The Urkel Hack: Facial Recognition and the Perturbed 10%

By Mark

Well folks, we’ve already talked a bit about some ways  various artisanal and digitally-printed masks and other costume stuff can fool facial recognition. (And even eyewitness recognition, if it’s done well enough…). Now, some intrepid tech researchers have demonstrated that you might not even need to get so fancy to beat some common state-of-the-art facial recognition software. Continue reading

Hacking the “Whiz Quiz”: The Saga of the Whizzinator

By Kerry

****Be advised that some links in this article go directly to the Whizzinator and its competitors. These links may involve graphic photos of fake dongs, thereby rendering them NSFW****

On December 2, 2013, Mike Tyson was interviewed by Chelsea Handler on her TV show ‘Chelsea Lately’ for his newly released novel “Undisputed Truth” where he discussed marijuana use during his fighting days, and his techniques for getting around drug testing. The interview included this exchange:

Continue reading

Crime Unmasked: Security, Surveillance, and the Post-Industrial Face/Off

By Mark

Fezzik: Why are you wearing a mask? Were you burned by acid or something like that?

Man in Black: Oh, no, it’s just they’re terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future

The Princess Bride, William Goldman 1987

What’s in a face? These days, a lot.

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The Hunt for White Octubre: Narco-Submarines and the 4th Industrial Revolution

By Mark

It’s May 1944. An American submarine just sank several Japanese ships, and is now under a blistering counterattack. As a seemingly-endless barrage of depth charges explodes around the boat, one of the American submariners asks how much a depth charge costs. A crewmate guesses they cost about $600 each.

“Damn, we’re going to bankrupt these sonovabitches.”

And that’s about right. Except today we’re not bankrupting our adversaries. Our adversaries are bankrupting us. Continue reading

Why Guns Won Before 3D Printing: Industrialization, Post-Industrialization, and the Problem of Scale in Small Arms Control

By Mark

“It might take 10 years or 20 years. Hell, it might take 50 years. But if we make it illegal to own a handgun, eventually there will be no handguns.”  -Gerald Ensley[i]

 “Gun prohibition then, is not the same as banning DDT or leaded gasoline. It is more like banning fire.” –Nicholas Johnson[ii]

When people hear that I write about 3D printed and homemade guns (along with some of the other security implications of the “4th Industrial Revolution and democratization of manufacturing), sometimes they ask me-

“So, does this mean gun control is going to be pointless now?” Continue reading

Brave New World, Same as the Old One: Some Implications of DIY Guns in the Neo-Artisanal Age

By Mark

“This is a symbol of irreversibility. They can never eradicate the gun from the earth.”  — Cody Wilson, founder of “Defense Distributed”[i]

“From an Orwellian perspective, you’d be better off brain scanning people for malicious intentions than controlling for 3D weapons.” — John Wanberg, Industrial Designer[ii]

Homemade guns are an interesting cross between novelty, genuine innovation, legitimate security concern, and well-hyped harbinger of a technologic moral panic. People have been ready to freak out about 3D printed and “do-it-yourself (DIY)” guns for a few years now. The reality of DIY weapons is more complex.  Continue reading

Mad Max Meets the Fourth Industrial Revolution: DIY Vehicle Weaponization

By Mark

In the old days of humanitarian intervention, international charities would hire private contractors to escort their shipments using 4×4 pickups with machine guns mounted on the beds. Since a lot of humanitarian groups don’t like to be seen paying for stuff like that, they’d write off these vehicle escorts as “technical expenses,” coining the term “Technical” for any 4×4 pickup with a mounted crew-served weapon. So the legend goes. Continue reading