The introduction of information technology has ever since challenged lawmakers and lawyers, as it is in many aspects not comparable to anything else our world has seen before. Suddenly, you can copy information and media of arbitrary types infinitely and without noteworthy cost.
As one of the earliest groups to see the potential computers and their implications on our lives, early hackers defined some general rules that evolved into the Hacker Ethic, that promotes freedom of information and its sharing.
At the same time, lawmakers have been constantly trying to control and restrict these new freedoms; The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act CFAA is a somewhat dated and impresicisely worded but nevertheless active law, that, if used according to the letter, can criminalize many of our every day activities. Among others, it prohibits violations against Terms of Service of websites. As a prominent example, Aaron Swartz was accused of multiple terms of service violations before he committed suicide in 2013. In 2018 a US court now decided, that automatic webscraping of publicly available information is not a crime, even if stated differently in the terms of service.
While this is a small victory, it is still ridiculous how lawmakers and terms of service restrict our freedom, obstruct research and lock away knowledge.
John Perry Barlow (JPB) was an American political activist and founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Kushal wrote a blog post about the symposium held after JPBs death earlier this year. However, being American may not have been the way JPB would have described himself. In his Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace he rather declares cyberspace as a non-physical space, not bound to political or geographical borders, nor bound by their laws. He declares himself and us as citizens of this cyberspace. Given the unique nature of this digital world, that so significantly differs from the physical and political world, the declaration states, that we will create our rules in this space respectively, as this shall not be incumbent on any government.
While we all are citizens of both worlds we should make the effort to harmonize their relationship. Being hackers, laws that are in conflict with our ethical codex should be opposed.
Recent activities of #dgplug members
- fardroid23 - Home Theatre!: Farhaan writes about how he and some friends put together some old/unused hardware to assemble a full blown home theatre using Atomic Toolkit.
- Kushal Das - Tor Browser and Selenium: The Selenium WebDriver is a powerful tool for browser automation. This can be particularly helpful for automated tests of web sites and web apps. Kushal describes how to set up Selenium in Python to automate the Tor Browser.
- Kushal Das - PyQt5 thread example: PyQt5 is a Python driver for the popular Qt GUI development framework. Kushal describes how to use QThreads to perform lengthy operations without blocking the GUI.
- Anwesha Das - How to use Let’s Encrypt with nginx and docker: The Electronic Frontier Foundation's project Let's Encrypt offers an easy to use free service to get signed ssl certificates for your website. Serving your pages in https has never been easer. It's all there, in Anwesha's article.
- Anwesha Das - Is PyCon 2018 your first PyCon?: Anwesha had the fantastic idea to write a guide for first time PyCon attendants. Are you afraid of being lost between talks, events, presentations and hallways full with hundreds of Python programmers? This guide might be for you.
- fardroid23 - Writing Chuck – Joke As A Service: Learning Go, Farhaan wrote a Go based fortune clone, that prints random Chuck Norris jokes that are cached on your drive.
- kushaldas - https://www.eff.org/pages/tor-and-https: Using HTTPS and Tor Browser increases security and privacy while browsing the web. But how? This info page of the EFF colorfully explains what information is shared with (or can be extracted by) several parties (ISP, hackers, NSA etc.) when using different combinations of Tor Browser and HTTPS enabled or disabled.
- sayanchowdhury - https://manikos.github.io/how-pythons-import-machinery-works: Python imports can be tricky for beginners, when differentiating between packages, modules and classes and what parts of those to import. This simple but effectively written article starts with the basics of Python imports, but also gives a much deeper insight into the python import machinery.
- jasonbraganza - https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2018/04/how-to-sleep-better/: Why do we need to sleep? What happens if we do not get enough sleep? And how can we sleep better? The history of hackers is a history of nights spend in front of a terminal. This article addresses a topic we should not neglect.
- Schubisu - https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/18/17253784/google-domain-fronting-discontinued-signal-tor-vpn: Although never an oficially supported feature, domain-fronting through Google has been widely used by other services to overcome censorship through internet blocks. Sadly, an update in Google's App Engine now removes this feature.
- kushaldas - https://saveourprivacy.in/: The Right to Privacy has been declared a fundamental right for Indian citizens in 2017. The real debate however has just started. Big companies and governments still collect vast quantities of personal data that often is not secure, as recent examples have shown. This can be changed only by raising awareness. #SaveOurPrivacy is fighting for a privacy and data protection law in India, and they need your help!
Did we miss something?
Since this project is still in its infancy, we may have overlooked content that you would like to have included. We will work on constantly improving this letter and review external sources. If you think there is something we've missed, feel free to add your ideas for the next issue.