Two Bits in the COIN-Operated Machine: Interview with a Counter-Insurgency Specialist

There’s been a lot of talk about the ways technology is being harnessed for terrorism, insurgency, counter-insurgency and general “asymmetric” conflict these days. The Arab Spring, Ukraine, Libya, Egypt, and Syria have all involved new uses of technology by governments, combatants, hacktivists, civil resisters, and non-combatants alike.

So, we thought we’d sit down with Dr. Jacob Diliberto for a chat about technology and the future of insurgency.  Continue reading

Way Down in the Hole: Clandestine Tunneling and the 4th Industrial Revolution

By Keith

You gotta keep the devil, way down in the hole.

-Tom Waits, Frank’s Wild Years

When I was a wee lad, I remember World News anchors ceaselessly reporting on the escape of Pablo Escobar, the infamous drug lord of Columbia’s Medellin Cartel. When Colombian task force soldiers stormed his custom-made prison “La Catedral,” Pablo and his brother Roberto escaped through a tunnel system. It was a humiliating failure for the Colombian government to absorb, highlighted by the fact that a low-tech hand-dug tunnel defeated all the whizbang security technology and tactics available in 1992.

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Interview with a Vape-Pire: DIY E-Cigarette Aficionados Talk about Restrictions

By Mark

You may have already seen this article’s companion piece, “When Harm Reduction is a Crime: Tobacco, E-Cigarettes, and the World’s Most Unnecessary Black Market”. That piece describes the potential for an emerging black market in DIY tobacco, nicotine, and vaping products in jurisdictions that try to ban or heavily control them.

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When Harm Reduction is a Crime: Tobacco, E-Cigarettes, and the World’s Most Unnecessary Black Market

2-Part Longform Special Feature! (Part 2 here)- By Mark

This website is (loosely) themed around “Security and the 4th Industrial Revolution.” We write about mind-blowing things technology increasingly empowers people to build, make, and do for good or ill. We talk about post-industrial technology’s applications for terrorism, weapons, smuggling, drugs, war, crime, and all kinds of dark shit. We also cover beneficial stuff people are doing with the same technologies and freedoms to innovate. We cover these issues because they’re interesting, and because they force us to reconsider many traditional assumptions about how policy and government are supposed to work. We also cover them because they’re important: people live and die, and liberty is protected or undermined, by our decisions on new technologies.

But today let’s forget about guns, terrorism, masks that fool facial recognition, counterfeit art, fake drug-testing dongs, cartel tunnels, and narco-submarines. Let’s forget about those things because compared to today’s topic, they barely rate. That’s right. Almost everything we get worked up about as a society is, in pure scale of mortality, bullshit compared to this. Continue reading

The Whips of War: Hoopty Hacks in our Driverless Future

By Mark

“Nine-tenths of our crimes an’ calamities are made possible by th’ automobile. It has unleashed all th’ pent-up criminal tendencies o’ th’ ages.” -Kin Hubbard[i]

So we’ve talked about a few of the weird, wild, easy, and totally predictable ways cars can be physically weaponized. Pretty much anybody can slap a battering ram or some armor on a wheeled or tracked vehicle. This isn’t a problem that’s going to be solved by banning stuff because A) it’s ridiculously easy to do, and B) most of the materials can’t be banned.

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