#AdFree2016: "You can engage with the ads just as you would any other content."

Posted on February 11th, 2016

Quartz has a new app. It’s a clever little app that lets you skip or dig deeper on various news headlines. They are excited to tell us about one of the great features: "Advertising is integrated with the rest of the app beautifully, unobtrusively, and in parallel with the editorial experience. You can engage with the ads just as you would any other content." Anybody not in advertising knows that that is a bug, not a feature. It compromises journalistic integrity and dilutes and distorts wh...

Food for Thought: 2016-02-04

Posted on February 4th, 2016

Charles Blow reminds us White America is having a “nervous breakdown" over issues that have been thrust on others for a long time. Good news on the overturn of false convictions. Now, let’s talk about how these can be avoided in the first place, and how we can fix or abolish the racist, classist, and horribly abusive prison system. Kevin Carson gives a hearty “yes!" to alleged “research parasites". 'In other words, research parasites are people who do what they used to call “science."' ...

#AdFree2016: “lead gens"

Posted on February 1st, 2016

In 2016, I want to see if I can use the Internet as if it is not powered by ads. For other posts in the series, click here. The New York Times has a great story on lead gens. Lead gens use the advertising ecosystem to flood search results with ads for fake businesses that subcontract your service requests to contractors. The lead gens give low estimates and use contractors that then show up and try to get as much money as possible. This is all made possible by, and driven by, the auto...

#AdFree2016: Why?

Posted on February 1st, 2016

In 2016, I want to see if I can use the Internet as if it is not powered by ads. For other posts in the series, click here. Several people have asked me something along the lines of “hey, why don’t you just not click on the ads, and work on not being affected by them?" So here are is the (unsatisfactory, I’m sure) answer: I don’t ever purposefully click on ads, and I do work on not being (positively) affected by ads. But, the more complete answer is that this is a surface question, a...

#AdFree2016: Failed Unsubscribe

Posted on January 29th, 2016

In 2016, I want to see if I can use the Internet as if it is not powered by ads. For other posts in the series, click here. Have you ever tried to unsubscribe, but failed? Columbia won’t let you unsubscribe, if you have a certain type of email address. Take a look and see if you can tell why: Zoomed in: Do you see it? An email address with a “+" and extra characters is equivalent to the email address without the “+" and addendum (thus, “example+columbia@example.com" is supposed to ...

Food for Thought: 2016-01-23

Posted on January 23rd, 2016

I like this tiny house design. Brilliant satire from The Onion: Pentagon Holds Gala To Celebrate 25 Years Of Bombing Iraq The “Have I been pwned" site has helped reduce the value of breach dumps (and thus, may be disencentivizing them). Troy Hunt asks for your help. Want to be horrified when your phone vibrates? This app sends "a push notification every time the police kill someone in the United States." Economic concerns trigger survival instincts and will often override our ethics...

Wanted

Posted on January 21st, 2016

Awesome shirt design that says: “RSS is my social network"

More Thoughts on Secure Design

Posted on January 19th, 2016

Secure design is just as—or more—important than security-bug removal. Yes, we need our software to be defensible against common application attacks, but we also need to consider whether our systems react safely when challenged with known threats like: snooping, spying, & sniffing attempts phishing & other social-engineering ploys government orders & “rubber hose" attacks Often, we try to push the burden of defending against these to the end user. We can and should do better. Inspired v...

Food for Thought: 2016-01-19

Posted on January 19th, 2016

I had some links gathering dust, so some of these are a bit old. Wonder why HTTPS isn’t as prolific as it should be? This post discusses some of the challenges and offers some ideas. I had not considered all the ways that assigning-work-via-volunteers is unfair. I still am super-mesmerized by this type of lightweight living. What are the implications of systems being able to identify our faces easily? It’s funny because it’s true. Security vulnerabilities are created faster tha...

#AdFree2015 “You say advertising, I say block that malware"

Posted on January 9th, 2016

In 2016, I want to see if I can use the Internet as if it is not powered by ads. For other posts in the series, click here. Remember my post on malvertising? Well, Violet Blue has written about one of these situations. "It actually makes business sense to think about malware attacks like an advertiser. You want to deliver your infection to, and scrape those dollars from, every little reader out there. You need a targeted delivery system, with the widest distribution, and as many clueless mi...

Todd Grotenhuis

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