Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Shell Game

Introducing Hedy the Hermit Crab and Alan the Armadillo in a new comic Shell Game. Hedy is named for Hedy Lamarr, who co-invented an early version of the technology used in wifi, GPS, and Bluetooth.  Alan is named for Alan Turing, whose brilliant code-breaking machine (with the help of a heckuva lot of women) turned the tides in World War II, cracking the Nazi enigma code and (temporarily?) saving the world from the evils of fascism.

Now, more than ever, online privacy is a necessary component of daily life. Regimes across the globe are trying to ban encryption at a time when global protests against the systems of exploitation are being met with state violence. States are using various technologies to surveil protesters, activists, and journalists from China to Nigeria to the United States. It is imperative that we protect ourselves from such surveillance with encryption tech. Sumrando VPN, Messenger, and STASH are free apps you can use to protect your privacy online and when communicating with others.

Hedy and Alan will talk about these issues, but rest assured, there will be plenty of bad puns and stupid jokes.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Apps Against Apartheid

As the world watches country-wide protests and the failure in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we can't help but wonder if we are witnessing the end of the United States of America as we know it. We hope not. For all of its faults - its foreign policy, its systemic racism, its colonial legacy - America has been a beacon of hope for the world. The fabled "American Dream" is the dream of humanity.

Where would we be without the United States? Its contributions to science to medicine, to technology, to our very way of life, and yes, despite everything, to human rights, are such that the world would be a vastly different place, a boring place, a sick place, had it never existed.

We all dream of freedom. We all dream of equality. We all dream of home ownership, good schools for our children, good health, enough food to eat, love of family and friends, and physical and economic security to live life as we see fit.  Alas, we don't live in that world. We live in one where exploitation is the norm, one where the wealthy and powerful use Fear of the Other to maintain control. What is racism? It is a learned evil. It spreads like a virus.

Black Lives Matter is part of the cure. What we are seeing from the protestors gives us hope, not only for the United States, but for the world. Dictators abound these days. While the Western world thought democracy had triumphed and the rest of us hoped to achieve said democracy, recent history has trended the other way. Trump, Putin, Bolsonaro, Nkurunziza, Sisi, Khamenei, Maduro, Orban, Modi, Duterte, Erdogen, Bin Salman, Xi Jinping, Johnson, Aliyev, Lourenco, Kim Jong-un, al-Maktoum, Biya, Deby, al-Khalifa...oh, this is exhausting. Can we stop this descent into global fascism, please?

Sumrando supports #BlackLivesMatter. Founded in a nation well-versed in the evils of racism, we seek to provide the tools global citizens need to protect their freedom. Our VPN, Messenger, and STASH apps provide the privacy, security, and anonymity you need, whether you are a protestor, a journalist, part of a marginalized group, or just an average citizen who wants to protect their rights, our apps are there for you. The best part? They are free! (Get them here)

Look, we'd love to not have to exist, but someone has to provide encryption apps to protect the oppressed from their oppressors. Until we achieve the dream of freedom for all, end systemic racism, and annihilate global exploitation, we will continue to provide these tools of protection. So go Black Lives Matter, go America! You can do this.

Here's to the future!


Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Covid-19 and Tech roundup - May 27

How we act in times of crises defines us.

The world has been brought to its knees. Too many people are using it for profit. Is crisis profiteering not the worst that humanity has to offer? Whether it be war or natural disasters or this awful disease, making money from human death is despicable. It doesn't matter if you are a legit business or a criminal enterprise, it is all the same evil.

Maybe worse than profiteering, though, is actively interfering with recovery efforts, like cyberattacks on hospitals, which has gotten so bad that the Red Cross had to beg governments to take action to clamp down on hackers.

Or what about being the chair of an organization that exists to promote computer science in schools and calling a security researcher a criminal because he brought to your attention a potentially devastating security flaw in your website, and you are also governor of a US state and your website is a pandemic unemployment assistance site and that security flaw exposes people's bank accounts? (Why hide the flaw if you aren't benefiting from it in some way?)

Uganda has used Covid as an excuse for further censorship it imposes under the guise of a social media tax. The tax undermines the fight against the disease.

And what of those who use this pandemic as an excuse to inflame ethnic hatreds and oppress those who are different than them, such as the Rohinga at refugee camps in Bangladesh or the people of Jammu and Kashmir? Internet shutdowns, especially in a time of crisis, endanger lives.

Then there are those using the pandemic as an excuse to surveil us and collect our data.
الصحة العامة واحترام الخصوصية: توصيات أكسس ناو فيما يتعلق بتطبيقات تتبع مُخالطي المرضى بفيروس الكورونا (كوفيد-19)

Let's do better, so we can all recover from this pandemic with some human dignity intact.