One Thing To Do Today: Find new heroes.

TL;DR: When the sun goes out, you can see the stars.

I developed an allergy to demagogues and popularity contests early on, so I was never was the type of kid who put posters of people on her wall. Yet I’m not immune to wanting, needing, to have people whose work I admire succeed.  While researching these articles I’ve been happy to find a TON of people who know way more than me who have been putting out high quality work for years if not decades.  These folks have been working in a field that hasn’t really been getting its due. The American public revels in exhibitionism. CEO’s don’t understand the hit on the bottom line for features that can’t be marketed. Privacy and security has been kind of a thankless field in many ways, only noticed when things go wrong.  I’m going to say some thank you’s today, focusing away from those who’ve disappointed me onto those who will keep me inspired and informed.

Michelle Leonhart, our VP, herself inspires me. And she’s brought in via the Civic Engagement Survival Guide a full cast of people to admire. In fact CRASH Space members themselves never stop being a source of inspiration. Thank You.

We aren’t the only LA hackerspace by far. Where CRASH Space, was, does, will continue to focus on STEAM more than security issues as a whole, Null Space Labs has been committed to security based content from its inception.  My ass hasn’t shown up at one of their events in YEARS. It’s over due.  Thank you. A little further afield 23b also carries the torch. Thank you.

Yesterday I went to a book talk at UCLA by Jennifer Granick, lecturer-in-law and director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. The book, American Spies, intends to “educates readers about how the reality of modern surveillance differs from popular understanding.” She wrote the book for general audiences, but the talk was geared to the law students in the room. I’m doubly impressed by her for coming at this all from the legal angle. We’re about to understand viscerally how fragile the rule of law really is, and how much we need them on that wall. And whats beautiful about Prof. Granick is that she is just one example. Think of all the lawyers at EFF, ACLU, SPLC, Sierra Club, NRDC, NAACP, Lambda Legal, MALDEF, NLGBeakman Center, Center for Internet and Society working hard for little to no celebrity. Thank you.

This will have unequal weights for folks reading this, but I also want to thank all the Ladies in the House. I withdraw too far back sometimes because I get tired of my presence in a room becoming “a teachable moment.”  I was thrilled to find this Top 50 Women in Internet Security as a reminder to not let the bad apples get me down.  Following some of them on twitter has lead me to other women, and ultimately to Prof. Granick’s great talk yesterday. Thank you!

I have a growing Tuesday Website List (link not comprehensive) and Twitter Feed of folks who generously put themselves and what they know out there.   A large handful of accounts that will lead to the discovery of other accounts: @SarahJamieLewis@hacks4pancakes, @snipeyhead (comes with warning), @pwnallthethings, @swiftonsecurity, @pinboard, @thegrugq, @zeynep. Thank you.

Another way to find people, go to the trouble of watching conference proceedings when going can’t happen. The Chaos Computer Club Conference, DefCon and HOPE are the obvious ones for this field. But I’d like to shout out to the Hack-a-Day Superconference, SCALE and LayerOne. Thank you to the organizers and speakers all.

Real change happens from groups working together. The lone hero, “Great Man” approach to history has been severely debunked. Thats good news because that means there are countless folks around us to take inspiration from. When the sun goes out, you can see the stars.


I make things that do stuff. The best, though, is teaching others to do the same. Founder of @crashspacela Alum of @ITP_NYU

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