These are notes from the four lectures I gave at Ladue Chapel in the Spring of 2012.
Personal Security on the Internet: Protecting Yourself
In the first of four talks about the impact of technology on our society, I’ll start with security. Yes, the Internet can be a scary place, but there are steps you can take to mitigate the dangers. In this talk, I’ll begin by showing you how easy it is for someone to do some very nasty things to your computer & your personal accounts, both financial & social. Then I’ll discuss some of the things you can do protect yourself & your family.
- Krebs on Security, by Brian Krebs.
A former columnist forThe Washington Post, Krebs now has an accessible, endlessly fascinating blog chock full of useful, vital information.
- SecurityFocus columns by Scott Granneman.
All of my columns for SecurityFocus, ranging over many issues in security.
- Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box, by Ryan Russell, Ido Dubrawsky, FX, Joe Grand, Tim Mullen, et al.
Written by hackers, this is a collection of short stories, all based on actual technology, that show how to take over various networks. Often very techie, but still wonderful.
Journalism & Media: What Happened to Buggy Whips?
Our society is working its way through some massive changes to the way that news is discovered, reported, & presented, changes that are in some ways as large as those brought about by the invention of the printing press. How is journalism changing? What are behind those changes (the answers may surprise you!)? What’s happening to the music, movie, & publishing industries? Where is it all heading?
- Apophenia, by Danah Boyd.
A brilliant researcher's writings about social media and how society, especially kids, uses them.
- Asymco, by Horace Dediu.
The best blog—easily, no contest at all!—when it comes to learning about the shift the computing world is making from the PC to mobile devices like smartphones and iPads.
- Clay Shirky's blog.
Clay doesn't publish often on his blog, but whatever he does post is required reading. Brilliant observations from an original thinker. His older writing, also highly recommended, are at Clay Shirky's Internet Writings.
- Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age, by Clay Shirky.
A look at how technology is allowing us to turn our free time from passive activities like watching TV to collaborating on worldwide projects.
- Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, by Clay Shirky.
A fascinating look at how the Internet is transforming everything it touches by bringing people together.
- TED Talks with Clay Shirky.
Short, excellent talks by Clay Shirky from TED, the Technology, Entertainment, & Design conference.
Voting: Technical & Legal Issues
Noted Voting Rights attorney Denise Lieberman will be joining me as we examine some of the technical & legal aspects of voting. From assaults on voting rights to the myriad problems with electronic voting machines, Denise & I will show you some disturbing trends, with a few bright spots. If you’re a voter in this election year, you’re going to find our presentation essential.
- Slides [1.5 MB PDF]
- Handouts [1.4 MB PDF]
- Denise's Slides [3.4 MB PDF]
- Denise's Handouts [3.4 MB PDF]
- "What's Wrong With Electronic Voting Machines?", by Bruce Schneier.
The noted security expert makes points in 2004 that are still completely relevant.
- "Electronic Voting Debacle", by Scott Granneman.
Written in 2003, my article for SecurityFocus provides both a good history & makes points that are sadly still appropriate today.
- "Can You Count on Voting Machines?", by Clive Thompson of The New York Times.
A good overview for those new to the topic.
- "Requiring voter ID will do more harm than good", by Denise Lieberman
An article by one of our speakers that covers some of the problems with Voter ID laws.
Surveillance & Privacy: Technology & the Law
Denise Lieberman will be joining me again as we talk about the impact of technology on our privacy. In this talk, we’ll look at some legal history that has gotten us to where we are today, & then examine some of the various technologies that are currently used to surveil & watch us. In particular, we'll discuss different ways the government watches what we do.
- Olmstead v. United States
The Wikipedia article on the 1928 case.
- Katz v. United States
The Wikipedia article on the 1967 case.
- Kyllo v. United States
The Wikipedia article on the 2001 case.
- United States v. Antoine Jones
The Wikipedia article on the 2012 case.
- "Harms of Post-9/11 Airline Security", by Bruce Schneier
A good overview of the problems by the noted security expert.
- "Airport security", at The Economist
A debate between security expert Bruce Schneier & former TSA Head Kip Hawley on the resolution "changes made to airport security since 9/11 have done more harm than good". Hawley says "no"; Schneier says "yes".
General Readings on Technology & the Net
If you're interested in some general info about the Internet & related subjects, here are a few readings that you might enjoy.
- Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age, by Michael Hiltzik.
An excellent history of an amazingly inventive group of people that created much of the technology we use today, in a corporation that didn't know what to do with them.
- The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers, by Tom Standage.
Turns out that almost everything people complain about today regarding the Internet were also said by folks over one hundred years ago about the telegraph!
- Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet, by Katie Hafner.
A wonderful early history of the Internet that rarely gets very techie at all. Fascinating!