Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (July 2024)

Picture taken from Mozhouse Amsterdam 2024 Woman sat talking to a crowd with a screen saying We are life: AI accountability during war

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed while seeing the ransomware attack on NHS hospitalsMeta’s EULA change to include feeding AI with your data and the terrible state of online shopping thanks to dropshipping and Temu.

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 publishers rethinking their online strategy, security services starting their own mini series and the introduction of the proton foundation.


The bigger impact of the law enforcement ANOM surveillance

Ian thinks: You might remember the ANOM take over? At the time I thought it was pretty clever but in this episode centred around Joseph Cox’s book Dark wire. I missed the bigger impact of surveillance and the chilling effect it had on encrypted messaging services/platforms.

Predicting the police and other artist AI visions

Ian thinks: I enjoyed this look at AI through the eyes of the different people in this episode. Critical in some parts and imaginative in others, its a good listen and gave me a base for many other thoughts.

How AI could threaten democracy, under our noses

Ian thinks: It was interesting to see Lawrence Lessig sound the alarm but also provide clear ideas of things which must change now. The talk is also from Germany which is deliberate as the advice is directly aimed at Europe, knowing it could trickle down into other countries like America.

Tech accountability during the time of war

Ian thinks: I didn’t get a chance to see this panel discussion live but I watched it streamed live while in Amsterdam for the Mozilla House festival. The experiences and descriptions really got me. Nearer the end I was energised while questioning where the accountability sits?

Mitigating GenAI hallucinations?

Ian thinks: Colleague Henry wrote a interesting analysis and guide to help with limiting the hallucinations found in the gen AI space. He’s not the only one looking, as this open access paper delves into this all too.

Is Microsoft tracking school kids a step too far?

Ian thinks: With strong laws like GDPR, it doesn’t take much to see companies like Microsoft potentially caught red handed. The question I do have is if they are potentially doing it for school kids, imagine whats happening to their customers?

Insight into the EU’s digital identity system

Ian thinks: I didn’t get the chance to be at this session at Re:publica but watching it back I am learned a quite bit and even more from the Q&A afterwards. Then looked to see how similar it is to Self Sovereign Identity?

Europe’s Path to Innovation in Public Interest

Ian thinks: Francesca Bria is great to watch again and incredible in person at the PublicSpaces conference. Centred around the idea of a 100 billion European digital sovereignty fund to ignite the innovation we all want to see. Its the kind of grand plan we all need and shes deadly serious.

AI is warping our love lives

Ian thinks: There has always been a industry interest in AI and love. The experts have varies of opinions and this insightful interview gives a good overview of the concerns and benefits of something which most won’t admit to or talk about.


Find the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Nov 2023)

 

Tree of communication devices

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed hearing how a man was trapped in a EV, AI facial recognition not being taken seriously and the online safety bill now part of law in the UK.

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 BBC setting guidelines for Gen AI, Mozilla saying hello to two privacy and adding fake reviews detector to help us all.


Voice scammers scams coming your way

Ian thinks: The voice scamming is something most have heard about, but this podcast shows how vast the problem is in Asia. I suspect similar will be heading to the west soon enough.

Cory Doctorow why the internet is broken and how to fix it

Ian thinks: Cory’s new book The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation, says it all but if you were not convinced this interview with Vice will clearly why the fight for the future is not over, why and how you should be involved.

People over profits and LLMs

Ian think: The Mozilla podcast is in full swing again with a focus on the humans behind and affected by large language models. Mozilla do a great job reflecting viewpoints from outside the western markets with important contributions from Kenya and India in episode 2.

The origins of an oligarch, Elon is just one of many

Ian thinks: There has been a lot of discussion following the recent Isaacson book. I found this the very best series about Elon, not only critical of Elon but also a wider nod to many of the tech oligarchs and the culture surrounding them.

Devalued lived experiences

Ian thinks: Douglas Rushkoff is a character which some people enjoy and some less so. He was recently added to the Time person of the week, and this short podcast interview is a reminder of what the internet and technology could/should be and how it fits within human society, not consumes it.

The back and forth between founders and influences

Ian thinks: Taylor Lorenz’s book explores the tension between the owners and the women who drive the platform/service. Similar to Symons Browns’s Get rich or die trying, but focusing on usually stepped on female early adopters, this could shine a light on a sector never really covered.

Social engineering gen AI

Ian thinks: Its hardly a surprise people are finding their ways around the limitations of Gen AI systems but this really goes into details how people are social engineering sensitive information out.

A serious thought about the techno-optimist

Ian thinks: When Marc Andreessen published the techno-optimist manifesto. Most people just ignored it as silicon valley nonsense, but a few put together words to carefully deconstruct why. This blog is a perfect reply but also covers a lot of positive elements covered in this newsletter. Well worth the read.

The Repair revolution has started?

Ian thinks: Repair is essential for sustainability, we all know this and recent changes within the tech/internet sector has helped this already growing trend. The question is when some of the big companies will fully throw their weight behind such movements?

Where do you post?

Ian thinks: This post by the Verge sums up the struggle for many around social media right now. I highly recommend listening to the podcast, especially with interviews from Cory (pluralistic) and Manton (microblog), as they both give more definition to the problem. I would also recommend the deeper conversation with Manton, who discusses the Verge piece at a lot more depth.


Find the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Oct 2023)

Person in trousers points a pen at paper work on a table

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing criminals creating their own ChatGPT clones, Fitbit becoming useless without data sharing and those Tiktok frenzies.

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 naming the gatekeepers, the 1.26 million Kardashion crypto fine and Signal’s CEO calling out AI surveillance technology.


Thinking about buying a creepy car?

Ian thinks: Thanks to Mozilla’s privacy not included project, its clear almost every major car brand is sharing your personal data without any consideration of privacy. Everything from race, weight and health is free shared without the drivers consent.

Cannabis could save the environment?

Ian thinks: This piece from German broadcaster DW really makes clear the positive potential impact of Cannabis in the fight for a greener more sustainable economy. Its a real eye opener and for reasons you didn’t think.

Regularly using the internet can half the risk of dementia

Ian thinks: When I first read this, I had looked through the paper taking it a part to see if there was something which could be wrong. However it’s solid and surprised it didn’t get much attention.

The big con, How the Consulting Industry Weakens society

Ian thinks: I started reading this excellent book, really digging into the 4 audit consultancy and Its ultimate affect on more than just businesses. I noticed DW’s mini documentary about most of the problems raised in the book is good start..

Is this the UK Government U-turn you wanted?

Ian thinks: In short no, it sounds like the UK government might have done a U-turn on the encryption in the new online safety bill. But it is still there waiting for the right moment.

Crypto was never really the saver

Ian thinks: Sex workers and adult entertainers are usually demonised by the mainstream, turned to crypto made sense. But like most things in the crypto space, its never so simple and the wired piece outlines some horrible and disturbing problem. There has to be a better way for the sake of so many.

Living Next Door to Russia, Ensh*ttification and Veilid explained at Defcon

Ian thinks: In the last few weeks, Defcon, Tech Open Air and Techcrunch disrupt have uploaded their conference videos. I found Mikko, Cory and the Veilid talks the best so far. Although I will give a nudge for the Opera and Vivaldi founder from TOA.

What people don’t know about the Luddites

Ian thinks: The word gets thrown around a lot and very few people know the history. In this podcast it becomes clear the luddites image of techbophic is very wrong. With thoughts for the future with generative AI and power, the Luddites image is due a rethink.

Learning from the Fediverse

Ian thinks: The fediforum is the unconference for the fediverse. I took part in the September one and learned a lot including how activitypub can become the plumbing channel between the usual (microblogging) and unexpected applications like event management (gath.io)


Find the archive here