Video games used to be an escape. Now not even they are safe from ads | The Register

Video games used to be an escape. Now not even they are safe from ads; John Leyden; In The Register; 2017-10-09.
Teaser: Devs seduced by the dark arts of data collection and product placement

tl;dr → Ads: always, everywhere and on every available surface.


Chris Boyd (Malwarebytes); Exploring the virtual worlds of advergaming, a talk; performed at the Virus Bulletin conference, in Madrid, Spain; 2017-10-05′ abstract.
tl;dr → The abstract appears as a tutorial on the trade: targeted advertising and on campaign management. No specific companies or practices are named in the abstract.


<quote>Mobile apps have embraced advergaming, trending against upfront payments in favour of free games financed through data collection, adverts and in-app purchases. Of the top 30 games on Google Play, 27 apps contained ads and the same number contained in-app purchases. All were free to download and targeted casual gamers.</quote>

It Me: Under the Hood of Web Authentication | Robinson, Zhu

Garrett Robinson, Yan Zhu; It Me: Under the Hood of Web Authentication; At Some Conference; circa 2017-10; N slides.


  1. Do not use (linear) string comparison, ever.
    Avoid: a == b
    Use: PRF(a) == PRF(b)
    where: Pseudo-Random Function PRF with HMACPRF
  2. Use U2F with Web Authentication
  3. 2FA is weakened by the Password Reset Flow
    • Uses SMTP to deliver secrets or capabilities.
    • SMTP is not encrypted.
    • SMTP’s STARTTLS is opportunistic and fails-open (fails to cleartext)


Resources for Getting Started with Distributed Systems | Caitie McCaffrey

Caitie McCaffrey (Microsoft); Resources for Getting Started with Distributed Systems; In Her Blog; 2017-09-07.

tl;dr → Distributed Sagas, within the .NET culture of Microsoft.




  • A Canon (The Canon)
  • Examplars (Bloggists)
  • Post Mortems (After Action Reports)

Separately noted.

The Spread of Mass Surveillance, 1995 to Present (Big Data Innovation Transfer and Governance in Emerging High Technology States) | CPS

Nadiya Kostyuk, Muzammil M. Hussain (CPD); The Spread of Mass Surveillance, 1995 to Present; In Their Blog at the Center for Political Studies (CPS), Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan; 2017-09-01.
Previously performed at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA); the presentation, titled “Big Data Innovation Transfer and Governance in Emerging High Technology States” was a part of the session “The Role of Business in Information Technology and Politics” on Friday 2017-09-01.

tl;dr → an exercise in documentation; factoids are developed; a diversity is shown.
<quote>The observed cases in our study differ in scope and impact.</quote>

Original Sources


  • Aadhaar, a national ID program, India.
  • Social Credit System, China.


Categorical (arbitrary) Total Spend (USD) Spend/Individual (USD) Span (count) Coverage Universe Fun
nations worldwide $27.1B
(or more)
$7 4.138B 73% world population
stable autocracies,
authoritarian regimes
$10.967B $lower-$110 0.1B 81% their populations upper is 11X more
than “other regime type”
advanced democracies $8.909B $11 0.812B 74% their population
high-spending dictatorships and democracies,
developing and emerging democracies
$4.784B $1-2 2.875B 72% their population


‘How to Think (and Learn) Like a Futurist | Jane McGonigal @ SXSWedu

Jane McGonigal; ‘How to Think (and Learn) Like a Futurist; Keynote SXSWedu on YouTube; 2016-03-09; video: 1:08:59.


The Four Skills

  1. signals
  2. forecasts
  3. personal forecasts
  4. Play with the future (simulate it)
  5. Characteristics of creative individuals
  6. Some technqiues for creativity
  7. De Bono’s six thinking Hats.


  • Transitions
    state transition from mode X to mode Y.
  • Drivers
    what force
  • Amplification & diminution
    what if it becomes more so.
  • Is this what “we” want?

Jelly Bean (Analogy) Theory

  • Primes (primitives)
  • Combinators


  • 3D Printing of Food
  • Virtual Reality
  • Behavioral persuasion (in VR); i.e. smell-o-ivision.
  • Something about Environmental Impact of one’s food.


  • Personal life mangement.
  • Societal stewardship.


  • Superstruct, a game
  • Dilbert Blockchain
  • Blockchain for Social Good;; a whitepaper; Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); WHEN?


  • William Gibson

Big Data, Psychological Profiling and the Future of Digital Marketing | Sandra Matz


Separately noted.

Privacy and Threat in Practice: Mobile Messaging by Low-Income New Yorkers | Ame Elliot

Ame Elliot (Simply Secure); Privacy and Threat in Practice: Mobile Messaging by Low-Income New Yorkers; Presented at the 25th  USENIX Security Symposium; 2016-08-10→12; with video

Ame Elliott
  • Design Director, Simply Secure, a charity
  • ex-design research lead, IDEO, San Francisco, CA
  • ex-research scientist, Xerox PARC
  • ex-staff, Ricoh Innovations
  • Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
    something about <quote>creating hybrid physical-digital interactions to support the architectural design process.
  • 8 patents
  • a plurality of (peer reviewed & invited) publications
    • Chapter in Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology, Oxford University Press; 2007-05-17; 518 pages; Amazon:019956180X: Kindle: $52, paper: $22+SHT.
  • Various awards


Is a theoretically-secure system any good if it doesn’t address users’ real-world threat models? Is the security community today meeting the needs of a mass, global audience, or simply building tools and features for itself? Do we know how to understand what people really need?

We asked a group of straight-talking New Yorkers about the data-security threats they face. Their answers indicate a significant gap between their lived experience and the way our community thinks about security. To bridge this gap and get privacy-preserving systems into the hands of real people, we need more foundational research to understand user needs, not only late-stage usability studies in a lab.

Through in-context interviews in homes, restaurants, and libraries, our study gained insights into a world of constant surveillance experienced by a group of low-income African-Americans. They shared specific examples of how their phone is threatened at home, work, and on the street. This talk shares our participants’ threat models. From shoulder-surfing, to catfishing, to how a “renter’s mindset” develops around handsets controlled by adversarial telecom providers, understanding privacy and threat in practice has far-reaching implications for the future of information security.