Mozilla/BBC Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester

Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester through the window

The Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester happened last week on Tuesday 26-Wednesday 27th April. It was quite something to build, prepare and experience.

Building on the ethical dilemma cafe in Mozfest 2014, we took the idea into a real working cafe complete with the public coming and going, but experiencing the dilemma.

When I say the dilemma, what do I mean? In 2014…

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?

While in 2022 with the changes in how mobile phones are less leaky about data and a ton of frankly new challenges (some are explored in our virtual mozfest 2022 session), we decided to explore both the QR code and personal data sharing problems.

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

The Digital Skills Education did a very nice video explaining the concept in a short video.

Sometimes almost by random, the QR code would switch to a public rick roll (making clear you should be careful what you scan) but most of the time you get the webapp which will use any data used.

The biggest output being the questions and answers on a screen right on the cafe bar. Of course there were some intriguing answers to our questions.

I’m still wondering who wrote the answer with my name in it?

Coffee with strings screen in cafe
What do you value in a friendship? When Ian Forrester gives chocolate 😉

The Dilemma is just the start, as there was a whole number of talks, workshops and exhibits/interventions.

The reverse metaverse in action

On the exhibits end we had everything from the human values postcards by BBC R&D and is everybody happy by Open Data Manchester to Presence robots (reverse metaverse) to the Caravan of the future.

ICO talk designing the internet for children

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.

Northumblia workshop

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.

ICO workshop

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.

On the first day we went long with our partners Open Data Manchester as we hosted their first meetup since the start of the pandemic. Mozilla’s VP Bob added a excellent talk to the meetup which was very well received.

Open Data Manchester meetup in the Ethical Dilemma Cafe

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.

The Caravan of the future attracts a traffic warden

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.

The reverse metaverse

To get a real sense of the reverse metaverse / presence bot, I recorded Jasmine for a short while with a remote person.

The number of algorithm bias projects was also of much interest including  The Shape of Trust, The Entoptic field camera and Does it really understand me?

Does it understand me?

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.

Coffee and Dilemmas in Manchester

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.

Mozilla/BBC Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester opens 26-27th April (tickets are available now!)

Book your tickets for the Ethical Dilemma Cafe 2022 (Manchester)

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).

However as previously mentioned a slice of the Mozilla Festival is coming to Manchester (not London!) in the form of a fringe partner event.

More information will be revealed but you can now book tickets to guarantee your time in the cafe. Simply click register for ticket.
We are limiting the numbers for the safety and comfort of everybody including the volunteers and staff. We will also follow the government guidance on Covid19.

Ethical dilemma cafe 2014

Don’t forget to check out #mozfestedc (Mozilla Festival Ethical Dilemma Cafe) for more announcements.

Remember a healthy internet means a healthy society and a healthy you.

A rallying calling for distributed rather than decentralised

Centralied, decentralied and distributed network models

I’m currently writing my presentation for the Mozilla Festival on the metaverse vs the public service internet, and thinking about Web3 and the metaverse quite a bit in reflection to a truly digital public space…

There has been so much talk about Web 3.0 and Crypto. The recent interview with Tim Oreilly (heads-up, I know him and been to many of his conferences in the past), adds to the piles of critical thoughts of this all. I specially found Small technology’s (Aral & Laura, who I also know well) Web0 manifesto a interesting thought.

web3 = decentralisation + blockchain + NFTs + metaverse
web0 = web3 – blockchain – NFTs – metaverse
web0 = decentralisation

web0 is the decentralised web.

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.

If that isn’t the future, I’m not sure what is?

To me, the distributed model is a superset, supporting the decentralised and even some aspects of centralised models. Federated is also interesting to me but for many different reasons.

The ethical dilemma cafe is back for 2022 and its coming to Manchester in April

EULA on the entrance to the cafe

The ethical dilemma cafe in 2014 really shook up the already amazing Mozilla Festival. The walls have eyes went on to be nominated for a design award, for years afterwards the festival embraced playful interventions and its still something people talk about.

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!

Ethical dilemma cafe 2022 fringe event
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?

Last last week it was announced along side the complete schedule for the 2022 festival.

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.

Get your Mozilla Festival tickets now, and look out for much more details in the coming months.

Mozilla Festival’s call for proposals ends 5th November

Mozilla Festival - Dzifa Kusenuh - MF Studio Host

This weekend is usually Mozfest weekend when it was in London. It was always a special time full of wonder, joy and great people.

Its now moved to a March date since moving to Amsterdam. However its still well worth not only attending but also participating in.

Every year there is a call for proposals to join the many great sessions in some fantastic spaces at Mozfest 2022.

Submit A Session Idea for MozFest

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. 

Connect with Mozfest

Excited about leading a session? You can learn more here about the process here.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Sept 2021)

Metaverse

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the lack of coverage for facebook whistleblower sophie zhang, thinking about those batteries and yet another data breach.

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 twitter crop bias bug bounty, the discussion about removing the landline and the social dilemma free on youtube for a month.


Tech Crunch gets on the moving train

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?

Envisioning the future of social media

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.

Values not eyeballs please

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.

Apple cares about your privacy?

Ian thinks: I do find it so ironic, Apple making a song a dance about their privacy changes but their own browser Safari, not including any strong level of privacy? Of course Apple are in privacy hot water for much more too.

What is really behind Only Fans new policy? and its Uturn?

Ian thinks: There is a important question about the platform and who has influence over the platform. As this twitter thread says, you really need to think about the platform & infrastructure,

The dystopia which is the metaverse

Ian thinks: There is so much talk about the metaverse but few looking at the privacy, security, infrastructure and trust within this space. Till then I can’t help but think Vice is kind of right.

Its started with a MP3 player

Ian thinks: Dan Hon’s rant starts with a want and spans the internet media ecosystem, pointing out so many of the problems we all know too well.

Blackhat & Defcon happened, here’s the scary flaws

Ian thinks: I always love seeing what comes out of these security events. You can also watch the full videos from Blackhat and Defcon online here.

Web Monetization showcase

Ian thinks:The webmon showcase is a nice summary of some of the projects which came out of the Grant for the web initiative

Mozilla thumbs down Facebooks claims about Ad Observer

Ian thinks: Its so interesting to see Facebook’s concerns around Ad observer squashed in one post by the privacy first Mozilla. This is deeply concerning behavior, what is Facebook worried about?


Find the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Aug 2021)

Solar protocol

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing more centralised downtime, seeing a surge of ransomware and hearing about Voice as a vector for attack.

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 reading about the path aware networking proposal (Scalability, Control, and Isolation On Next-Generation Networks), Google providing an element of transparency and artificial intelligence used to restore the missing parts of a Rembrandt.


Digital Infrastructure as the core of the European internet

Ian thinks: There is so much good thinking here from Nesta’s Katja Bego. This why the infrastructure is so important as a base for privacy focused better/smarter systems.

Labelling retouched photos

Ian thinks: This is great news and hope it spreads to other EU nations and further a field. Although it should also cover video and audio and highlight whats in the metadata too.

You have YouTube regrets? Join the massive line

Ian thinks: So many of been horrified by where Youtube recommendations can lead you, and this crowdfunded campaign speaks volumes. Will Google do anything about this, its very unlikely.

Our digital legacy in data

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.

Steve Wozniak on the right to repair

Ian thinks: Although its a cameo video and its Wozniak, I do think his thoughts are genuine. Does this make much of a difference in the right to repair? Unlikely.

Have you noticed the price increase of Uber?

Ian thinks: I wonder how much of this is the drivers, public understanding of the gig economy and the investors finally wanting their return on investment?

Those apps are selling your most private data

Ian thinks: Its funny but with a deadly serious message. Its also well researched too, its good to see the data ownership/misuse is getting attention everywhere. Even the daily show.

Its time to make the decentralised systems more common and friendly

Ian thinks: Although I don’t agree with everything said here, there is a need to change things and for me it comes down to user experience.

A new future for Solar power

Ian thinks: Great to see the advancement in the use of solar power technology. Using rocks personally surprised me but makes a lot of sense.


Find the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (July 2021)

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing Amazon’s destroying unsold goodsICO’s concerns over facial recognition and Tiktok sneakily changing there privacy policy.

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 ethical ratings for fashion brandsthe introduction of the solar protocol and even Google has temporarily halted their privacy sandbox plans.


The future of the browser conference

Ian thinks: There is so much to take away from this community run conference, as I wrote in a blog. I’m sure you will find lots to take away too.

We know what you did last lock down

Ian thinks: The FT’s short black mirror like interrogation feels like drama but its all real and possible now with the cloud of always on IOT devices. Makes some seriously good points

Report those dark patterns

Ian thinks: The Electronic Frontier Foundation goes on the offensive asking you to report those dark patterns. Similar to what Mozilla and others have done too.

Vestager’s vision for the a digital Europe

Ian thinks: I highly recommend the Re:publica conference and seeing Margrethe Vestager again in her new role outlining her vision (with some tech hiccups) is good. I also recommend looking around the playlists to find other good talks including these audio essays and this talk about Silicon values.

Ian thinks: The ICO makes a big change to the EU cookie banner, interesting to hear the American tech view on this all.

When people can sit together

Ian thinks: Enabling physical public spaces with more thought and care for the community. You can’t help but smile and wish playful public spaces existed near you too.

Mozilla puts your data to use for a better society

Ian thinks: This is impressive, although not completely new there no better time to have a trusted company shepherding your data into good causes you choose.

Another internet outage, raises questions

Ian thinks: The outage of Fastly earlier this month has stoked fires about how centralised the internet is for lots of people. I personally didn’t notice much due to the decentralised services I use.

Social graph as a key to change?

Ian thinks: Every once in a while a start up makes some bold but well meaning claims. The notion of the social graph on a blockchain although not new is worth keeping an eye on to see where it goes.

Experience some fairly intelligent machine learning

Ian thinks: A.M. Darke’s piece makes all those silly harmless throw away decisions, very real by the end. There is also a Q&A hosted by the ODI well worth watching to understand more.


Find the archive here

Meet the author event: Ethics in Tech with Mozilla

Meet the authors of the ethical dilemma cafe

I’m very happy to be asked by Mozilla to be a featured author for an upcoming “Meet The Author” MozFest session on ethics in tech in a post-pandemic world.

Airing your dirty data at Mozfest
Airing your dirty data at Mozfest (2014)

Myself and Jasmine will have a open Q&A LIVE on Wednesday June 23 from 11am ET/4pm BST/5pm CEST, as we discuss the MozFest Ethical dilemma cafe (2014) and post-pandemic ethics in tech.

The cafe listening to your chatter
The cafe listening to your chatter in exchange for free goods

Its going to be an engaging conversation and your input will make the conversation that much more interesting.

You can sign up and join us here.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (June 2021)

Mozilla's instagram adverts

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing Google’s new dermatology system wasn’t built with darker skin ,the relative landmass the big tech corps are taking in make believe maps and seeing Mob-rule encouraged by the Citizen app.

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 Google finally processing dark skin betterco-ops changing the gig economy and seeing the number of iOS 14.5 users taking back their privacy.


Digital inclusion in the UK

Ian thinks: OFCOM’s report highlights the importance of digital inclusion which most assume is pretty much over, judging by the general press coverage.

Mozilla on the transparency march

Ian thinks: Mozilla picks up where Signal and Facebook left off with creepy personalised adverts in Instagram. They also did a good job explaining the signals which are used in Youtube’s recommendation.

A Planetary-Scale, Pluralist and cooperative commonwealth for the Digital Economy

Ian thinks: Such a interesting read starting with an alternative to Amazon and ending up rethinking everything. This is the kind of thinking we need more of.

Thorp attempts to make a statement

Ian thinks: Our European friends in the publicspaces collation take on the messaging and (small S) social networking big tech giants with a new matrix based server service which promises to be exciting.

The public interest internet

Ian thinks: The Electronic Frontier Foundation starts a series of postings around the concept of the public interest internet. Similar in many ways to the public service internet I do believe.

The Knight institute asks us to Re-imagining the internet

Ian thinks: There were some good sessions and like most online conferences, you can catch up with everything. I normally would point at one or two but they were all worth watching.

Smart contracts or Smart coins?

Ian thinks: I’m always interested in whats possible with DID’s and smart contracts and this high level Identity talk around Chia raises many ideas for non-commercial use.

The stress of digital currency on our existing banking sector

Ian thinks: The economist outlines the massive power struggle going on with company digital money, p2p cryptocurrency and government backed Central Bank Digital Currency

Why Recapture is getting much harder for humans

Ian thinks: If the captures are annoying now, don’t worry because behavior recognition will judge us all, all the time. Feedback loops make this a reality forever more.

The opt out game

Ian thinks: Its rare I mention a game but this frustrating trip through opt-out web interfaces/dark patterns that we all loath so much, is worth it. Even I have to admit to not getting 5 of the opt-outs correct!


Find the archive here

Mozilla Explains: Dating apps, AI and collaborative filtering

Ann Marie Carrothers from Mozilla is absolutely right, its something I have mentioned many times and recently decided enough is enough. Weirdly I have never had the discussion with Ann-Marie in person?

I avoid all dating apps and services which don’t allow me to search my own way through the people. I’m so sick of the systems forcing one way of interacting usually the tinder swiping.

For example OKCupid on the mobile app won’t allow you to search for people who use geeks in there profile. I can hear people say, “why on earth would you want this?!”

Uniqueness!

I’m personally not interested in generic people, I’m after unique people.

Uniquness in dating

Instead of searching through millions of profiles, why not cut through noise by finding someone who cares enough to add it to their profile? For example geek with my other filters in the website (like gender, age, distance, etc) got down to two women.

Uniquness in dating

My search for feminism got down to one woman.

Its not for everyone but thats fine, because the notion of swiping left and right looking at profile pictures isn’t for everybody either.

Its the Mozilla Festival, but not as we knew it…

At the start of March, the Mozilla Festival 2021 started for 2 weeks of Mozfest joy. Unlike previous years this was the year it went completely virtual. There was a lot of concerns how it would work in a virtual space? But we didn’t need to worry, it kinda worked.

I got a early bird ticket so the schedule was opened up to people like me. It was extensive and downloaded all the calendar events for sessions I was interested in. Unfortunately I missed the book a seat part and when I went back weeks later most of it was booked up (my own fault).

My calendar 8-14 march
My calendar during the first week of Mozfest

The Mozilla team worked very hard to keep the feel of Mozfest with a central place to start (the Plaza), the schedule with all the sessions, a number of social spaces (Mozilla slack and spacial chat), skill shares everyday and art/media tracks running throughout the whole 2 weeks. It was full on, just like Mozfest always has been. Its FOMA overload, but don’t worry there is a help desk – which seemed to be almost 24hours a day via slack.

I did go into a couple spacial chats and check out a skill share but most of my time was sat on zoom and many miro boards during sessions. To be honest I have a love hate relationship with miro but I finally got around to half liking it once I spent time with it for my own session. I did find miro bugging me to signup kind of annoying however.

My mozfest Adaptive podcasting miro board

One shame this year was the Mozhouse events seemed to be dropped from the schedule. This meant the publicspaces conference was missed from the schedule, although it was scheduled around Mozfest months ago. The festival has always been a big magnet for people and the 3rd party events which sit around the festival for example 2 years ago.

Because Mozfest was over 2 weeks, I paced myself and made the decision to carve out time for the festival. It was a good idea as my working hours were running to about 10hrs a day. Luckily most of the sessions had a hour break between them, allowing time to catch up with emails, slack and other work stuff.

Sessions

Sessions ran from a early 7am – a late 11pm GMT, hopefully catching a lot of countries around the world. I imagine over that 14hours, only New Zealand might have been tricky to attend sessions?

I ran a workshop/session during the 2nd week, which was interesting as chrome took down most of my display in a GPU bug I reckon. There was also the neurodiversity art work but I didn’t get enough entries to make something interesting unfortunately.

The advantages of neurodiversity

In total I went to 45 sessions. Here are some of the highlights in the sessions I went to.

Lasting thoughts

The 2 weeks of Mozfest was great. It was a shame some of the sessions which claimed to be full were not. I noticed this changed a little bit later but I missed the social aspect, which slack and spacial chat just doesn’t cover. I quite liked the vibe of BarCampManchester 10 which could be done if narrowed down by the spaces. I noticed Creative AI had aspects of this but its something which could apply more widely if next year is the same?

There is a question which came in 2017 when Mozilla picked Slack over Matrix & Mattermost (which they were using internally). The questions comes up again, about using Zoom, Miro, Slack, etc. Like the publicspaces conference, balancing the practicalities with the  values is hard work. But maybe next year if its virtual/hybrid, Mozilla could really lead the charge here.

When I first knew it was going to be 2 weeks (well really 12 days), I gulped but it worked out well. I never felt rushed and having most of the sessions recorded is super handy, as I’m finding now watching the ones I missed (plus I found the youtube secret playlist which means I can easily watch them back on my chromecast). Not every session was recorded of course and its a little strange when the breakout sessions happen. Ideally the recording should have been paused but the whole festival is community focused and I’m happy its not clean cut because that would have gone against the ethos of the Mozilla Festival.

Talking about the community, it was great to see a minimal amount of sillyness/zoombombing. Also the welcoming of so many different people, cultures, languages, etc. This was also the year when neurodiversity really kicked into high gear!

Where does the festival go from now, is a big question…

I’d like to see a hybrid conference next year. I certainly want to see a combination of the reach of Mozfest 2021 with the social parts of the last 10 years. However, please Mozilla keep the pretext system as it worked so well and hopefully we can finally have a permanent record of all the sessions over the years (one of the things I quite liked about using Github)

Big thanks

Massive thanks to everyone who made the virtual festival so good (especially looking at you Sarah & Mark!). Those working behind the scenes making sure things run smoothly. To all those spacewranglers who likely didn’t know if it was going to be in person, hybrid or virtual. Of course all those people who ran the sessions.

Really making good on ethos of… Arrive with an idea, leave with a community!

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Mar 2021)

traveling with a passport and boarding pass

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed, hearing Bill Maher rip through a bunch of websites and people looking for new ways to track users now 3rd party tracking is on its way out?

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 more nuanced privacy depth being discussed, participating in Mozilla’s challenges moment and hearing Solana talk through the internet health report.


The background story of Tony Abbotts boarding pass

Ian thinks: We all heard the story about the former Australian minster who was hacked after posting his boarding pass on instagram but here is the incredible background story, told by the hacker.

Vaccine passports are not as simple as the media are suggesting

Ian thinks: Heather gives plain and clear reasons why vaccine passports are not the panacea its being made out to be. Its also great to hear Lillian Edwards framework mentioned (May 2020 newsletter) as a way forward.

Gamestop? Rethinking the whole rigged system

Ian thinks: Douglas Rushkoff’s monologue about gamestop needs a listen for a different view, but stay around for the interview with Yaël, previous head of political advertising at Facebook. She tells all and I like the approach of trying to fix it before criticising.

Lets talk about Sharenting

Ian thinks: Shareting is when parents share their kids photos and private information without their consent. Its become a real problem now the millennials are growing up with a digital footprint without knowing.

How Facebook joined the splinter-net while Google throw the open web under the bus?

Ian thinks: Hearing about the absolute mess over news in Australia, its easy to point fingers. But its important to look deeper at whats really happening for the sake of profits not people. I’m with Shoshana Zuboff and others, but I know many people get their news from these massive corps.

A big step for gigworkers, but lets be diligent of next steps

Ian thinks: The Uber case is great news but in a similar legal play to Facebook & Google with Australia, there might be more going on that most are reporting? We got to look a little deeper as monopoly is Uber’s end game.

Ian thinks: This is a devious way to force a take-down of a live stream or any recorded footage. Theres got to be a better way and I think its related to using alternative platforms or self hosting with syndication.

The centralisation of power is the problem

Ian thinks: I like this summary of so many of the problems with Facebook, but it misses the important point of centralisation. It also highlights Noam Cohen’s quote “Mark Zuckerberg is deluded by his own faith in Facebook’s ability to be a force for good in the world”

Public value and purpose into the future

Ian thinks: Mariana is on fire and this summary of work around the BBC puts value under a microscope. I love this line “Value is not just the income generated at the end of the innovation chain–– it is also the creative input at the upstream end, the vital investment in talent, content creation, digital innovation and R&D at the early stages

Google fires another outspoken AI research, who will be next?

Ian thinks: Margaret Mitchell and Timnit Gebru show there is something going on with Google AI research. It doesn’t take a lot to guess what is actually going on behind close doors.


Find the archive here

Mozilla Festival 2021 – Its all virtual and you are invited!

Me with a face covering in 2016
Even in 2016, I was ready for the pandemic?

Its finally here, Mozilla Festival 2021 and its looking excellent.

I can’t tell you how long I have spent this evening looking at the hu

My adaptive podcasting workshopImagine being able to craft personalised podcasts which take advantage of data and sensors to wrap the listener in a story. Then imagine being able to do this for many people at once. This is what we call adaptive podcasting and the best part is its free, open…

I can finally tell you two of my three submitted sessions were accepted. The big one is a workshop around adaptive podcasting which will happen Monday 15th at 2015-2115 GMT. Don’t worry there is calendar invites for all the sessions including mine.

Its a hour workshop and its unlikely we will get the point of creating podcasts but there will be follow up sessions on the Mozfest slack and Storytellers United community.

Of course Adaptive podcasting will appear elsewhere outside of Mozfest, so keep an eye on the blog for more information around that.

My other session is the advantages of neurodiversity, which is a follow up to 2019’s the advantage of dyslexia, which is highly influenced by the amazing book by the same name.

Advantage of Neurodiversty - ArtLast year we explored the advantages of dyslexia at the brand new Neurodiversity space. This year we are back looking for people to explore and understand the advantages of different types of neurodiversity.

Look out for this one, as this art piece relies on your thoughts around the advantages of neurodiversity.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Feb 2021)

Survillence everywhere
Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed, seeing the de-platforming and even the royals snubbing social media.

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 the privacy first search engine duck duck go surpassing 100 million daily searches, the move to Signal messager from Whatsapp causing it to fall over temporarily and Facebook forced to rethinking their strategy.


Its the Internet’s health check up time!

Ian thinks: Mozilla’s well researched look at the state of the internet is a one of those reports which spurs thought and action for the coming year. Its been a tricky year with lots of up and downs, nicely documented in this massively detailed report/playbook. You might recognise someone in the report.

How can we achieve public spaces online?

Ian thinks: on 11-12 March a online conference by a number of partners including BBC R&D bring together organisations and vendors who are interested in the development of a public stack in line with the principles of democratic, sustainable etc. This is all part of the Mozilla Festival 2021 which is in Amsterdam for the next 3 years. Tickets are now available for Mozfest. and the publicspaces conference.

The new state of the self sovereign internet

Ian thinks: A deep dive but also accessible look at the current state of decentralised technology like self sovereign identity. Maybe one of the better summaries.

Some of the challenges to decetralisation

Ian thinks: The post has quite a few errors within it, like how they keep referring to Mastodon as a single network and missed the memo how Gab removed themselves off Mastodon. BlueSky sounds only slightly interesting, but the core of this post is focused around the risk of extreme groups using decentralised technology.

Imagine a Buddhist-inspired AI

Ian thinks: A truly real rethink of AI ethics based around Buddhist ethos is something worth pursuing. There is a lot of modern life which could be re-thought with a eastern view.

Do Facebook really think we won’t notice?

Ian thinks: Will the name change from Libra to Diem make any difference? Its still got Facebook behind the scenes and almost all the original backers have left.

The future of shopping faces the same dilemma as everyone else

Ian thinks: Its later in the video when Ian talks privacy and luxury but also luxury and personalisation. Its good to hear these discussions happening in the retail world too.

(How) will Public Service survive Silicon Valley?

Ian thinks: Although this well written paper focuses on public service broadcasting, I would consider the wider question of publicservice full stop.  Its clear the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook etc are aiming to replace public utilities  Of course I think so but publicservice needs to double down on things which break silicon valley

How eXistenZ, Pizzagate, Qanon and Augmented reality all fit together?

Ian thinks: Mark Pesce is interviewed by Douglas Rushkoff for team human, and its quite a fascinating interview linking all these topics together.

Ring doorbells get on the E2E train

Ian thinks: Well its about time, but expect more E2E and Zero-knowledge buzz words to be thrown around this year. Question will always be, are they actually doing what they say they are? Looking at you Zoom.


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