Photo courtesy of Nicolas Vigier on Flickr |

Online petition to release and pardon the founder of The Pirate Bay reaches over 80,000

Gottfrid Svartholm, also known by his many supporters as Anakata, is currently being held in a Danish prison under solitary confinement. Svartholm was extradited to the country last November from Sweden to face several hacking changes.

An online petition addressed to the prime minister of Denmark is requesting the government to pardon and release the alleged hacker in addition to lifting the restriction that prohibits reading and educational material. The Danish government is worried that Svartholm could discover information that impacts the charges if granted such material.

“While the Swedish upper level court dropped charges related to the Nordea hacking, and reduced his overall sentence to half on 25th of September 2013, so that Anakata should be freed by now, he was nevertheless extradited to Denmark, and is now locked up in high security prison under constant surveillance, while reduced to bare minimum, almost no outside contact. Even his Mother cannot visit him during the Holiday Season, since there are not enough guards for that. His total contact with other inmates cannot exceed 9 hours a week”, writes on the petition.

You can sign the petition here.

Photo courtesy of Nicolas Vigier on Flickr

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satellite dishes

Silicon Valley’s New Spy Satellites

Who says Silicon Valley is restricted to software? Planet Labs is a Valley “startup” hoping to build something out of this world (we apologize).

Planet Labs are a group of social entrepreneurs planning on launching a host of satelights to low-earth orbit, in order to monitor and track the world and offer real-time information about our planet to us. In doing so, they hope to increase awareness and urgency for gloabl environmental concerns.

Silicon Valley is making what, in any other decade, we’d call spy satellites. A few governments will sell imagery from their spy satellites to you. A new age of controversy and technological policymaking is on it’s way.

via The Atlantic

photo by: Paul Keller
Children of Zaatari camp

London Rescues Syrian Refugee Tech Startup

Business was booming for tech-startup Rootal 2 years ago, until a car bomb was set off just a few blocks awat from its Damascus headquarters. It’s been two years since Rootal was keyed in on the Syrian government hitlist, but the geolocation company is still going strong. How?

You can thank the United Kingdom’s Refugee policy.

Without his duel citizenship, Rootal founder Adnan Al-Khatib would likely be wasting away in a Syrian jail somewhere. Although lambasted over the last few years for suspected xenophobic policy, London has accepted thousands of refugees form Syria, including Adnan and his fledgling tech startup.

“I remember sitting there and reading that there was fighting up north, which seemed far away,” he recalls. “The next day it’s in Homms, which is closer. A few weeks later it’s moved into the suburbs of Damascus and I managed to convince myself that too was a long way away. Then a bomb blast goes off in my neighborhood and a car goes up, with firefights right in front of my home. You find yourself not caring, because the bullets aren’t coming in. You just become desensitized.”

via Forbes

photo by: Oxfam International
Boy drinking water

mWater – Using mobile technology to track water quality

Despite achieving the millennium development goal of cutting lack of access to safe drinking water in half by 2015,  approximately 11% or 783 million people still don’t have access to clean water (as of March 2012).  Particularly, there remains large disparities in developing areas such as sub-Saharan Africa  where only 61% of the population had access to water in 2010.

mWater is a non-profit organization based in New York City that have developed a mobile application that tracks water sources and allows users to submit and share results from water tests. The Android app leverages a phone’s camera to automatically process the results from images to detect contamination.

Crowdsourcing water quality is an effective solution and mitigates the reliance on a single body to maintain and distribute information. In an interview with HumanIPO,  founder Anne Feighery talked about the desire to remove paper out of the documentation process and instead rely on the cloud. This appears to be the trend for many new social technologies being introduced in the developing world.

The company recently raised $100,000 from USAID and hopes to continue testing its service in Tanzania and other African countries such as Rwanda in the future. You can visit their website at for more information about the company and donation options.

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Photo courtesy of Espen Moe on Flickr |

Assange recites essay on BBC radio about mass surveillance

Last Thursday, Julian Assange appeared on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme to recite an essay on the government’s desire to achieve ‘god-like’ knowledge of its citizens.

“To keep a person ignorant is to place them in a cage.  So it follows that the powerful if they want to keep their power, will try to know as much as about us as they can and they will try to make sure that we know as little as possible about them,” said Assange.

His appearance on BBC has infuriated many. Labour MP Ian Austin tweeted, “In 30 years of listening, I already thought today’s @BBCr4today was worst ever. I cldn’t imagine it cld get worse. Then they put Assange on”.

Assange sought out political asylum in Ecuador amid rape charges in Sweden and an extradition request. He’s been residing in Ecuador since late-2012.

You can listen to essay on BBC  here

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