How to write an app (that respects privacy and supports security)

Some difficult-to-meet requirements Be open source. Don't make users have to trust your black box. I don't want to have to trust you. I don't know you.Don't just release your in-house source code. Develop in public; practice outreach to OSS developers to loop in others; make distributed code reviews a standard practice.Be fully open source. Don't depend on proprietary vendors or use APIs that,…

A reply to Mark Zuckerberg’s “Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking”

Yesterday (March 6), Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined Facebook's new "vision and principles around building a privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform." The essential problem isn't that they need a new app; rather, they need to reform their existing one. Rather than acknowledging the elephant in the room—that users are deeply incensed that their privacy continues to be…

How deep should one go into this privacy stuff, anyway?

Probably deeper than you thought. Here's why. If you are convinced that privacy actually matters, and you really want to lock down your cyber-life, as I am trying to do, there are easy options, like switching to Brave (or Firefox with plugins that harden it for privacy). I've done that. Then there are more challenging but doable options, like switching your email away from Gmail. I've done…

Why does information privacy matter, again?

It's not just because you are a criminal and the coppers might catch you. Or because you really, really hate big corporations who just want to sell you stuff more easily. Or because you're paranoid. If that's as far as your thinking goes, when people start talking about "privacy" on the Internet, you really need to bone up on the subject. You probably already knew that you don't have to be…

Geeks: Give the Gift of Computer Security!

Christmas is coming, and that means you could be giving your non-geeky loved ones the gift of...computer security and privacy. And just think, you might be the only person grandma knows who can fix her up. What a special present! "But, give the gift of computer security?" you ask. "How?" Read on. It has been almost two years since I started seriously locking down my cyber-life. Now, if you…

How to Solve Email

Universal problem, circa 2000: you move around from school to school, job to job, Internet provider to Internet provider. They all give you email addresses, which of course constantly change. What a headache. If you're over 30 or so, you remember having to tell people regularly about how your email address has changed. Annoying. The 2010 solution was oh-so-clever: use some giant, professional…

My new book is launched in paperback: Here are some quotes

I am announcing that my book is now available on Amazon in paperback. Please show your appreciation for this blog (and my other attempts to enlighten the world) by buying it! Here: Essays on Free Knowledge: The Origins of Wikipedia and the New Politics of Knowledge, Sanger Press (my own imprint), ISBN 978-1-7357954-1-6. 12 essays. 270 pages. $18.75 for the paperback. The ebook version is best…

How and Why to Decentralize the Internet: a Course

I am thinking of offering a new, independent online course about decentralization and freedom. The focus would be social media; perhaps a future course would focus on free encyclopedias. Or maybe we would do the encyclopedia course first. A proposed reading list is below. Interested? Have ideas about what we should read for this? This could be considered an outgrowth of last year's work on the…

Bold Predictions for the 2020s

Yeah, who knows what will really happen? But here are my predictions (i.e., wild guesses). The Jeffrey Epstein estate and Ghislaine Maxwell cases, as well as the Biden Ukraine case, and some as-yet-lesser-known cases, will rock the entire Western world for several years. Donald Trump will not be among those indicted, but he will continue to be smack dab in the middle of it all. The Clintons…

A Response to Jack Dorsey on Decentralizing Social Media

Jack, Let me begin by telling you (and my blog readers) a personal history of decentralizing social media and content generally. Decentralizing social media It began in January when I decided to lock down my cyber-life. Among the items on my "to do" list was: "Quit social media, or at least nail down a sensible social media use policy." I rather quickly decided to get rid of Facebook and…