Fred Schneider, "What Price Insularity? ..." (iSchool DLS)

copyright, privacy, berkeley, policy, DRM, legal, podcasts, iSchool


Fred Schneider speaking at the UC Berkeley School of Information This past Wednesday, Fred Schneider from Cornell's Computer Science Department gave the second iSchool Distinguished Lecture of the 2006-2007 academic year, "What Price Insularity? Dialogs about Computer Security Failings".

Fred's talk used three stories, the use of credit card numbers as identifiers versus authenticators, digital rights management technologies and the DMCA and security liability insurance, to illustrate failings in computer security that resulted from incomplete pictures of the interplay between technology and policy.

Here is the abstract for his talk and the audio is linked below:

It is risky for technologists to ignore the non-technical context in which their systems will be deployed, just as it is risky for policy makers to ignore the limits and potential of technology. Yet such insularity is all too common. The results are unfortunate but not surprising. This lecture explores the structure dialogs take to bring about what might be termed "security failings" by revisiting: identity theft, electronic voting, digital right management, and the overall vulnerabilities of today's deployed software.

composite of Fred Schneider images (speaking at UC Berkeley School of Information)

Barriers to TOR Research at UC Berkeley

chilling effects, privacy, berkeley, friends, research, policy, legal, iSchool

I'm giving a talk today here at the TRUST Privacy workshop entitled "Barriers to TOR Research at UC Berkeley" (slides).

The paper is available here:

(Thanks to Ryan for the invitation to SlideShare.)

Book Review: Avi Rubin's "Brave New Ballot"

elections, copyright, chilling effects, friends, research, policy, usability, legal

As Freddie Oakley put it to me, "Who wouldda thunk Avi could write a page-turner about life through the looking glass in Electionland." That's exactly what Avi Rubin has done with his new book, Brave New Ballot (Morgan Road Books, A Division of Random House ISBN: 0767922107). Not only is it a fascinating, personal story, but it strives to make highly technical subjects accessible to those that might not have a technical background.

Avi Rubin at CFP 2006 Avi, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University and director of ACCURATE, occupies a unique position in the e-voting saga. He wasn't the first scientist to critically look at voting machinery; however, the report that he co-authored with Tadayoshi Kohno, Adam Stubblefield, and Dan Wallach in the summer of 2003, "Analysis of an Electronic Voting System", sparked a firestorm. Metaphorically speaking, this book tells how Avi's team looked under the hood of a BMW and found a Yugo, and how the resulting activity was exciting, exhausting, frustrating and, at times, absurd.

To me, the most interesting aspect of Avi's book is the combination of all the people involved and their perspectives, interpolitics and tensions. All constituencies involved in the electronic voting tug of war are represented in his narrative and it is really neat to see how they all fit into the story. Avi shows that he understands all of these perspectives, but, in the end, that we can't do much with voting machinery that is fundamentally and systemically flawed by design and implementation.

Buy this book; tell your friends.

Judith Donath, "Signals, Truth and Design" (iSchool DLS)

berkeley, research, podcasts, education, iSchool


Judith Donath at the UC Berkeley
iSchool Today, Judith Donath from the MIT Media Lab gave the first iSchool Distinguished Lecture of the 2006-2007 academic year, "Signals, Truth and Design". Here is the abstract for her talk and the audio is linked below:

Much of what we want to know about other people is not directly perceivable. Are you a nice person? Did you really like the cake I baked? If we got married, would you be a good parent to our children? Instead, we rely on signals, which are perceivable features or actions that indicate the presence of those hidden qualities.

Yet not all signals are reliable. It is beneficial for the con-man to seem nice, for the guest to seem to like the burnt cake, for the unsuitable suitor to seem as attractive as possible. While these deceptions benefit the deceiver, they may be quite costly for the recipient. What keeps signals honest ? and why are some signals more reliable than others?

Signaling theory provides a framework for understanding these dynamics. Among other things, it shows how the cost of many seemingly extravagant displays is not wasteful expenditure, but useful for ensuring the reliability of the display as a signal.

In this talk I will show how signaling theory can be used for the design and analysis of social technologies. It is especially well suited for this domain, for in mediated interactions there are few qualities that can be directly observed: everything is signal.

Judith Donath collage

A' running we will go...


My new running shoes rock... they're New Balance 809s:

My new shoes

I just did a delight of a little run near Piedmont (route tool courtesy of It's hella hilly, but very pretty and very fun (too bad I can't take a camera on the run!):

piedmont, ca run
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And a few words about the structure of the eye . Everyone " retina ". Especially often we hear it buy clomid online in the phrase " retinal detachment ." So what is the retina ? This - the front edge of the brain, the most distant from the brain part of the visual analyzer. The retina receives light first , processes and transforms light energy into irritation - a signal that encodes all the information about what the eye sees . The retina is very complex and in their structure and function . Its structure resembles the structure of the cerebral cortex. The shell of the retina is very thin - about 0.14 mm.