Aaron projects

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Aaron Swartz Projects calls happen to continue the work Aaron Swartz started and advance new projects towards similar ends.

Aaron Swartz Projects[edit | edit source]

Continuing this work[edit | edit source]

We're planning periodic calls to catch up on where these projects are. 1-hr calls - weekly in November, then monthly thereafter. Please join in briefly when you can and keep this page updated with links to your latest work.

First call: 11/11 at 18:30 EST. ( time translation )

(213) 493-0352 OPEN PIN 38453

Platform for continued engagement (OpenAtrium + shared calendar) coming soon.

TOR[edit | edit source]

  • tor2web and jot2tor (virgil, SF)(oliver, BOS) : Tor2web makes it possible for internet users to view content from Tor hidden services. It's online in a (mostly) functioning form at http://tor2web.org . Jot2tor is an extension of this allowing users to use Aaron's jottit.com framework to easily create pages hosted on hidden services. Naturally, pages created via jot2tor are accessible from tor2web. Aaron and I actually worked on both of these projects until his death.
    OliverDay (Cambridge)

More information about what help we need is at: https://tor.jottit.com

Access[edit | edit source]

  • Free Law Project - non-profit providing free access to primary legal materials, developing legal research tools, and supporting academic research on legal corpora. Creators of CourtListener and Juriscraper. Easiest project for new contributor would be to extend juriscraper to cover another state court website not yet covered. See code on bitbucket.org.
    Free Law Machine is a virtual machine containing all dev tools and code one needs to get started.
    See also the "Free the Law" project @ HLS
  • PeerLibrary is a new open source project and a service providing collaborative reading, sharing and storing. Users can upload publications they want to read (currently in PDF format), read them in the browser in real-time with others, highlight, annotate and organize their own or collaborative library. PeerLibrary provides a search engine to search over all uploaded open access publications. Additionally, it aims to collaboratively aggregate the open layer of knowledge on top of this publications through public annotations and references user will add to publications. In this way publications would not just be available to read, but accessible to the general public as well. Currently, it is aiming at scientific community and scientific publications, but could be deployed for any other field (a StackExchange-like family is envisioned).
    source code (build with Meteor)
    screencast of a prototype
    OKCon blog post about the ideas behind the project

Aaron's writings, history, timeline[edit | edit source]

  • Archiving Aaron's writings (psawaya, SF). I think it'd be helpful to produce an archive of Aaron's writings, as the formatting on his blog isn't well-organized or good for reading on mobile devices. Some projects might include producing ePub and MOBI versions, organizing and tagging his writing, making it searchable, and perhaps even making it annotatable. It may be possible to build off of this project. I recall not finding a Creative Commons declaration on Aaron's blog, though this project certainly seems to be in alignment with his ideals. Yan suggested talking about it with Noah Swartz.
    Interest: JoshL, SJ (Cambridge), JamesGrimm
  • Getting related projects included where appropriate on Wikipedia
    James (user:dervorquil, Cambridge)
    • Added a small summary to Aaron's Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz#Commemorations) with help of Pharos/WikimediaNYC during #AaronSwNYC #AaronSwHack; will try to comb for news written about the hackathon and add. It's very general and at beginning stage. We were wondering if someone could take a picture of the Internet Archive statue of Aaron so it could be added to his page. The photo would need creative commons license allowing use on Wikipedia. --BrillLyle (talk) 04:53, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Legal Fixes[edit | edit source]

  • Repeal the CFAA: SJ, Andy (Cambridge). The CFAA is broken; noone but prosecutors like it. Building a constructive, normative replacement, and strategies for getting support at all levels: executive, policy, law, prosecution, activists, cyberwar. Cooperating with Aaron's Law and EFF work; but also tackling.
    Most discussions of "CFAA reform" have been incremental, in a framework of discussing what changes to current law are possible and would help fix recent problems; as opposed to describing why CFAA is broken and what proportionate and moral laws in that space wold look like.
    We're trying to describe what effective policy would look like, starting from scratch. Policy, Legal, Social, Tech/Security, and Prosecutorial norms which make sense.
    Project details and analysis
  • Prosecutorial Overreach/Underreach: The DOJ turns a blind eye to war criminals and Wall St crooks yet throws the book at activists like Aaron. I've registered 14 domains that are variations of the three main prosecutors in Aaron's trail (i.e. carmenortiz.org, stephenheymann.org, etc.) The names Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann are already synonymous with abuse of power. Let's cement that while drawing attention to other activists/whistleblowers who are being prosecuted for non-crimes. While we're at it, let's give prosecutors something useful to do by highlighting well documented but unprosecuted crimes (I'm looking at you John Yoo/Jamie Dimon/James Clapper).
  • Restore the Fourth placeholder. We'll know more closer to the date about which of our projects would benefit the most from this. Options include the various encrpytion/meshnet/other coding aspects, blog posts and other content development, or drafting policy documents and researching for coalition-building.

Privacy and other software tools[edit | edit source]

  • Indie Box: Set up our own web applications on cheap Linux devices (like the Raspberry Pi) in our own homes: http://indieboxproject.org/
  • Client-side encryption (Daniel, SF): a library for creating web apps that encrypt user data before sending it to the server. This is an attempt at keeping the convenience of cloud storage while retaining data privacy.

Transparency[edit | edit source]

  • SecureDrop (yan/micah/garrett?/james?, SF, samthetechie, Berlin): a platform for whistleblowers to transfer documents to newspapers directly. See Press Freedom page + GitHub trunk.
    Our ongoing documentation / q&a site is https://securedrop.hackpad.com. You can also find us on oftc #securedrop-dev.
    Is there a place for people to publish already?
  • Transparency Toolkit (shidash, ?): Unfortunately Shidash is unavailable, but maybe someone else could do it?
  • Overview Project (Ian, SF): an open-source tool to help journalists (or anyone!) find stories in large sets of documents, by automatically sorting them according to topic and providing a fast visualization and reading interface. It's a way to quickly make sense of huge leaks, FOIA responses, and document dumps using a combination of clever algorithms and human intuition. Remember, transparency is meaningless if nobody's watching. Homepage: http://overview.ap.org/ Source: https://github.com/overview

Activism tools[edit | edit source]

  • Taskforce (Sina, SF): https://taskforce.is are a group of developer volunteers working on a range of different activism tools and campaigns, aiming to improve the tools available to citizens and organizations advocating for better technology policy.
    • Two projects we'd love to collaborate on are:
      • An SMS campaigning tool - Similar to MobileCommons, but open source. We have funding from Twilio that will enable this to exist as a "warning broadcast system" for people interested in tech advocacy. How it should work: The system would allow a user to sign up (either via SMS or via a web form) to receive SMS updates about tech advocacy projects. When a user signs up they immediately receive a text confirming their signup, and they can opt out any time. Admins can send messages to all subscribers via an admin interface.
      • Crowdsourced anti-apathy platform - There's quite a bit of apathy with regards to surveillance in both the tech community and in the general public. We've been brainstorming to try and figure out how we can effectively convince people that it matters. Our best proposal thus far is to create a system to crowdsource the most convincing content, videos, photos and articles from around the web. Users would then be able to upvote the things that they found the most convincing.
    • Feel free to hack away. If you have any questions, feel free to email me (Email: [1], SMS: 949-878-8202). Also see https://github.com/tfrce and https://taskforce.is
  • Fork the Law (Christie (talk), SF) Fork the Law has spent the last few months working out what ordinary people need to know in order to effect legislative change. We're now working on condensing this down to a set of technical design requirements. We'd like to dig into turning the requirements into code, integrating existing open source applications and other services wherever possible. The repository for the development effort is https://github.com/fork-the-law/hancock. The twitter

Mozilla: Essence[edit | edit source]

  • Mozilla is working on many new projects (Webmaker, FirefoxOS, Firefox Accounts, etc) that together are greater than the sum of their parts and will (hopefully) help the web leapfrog traditionally native platforms in ways that restore sovereignty to users. There's but one major thing missing in Mozilla's current tech roadmaps: an approach to wrangling control of personal data across the web back into the hands of users.
  • We're proposing to fill this gap with an extensibility model for Mozilla's WebAPI project that would enable RESTful API ecosystems to align with Mozilla's user-centric values. We are calling this extensibility model "Essence (project details)"
  • In nutshell, we are Mozilla volunteers aiming to influence the Firefox development roadmap. To do so, we are building a prototype that demonstrates the UX of Essence that also acts as a forward polyfill for future potential prototypes that can demonstrate the implications of a WebAPI extensibility model for products across Mozilla as well as the API ecosystems across the web.
  • Needs: Developers interested in creating Firefox Add-ons, modeling APIs using RAML, or hacking the about:permissions UI in Firefox.