Dark data experiments?

Untitled - man in the dark
I have a lot of curiosity and one of the things which has consistently got me curious, is the challenges of the hidden. Hidden being the trick, the data, the technique, the place or the knowledge. This is why I’m very interested in Hacker House (it was almost added to my new years resolutions for 2017 even).

Currently data is the hidden which intrugued me the moment, hence my massive interest in data ethics. There’s been 3 experiments which have really got me jumping up and down about this all… thought I’d share while I eat cheese and drink wine on Christmas day

  • Click Click Click
    A perfect and fun demonstration of mouse tracking on websites using just JavaScript. This is the data the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc use to track users dwell time and implicit actions on the website. Found via some folks on our BBC R&D internal slack.
  • I know what you downloaded (…last summer or even last Christmas)
    This site collects IPs from public torrent swarms by parsing torrent sites and listening to the DHT network. They have more than 500.000 torrents which where classified and have data on peers sharing habits. The slightly twisted feature is the ability to share a link and see what people have been sharing. I promise not to do this but highlights the problem with shortern urls and long query strings you can’t be bother to read or don’t understand how they work (knowledge). Found via Torrentfreak
  • Find my phone
    Man’s smartphone is stolen in Amsterdam, so the same man decides to root another phone and deliberately track the phone. Along with the person who stole it! The results are turned into a video which you can watch on youtube.
    Found via Schneier

My New years resolutions for 2017

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016
Can’t remember what prompted me to start blogging my new years resolutions but its become a good habit.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2017; which follows on from 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Be taken out of my comfort zone by Kate and take her out of comfort zone
    This still needs to happen and next year seems to be a good time for both of us. So expect to see some distress tweets about being lost in the middle of nowhere with no wifi, no power and only GPRS/Edge support. Well I guess if its warm and dry (not sure this will be the case) I can read some more or practice my circus skills?
  2. Head further a field with the scooter
    I was planning a trip to Northern Ireland (a place I’ve never been to) on the scooter but the weather didn’t quite work out with when I was actually around. Its still on the cards and with my possible new scooter even?
  3. Improve my circus skills
    Its getting there, but the vertex is still not quite there. More practice is needed and more days of sunshine in media city will help with this.
  4. Visit a Japanese styled spa at least once every 4 months in the UK
    Since I left Japan, I’ve decided I need to go to a spa more often. I skipped it again this year, although I did go to Liquidrom in Berlin twice. So now its a challenge to myself to find one and go. Looks like the Midland hotel might be the winner on this front.
  5. Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Return from last year. Its got to happen and it will be a shame if I don’t even go on a rollercoaster in 2017. Maybe a trip to Spain for Port Aventura. Plus theres all the other ones including Europa Park, Efteling and I guess Disney world (if I must).
  6. See the Aurora (Northern lights)
    Still haven’t seen them and 2017 I got to at least try. Be it head to Iceland (brian suda has offered many times – thanks!), Sweden or maybe I can combine this with going to Finland or Norway?
  7. Read more
    I bought a android eink tablet late in the year to replace my kindle, giving me access to epubs and better support for the way I like to read. I also switched from Instapaper to Wallabag to take back control of my deeper internet reading. This is the year when I’m expecting much more in-depth reading generally.
  8. Go to a new part of the world
    Its a weird one, as I have been to Portugal and Romania this year, two places I haven’t been. But why stop there? I already have plans for Hong Kong/South Korea in March/April. Then I’m thinking about the other Scandinavian countries Norway and Finland, perfect for seeing the northern lights
  9. Don’t shy away controversy and get more political
    Digging this one out of the past but added the political aspect. With all which is going on right now, its time to be a little more out spoken about the wrongs and rights in our democratic system. I mean how can you say little to Trumps thoughts to improve the USA’s nukes!
  10. Go to more comedy clubs and contemporary theatre plays
    I love comedy and I don’t go to enough comedy clubs. Plus the last few years I haven’t been to nearly enough contemporary theatre plays. Theres been some great ones including one performed in complete darkness called light and the machine. This year is also the year of the Manchester International Festival which will help a lot, but the contact theatre and frog and bucket should be regular haunts. I almost considered standup comedy for a laugh but thought better of it… hence… improvisation
  11. Take a improvisation class
    I like the idea and I think I might actually be pretty good at it, so I’m going to give it ago. Already tracked down a class in the local area I could join, but it clashes with Volleyball and the Dyslexia group I’m in.
  12. Replace my scooter
    Its time to replace my Honda Silverwing scooter which has lasted me many years (think its 13 years!) Its done a lot of miles and although it runs fine, the body work and general wear and tear is costing too much to fix now. Its will make some one a good cheap project but right now its less useful to me and who knows if it will pass its next MOT without some serious changes.

Everything’s going to be alright

Brexit
Frankly 2016 has been pretty shocking… Brexit, Trump, Internet censorship, Data retention, the increasing divide between the working class and middle class. I’m not saying its the worst year ever or the worst I have ever experienced, just its pretty bad.

I think this sums up so much

The Brexit campaign was centred on the idea of taking back control. That is what it said in huge letters on the red bus – a slogan that went far beyond the demand for control of our borders.

The point was that people all over Britain were desperate for a democratic system that gave them some semblance of control over their destiny, in a globalised and interconnected world where decisions often seem to be made by anonymous elites a long way away.

To them, the European Union was one obvious villain.

Ok enough… I decided a long time ago that I can’t worry about the things I can’t easily change, I can only change the things which I have direct control over. Actually trying to change everything drives you slightly nuts.

I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me

I happen to read laura’s blog while on the bus back from Bristol and it seemed to fit perfectly here, as I start to deconstruct this years love life.

Its been a busy year but honestly not nearly as much love as you would have thought. I made the effort to date less and have more purpose about my love life. This meant less time on OKcupid, PoF, Bumble and being more selective when speed dating. I tried going more organic with dating aka through friends of friends, its been ok. You do start to wonder sometimes… but I agree with Laura on bad dates…

The consistent comment is that I have such terrible luck, and always end up on these really ‘bad dates’, but I can’t help but disagree. There’s no such thing as bad dates, just the opportunity for a good story, a page in the autobiography, and the more terrible the date, the better the story. In my opinion, the worst possible kind of date are the ones that aren’t memorable, and usually they’re so because nothing of note, either good or bad happened.

Some would say this sounds odd, cold or calculated? But honestly it’s not, the point is each interaction changes you and your outlook. A new story a new experience, a new view. Some dates are memorable and some you forget about. It’s worst to be non-memorable and one worst to be memorable for the wrong reasons.

This is always a tricky time to be single and for some of my newly single friends it’s a lonely time. I can only say this is a good time to take stock, be honest with family/friends and share. Its not the time for judgement. Its time to listen and enjoy each others company.

Think about what makes you unique and focus on that rather all the things which you should be (no matter what people, media, etc say). Theres a lot of pressure to be this, that or another. One of my new years resolutions was to think humanity, being human we are not perfect but we can only be the best we are. We move through life in the best we feel (hopefully not harming ourselves or others). For me thats being as honest, genuine and open as I can be.

For me, I enjoy meeting new people (I’m very much an extrovert) and tend to make things an experience worth remembering. Focus on the present as thats what you can change now; don’t dwell on the past and think about the future.

Enjoy the holidays and each other…

Career Skills = Dating Skills

Interview?

I’ve always said theres parallels between the core skills and outlook in dating and a career.

Here is 5 career skills which work for dating too.

Set a goal. When you are looking to get ahead in your career, you set some goals to get to the desired place you want. When you work towards something, you feel more productive and optimistic about the future, whether it is career, a fitness goal, a hobby, or even dating.

Get organized. Who can proceed without a plan? The sooner you get organized, the better. Research your options for online dating, such as which dating apps to try. Put time aside in your busy work schedule to actually date and have fun. Enlist a friend to help set up your profile, take pictures, or keep you on track by checking in to see how your dates are going.

Put yourself out there. You can’t move forward in your dating life if you’re fearful. Dating requires a certain amount of courage, and a certain amount of playfulness – remember, not everyone is going to be right for you, so don’t take rejection so seriously. It will happen, and you move on. Instead, focus on trying to have fun, not trying to meet or be the perfect date.

Let go of old ideas and attitudes. Are you too old-fashioned to ask a guy out? It’s time to get over those old dating stereotypes. You are confident in the office when you ask for what you want, or when you manage a project – so why not be a boss in your dating life? Make eye contact with the hot guy at the bar (and hold it!), or try making the first move. Message your matches first. Don’t want for him to ask you out – do it yourself.

Be clear about what you want. In our jobs, we are aware of our goals, and we work towards them. Likely your boss knows your next steps, or at least has an idea of what you want to eventually be doing. This applies to your dates. If you start dating with an attitude of “let’s see where this goes,” you’ll end up stuck in a dead-end relationship, much like a dead-end job when you don’t know what you want. Get focused and stick to your goals. Envision a future that you want. It will pay off in the end.

A review of my 2016 resolutions

are you a good kisser - undressed

Its that time of year when I reflect on a frankly pretty crappy 2016 politically but a massively packed one for me personally. Seriously March, May, September, October, November were so full (I still need to write up my own personal Mozfest 2016 experience).

Although I did spend a lot of time in other countries, according to Google I’ve done 39 trips but that includes going to places in the UK. With the most visited first…

London, Nottingham, Bristol, Newcastle, Liverpool, Sheffield, Windermere (Phil’s wedding), Cambridge, Northampton.

And further a field, with the longest time first.
Berlin, Amsterdam, Lagos/Faro (1st time I’ve been to Portugal), Bucharest (another first Romania), Stockholm and Hannover.

  • I usually do steps but since I switched from Fitbit to the Xiomi band recently, and the steps are quite different from the fitbit, it makes little sense.
  • 259mins of sleep deficit over the year, which is down from the previous year.
  • Average sleep this year has been 6 hours 50mins.

Trakt.tv added the year in review, and there’s very detailed data points there.
446 hours of film watching, which is 37.1 per month and most watched film is x-men apocalypse.
379 hours of TV watching, which is 31.6 per month and most played TV series is Louie. My highest rated TV were Limitless and 11.22.63 both ended.

  1. Be taken out of my comfort zone by Kate and take her out of comfort zone
    Our challenge has yet to start really. I had plans to take Kate to either Bucharest (shes never been to eastern europe and I only went for the first time last year to Poland). Then I thought about Stockholm (although not really going to push the challenge, its a very cool place). Although Kate has already dropped hints of staying somewhere near Scotland. I did ask if it was a tent and she said it has walls, to which I ask if it has a roof? Of course I got big grin.
  2. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    I put up the projector screen with help from my lovely neighbours and to be honest I’ve not really used the projector much. Mainly as it needs to be setup on the coffee table and I can’t leave it there all the time. Its also XGA meaning things get cut off when sending a widescreen 1080p signal. But I will sort this next year. I did do a showing of undressed too, which counts right?
    Dinner parties? Well I’ve had a few but they generally end up as cheese and wine evenings. Someone recently pushed me to do a dinner for her, so the challenge is on. Time to pull out the Japanese food spark I think I have.   
  3. Head further a field with the scooter
    This one is frustrating as I had grand plans to drive into Northern Ireland. However the scooter is getting old now and I have plans to replace it with another scooter. So maybe when I get the new one, that will be the chance to go for a long journey? My scooter is still ok but there is so much body damage and to be fair its done over 70000 miles and I’ve had since 2005!
  4. Improve my circus skills
    At last this has been greatly improved. The much mentioned vertax are still as difficult to do as always but I’m getting closer and tend to get too excited when close. I’m also picking up other tricks and getting far more confident about my suicides. More room for improvement!
  5. Stay better in touch with old friends
    I realise I’ve been a little poor with this one, I need to spend some time reading what my old friends are up to in their lives. I’ve been shocked to learn things about old friends which I can’t believe I didn’t know about. This shouldn’t be just about reading their facebook walls but generally keeping in touch.
  6. Redecorate the flat
    Last year I still had the old sofas and old stuff, now I have a proper corner sofa and changed a few things. I still have bigger plans but paining the walls isn’t really one of them.
  7. Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Didn’t happen, but will next year for sure. Heck I don’t think I even rode a rollercoaster all year! Sad times, although I almost did renew my Alton Towers pass now the smiler is now open again. Still really like to see a new coaster before I renew it properly.
  8. Work on the book/serialised blog
    I started datingyarns.com but I’ve been so busy. Modifying the entries to make it as unrelated as possible to the date/person(s), but isn’t as simple as it may seem. Anyhow, I will keep putting them up, although I do maintain it would be better as a group blog with some incredible yarns from some of the women I’ve had the pleasure of dating.
  9. See the Aurora (Northern lights)
    This should have happened, I missed going to Iceland then when I got the go ahead for Sweden. I was thinking about taking the overnight train up to Lapland to see it and stay over. However due to clashes with the Christmas partys etc, I couldn’t stay long enough to make the trip up there. But I guess my research has shown how easy it would be if I did want to go via Stockholm, although Iceland is still number one choice.
  10. Make some bold moves with my love life
    Bold moves with my love life. Well this certainly was the right year! Where do I even start?
    I already knew I was going to be taking part in the Horizon dating experiment but it was shown much later than I thought. In between I took to the stage for TedXManchester4 to tell it as it is about dating services/apps. This all before Jane sent me the email encouraging me to put my body/money where my thoughts were in a new dating show – Undressed. Ok ok I hear you ask, what’s actually changed in your love life? I would suggest although quite confident about myself, all 3 of these things have really made me even more confident in myself, surroundings and love life. Its quite difficult to explain but every experience really brings new insight.
  11. Kick start the emerging technology event
    I did kick start the #etechmcr event, first event with a new VR Manchester meetup and then second one with Erik Lehmann. There hasn’t been another one for a while, although there’s plenty of opportunities but I’ve not been around to do anything about it. My hope is next year will mean more time for this and other events.
  12. Think humanity
    I feel this is a solid tick…

Open collaborative recipes for everyone?

Cooking!
Imagine if you took GNOME Recipes, A open collaborative cookbook whose cuisine is curated by people; and made its core object based like in BBC R&D’s Cook along kitchen experience aka (CAKE)

You could write tools and editors to make the recipes have everything needed to fit with the cooks skill level, ingredients, time, allergies, preferences, party size, etc… I mean who wouldn’t want to describe every aspect of their special dish? (I’m avoiding the copyright/licensing questions for now)

Now that would be something, Clasen? And what better community to kick start such a thing? Dare I bring up the BBC recipe headlines only 6 months ago.

Seems like a no brainier to me?

The Favourite sofa sitting positions of idiots?

It was Chris who retweeted this and I instantly thought hey, I don’t sit like this bloody Ian idiot. Mainly the “thats better” one of course and maybe a little “Sidelean” when alone on my own sofa – Only!

Open hamachi replacement?

Fiber optic bokeh

I wrote this 6 years ago, while looking at VPNs…

I use to love Hamachi, it use to simply work and it was very secure. The only problem is it got picked up by log me in and therefore hasn’t been developed in the way I would have liked. The Windows version has been developed but the linux and mac version are lagging behind in the lab. I also would like to see a Android app like how someone created a Windows mobile version.

Its been a while since I looked at VPNs for different purposes including privacy, anonymity, tunnelling, etc. I really wanted something like Hamachi mainly because Tor can do so much around anonymity, but there are things which I’d like to do like I was on my own network (tunnelling). Hamachi worked very simply and made something quite complex very simple.

I was looking at a few options including Bitmask, FreeLAN, Tinc VPN, WireGuard and ZeroTier. It needed to be open source or actually free software licensed. It needs to run on Linux and Android at least. I don’t mind if its got a commercial service, but I should be able to migrate away without having to replace everything again. It should also be straight forward, extensible, secure and work closely like standard networks. This is why I loved Hamachi, once you had a 5.x.x.x address, everything else just clicked.

I tried all but the ones which stuck out for me are Bitmask which is trying to build a complete system including secure email, vpn and hosting. I originally looked at Zeronet for the hosting side of things and I keep looking at GPG for secure email but its not high on my list currently. Bitmask seems too much, its a client of the LEAP project. One to keep an eye on in the future. FreeLan looked like a perfect replacement for Hamachi but having no gui was a real pain. I don’t mind messing with config files but sometimes I’d like to see whats happening without scrolling through the terminal. Tinc and Wireguard were cool but ZeroTier was ideal.

Zerotier runs on everything, the client is actually GPL v3. Its mainly command line/terminal for linux but easily installed and although you can do everything that way. Its not completely decentralised as you have a server which points the clients at each other. Once thats done, they can talk without the pointer. You can also setup your own server of course. At the server end, its The server allows you to configure the network which the clients join. You can also reject clients, add certs, etc. Its all so easy with a browser interface.

Now I’m connected over this VPN, I can do things like SSH, access my router settings without going via the WAN interface (something I hated about Hyperoptic’s router as its administrative login was on a WAN/public interface). This also means I don’t need to worry so much about securing PlexPy, Sickrage, etc, etc. This saves messing with certs. You can share networks across this too, allowing you to route networks; very useful when trying to get around web blocking, For example I was surprised my 3 tethered 4G connection was restricted to only ports 80 & 443 while roaming abroad.

ZeroTier seems to have everything at the moment, I am impressed and doesn’t take many resources which is great for mobile devices. Its simply another network but heavily encrypted.

Highly recommended so far…

A new bitcoin wallet needed

Bitcoin

I caught wind of ChangeTip closing down Reddit. Then later today received this email.

As you may have heard, ChangeTip will be discontinuing services soon 🙁

You are receiving this email because you have money in your wallet, and we want you to get it back before we close our doors.

BTC balance: *************
USD balance: $************

Please login to your account and withdraw your funds. If you like, you may also log in and donate remaining funds to charity when you close your account.

I heard they were changing things up but this news is a shame. So I’m looking for somewhere to move my bitcoins. Bitcoin wallet looks popular and well I don’t know how long ChangeTip will enable the feature to transfer bitcoins (thank goodness for Dataportability eh?)

I found the micropayment side interesting and its a shame its gone of course there are others which I’ll check out in the future.

Little diversity changes in the valley?

Nancy Lee

Google’s head of diversity, Nancy Lee, is retiring from Google after several years of leading the company’s global diversity and inclusion team

In Google’s latest diversity report, we saw that overall representation of women went from 30 percent female in 2014 to 31 percent female in 2015. But the overall percentage of black and Hispanic people did not increase at all, with overall representation of blacks remaining at 2 percent and Hispanics remaining at 3 percent. In 2015, only 4 percent of Google’s hires were black and 5 percent of its hires were Hispanic.

It’s not clear who will take over as head of diversity or when Lee’s last day is. Google declined to comment for this story.

Although still (at the moment I write this) not confirmed and this isn’t a criticism of Nancy’s initiatives. But its not great news and looking back at the afrofutures talk I gave a while back, little seems to have changed when it comes to non-white or non-asian people in tech. I would have hoped the increase in women would be higher too, especially with all work and attention.

Seems little is going to change in the valley, at least for diversity and inclusion. I’m sure we will find out about Nancy’s difficult position very soon.

Westworld s1 explained #spoiler alert!!!

If you haven’t seen the end of season 1 of HBO’s WestworldDo not watch the video above! If you have and wondering how things connect, this is the best explainer of everything in Westworld. The timeline is well worth watching too and really makes a lot of sense watching it that way.

A recent write up about Object based media while in Babelsberg, Germany

Feeding the giants panel at Changing the Picture

I have recently been talking in quite a few places to get the word out about the great work BBC R&D are doing around the future of media. One of those places was at the Changing the Picture conference in Babelsberg (near Potsdam and Berlin).

They did a quick review of the conference and the panel I took part in was featured. I have to say it was one of the most lively panels which was perfect for the after lunch slot. Oh and theres a few mistakes like me being from London UK, but I’ll over look them.

Ian Forrester, Senior Firestarter Producer at the BBC (London, UK), and journalist Jan Lerch addressed in the Fireside Chat “Feeding the Giants: Storytelling for Social Media Broadcasters” the controversial question whether and to what extent large corporations in the technology sector and social media can establish themselves as new, major actors in the entertainment industry and how content producers can cooperate with them. Forrester introduced BBC’s innovative new strategy of  “Perceptive Media,” to be tested in 2017, which allows content to be reshaped based on information about the viewer, creating a unique and profoundly affecting viewing experience.  Lerch gave insight into the way technology platforms set requirements for creatives. Nevertherless creatives can push the limits of  existing platforms of social media giants in new and exciting ways.

Not happy with Pebble being bought by fitbit

Pebble 2.0

I recently bought a Xiaomi Mi band because I got fed up of the Fitbit ecosystem not interoperating with anything else I used. You can see evidence of this on the Quantified Self website, with one of the number one querys being how to get data out of the Fitbit ecosystem. Fitbit although useful to see my daily steps wasn’t much more use than that. I didn’t really pay attention to the leaderboards with friends or use the sleep tracking feature (I used the Pebble and Sleep as Android for this). I did like the fact it wasn’t a watch/on a wrist, This was a major selling point for when I’m playing volleyball. When I saw the Mi Band could be attached in a non wrist way, I was sold.

The Mi Band isn’t perfect but I like the magnet system, which is better than the clip Fitbit used.

Anyway, although I moved away from Fitbit step tracking. I also relied on my Pebble smart watch to do sleep tracking (maybe I should enable the step count now I upgraded to pebble 2).

Then I heard the news Pebble is being bought by Fitbit.

Digital health and fitness-tracking company Fitbit has just officially announced that it is buying key assets from smartwatch startup Pebble, after reports emerged last week that a deal between the two was close to being completed.

Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park said in a release that the company “sees an opportunity to build on our strengths and extend our leadership position in the wearables category.”

Not great news for myself and others… Then the kicker (pun intended) was worst still, knowing Pebble was under some major financial strain. My Pebble 2 was delayed 2-3 months for example but I did get at least. Happy I didn’t get the Pebble time 2!

But Pebble has been struggling to stay afloat financially for the past year, according to three sources, and the new Pebble Time 2 had been delayed. In a statement released on its website this morning, Pebble said that it is “no longer able to operate as an independent entity” and that it had made the difficult decision to shut down the company. It will no longer make hardware. Its newest products, the Pebble Time 2 and Core, are canceled, with refunds expected to go out to Kickstarter backers in the next four to eight weeks.

Existing Pebble smartwatches will continue to work, the company said, but functionality will be reduced in the future due to a lack of support.

Reduced functionality deeply worries me, as the pebble OS is very centralised, although I have seen other operating systems loaded on to the generic enough hardware. Of course others are already thinking the same thankfully.

Do I think Fitbit will ruin Pebble?
Yes I do and this interview certainly confirms some of my fears.

Fitbit hasn’t explicitly said it is making a “real” smartwatch, one with more advanced capabilities than the is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-smartwatch Blaze. But all signs point in that direction. First, the Pebble acquisition earlier this week: Fitbit has said more than once that it bought the company for its smartwatch software platform, not its hardware.

And on Fitbit’s most recent earnings call, Park himself said the company was planning to expand into “new form factors” next year.

Pebble’s timeline and OS was smart and made perfect sense for a smartwatch. I get smartwatches haven’t really kicked off but I did feel Pebble were the only ones which really got a sense of what could be possible. The Pebble core was just the start and I almost bought one myself, I don’t think Fitbit or Apple will really get what’s really possible with this new technology if its open rather than locked into their own ecosystems.

Shame…

I have a blog saved about mainstream’ing, venture capital, startup culture, the long tail and the nature of niches. Still needs some work but this is certainly one of the examples.

Updated

Fitbit confirmed the buying Pebble and they came out and said we got at least a year of functionality.

Replacing Instapaper with Wallabag

WallabagI’ve been meaning to switch from Instapaper to Wallabag a long while ago but been so busy. Originally I was going to install it on my own server using Docker as a container then looked into Rkt after a talk with Jack from work. Lofty goals but I did install Rkt and installed the Docker app via Rkt. But thats as far as I got…

Then I tried using framabag.org server but couldn’t get it to connect to any of my clients because its version 1.x it seems. Then I saw a email about app.wallabag.it.

I joined, ported all my instapaper archives over and paid.

Now I have Wallabag on my Eink Android tablet, Nexus 5x, Nexus 7 and Chrome. The only problem I’ve had is getting the Firefox add-on to work with it. Theres some really nice features like the ability to add automatic tags on the fly, custom RSS feeds, 2 factor auth and a kind of Oauth for new clients.

Generally I’m pretty pleased. I would like to see IFTTT support (although RSS helps with this), Gnome shell support and federated server support. I haven’t quite killed my instapaper account but I’m pretty close now. Give it a few days and its goodbye!

Sexortation the new catfish scam?

Black mirror s3 ep3: Shut up and Dance screenshot
After a virus infects his laptop, a teen faces a daunting choice: carry out orders delivered by text message, or risk having intimate secrets exposed.

Tom Morris wrote on his blog

For some, Black Mirror seems to be a HOWTO guide. I guess if you are going to use sexual shame to make money, Britain is the best place to target.

He’s not wrong, from the Telegraph paper link.

Organised criminal gangs are blackmailing growing numbers of young men after using social media to entice them into performing sex acts on screen.

Police have revealed an unprecedented rise in the new crime of webcam blackmail – known as ‘sextortion’ – with more than 900 cases reported so far this year.

That is already more than double the total for the whole of 2015.

But senior officers at the National Crime Agency fear the true scale of the problem is far bigger, with many victims too ashamed to report their involvement to police.

Among recent victims were four young men who became so desperate at the thought of being publicly humiliated that they took their own lives.

I mentioned this in my talk at TedXManchester 4. At the time people seemed a little baffled and you can see how its can be confused with Cat-fishing. This partly why I felt it deserved a entry in urban dictionary (even if I did spell it slightly wrong).

Watching Black Mirror Season 3 episode 3: Shut up and dance I was instantly thinking about this even if [Promise not to spoil it… but there is so much I could say] but there is a really nice breakdown at the psychtech podcast too.

If people think blocking your webcam will solve the problem, think again! This has just got started, I dare not think how low this scam will go.