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[liberationtech] Ideas for MSc research into HCI, security tools, and privacy.

Shava Nerad shava23 at
Sun Sep 23 00:35:27 PDT 2012

On Sat, Sep 22, 2012 at 11:06 AM, Bernard Tyers - ei8fdb
<ei8fdb at>wrote:

> There have been some interesting threads here that have brought up some
> interesting questions for me:
>         * The thread discussing the usability of tools, such as cryptocat.
> How it was (originally) easy to use but may not have been as secure as
> possible. (NB: This is not a jab/poke at anybodies work, or an excuse to
> bring up any of the previous discussions about Cryptocat)
>         * The perception of tools which are easy to use but may not be
> secure, eg. Viber, whereas other tools are seen as secure,
>         * There are no shortcuts to being secure.
I have spent a lot of time pondering the human psychology, media spin,
"memetic" side of these questions -- how you get from security/privacy
meaning "someone else with something to hide" to "no one needs to be
profiting from my private business, thank you very much!" for example -- a
transition we've been laboriously spinning for the last few years, though
it feels like it's been spinning at the apparent speed of a galaxy...
 Still, there has been progress.

Getting tools like Tor from (at best) gray-hat hacker tools in the eye of
the press to the darling of the Knight Foundation in five years shows that
there is progress, at least at some levels, but the popular level has to

I remember when people did not understand the need for virus protection on
their computers at all either, and there's something to be said for
comparing the notion of how security in terms of malware, and security in
terms of privacy are evolving in the public's awareness, in the awareness
of more "insider" organizations (as appropriate for each subcategory), and
in policies at the highest level -- national policies, laws, and so on.

There could be some good lessons there -- just making the comparison could
open some eyes to some apt paralellisms, I might think?

I'd be happy to throw additional thoughts your way.


Shava Nerad
shava23 at
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