Shun ID cards and make homes for beetles

No need to go it alone


mySociety, the people who brought you NotApathetic.com and WriteToThem.com are at it again, attempting to use the net for political purposes. We say good on them, because their latest idea is a very interesting one.

PledgeBank.com is a place you can go to make promises about things you want to do to make the world a better place. Nice idea. But the difference is that instead of going it alone, you are encouraging others to join your efforts. If no one does, you do nothing, if enough people sign up, your actions have more weight behind them and will make more of a difference.

Site-founder Tom Steinberg says that the site is "a direct attack on the age-old barrier to action that comes from the feeling that you can't achieve things when you're on our own. It lets users say 'I'll do something, but only if X other people will do the same'."

During the test phase, people have registered pledges such as: "I will write to my MP asking for free Wireless Internet access in the British Library but only if 20 other people will pledge to write to their MP to ask for it too", and "I will bury a bucket to create a home for stag beetles but only if 8 other people will too".

The site is UK based, which will probably affect who will sign up for some of the more specific political pledges. But we see no reason that georgraphy should prevent anyone concerned about the quality of homes available for stag beetles from getting involved. Presumably, nebraskan stag beetles need love too.

"Our goal is to get it used all over the shop - in local communities to form residents associations, within companies to help organise events, and online to help people build open source software etc. Anything which requires people who need reassurance that their involvement in an activity will be both safe and worthwhile," Steinberg explains.

Although the site is politically neutral, that doesn't mean the pledges registered on it have to be. For example, the No2ID team has pledged to refuse to register for ID cards, along with a small donation to a legal defence fund for other refusers. But 10,000 other people need to sign up to make this one happen.

Whether you feel like fighting the power, or just like you can make a comfortable home for stag beetles in your garden, take a look at the actions on offer here. ®

Related stories

Not voting? Tell the world you're notapathetic.com
Civil liberty group pans EU biometrics plans
Privacy 'Dark Ages' force activist rethink


Other stories you might like

  • Tencent admits to poisoned QR code attack on QQ chat platform
    Could it be Beijing was right about games being bad for China?

    Chinese web giant Tencent has admitted to a significant account hijack attack on its QQ.com messaging and social media platform.

    In a post to rival social media platform Sina Weibo – a rough analog of Twitter – Tencent apologized for the incident.

    The problem manifested on Sunday night and saw an unnamed number of QQ users complain their credentials no longer allowed them access to their accounts. Tencent has characterized that issue as representing "stolen" accounts.

    Continue reading
  • Carnival Cruises torpedoed by US states, agrees to pay $6m after waves of cyberattacks
    Now those are some phishing boats

    Carnival Cruise Lines will cough up more than $6 million to end two separate lawsuits filed by 46 states in the US after sensitive, personal information on customers and employees was accessed in a string of cyberattacks.

    A couple of years ago, as the coronavirus pandemic was taking hold, the Miami-based biz revealed intruders had not only encrypted some of its data but also downloaded a collection of names and addresses; Social Security info, driver's license, and passport numbers; and health and payment information of thousands of people in almost every American state.

    It all started to go wrong more than a year prior, as the cruise line became aware of suspicious activity in May 2019. This apparently wasn't disclosed until 10 months later, in March 2020.

    Continue reading
  • India extends deadline for compliance with infosec logging rules by 90 days
    Helpfully announced extension on deadline day

    India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the local Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) have extended the deadline for compliance with the Cyber Security Directions introduced on April 28, which were due to take effect yesterday.

    The Directions require verbose logging of users' activities on VPNs and clouds, reporting of infosec incidents within six hours of detection - even for trivial things like unusual port scanning - exclusive use of Indian network time protocol servers, and many other burdensome requirements. The Directions were purported to improve the security of local organisations, and to give CERT-In information it could use to assess threats to India. Yet the Directions allowed incident reports to be sent by fax – good ol' fax – to CERT-In, which offered no evidence it operates or would build infrastructure capable of ingesting or analyzing the millions of incident reports it would be sent by compliant organizations.

    The Directions were roundly criticized by tech lobby groups that pointed out requirements such as compelling clouds to store logs of customers' activities was futile, since clouds don't log what goes on inside resources rented by their customers. VPN providers quit India and moved their servers offshore, citing the impossibility of storing user logs when their entire business model rests on not logging user activities. VPN operators going offshore means India's government is therefore less able to influence such outfits.

    Continue reading
  • Hangouts hangs up: Google chat app shuts this year
    How many messaging services does this web giant need? It's gotta be over 9,000

    Google is winding down its messaging app Hangouts before it officially shuts in November, the web giant announced on Monday.

    Users of the mobile app will see a pop-up asking them to move their conversations onto Google Chat, which is yet another one of its online services. It can be accessed via Gmail as well as its own standalone application. Next month, conversations in the web version of Hangouts will be ported over to Chat in Gmail. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022