Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (July 2020)

Hackers hoodwink facial recognition software with masks

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed considering the new normal for cybersecurity or uber’s underhanded approach to get its Jump bikes back.

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 happening with projects to finally make clear IOT devices more legible and the EU putting weight behind Free and Open software.


The world we want post Covid19

Ian thinks: I have read a lot of post covid19 predictions, even started writing my own. But this one really felt more like a manifesto for where to go next.

Technology which perpetuates racism

Ian thinks: Good look at tech policy decisions which directly affect people of colour.

Beyond the tweets of support, where’s your tech being used?

Ian thinks: There is a real murky history of tech companies helping to arm law enforcement with stronger and ways to enforce without real regulation or legal oversight.

How do you defend against an opaque system of surveillance?

Ian thinks: Terrifying story of a man wrongly accused by an algorithm. He’s not the first and won’t be the last, the call for transparency, legibility and legal oversight is ever so strong.

How Taiwan used digital tools, to solve the Covid19 pandemic

Ian thinks: Taiwan mainly avoided the Covid19 lockdown. Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s Digital Minister, shares how tools/techniques like crowdsourcing, a transparent supplies system and the use of humor on social media have resulted in less than 500 confirmed cases.

Is anonymous or actually hacktivism which is back?

Ian thinks: Theres been an uptake in techniques similar to anonymous & occupy in the wake of . Its a mistake they are back when this simply the future of protests?

Why is the police body camera a false hope?

Ian thinks: Its all American body cameras in the studies, however there are similar aspects in the UK which are starting to stir.

Different ways to defeating facial recognition

Ian thinks: Great summary of techniques to defeat facial recognition complete with demos. Take your pick which most suits your style.

A comprehensive guide book to manifesting reality

Ian thinks: I know a lot people prefer paper to digital, and the node zine is a great e/book covering a lot of the digital technologies I cover in the public service internet newsletters. You can download if for free or order a nice print copy.

The future of work post covid19?

Ian thinks: There’s a lot debate over the advantages and disadvantages of working from home. Each case is different but I found this economist video had all the points nicely wrapped up in short video. Lots to think about as the world starts to open again.


Find the archive here

Citizen Four must be watched

Citizen Four

I watched Citizen Four today at the local cinema and gave it 7/10.

CITIZENFOUR is a real life thriller, unfolding by the minute, giving audiences unprecedented access to filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s encounters with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Citizen Four is a fascinating documentary. Its almost unreal, and when you first see Edward, it doesn’t quite register that this is the actual moment! Its amazing to be there and share the moment.

I can’t really spoil anything but I urge people to watch it. Everybody comes out of the documentary earning even more respect than before. But theres a level of oh no we are screwed you are  left with.

The surprising part for me is the culture which Edward gathers his thoughts in. The culture includes the likes of Cory Doctorow, Xeni Jardin, Lawrence Lessig, etc… The same culture of the internet, occupy, hacker ethic, etc.. His statement, that he is purely one person and the powers that be can’t stop us all. Is a powerful reminder of the responsibility we all have.

Must be watched… Its compelling and a real eye opener

Goodbye 2013, welcome to the post Edward Snowden era

Truth is coming and cannot be stopped - Edward Snowdon

As the year draws to an end, there is one thing which stands out well in front of all other things which happened in 2013.

Edward Snowden coming forward as a whistleblower and releasing globally critical information. There is literally no bigger event which happened in 2013 like Edward Snowden’s mass leak of National Security Agency documents. Frankly Edward Snowden deserves he’s own day, to remind us of this turning point.

Yes I am saying he’s not just a hero but deserving of many achievements including Time’s person of the year.

Just today in the Guardian, Snowden said how he had won.

The whistleblower Edward Snowden has declared “mission accomplished”, seven months after revelations were first published from his mass leak of National Security Agency documents. The documents, which were passed to the Guardian, as well the Washington Post and other publications, revealed how technological developments were used by the US surveillance agency to spy on its own citizens and others abroad, and also to spy on allies, such as the US on Germany and Australia on Indonesia.

In 14 hours of interviews  with Washington Post journalist Barton Gellman, Snowden said: “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished.” He continued: “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. “All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed.”

Channel4 have also gotten in on the action by getting Snowden to deliver the alternative Christmas message.

Six months ago, Snowden, a computer analyst turned whistleblower, brought to global attention top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents leading to revelations about widespread United States surveillance on phone and internet communications.

Snowden lays out his vision for why privacy matters and why he believes mass indiscriminate surveillance by governments of their people is wrong.

Something I will not be missing! Even if it means firing it up on my tablet or phone. Maybe I could hijack the TV via the newly bought Chromecast I installed on my parents TV?

Now down to business…

I’ve been watching the coverage of Edward Snowden’s leaks and watching how the NSA, GCHQ, etc have all come out and denied most of whats come out. But the sheer amount of data and facts is just so overwhelming. Even the embarrassed Cameron started to hit back at the media saying they are irking it out slowly for higher audiences.

What ever Cameron… The thing which has shocked me the most is with these super high profile leaks, most still don’t know who Snowden is or connect what this means with there own lives. If you were paying attention you would support the Open Right Group.

I asked my family if they knew who Edward Snowden was. Mum and Dad said no, sister said yes. Once explained who he was, (the NSA whistleblower) a little discussion erupted. Only a short one because there was some crap on TV which everyone was watching except me. My dad declared whistleblowers should be put to death for treason against their own country.

Now I’m sure there are many people who have this view. Although I’m angry at this view, I’m equally angry at ourselves for not making the connection with their own lives. The same people who think a porn filter will stop pedophiles from using the internet to share media and don’t really care that people might actually need the help of the resources its actually blocking.

These things all seem disconnected but actually they are connected in ways you don’t want to know.

2014 will mark the post Snowden era and a new era of data privacy and transparency. The question is if the every day person will get it? And when? Maybe some parts of the media end up boiling it down to a non issue between what Nigela’s done to her face and a stupid campaign to save the young from the evils of p0rn. As my dad said, “we all thought the government was spying on us” but to know it and have it spelled out so graphically is something else all together.

On the eve of Christmas I should be more happy, but I can’t help but feel 2014 is going to highlight the widening digital literacy gap between those who understand and those who don’t. The true digital divide…

You think 2010-2012 with Anonymous, The Pirate Party and Lulzec was crazy, you seen nothing yet! Before it was paranoia, now its really happening and at a level which shocked all of us.