Duress Modes

Posted on March 3rd, 2017

I have written about “Duress Modes" before (here and elsewhere). They are an important safety protection that I believe system and software developers need to be building into their products. When a user is being coerced, a Duress Mode gives them an option to comply, while limiting their risk. Maciej Ceglowski has brought up a specific version of this with his recent post entitled “Social Media needs a Travel Mode." Take a read!

The Key Ingredient Is Violent Power

Posted on January 30th, 2017

Reminder: the key ingredient is violent power. People are often jerks. People sometimes have frightening opinions. People do things we dislike. People can be ignorant, sometimes willfully so. People are frequently selfish. These are problematic, so we seek empathy and enlightenment. And it is good that we do. But the above are not truly damaging unless they are attached to violent power. Without violent power, these issues are an opportunity for discussion and learning. But when backed by the...

What Does God Want?

Posted on January 8th, 2017

If you go to a conservative Christian church, you know the answer to this question is: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind." (Luke 10:25) If you participate in a liberal Christian community, you know the answer to this question is: “Love your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:25) The astute observer will immediately recognize that these come from the same response from Jesus (and the same verse in Luke/Mark). I hav...

Christians, No Matter Who the Next PotUS Is...

Posted on November 3rd, 2016

We need to pray for whoever is elected: That lust for power will be given up for a love of peace That desire to control will be transformed into a yearning for justice That thirst for vengeance will be redeemed for a practice of mercy We need to pray for ourselves: Repenting of our involvement in perpetuating violence, theft, and destruction Asking for the wisdom, grace, and courage of the Spirit to live out Kingdom values We need to act: Practicing mutual aid Holding ourselves and oth...

U.S.A. Presidential Voting Guide: 2016 Edition

Posted on September 26th, 2016

Here is my handy guide to casting a 2016 PoTUS vote: If you think the last few presidents have done a great job and that the world is on a good, sustainable trajectory: Vote Clinton If you are afraid and angry, feel like someone needs to pay, and are not sure what to really do about it: Vote Trump If you want to save the environment and be good to people, but don't trust scientists or economists: Vote Stein If you like a mix of great and dangerous ideas, and don’t care to prioritize between...

Nightmare and Hope

Posted on July 8th, 2016

Three days of nightmare But not a new one We idolize violence Even as we condemn it I criticize electoral politics frequently. Often by means of satire. Satire is one of the few things that can cut through the noise and arrest our conscience when we are deluged with trite soundbites, tribal sparring, aggressive advertorials, and social mass media memes. But I am incredibly serious, too. The reason I criticize electoral politics is that I despise abuse of and violence against human beings...

"Clinton pledges to forgive student debt of entrepreneurs"

Posted on June 29th, 2016

This story is the epitome of American politics: Mandatory schooling is started ostensibly to make good citizens, but the design is more useful for creating compliant laborers. Government creates numerous problems in early education, as well as economic and regulatory distortions that affect the direction and focus of higher education. People want better education. This turns into pressure for more people to go to college and even more people to do graduate work. The government subsidizes ...

On Blocking

Posted on June 7th, 2016

I was recently told in a Facebook group that I'm not "allowed" to block someone. I have the right to block someone. You have the right to block someone. Facebook (and other providers) have often give us that ability, and it is good that they do. One can block someone for many different reasons. A block can be for very serious reasons such as limiting harassment or protecting one's mental health. One can block to avoid people who troll, derail conversations, avoid the topic, bother other us...

What’s The Deal with Thiel?

Posted on May 30th, 2016

By Dan Taylor [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Recently, details have emerged about how Peter Thiel is funding the legal battles of others who have felt wronged by the online tabloid Gawker, spurred in part by his own outing by the tabloid. Now, certainly there is good discussion to be had in the fact that the USA justice system is so broken that it is both susceptible to this “outside support" model, and that this type of funding would be use...

"cannot provide information we do not have"

Posted on May 14th, 2016

The Intercept recently covered how a judge was punishing a secure-communications application. The title of this post comes is a quote from representatives of the application in question. I continue to press the idea that our systems designs need to architected to be resistant to “rubber hose cryptography". In other words, they need to be resistant to coercive pressures targeting users of our software (regardless of whether those pressures are criminal, political, or (frequently) both). When...

Todd Grotenhuis

Professionally an Information Security Specialist, Politically an Abolitionist, Theologically an Anabaptist