OccupyOS 1.0.0b

I just downloaded, installed, and checked out OccupyOS 1.0.0b

Seems promising for the IT working groups at Occupy and potentially everyone concerned with internet freedom. It’s got deep Tor integration and features anonymous web browsing, encrypted voice chat conferencing and IM’ing, along with a secure hard drive wiping program.

occupyOS is a specialized Linux distribution designed to provide a secure environment activists can use to edit and publish documents, browse the web (manage site, twitter, and facebook pages), and securely communicate both on the ground and with the outside world. It was designed with security and usability in mind.

NOTE: occupyOS is still under heavy development and an official stable release has not been made.

mirror (a bit faster): http://occupyos.issani.in/occupyOS-1.0.0b1-intractable.iso

For a movement that identifies that we need to re-build systems to consider its technical tools and systems is critical. I’ve been curious about the use of (closed/for-profit) social softwares like Facebook, Google, and Twitter in the Arab Spring and Occupy movements. I mention in my article documenting the 24 Hour No Password Party in the GLI.TC/H 20111 READER[ROR]: “The perceived openness of these systems that are so handy, so friendly, and so useful can be difficult to critically navigate… Text input areas are gobbling up users’ status updates, emails, and messages; cookies and IP address are clocking locations, times, and device information. While they are providing a (wonderful/powerful/amazing) service that seems free and open on the surface for users, it’s not really free. We are providing them a data-ocean for parsing and mining.”

In 2005 Facebook mucked up their server configuration and briefly burped their source into visitors’ browsers. Here’s a snip:

$monitor = array( ‘42107457’ => 1, ‘9359890’ => 1);
//*Put baddies (hotties?) in here
/* Monitoring these people’s profile viewage.
 Stored in central db on profile_views.
 Helpful for law enforcement to monitor stalkers
and stalkees. */

The comments from the Facebook code above show the system tracking users’ browsing patterns in (supposed) collaboration with police. Benjamin Mako Hill describes this Facebook mishap and other breaks in black boxes in an article entitled “Revealing Errors“.

How does the momentum around these major social events not become fodder for research? Who is looking through the aggregated data? It’s conjecture, but these systems are in the business of selling information (about us).

UPDATE: Also check out: BackTrack Linux, a more robust & established (2006-present) security concerned OS (via David LePôle)


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