Life With Alacrity

A blog on social software, collaboration, trust, security, privacy, and internet tools by Christopher Allen.

Tag: Security

Defining “Participatory Ecosystem” — Grow the Pie, Not Slice It!

As part of being a member of the sustainable MBA community at Pinchot University, I have been trying to articulate what I like about the kinds of collaboration that are possible even inside a competitive industry. In our MBA program, we don't just teach about competitive strategy (using classic's like Porter's book), but we also teach about the nature of coopetition. These practices are more likely to lead to sustainable businesses (not only sustainable=green, but sustainable=enduring).

A Revised “Ostrom’s Design Principles for Collective Governance of the Commons”

The traditional economic definition of “the commons” are those resources that are held in common and not privately owned. This is closely related to economic concept of public goods, which are goods that are both non-excludable (in that individuals cannot be effectively excluded from use) and non-rivalrous (where use by one individual does not reduce availability to others). My own personal definition for the commons is broader — any regenerative, self-organizing complex system that can be drawn upon for deep wealth.

A Spectrum of Consent

I have made understanding of consent and consensus, in both their human and technological forms, a major part of my career. I have explored them through my work in cryptographic technologies, but also in human terms at the Group Pattern Language Project, by co-authoring with Shannon Appecline forthcoming book on the design of collaborative games, and another book in progress on the patterns of cooperative play. My business management style is also more collaborative and inclusive.

Speaking at Consensus 2015

I'm heading out today to New York City to speak at Consensus 2015, where I am speaking on the panel ‘Bitcoin and its Antecedents: A Look at the History and Evolution of Digital Cash’: Bitcoin is far from the first attempt at creating a form of digital money with the potential to upend existing systems. Our panelists will look at bitcoin's predecessors and close cousins. Nathaniel Popper wrote the book Digital Gold, which delves into bitcoin's genesis; Christopher Allen is an internet security expert who has been involved in digital cash systems including Digicash for decades, while Garrick Hileman is CoinDesk's lead analyst and an economic historian at the LSE, specializing in alternative and private monies.

The Four Kinds of Privacy

(This article has been cross-posted in Medium) Privacy is hitting the headlines more than ever. As computer users are asked to change their passwords again and again in the wake of exploits like Heartbleed and Shellshock, they're becoming aware of the vulnerability of their online data — a susceptibility that was recently verified by scores of celebrities who had their most intimate photographs stolen. Any of us could have our privacy violated at any time… but what does that mean exactly?

10 Design Principles for Governing the Commons

In 2009, Elinor Ostrom received the Nobel Prize in Economics for her “analysis of economic governance, especially the commons”. Since then I've seen a number of different versions of her list of the 8 principles for effectively managing against the tragedy of the commons. However, I've found her original words — as well as many adaptions I've seen since — to be not very accessible. Also, since the original release of the list of 8 principles there has been some research resulting in updates and clarifications to her original list.

Some History of SSL Security Reviews

Regarding the Heartbleed bug, SSL and TLS vendors used to require code security reviews before CAs would accept certificate requests from that implementation. My firm Consensus Development was the only one offering these reviews, largely because other security firms were scared of liability issues. Over 50% of the products failed in less then 8 hours of review, typically for very stupid mistakes. The CAs stopped asking us for reviews because it was slowing down sales of certificates.

Password Best Practices

Passwords are very important for maintaining your online identity, because they ensure that no one else can access your accounts and do things that you wouldn't do. As such, you should make sure that your online passwords are as strong as possible. This article will provide some general guidelines for doing so. Multiple Passwords Note that I said that you want to ensure your passwords, plural, are strong. That's because you'll want at least two.

Future Topics

I've been working on an ambitious list of topics that I'd like to cover over the next year. I offer them to you here so you can have some idea the areas that I am thinking about. Office Architecture for Innovation -- Over the years I've built or converted three offices to my specifications. From this I have learned a number of things about about how to create a productive environment innovation-oriented businesses.

Intimacy Gradient and Other Lessons from Architecture

A number of my posts have been about integrating different domains of knowledge in order to better understand how human behavior should be incorporated in the design of social software. I found The Dunbar Number in sociology, and both Four Kinds of Privacy and Progressive Trust come from my work in the cryptography field. The topic of this post comes from the field of architecture. In order to provide for Progressive Trust, you need to establish what is known as an "

Progressive Trust

I believe that as we evolve social software to better serve our needs and the needs of the groups that we are involved in, we need to figure out how to apply an understanding of how human groups behave and work. One useful concept I use I call "Progressive Trust". The basic idea is to model how trust works in the real world, between real people, rather then solely relying on mathematical or cryptographic trust.

Post RSA Conference Wrapup

I spent most of last week at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. Like last year, I found little that excited me. I overheard from a convention staffer that they had 30% more attendees, so the conference is growing again, but my week there also reinforced my opinions regarding the industry as a whole as I describe in my previous blog posting The Bad Business of Fear. I asked a number of random people what they thought of the conference.