Opinion

  • INNOVATE 2017 | Tristin Harris
    Crunch Network

    The ‘attention economy’ created by Silicon Valley is bankrupting us

    “The attention economy” is shaping everything about contemporary life, according to Google’s former design ethicist, Tristan Harris. That economy has brought us Donald Trump by bankrupting our intelligence and exploiting our “lower-level vulnerabilities.” Read More

  • Apple’s capitulation to China’s VPN crack-down will return to haunt it at home

    Apple’s capitulation to China’s VPN crack-down will return to haunt it at home

    Yesterday Apple removed all major VPN apps from its App Store in the country. These VPNs aided internet users there to get around the government’s vast system of censorship and access uncensored sources of media. But by doing so, Apple has clearly decided to put its business before the interests of the population, opposition leaders and activists. For example, Golden Frog, which… Read More

  • When Snowden mattered

    When Snowden mattered

    Four years ago, the deep state was the enemy. Edward Snowden had just revealed its machinations. The head of the NSA was angrily catcalled during his Black Hat keynote. “We”–hackers, iconoclasts, individualists, and/or everyone in tech who hopes we’re building a better future–readied for a battle against surveillance capitalism and the surveillance state. How… Read More

  • Unhack the vote

    Unhack the vote

    Voting is the free world’s Achilles heel and/or Trojan horse. Valid voters are suppressed. Vote audits are suppressed. Voter registration systems are hacked. And the worst-case scenario of all looms before us all like a monster in a horror movie: what if voting machines themselves are hacked, the “results” are faked and democracy is quietly cancelled without the general… Read More

  • When your fear is my opportunity

    When your fear is my opportunity

    I’m not saying the people around me here at Black Hat are malicious, or that the threats aren’t real. I’m saying that the industry, and everyone it, is strongly incentivized to make its customers and the wider world as frightened as possible, and people tend to follow the path of most incentivization, consciously or not, reluctantly or not. The security industry is the… Read More

  • Facebook’s CSO: the security industry needs to change

    Facebook’s CSO: the security industry needs to change

    Every summer, suited and/or black-clad security geeks flock en masse to the sun-drenched surreality of Las Vegas for “Hacker Summer Camp”: a full week of various security and hacker conferences. Today Facebook’s CSO Alex Stamos gave its keynote address. He began by calling the infosec community a “family” — then gave a speech which felt a little like an… Read More

  • Dear tech dudes, stop being so dumb about women

    Dear tech dudes, stop being so dumb about women

    I want to talk about a relatively little-discussed aspect of the venture-capitalist sexual-harassment revelations that have rocked the Valley of late. In their wake, I have seen, first- and secondhand, men react with statements which can be collectively paraphrased as “Now I’m nervous about hiring women / investing in women / being alone in a room with a woman, what do I… Read More

  • Death to C, ++

    Death to C, ++

    The C programming language is terrible. I mean, magnificent, too. Much of the world in which we live was built atop C. It is foundational to almost all computer programming, both historically and practically; there’s a reason that the curriculum for Xavier Niel’s revolutionary “42” schools begins with students learning how to rewrite standard C library functions… Read More

  • A people-first view of investing in innovation or entrepreneurs who take people for granted will fail Crunch Network

    A people-first view of investing in innovation or entrepreneurs who take people for granted will fail

    I have long been fascinated by the promise of the world of autonomous transport. However, as the conversation at a recent event turned to the complexities that autonomous cars might introduce to the urban thoroughfare, I had an insight: We need to think of people not just as consumers but collectively as the society that shapes technology just as much as technology shapes society. Read More

  • Facebook’s Messenger ads are bad and must be destroyed

    Facebook’s Messenger ads are bad and must be destroyed

    When Facebook removed messages from the main app, I swore I would never download Messenger. That’s been a pretty easy promise to keep, especially since they introduced the idea of huge ads that take up half your screen while you try to use the service. Today Facebook redesigned them as part of a larger rollout — but fixed none of the reasons these ads are bad and should be destroyed. Read More

  • Why so costly?

    Why so costly?

    Technology makes things better. Not morally, of course: military technology kills and maims people more efficiently, surveillance technology invades privacy more pervasively, and so forth. But improved technology leads to more output from less input for any system. Almost a tautology, right? I mean, that’s the whole point. So why, in our technology-laced world, do certain domains… Read More

  • Tech’s term sheets of harassment Crunch Network

    Tech’s term sheets of harassment

    It’s important that we acknowledge that the type of behavior we are reading, talking and tweeting about has been enabled. Read More

  • The need for industry-wide investor/founder sexual harassment policy

    The need for industry-wide investor/founder sexual harassment policy

    Startup founders deserve formal protection from sexual harassment by investors. Yet despite the clear power imbalance between these groups, traditional harassment law does not adequately shield founders because they are not technically employees of the venture capitalists. To fill this gap, VC firms should adopt formal investor/founder sexual harassment policies that can be enforced. Read More

  • A template for investor/founder sexual harassment policy

    A template for investor/founder sexual harassment policy

    Venture capitalists need to adopt formal policies to protect startup founders from sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination throughout the fundraising process. The policy template below was created to facilitate the creation of comprehensive, enforceable investor/founder sexual harassment policies. It also seeks to lower the barrier so more people can courageously speak up against… Read More

  • Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of lulz

    Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of lulz

    Well, why not? I mean, you know, what the hell. Dave Aitel’s proposal over at The Hill for “a cyber investigatory setup funded by private industry” to react to hacks into the American government may not be a good idea, per se, but who can afford that kind of cost-benefit analysis when we’re already in the throes of de-facto high-seas Internet warfare? Let’s just… Read More

  • The Uber and the frog

    The Uber and the frog

    How the mighty are fallen. Travis Kalanick is out, and Uber has become something of a headless horseman, with no current CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, VP of Engineering, or general counsel. Its alleged valuation has fallen by $18 billion and counting. How did this happen? Or maybe a better question is: how could this not have happened? It really wasn’t so long ago, believe it or not, that Uber… Read More