Over the last few weeks I have been coming into London Hackspace to do what I always do, tinker on my computer and phone. I have been trying to understand my own patterns of interaction with computers and while at a complex level never seem to bear anything tangible in the traditional sense.
I spend hours exploring and installing, testing and tinkering with my device. The critical engineering manifesto best describes how I see computers and human computer interaction.
I was always fascinated by computer security and although I studied computer science at university I didn’t ever go about teaching myself anything formal.
I was an explorer and it’s strange what you can find in your own computer or on the internet just by being inquisitive. Software doesn’t always have to be about code. I know how to program but computer security comes from the bottom up.
That foundation isn’t assembly language but people. If you are a detective you wouldn’t leap to the most complex of fantastical theories first you would rule out all of the most obvious explanations and then begin to explore the impossible.
I haven’t had a top flight career as a computer security expert but I know more than most. My foundation came from being a user first and most importantly an inquisitive one.
So while I don’t build complex software I know it’s out there, and I know that as free software there are so many tools out there for me to perform any computing task. These tools aren’t for breaking into computers as so many of us are lead to believe but functions that can process our interactions.
As a computer security expert I know that security isn’t about the code. It’s about the intentions of those that want to break the law. So many hackers are put in an awkward legal position simply because they like to explore.
But those evils that lurk on the net and perhaps on our computers are pretty easy to sum up. Most evil manifests through corruption, secrets and lies and the driving force seems to be a desire to torture, steal, murder or rape. Think of a circle, triangle and square.
You may say there are lesser crimes or that assault doesn’t have the full intention of Murder but I think they do in some small way. We all have some guiding force in our interactions and pure evil is just a fairy tail.
So how does this relate to computer security? Well those foundations of crime are all factors in planing and instigating any crime. Some would say only torture and theft could be really exist in a computer but our digital devices are not autonomous.
Abuse on you-tube or piracy on the internet are big business but the fact is that all three of these foundations are out there. Very real people use their computers daily for fun and for work but others turn to these devices to plot and scheme and not just from behind the keyboard.
It took me some time to ever really see the evil around me. It was something for fairy tales and films. We can forget how subtly crime manifests in society.
As a Buddhist I once considered how reincarnation might reinforce habits and behaviour. I thought of a bell curve of the world population with a dividing line marking that crucial point where people either look left or look right.
The population of those lips of the bell are reserved for a very small percentage of very special people. We can’t imprison a quarter of the world population or hopefully less. I haven’t done the actual figures of a quarter population of a lip of a bell curve but hopefully we could always be there to step in.
So after training for so long in a field that might be very lucrative to criminals I’m frozen into a bind where I don’t want to every approach an employer for fear of them being one of them.
I know that I need to find a path into employment with some confidence behind me and for all of the exploring and study I have done I can and will find real world validation.
So many people stood in my way growing up and the worst was myself. I knew I had so much to say but in reality my mind was a mess. It turned out to be a beautiful creative and strangely extremely logical mess but I had to find my own voice.
So many of us are taught by our parents and teachers but in reality we are not receptacles for information. We have to find our own creative and analytical thinking and it’s complex daily interactions in the workplace.
But if you are in an environment where you are being distracted at all corners and by the unknown you have to fight just to be yourself. So this month I have been tinkering like I always have and it’s been exhausting at times but I know that I can something concrete in it as I move forward.
I know that I have priorities that are deceptively simple and they are universal to humankind. I need to keep reminding myself of them every day and to realise that we don’t really need everything, we just need a few pieces of each.
If you can remember those, perhaps one a day, then you might find yourself in a better place mentally. You have to be ready to embrace your situation and to work towards each of those goals.
My tinkering keeps me happy in it’s own special way and I know that I am achieving great things day by day. Hopefully they will manifest into something I can call a career and finally break away from the stigma of my mental health.
I can offer so much to the world but if I just let it take and not give I won’t ever have the comfort of real security,