Finally watched When they finally see us….

I first watched the first episode of When they finally see us and couldn’t watch further episodes. It was a difficult watch and didn’t get around to finishing the show. Part of the reason is I remember the case as I grew up, it was just before the murder of Stephen Lawrence from memory.

When they finally see us

If you have not seen the series, go watch it and look out for the Opera interview with the 5. You will be in tears…

Curve cards are temporarily suspended

The Curve Card

Bad news, with all the joy I have had using my curve card. I was slightly shocked to see this email from Curve yesterday. To be fair I thought it was a phishing email till I checked the site myself and looked at the twitter account.

YOUR CURVE CARD IS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED – PLEASE CARRY A BACK-UP

Dear Curve Customers,

Your Curve card and all associated Curve transaction and money transfer services will be temporarily suspended with immediate effect. Please be assured, we expect to be up and running again shortly but it may take a few days. Your money and card details held at Curve are safe and secure.

This has happened because the Financial Conduct Authority* has this morning suspended its permission for Wirecard Card Solutions Limited (the company who currently issues Curve Cards) to operate, without prior notice. This action is not related to Curve – but Curve currently depends on Wirecard for operation of the Curve card.

We are already well on the way to migrating away from Wirecard but have not fully completed this process. We are now working round the clock to achieve the migration as quickly as possible and therefore expect this disruption to last for only a limited period of time.

We will continue to communicate the details of what this means for you during this interim period.

For now, please carry a backup card.

We’ll be back,
Team Curve

*Curve currently relies on Wirecard Card Solutions Limited for all its financial transactions. Until we fully migrate, we are impacted by this suspension (as are all Wirecard’s other clients to whom they provide financial transaction services).

Hopefully they can get it up and going soon, as I couldn’t remember my pin for my old card.

Powerful clip from Black-ish TV series

Its worth noting this clip was from the TV show Black-ish in 2016.

Its a powerful but simple speech which speaks volumes about where we are in 2020. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to bring up children in the system of racism we live in.

 

 

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

Emmanuel Acho sits down to have an “uncomfortable conversation” with white America, in order to educate and inform on racism, system racism, social injustice, rioting & the hurt African Americans are feeling today.

Its still early days but I quite like it, especially the discussion with Matthew McConaughey who brings up the notion of “White Allergies” – I have never heard the term

Where we were raised and how we were raised in our history growing up, there’s certain just imported obvious ways that we’re prejudiced in ways that we don’t even understand. We got white allergies and may not even know it. And so, I was sitting there, you know, looking at my own life, and I go, all right. To me, Longview High School, it’s over 50% Black. I applied to Grambling (a historically Black college). I was the first white [person] to ever work at Catfish Station, [a] Black blues bar on 6th Street. I am married to a non-white immigrant. I have Black friends all through my life and still do. But, what prejudices may I have via white allergies that I may not even be aware of?

I think like myself Acho hadn’t heard the term but got it…  He pointed to a example of backhanded compliments, such as “You don’t talk Black,” or ”You’re pretty for a Black girl.”

This reminded me of an experience I had in America on the road while getting some food, I think I was in Iowa or Wisconsin

I walked in to a takeaway place, the white woman with blonde hair  behind the counter. Says to me

“Yo yo brother, whatsup, how ya doin, whatdu want?”

I looked shocked and said in my normal English accent…

Ummmm what….!?

She was so shocked like I had suddenly changed my form completely. I can’t forget the way her face and posture changed.
It was clear she hasn’t heard a black man with a British accent and you could see her world view evaporate like a magician.blowing a puff of smoke.

Systematic racism, a look at the prison system

13th

I recently watched 13th and learned a lot including about ALEC (plus the companies which have dropped support) and the effect of systematic racism on the crime & punishment systems.

Some quotes to think about…

Prison industrial complex, the system, the industry, it is a beast. It eats black and Latino people for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I think a beast is exactly right. The beast no one wants to talk about?

Police violence, that isn’t the problem in and of itself. It’s reflection of a much larger,brutal system of racial and social control known as mass incarceration, which authorizes this kind of police violence.

Exactly what I’ve been saying. This isn’t about the police, its about the system which encourages excessive force as black lives don’t matter.

People say all the time,
“I don’t understand how people could’ve tolerated slavery. How could they have made peace with that? How could people have gone to a lynching and participated in that?
How did people make sense of the segregation, this white and colored-only drinking…
That’s so crazy.
If I was living at that time, I would have never tolerated anything like that.”
And the truth is, we are living at this time, and we are tolerating it…

Its a quote which sums it up. Its hard to see how the status-quo is the problem when you are in it.

Updated

Just today John Oliver from Last Week Tonight, makes clear the threat of Covid19 and people stuck in Jail and Prison where social distancing isn’t an option and nor is soap! As most people in American prison’s are people of colour, it doesn’t take a lot to realize how devastating this virus is in a prison.

Well worth watching if you have access to HBO or a VPN.

Systematic racism

I think this says so much…

Black communities have been telling the nation, for more than a century, that they have been targeted, beaten, falsely accused and killed by the police and other institutions meant to protect them.

They have not been believed until recently, when the rise in camera phones and social media finally enabled them show and disseminate proof.

Even after the video of George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, there remains defensiveness and denial among white Americans and institutions—a defensiveness that prevents change to the root of the problem: systemic racism. In this video, eight powerful voices share perspectives on blackness in America, and why white inaction and white politeness must end.

To learn more about what you can do to end the racist status quo, educate yourself and take action. Here is Robin DiAngelo’s list of resources: https://robindiangelo.com/resources/

How to make people of colour’s life a little easier

Wedding
Photo by Slim Emcee on Unsplash

I saw this piece from Vice and was shaking my head in agreement going through the list.Heres some key ones for me…

2. Don’t assume that all people of color share the same views. We are not a monolith.

Absolutely… Can’t tell you how many times people assume they know what my views are simply because of my race

6. Oh, and rest assured that literally no person of color ever wants you to get back from holiday, show off your tan and excitedly exclaim, “Look, I’m almost as dark as you!” Cease and desist.

I always find tans super strange, especially when people compare them to my skin. Stop doing it…

20. Understand that some days are even more mentally exhausting for people of color thanks to the news cycle. Try not to badger us for our opinions on the latest atrocity that has occurred. Leave us to grieve.

I generally ignore the news cycle as I know it doesn’t help my mental health. If you want thoughts on news items, let it sink in first and see what other people of colour are writing.

22. Share articles relating to the everyday experiences of race and racism written by people of color.

There is the hashtag #everydayracism, use it, repost, retweet and retoot. Just like there is #everydaysexism. More people see it the more peopel will realise.

23. But don’t be that person who is weird and sycophantic and loves to demonstrate their wokeness constantly to the people of color around them. Be thoughtful.

You don’t think I notice when you say Yo to me but not to anyone else? We notice

26. Have a critical eye when watching TV and movies. How are they portraying people of color and why? What purpose does it serve?

Just like the Bechdel test you should check out the DuVernay test

31. If you have kids, buy them dolls of color and books with characters of color.

I don’t have kids but I was very happy when a friend bought his daughter a black doll. That child will hopefully grow up being much more comfortable with people of colour

42. People can be Black and gay and disabled and trans and middle class. Blackness is expansive. It doesn’t look one way. Keep this in mind.

Indeed! This is why we need to start thinking much more intersectionaly.

Mixed race couple
Photo by Creative Hina By.Quileen on Unsplash

48. Never try and pull any uninvited “race play” shit in the bedroom. Seriously, what the fuck?

I had quite a few times while dating, discussions about never having sex with a black man. Its massively upsetting and is like number 50, being called exotic! If this happened in the bedroom it would be over in a heartbeat.

59. Look around your workplace—are the only people of color cleaners or assistants? What can you do to change that? (The answer is almost never “nothing.”)

One of my biggest problems, companies who have a diverse workforce but all the people of colour are cleaners, security guards, assistants, etc.

70. Don’t? Vote? For? Racist? Politicians? Can’t believe I need to say this one but it seems like possibly, maybe, some of y’all did not get this memo.

Its simple, don’t vote for those who make their views clear about which side of the fence they sit. People seem to forget this when election time comes around.

78. If you have ever thought a phrase like “Black lives matter” is too assertive, consider why you’re so uncomfortable with Black people standing up for our humanity.

Absolutely… You need to check your white fragility because people of colour of dying

90. Care about race on the 364 days that aren’t Martin Luther King Jr. day.

Black history month is something which bugs me, I get there are seasons but it feels so insulting that everything is held to then or not bundled together because of that month.

96. Understand that nothing in your life has been untouched by your whiteness. Everything you have would have been harder to come by if you had not been born white.

Its hard to discuss but we are getting closer to the point when we can finally have those conversations. That is progress

99. Recognize that fighting racism isn’t about you, it’s not about your feelings; it’s about liberating people of color from a world that tries to crush us at every turn.

The problem is systematic racism, we need each other to make things better for everyone.

Family stands for black lives matter
Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash

NHS sees sense and adopts the decentralised model

 Matt Hancock, UK health secretary

After all the discussions about the NHS’s contact tracing app being centralised (you would have thought Germany’s decision would convinced them), what on earth did they think they were doing, finally they have changed their minds. I’m sure the pressure from the likes of the open rights group had something to do with it.

As I heard they had worked on two apps and of course the centralised one was a logistical flop. Now the government had to make the painful U turn.

Ouch! What a joke…!

Well at least they didn’t see the joke through to the bitter end.

“We are delighted that the Government listened to our and others advice in ditching the NHS’s ‘world-beating‘ App and to follow the successful model of other countries. “People need to trust the App, and it needs to work. Some countries using decentralised matching have already released their Apps. It will also work across borders. “Decentralised matching makes the App much easier to trust, as it doesn’t track you.
 

Racial microaggressions I have heard in the past

Racial microaggressions

I found this on the black leaders facebook network which I was invited to a while ago. I have had at least a couple of these thrown at me in the past. Usually with people who just met me. I do tend to look up thinking here we go again…

Most minorities face microaggressions. If you are woman, LGBTQ+, have a disability, are neurodiverse, etc.

Its tiresome and the people who say it just don’t think. But its certainly time to start making super clear its not alright by playing the question back on the other person.

Re-watching the Watchmen TV series

Spoiler alert!!!

If you have not seen the Watchmen the TV series, Do not watch the explainer above. Instead watch this one,

I can’t tell you how amazing the TV series is and its excellent follow up to the excellent film.

I’m watching it again because although its amazing, and I needed to watch it all again to understand it all. However I also wanted to watch it during the black lives matter protests for its extremely strong race in America storyline and references. This is how I found out about Tulsa in 1921.

Clearview AI GDPR request submitted

Clearview AI

There is so much to say about Clearview AI. If you never heard of them, well put it this way…

They have amassed a database of peoples faces by illegally scraping the likes of facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, flickr, etc, etc… All the companies have sent legal cease and desists but Clearview don’t seem to really care too much. Recently they were hacked allowing exposing all those pictures and training data to attackers.

Because of this and my experience with the IBM Dif project, I wanted to know if I’m in the database and the best way to find out is to send a GDPR request. This all follows my GDPR request from Houseparty just recently,

I think they have gotten serious about the EU and the UK because I didn’t need to send my usual email. I filled in the form using my junk mail and used my Estonian digital ID for verification.

Look forward to seeing what comes back. I’m expecting quite a lot.

Of course IBM, Microsoft and Amazon have backed away (for now) from their facial recognition systems because the huge amount of bias of the datasets have against black people. We will see how long they will keep this line over the year and next year?

Update
In my inbox from for the two requests…

EU/UK/Switzerland Data Access Form Request
EU/UK/Switzerland Data Objection Form Request

This e-mail is to confirm that we have received your EU/UK/Switzerland Data (Access/Objection) Request. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Team Clearview

Changes due to #BlackLivesMatter

There is a lot happening around black lives matter and sometimes its worth celebrating some of small things as we move closer to a much more antiracist stance (don’t get me wrong I know its a long long way off, but hearing some news it feels closer than ever)

BLM supporter speaks out after carrying counter-protester to safety
When I saw the picture on twitter I was blown away, I read the story and then found the channel4 interview.

Reddit’s co-founder resigns, asks to be replaced by black candidate
This happened quite soon after the first set of protests and I was surprised. Reddit has had its problems in the past and this could be actually a genius move.

Removing slave and master from openZFS, GitHub abandons ‘master’ and ‘slave’ and theres been moves to remove terms like whitelist.
I remember the first time I learned to build a PC being faced with the IDE/UDMA bus with master and slave devices. It bugged me but just lived with it. Its about time it was changed because it can easily be called something else. Its only legacy which has kept it as it is.

Content warning

A number of movies and TV shows have faced up to their bias and racist prejudice. This of course has upset people but they will likely return with a content warning.

List of companies supporting black lives matter (at least on social media channels)
A nice list with a archive which will be very useful to look back in 6, 12, 18, 36 months time.

A friend (thatgirlvim) shared with me this fundraiser for a research study into Diverse & Equal Black Tech

Finally another  good friend floated this lecture series to me recently. Modernity + Coloniality A free online summer course on coloniality and decoloniality. Looks really good but I’m not so keen on the open zoom, after my experience of zoombombing.

My Houseparty GDPR data dump

During the start of the Covid19 lockdown, I was convinced by friends to try houseparty and decided it was pretty crappy so stopped using it as mentioned in a previous blog.

After many emails I finally got my personal GDPR data copy. From Hotel Charlie!

I can’t tell you how much hassle its been… even when they sent me a horribly long link (we are talking about 300 characters long) to the zip file, it would expire a few hours later on their Amazon S3 bucket.

<Error>
<Code>ExpiredToken</Code>
<Message>The provided token has expired.</Message>
<Token-...{very large token}...</Token>
</Error>

Finally once I got it… It was a zip file with a index.html and 5 different folders.

  • room_visits / room_visits.html
  • profiles /profile.html
  • photos / 216A9AAE57194410901F8BA7981E63AB (a png file)
  • interactions / interactions.html
  • friends / friends.html

All the .html files are horrible tables for example here is interactions.html

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <title>Room Visits</title>
</head>
<style>
table {
    border-collapse: collapse;
}
table, th, td {
    border: 1px solid black;
}
</style>
<body>
<table border="1">
    <tr>
        <td>Room ID</td>
        <td>Room Visit Start Date</td>
        <td>Room Visit End Date</td>
        <td>Users</td>
    </tr>
    
    <tr>
        <td>e021116-bae-44d6-cc17-9121fbeaccc13</td>
        <td>
    2020-06-45T21:23:11Z
</td>
        <td>
    2020-06-11T21:16:41Z
</td>
        <td>
            <ul>
            
            </ul>
        </td>
    </tr>
    
</table>

</body>
</html>

The data isn’t that interesting but I think thats because I wasn’t using the app just my Chromium browser. I also only friended one person, so its all pretty slim on data.

Not that interesting but I’m very sure theres lots they have on me, however I requested my account is deleted. There is no way to delete your account if you are using the browser and the Android app from within the system. You have to request deletion!

My next GDPR request is for Clearview AI!

Make no mistake this is worldwide system of racism

Lots of people are focused on whats happening in America, but its super important to remember we are facing a worldwide system of racism. From judges to the police. It happens everywhere including the UK and doesn’t always manifest in death.