Federal Communications Commission should preempt state laws that ban or discourage local communities from building their own high-speed broadband Internet networks.

Ars Technica: Meet John Tye: the kinder, gentler, and by-the-book whistleblower

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 16:49 -- Eva Prkachin

This former U.S. state-department employee is blowing the whistle on a little-known executive order that allows the NSA to "incidentally" sweep up the private information of Americans. His story is fascinating, especially given the reaction to Edward Snowden over the past year.

Article by Cyrus Farivar for Ars Technica

During Tye’s first conversation with Ars on Monday, his lawyer also on the line so he opened the conversation with a well-rehearsed caveat: he would not release any classified information.

“If you hear something that sounds like I am talking about classified activities or NSA activities, I want to tell you right now you misheard what I said, and you should ask me for a clarification because that’s not what I am going to be talking about,” he said.

Wired: Don't let cable companies destroy everything great about the Internet

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 14:46 -- Eva Prkachin

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has a few words to say about how Internet slow lanes could harm the future of the Internet. If you're as worried as we are, speak up now at

Article by Reed Hastings for Wired

The Internet has already changed how we live and work, and we're only just getting started. Who'd have thought even five years ago that people would be streaming Ultra HD 4K video over their home Internet connections? Infographic - the Internet speaks up for Net Neutrality

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 13:55 -- Eva Prkachin

Check out this amazing visualization of all 1.1 million comments made to the FCC about Internet Slow Lanes.

Article by Karl Bode for

As noted recently, the FCC decided to dump all of the comments they received on net neutrality out in the open in the form of six XML files, allowing analysis of what people and companies were thinking on the issue. Initial dissection of that data was largely superficial, with stories exploring things like the fact that people sure like to say the f-bomb a lot.