Surveillance Valley: What you need to know about the Internet

I recently finished reading the book Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet.

Now, I’ve known for awhile that the world of high-tech – and especially the internet – doesn’t quite work the way everyone thinks it does.

We worship tech billionaires as if they’re the Second Coming, praising them for their ingenuity and standing in awe of their sheer genius.

The reality, on the other hand, is a bit more mundane.

Pretty much all the big players in the internet/tech world got where they are with a little help. And by “a little help”,  I mean A LOT

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Why “Big Brother” can never win

Well, it’s that time again.

Some recent news items – and people’s reactions to them – have once again compelled me to foam at the mouth about Big Brother.

Every time one of these “revelations” like the Facebook data breach occurs, everyone gets all fired up…

And then many people usually do exactly the wrong thing in response!

Sure, the privacy thing is a problem. It’s prolly going to get worse before it gets better.

But here’s the thing: YOU help to decide how and when that happens.

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President Scottie’s State of Technology Address for 2017

People ask me, “Scottie, what’s the deal with technology?”

And I say, I say to them: “Technology is gonna be big this year. It’s already big, but it’s gonna get bigger. So big! Technology is gonna be so big, you won’t fit into your house anymore. And it’s coming soon. It’s already here, but it’s coming more soon. BIG, so big.”

You may now attempt to discern if I’m making fun of Trump because I don’t like him, or because I DO like him. Naturally, it may surprise you to know that my answer is neither black nor white.

And that’s exactly the state of technology right now…

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Build your own stylish signal blocking smartphone box in ten minutes

New Version! See: A better Stylish Smartphone Faraday Box

With the release of WikiLeak’s “Year Zero” information on the CIA’s capabilities, you might be forgiven if you’re worried about your privacy.

Of course, those capabilities were always there, whether you knew about them or not.

Still, it’s a bit annoying to think that some bozo is remotely activating your smartphone’s mic to spy on your extremely dramatic dinnertime conversations.

You could buy some overly expensive “Faraday Bag” to stick your phone in when you’re not using it, but who wants an ugly black overpriced lunch bag?

Instead, just make your own Faraday Box. It’s stylish, it’s hip, and it only takes about 10 minutes to make!

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Why HTTPS and SSL are not as secure as you think

SSLIn this day and age of well-known NSA spying, everyone keeps saying that the only way to be safe is to use SSL/TLS, commonly known as “browsing with https://”.

The sad reality is that HTTPS does virtually nothing to protect you from the prying eyes of alphabet soup agencies – or anybody else with enough knowledge about how these supposedly “secure” connections actually work.

It’s true that connecting to web sites with SSL will certainly prevent “script kiddies” and other more winky opponents from eavesdropping on your surfing or otherwise interfering in your affairs. But as for the Real Bad Guys, forget it…

We shall begin by taking a brief dive down the rabbit hole of SSL, hopefully in a way that will make sense to even the least technically inclined among us.

This issue is, after all, so extremely important that I think everyone needs to understand what is really going on, and how web security actually works, without needing a PhD in cryptography, computer science, or engineering!

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