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Why we may elect our new AI overlords

If you follow conversations around AI ethics these days, you may be forgiven for believing that either: Some sort of AI dictator may be imposed by some shadowy new-world order type organisation, or Due to improper human-compatible programming, an advanced artificial general intelligence will turn us all into paperclips for the paperclip god. Whilst I can’t fully refute either scenario, I can speculate on the potential for near-future political applications of AI which have the potential to be both disruptive and unintuitively desirable. Automatic, near-instant, ubiquitous fact checking UK fact-checking organisation Full Fact recently released a report that covered

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Thoughts on hacking, botnet infrastructure and attack attribution

A journalist recently asked me for comment about the DNC hack and whether I had any idea who was behind it. I don’t, but I thought it a good opportunity to explain the problems with mid-to-high level hack attribution in some detail. So last week I was in Silicon Valley giving a talk about my darknet market research and I got into a conversation with someone I met about the inherent problems with the attribution of ‘cyber attacks’. It’s important to bear in mind that the more sophisticated an attack is, the more standardised the methodology must be. For example,

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I went to California!

For many reasons, including my passion for my job as a sysadmin, I don’t often like go on long holidays, breaking the routine is pretty tricky and travel can be unstructured and chaotic. But this year I finally broke the mould and decided to put together a trip of California based around the life-extension / transhumanist science conference that is RAAD Fest. The trip started by leaving the house at a ridiculous hour then having to answer trivia questions to a check in machine: The check in machine is like 'what is the first letter of the state phillidelphia

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“More United” will either end the Labour party, or its organisational affiliation rules

Today the much anticipated “More United” political organisation launched, not by creating a new centre-left political party as some had suspected, but by creating a co-operative-like organisation which will back any candidates which backs its principles. Now, unlike me, it’s possible that More United has not done its research into restrictions into UK party political affiliation. I created the comprehensive resource on Political party affiliation in the United Kingdom and if you think you can get away creating a political organisation which doesn’t stand its own candidates in order to circumvent political party monogamy, you’re in for a surprise.

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Future Piracy – Appropriation and production with Future Artefacts

In the middle of June I attended an arts event by Future Artefacts to speak about copyright on behalf of the Pirate Party. The interesting premise about a ‘stolen’ 3D design called ‘The Other Nefertiti‘ provided a jumping off point to discuss the past, current and future state of copyrights and patents. The arts audience was sympathetic but different to my usual tech crowd. Thanks very much to my fellow panellists, Matt Jones of EIP, Brendan Cormier of the V&A museum and all the event organisers!

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In a post EU-referendum society, we must talk and define our terms

There are many things in the world that the vast, vast majority of people believe in, and despite this, are completely untrue. Oh, I’m not talking about the nonsense that is homoeopathy, belief in the supernatural or anything as hum-drum as that, I’m talking of course about the big lies, the existence of ‘truth’, ‘justice’, ‘fairness’ and more recently ‘europe’ and ‘democracy’ not to mention ‘media balance’. The late Terry Pratchett put it well in the closing exchange of ‘Hogfather’ with: YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES. “So we can believe the big ones?”

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Talking about the dark web on the Jon Gaunt Show

A snippet from the 6/6/16 Jon Gaunt show where I feature, talking about the dark web. Please note, I do not endorse the views of Jon Gaunt, nor he of mine. 🙂 His full show, this may be of interest to you if you’re interested in Brexit, UKIP, capital punishment and other such tropes. 😉 If you’re interested more in the dark web or darknet markets, I suggest these Wikipedia pages I maintain which are a great nexus of information.

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Real fake money, real insecure markets – UPDATED

Ah, the darknet markets. You never mind a more wretched a hive of paranoia and shilling. But when your business is mailing drugs, laundering financial data, a reputation across darknet markets as well as associated forums is the life blood of your business. And when enough people run an illegal business, a new market comes to prominence, the market for scamming. Let’s take the case study of GBPF (that’s GBP Fakes) from mid 2015 as well as the parallel events on the Oxygen Market. Oxygen Market first launched around May 2015, making responsible noises like: We welcome everybody to

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A proposal for ethical web blocking

Background Today I attended ‘Hacking blocked.org.uk‘, a project to brainstorm development around the blocked.org.uk from the Open Rights Group. The volunteer developed website I supported research for in 2014 with my comprehensive article on Web blocking in the United Kingdom, which outlined the new government mandated web filters, their inconsistent categorisation, implementation, technologies and dangers. It was the first, but not the last of my major Wikipedia projects. I laid out my personal conclusions at the time in Inside Default Web Blocking – Part 1 and Inside Default Web Blocking – Part 2 on Pirate Party UK’s blog. Over 2

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Besa Mafia murder-for-hire scam exposed following hack

I’ve been researching the urban legend of dark web internet assassination since last year, covering obvious scams, fake crowd funding models and I’ve even given a talk covering this subject. Combined with my expertise in darknet markets, I was uniquely positioned to debunk any innovation in this field, until one day such innovation came. “Besa Mafia” as  I first reported in in February 2016 “Assassination scams, the next generation” is a new site that tried to structure itself like a darknet drug market to give a veneer of legitimacy to its operation. This meant it needed comparable features like