Every day is exactly the same

  • Sep. 18th, 2017 at 10:40 PM
gwyn: (bucky confusedface)
Oh, I totally forgot to mention in my last post--you remember a while ago when someone had asked me about translating my Groundhog Day/time loop fic I can't remember how this started (but I can tell you exactly how it ends) into Russian, only they had to remove the comment in order to get help translating it through some kind of fest? And I thought it was so strange but it turned out to be some kind of fandom battle where teams compete against each other, so everything had to be anonymous? Well, the translation was posted the other day (or at least, I think it's still the same person involved, though the poster had a different user name, but I can't imagine who else would have been interested in translating it), so if you were ever inclined to read that fic in Russian, you can now! Не могу вспомнить, как это началось (но расскажу, как закончится) is here on AO3.

I also forgot to mention some of the TV I've been watching during recovery. There were some shows everyone told me required absolute attention, which is not often how I watch TV these days, so I kept saving them for when I'd have time to really watch.

The Expanse was the first one, and I can see why people like it (I've only seen the first season since it's free streaming on Amazon; I'm not gonna pay 20 bucks for the second season, though), but it suffered from the same thing that pretty much all SF and fantasy suffers from that I really, really hate: it's still largely a show about men, with one or two roles for "strong" women, who are stuck representing all of our gender. One woman on a spaceship with all guys, one woman in politics surrounded by all guys…I'm just so fucking weary. And the small supporting female roles are all defined by their relationships to men--the police captain or whatever she was, the other woman, both defined by their relationships to creepy skeevy Thomas Jane, Juliette Mao by defying her father, by the men she's dealt with in the past. Maybe the second season is better, I have to hope so. I like the worldbuilding, but this hundreds of years in the future and women are still barely in the story; I have no more patience for stories where we're writing alternate worlds that suffer from the exact same myopic shit we have now.

[personal profile] belmanoir watched GLOW with me, I think we saw the first three, maybe four, episodes? I liked it, but I have to agree with a lot of what I saw in complaints about the show--Ruth is a terribly unlikeable person to hang your show on from the beginning. Not being likeable isn't inherently bad, there are great shows with horrible characters at the center, but she doesn't have a strong enough character to make you want to follow her on the path to redemption the way a lot of those stories do--when you have an unlikeable protagonist, you really have to beef up a lot of the other things to make them compelling. The other problem we both had was that they're spending way, way too much time on the men and not enough on the secondary female characters. Especially the wrestling dynasty girl, I want to see way, way more of her, and I don't give a fuck about the men. It's a huge mistake to spend so much time on the skeevy director guy or Piz the producer, especially in a story about these women. The '80s stuff is hilarious, though, and I love the soundtrack and I'm interested to watch more, I just hate knowing that they're going to keep spending so much time on the guys.

I've seen the first few episodes of Sens8, and I'm baffled by why people love this so passionately. But I'm hoping it gets better as it goes along; as it is right now, the only character I care about is the Mexican actor and his boyfriend, but that's not a lot of screen time. I mean I get that people like it because it's one of the few shows with main storylines of gay and lesbian and trans people, and I can definitely understand that, plus there's the international stories instead of it being yet another subset of white America, but…nothing's sparking with me so far and some of the stories are so over the top ridiculously unbelievable and stupid that I'm gnashing my teeth--but I'll stick it out at least through the first season to see if it gets better.

I watched all of the first season of Bojack Horseman and…wow, was that fucking depressing. It's billed as a comedy, of course, but I never laughed once, not even at all the fun it pokes at Hollywoodd or the guest voices or anything. It's just so goddamn bleak. It took me a while to get past the bizarro concept (the style of the world, with animals being partly humanistic and partly animalistic, and vice versa, is something that creeps me out beyond words), but I really wanted to embrace the show because I know a lot of people who love it so much, but I didn't expect it to make me wish I'd never woken up after surgery. I sometimes feel like that's all that's left of the future, this sort of miserable existence where you're just wasting time till you die, and the show made me feel that x1,000. So thanks, show, for making my already suicidal tendencies even more pronounced.

I'm self soothing by watching the first three series of The Great British Bake Off, which they won't show here for inexplicable reasons (on PBS and Netflix, season 1 is actually season 5, and season 2 is season 4, which just…why). It was interesting to see how the show evolved. I was kind of disturbed by one contestant because she was so clearly an abused woman, she showed every behavior I ever saw working at the shelter years ago--either abused by a husband or possibly a parent farther back, but since there was no husband in any of the home segments or the finale and her children said some really telling things, I'm betting it was an ex-husband. Good on her for participating, though, but it made me really uncomfortable many times because I kept wondering if the producers realized how it was coming across on screen. Still, it's fun to go back and see some of the things I've heard about in the show but never saw, and the show honestly, even when you're tense for the people you want to win, is so pleasant.
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19-2 finale

  • Sep. 18th, 2017 at 10:09 PM
istia: 2 kel'ein from cherryh's "kutath" in black robes with swords, 1 crouched beside other (x | cherryh kutath)
This episode--408--is pretty much the most perfect finale I could imagine!

Spoilers )

Freeze by Bead (T)

  • Sep. 18th, 2017 at 10:09 PM
Show: SGA

Rec Category: John/Rodney
Characters: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay, Ronon Dex, Teyla Emmagan
Pairings: John/Rodney
Categories: Slash, Drama
Warnings: None
Author’s Website: Bead on AO3
Link: Freeze

Why This Must Be Read: Rodney tries to talk to John about feelings and John shoves Pegasus-equivalent steak into his mouth to escape. This is just really nicely written from the emotional repression to the emotional conclusion. Love it.

First paragraph to get you started )

Sep. 18th, 2017

  • 10:55 PM
kittydesade: (courtesan in training)
There's something particularly offensive about when you actually go to fucking bed on time or even a bit early, and then stay up thrashing for two hours and wake up again two hours after that and. Yeah. Guess what I spent all last night doing. I'm honestly amazed I'm as functional as I am right now.

Work is getting done, though. Slowly.

I managed to sit my ass through the rest of The Defenders yesterday (it was not as bad as I thought!) and then managed to be so enthusiastic about it that I got [personal profile] lireavue to watch it and now I get to have hilarious fun listening to her exhort Matt and Jessica and yell at Danny Rand. It's so distinctive, Danny Rand's role is, that she started yelling at him and I was all "Oh you're at the point where he storms into the room and is all I AM THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST YOU WILL CEASE YOUR EVILDOING AT ONCE" That's not even a spoiler really, that's his role in the entire goddamn show. To storm around saying he's the Immortal Iron Fist and people will cease to be awful. Oh honey. That's so not how it works. You're adorable. Here's a pair of safety scissors and some construction paper. Don't eat the paste.

I think Monday's language exercises will always be entering information into Duolingo's tiny cards for Hindi and Arabic. I tried using Memrise but mastering a whole other keyboard on top of a bunch of other vocab words is a step too far, and it was so difficult I just stopped doing the lessons entirely. So flash cards are better. Hopefully if I do a little of this every night before bed etc I'll get better at it. I can do the grammar, but the vocab is kicking my ass. But it's nice to be picking up these languages again.

But. Blergh. I underestimated the amount of time it would take to get that and the bread done. STILL. It's been the most productive day and evening I've had in a couple weeks, partly because allowing myself to do shit but also just.... I'm not sure why else, actually, considering I got fuck all for sleep. So I guess I'll take it, and try and finish what I don't get done tonight, tomorrow. As per usual but this time with some hope that it'll happen.
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Bees

  • Sep. 18th, 2017 at 6:54 PM
sartorias: (Default)
I was working away when the next door neighbor called, and said there were a zillion bees swarming around my pine tree on the patio. By the time I finished what I was typing, and went down to look out the kitchen window, I only saw four or five bees, and thought nothing of it.

Then, a few minutes ago, I took the dog out for a walk, and the neighbor came out, and said, look at the trunk of your pine. Whoa!

Here's from the side. click and embiggen, to see how far around the trunk they go.


Bees

And this below is from the sidewalk. Look in the upper portion of the trunk--that is a zillion bees tightly packed together.

Bees 2

That looks so . . . weird.

If they're still there in a couple of days, I'll have to find beekeepers to move them. My son's biological family on the female side has a deadly bee allergy running through them--his bio uncle has to carry an epipen everywhere, and my patio is about the size of two bedsheets put together. In fact, when I dry my laundry outside, I can only get one set of bedding out there at a time.
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Reincarnation Blues

  • Sep. 19th, 2017 at 12:48 AM

I was looking for a light read to bring with me on my latest hiking trip in parc national de la Jacques-Cartier and parc national de la Mauricie, and it felt as though Michael Poore's Reincarnation Blues was just what the doctor ordered. I was hooked on the premise as soon as I received the novel and intrigued enough to move it quite near to the top of my rotation of books to read.

I had never read anything by this author before, but this seemed to be a unique idea and I was looking forward to reading something totally different from what's out there these days. Sadly, after a great start that was very promising, Poore sort of lost control of his story and everything appeared to drift a bit aimlessly for a while. So much so that I had more or less lost interest before the end came. Which is a shame, as Reincarnation Blues seemed destined to be another winner like Daryl Gregory's Spoonbenders. Alas. . .

Here's the blurb:

First we live. Then we die. And then . . . we get another try?

Ten thousand tries, to be exact. Ten thousand lives to “get it right.” Answer all the Big Questions. Achieve Wisdom. And Become One with Everything.

Milo has had 9,995 chances so far and has just five more lives to earn a place in the cosmic soul. If he doesn’t make the cut, oblivion awaits. But all Milo really wants is to fall forever into the arms of Death. Or Suzie, as he calls her.

More than just Milo’s lover throughout his countless layovers in the Afterlife, Suzie is literally his reason for living—as he dives into one new existence after another, praying for the day he’ll never have to leave her side again.

But Reincarnation Blues is more than a great love story: Every journey from cradle to grave offers Milo more pieces of the great cosmic puzzle—if only he can piece them together in time to finally understand what it means to be part of something bigger than infinity. As darkly enchanting as the works of Neil Gaiman and as wisely hilarious as Kurt Vonnegut’s, Michael Poore’s Reincarnation Blues is the story of everything that makes life profound, beautiful, absurd, and heartbreaking.

Because it’s more than Milo and Suzie’s story. It’s your story, too.

The worldbuilding is decidedly uneven. Some chapters follow Milo in the afterlife, while others focus on his countless reincarnations. The timeline is all over the place, with chapters taking place centuries in the past and others fast-forward centuries into the future. It follows no logical chronology, which can have weird repercussions on the main story arc. Some of these reincarnation plotlines are brilliantly written, but others are a mess and it felt as though the author was winging it and had no idea where he was going with his tale. The premise gave Michael Poore countless opportunities to showcase his imagination, yet many of Milo's reincarnations felt flat due to what ultimately was poor execution on the author's part. There are some awesome parts in this novel. Trouble is, there is also a lot of uninspired and lackluster material that often sends everything else down the crapper.

Although his heart is in the right place (most of the time at least), there is no denying that Milo is a slacker and kind of a prick. And while it's so easy and fun to root for him at the beginning of the novel, each new reincarnation makes him lose more of his luster and it gets to the point when the reader simply loses interest in Milo's plight. I particularly enjoyed Suzie's perspective, but it wasn't enough to reel me back in once I sort of gave up on Milo. The supporting cast doesn't feature any memorable secondary characters, I'm afraid. Mama and Nan had potential, but they're never really developed. The dark and witty humor that works so well at the start of the book gradually loses its magic as the story progresses. Indeed, you go from multiple chuckles throughout each chapter to a point where you disengage and just want the story to end.

Weighing in at 374 pages, Reincarnation Blues is not a big novel. One would think that such a book wouldn't suffer from pacing issues, but it is unfortunately the case. Following a great beginning, it appears that Michael Poore ran out of fun and ingeniously clever ideas for Milo's subsequent reincarnations. As a result, the main story arc peters out, plagued by a few way-too-long chapters that irremediably kills whatever traction and momentum the storylines had going for them. Trimmed down by perhaps fifty pages or so, things might have worked a lot better overall.

In the end, by the time the last reincarnation comes and goes, I was so disconnected from the plot that Milo's fate left me almost totally indifferent. Which is too bad, as Reincarnation Blues had a lot of potential. I fear that Poore enjoyed his own cleverness a bit too much and went all out in a way that was detrimental to what lies at the heart of the tale: Milo and Suzie's love story.

It's an often fun and witty sort of novel, no doubt about it. And yet, attempting to cram too much humor and strange reincarnation stories ultimately spoiled the execution and resulted into a bit of a mess that failed to live up to the potential Reincarnation Blues showed early on.

The final verdict: 6.5/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

Follow this link to read an extract from the book.
Tags: None

Posted by elliot

There’s a bill in Congress that would be a disaster for free speech online. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is holding a hearing on that bill, and we’ll be blogging about it as it happens.

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) might sound virtuous, but it’s the wrong solution to a serious problem. The authors of SESTA say it’s designed to fight sex trafficking, but the bill wouldn’t punish traffickers. What it would do is threaten legitimate online speech.

Join us at 7:30 a.m. Pacific time (10:30 Eastern) on Tuesday, right here and on the @EFFLive Twitter account. We’ll let you know how to watch the hearing, and we’ll share our thoughts on it as it happens. In the meantime, please take a moment to tell your members of Congress to Stop SESTA.

Take Action

Tell Congress: Stop SESTA.

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[personal profile] sasha_honeypalm's musical tribute to Barbara G. Walker's (professionally published!) novel
Amazon:


Don't know much about history
Don't know much about theology
Don't know much 'bout how to write a book
Don't know how to cite the quotes I took
But I know all that I say must be true
And I know if you believed it, too
What a wonderful world this would be

Don't know much about geography
Don't know much sociology
Don't know how to understand folklore
Don't know what a reference book is for
But I do know that one god is bad
And if we'd kept the goddess we once had
What a wonderful world this would be

Now, I don't claim to be a goddess
But I'm tryin' to be
For maybe if I'm a goddess, people
You'll all worship me.

Don't know much about history
Don't know much about technology
Don't know much...


[personal profile] rosepsyche's paean to the Power of Story is also quoteworthy:

I have to call "bull" on Antiope's reasoning that art and music are inferior because they are "not alive" for another reason. No, such creations aren't living, breathing things. However (and I apologize if this gets a bit corny), the best of them can seem as if they are alive, get us invested in their characters, have us cheering about their triumphs and crying over their tragedies. They are just as valuable in their own way for their ability to entertain, to inspire, to teach, to help us grow and develop by seeing the world from a new point of view, and I don't think anyone involved in creating them would appreciate being told that their work can never compare to something that was squeezed out of a vagina.


Context sporks the world's worst Wonder Woman fanfic.
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Posted by danny

As part of an ongoing attempt to help law enforcement obtain data across international borders, the Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Convention— finalized in the weeks following 9/11, and ratified by the United States and over 50 countries around the world—is back on the global lawmaking agenda. This time, the Council’s Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) has initiated a process to draft a second additional protocol to the Convention—a new text which could allow direct foreign law enforcement access to data stored in other countries’ territories. EFF has joined EDRi and a number of other organizations in a letter to the Council of Europe, highlighting some anticipated concerns with the upcoming process and seeking to ensure civil society concerns are considered in the new protocol. This new protocol needs to preserve the Council of Europe’s stated aim to uphold human rights, and not undermine privacy, and the integrity of our communication networks.

How the Long Arm of Law Reaches into Foreign Servers

Thanks to the internet, individuals and their data increasingly reside in different jurisdictions: your email might be stored on a Google server in the United States, while your shared Word documents might be stored by Microsoft in Ireland. Law enforcement agencies across the world have sought to gain access to this data, wherever it is held. That means police in one country frequently seek to extract personal, private data from servers in another.

Currently, the primary international mechanism for facilitating governmental cross border data access is the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process, a series of treaties between two or more states that create a formal basis for cooperation between designated authorities of signatories. These treaties typically include some safeguards for privacy and due process, most often the safeguards of the country that hosts the data.

The MLAT regime includes steps to protect privacy and due process, but frustrated agencies have increasingly sought to bypass it, by either cross-border hacking, or leaning on large service providers in foreign jurisdictions to hand over data voluntarily.

The legalities of cross-border hacking remain very murky, and its operation is the very opposite of transparent and proportionate. Meanwhile, voluntary cooperation between service providers and law enforcement occurs outside the MLAT process and without any clear accountability framework. The primary window of insight into its scope and operation is the annual Transparency Reports voluntarily issued by some companies such as Google and Twitter.

Hacking often blatantly ignores the laws and rights of a foreign state, but voluntary data handovers can be used to bypass domestic legal protections too.  In Canada, for example, the right to privacy includes rigorous safeguards for online anonymity: private Internet companies are not permitted to identify customers without prior judicial authorization. By identifying often sensitive anonymous online activity directly through the voluntary cooperation of a foreign company not bound by Canadian privacy law, law enforcement agents can effectively bypass this domestic privacy standard.

Faster, but not Better: Bypassing MLAT

The MLAT regime has been criticized as slow and inefficient. Law enforcement officers have claimed that have to wait anywhere between 6-10 months—the reported average time frame for receiving data through an MLAT request—for data necessary to their local investigation. Much of this delay, however, is attributable to a lack of adequate resources, streamlining and prioritization for the huge increase in MLAT requests for data held the United States, plus the absence of adequate training for law enforcement officers seeking to rely on another state’s legal search and seizure powers.

Instead of just working to make the MLAT process more effective, the T-CY committee is seeking to create a parallel mechanism for cross-border cooperation. While the process is still in its earliest stages, many are concerned that the resulting proposals will replicate many of the problems in the existing regime, while adding new ones.

What the New Protocol Might Contain

The Terms of Reference for the drafting of this new second protocol reveal some areas that may be included in the final proposal.

Simplified mechanisms for cross border access

T-CY has flagged a number of new mechanisms it believes will streamline cross-border data access. The terms of reference mention a simplified regime’ for legal assistance with respect to subscriber data. Such a regime could be highly controversial if it compelled companies to identify anonymous online activity without prior judicial authorization. The terms of reference also envision the creation of “international production orders.”. Presumably these would be orders issued by one court under its own standards, but that must be respected by Internet companies in other jurisdictions. Such mechanisms could be problematic where they do not respect the privacy and due process rights of both jurisdictions.

Direct cooperation

The terms of reference also call for "provisions allowing for direct cooperation with service providers in other jurisdictions with regard to requests for [i] subscriber information, [ii] preservation requests, and [iii] emergency requests." These mechanisms would be permissive, clearing the way for companies in one state to voluntarily cooperate with certain types of requests issued by another, and even in the absence of any form of judicial authorization.

Each of the proposed direct cooperation mechanisms could be problematic. Preservation requests are not controversial per se. Companies often have standard retention periods for different types of data sets. Preservation orders are intended to extend these so that law enforcement have sufficient time to obtain proper legal authorization to access the preserved data. However, preservation should not be undertaken frivolously. It can carry an accompanying stigma, and exposes affected individuals’ data to greater risk if a security breach occurs during the preservation period. This is why some jurisdictions require reasonable suspicion and court orders as requirements for preservation orders.

Direct voluntary cooperation on emergency matters is challenging as well. While in such instances, there is little time to engage the judicial apparatus and most states recognize direct access to private customer data in emergency situations, such access can still be subject to controversial overreach. This potential for overreach--and even abuse--becomes far higher where there is a disconnect between standards in requesting and responding jurisdictions.

Direct cooperation in identifying customers can be equally controversial. Anonymity is critical to privacy in digital contexts. Some data protection laws (such as Canada’s federal privacy law) prevent Internet companies from voluntarily providing subscriber data to law enforcement voluntarily.

Safeguards

The terms of reference also envisions the adoption of “safeguards". The scope and nature of these will be critical. Indeed, one of the strongest criticisms against the original Cybercrime Convention has been its lack of specific protections and safeguards for privacy and other human rights. The EDRi Letter calls for adherence to the Council of Europe’s data protection regime, Convention 108, as a minimum prerequisite to participation in the envisioned regime for cross-border access, which would provide some basis for shared privacy protection. The letter also calls for detailed statistical reporting and other safeguards.

What’s next?

On 18 September, the T-CY Bureau will meet with European Digital Rights Group (EDRI) to discuss the protocol. The first meeting of the Drafting Group will be held on 19 and 20 September. The draft Protocol will be prepared and finalized by the T-CY, in closed session.

Law enforcement agencies are granted extraordinary powers to invade privacy in order to investigate crime. This proposed second protocol to the Cybercrime Convention must ensure that the highest privacy standards and due process protections adopted by signatory states remain intact.

We believe that the Council of Europe T-CY Committee — Netherlands, Romania, Canada, Dominica Republic, Estonia, Mauritius, Norway, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, and Ukraine — should concentrate first on fixes to the existing MLAT process, and they should ensure that this new initiative does not become an exercise in harmonization to the lowest denominator of international privacy protection. We'll be keeping track of what happens next.

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neotoma: Loki from Thistil Mistil Kistil being a dingbat (Loki-Dingbat)
I harvested two of the candy roaster squash today -- on was 8lb and the other was 13.5lb.

Someone stole the third one out of the garden sometime in the last week -- so I have a terrible neighbor, somewhere.

The table gold acorn squash are progressing well. I might harvest one of those soon as well.
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Posted by sophia

The First Amendment protects the right of members of the public to record first responders addressing medical emergencies, EFF argued in an amicus brief filed in the federal trial court for the Northern District of Texas. The case, Adelman v. DART, concerns the arrest of a Dallas freelance press photographer for criminal trespass after he took photos of a man receiving emergency treatment in a public area.

EFF’s amicus brief argues that people frequently use electronic devices to record and share photos and videos. This often includes newsworthy recordings of on-duty police officers and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel interacting with members of the public. These recordings have informed the public’s understanding of emergencies and first responder misconduct.

EFF’s brief was joined by a broad coalition of media organizations: the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the National Press Photographers Association, the PEN American Center, the Radio and Television Digital News Association, Reporters Without Borders, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Texas Association of Broadcasters, and the Texas Press Association.

Our local counsel are Thomas Leatherbury and Marc Fuller of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.

EFF’s new brief builds on our amicus brief filed last year before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Fields v. Philadelphia. There, we successfully argued that the First Amendment protects the right to use electronic devices to record on-duty police officers.

Adelman, a freelance journalist, has provided photographs to media outlets for nearly 30 years. He heard a call for paramedics to respond to a K2 overdose victim at a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (“DART”) station. When he arrived, he believed the incident might be of public interest and began photographing the scene. A DART police officer demanded that Adelman stop taking photos. Despite Adelman’s assertion that he was well within his constitutional rights, the DART officer, with approval from her supervisor, arrested Adelman for criminal trespass.

Adelman sued the officer and DART. EFF’s amicus brief supports his motion for summary judgment.

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[ SECRET POST #3911 ]

  • Sep. 18th, 2017 at 6:36 PM

⌈ Secret Post #3911 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 32 secrets from Secret Submission Post #560.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
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!!!

  • Sep. 18th, 2017 at 5:16 PM
yhlee: Angel Investigations' card ("Hope lies to mortals": A.E. Housman). (AtS hope)
Dear Generous Benefactor,

Thank you for the copy of All Systems Red, which I am really stoked about getting to read. (For the curious, my local bookstores didn't stock it.)

I have turned on anonymous comments for the moment, which are screened. If you'd like me to write you a thank-you flashfic, please feel free to leave a comment to this post. I'm probably going to turn off anonymous comments by week's end (sooner if I start having problems with spam comments).

Thank you!!!

Best,
YHL
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Posted by kim

Since 2014, our digital security guide, Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD), has taught thousands of Internet users how to protect themselves from surveillance, with practical tutorials and advice on the best tools and expert-approved best practices. After hearing growing concerns among activists following the 2016 US presidential election, we pledged to build, update, and expand SSD and our other security education materials to better advise people, both within and outside the United States, on how to protect their online digital privacy and security.

While there’s still work to be done, here’s what we’ve been up to over the past several months.

SSD Guide Audit

SSD is consistently updated based on evolving technology, current events, and user feedback, but this year our SSD guides are going through a more in-depth technical and legal review to ensure they’re still relevant and up-to-date. We’ve also put our guides through a "simple English" review in order to make them more usable for digital security novices and veterans alike. We've worked to make them a little less jargon-filled, and more straightforward. That helps everyone, whether English is their first language or not. It also makes translation and localization easier: that's important for us, as SSD is maintained in eleven languages.

Many of these changes are based on reader feedback. We'd like to thank everyone for all the messages you've sent and encourage you to continue providing notes and suggestions, which helps us preserve SSD as a reliable resource for people all over the world. Please keep in mind that some feedback may take longer to incorporate than others, so if you've made a substantive suggestion, we may still be working on it!

As of today, we’ve updated the following guides and documents:

Assessing your Risks

Formerly known as "Threat Modeling," our Assessing your Risks guide was updated to be less intimidating to those new to digital security. Threat modeling is the primary and most important thing we teach at our security trainings, and because it’s such a fundamental skill, we wanted to ensure all users were able to grasp the concept. This guide walks users through how to conduct their own personal threat modeling assessment. We hope users and trainers will find it useful.

SSD Glossary Updates

SSD hosts a glossary of technical terms that users may encounter when using the security guide. We’ve added new terms and intend on expanding this resource over the coming months.

How to: Avoid Phishing Attacks

With new updates, this guide helps users identify phishing attacks when they encounter them and delves deeper into the types of phishing attacks that are out there. It also outlines five practical ways users can protect themselves against such attacks.

One new tip we added suggests using a password manager with autofill. Password managers that auto-fill passwords keep track of which sites those passwords belong to. While it’s easy for a human to be tricked by fake login pages, password managers are not tricked in the same way. Check out the guide for more details, and for other tips to help defend against phishing.

How to: Use Tor

We updated How to: Use Tor for Windows and How to: use Tor for macOS and added a new How to: use Tor for Linux guide to SSD. These guides all include new screenshots and step-by-step instructions for how to install and use the Tor Browser—perfect for people who might need occasional anonymity and privacy when accessing websites.

How to: Install Tor Messenger (beta) for macOS

We've added two new guides on installing and using Tor Messenger for instant communications.  In addition to going over the Tor network, which hides your location and can protect your anonymity, Tor Messenger ensures messages are sent strictly with Off-the-Record (OTR) encryption. This means your chats with friends will only be readable by them—not a third party or service provider.  Finally, we believe Tor Messenger is employing best practices in security where other XMPP messaging apps fall short.  We plan to add installation guides for Windows and Linux in the future.

Other guides we've updated include circumventing online censorship, and using two-factor authentication.

What’s coming up?

Continuation of our audit: This audit is ongoing, so stay tuned for more security guide updates over the coming months, as well as new additions to the SSD glossary.

Translations: As we continue to audit the guides, we’ll be updating our translated content. If you’re interested in volunteering as a translator, check out EFF’s Volunteer page.

Training materials: Nothing gratifies us more than hearing that someone used SSD to teach a friend or family member how to make stronger passwords, or how to encrypt their devices. While SSD was originally intended to be a self-teaching resource, we're working towards expanding the guide with resources for users to lead their friends and neighbors in healthy security practices. We’re working hard to ensure this is done in coordination with the powerful efforts of similar initiatives, and we seek to support, complement, and add to that collective body of knowledge and practice.

Thus we’ve interviewed dozens of US-based and international trainers about what learners struggle with, their teaching techniques, the types of materials they use, and what kinds of educational content and resources they want. We’re also conducting frequent critical assessment of learners and trainers, with regular live-testing of our workshop content and user testing evaluations of the SSD website.

It’s been humbling to observe where beginners have difficulty learning concepts or tools, and to hear where trainers struggle using our materials. With their feedback fresh in mind, we continue to iterate on the materials and curriculum.

Over the next few months, we are rolling out new content for a teacher’s edition of SSD, intended for short awareness-raising one to four hour-long sessions. If you’re interested in testing our early draft digital security educational materials and providing feedback on how they worked, please fill out this form by September 30. We can’t wait to share them with you.

 

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