Week 12: The internet of Things and Stuff and Things

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You know the drill; the internet of things is wherein stuff is internetted.

More specifically, the IoT is a concept destined for mass application wherein networks of automated systems manipulate and interact with the physical world. At home this might take the form of a coffee machine knowing from the reduced weight on your bed that you’re getting up, signalling to it that it should make a coffee. Or an automated fridge monitoring its contents and sending you an alert on your phone next time you’re in the supermarket letting you know you’re almost out of beer milk. On a larger scale, the IoT will take the place of human administered logistical networks, traffic networks, delivery, photography, cooking – the possibilities are endless.

Of course, as I mentioned in my last post, there is the possibility of a danger to this network being compromised by criminals, terrorists or state actors determined to cause destruction and disruption on a systematic level. Would you ever network your entire life and take that risk for the sake of convenience?

I’m lazy af, so of course I would.

Week 11: World War 3.o

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So, we’re going to get a little conspiracy theory-y today.

As you may have heard, there was a train crash in NY late last month. Well, what if I told you (redpill.jpeg) that it might have not been an accident?

Some good people out there on the interwebs are theorising that the train crash was a deliberate hack that was predicted, or promised, when this message aired  hours before the incident:

This video seems pretty dodgy, hey? I know, but hey, it’s still spooky, especially the message,

Would you. Could You. On a train?

The American Federal Emergency Management Agency had a test broadcast scheduled to be sent to TV stations around the country which was not to be broadcast, yet this one NY news channel accidentally broadcast it. They acknowledged the fault and said there was no real threat, but this hasn’t stopped the conspiracy theory from spreading.

Now, the last thing. I haven’t seen anyone link these yet, but I’m sure it’s out there somewhere. In early August, a hacker collective claimed to have broken into the NSA and stolen a whole bunch of US cyber weapons that were designed to damage infrastructure, a la stuxnet, and were offering to auction them off to the highest bidder. This article by the Guardian outlines their plans and how samples given by the hackers seemed to be corroborated by data that was leaked by Snowden. Could this be at all related?

The Stuxnet example proves that cyber weapons exist and can inflict real world damage, but I’m not sure I necessarily believe this is the case here. True or not, this is a good demonstration of the possible ability of cyber war or cyber terrorism to disrupt and even kill.

What do you think? Cyber war? Coincidence? 2spooky4me?

Week 9: Social Media and What Not

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I’m a big believer in democracy. I just want to say that now, because every time I have this discussion I come off sounding all authoritarian. Moving on…

The Arab Spring was a perfect example of how I think social media operates. It is fantastic for the organisation of people, the aggregation of opinions and, as demonstrated by it’s role in the arab spring, great for organizing large scale protests. That said, the Arab Spring didn’t turn out as great as we were all hoping. Why is that?

Well, dear reader, let me hypothesize at you. I believe it is because, though social media is excellent at organizing a mass of people to rebel or protest, it is no system of government. Moreover, when the protesters in Egypt were successful and the revolution was over, the social media movement failed to enforce structure. People were brought onto the streets to destroy a government, and social media was perfect to organise that, but social media could not build a new one.

I probably didn’t explain that right. Here’s a TED talk by one of the chaps that ran a facebook page at the center of the revolution who explains it way better than I ever could.