The Firesheep Test?

My guess is that the author of Firesheep doesn’t have any malicious intent. By putting out a simple plugin that lets you intercept unencrypted login information for many popular sites as it flows over public wi-fi networks, and then assume the identity associated with a login, he is laying down a challenge: prove to me that you care about the security / privacy of your users!

Using HTTPS / SSL is obviously an easy way to prevent this session hijacking, but encrypting all traffic in and out of a site like Facebook / Twitter isn’t cheap, in fact i’d be amazed if its even possible without a massive resizing / scaling outlay.

It’s one of those issues that is easy to dismiss: never trust an open network; it’s only twitter / facebook / etc. but i suspect it won’t go away quietly as people can easily imagine what it would be like to lose control of a web mail account, or some ‘professional networking site’ (think someone hi-jacking your LinkedIn account and spamming your connections with links to porn sites…)

My feeling is that we are witnessing the start of a fight for a right to online protection from snooping, and ultimately meaningful privacy protections. Governments are going to fight this tooth and nail because they are afraid of everything they can’t control / spy on / coerce, but it’s coming. We have the crypto tools to start skirmishing in this war… Who’s up for a key swapping party?

Life After God

By the time Life After God was released i’d had enough of Douglas Coupland. In my mind it was released after Microserfs… but thinking about it, maybe it was Shampoo Planet that disappointed me, caused me to skip Life After God, but still read Microserfs. All very complicated. The point being that it has been a long time since i’ve read any Douglas Coupland.

The premise of all these short pieces is that without god people lives lack any meaning. Not having been raised with a concept of god / religion, a void opens up in life, that cannot be filled without appealing to a higher power. Alright… if you say so.

What really struck me was how well Coupland manages to evoke the feeling of living of living on the west coast of the states. Life ‘out there’ takes place on a set that is, out of the cities, indescribably huge, majestically wild and beautiful. The cities are soulless urban sprawl, new in terms of culture, but already shabby and unloved. Society, family units, and i suppose even individuals, feels somehow atomised, blown apart by the ferocious drive to be as individual / unique / special as possible. For a lot of people their work is so abstract or virtual that it is pretty much devoid of meaning, of relation to anything concrete in life. Trading pieces of paper that represent fragments of other pieces of paper; marketplaces where no one will ever walk and no goods will ever be seen; advertising / marketing ideas that can only sell other ideas…

My feeling is that it’s not so much the lack of a higher power that drives all this angst but, people living to far away from their Dunbar number. It’s all very well striving for individuality, and redefining your social interactions in a virtual world, but the truth remains that we are still some form of social ape.

x by y

Uchujin’s post reminded me of the above picture (where someone kindly explained to me that the faery lights were caused by light bouncing off the film / sensor, and being reflected back (again) by a filter), which in turn made me want to reprocess the shot. Not sure what kind of ‘look’ i was going for in the original, but it feels very heavyhanded now.

In turn this reminded me of a long discussion on Sunday evening regarding this shot of Sean’s. There is very little similar between the shots, Sean’s has his trademark cinematic look, whereas this seems rather closed / foreshortened. No colour washes, or sense of mystery here either… but hey, i’ve stolen the crop!