Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Jan 2023)

Xmas tree in Fediverse colours and streams

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing Channel4 interview ChatGPT, FTX’s Sam Bankman and the biggest hacks of 2022.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with 3M stopping forever chemicals, sodium-sulphur batteries becoming a thing and the BBC’s director general’s speech rallying call towards digital.


The environment will not wait for us

Ian thinks: The problems with GDP are well known but I certainly like this video by the Economist which makes the urgency a lot clearer. Can money stop deforestation? Not while we look quarter to quarter.

AI photos privacy and ethical concerns

Ian thinks: Although things are not super clear in the AI generation space, Lensa AI always struck me as something you may want to avoid. As usual people jump in and think later.

Is computing the new cars problem?

Ian thinks: Interesting discussion hinged on the question will we grow to regret computing as much we regret the way cars changed society. I have compared Jane Jacob’s life and death of the american city to the modern technological world.

Car tech isn’t helping with public safety?

Ian thinks: I found this conversation with David Zipper fascinating from a public service point of view. All the hype and funding going into autonomous cars isn’t making our streets safer for the public, and David has some very clear points demonstrating this. Worth reading this Time piece too.

Not everything darkweb is bad?

Ian thinks: Seeing some of the good things about the darkweb is never a popular but Mozilla does a good job explaining what it is and how it works in the usual fun style.

Web3 is going so great

Ian thinks: This interview with the author of web3 is going great, Molly White is just great and this interview has so many to think about. Follow on from the interview Paris Marx and Molly White talk about the FTX.

All in on the fediverse

Ian thinks: A bit of a history lesson of where microblogging came from and where it splintered. Blaine Cook’s instinct for this space has been spot on and with him throwing some weight behind the fediverse

A taste of living in an authoritarian country?

Ian thinks: Umair makes a lot of good points, comparing the way Twitter was made to work with authoritarian countries. A real taste of whats to come if the public service internet isn’t fully realised.

Seeing the power of community

Ian thinks: The importance of local communities working together for the better, is something which underpins so much of the public service internet.


Find the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Dec 2022)

The branches of the Fediverse diagram

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the UK government setup a discord server, A podcasting app sharing user location to podcast creators and whats its like to work in India as a woman in tech.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with India following the EU with USB C. Flickr putting weight behind ActivityPub and even more calls to make privacy a human right.


Gifts which don’t track your friends and family

Ian thinks: I actually chuckle at the #askfirefox videos but this video makes good points about buying a surveillance device for friends and family this festive holiday. Shop smart with Mozilla’s privacy not included.

W3C Solid working group

Ian thinks: Solid the personal data store has found its place in the W3C groups, Tim Berners-Lee’s welcoming email is beautifully written, starting a genuine new phase of the internet.

The UK parliament debates the future of public service broadcasting

Ian thinks: Its good to see this discussion at this level but am concerned there isn’t more focus beyond broadcasting. Public service is much bigger and its time to bring what makes public service unique to this space.

Mozilla’s future looks bright and sustainable

Ian thinks: Mozilla although well know in certain circles, has been losing a lot of market share. However has good plans to build on its community roots for a bright and sustainable future. Don’t forget the Mozilla festival’s call for proposals ends Dec 16th

Thoughts on Blockchain technology a decade ago

Ian thinks: Tim Bray’s measured thoughts on blockchain technology is a good read. Its easy to say blockchains were not mature back when AWS started but Tim thoughts today haven’t changed much.

Elon musk’s take over of Twitter

Ian thinks: There is so much to say about this take over of Twitter but I didn’t want to spend the whole newsletter talking about it. However I’m sadden by the lack of understanding from Elon and the way employees have been treated.. No way was Twitter the public square.

More thoughtful discussion about the future of decentralised social media

Ian thinks: Interesting points made and worthy of listening to in full. Likewise this small panel with the folks from Bluesky, Manyverse and others exploring the possibilities way beyond what’s currently available.

The EFF look at Mastodon from a security & privacy point of view

Ian thinks: Its always great to see new systems deeply looked at by the EFF and Open rights group. Mastodon comes out looking great. However you certainly have to go about it differently.

Don’t like microblogging but like the idea of the fediverse?

Ian thinks: This is great news Automattic (WordPress) are once again supporting the standard ActivityPub and joining the large open network of the fediverse. How Tumblr will work on the Fediverse is another question.


Find the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Nov 2022)

Example of Solid with person and data surrounding them

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the Palantir’s Secret Plan to Crack the NHS. Deliberate radio spoofing to distort live video, a distressing insight into Silicon Vallay’s tech elite and of course Twitter finally bought.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with the open wallet foundation bringing standards to the chaos, Competition wins and American smart devices adopting security/privacy labelling.


Solid adoption faces the cultural problem?

Ian thinks: Personal data stores make a lot of sense, especially for developers as this post makes clear. However its consistent with the discussions I have had with startups with “The tech culture in the U.S. is a lot less suspicious of companies that are looking to centralise their data, because they can see a way to make money off of that”

See the future of the public service here

Ian thinks: Following the personal data store dev discussion above, its a lot clearer for public interest companies who want to innovate and provide a different proposition from profit driven companies.

Mozilla’s unknown influence is very chilling

Ian thinks: This short documentary is pretty powerful and highlights how much worst the dumpster fire is outside North America and Europe. Well worth the 12 minutes of your time. Also worth mentioning Mozilla’s little mini-series is fun, educational and instantly shareable. I personally have shared a few with some less technical friends and its been well received.

Hacking google mini series

Ian thinks: Although a big advert for Google, there are parts which are worth while watching from a cyber-security point of view.

OFCOM is looking into cloud services, iot and messaging

Ian thinks: This is good news as the national regulator does have a lot of power to work in favour of the public, but has spent too much time focused on traditional media.

All the Unfinished videos are online now

Ian thinks: The Unfinished live conference has caused quite a splash since its inception. A lot of the talks are worth re-watching and if not seen before, you are in for a treat.

Shannon needs to look away from the mainstream

Ian thinks: Shannon is no longer excited by Technology, but through the post its clear she is focused on the big mainstream tech. Looking away form the mainstream into the indie & niches could be what she’s missing?

Enable our cookies, pay or get lost

Ian thinks: We all knew it was coming, but to see it happen in the EU first was unexpected by myself. Expect many more to follow suit, a high profile court case and hopefully a renewed look at micro-payments.

Bluesky discussed and dissected

Ian thinks: There was a small announcement about Bluesky coming soon, but I found at least the first part of this video with Kevin Marks and Jeff Jarvis looking through the AT protocol quite revealing of whats coming.


Find the archive here

The future of public service broadcasting is closer than you think

The other day a family member said to me.

I remember ages ago you talking about something you were researching around personal data stores. Then I saw on the most recent click, something similar.

I looked it up, knowing colleagues in the team have recently done a interview with BBC click and found the above video. Its great to see it being used in unique ways and always reminds me of the great BBC news story “Why the BBC does not want your data

To me its clear a personal data store is a key part of the public service internet ecosystem. There is much more to it but people controlled data is a key corner stone. Its also why the Perceptive Radio sits next to MyPDS/Datapod in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).

MyPDS and Perceptive Raido

My role in personal data store project ended a while ago but I’m still involved in tangential research around this all. Part of it being the living room of the future and other new research.

The public service internet is one step closer… everyday!

Join us! Its going to be great!

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Oct 2022)

Bus stop in bladerunner style using AI
Created with Midjourney

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the ongoing fight around ransomware. 2fa social engineered and youtube dislike meaning very little.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with the EU ramping up its open source code access, South Korea’s win for privacy violations and solutions like Watomatic providing out of office replies for WhatsApp to aid with stopping using it.


Recommendations for a Digital Future to the EU

Ian thinks: Exit Platforms over the past year have brought together a group of experts, To chart out what a public service internet could looks like from a policy point of view. The last meeting being a hackathon in the European parliament. This is the report is a detailed from the last year of meetings.

Jack Dorsey realising the mistakes of twitter

Ian thinks: Jack’s thought about the mistakes are further clarified when Kevin Marks making it super clear how Twitter killed twitter as a API in favour of control and profit.

The future of Solar panels? Everywhere!

Ian thinks: Its fantastic to see solar panels in places I thought were simply a no go. Although the cost of panel is dropping there is still a need for a bigger drop.

Bus shelters turned into garden

Ian thinks: Although Manchester has had a bus shelter like described since 2016 and people point out its advertising driven. I do think its generally a good idea and better than looking at a metal frame in the pouring rain.

Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires (nsfw)

Ian thinks: Aspects of team human, this interview with Rushkoff is entertaining but its hard to see fault in the logic behind the new book.

EU puts its foot down around mobile waste and upgrades

Ian thinks: Although in draft form, its a move which may have serious consequences in many different industries.

Bluetracking around the city for better transport but at what cost?

Ian thinks: Contactless travel sounds fantastic but I’m not sure the trail will consider privacy and abuse cases. Something they really should.

Chris’s challenging talk about crypto gave me a bad taste

Ian thinks: Mydata is a good conference but this talk gave me a taste but I can’t exactly point at one thing. A lot of what Chris says is correct, but I can’t get his position over the keynote. Or maybe its just the bored ape t-shirt?

AI art has changed the game quietly

Ian thinks: I have personally been using mid-journey and dall-e2 for some personal works. It feels like something has changed, and we haven’t really acknowledged the effect yet.

What can be learned from Google’s smart city project?

Ian thinks: Sobering talk from Josh O’Kane about Google’s sidewalk labs project with plenty of insights for future smart city projects.


Find the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Sept 2022)

a group of people walking down a street next to tall buildings, cyberpunk art by Ji Sheng, cgsociety, afrofuturism, concept art HQ
a group of people walking down a street next to tall buildings, cyberpunk art by Ji Sheng, cgsociety, afrofuturism, concept art HQ – via Midjourney

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the ring door bell show, twitter not taking security seriously and Android stalkerware with a flaw affecting millions.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with some cameras which can optically not see objects and people. Facebook messager pushed into deploying some-kind of encryption and Chokepoint capitalism look very well timed indeed.


1.5 million people avoided ransomware

Ian thinks: Ransomware is awful and is such a big problem. Interpol and others decided to do something about it, to encourage victims from paying out. The 1.5 million victims helped in a short time is impressive

Side by side, the differences between AI image generators

Ian thinks: Over the last few months, the AI image generation world has gone in overdrive. I found this comparison really intriguing although the story of midjourney speaks volumes.

The privacy and security problems of frictionless design

Ian thinks:: What Tiktok is doing is deeply worrying but it raises the bigger question of usability to avoid user agency and data rights.

Terraform: Stories from the future?

Ian thinks: I’m not usually a reader of Sci-Fi but now Black Mirror is cancelled, I am looking out for the audiobook of this book. Interesting short stories about the future we are slowly walking towards.

Could we ever trust robots?

Ian thinks: This talk from the Thinking Digital Conference in Newcastle, made me chuckle but highlights a lot of the problems with the future dreams of robots around the home. Its worth checking out the rest of the conference videos too.

In machines we trust?

Ian thinks: MIT’s podcast about the automation of everything is a good listen. Well thought out and I’m looking forward to the next season in this ongoing question about trust and machines.

The future is bright for open podcasting

Ian thinks: I am still fascinated and still impressed the podcasting industry is holding tight against the larger players. Innovating together and for the benefit of all, a great example of the public focused future.

What can be learned from Netflix’s downturn?

Ian thinks: Everyone has been beating up on Netflix recently, but I found this summary sensible, logical and raises questions about the multipliers of tech companies.

Have you ever considered the term social warming?

Ian thinks: For a long time, I have thought about a term which sums up the downsides of social media/networking. In the book Social Warming: The dangerous and polarising effects of social media, I feel Charles Arthur has found the perfect term.


Find the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Aug 2022)

Who has power over AI - world map

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing 1 billion chinese citizens data hacked, The UK’s DWP using AI ti decide who gets universal credit and Elon & Twitter once again.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with some fresh thoughts about federated moderation, the EU attempting to regulate those black box AI’s and clever environmental moves around reusing paper and rethinking body gels.


The Internet health report dives deep into AI harms

Ian thinks: Mozilla’s internet health report is usually across the board but this year they have deep dived into AI harms. Its not a surprise but the detail is surprising in part.

Those public cameras are everywhere, here’s how they are being used

Ian thinks: This short video from Amnesty International and Wired Magazine is simply the surveillance state utopia some have dreamed about. For the rest of us its a dystopian nightmare, but this is no nightmare… its now.

What is the matrix? Not that one!

Ian thinks: I have always found the Matrix protocol incredible and this frank interview will give you a real scope of what a open distributed protocol can actually do. The stance on bridging is certainly refreshing.

Violence guarantees success?

Ian thinks: The influence and lobbying of Uber was bad but picking through the uber files, its insane the high ranking people who have been influenced by Uber. There is something deja-vu about this?

Uber whistle-blower’s sends a stark warning for us all

Ian thinks: If the Uber files isn’t super clear to you, spend 25mins watching this Guardian video interview with MacGuann, the Uber whistle-blower.

The freakonomics tackle Crypto, NFTs and Web3 in their style.

Ian thinks: The freakonomics team look at many things from a economics point of view. Hearing their unique view on some of the battle for the next internet is quite insightful.

Canada’s Rogers outage is exactly why monopolies are a bad idea

Ian thinks: Not many saw or were affected by this almost complete network outage. But its important to remember Rogers has been pursuing the merger of another Canadian telcom.

The European Commission joins the fediverse, join them

Ian thinks: The EU joining the fediverse is refreshing but I saw so little about this trial by the EU. I really hope they don’t expect huge numbers of people because that would defeat the purpose of the fediverse.

A Game Designer’s presentation turns into a wake up call for all

Ian thinks: You can read the slides in English here and there are subs for an excellent talk which he admits would never be selected. Asking the question do we really want to live in a trust-less society, which crypto is setup to support?

Servers and heat do not mix

Ian thinks: A clear reminder that environmental change/collapse will massively affect the way the internet works and is shaped into the future. Our expectations of servers always up and instantly available needs to shift.

Shhhh, what is quiet?

Ian thinks: I have seen a few of these decentralised slack, discord, element systems. The introduction of everything over TOR will excite certain people along with IPFS support, but its clear the track record of Holmes Wilson is another key feather in the hat.


Find the archive here

England woman’s football team needs some colour?

I found this piece from Channel 4 quite interesting, especially when Sue was talking with passion and then the change of tone when talking about the lack of women of colour in the team.

Of course I know little about Football and likely even less about womens football (although that might change over time). However in 2022, something feels deeply a miss?

Congrats to the England team in their 2-1 win over Germany.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (July 2022)

Re:publica 22, is this the real life

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed reading about how Conti ransomware has issued in a new era and as always the sorry state of social in the Scientific America and the FT.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with Mozilla rolling out total cookie protection worldwide, EU making USB-C the standard for mobile and the recent gains in Quantum technology.


The silence is deafening on Roe vs Wade

Ian thinks: America’s decision on Roe vs Wade is deeply shocking but can you hear the silence from the tech companies who are on the very sharp end of this all. Very few public announcements, even today.

Those scams are always there

Ian thinks: The new griftonomics podcast is something wotth subscribing to. In this episode there is a genuine discussion about how laws must catch up with the new range of cyrpto based ponzi schemes.

Re:publica is always worth the wait

Ian thinks: Re:publica is one of those conference full of thoughtful conversations. Its mainly in German but most have been translated into English and captured in a playlist.

The real issue is open vs closed

Ian thinks: The consistent bashing of RSS in podcasting has recently gotten pretty bad. Dave cuts right to the heart of debate and outlines the advantages of ownership.

Ending a monopoly is almost always a good thing

Ian thinks: I’m always interested in how the mainstream picks up subjects like tech monopolies. Jon Oliver would have made Cory Doctorow pround with well thought out arguments, many we could use.

W3C’s Ethical web principles

Ian thinks: I was not aware of this till someone pointed it out during a meeting. Really positive to see it develop and who is on board with these core principles.

Google is never far from controversy when it comes to AI

Ian thinks: What is it with Google and AI? LaMDA is a curious tale but there is a much deeper problem of AI Bias which hasn’t been picked up by the other outlets in connection with the story.

Enough of the Web 3, its all about Web 5 now

Ian thinks Jack Dorsey’s raves about Web 5 is quite something. Although easily ignored as bluster, there is tiny bit of sustenance which shines some light on other community efforts. Just ignore the crypto stuff and focus on the decentralisation.

All about DIDs

Ian thinks: Talking about Web5 and other community efforts, Decentralized identifiers or DIDs is something the W3C have been working on for years. Explaining them is difficult but this does a good job trying to covering most questions.

The W3C become a public interest non-profit?

Ian thinks: Its a mouthful and I did wonder whats broken? But then reading through the future changes from a speed and adaptability point of view. It all started to make a lot more sense.


Find the archive here

The excesses of Berlin’s club culture?

I found this documentary by DW quite a find, especially with my early history of clubbing in Berlin just before the millennium.

I have heard so much about Berghain, which I have never been to but remember it being called something else (Ostgut/Snax?). It certainly wasn’t a place I was that interested in going to as a young twenty old to be fair.

The drugs is something worth talking about. I remember going to raves and the absolute dangerous politics around drugs testing. Its not ideal but with the drugs laws as they are, anything to help drug users make more informed choices is important I would say. I remember spending lots of time in the rave first aid rooms (mainly with a asthmatic attack) and seeing ravers who have had spiked pills, overdosed, etc. I couldn’t understand how the laws could be so mindlessly and badly written in the face of reality.

Would Jennifer and Carlo have made the choice to take the ecstasy knowing the dosage was so high? Who can say? But I like to think they might have reconsidered taking two?

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (May 2022)

This land is your land

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed reading about the not well known dangers of databrokers, likewise the surprise? inequality effects everyone, and hearing the details of Facebooks paid smear campaign,

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with the power of community, Reddit’s /place working together and different ways to do notifications.


Community door deliver fills in gaps

Ian thinks: This reminds me of the community WiFi initiatives, which filled in the gaps of big internet companies which refused to support smaller communities. However I can see these growing, with the backlash against generic speedy delivery systems.

The metaverse’s architecture is simply lazy

Ian thinks: In my recent Mozfest session about the metaverse vs public service internet. I was highly critical of repeating the same mistakes of the physical world in the virtual world. I’m not the only one.

Lessons for a metaverse

Ian thinks: On a similar note, there are plenty of lessons for virtual space creators, but I wonder how many are actually paying attention?

P2P fashion renting, focuses on the community

Ian thinks: Not my usual interest but shrinking fast fashion’s carbon footprint is interesting. However its the community focus and peer 2 peer model which elevates it into this line up this month. Expect this business model to be duplicated over and over again.

Sunshine technology

Ian thinks: This BBC Click episode is focused on solar technology and there are some impressive developments. The limits are made clear but frankly I’m reconsidering my next pair of headphones.

Channel 4 sell off shows the misunderstanding of public service business models

Ian thinks: Much has been written about the recent announcement to sell off Channel 4 but the misunderstanding of the business model of Channel 4 isn’t just embarrassing but shocking that people assume the model is one way.

Leap frogging with 3D printing and communities

Ian thinks: I always liked the idea of leap frogging in tech but things tend not to stick unless there is influence from governments or a ground swell of community support.

Secrecy as a means of monetization?

Ian thinks: The joy of tinkering, making, and sharing is part of the human condition. In modern times, this creative freedom too often is stifled by secrecy as a means of monetization – from non-compete laws to quashing people’s right to repair the products they’ve already paid for.

Twitter is not a digital public space

Ian thinks: The whole Elon and twitter saga is simply boring, and I do not buy Elon’s idea of Twitter being the public square. Paul’s piece sums up some critical thoughts around this all.


Find the archive here

What do you value most in a friendship?

Question on screen. Question: What do you value most in a friendship? Answer: When Ian Forrester gives chocolate ;-)
Question: What do you value most in a friendship? Answer: When Ian Forrester gives chocolate 😉

Seen completely out of the blue while in the Mozilla/BBC Ethical Dilemma Cafe last week. I had to do a double take when I saw my name.

Question: What do you value most in a friendship?
Answer: When Ian Forrester gives chocolate 😉

The screen was part the ethical dilemma, where people use a QR code to register for free hot drinks but in return they need to answer personal questions getting more and more personal/intrusive the more hot drinks you have.

Do I know who wrote the answer?
Actually I do not, but I have a small number of people who I do think it could be…

Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester through the window

Look out for a full blog post in the next few weeks.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (April 2022)

 

EULA for the Ethical Dilemma Cafe

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing Apple’s lack of regard for the Dutch ACM, understanding the motivations of young people hacking now and people being reminded about cafe working etiquette

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with people dumping their smartphones along Cloudflare providing a free webservice firewall and Twitter joining TOR


Mozfest Ethical dilemma cafe Manchester tickets are now live

Ian thinks: Understanding the ethical dilemmas we face every day online has always been difficult to explain the harm. Putting them into physical spaces really brings home the dilemma. If you are in Manchester in late April, grab a free ticket and join us.

Rallying call for a equitable digital public space

Ian thinks: Reading this piece, I couldn’t help but think about the digital realm with the ever growing divide between rich/poor. Not only with money but time and knowledge The digital divide is live and sadly growing..

The inspiring documentary about internet life for young people in the Netherlands

Ian thinks: I was able to watch the whole documentary at Mozfest this year and was impressed with the different methods used by parents and young people working with the current internet.

Who is really looking at the infrastructure of a metaverse?

Ian thinks: Found via this years Mozfest while talking about the metaverse vs the public service internet. The folks at Matrix, are building a truly interoperable infrastructure for a real metaverse.

WordPress is the dark matter of the web?

Ian thinks: This good interview with Matt Mullenweg, WordPress founder and so much more. Really makes clear how wordpress is not only greatly estimated but also its positive impact on the web.

Indigenous teachings finally influencing our sustainable future

Ian thinks: People turning towards the deep learning from indigenous people is a good thing. I would like to see much more of this sooner rather than later,

Its all about the Scenius?

Ian thinks: I first heard about Scenius at Mozfest this year, Brian Eno coined the term to summarize how communities not individuals are responsible for innovation.

Europe makes its intentions very clear with the Digital Markets Act

Ian thinks: The EU’s Digital Markets Act is a very bold legal policy which could have the similar impact to GDPR? Although people can’t stop talking about opening Apple’s iMessage, its worth remembering the DMA hasn’t been fully drafted yet!

Cory and Ethan chew over a better internet

Ian thinks: A lot is covered in a short amount of time. However they both settle on the practical problems of the current and future internet. The legal battles, societal frameworks and the web3 bubble is used to chill what the future internet could be.

Keeping the Ukraine cyber secure early on

Ian thinks: The mission to harden and keep Ukraine as secure as possible earlier, has played a big role in stopping the cyber invasion of Russia and maintaining a functioning country.


Find the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (March 2022)

Flag of Ukraine

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the cyber-war alongside the disinformation war and of course the physical blood shed of war in the Ukraine from Vladimir Putin. It makes delivery drivers dancing for likes and Tinder changing prices based on personal data look even more pathetic.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with the incredible resistance from the Ukraine people along with People leaving Facebook, enzymes eating plastics and  Android getting tracking protection.


Thoughts about the digital public sphere

Ian thinks: I still find re-reading Bill Thompson’s entry into the book “Building a European digital public space“, still full of wisdom and insight for the future of the digital public ecosystem.

The rush to virtually own your home has started

Ian thinks: On the face of it, it seems like a load of nonsense but the harms are clear as you read further and consider how the big tech corps always buy the smaller startups.

Mozfest’s grand webmontization tipping experiment

Ian thinks: Adding tipping to Mozfest is going to be a interesting dynamic for the mainly virtual festival this year. To take part you just need one of the pay what you like tickets.

O’reilly’s thoughts on Web3, interesting technology but get ready for the crash

Ian thinks: Tim O’Reilly has been asked a few time for his thoughts and this piece for CBS, certainly has put the cats in with the NFT pigeons.

The technology is questionable but the community is real?

Ian thinks: I do find something of hope in this article, as it explores the community side of the web3 hype. If the community spirit can outlive the huge speculation, that might make it worth while?

The deep worry of the fact checking systems

Ian thinks: Following Facebook fact checking the British medical journal, I found the EFF thoughts spot on. Saying you are fact checking isn’t nearly enough. Sadly a lot of people assume that is enough

Faster internet isn’t the panacea for a better society

Ian thinks: Although the paper seems slightly different from the news piece, The notion of faster internet as ultimate end is a bad mistake. Infrastructure is only part of the solution not the panacea.

Friction can be a good thing

Ian thinks: Last year I gave a talk about friction-less design and how it was partly to blame for the lack of control people have on the internet. This piece adds even more impact to the lack of friction.

Synthetic biology and needs a public entity?

Ian thinks: Amy’s new book The Genesis Machine, sounds far reaching but Amy raises a lot of points about who is driving synthetic biology? I kept wondering about a public entity besides Governments and Corporations.

Matrix’s swarm mode is truly terrifying (spoilers)

Ian thinks: There is so much about Matrix 4 which speaks about the current and future state of technology and society. Clearly swarm mode activating sleeper bots from a therapist who manipulates our feelings says plenty


Find the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Feb 2022)

Hello Chatterbox

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the Kazakhstan’s crypto boomthe Red Cross cyber attack and dare I say it the capitalist technocratic nightmare or simply the metaverse.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with seeing un-recycled plastics turned into building bricks, this years grant for the web’s awardees plans and the final death nail of Diem.


You can’t get much more decentralised than bittorrent?

Ian thinks: Although the conversation is mainly about piracy or lack of it. There is a interesting discussion about the current idea of web3 and how the protocols used in piracy are closer to decentralisation.

Software used as business strategy

Ian thinks: Although I think Gizmodo go a bit off the deep end. There is a growing number of software updates being used as a business model

Teaching AI literacy through making

Ian thinks: I love the idea of chatterbox, and the values behind the project are spot on. Just perfect for a generation growing up with voice assistants and always being listened to.

A sobering look at the colonisation of innovation

Ian thinks: This very thoughtful piece from Branch is something I think about a lot. It will have you rethinking all the recent news about space, the metaverse, web3, etc in a very different light.

Should we fix or re-imagine surveillance capitalism

Ian thinks: Ethan Zuckerman joins the EFF to discuss ways forward for public and private spaces online. Lots of mentions about the importance of interoperability

Zuckerman reimagines a better internet

Ian thinks: Ethan Zuckerman again, I found this piece a good summary of the aims, focus and projects being actively worked on with others.

Interpol ordered to remove a trove of data under GDPR

Ian thinks: There is a number of view points on this news, but its worth remembering GDPR does not apply to security agencies. Meaning the news stories are not necessarily as clean cut as the headlines say.

The EFF like the DSA but outline whats missing

Ian thinks: The EFF with their bigger interest in whats happening in Europe, outline what the Digital Services Act (DSA) got right and whats missing. Its a thoughtful blog from the EFF in Europe

Whats your plans for the digital afterlife?

Ian thinks: Digital legacy is a really messy area and this wired piece covers quite a bit before ending up in the world of Black Mirror. Interesting place for public services nonetheless.

The tech workers handbook

Ian thinks: What a selection of resources for tech workeds who decide to speak out on issues related to public interest, like the ones you will see in the press and across this newsletter.


Find the archive here