State of technology
⚽ Following the England men’s football team's defeat during a penalty shoot out in the Euros, the prominent theme of this week in England has been around social media. It has given racists a platform to be vile but we’ve also seen it act as a unifying leveller, giving thousands of people a voice to share their outpouring of support and rectify an ugly narrative, highlight hypocrisy and hold authority to account.
🌞 This is cool. Solar Protocol is an art/science project based around this webpage: solarprotocol.net. Rather than running it in a data centre plugged into the grid, it runs on a bunch of solar-powered Raspberry Pi computers. Here’s how it works, plus the TL;DR Twitter thread, and here’s how you can be a ‘server steward’ (spoiler: you need access to a sunny rooftop). At the time of typing, the active server is in Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago.
🚓 There have been several bizarre cases of on-duty police pulling out their phones and playing music to trigger copyright filters while speaking with citizens. The belief seems to be that this will prevent citizen-filmed footage of any potential altercation they are involved in being shared on social media. Here’s one example caught on camera by the Anti Police-terror Project, another from the US, and this incident covered by Vice all of which were – that’s right – swiftly uploaded to social media. 🤷 Interested to see what position social media platforms take (though track records say we can’t expect strong ones).
📵 Over to Belgium and another instance of citizens using tech to hold authority to account. Artist and speaker Dries Depoorter created The Flemish Scrollers – a project that uses AI and face recognition to identify distracted politicians on the government live streams and posts them to social media, tagging the preoccupied person. Here’s the Twitter account and here’s the Instagram.
🇰🇪 An update from researcher Nasubo Ongoma on Caribou Digital and Qhala’s research into the impact of the pandemic on women whose livelihoods depend on buying or selling through digital platforms. The latest post looks at Kenya specifically but here’s the background.
☁️ Matthew Cain, Head of Digital, Data and Customer Services at Hackney Council, describes a serious cyber attack that affected all the local council’s systems, apart from those hosted in their modern cloud infrastructure. They’ve now adopted a “cloud, unless” policy to restore services and this video is a nice way of sharing how they plan to prevent similar attacks.
😮 And who knew that Zoom is actually 10 years old and was not in fact born in Lockdown 1.0.