Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Month: May 2011 (page 2 of 2)

A few talks from April

So, as you may well know by now that I’ve recently started a new job as Director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco (whew, that’s a mouthful!). I certainly will be blogging, but as I’m still settling in, and only recently got the Internet set up in my apartment, please bear with me!

In the meantime, I have a few talks from last month that I’ve only just noticed are online and which I would love to share with you.

From re:publica in Berlin, where I spoke about policing content in the quasi-public sphere:

And from re:campaign (click for the video; can’t embed) in Berlin, where I keynoted on the subject “Tools of Change: How Social Media Helped Spark the Arab Spring” (before you get all cynical, the first line of my talk was thus: “When I say “helped spark” I mean this was not a Twitter revolution, a Facebook revolution, a Google docs revolution…this was a people-powered revolution with a little help from the Internet.”) Please note the laughter at my “too much coffee” comment.

See that mic? It got caught in my hair no fewer than 10 times.

I was also interviewed by the re:campaign organizers after my interview.

And, while we’re on the subject of great (ahem!) talks, if you’re in San Francisco this Friday, come by the EFF‘s new space to see Sami Ben Gharbia talk about the role of social media in Tunisia’s uprising!

What Syria’s Unblocking of Facebook Was Really About

Back in February, I wrote that the Syrian government’s decision to free up access to Facebook and other sites was a risky move, potentially designed to entrap Syrians.

In the nearly three months since, it seems like I was right: First came the reports of activists and non-activists being detained, their Facebook and other passwords demanded by authorities for the purpose of monitoring accounts and spying on contacts; now, as the EFF (where I’m now based) discovered yesterday (with help from one very brave Syrian contact), the government appears to be handing Facebook users fake SSL certificates on the HTTPS version of the site in order to conduct a man-in-the-middle attack and get ahold of users’ personal information.

Additionally, as Jake Appelbaum has tweeted, Tor seems to be blocked on some Syrian ISPs (Syrians on other ISPs have reported more recently that it’s working fine).

Without HTTPs and Tor, Syrians are not safe using Facebook. And when using any other HTTPS version of a site, users should inspect the SSL certificate very carefully.

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