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The surveillance state just keeps pushing the "fear" story, while violating our privacy on a daily basis. 

Article by Techdirt

As the pressure is finally on over renewing Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act (and the mass surveillance programs enabled by the law), there are some interesting questions being raised: such as why doesn't the intelligence community seem to care about whether or not its programs work. That link takes you to a great article by former FBI agent (and now big time defender of civil liberties) Michael German, investigating the issue in the context of cybersecurity legislation. Here's just a snippet in which he notes that basically everyone agrees that these programs won't help at all, and yet some are still pushing for them:

NSA mass surveillance is getting out of hand.  

Article by Lizzie Plaugic

The National Security Agency is embroiled in a battle with tech companies over access to encrypted data that would allow it to spy (more easily) on millions of Americans and international citizens. Last month, companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple urged the Obama administration to put an end to the NSA's bulk collection of metadata. The NSA, on the other hand, continues to parade the idea that the government needs access to encrypted data on smartphones and other devices to track and prevent criminal activity. Now, NSA director Michael S. Rogers says he might have a solution.

During a recent speech at Princeton University, Rogers suggested tech companies could create a master multi-part encryption key capable of unlocking any device, The Washington Post reports. That way, if the key were broken into pieces, no single person would have the ability to use it.

"I don’t want a back door," Rogers said. "I want a front door. And I want the front door to have multiple locks. Big locks."

OpenMedia has joined with leading tech companies and public interest groups to ask FCC Chair Tom Wheeler to reject the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger outright. This merger puts American citizens' right to choose their own high-speed broadband connections at risk.

The debates on net neutrality and affordable internet are taking place all over the world. After a huge win for ‪#‎NetNeutrality‬ in the U.S., it's great to see Indian citizens take a stand for the net as a level playing field, and we'll be following it closely.​

Article by Ben Pooper via The Verge

This morning Cleartrip, an Indian startup focused on travel, pulled out of, the charity spearheaded by Facebook to help spread internet access to parts of the world where many people lack connectivity. Three other members of the original coalition — NDTV, Newshunt, and the Times Group — also declared that they were pulling some or all of their services from due to concerns over net neutrality.

The concept of net neutrality has been a hot topic of debate in the US over the last few months as the FCC adopted more stringent rules. That recently became true of India, too. As ClearTrip wrote on their blog, "Over the past couple of weeks, a heated debate on net neutrality has come to the forefront, not just amongst India’s digerati, but in mainstream media as well, with national dailies carrying front page articles about it."

Ending phone record surveillance is the first step to reining in surveillance abuses by the NSA. Please join us in making this the year we stand for privacy and liberty, not secrecy and fear.

Why you should care about phone record surveillance:

It violates the privacy of millions of innocent people. The NSA and FBI use Section 215 to collect the phone records of millions of people who have never even been suspected or accused of a crime.

It's unconstitutional and illegal. Section 215 of the Patriot Act was re-interpreted in complete secrecy to allow the surveillance of everyone without suspicion. One federal judge who ruled on the program’s legality after it was revealed to the public called it “beyond Orwellian” and “likely unconstitutional.”

Big Telecom are trying to talk wireless users out of unlimited data plans

Article by Brad Reed for BGR

“War is peace.” “Freedom is slavery.” “Ignorance is strength.” And now thanks to Verizon, we have a brand new Orwellian slogan: “Unlimited data plans are limiting.”

Rural communities are experiencing a boon in broadband speeds, thanks to increased choice in local providers.

Article by Zack Whittaker for ZDNet

Good news for Charlotte, NC!

Google, the search engine you often go to during the day, has sufficiently scared your existing internet service enough into giving your faster speeds at no extra cost. It's the latest trend-setting move by the search giant, which aims to upend the rural internet-providing monopolies that are often the sole providers in one area.

So mandatory data retention is a thing in Australia now, but here's why you shouldn't despair.

Article by Eva Galperin for EFF

Mandatory data retention legislation is never a good idea, which is why EFF has vigorously opposed it in the United States, where Congress tried and failed to pass it in 2009. That year, two ill-conceived bills would have required all Internet providers and operators of Wi-Fi access points to keep records on Internet users for at least two years to assist police investigations. Nevertheless, governments around the world, individually, and in concert, continue to argue that the stockpiling of the private, personal data of entire populations become a global norm. It's a constant battle, but one with some clear victories, most notably in the European Union, and most recently in Paraguay. The latest setback in the global fight against data retention has been in Australia, which, despite widespread opposition from journalistsactivists and the general public, passed a comprehensive data retention bill this month.

Linking is not a crime. 

Article by Barrett Brown for The Daily Beast

Following recent successes in the fight against Internet slow lanes in North America, how is the global battle for net neutrality shaping up?

Article by The New York Times

The Federal Communications Commission recently adopted strong net neutrality rules that should prevent cable and phone companies from creating fast and slow lanes on the Internet. But policy makers in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe and India, are considering very different kinds of rules that could hurt consumers and start-up Internet businesses.