2x12: Infinite Loop of Hack Back

Stuart Langridge, Jono Bacon, and Jeremy Garcia present Bad Voltage, in which we don’t chop anyone’s Endless in half, we measure immeasurable things, and:

  • [00:01:58] The news... Google get fined €2.4 billion for antitrust violations by the EU (who have a different approach to antitrust than the US)... the Five Eyes (of Sauron) countries are now all thinking of banning encryption... you can now circumvent the DMCA to repair stuff, although you're not guaranteed to succeed... the word of 2017 seems to be randomware with the new amusingly-named but not amusingly-functioned "Not-Petya"... a report on FOSS Talk Live and charity runs ending in New Era Field at the weekend... Mycrofts are starting to arrive, in accordance with the prophecy, so look out for a review...
  • [00:21:58] The Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act (or AC⚡DC Act, let there be rock) is a proposed US government bill which gives permission to companies and individuals to try and identify the computer or location of a cyber-attack against them. That is: if you're being hacked, it makes it explicitly legal for you to "hack back"; to attack the perpetrator's computer. Is this empowering people to help themselves in the face of an unhelpful government, or a romanticised view of the Wild West as applied to the internet? Crime prevention control a la the Guardian Angels or legitimisation of vigilanteism? There are some pretty nuanced outcomes from this law...
  • [00:41:57] Wikipedia and Benjamin Mako Hill invent a gamified tutorial for new wikipedia contributors; everyone who takes it likes it and lots of people take it but it doesn't actually achieve the goals of increasing the number and richness of Wikipedia contributions from participants. Some thoughts on how to (and whether to) gamify your community, and how to decide on and track metrics, and doing proper statistics (referencing Evan Miller's work (not Evan Williams, sorry))
  • [00:64:10] In the last show we asked you for your blue-sky suggestions for skills for Alexa and other home assistants... and we got a zillion responses, thank you all! We list a few of our best, and choose our winner, and they will be receiving their Mission One in due course. Thank you to Endless for giving us the prize to give away; now, skill developers, never complain again that you don't have a good idea for a skill...

Download the show now!

I was thinking of a modified analogy that @sil was trying to use for the Google situation and @jonobacon Cadillac. It would be, not that Cadillac would require Jono to buy their gasoline at their stations, but rather, that Cadillac owns most, if not all, of the prime real estate along highways to put in their stations. That work?

1 Like

The second amendment of the US constitution is one of the most misunderstood parts. What is not realized is that the word “bear” is actually a noun. Now, I had always thought that bears had just legs. I’m a US citizen, dang it, where are my bear arms?

I foresee a singular individual rising to the top of the cyber-vigilantes Truly, a terror to the criminal underbelly of our fine internet. But tragic and misunderstood. Both his parents lost their Facebook accounts to hackers when we was just a boy. He inherited their fortune, and began hist quest for vengeance.

He is .bat-man


The hack-back law sounds terrible. I can see it being used as a premise for anyone who thinks they’ve been hacked by someone, to justify being a creep and try to hack them back - which for non-technical people probably just means trying to get their social media passwords and reading their emails.

Further, the analogy to physical violence is tenuous, this is more like a law that allows you spy on people who are spying on you.

OTOH, I could imagine some fairly contrived case where it might make sense, in practice I think its just going to get abused in almost every case.

Just wanted to clarify that I received my awesome Endless Mission One. I have been meaning to write up a post here for ages now about it, but unfortunately life is getting in the way (we just moved house etc).

There will be a write up coming… once I get some time.


Looking forward to hearing about it :slight_smile:

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.