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[liberationtech] skype

Brian Conley brianc at smallworldnews.tv
Thu Mar 21 16:04:15 PDT 2013


+1 Yosem, except I take issue with the last point.

I don't think its always that superior technical solutions *can't* provide
better branding/usability, its that they choose NOT to, or in the past have
even demonized anyone who thinks there is value in such things.

luckily this is changing!

B

On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 2:36 PM, Yosem Companys <companys at stanford.edu>wrote:

> Rich, that's because you're not thinking like the average non-technical
> user, who usually does the following:
>
> The user hears from a friend that she can make calls for free over Skype.
>  So she clicks on the Skype link.  Skype has millions of users, meaning it
> will be around for a while. The Skype website looks visually attractive,
> meaning that it must have a lot of developers.  More recently, it is owned
> by Microsoft, which the user trusts for similar reasons.  "Most large,
> stable, visually-striking brands can be trusted," the user thinks.  She
> doesn't think for she doesn't know that "Microsoft has been attacked a lot."
>
> Now, the user installs Skype.  She clicks through a few steps, easy
> enough.  That's a low barrier to adoption.
>
> Next, the user sees all their family and friends on there.  "Great," she
> thinks. "Now I can call that friend who told me to install it."
>
> After that, the user reads in a news article that Skype is insecure.
>  "That sucks," she thinks. "But it's not like I do anything confidential on
> there anyway."  Or, perhaps, she thinks, "I haven't done anything wrong, so
> who cares if I'm being watched. I'm glad the government is looking out for
> those terrorists."
>
> To the extent that the user cares about security, now she needs to figure
> out what's the best secure alternative out there.  But notice what happens:
>  There's no large, established competitor that is secure.  Those
> competitors don't have brands.
>
> To the extent that the user finds a secure competitor, say because
> Consumer Reports published an article on it (for the average non-technical
> user may not know of EFF), then she might click and check it out.  She
> might ask her family and friends.  But their family and friends have never
> heard of it and, even worse, are not on it.
>
> "I care about my security," she may think. "So I will try it anyway."  But
> all the time it gnaws at her that she doesn't know the competitor's name
> and that she has to take a leap of faith to install it.  The company says
> it's open source.  "What the heck does that mean?"  She thinks.  "What if
> this company is untrustworthy?  What if this company goes under and sells
> my data?  What if..."  Too many barriers to adoption.
>
> We always think, "let's make the most private and secure solution,"
> forgetting that users care about many brand attributes that the most
> superior technical solution can't provide.
>
> On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 1:05 PM, Rich Kulawiec <rsk at gsp.org> wrote:
> > On Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 11:17:03PM -0400, Louis Su?rez-Potts wrote:
> >> One is tempted to suggest using other than Skype. Alternatives exist,
> >> and these are secure, at least according to their claims. As well,
> >> Skype's code is not transparent, in the way that other, open source,
> >> applications' are.
> >
> > I'm more than tempted: I can't understand why anyone would even consider
> > using Skype.  It's closed-source, therefore it must be presumed insecure.
> > Nothing Microsoft says about it can be trusted.  There is reason to
> believe
> > that it's been successfully attacked by third parties.  &etc.
> >
> > I dunno 'bout y'all, but I think that's enough to blacklist it
> permanently.
> > Done.  Over.  Next?
> >
> > ---rsk
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-- 



Brian Conley

Director, Small World News

http://smallworldnews.tv

m: 646.285.2046

Skype: brianjoelconley
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