Facebook to move from a public square into a living room. When the cure is worse than the disease

According to The Conversation, there is an upcoming shift of Facebook’s approach to its user privacy. This quote from Mark Zuckerberg clarifies the position of the company:

Over the last 15 years, Facebook and Instagram have helped people connect with friends, communities, and interests in the digital equivalent of a town square. But people increasingly also want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room.

While the news has been (cautiously) saluted as an improvement of Facebook’s attitude towards the core of its business, actually the proposed cure is worse than the disease.

If, as Zuckerberg says, Facebook is going to move from a public square to a living room, this actually weakens the meaning of privacy because:

1 – it sends the message that privacy equals secrecy, while the notion of privacy is far wider,

2 – if everything is private, nothing is private. By not making
distinction between the intimate sphere and the public space, Facebook is
turning people into faceless being.

3 – Furthermore, by enhancing the “private ring” notion, people will lose the main role of a social network (in the sociological meaning of the word): challenging our individual and assumptions, become accustomed to diversity.

What Boxe and Knife Sparring teach about ICT Security

Time and Space are two key factors in any strategy, whether offensive or defensive.  This is true regardless you are involved in large scale, symmetric conflict, in an ambush or in a direct attack. There are, though, serious differences among the possible reactive approaches according to the different factual circumstances.

An empty hand attack can be handled by taking into account to be hit as a way to “close the distance” and gain a tactical advantage. This is best exemplified by the way boxeurs manage the opponent: maybe they get partially hit by a jab, but in the meantime they set themselves in the right position and time to hit with a devastating cross.

Knife sparring – let alone actual “fighting” or self-defense – requires an entirely different approach. In such kind of training it is mandatory not to be hit because a hit actually means a “cut”. Therefore the training is focused on being as far as possible from the blade, and hitting the opponent’s hand with the defendant’s knife (this is called “defang the snake”.) In knife sparring everything is faster and the reaction’s options are very limited, as you don’t backstep and then hit back, or try to catch&parry a knife flying around your face or guts, as you would with just a bare fist.

This key difference matches a common underrated assessment when designing an ICT security model: is the infrastructure able to sustain a hit and remains operational while the “defense team” is summoned (as in the Boxing Sparring)? Or the infrastructure is not designed to act like that and, once hit, its operational capability is progressively hampered (as in the Knife Sparring)?

The answer to this questions is important because it helps the security manager to better define the structure, the roles and the budget of the incident management team.

Taxonomy of a conference or: on the distillation of knowledge

A researcher has an idea. He shares it with his colleagues, they start brainstorming together and present it in a “geek-only” seminar.

A journalist stumbles upon the idea. He understands little and nothing about it, but writes a column about it because he is “the one who deals with innovation” and interviews the “expert”.

The “expert”, who has been answering whatever question in the same way for thirty years, explains to him that there are also “legal problems”.

A legal scholar reads the journalist’s article and the “expert” statement, understands about it  even less, but decides that he “knows best” and organizes the conference “legal aspects of XXX”.

A politician is invited to the conference. Until a minute before, he was dealing with something else, but he understands that this can lead to votes. He decides to jump on the subject and invites the legal scholar, the expert and the journalist (but not the researcher who had the idea) to join the “steering committee for XXX” – which worth nothing, but looks “cool” – and presents a bill.

Meanwhile, the researcher notices that his idea had some flaws. He tries to contact the journalist, the expert, the legal scholar and the politician, but nobody answers him. They can’t admit that they didn’t know s…omething.

Race is the new black

Since people have been anesthetized to the “privacy threats” that everybody and his cousin is seeing around, now “race” is the new trend to bash profiling, surveillance and whatever else the “human rights  warriors” pick as “enemy-of-the-day”.

This article from wired.com – that matches the same “philosophy” of this one published by Wired.it about the racism of algorithm – hints at  a new trend to give trollers something to (keyboard) fight for: forget privacy, RACE is the buzzword-to-go to show righteous indignation!

Algorithms are bad for RACE, Artificial Intelligence is bad for RACE, face recognition is a RACE thing… computer and RACE, smartphone and RACE, videogames and RACE, RACE, RACE,  RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE.

p.s. Sorry Monty Python.