Colour piece on ‘Occupy Central’ in Hong Kong


The, 1/10/2014

AS HONG KONG heads towards its fourth night of occupation by pro-democracy protesters, extraordinary moments abound. Thousands of teenagers wake up to a morning-of-a-music-festival atmosphere on a six-lane motorway next to the local headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army. A group of violinists performs in the middle of the road in one of the busiest intersections in the world, in a downtown shopping district. Black-clad protesters blanket an area outside the old colonial-era parliament building, except for a small square patch of lawn on which a tiny sign reads “please stay off the grass”. On an abandoned bus now converted into a first aid centre and public noticeboard, not a single pane of glass has been as much as cracked.

There are no police, anywhere.

It is possible to stroll for miles from the west to the east of the island along roads that would ordinarily be thronged with cars and buses from morning to night. Along the way, under the shadow of skyscrapers, you pass groups carefully dividing recyclable rubbish, while others do homework or check Facebook on their smartphones. Mountains of supplies – water bottles, bandages, biscuits, bananas – are stacked at makeshift stations dotted along the route, and road signs are plastered with handmade posters. It’s the same situation across Victoria Harbour in Kowloon, where shoppers down from the mainland take selfies in front of barricades made up of bins, police cones and metal barriers. Continue reading “Colour piece on ‘Occupy Central’ in Hong Kong”

OWNI, El Watan Collaborate to Tell Whole Story of French-Algerian War

PBS MediaShift, 21/05/2012

When it comes to the French-Algerian war, which eventually led to Algeria gaining its independence from France, and arguably caused the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, there’s the official story and there’s what really happened.

The two don’t often mix.

So on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war (the war took place between 1954 and 1962) on March 19, French news site OWNI (of which, I am the editor) and Algerian newspaper El Watan launched a collaborative application, Memories of Algeria (Mémoires d’Algérie), which offers people an opportunity to explore the history of the war themselves. Continue reading “OWNI, El Watan Collaborate to Tell Whole Story of French-Algerian War”

Pirates Look to Europe After Rapid Progress, 16/04/2012

Bright sunshine greeted members of Pirate Parties from 29 countries across Europe and the world to Prague for the Pirate Party International conference. The good weather reflected the optimistic mood among the more than 200 attendees, buoyed by recent electoral success in Germany. Polls suggest the Pirates are now the third largest party in Germany, and look set to capture more seats in regional elections in May. With the Austrian party now polling at 7% ahead of elections there, and membership numbers on the rise in the US, the Maghreb and Europe, the Pirates arrived in Prague on the crest of a wave.

It’s a fact immediately evident in the unprecedented media presence at the conference, with German press in particular heavily represented. In Germany, the Pirates are currently front page news. Holding court in front of the cameras and microphones throughout the weekend was Rick Falkvinge, the bombastic founder of the original Swedish Pirate Party. Continue reading “Pirates Look to Europe After Rapid Progress”

Pirates de tous les pays, 16/04/2012

Many thanks to Guillaume for his late-night translation of this for

Le soleil de ce week-end sur la capitale tchèque se conjuguait parfaitement à l’ambiance très optimiste qui régnait parmi plus de 200 délégués des différents Partis Pirates venus du monde entier. Représentants 29 pays, ils se retrouvaient à Prague pour la Conférence du Parti Pirate international, autour de dirigeants encouragés par les succès électoraux que le mouvement connaît en ce moment en Allemagne.

De récents sondages indiquent que le Parti Pirate allemand devient la troisième force politique du pays, tandis que les prochaines élections régionales, au mois de mai, devraient renforcer ses implantations locales.

Avec l’Autriche où le Parti Pirate est crédité de 7 % des intentions de vote, un nombre de militants en augmentation aux États-Unis, au Maghreb et en Europe, les Partis Pirates accèdent ici et là à une véritable reconnaissance institutionnelle – comme en attestait par exemple la forte présence de médias allemands. Continue reading “Pirates de tous les pays”

Public Pressure Impacts on Pakistan’s Firewall Plans, 16/03/2012

A deadline set by the Pakistani government for tenders to create a controversial national Internet filtering system passes today, with some companies still to announce whether they intend to bid for the contract. The proposed “National Level URL Filtering and Blocking System” has provoked outrage from campaigners, and resulted in several companies publicly declining to bid for the project, describing it as “morally wrong”.

In February, the Pakistani Telecommunication Authority (PTA) published a very public tender for the “development, deployment and operation of a national-level URL filtering and booking system.” The project, the details of which were announced on the website of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry’s Research and Development Fund, will be worth $10 million to the successful bidder. The Pakistani government even took out newspaper ads to publicize the project. Continue reading “Public Pressure Impacts on Pakistan’s Firewall Plans”

FBI Claim LulzSec ‘Leader’ Helped Catch Fellow Hackers, 07/03/2012

Indictment sheets made public by the FBI yesterday have revealed how the US agency turned a hacker centrally involved in the operations of LulzSec and used him to build cases against five other LulzSec hackers arrested yesterday in the US, the UK and Ireland. The documents, unsealed in a New York court, include details of how the FBI allowed attacks, such as the hack of the security company Stratfor, to happen, and even provided servers for the hackers to store information gained from hacks.

A 19 year old Irish student, Donncha O’Cearbhaill, accused of hacking the phone call between FBI and Scotland Yard investigators in January, was caught when he turned to Hector Xavier Monsegur, known online as Sabu, for technical advice. He now faces up to 15 years in prison. Continue reading “FBI Claim LulzSec ‘Leader’ Helped Catch Fellow Hackers”

Europe’s Youngest MEP Sets Her Sights on ACTA, 28/02/2012

Last December, Amelia Andersdotter, entered the European Parliament as a representative for Sweden’s Pirate Party, becoming the youngest MEP at the age of 24. She was actually elected way back in 2009, but as is the way of European institutions, she was forced to cool her heels for two years waiting for the Lisbon Treaty to be ratified. Now finally there, she has wasted little time getting to the heart of things, securing an important dossier as rapporteur to the Industry, Research and Trade committee for ACTA, the controversial copyright and trade agreement. A baptism of fire indeed, but not one likely to faze the combative and alarmingly well briefed Swede, who interrupted her studies to run for election.

(Her committee, incidentally, is known as ITRA, the T having once stood for Trade, which now has its own committee. “But everybody still calls it ITRA because it takes time for anything to change in institutions,” she explains.)

Her background, such as she’s had time to develop one, was as International Coordinator for the Young Pirates, the youth wing of the Swedish Pirate Party movement, now one of Sweden’s largest youth organisations. Youth is not a topic she’s particularly keen to discuss when we meet in Paris, evidently already weary of questions centred around her age and inexperience. “Being young in the Parliament is the same as being old in the Parliament,” she recites. “You have to navigate the same decision making processes and relate to colleagues in the same way. I prefer to focus on the issues I’m working on.” Continue reading “Europe’s Youngest MEP Sets Her Sights on ACTA”

WikiLeaks et associés (French), 02/03/2012

Merci to my colleague (and outstanding journalist) Pierre for translating this for

Les dernières publications de WikiLeaks, plus de cinq millions d’e-mails dérobés sur les serveurs de l’entreprise de renseignement privé Stratfor, marquent un nouveau départ pour l’organisation d’activistes de la transparence. WikiLeaks est resté bouche cousue sur la manière dont cette énorme quantité de documents a été obtenue. Un indice, néanmoins : des hackers agissant sous la bannière des Anonymous ont revendiqué l’infiltration des serveurs de Stratfor en décembre 2011.

Plus précisément, l’opération a été menée par le groupe Antisec, une sous-section d’Anonymous qui s’est spécialisée dans ce genre de piratage et dans les attaques par déni de service (DDOS). Dans le cadre de l’opération LulzXmas (Lulz renvoie à un rire grinçant et Xmas à Noël, NDLR), Antisec avait déjà publié des informations personnelles sur les clients de Stratfor. Des numéros de cartes de crédit avaient aussi été utilisés pour faire des dons à des organisation de bienfaisance. L’opération s’était achevée sur la publication de cinq millions d’e-mails, les mêmes que ceux publiés par WikiLeaks depuis lundi. Continue reading “WikiLeaks et associés”

What’s to Come From an Anonymous / WikiLeaks Partnership?, 29/02/2012

WikiLeaks latest release, of some five million emails stolen from the servers of private intelligence company Stratfor, marks a new departure for the whistleblowing organisation. While WikiLeaks have remained tight-lipped as to how they came into possession of the enormous cache of emails, hackers operating under the banner of Anonymous very publicly infiltrated Stratfor’s servers in December 2011.

That operation was carried out by hackers operating under the banner of AntiSec, a subsection of Anonymous that specializes in such hacking and DDoS “ops”. As part of OpLulzXmas, personal information of Stratfor clients was published online and credit cards were used to make donations to charities. In addition the five million emails were extracted from Stratfor’s servers, the same emails that WikiLeaks began publishing on Monday. Continue reading “What’s to Come From an Anonymous / WikiLeaks Partnership?”

In Pictures: ACTA Protests in Europe, 16/02/2012

“On February 11 tens of thousands of people in towns and cities throughout Europe took to the streets to voice their opposition to ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement currently awaiting ratification by the European parliament. Braving sub-zero temperatures, protesters unleashed a powerful weapon: homemade Internet meme-based protest signs. A second day of demonstrations is planned for February 25.”