In the Loop | May 2012
TACTICAL TECH'S IN THE LOOP
In the Loop is our monthly experimental – not really a – newsletter which features highlights from our Twitter feed and updates on what we've been up to at Tactical Tech.
THE BACK ROOM AT TACTICAL TECH
WE'RE HIRING: a consultant for 6 months to work on a new toolkit "Communicating for Advocacy"
DEHLI DIGESTS We've been working on the first of our Info-Activist Sketchbooks, an online platform to visually present multiple perspectives and a critical overview of e-waste in Delhi. Coming soon!
ON 10 TACTICS REMIXED: VISIT GAZA: A VIRTUAL TOUR OF LIFE IN THE STRIP
To illuminate the problems that the 1.7 million Gaza Strip residents encounter on a daily basis, an Israeli NGO called Gisha has created a Virtual Tour of Gaza. Through an interactive map of the Strip containing text, images and video, viewers can see how access policies have affected local infrastructure and education, as well as the economy.
Image by Gisha
COMING THIS AUTUMN: SCHOOL OF DATA
In late May we had a kick-off sprint in Berlin to start writing a new, free handbook on working with data, and designing learning challenges that anyone can take to improve their skills to help them become 'data wranglers'. The School of Data is a collaboration between Tactical Tech, The Open Knowledge Foundation and Peer-2-Peer University - read more here.
WHERE ARE WE GOING THIS MONTH?
On 13th June, we'll be at the Central European Summer School for Journalists presenting work from both our programmes. We will be running two sessions on new tactics in investigative journalism and protecting investigative journalism.
LET THERE BE… SYSADMINS
Our incredibly talented Head of Technology Kaustubh Srikanth presented a lecture at rootconf, a system administrators conference, in Bangalore on Zero-touch Drupal deployment with Features,Jenkins, Aegir, Git, Fabric and Drush (of course!) He spoke about how we automate the deployment of our Drupal websites across our development, staging and live servers at Tactical Tech. His talk also included a demo of the various open-source tools and techniques and strategies we use to automate deployment of our code, and showed how others can setup similar worklows within their organisations.
AMAZING INFOGRAPHICS AND HEART-WRENCHING CAMPAIGNS
A report back on a workshop held by Tactical Tech staff at the recent "Using information design in advocacy for women's rights" workshop at AWID Forum 2012.
THE FUTURE OF DATA ACTIVISM ON THE GUARDIAN'S TECH PODCAST
Tactical Tech's co-founder, Stephanie Hankey, talks about data and activism on the Guardian's Tech Weekly podcast.
ONO' WANTS TO TEACH YOU ABOUT DIGITAL SECURITY
ONO, our robotic friend, will teach you how you can take to control the digital traces you leave behind when you go online. These short films are easy to share and are a great way to promote digital security – why not host an ONO party for your friends?
ONO covers a wide range of topics, like email security, Facebook security, private browsing and more. ONO releases new videos on a weekly basis. Sign up to ONO's mailing list or follow ONO on Twitter to receive an alert every time a new film goes live and to keep updated on news related to digital security and online privacy.
NETZPOLITIK ON ME & MY SHADOW
German Blog Netzpolitk features (in German)Tactical Tech's "Me & My Shadow." Below a translated excerpt of the article:
Regular readers of this blog should have learned by now that protection of privacy is not first priority for social networks because they often consider personal data as a form of online currency which users pay with in exchange for services provided. Furthermore other forms of communication - such as Cell/mobile phone contracts and Internet landlines - increase one’s “digital shadow”.
The “Me & My Shadow” project provides a beautiful visualization on this topic, which allows even non online/tech savy users to see the extent of the excessive data collection by service providers. “Trace My Shadow” lets one see with few clicks which personal data is tracked and collected by data collectors .
The graphic illustrates very nicely that the more personal data one reveals the larger and threatening the shadow grows. In addition there is a “Shadow Tracers Kit” with a selection of Tools and Services, which should help to limit the threat and explain excessive data collection.
HOW SECURE IS YOUR TWITTER Sam, who spent a month at Tactical Tech as a data visualization consultant, wrote a resource filled guided on toolkits and guidelines helping you to stay secure online, among them Me & My Shadow.
THE ZUMA SPEAR
In the last few weeks we've seen interesting events sparking debate in South African mainstream press and social media on censorship and the role of art in the country's hard-won battle for freedom of expression.
Brett Murray, who was a key player in resistance art during apartheid, currently has an exhibition of new political artworks entitled Hail to the Thief II at the Johannesburg's Goodman Gallery. One piece which sparked the outrage is of South African President Jacob Zuma posing as Lenin with his genitals hanging out.The image
references Zuma's reputation as a womaniser and philanderer: making headlines for his defense against a rape case brought against him just before he came into presidency,his polygamy and the press's frequent discoveries of new children fathered by him.
The debate quickly spiralled into one about race - the artpiece critiqued for the tired trope of the sex-mad black men, depicted by a white artist. But on the other side we saw a healthy battle for post-apartheid freedoms as the gallery refused requests by the ruling party to remove and destroy the work, in addition to an interesting showdown between press outlets who chose to comply or ignore official requests to remove the image from their webpages.
Through social media, humorous responses and remixes of the original image circulated, including:
- A cartoon from satirical news website Hayibo, casting shots at Zuma'a polygamous lifestyle
- A retake from South Africa's most famous political cartoonist, Zapiro, featuring Zuma with the signature showerhead - a jibe at his reference to showering as a strategy to prevent infection after having sex with an HIV + person and another
- An online service which allows users to evade censorship by replacing Zuma's head from the original image which an image of their choice
- A modified version Shepard Fairey's famous Obey print posted right outside the Goodman Gallery
- And one group of campaigners decided to use the attention the painting was getting to highlight their own cause: endangered rhinos
After about a week the original work was defaced by two men who entered the gallery with paint on their hands. What remains is the issue of censorship and the government's attempt to ban an artpiece which criticised it. This comes on the back of the Protection of Information Act (passed in parliament in November but
still waiting to go through upper house and possibly challenged in
the constitutional court) - a law which would make it a crime to leak,
possess or publish information judged as classified by the government.
Whistleblowers and journalists could face up to 25 years in jail if
found guilty of such action.
ANOTHER CLOUD IS POSSIBLE…
For more on alternatives to social media check out this guide from the 10 Tactics Remixed site.
ANONYMOUS' OPERATION COLTAN
The latest protest from the hacktivist collective focuses on the trade in the mineral Coltan which is used extensively in the production of laptops and mobile phones.
DIGITAL RIGHTS WATCH
New! A collaborative database for mapping the communications and information rights in the world. "We look at laws, court cases and specific topics relating to censorship, access to information, privacy and intellectual monopolies."
FACEBOOK SHARES MORE ABOUT HOW IT USES YOUR DATA
Partly thanks to a group of college students who raised the issue with the Irish Data Protection Office, Facebook have added more detail and explanations to their privacy policies.
SHOULD WE JUST DITCH THE IDEA OF PRIVACY
A provocative post from Don Tapscott argues that while there are benefits to increased openness and personal transparency online, we need to take personal responsibility for the amount of information we reveal: "...each of us also needs a personal privacy strategy governing what information we release and to whom"
MALAYSIA: GAY RIGHTS DEMO CANCELLED
In response to a rising wave of threats made against the LGBT community by the government and religious organisations, a demonstration on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia was cancelled.
EGYPT: TRACK THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ON TWITTER
The Qatar Foundation’s Computing Research Institute have launched a new tool called Rayesna that Al Jazeera are using to track the Egyptian Presidential Candidates. Read more by @PatrickMeier here and check out the tool.
US/GLOBAL: RENDITION DATA AND OBAMA'S RECORD ON TORTURE
A new collection of rendition data brings together records of over 1100 Victims and shows how 45 countries were involved. The Rendition Project is a collaborative research project which is "developing a database of all known victims of rendition and secret detention in the ‘War on Terror’ and its aftermath, as well as the facilities in which they have been held."
You can explore President Obama's record on torture, surveillance and detention in an interactive timeline.
GLOBAL: THE 10 MOST CENSORED COUNTRIES - NEW REPORT FROM CPJ
"Shutting out international media and imposing dictatorial controls on domestic coverage, the Horn of Africa nation of Eritrea has emerged as the world's most censored country, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in its newly updated analysis of press restrictions around the globe. Following closely on CPJ's 10 Most Censored Countries list are North Korea, Syria, and Iran—three nations where vast restrictions on information have enormous implications for geopolitical and nuclear stability."
THE AESTHETIC MOMENT OFFERS HOPE
Charles Tripp, Professor of Middle East Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London gave a fascinating lecture on the the power of art in the Arab Spring. He argues that the Arab spring represented a more focused concentration of well-established dissident art - serving to mobilise and providing a "repertoire of defiance, identity and rights". Well worth watching.
WHAT MAKES AN INFOGRAPHIC GO VIRAL?
A DANGEROUSLY GOOD COLLECTION OF IMAGES
Image by Full Table.