Mini ‘how-to’ Bluetooth/Wifi combo for Raspberry PI
Stick’em with the pointy end
Virtual and not so Virtual Space
Be Still my Bleeding Heart …
The Never-ending Privacy Battle
The Many Sides of Bitcoin
Cyber Jihadists
Hacker Gangs
The New Old War
The Sacred Executioner
Scripting Aphrodites
Mini ‘how-to’ Bluetooth/Wifi combo for Raspberry PI I recently purchased the Cirago USB Bluetooth/Wifi combo to use with my raspberry pi. All things considered, I am quite pleased. Being reasonably versed in google-fu, helped, of course. Since I want the freedom to do some mobile tinkering, I need to access the pi sans a lan. That, and my latest wild hair project […]
Stick’em with the pointy end Since I have been spending a great deal of my time playing in the field of 3D design and printing, I have only recently stumbled upon, and had time to read, “Privacy for Me and Not for Thee,” penned by Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, a human rights activist whom I first encountered in the virtual world […]
Virtual and not so Virtual Space Not long ago, someone asked if I liked 3D printing better than virtual worlds. The short answer is, equally but differently.
Be Still my Bleeding Heart … “Secure web servers are the equivalent of heavy armored cars. The problem is, they are being used to transfer rolls of coins and checks written in crayon by people on park benches to merchants doing business in cardboard boxes from beneath highway bridges. Further, the roads are subject to random detours, anyone with a screwdriver […]
The Never-ending Privacy Battle This brings me back to the Hundredpercent American. To some extent he is a pet of mine. I have always rather liked him, because he has some promising qualities. For instance, he has enormous hospitality. I used to feel personally complimented by the amazing warm-hearted hospitality showered on me by Americans. […] When I realized […]
The Many Sides of Bitcoin Pariah, darling, or somewhere in between. Bitcoin has continued to linger in the daily media spotlight since the shuttering of darknet’s black-market drug bazaar, Silk Road, and the subsequent announcement of the arrest of its alleged owner, Ross William Ulbricht (aka DPR), on October 2, 2013. Media mavens have long cast bitcoin as a sort […]
Cyber Jihadists “We’re facing a very great threat of loosely-coupled, organizational networks that increasingly rely on IT infrastructure to coordinate their movements and recruit young disenfranchised, apathetic guys as suicidal pawns in a sophisticated, dispersed movement. (…)” (AHM, Usenet, September 21, 2001)
Hacker Gangs Meet Jim Script Kiddie (skiddie). He is the guy (usually in his early to mid teens) who comes into a hacker forum, asking inane questions like, “how can I be a hacker?” He also tends to over-indulge in “hacker speak” making him look pretty much like a moron to seasoned (and not so) computer netizens.
The New Old War In 1956, FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover initiated a program, code-named COINTELPRO (counter intelligence program) ushering in what would become the mainstay for how intelligence communities dealt with domesitic affairs. The sole directive of this program was “to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the activities of various dissidents and their leaders.
The Sacred Executioner In his book, “The Sacred Executioner,” Hyam Maccoby notes: “A figure in mythology that has received little attention is that of the Sacred Executioner. […] By taking the blame for the slaying, he is performing a great service to society, for not only does he perform the deed, but he takes upon himself the blame […]
Scripting Aphrodites On Wednesday, April 13, 2006, 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin was reported missing by her father. Investigators thought she may have been abducted by someone she met online. Oklahoma law enforcement suspected her abductor might be heading just across the border to Texas and requested Texas issue an Amber alert.
image Mini ‘how-to’ Bluetooth/Wifi combo for Raspberry PI
image Stick’em with the pointy end
image Virtual and not so Virtual Space
image Be Still my Bleeding Heart …
image The Never-ending Privacy Battle
image The Many Sides of Bitcoin
image Cyber Jihadists
image Hacker Gangs
image The New Old War
image The Sacred Executioner
image Scripting Aphrodites

Myspace, Meatspace

I have other articles I planned to finish however in browsing tonights news, I was distracted by the recent flurry over myspace. Here are just a few headlines culled from the last two weeks:

 

I must admit, the uproar about does not surprise me in the least little bit. After all, we have a group of people, who have little to no understanding of social dynamics, writing software to be used by another group of people, who have little to no understanding of cyberspace dynamics. That it is just now coming to a head, is probably the most surprising. At least to me. Why? Let’s start with a brief history walk.

Prior to online communities such as , , , , , etcetera… in fact, prior to the web, online interaction was limited to , , , and . Or… we could go way back to and . And before that it was and . In any event, as the web began gaining public acceptance, the information superhighway was born, software companies began talking about standardization, and w3c came into being. By the late 1990s everyone and their brother had a website, dot-bombs were enjoying success, became the search engine of choice, and was no longer coffee.

Before software moguls entrance, only those who were technically adept cavorted in . With the new changes however came new problems. Predators lurked in , , and while people, both young and old, regularly disclosed personal information (something that was unheard of in the days of and ) thereby becoming vulnerable and a possible target to everything from to . By 1999, the US DOJ released a report warning of the dangers of putting too much information out there. By 2000, bought out , establishing itself as the industry leader of listserv management, began making inroads into the scene, and open the new buzzword.

While some might argue that online communities have been with us from the inception of the , exclusive of , they tended to be limited to those who shared interests. In other words, you pretty much had to know somebody in real life in order to join this community or that. That all changed with the advent of . As the novelty wore off, people grew tired, frustrated, or perhaps both, with building which often saw little more than a trickle of visitors in relation to the work that it took to build. Furthermore, some realized repeat visitors required ever changing content. Thus and was born.

Software companies took the fluid face of the in stride, marrying concepts of the old with the new, and online communities such as , , , , , and sprung up. Seemingly overnight. The most unfortunate mistake that all of them made however is that they seem to have ignored lessons from the past. Revealing personal data, for example. Since is presently in the news and it boasts some 55 million customers, lets take a look at what that means.

designers focused upon the technical. Therefore, instead of seeing social networking as something that is by nature dependent upon individual choice, they have designed it such that people are automatically with each other based upon a variety of personal data, such as their school, graduation, degrees, affiliations, occupation, location, age, gender, sexual preference, hobbies, and the list goes on. Furthermore, designers allow people who have accounts to search their membership using private data as well as displaying individual’s age and location with no option to turn that feature off. This is incredibly short-sighted of them. For they have designed a quite efficient hunting ground for the who walk among us.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for automation. Within limits. Even so, the software companies lack of aforethought in their design is only half of the problem. The other half involves people’s lack of understanding when it comes to participating in . For example, has its advantages. You can disclose something untoward, something off-the-cuff, and only those in your immediate vicinity hear what you say. Whereas in your disclosure is not only archived… somewhere… but is also available for all to see. Likewise, in you have a plethora of non-verbal cues when communicating with others. Ways to identify say… danger. Again, not so, in . All you have is written word, perhaps a picture or two. And if takes off, you may even get a video. Regardless, not only is the communication asynchronous, but you still have no means of knowing for certain who may be reading whatever you write at any given time. Your audience now extends beyond your immediate circle of family and friends. While this has its advantages, the disadvantage is that Joe Q Predator can read what you write and construct a that is the seeming perfect fit.

So… what do “we” (the universal we) do, anyway? For starters, and the other companies need to get their act together and lose the searching on private data features. Furthermore, they need to give their users a means to set their profiles to private. By doing those two things alone, their users cyberworld will not only shrink by an order of magnitude, but the number of potential victims will shrink as well. And finally, these companies really need to consider adding some to their payroll. After all, if they’re going to design it would behoove them to at the very least attempt to truly understand their audience.

As for users, both young and old, need to work on their personal perception of . That is, if they wish to participate online with a modicum of safety. And yes, that even means those who are really open and who do not mind that others know who they are, what their favorite beverage is, and what they had for dinner last night. Why? Knowledge of this seemingly trivial information is what helps us to gauge trust. For example, if you meet John Q Stranger for the first time and he tells you that he went to school with your sister, Lilly White, you may lower your defenses. If he goes on to mention things that only immediate family should know, you’ll probably lower more of your defenses. After all, unless sister Lilly White knows him, and more importantly, trusts him, the probability of him knowing those things is rather low. However, if John Q Stranger happened to find the information on the Internet, you could be in for a world of hurt. All too often, we convince ourselves that just because we sit in the privacy of our homes, typing away on our computers, that only those who are important to us will read what we may have to say, thereby feeling a false sense of security. And therein lies the problem: we apply the same rules to that we do to and visa versa. We really need to stop doing that.

What I am speaking of here is social gatekeeping–something that we, as a society, have managed to engage in rather well in the past. The Internet has however changed all of that. And unless we begin to not only understand how our online behavior must change–how to define and defend our boundaries–but also make that change a way of life, all of the laws and sanctions in the world will not do one whit of good. This isn’t about secrecy or paranoia. If anyone is seriously out to get you, they will. My contention however is, why draw them a map? After all, even if the odds of any single individual being targeted by an online predator are reasonably low, you may not get a second chance.