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

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.

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.

Continue reading

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

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