A Kickstarter project to circumvent Internet censorship

The Internet lets people hear from places they otherwise couldn’t have heard of and learn things they otherwise wouldn’t have known. This is frightening to many governments, and they’ve installed all kinds of blocking to keep this from happening. They often offer phony excuses, such as national security and blocking pornography. It isn’t just countries like China and Iran that do this; the UK has imposed censorship filters which block a broad range of material. This specifically includes political censorship; Prime Minister Cameron has said that his “extremism task force” is “setting out a whole series of steps that we will take to counter the extremist narrative, including by blocking online sites.”

There are technologies that circumvent blocking, though, and it’s a constant arms race between the censors and the circumventers. One that’s being planned is Operator, a news reader that can get RSS feeds through various protocols. The aim is to let people access news feeds that are disguised as something else. Obviously this is a moving target, and new protocols will have to be developed as old ones are blocked. The application is initially aimed at OS X, with ports to other operating systems planned later.

It’s being funded through Kickstarter; I’ve pledged money to it, and I think it’s worth backing. The person behind it is Brandon Wiley, co-founder of the Freenet project. Cory Doctorow supports the project, referring to Wiley as “a P2P developer I’ve known and respected for more than a decade.”

The goal is $35,000. As I’m writing, this sentence, the amount pledged is … $3,756. Let’s make it happen!

Update: Given the theme of this blog, it’s appropriate that one of the updates for the Kickstarter project is titled “Build the world you want to live in.” That is indeed why I’m backing the project.

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A Kickstarter campaign worth backing

Today I came across a Kickstarter campaign to produce a movie about “The Amazing Randi,” called An Honest Liar. As with any campaign, I did a little checking about its legitimacy. It gets a mention on the CSICOP website, which is a strong positive. Randi has done some excellent work to expose paranormal hoaxes, and I’ve made a pledge to the campaign. $148K is a lot of money, but I’m hoping they’ll reach the goal. Please consider supporting it and letting people know about it.

The video is worth watching in any case. I learned things about him I hadn’t known before from it.

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Kickstarter project: Files That Last

After lots of planning, preparation, and nervousness, today I’m launching a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the completion and publication of my e-book, Files That Last! This is a book to explain the importance of keeping digital data alive for a long time and how to do it. I’m dragging preservation out of the library niche where it’s been so long and creating an e-book for “everygeek.”

If you want to fund the project ($10 will get you a DRM-free copy when it comes out), I’ll be grateful. If you can spread the word in appropriate places, that would be even better. I’m already making good progress on it and have pledged, if the project is funded, to have it out in the spring. The Files That Last page has two banners with HTML which you can paste where you think it will do the most good.Banner: I'm a preservation geek / Support Files that Last

I’ll be looking for professional proofreading and cover design and will pay real money for it. If you can recommend someone who can do either, let me know.

Paraphrasing Abby, “You’ll have your files for all time if you read FTL!”

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