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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

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Upcoming events:

Mon. Jun 17th, 6pm - 7pm: Damon Krukowski, author of "Ways of Hearing" (More info...)

Options June 3, 2019: Joseph Menn, author, "Cult of the Dead Cow"

Listen to this show: MP3 - 128K | | Add or read comments

This week: Joseph Menn, author, "Cult of the Dead Cow"


‘Fire Zuck’ projected onto location of Facebook shareholders’ meeting, TechnoLAG (May 30, 2019)


- - -

Links:

Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World, by Joseph Menn

KnowYourMeme: "Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc) is a computer hacking group that is most well known for coining the term "hacktivism" and creating the Back Orifice remote administration tool (RAT), which gains remote access to machines running the Microsoft Windows operating system."

Exclusive: Beto O'Rourke belonged to major hacker group as a teenager (by Joseph Menn for Reuters, March 15): "O’Rourke belonged to the hacking group known as the Cult of the Dead Cow... [he] wrote online essays under the pseudonym 'Psychedelic Warlord.'"

The Hacking Supergroup That Counts Beto O’Rourke as One of Its Own (NYT Book Review, June 2)



• Above, Washington Tiananmen vigil attracts first-timers for 30th anniversary (by Nectar Gan in the South China Morning Post, June 3): "Biggest turnout in years for candlelight commemoration outside Chinese embassy. For many, it is the first time they have spoken of the events of June 4, 1989."

My thread on today's Apple commercial, including this thought: "Now if we could just get more people to attach Apple things onto their arms, into their ears, implanted in all their orifices, and thus walk around half-distracted all the time - THEN, my friends, THEN we'd be on our way to building a just & equitable society" ... also this - "It's quite a tech industry where the slogan "we're not as bad as the stalker spreading conspiracies and child-abuse for profit" is a winner."

On YouTube’s Digital Playground, an Open Gate for Pedophiles (Max Fisher and Amanda Taub in the New York Times, today, June 3). Max Fisher adds: "Each video might appear innocent on its own, a home movie of a kid in a two-piece swimsuit or a nightie. But each has three common traits:
  - the girl is mostly unclothed or briefly nude
  - she is no older than age 8
  - her video is being heavily promoted by YouTube’s algorithm"
...and then...
"We talked to one mother, in Brazil, whose daughter had posted a video of her and a friend playing in swimsuits. YouTube’s algorithm found the video and promoted it to users who watched other partly-clothed prepubescent children. Within a few days of posting, it had 400,000 views."

• And from a recent guest on Techtonic, Roger McNamee's NYT op-ed today (June 3): "Why it is legal for service providers to comb our messages and documents for economically valuable data? Why is it legal for third parties to trade in our most private information, including credit card transactions, location and health data, and browsing history? Why is it legal to gather any data at all about minors? Why is it legal to trade predictions of our behavior? Corporate claims to our data are not legitimate and we must fight back."

• Other Big Tech news: DOJ starting antitrust investigation of Google, FTC starting antitrust investigation of Amazon, and the first Attorney General case hits Facebook.

- - -

Check out techtonic.fm for recent Techtonic interviews and Little Slice of Tech Pie segments.

PODCAST: Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast

Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Joseph Menn talks about his new book "Cult of the Dead Cow," which tells the story of a group of hackers, founded in Texas in 1984, that's still active today in resisting oppressive surveillance and control from Big Tech.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options
Options
 
  Mark's intro  
Options
 
  Interview with Joseph Menn  
Options
0:15:22 (MP3 | )
  Your comments  
Options
0:43:52 (MP3 | )
Pink Tiles  Internet   Options   0:56:00 (MP3 | )

Listener comments!

Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:00pm geezerette:

Flat cows too?!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:00pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark! Techrackers!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:01pm ultradamno:

...or Techburgers!?
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:01pm herb.nyc:

hi hi, I misread FIRE ZUCK and thought FIRE TRUCK so that's how I said it. ugh.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:01pm Ken From Hyde Park:

The opening theme song puts me in a trance. It's so technotic!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:02pm geezerette:

(snicker!)
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:02pm Beast of Boonton:

Hello Mark and Techtonicans
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:02pm Webhamster Henry:

Hello friends!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:02pm Bas NL:

Mark! Techtonaticaloids!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:02pm listener james from westwood:

Evening, Mark and all! Listening through the evidently marked-for-death iTunes.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:02pm Webhamster Henry:

The cult you have to watch out for is the cult of the pale penis.
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:03pm northguineahills:

Mark, I think you'd like the Polish show on Netflix. Although, not the focus, 1983 has social media devouring every one's information like the Stasi on steroids. It's a dystopian present where the Iron Curtain never falls, and Poland is trying to get our of the Soviet orbit, allying w/ Vietnam and the US.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:03pm Folsom:

How about Technados?
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:04pm geezerette:

Must we go Beyond Meat? Can't veggies be veggies?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:04pm Ike:

Meow meow meow
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:04pm Ken From Hyde Park:

That's a very robust electronic sign. It's clearly on fire but continues to warn us that it's collating our data.
  Mon. 6/3/19 6:04pm melinda:

Hi all!
@Henry is there context for your comment? It’s funny regardless.
  Mon. 6/3/19 6:05pm phillippe bastille:

hi all
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:05pm Fox:

I came across the Cult of the Dead Cow in 1995, and used to visit their site, without a real understanding of it. I think it was called the Cult of the Dead Cow Ninja Strikeforce?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:05pm Bas NL:

;) Got him tongue-twisted again..
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:05pm Carmichael:

Heya Scott and tech commandos.
  Mon. 6/3/19 6:06pm Dave from Brooklyn:

Howdy doody techheads
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:06pm chresti:

Hi Mark and Techtonoids!
  Mon. 6/3/19 6:09pm Dave Miss:

The other Dave from Brooklyn. Howdy!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:10pm geezerette:

Exactly,Mark. Its already here in bits and pieces.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:10pm ⓘⓚⓔ:

Yes yes yes. Xinjiang and Tiananmen are so important. BTW don't travel to China. It's not fun. It's pretty rude and unpleasant. Go to Taiwan instead!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:10pm Franco Twinkie:

FIRE ZUK! That would look real sharp as a bumper sticker on all those Teslas driving around in Palo Alto.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:11pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Privacy ! :
www.reuters.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:11pm chresti:

Apple wants to do away with itunes
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:11pm geezerette:

Franco. Hahaha!
  Mon. 6/3/19 6:11pm Johnzon:

how bout that rare innovation a headphone jack
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:12pm Carmichael:

Dublin, CA = Dublin, Ireland
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:12pm ultradamno:

The Irish dodge is becoming more famous than their exit.
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:13pm geezerette:

Chresti, seems like it! Man,...:(
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:13pm Carmichael:

It's Britain who's exiting. Ireland will suffer the consequences. As usual.
  Mon. 6/3/19 6:13pm st Joe:

Some of the early Mac's were manufactured in Ireland
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:14pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

I read iTunes ia splitting into Three...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:14pm Folsom:

How about the big Google shutdown yesterday that affected youtube and other services?
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:15pm geezerette:

Jack it into your brain directly.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:15pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Not As Bad As the other Evil Giant.
That would be the USA 2019 then...
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:15pm ultradamno:

It's a novel pitch for Apple to demand to only use their stuff, much different how Google and Amazon only want you to use their stuff.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:16pm diciassette:

I do not mind if "Music" is a separate app, but I do not use cloud music services (yuck.). I'm mostly into gapless playback (that actually works)
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:17pm geezerette:

I may throw up now.
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:17pm ultradamno:

Well, I don't mind courting controversy in saying ewwwwww.
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:17pm Fredericks:

Mark talking about Apple vs Google could be talking about Clinton vs Trump. Just change the names.
  Mon. 6/3/19 6:19pm D:

there's a great ted talk on children's youtube it touches more on manipulating kids and showing scary things rather than pedophilia though https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9EKV2nSU8w
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:20pm Fredericks:

Avatar ♥ @6:00 geezerette:

Flat cows too?!

When you suck all the blood out of a cow, it is essentially flat.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:20pm Fox:

Wasn't Beto part of the Cult of the Dead Cow?
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:21pm Fredericks:

The Hacking Supergroup That Counts Beto O’Rourke as One of Its Own (NYT Book Review, June 2)
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:22pm geezerette:

Thanks, Fredericks!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:23pm Fuzzy:

I remember Back Orifice.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:23pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Dead, flat cow:
_ _
((___))
[ X X ]
\ /
(' ')
(U)
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:24pm ultradamno:

Isn't exsanguinating cows what aliens do? Are they involved in this now?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:24pm Webhamster Henry:

Images on newsnet were broken up and base 64 encoded in several messages.
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:25pm geezerette:

Ken, amazing! :)
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:25pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Long been a sense the Programmers & Hackers were the same Class - against the rest of us...
  Mon. 6/3/19 6:26pm st Joe:

ahh the toll free "extender" numbers.
Used by traveling executives and salesmen.
  Mon. 6/3/19 6:27pm st Joe:

The most desirable were ones that had international access...
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:28pm northguineahills:

When I started junior high, in 1989, I got an internet connection, but would only would use it to email/message my friends. But, by 1994, I started college, and used message boards it to help coordinate 'illegal' music/art parties/and/or raves all over the SE>
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:29pm Carmichael:

Here in gubmint, I used to buy satellite phones.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:30pm Fuzzy:

Windows 3.1: the best solitaire game that money can buy!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:31pm Carmichael:

When I worked at Intel, we migrated from the AS 400 to Windows for Workgroups.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:32pm listener james from westwood:

Man, the 90s antipathy for MSFT and its rep as taking over everything not already branded Starbucks seems so damn quaint right now.
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:34pm geezerette:

Move slow and fix things. Seriously.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:34pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Apple say MSFT will put you on the NaughtyStep...the Squares...
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:37pm TDK60:

Hi Mark and Techtoniquees.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:42pm Mark Hurst:

Any questions for Joseph? We're about to head to comments.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:43pm chresti:

San Francisco is not very fond of Google, lately
That's Beto
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:43pm Fredericks:

you are welcome
!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:44pm northguineahills:

brain multitasking, can't make questions....
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:44pm melinda:

@geeze yes!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:44pm Fredericks:

Geezerette
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:44pm Carmichael:

OK, I got lost somewhere. What is MSFT?
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:45pm ultradamno:

Microsoft
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:45pm Fredericks:

Does dead cow refer to leather?
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:46pm geezerette:

Hey, Melinda & Fredericks! :)
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:46pm Carmichael:

Oh ... Why not just say that? :)
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:46pm ultradamno:

www.nasdaq.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:47pm Linda Lee:

isn't the USA the cult of the dead cow?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:47pm Carmichael:

He he, that explains it. Guess I don't speak Stock.
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:47pm geezerette:

Heh!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:47pm northguineahills:

Learn something new everyday!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:48pm chresti:

So Beto is ethical, due to being a member of dead cow cult?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:48pm Carmichael:

@LL, Texas definitely is. And the Inland Empire area of CA.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:50pm Webhamster Henry:

Google, and FB at least provide a little value while sucking your privacy blood; LiveRamps ONLY raison d'etre is to correlate individuals' characteristics and contact data for targeting specific consumers. liveramp.com
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:50pm Carmichael:

@chresti, it's no coincidence that this little factoid has come up during the election cycle. Back in the good ol' days, it was whether or not you smoked pot as a youth.
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:51pm BigCat:

Please support, 2-for-1:

"Robot Reproductive Rights"

"Rabbit Reproductive Rites"
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:51pm Linda Lee:

@Carmichael ~ but fast food is everywhere.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:51pm chresti:

Best of luck Beto..
Ha, right, @Carmichael
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:52pm TDK60:

"one election or another"?! Geez, it was a lot more elections than that the US empire meddled in.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:52pm Linda Lee:

yes & the fact that you smoked pot was absolutely no indication that you weren't a neoliberal P O S.
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:53pm ultradamno:

El Paso Pussycats: cdn.vox-cdn.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:54pm Bas NL:

I'm always a bit weary when hackers call them self good and start to lay out ethical rules. Question to Joseph: Who do you see as valid providers of ethics in big tech and the internet?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:54pm chresti:

I think a re-branding is something to consider for cult of the dead cow?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:54pm Granny Spicy Tuna (they/them):

Thanks for another outstanding interview, Mark
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:54pm BigCat:

I forget what's in the cocktail named the "Russian Cow"

anyone? I've got a full bar
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:55pm Fuzzy:

Bruce Schneir.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:56pm Fuzzy:

EFF.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:56pm chresti:

Thanks Mark!
Baily's and vodka@BigCat
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:56pm Ken From Hyde Park:

In other news, the FCC commissioner has this lovely quote: "Repeat after me, ‘Robocall’ is not a bad word." www.gizmodo.com... Grrr!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:56pm BigCat:

@chresti you rule -- thanks
on ice
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:57pm ultradamno:

You mean Moscow Mule?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:57pm Bas NL:

Thanks Joseph!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:57pm geezerette:

Thanks Mark!
Buddies!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:57pm northguineahills:

Thanks Mark and Joseph!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:57pm listener james from westwood:

Many thanks, Mark and Joseph!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:57pm Linda Lee:

glad you're still in this space for the summer!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:58pm Bas NL:

And thanks Mark! Keep on hacking!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:58pm BigCat:

this is the only radio show that madders [sic, pun]
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:58pm Carmichael:

Yes, there is no udder.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 6:59pm chresti:

Don't know Moscow Mule @ultra
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 6:59pm geezerette:

hee hee!
  Mon. 6/3/19 6:59pm Bart:

Don't have a cow, man!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 7:00pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! @Carmichael, good one.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 7:00pm chresti:

hahaha
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 7:00pm ultradamno:

It's gross. Like gin and mountain dew in a copper cup or something.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 6/3/19 7:01pm Webhamster Henry:

Thanks mark!
Avatar Mon. 6/3/19 7:01pm ultradamno:

vodka, spicy ginger beer, and lime juice, garnished with a slice or wedge of lime
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