Gentlemachines
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What's new at the crossroads of culture, technology and science
Curated by Artur Alves
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Why Did the ‘Twitter Revolutions’ Fail?

Why Did the ‘Twitter Revolutions’ Fail? | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Social media can upend a society, but it can’t build a new one.
Artur Alves's insight:

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Finally, we were seduced by the “Silicon Valley effect,” the fact that our ideas and strategies for social change were shaped less by historical experience and more by the utopian possibilities of the world of technology. Trapped in that belief, we failed to recognize the frailties of the new protest movements and misjudged their impact on society. You can tweet a revolution, but you cannot tweet a government, and many of the new protest movements are paying a high price for their anti-institutional ethos.

These protests fell victim to similar fashionable notions: that organizations are a thing of the past (and networks representative of the future), that states no longer matter, and that spontaneity is the real source for legitimacy.

Disruption, we know well, is highly valued in the technology community and plays a critical role in upending companies. But societies are not made of innovators alone, and very often the demand for constant change and the hosannas for creative destruction eventually bring demand for stability. Mr. Putin, Mr. Erdogan and their ilk understood this point even if the protesters and pontificators didn’t, and they sat patiently until the right moment to reassert their power.

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Security alert: notes from the frontline of the war in cyberspace

Security alert: notes from the frontline of the war in cyberspace | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The battle for control of cyberspace is turning nasty, with young hackers, pirates and activists facing long prison sentences. Jon Ronson reports from the frontline
Artur Alves's insight:

"After his death, I became aware of lots of other Aaron Swartzes out there – hackers and pirates and activists facing prison for their ideology of internet freedom. It felt like a concerted worldwide prosecutorial effort to subdue a movement. So I began approaching them. I decided to contact only those people facing imminent imprisonment or trial. What in their lives had led them to that moment? How were they dealing with it?"

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Google Illicit Networks summit calls for unity between activists and technology

Google Illicit Networks summit calls for unity between activists and technology | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Two-day conference implores Silicon Valley to take an active approach to help boost activists and law enforcers worldwide...
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NSA-grade spyware is up for sale, and the world's worst dictatorships are buying

When Bahraini activist Moosa Abd-Ali Ali was granted asylum in the UK, he thought he'd found refuge. But then the Bahraini government targeted Moosa with a secretive spyware tool, and took over his digital existence.
Artur Alves's insight:

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Upon his arrival in London, Moosa had become an unofficial archivist for his activist community, obsessively documenting every protest and broadcasting his videos to a large group of YouTube followers. Whenever something happened back in Bahrain, he’d receive a flurry of images and video footage from contacts and disseminate the content online and to media outlets. Now, whoever was behind the hack had access to all of his accounts, emails, documents, and a massive trove of videos. They could even control his computer’s webcam and microphone.

An investigation would later reveal that Moosa’s online life was hijacked for eight months. All signs pointed to Bahrain as the culprit, and FinFisher, a mysterious spyware for-hire tool, as the weapon of choice.

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Just-patched Java, IE bugs used to snare human rights sites

Just-patched Java, IE bugs used to snare human rights sites | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Reporters without Borders is latest site used in "watering hole" campaign.
Artur Alves's insight:

Human-rights sites (in this case Reporters Without Borders) - and any online services that serve as meeting points for activists - have become targets for attacks. The purpose is very clear: to gather information and data on the networks and habits of national and international activists. Classic espionage.

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