"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...

DRM-Free: Not Just About Piracy

Posted on May 14th, 2016

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is supposedly a tool for protecting intellectual property in digital media, but the usage of it has introduced numerous other challenges. These side-effects (or in some cases, arguably intentional effects) cause other problems for the proliferation and use of beneficial technology. These challenges can include: Speed, resource, and energy overhead Losing media you already “own" if the provider decides to discontinue it or goes out of business Inability to con...

Crowds, Not Crime

Posted on May 14th, 2016

David Whitehouse writes a “people’s history" of the rise of professional police, based on historical events in Britain, the northern USA, and southern USA. The central assertion is that professional police forces were introduced not to enforce laws, but to handle crowds. Throughout the essay, the author shares historical anecdotes about ways that communities addressed crime and justice before the introduction of police forces. I highly encourage you to read the essay for the additional per...

But What About Bosses?

Posted on May 10th, 2016

In freed-market organizational theory, one of the questions that critics often bring up goes something like this: “Won’t bosses just become de facto governors?" But just like “who will build the roads?", this is not a novel or unconsidered question. In fact, this kind of question, even when asked in good faith (not as an attempt to trick or troll), often reveals more about the person asking the question than the receiver. It reveals a failure to imagine, which is a common refrain in political...

Socialism & Free Markets

Posted on May 10th, 2016

Once again, people are confused about “Millenials". Apparently, surveys show that people born in that era tend to support “socialism", and also support a “free market" economy. Pundits say, “obviously they are confused!" In “Who’s Confused about Capitalism?", Kevin Carson disagrees, and I do, too. Free markets do not look like corporate state capitalism. And free markets are consistent with (and I would argue, the best way of supporting) nonviolent socialism. "So maybe when Millennials say...

Brian Zahnd on “The War of the Lamb"

Posted on May 10th, 2016

Revelation gets abused…a lot. Brian Zahnd gives us another picture to help avoid those traps. If Jesus conquers evil by killing his enemies, he’s just another Caesar. But the whole point of John’s Revelation is that Jesus is nothing like Caesar! The war of the Lamb looks nothing like the war of the Beast. Jesus is not like Caesar; Jesus does not wage war like Caesar. To miss this point is to misunderstand everything the Apocalypse is trying to reveal! If you want an accessible primer on Reve...

Earth Day: Making a Big Impact

Posted on April 22nd, 2016

On Earth Day, you are probably going to be overwhelmed with advice on how to save the planet. You’ll hear things like: Plant a tree Recycle your plastic, cardboard, and aluminum Use reusable grocery bags Take shorter showers These are fine suggestions. They help to limit our negative impact, and perhaps more importantly, they help us train ourselves to be mindful of our choices. Now, some more adventurous sources will have suggestions like: Downsize you...

Food for Thought: 2016-04-18

Posted on April 18th, 2016

The New Inquiry ponders the “viral virus" and whether society benefits "from a world in which everyone is anxious about having anxiety". Your first SMBC of this post: In TV and movies, it is a common trope to track someone to an exact location using only their IP address, often even to a specific spot in a specific room! Naturally, you are skeptical of that, as you should be. This excellent story shows some of the really interesting things that happen with IP-to-physical-address mapping at...

On Not Being a Terrible Fan

Posted on April 13th, 2016

“I can’t believe the next movie isn’t ready, yet. They need to get off their asses and get it done." “Is she ever going to finish the next book? What is she doing working on other stuff instead of publishing the next book?" “Uhhh, I helped fund this game, why isn’t it ready, yet? I demand a refund!" I am pretty sure you have heard a lot of statements like this. They come from a good place: we are excited about something that is being made! But they can also turn shortsighted, selfish, and ot...

Impromptu Music Report

Posted on April 11th, 2016

I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks recently, but I still get in some tunes. Here’s what has had the most attention over the last year. Countries represented this time include: Sweden, USA, Netherlands, Australia, Norway, Italy. Artists: Albums:

Todd Grotenhuis

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