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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

We could have stopped the Paris attacks

William Binney and Kirk Wiebe worked at the NSA for decades, before blowing the whistle on mass surveillance. They say they invented a surveillance system that could have given citizens more freedom and security….

The hard dilemma: counterterrorism and/or shallow freedom

How do we limit the freedom of individual terrorists, terrorist groups and support networks to operate unimpeded in a relatively unregulated environment, whilst maintaining individual freedoms, democracy and human rights?

Corporate reputation is a pressure point in the fight for digital human rights

"Make it right, make it fair or we will leave." This threat is nothing short of an internet giant's worst nightmare. 

Paris: encaixando os fragmentos

Os atentados que tiveram lugar no dia 13 de Novembro revelam a ameaça que representa o Daesh, escreve David Hayes desde Londres. Esta realidade implica que uma resposta coerente é vital. English. Español. 

Legislate in haste, repent in leisure

The Paris attacks have prompted (predictable) calls for the UK's new snoopers' charter to be rushed through. This would be a disaster, says a former member of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

The UK Investigatory Powers Bill – one step forward, two steps back

"Following the tragic attacks in Paris and Beirut, let us bear in mind the recent call by MI5 Director General Andrew Parker for surveillance laws prioritizing both proportionality and efficiency."

What we talk about when we (can’t) talk about mass surveillance

As the UK's draft Investigatory Powers Bill makes its way towards being made law, we need to say something now. If we are not careful, when we do open our mouths, a jail cell may be waiting. 

American intelligence and national defense 2.0

An Open Source (Technologies) Agency, far removed from the secret intelligence world, would radically reduce wars and illegal immigration, increase trade and shared prosperity, and convert the USA into a “Smart Nation”.

Is capitalism ’mutating’ into an infotech utopia?

“He needs to take into greater account the impact of technology on both increased exploitation of labour and the dominance of the finance sector.” Review of Paul Mason’s ‘PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future’ (Allen Lane, 2015) 

Para el Estado, transparencia; para los demás, privacidad

Si algo deja de ser un instrumento para la democracia y la justicia y se vuelve un eslogan, tenemos un problema. Miren lo que ha pasado con “Love”, “Peace”, “Democracia”, “Justicia”… English.

Censorship and conspiracy theories rule the day in post-election Turkey

There is an undeniable link between media censorship and the proliferation of conspiracy theories in Turkey. In turn, society is so polarized that it lacks the means to negotiate truth claims.

A vigilância digital e o fim da democracia

Os ativistas de direitos civis estão ocupados em sublinhar até que ponto a vigilância digital está a acabar com as nossas democracias. Contudo, o verdadeiro inimigo da Democracia é o medo e a delegação de poder. English. Español.

La vigilancia digital y el fin de la democracia

Los activistas de derechos civiles están ocupados en subrayar hasta qué punto la vigilancia digital ha acabado con nuestras democracias. Su verdadero enemigo, sin embargo, es el miedo y la delegación del poder. English. Português.

Now is the time to defend the public’s right to know

Britain has just attended the Open Government Partnership Summit in Mexico as the world leader on open data policy – a clear winner, now under threat. How come?

The Investigatory Powers Bill is our chance to publicly set the rules around surveillance

The UK successor to the Snooper’s Charter will be published next week. Whether we demand and engage in debate will shape the privacy and security we can expect to have.

Empowering Afghan women: does technology help or hinder?

The male members of the family still control who gets to have access to what and to what extent.

Politics, security technologies, and civil society: the missing links

This is the point in time where polities should start thinking of security as a public good, where all involved are potential winners or potential losers. 

Does surveillance mean the death of democracy?

Civil liberties activists are busy writing the script of how digital surveillance killed our democracies. Yet, their true enemy lies elsewhere. Português. Español.

The EU could be a global standard setter on surveillance reform, but actions speak louder than words

Despite landmark court cases, many member states in the EU continue to push forward with overbroad surveillance laws.

The EU's nerve-wracking disconnect on surveillance

Each time an EU government is confronted with a threat to security, it nearly always plunges into knee-jerk reactions at the risk of undermining the very freedoms its officials claim to protect.

The ‘shadow play’ of Budapest

In the summer months, Europe starts to migrate. Tourist hordes invade the cities that used to be our home. What have become of our towns? When and how did they become virtual and unbearably cool?

Choke points for the preservation of our liberty

Press freedom is only where we should start as activists, not where we should stop.

'Are you a traitor?' The BBC Panorama interview with Edward Snowden

'The question is, if I was a traitor, who did I betray?' This is the exclusive full transcript of the interview with Edward Snowden, aired on BBC World TV on 10 October 2015.

Digital capitalism: stagnation and contention?

Capitalist development has undergone – and inflicted – violent historical dislocations in the past. So it is with digital capitalism today.

On centrism and independence in Spain

"Facing an increasingly self-centered centre, we stand for citizens who are open to the world and to the present time, capable of organizing and cooperating according to their abilities and aspirations."

The new journalism outfit that is shaking up Hong Kong’s establishment media

Launched in the wake of the city’s Occupy protests, Hong Kong Free Press aims to “shine a light in dark places”.

Facebook’s dominance deepens

Two recent Facebook initiatives, “Instant Articles” and “” are set to entrench the firm’s dominance. Is this a moral monopoly in the making?

Why 'backdoor' systems always fail

As the head of MI5 launches a push for unparalleled powers, will he answer challenging questions on why banning encryption, or weakening it through compulsory backdoors, won't make us all less safe?

Why do people reject climate change?

US Democrats did not come to support climate change because they sat down and confronted the evidence, read the scholarly journals, and evaluated the climate models.

A climate of conspiracy

What the Tea Party and Occupy movements have in common is that they don’t accept the official version of events any more.

Cameron’s hypocrisy on Muslim radicalization

If Cameron was serious about countering extremism, what better person to allow into the UK than Jeenah, who has much to say about the contributions of the west to the problem?

This time, it’s different

Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism is a book for our times—and the decades ahead.

Is counter-propaganda the only antidote to propaganda?

Russia Today is packed full of lies. But aren't there motes aplenty in our own eyes onto the world? Is media credibility shot, and can we hope to improve trust in news?  An academic conference this autumn in Prague aims to bring journalists and acdemics together to explore the problem

It's gettin’ kinda hectic

With a few hundred years of colonial rule under its belt, the British state has mastered the art of psychological intimidation, and that’s why they use it.

China's 'great firewall' just got taller

The recently released draft of the new ‘cyber security law’ formalises already existing censorship practices and gives greater authority to the Cyberspace Administration of China. 

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