A Protest Movement at UCL

Spontaneous discrete protest movement of an individual against the mafias which are in charge of cyber-security,  cryptography research and education at large worldwide.

Students asked me what is my protest against and I have responded:

It is against hate. All the hate you receive because you are different and you don’t have the same ideas or just because people don’t like you, for example because you are a geek, or because you are yourself, a semi-autistic pathological (not very social and, working on controversial topics) fiercely independent researcher. Or because you speak a foreign language. Or for no apparent reason.

I wish that our public institutions, governments, universities and also public spaces such as say Internet or bitcoin network, or say the mass media, or say the crypto research community, would be AT LEAST  neutral (if not benevolent). More often the not,  they are rather evil and malicious, work the benefit of for vested interests which sponsor and support them in a variety of ways. A perverse system meant to do harm to our societies. Each time organizations achieve strong dominant positions, we should immediately stop trusting them. We need to fight for a more decentralized economy. We have an excessive concentration of power and money in the hands of too few individuals.

An example is how scientific research is manged in most countries:  gangster science, the primary substance of which is “clerical power” (a bit like in Iran) by people who by definition are always right and other are by definition always wrong. We have for decades indulged in fat cat science policies which benefit only some top individuals and which make the lives of other miserable. Scientific research is a rat race in a proper sense: bad behavior and aggression against fellow scientists is encouraged.  Too much so called competition, which is frequently fake, just doing harm to each other; too little cooperation, too much of science with powerful sponsors and strong incentives to lie and cheat etc. The results of this are primarily bad research and bad education. Sponsored education meant to mislead and brainwash the public and also the industry and the government circles. When I started doing research in cryptography in the 1990s most researchers were I think honest and candid (though extremely naive!). I believe this has changed irreversibly and today you cannot survive in research you don’t submit to the dominant corrupt and sectarian ideology and ideas, and also when you even sometimes just say what you think. Research should produce knowledge and create jobs for sure, but also enlighten and educate our societies. I must say we don’t do it well, or not well enough.

Remark: When half of UCL was on strike I did not participate. I am a perfect non-conformist known for having very strange ideas. Expressing your point of view is not illegal or not yet.

 

 

The Low Cost of 51% Attacks

A web page shows that many crypto currencies lack protection against 51% attacks. For example to double spend in Dash, one needs to pay only 14K$ per hour. To double spend in bitcoin private, 1000$ will suffice. And course benefits of double spending can easily outweigh the costs.

In addition some of the higher numbers are questionable. There is almost certainly an easier way to command 51% of bitcoin hash rate for one hour than paying 650K$. It is sufficient to hack some pool servers, or directly the software run by miners. Luckily for bitcoin, there exist vaste privately-owned mining farms where the software and the hardware are also proprietary.

 

Who Can Stand Up Against Abusive Internet Giants? And the Original Sin of the Internet

These companies (Facebook, Google, etc) known as Internet Giants violate our privacy everyday and they have corrupted our minds and our economy worldwide. They have built a totalitarian dystopian future which is here already, where humans and business alike are enslaved by a digital mafia which aims at controlling and taxing the whole global economy through mass surveillance and stalker economy. Our consent is fake and forced, we actually click on 50 Yes I Agree pop-ups or security alerts daily without ever reading them. We buy a device and instead of owning it, it owns us. We let it do what it likes, like recording our private conversations 24/7, our emails, our clicks etc, and in order to sell these “data” to other companies, and to use it against our will, against our values and against our laws. In the modern economy, companies spend increasingly large amounts of money in an effort to acquire a customer; and once they have him, captive, they treat him like a piece of shit. When we contribute to the digital economy we contribute for free through open source software and our YouTube videos and tutorials. We are not customers, we are not individuals, we are now rather slaves (or sheep, or pigs maybe).

The Internet Giants has transformed the human race into obedient apathetic animals which are easily manipulated and which work for the benefit of some clever yet abusive corporations. And there is only one guy worldwide – Max Schrems – who dares to fight Facebook and Google in courts for violating the laws. And another one who is trying to educate us about cybersecurity. And that’s it.

An interesting historical insight about WHY we have all this, is the sort of original sin question, also more recently  explained here: “When the internet was built, free and open, it meant that advertising was the only obvious way to make money and that turned into surveillance.”

Another question is, if Google and Facebook do all the mass surveillance at a global scale, what is now the job to do for the GCHQ,NSA etc? Many experts say that police forces are by far more helpful defending us against terrorists than modern cyberspace intelligence capabilities. Max Schrems is also defending us against some ‘particularly large terrorists’ :-). But again, if Google knows everything, now a country in order to get all the intelligence they will ever need, should just blackmail the Internet Giants for access to the data. The answer is probably that these agencies in modern time are NOT that much about intelligence gathering. They are about staying ahead of the game. They are here to develop even more sophisticated technology for, well, what? Either future cyber-crime to be committed. Or to improve defensive security engineering in order to defend us against future crimes. This ambiguity is here to stay.

 

My Position on UCL Strike

A large number of UCL academics have yesterday started a large scale strike lasting for many weeks. These people are sacrificing their salary [UCL will cut their pay down] and there is a strong support for the strike. The strike is organised on the premises that our employer, UCL, are? cutting down their pension contributions or ending guaranteed income schemes and replacing by those which are more like investments, without guaranteed returns. How interesting.

So why I am not on strike?

I definitely do not support UCL cutting down their contributions, and do I do not think that UCL management are our friends and have good intentions or that they do ever care about people who work here. Or I do not wish to see UCL giving money back to disappointed students.

However I am against this strike in particular, on ideological grounds.

I do NOT support the main idea in this strike. In fact I do not support our pension schemes at all. It is quite naive to believe that generous pensions are our friend. I believe that employers and governments should spend money on creating new positions for senior people (e.g. emeritus professor positions) rather than on pensions. Offering employees generous pension benefits is nice isn’t it? Or is it about trying to get rid of them? I believe that most current pension systems are perverse, stupid and need reform. They are about ejecting people from social and economic niches or positions which they occupy, under the pretext that they are old. We are offered some income or compensation, if we retire. Is it a gift, a bribe or a trap? Retirement is not necessarily a good thing: people who retire early seem to live shorter lives. I am against spending lots of money on pensions which redistribute money between generations. I think that  we need to give older people more than just money: dignity, freedom, power, and ability to remain active contributors to the economy and the society.