First Look Media was founded to report on sensitive, adversarial stories about the world's spy agencies. Imagine being the sysadmin in charge of ensuring that the spies being busted in the site's articles didn't hack the site itself.
is the nom-de-guerre of Morgan Marquis-Boire, whom First Look poached from a top security role at Google to run their security. In a fascinating Wired profile, Andy Greenberg introduces us to someone who's taken on one of the most daunting roles imaginable: protecting a site dedicated to publishing the secrets of spies, whose own records could compromise sources from within security organizations, something that both their employers and their adversaries in rival spy agencies would love to make happen.
Beyond protecting Snowden’s favorite journalists, Marquis-Boire sees his decision to leave Google for First Look as a chance to focus full-time on the problem of protecting reporters and activists as a whole, groups he sees as some of the most sensitive targets for governments globally. “I look at the risk posed to individuals in the real world,” says Marquis-Boire, an imposing, often black-clad New Zealander with earrings, dreadlocks, and a taste for death metal. “In human rights and journalism, the consequences of communications being compromised are imprisonment, physical violence, and even death. These types of users need security assistance in a very real sense.”
Marquis-Boire already has distinguished himself as a relentless counter-surveillance researcher and a vocal critic of the companies that have created an industry hawking spyware to governments. In 2012, he and researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab were the first to identify Finfisher, a stealthy collection of spying tools sold by the British firm Gamma Group that they eventually tracked to command-and-control servers in 25 countries. Later that year he helped trace how a piece of software sold by the Italian firm Hacking Team was used by the government of the United Arab Emirates to spy on a political dissident beaten by thugs. Just last month he revealed new findings that showed how that company’s tools have evolved to target iPhones, Android devices and other mobile targets. And in early 2013 Marquis-Boire and Citizen Lab researchers mapped the spread of surveillance and censorship tools sold by the Palo Alto, California firm Blue Coat to 61 countries, including Iran.
The Ex-Google Hacker Taking on the World’s Spy Agencies [Andy Greenberg/Wired]
The Nightmare Machine is an MIT project to use machine learning image-processing to make imagery for Hallowe’en.
The Stormtrooper Decanter is on back-order, but you can pre-order one from the next batch for £22 — it’s based on Andrew Ainsworth’s original movie helmet moulds from 1976, and will provide endless opportunities to point to lowball glasses and say things like “aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper drink?” (via Bonnie Burton)
Yahoo has released a machine-learning model called open_nsfw that is designed to distinguish not-safe-for-work images from worksafe ones. By tweaking the model and combining it with places-CNN, MIT’s scene-recognition model, Gabriel Goh created a bunch of machine-generated scenes that score high for both models — things that aren’t porn, but look porny.
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]
This week’s top deals from the Boing Boing Store range from lobster to wine to desk organization. 1. Get Maine Lobster (50% Off)With these discounted packages from Get Maine Lobster, you can experience the sweet, fresh flavor of world-renowned Maine lobster right at your own dinner table. There are four options to choose from, each at […]