Links and Thinks: Sci-fi, raybans and SPAAAAACE

This week on the Internet, rich men want to go to space, while building sci-fi dystopias back on Earth. Also, sunglasses! Let's discuss.

Elon Musk has been very busy on Twitter

Tesla founder and all round "bombastic" thought leader Elon Musk has been warring with socialists on the Internet. This may not seem newsworthy, but in an admission about how his actions are influenced by sci-fi writers Isaac Asimov and Douglas Adams, it's good to take stock of who is making decisions about our futures.

Kevin Bankston, who runs the Open Technology Institute in the US put it rather well on twitter the other day like this:

 

 

Tweet from Kevin Bankston. Twitter link below image

 

https://twitter.com/KevinBankston/status/1007667955012947969

If all of our wealthiest most powerful tech people on Earth are white dudes who read Asimov and had their minds blown by the three laws of robotics, what does that mean for the diversity of thought of the people making decisions about the technology that humans use at a massive scale.

We have people who are so excessively wealthy like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, who are overly preoccupied with space exploration, while ignoring the real needs of their staff and the communities they operate in. Whether it is Amazon stopping Seattle from implementing a much needed tax to support the homeless, or Elon Musk failing to follow through on his commitments to staff safety in Tesla factories.

The self declared socialist has a wee way to go before he could claim he is putting the wellbeing of all above the wellbeing of Elon.

American dominance in spaaaaace!!!

For the second time, Donald Trump has insisted on the creation of a United States Space Force. He first announced this a few months ago, but budget appropriations committees didn't think the world was ready.

Now the idea seems to be gaining momentum, as America looks towards building a permanent presence on the Moon, and then Mars.

He seems to have the Musks and Bezos' on the brain, as part of this move is to get a cut of the commercial space market which is being built by the wealthy technologists. As he astutely notes, "I've always said that rich guys seem to like rockets."

InternetNZ's policy team is firmly against the creation of the Space Force as a part of the Air Force, as to fulfil their teenage sci fi fantasies the Space Force needs to be naval, so we have Space *Marines*.

Image of space marine

The laws of mathematics are very commendable…

"but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia,".

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull famously isn't bothered by the laws of mathematics when it comes to encryption. Australia recently announcing new laws that will require tech companies to help law enforcement access encrypted data. They insist this won't require building a "backdoor" as is often feared, but there is no clarity on how the laws would technically work. (The article linked to above suggests key escrow. We've talked about the failings of key escrow in a previous blog here).

Further to the dismantling of cyber security norms, Australia is also proposing new levers for their electronic spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate, to bring down the computer systems of criminal suspects inside Australia without a warrant or proof of a crime. Which is effectively saying "meh, criminal justice so hard. Am I right?"

Unsurprisingly this announcement has not been well received by the cyber security community. Ex Australian spy boss (who previously may have been implementing these laws) Ian McKenzie, has chipped in his views warning that this "disruption" of computer systems without due process would be illegal.

Australia has performed this type of system disruption to overseas criminals in the past, but to turn those powers inwards to their own people is an alarming move.

Do you want to buy some Ray-Bans?

If you are a human on Instagram, one of your friends has tried to sell you knock off Ray-Bans this week. But why?

This seems to be the result of phishing for posting permissions, and in April the Spinoff tried to get to the bottom of it.

This is a timely reminder to make sure your accounts are secure. Get started with password managers and two factor authentication, to make sure YOU are not the next person inadvertently hawking Ray-Bans online.