Architecture Is Policy: The Legal and Social Impact of Technical Design Decisions

Over on the CUPS blog I wrote up a summery of the EFF board panel on the legal and social impact of technical design decisions.


Technology design can maximize or decimate our basic rights to free speech, privacy, property ownership, and creative thought.  Board members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) discuss some good and bad design decisions through the years and the societal impact of those decisions.

Book: Applied Security Visualization

I just ordered a book entitled “Applied Security Visualization” written by Raffael Marty. The author previously wrote a chapter in “Security Data Visualization: Graphical Techniques for Network Analysis“, another book on how to bring visualization techniques and tools to the aid of the security community. I was somewhat disappointed with the Security Data Visualization book as I felt that it was just throwing eye candy at what I consider to be a serious problem. Many of the tools put forward by the Security Data Visualization book fail to follow the principles put forward by Edward Tufte on how to create useful and effective data visualizations. I have not yet had a chance to review “Applied Security Visualization” but based on the author’s other work I am hopeful for a clearer and more useful application of visualizations to the security domain.

Value of “who is stalking me” functionality

The Register has an interesting story today on a Facebook app which claims to offer the ability to see who is looking at your profile information but really is just a spam application. The claim is of course bogus as Facebook doesn’t give any application information about who has viewed your profile. Instead the application posts all over your wall and sends out spam messages with the goal of getting ad revenue from people visiting the site and adding the application.

What is interesting about this is that people are intrigued enough by an app that offers feedback on who has viewed their profile that they are continuously falling for the scam. In fact there are at least 25 different versions of this application on Facebook.