Food for Thought: 2017-10-17
Posted on October 17th, 2017
Here are some of the things I’ve found thought-provoking, recently. Ranked in priority-reading order:
- Quick hit: the new Google Security Checkup is personalized for your account. Do it. In addition, if your account is high-risk or you are heavily-targeted, you can opt-in to Google’s Advanced Protection Program.
- Good essay about ongoing manipulation in the modern data economy. This hits a lot of the points I made in my Indy Big Data talk (ref: http://indybigdatasecurity.com/). We need to build in adversarial thinking: https://points.datasociety.net/your-data-is-being-manipulated-a7e31a83577b
- Somewhat related: as I mentioned in my talk, one of the problems with microtargeting of advertising is that the ads/“stories"/links are opaque and we can’t discuss what other people are seeing, or debate their veracity. This has a huge impact on elections: https://www.recode.net/2017/10/6/16419388/facebook-google-twitter-russia-ads-2016-election-president-donald-trump
- An essay on the toxicity and history of twitter. Could have been written about Facebook, too.
- “Security in layers" is an oft-repeated mantra in security. However, “compexity is the enemy of security" is, too. Sometimes, simple defenses are more effective, and layering can add unanticipated (or untested) weaknesses. Example in this post: http://blog.portswigger.net/2017/10/when-security-features-collide.html
- On a related note about complexity ("Complexity is the biggest challenge for programmers"), the Atlantic has a long-but-good article about how we are failing to handle the safety of modern software. Here’s a quote from it that gives you an idea of the topic "we are attempting to build systems that are beyond our ability to intellectually manage". While some of the suggestions in the article have promise, there are other things we can do to help, too. Importantly, we can build in more adversarial thinking to our design and testing. We can get much much better at testing. We can stop the habit of “get code out the door and expect users debug it for us." https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/09/saving-the-world-from-code/540393/
- "we need to dial back the explosive increase in the scope of policing, and quit using the police to solve every kind of social problem." This looks to be a challenging and important book: The End of Policing. Author interview on The Intercept.
- Content warning: severe animal abuse and government intimidation on the behalf of corporations: https://theintercept.com/2017/10/05/factory-farms-fbi-missing-piglets-animal-rights-glenn-greenwald/
- Girls will soon be able to become Eagle Scouts! https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2017/10/11/bsa-welcomes-girls/
- First we had Konmari, now we Dostadning, which is probably more realistic (and also more metal). “Death cleaning" asks you to think about what you’ll leave behind when you die: http://amzn.to/2yg5UW0
- Genetic modification to try to return extinct species: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/island-where-scientists-bring-extinct-reptiles-back-life-180965041/
- I learned more about the complexities of tiny houses in this article. For example >=90% of tiny homes might be parked illegally: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/06/realestate/where-can-you-park-a-tiny-home.html
Read anything recently that I should add for next time? Let me know!