Doctorow: Yeah, being there in the moment. Coffee is a drug, and taking a drug without thinking about it is a great way to take too much of that drug. Whereas taking a drug and putting a lot of thought into it is a way to master it instead of having it master you.
Malda: I like ritual. I like procedure. But it’s not creative. It’s you executing a specific pattern.
Rob ‘CmdrTaco’ Malda
Rob Malda is the chief strategist and editor-at-large for the Washington Post’s WaPo Labs team. Prior to that, under the pseudonym "CmdrTaco," Rob created the popular “news for nerds” Web site Slashdot.org, which he ran for 14 years. He periodically offers opinion and analysis on a range of topics, including media, technology and innovation.
(Rob Malda) - Cory Doctorow, author of \"Homeland\"
Doctorow: But if you are trying to optimize it, it is creative.
Malda: Security. Paranoia. Where do you sit in that world?
Doctorow: Security. Although there are things we can and should do to be secure, I think there are borderline miraculous things about information security — like that the universe allows cryptography. Wove into the fabric of the universe is the fact that encrypting a message is easier than decrypting it — trillions of times easier by brute force. Secrets are woven into the fabric of the universe. That’s cool. We should all geek out on that. But no one of us can make our device secure. Right now, the way that we regulate device security is backwards. We tell people that it’s against the law to remove the locks from their devices because you might be able to commit copyright infringement. The [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] DMCA prohibits the removal of locks, which is effectively prohibition on the close inspection of devices that are now everywhere, that we put inside our bodies. At the same time, we have terms of service agreements that are sometimes treated with the force of criminal law.
If we were talking about waterborne parasites, no one would say — if you open your plumbing or test your water; if you examine the sewer system or tell your friends about problems with the water — you are a criminal. Nobody would say that water rules should be [rejiggered] to maximize profits for the entertainment industry. The Internet is just as important as water to people now. Take away the Internet and people start dying.
Malda: I can’t even turn my lights off.
Doctorow: The plane I flew in to get here is a flying Sun Solaris workstation in a very fancy aluminum case. … Until we start conforming our regulation to the reality of the universe — the world is made of computers and networks, and they should be regulated as a public good, and not as a means of maximizing the profits of entertainment companies, or assuaging the fear of pornography — we are going to get it consistently wrong. We can’t even teach kids to be private on the Internet because the most major invasion of kids’ privacy is the federally mandated censorship walls on school and library networks, which in addition to censoring the Internet, they surveil the Internet. If you tell kids that privacy matters while simultaneously taking away their privacy, its like telling them not to smoke while you are lighting one secret off another and stubbing it out in the ash tray. Actions speak louder than words.
Doctorow: Hackerspaces are amazing. My hackerspace in London is upstairs from me. Although they are moving to a bigger space. They discovered that they forgot what bank account subscription fees were going into. They had been paying out of other revenues and they realized they were rich. So, they are moving to a bigger space. On the plus side, sometimes the vent hood for the laser cutter doesn’t work. And I discovered that as I become dizzy and realize that my office is filled with toxic fumes.