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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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)
Ian thinks: This interview with Acemoglu is quite enlightening and highlights the critical question of how would AI & ML operate and look like if it wasn’t about increasing the bottom line or hoovering up data?
Ian thinks: Murthy in this interview has so many good points and ultimately links the possibility of loneliness with basic needs like hunger and thirst. I’m sure many disagree but as described in Turkle’s Alone together, its clear there is an unbalanced use of technology directly contributing to something.
Ian thinks: Following the previous link, Mozilla’s research deserves more attention. Consent is critical for trust and you would have thought the mental health industry would trust as their top priority? Maybe I’m naive and the commercialisation of the industry is self-evident.
Ian thinks: I needed to add my thoughts on this challenge against openness by those leading the charge for openness (yes confusing). I understand the potential but its more likely Meta will close their instances to the fediverse, lets not be that person ahead of time.
Ian thinks: As someone looking to be a digital nomad, this is a hard pill to digest. I certainly would like to see more meaningful exchange with the locals rather than dive in an carve out a new bubble?
Ian thinks: This book has come up so many times, but it wasn’t till I met the author at MozHouse Amsterdam. I decided to put it on top of my list. Symeon digs deep into the social dumpster fire and clearly points out the damage which has been done at all levels.
Ian thinks: A whole number of public service broadcaster join New_Public to reclaim public spaces with a new incubator looking to tackle so many of the ills online right now. Will it be successful, I hope so, and will be a sign of the great collaborations to come
Ian thinks: A reminder of the commercialisation of the internet, services and ultimately community. This thoughtful pieces is a clear reminder of the endless battle, which has been running for so long.
Ian thinks: Rosie gets right into the nub of the problem with outsourcing technology to the private sector. In this detailed interview with Paris, you are left with the question of what happened and why?
Ian thinks: Another reminder of all those people doing your wishes and for so little. The separation from that buy to the dystopia, is so deliberate and carefully done. The only thing which will make it change is our conscious buying?
Ian thinks: Signal threatens to leave the UK, Meta and most others are clear this would be a bad idea to weaken encryption to save the children. Its the endless battle but we are getting a glimpse of the real result of this bill.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Its a tricky one to remember because of the changes over the last few years but the Mozilla Festival will be back in March 2023 as a virtual festival complete with a number of in person events during the same year.
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”
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The café offered popcorn, juice, and smoothies not found anywhere else at the festival, but to enter the café, you had to cross a boundary that required a ridiculous data user agreement. As part of this agreement, your personal information would be plastered through the festival’s halls hours later. This experience was about getting out of a chair and experiencing the dilemma in a real, tangible way. Would you read the agreement in order to obtain a glass of juice? Ignore the agreement and quench your thirst in ignorant bliss? Or read the agreement and walk away, and try to find snacks elsewhere because the agreement was unacceptable?
People scanned a QR code, signed up to a fake cafe ordering system with their email or social media login. After that, they are forced to answer a question before being presented with a QR code which can be scanned for a hot drink (or looking at the very very long receipt, cold drinks). If you went for a second, third, etc drink you will get more and much more personal questions. We had 5 levels of questions and the single 5th question was deeply personal. Is the coffee really worth it
Talks included Designing the Internet for Children with the ICO, Keeping Trusted News Safe Online with BBC R&D, Trustworthy AI – what do we mean when we say with Mozilla.
Talks were kept to 15mins as it went out to the whole cafe and people were encouraged to take a table to keep the conversation going afterwards. In typical Mozfest style.
Finally the workshops included Materialising the Immaterial with Northumbria University, Designing the Internet for Children with the ICO, Why might you personalise your news with BBC R&D, Common Voice / Contribute-a-ton with Mozilla.
In the usual Mozfest style there was plenty of great moments for example when the traffic warden came to check out the Caravan of the Future.
There was plenty of interest in the reverse metaverse (presence bots), which was one of the projects which run through out the 2 days. Like the original ethical dilemma cafe, we wanted to expose people to work in progress rather than a museum, where everything is perfectly working. When they worked it really worked well.
To get a real sense of the reverse metaverse / presence bot, I recorded Jasmine for a short while with a remote person.
Does it understand me, is a speech to text system trained using the similar/same algorithms as the Amazon Alexa. It was so weird to see how when it got the wrong word, it guessed with something so strange. Like Deliveroo and Kindle?
Having the public come into the space was a positive, as many of the regulars popped in and end up going to a workshop or checking out a few of the interventions. Even better was having the staff of the feel good cafe joining in and enjoying the event. There’s a few times, when I overheard people asking what was going on and then the staff suggesting checking out the loom, human values postcards, etc.
The concept really came together well over the two days. Its something which will come back in other forms. Keep an eye out for future iterations of the ethical dilemma cafe soon.
Massive thanks to everyone involved in the Ethical Dilemma Cafe, so many people from the Mozilla Foundation, who took over a hotel in the northern quarter (it was so strange seeing people I usually see on Zoom or in London only 10mins away from my home), all the partners who took a leap of faith with the concept bringing their research and passion to the cafe. The cafe and the amazing woman (can’t remember her name) who really went with the concept. All the people who helped promote it and encourage others to join us over the 2 days. My colleagues who pulled out a number of stops to make things like the coffee with strings, reverse metaverse bots, etc. All amazing along with the talks and workshops, which nicely fitted with our partners. Thanks to the security guard who worked 2 full days and his presence was just right. Finally thank you to all the people who traveled sometimes from quite far to make the event, because without you there would be no ethical dilemma cafe.
There is likely people I have forgotten and I have deliberately not named anyone in-case I miss anyone by name. But I thank everybody especially Sarah, Lucie, Jasmine, Marc, Henry, Iain, Julian, Sam, Laura, Paul, Jesse, Bob, Steph, Lianne, Jimmy, Bill, Zach, Michael, Juliet, Georgina, Todd, Charlie, etc.
March has been so busy and I really enjoyed the start of the month at the Mozilla Festival 2022 virtual (which reminds me I must write that up, maybe in my new conference new style as suggested by Bill Thompson).
Pulling all the “corporate right-libertarian Silicon Valley bullshit.” out of Web3, leaving us with a decentralised web.
Something I believe is a landmark on the way to the future destination of the distributed web. (I’m aware web isn’t the right term rather it should be internet but as most people experience the internet via the web…).
I think about this a lot as I look at the very notion of a public service internet and the very idea of a public service stack. The decentralisation move still has elements of neoliberatiasm which puts dependence on the individual. This is fine if you got time, resource and knowledge. Those without are out of luck?
As you can imagine not everyone has these but in a distributed model you can trust others to support/help/collaborate to lessen the cognitive/environmental/time load. This gives everybody the ability to benefit from a distributed internet.
In the background there has been talk about what would the ethical dilemma cafe look like in 2020? By the time me and Jasmine talked about it here, there was enough momentum between Mozilla’s internet health report and BBC R&D’s research into the public service internet, to really make it happen.
With Mozilla Festival currently mainly virtual, it was a good time to try a more distributed festival. Hence why not run the ethical dilemma cafe locally in Manchester, in a real cafe with real hot drinks and with the general public too? Heck yes!
In 2014 we worried about hidden microphones, secret cameras and toys with prying eyes. We asked for off buttons, clearer privacy terms and control over our own data. What has changed since then? Are our worries still valid? What are the new areas of concern? Or are we just more accepting of relinquishing control?
The Ethical Dilemma Cafe is a relaxing space to grab a free coffee and meet fellow festival participants. However there is a catch!
You will have the opportunity to let your personal data take you on a journey through a space full of wonder and intrigue, where you will uncover the power of data and algorithms and how they shape your world, whether you’re aware of it or not. But nothing in this world is for free, the dilemma you face is your willingness to cross the threshold and be complicit in the interpretation of how your data defines you and your community, in perpetuity.
This year the Cafe will show you how your data is reflecting your identity in the digital world. How measurement, categorisation, and labelling of humans by machines determines the barriers and privilege you experience. It will prompt you to question if the established metrics are measuring the right things, at an appropriate granularity and how their influence touches your online and offline experiences.
If you are local to Manchester, join us from April 25-26 2022
If you are local to Manchester or can travel from around the UK, you don’t want to miss this 2 day event. Put it in your calendar now, Tuesday 25th & Wednesday 26th April.
MozFest is a unique hybrid: part art, tech and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world.
There are 9 Spaces created by the Wranglers that address urgent issues such as: digital privacy; neurodiversity and wellbeing; intersectionality in tech; and climate and sustainability. MozFest is looking for collaborative, participatory and inclusive sessions, workshops, skillshares, immersive art projects, and more that interrogate these issues and drive forward the conversations around Trustworthy AI.
Ian thinks: Reading this, I can’t really take Techcrunch seriously, because for every one of these startups focused on privacy and security. Theres at least 20 more startups covered the opposite. Maybe its just me?
Ian thinks: This interview with Ethan Zuckerman is full of some great points to get you thinking, I find it hard to disagree with Ethan especially around using affordances and setting up small town based on Mastodon.
Ian thinks: Its always interesting to hear from experts in the space, on the work you are involved in. Its a really good read especially if you haven’t come across the Human Values, which also has new podcast interviews.
Ian thinks: Elaine is right on the button, if you think the data ecosystem is bad now, what happens when most of the dead outnumber the living on social networks. Those terms and conditions need a massive reform.