• Twitter Account

    P.S: So much for a completed website. There are still a lot of bugs to fix and a lot of posts to grammar edit - including this one.

    The original plan for this website was for it to replace social media platforms save for a few appendage platforms. It has been decided that Twitter will now be included as the only appendage into this supposed group of appendage platforms.

    The general idea was that I wanted something similar to Twitter. However, it did not make much sense to broadcast "tweets" to myself. Twitter also has much more traffic. As an appendage platform, it's perfect for quick text updates. I am planning to hook up Twitter's API into the workflow of Glimpse. This way, my social content can be streamed and viewed through the glimpse page. Adding to these social media pages would be as simple as querying my API. Safe, secure, and reliably simple. (Besides to the world that my Twitter account and the way I use Twitter can be side-channeled.)

    On the other hand, platforms like Instagram lack the APIs, or at the very least, it and its general features do not lend themselves to be very API friendly.

    Here is my Twitter if you were interested in following.

  • This Website

    After four or five long years of talking and thinking about this website, I am very happy to finally announce that it is here and available to the general public. In gist, the creation of this website took a few days of programming, many months if not years of procrastination, and multiple reviews of my personal philosophy and life goals in order to align it with this website's design and content. This is the short story of how a very simple personal blogging website ended up becoming more complicated than originally planned and how it eventually found itself to be "completed".

    When I first thought about building this website, it was mostly due to my desire to have a platform that I can post to and express some of my thoughts towards current events I saw. There were too many social media platforms which were generic and also lacked what I needed. What I required was something that was very customized in nature. I was also not very happy that most, if not all platforms, technically owned my data (in some cases, the platform's company legally owned some key rights to my data) and I did not have any access to the platform's raw data storage source (for good reason). From a technical perspective, scaling such massive platforms means data replication across multiple servers and geographic locales. So in reality, any data once uploaded to these platforms is like space junk thrown into digital space and also very hard to protect. It's out there somewhere for anyone to find, use, and be taken out of context in the future.

    I wanted my own website so I could have the most control an individual can have over content uplaoded on to the surfable web - having your own website. I was a programmer by profession so I thought it would not be too challenging or time consuming of a project to do. It turns out that the most time consuming part of having a website is keeping it updated. By having my own website, how I choose to represent myself, my data, and my thoughts would be reclaimed as an asset. A change in a social networking platform's terms of use or privacy policy would not censor me nor would I need to spend extra time thinking about reposting my data if the company that hosted the content were to fall out of trend. Afterall, social media platforms when reduced in complexity are basically inflated websites sprinkled with pixie dust. The only reasons most modern social media platforms exist today are due to legacy, accessible, data, ease, popularity, and because it's "free". All attributes that I can live without.

    As a data security researcher who also finds commonality with Cypherpunk philosophy, I was not interested in sharing more personal data or potentially identifying meta-data to the global "cloud" without full transparency in regards to my data. As an engineer living in a post-Snowden world, and a world where there are daily reports of security breaches happening to respected financial/credit reporting services, there was also a real concern about data retention and whether or not companies were actually respecting their own policies. Furthermore, as someone who loves freedom and is opposed to social credit systems and other obligatory obey and conform societal constructs enforced by a state party, many of these integrated and centralized capitalistic schemes, like social media, operating under a political culture of corporatocracy, looked like ticking time bombs.

    There was the option of keeping a minimial footprint but that also restricts some of my freedoms to express myself and my concerns. Practicing an extreme form of that for a few years was starting to become restrictive in itself as the goal was never to disappear from society completely. Society seems to have a tendency to move to its own heartbeat though.

    Some people who know me from grade school remember that I practically dropped off the face of the Earth in 2011. I returned back to social media for a brief while in 2014 to start a company but I never really involved myself with its general dynamics (I was never really involved to begin with and everyone started college). I deactivated my accounts within the year of restarting them. In 2018, I really returned back to social media and needless to say, given the time gap of high-school and college, many people were put off and things were different.

    I also never graduated from high-school or college so credentials were an issue as well. I was self-employed but if I were to find a well paying jobs, the market was very apparently more interested about social networking and less about skill and merit. Even worse, my personality never would fit working for someone to begin with and I had a few things I wanted to work on. My age was a deciding factor for many business opportunities and I was still learning while Moores law was happening in real time. I ended up becoming proficient enough in multiple disciplines but I could also never seem to find enough time. My solution, at present seems to be, to apply time to the problem.

    Data privacy theory is similar to and can be viewed analogously to security theory. In security theory, within a closed-loop system, an asset is said to be theoretically "secure" when it is economically more expensive to break the security mechanism protecting an underlying asset than gaining whatever is being protected by the security mechanism. Under normal economic theory, social media platforms can not profitably exist for free (server costs, electricity costs, etc.) without providing value to other systems. Typically this value equates to the platform's users or their data.

    For the privacy inclined, simply not using services in some scenarios is quickly becoming an impossibility or a general nuissance. In China, to purchase groceries, living necessities, or taxi rides, you are expected to pay with WeChat or some other popular internet service which requires bank authentication of identity. Some locals even refuse to accept cash, opting to give free rides to skip some sort of fee if you have nothing to offer but cash. The popular trend in the west is that if an application is popular and approved by the Apple iStore or the Google Play Market it is safe. My often substatiated fears towards hardware manufacturers extends towards software. Especially from a company that has uncomfortably close ties to the communist party. Hypothetically speaking, WeChat editing messages or extracting data from a mobile device is only a few lines of code. Realistically, WeChat has been reported by individuals to have deleted messages that were critical of the communist party. Realistically, WeChat is also too of juicy a platform for any overarching entity to not want to have a bite of. For Communist China, with state-sponsored capitalism, this is okay and widely accepted. I frequently travel to China so posting anything too critical about China is not smart for myself or relatives living there. However, one of my core principles and plans for this website is to stay authentic in expression. While I disagree with communism, I can understand the precursors to communist party in China, why it exists today, and why it can continue to exist as the ruling party of China.

    Conversely, my native and home country, the United States of America, is usually considered the land of the free. Yet Edward Snowden's reveal of Prism shows that the USA is the land of the free but only as long as big brother can watch you be free and stop you when they disagree. While Prism has not been forgotten by many security folk, it is quickly drifting away from the consciousness of the common American populace. Prism allowed the NSA a direct connection to scan, harvest, and analyze the data of the most popular services that connects many people to the popular net. It forms the aftermath of the Patriot Act and its set of "circumstances" imposed upon the American people for her protection. Various companies and organizations were given gag orders to silence them from responding. Some entities would use warrant canaries to show their protest while protecting their interests. However, that is not to say others were not also comfortable in their positions.

    Most platforms in the west are focused on free speech but there have been many instances where an infamous public figure would be deleted or banned from a platform for voiding that platform's policy. I have both warm and cold feelings towards WikiLeaks as an organization from the perspective of a patriot and a Cypherpunk. As one of the leading organizations that spearheaded the releasing documents indicating spying by the US government of its own citizens, its leading figure Julian Assange, has had his social media accounts deactivated multiple times. No doubt, strifling or at the very least complicating issues for WikiLeak's representation of themselves in digital space. While a platform, much more a company, in my views, certainly has the right to curate its platform's culture and take actions in response to circumstances that occur within its pre-curated environment, why should a developer like myself, opt to represent themselves on the Internet as a second-class citizen via a series of platforms whose only benefits - popularity and network resilience - also changes like fashion? Besides, I was not interested in being popular, I was interested in representing my views in a publicly accesible location so I could go over them, update them after experiencing deviations from my expectations, have a place to point people to save me from repetition, and a whole slew of reasons that I felt were more relevant than likes and follows.

    The overarching theme here is a deterrence and rebellion towards society's polarization to contiguous systems of control over knowledge and the access and distribution of it. Not only is it immoral but it is also impractical by design. Participation in the new emerging battlefield regarding human privacy and human rights on the digital front and thereby the construction of "physical" reality. Instead of adhering to the popularized convention of having social media accounts to represent myself in digital space, I would have a traditional website. The digital equivalent of a minimalistic and customizable social media page under one recognizeable and legally protected domain name which is enough protection. Popular social media sites would be appendages to my website and I would not be an appendage to a social media site. After all, knowledge and intelligence is proprietary by its very nature.