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Cybersecurity and White Labelled Android Devices

Trend Micro has a nice short piece on the challenges of assessing the security properties of various components of Android devices. In short, white labelling incentivizes device manufacturers to invest the least amount possible in what they’re building for the brands that will sell devices to consumers. Trend Micro included this very nice little mention on the shenanigans that firmware developers can get up to:

Firmware developers supplying the OEM might agree to provide the software at a lower cost because they can compensate the lost profit through questionable means, for example by discreetly pre-installing apps from other app developers for a fee. There is a whole market built around this bundling service with prices ranging from 1 to 10 Chinese yuan (approximately US$0.14 to US$1.37 as of this writing) per application per device. This is where the risk is: As long as the firmware, packaged apps, and update mechanisms of the device are not owned, controlled, or audited by the smartphone brand itself, a rogue supplier can hide unauthorized code therein.1

While the authors suggest a range of policy options, from SBOMs to placing requirements on device transparency before administrators ‘trust’ devices, I’m not confident of these suggestions’ efficacy when taking a broader look at who principally uses white labelled devices. There are economics at play: should all devices have increased input costs associated with greater traceability and accountability then it will place financial pressures on the individuals in society who are most likely to be purchasing these devices. I doubt that upper-middle class individuals will be particularly affected by restricting the availability of many white labelled Android devices but such restrictions would almost certainly have disproportionate impacts on less affluent members of society or those who are, by necessity, price conscious. Should these individuals have to pay more for the computing power that they may depend on for a wide range of tasks—and in excess of how more affluent members of society use their devices?

Security has long been a property that individuals with more money can more easily ‘acquire’, and those who are less affluent have been less able to possess similar quantities or qualities of security in the services and products that they own. I understand and appreciate (and want to agree with) the Trend Micro analysts on how to alleviate some of the worse security properties associated with white labelled devices but it seems as though any such calculation needs to undertake a broader intersectional analysis. It’s possible that at the conclusion of such an analysis you still arrive at similar security-related concerns but would, also, include a number of structural social change policy prescriptions as preconditions that must be met before heightened security can be made more equitably available to more members of society.


  1. Emphasis added. ↩︎

Why Is(n’t) TikTok A National Security Risk?

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

There have been grumblings about TikTok being a national security risk for many years and they’re getting louder with each passing month. Indeed, in the United States a bill has been presented to ban TikTok (“The ANTI-SOCIAL CCP ACT“) and a separate bill (“No TikTok on Government Devices Act“) has passed the Senate and would bar the application from being used on government devices. In Canada, the Prime Minister noted that the country’s signals intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment, is “watching very carefully.”

I recently provided commentary where I outlined some of the potential risks associated with TikTok and where it likely should fit into Canada’s national security priorities (spoiler: probably pretty low). Here I just want to expand on my comments a bit to provide some deeper context and reflections.

As with all things security-related you need to think through what assets you are attempting to protect, the sensitivity of what you’re trying to protect, and what measures are more or less likely to protect those assets. Further, in developing a protection strategy you need to think through how many resources you’re willing to invest to achieve the sought-after protection. This applies as much to national security policy makers as it does to individuals trying to secure devices or networks.

What Is Being Protected

Most public figures who talk about TikTok and national security are presently focused on one or two assets.

First, they worry that a large volume of data may be collected and used by Chinese government agencies, after these agencies receive it either voluntarily from TikTok or after compelling its disclosure. Commentators argue that Chinese companies are bound to obey the national security laws of China and, as such, may be forced to disclose data without any notice to users or non-Chinese government agencies. This information could be used to obtain information about specific individuals or communities, inclusive of what people are searching on the platform (e.g., medical information, financial information, sexual preference information), what they are themselves posting and could be embarrassing, or metadata which could be used for subsequent targeting.

Second, commentators are adopting a somewhat odious language of ‘cognitive warfare’ in talking about TikTok.1 The argument is that the Chinese government might compel the company to modify its algorithms so as to influence what people are seeing on the platform. The intent of this modification would be to influence political preferences or social and cultural perceptions. Some worry this kind of influence could guide whom individuals are more likely to vote for (e.g., you see a number of videos that directly or indirectly encourage you to support particular political parties), cause generalised apathy (e.g., you see videos that suggest that all parties are bad and none worth voting for), or enhance societal tensions (e.g., work to inflame partisanship and impair the functioning of otherwise moderate democracies). Or, as likely, a combination of each of these kinds of influence operations. Moreover, the TikTok algorithm could be modified by government compulsion to prioritise videos that praise some countries or that suppress videos which negatively portray other countries.

What Is the Sensitivity of the Assets?

When we consider the sensitivity of the information and data which is collected by TikTok it can be potentially high but, in practice, possesses differing sensitivities based on the person(s) in question. Research conducted by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab found that while TikTok does collect a significant volume of information, that volume largely parallels what Facebook or other Western companies collect. To put this slightly differently, a lot of information is collected and the sensitivity is associated with whom it belongs to, who may have access to it, and what those parties do with it.

When we consider who is using TikTok and having their information uploaded to the company’s servers, then, the question becomes whether there is a particular national security risk linked with this activity. While some individuals may potentially be targets based on their political, business, or civil society bonafides this will not be the case with all (or most) users. However, in even assessing the national security risks linked to individuals (or associated groups) it’s helpful to do a little more thinking.

First, the amount of information that is collected by TikTok, when merged with other data which could theoretically be collected using other signals intelligence methods (e.g., extracting metadata and select content from middle-boxes, Internet platforms, open-source locations, etc) could be very revealing. Five Eyes countries (i.e., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America) collect large volumes of metadata on vast swathes of the world’s populations in order to develop patterns of life which, when added together, can be deeply revelatory. When and how those countries’ intelligence agencies actually use the collected information varies and is kept very secretive. Generally, however, only a small subset of individuals whose information is collected and retained for any period of time have actions taken towards them. Nonetheless, we know that there is a genuine concern about information from private companies being obtained by intelligence services in the Five Eyes and it’s reasonable to be concerned that similar activities might be undertaken by Chinese intelligence services.

Second, the kinds of content information which are retained by TikTok could be embarrassing at a future time, or used by state agencies in ways that users would not expect or prefer. Imagine a situation where a young person says or does something on TikTok which is deeply offensive. Fast forward 3-4 years and their parents are diplomats or significant members of the business community, and that offensive content is used by Chinese security services to embarrass or otherwise inconvenience the parents. Such influence operations might impede Canada’s ability to conduct its diplomacy abroad or undermine the a business’s ability to prosper.

Third, the TikTok algorithm is not well understood. There is a risk that the Chinese government might compel ByteDance, and through them the TikTok platform, to modify algorithms to amplify some content and not others. It is hard to assess how ‘sensitive’ a population’s general sense of the world is but, broadly, if a surreptitious foreign influence operation occurred it might potentially affect how a population behaves or sees the world. To be clear this kind of shift in behaviour would not follow from a single video but from a concerted effort over time that shifted social perceptions amongst at least some distinct social communities. The sensitivity of the information used to identify videos to play, then, could be quite high across a substantial swathe of the population using the platform.

It’s important to recognise that in the aforementioned examples there is no evidence that ByteDance, which owns TikTok, has been compelled by the Chinese government to perform these activities. But these are the kinds of sensitivities that are linked to using TikTok and are popularly discussed.

What Should Be Done To Protect Assets?

The threats which are posed by TikTok are, at the moment, specious: it could be used for any number of things. Why people are concerned are linked less to the algorithm or data that is collected but, instead, to ByteDance being a Chinese company that might be influenced by the Chinese government to share data or undertake activities which are deleterious to Western countries’ interests.

Bluntly: the issue raised by TikTok is not necessarily linked to the platform itself but to the geopolitical struggles between China and other advanced economies throughout the world. We don’t have a TikTok problem per se but, instead, have a Chinese national security and foreign policy problem. TikTok is just a very narrow lens through which concerns and fears are being channelled.

So in the absence of obvious and deliberate harmful activities being undertaken by ByteDance and TikTok at the behest of the Chinese government what should be done? At the outset it’s worth recognising that many of the concerns expressed by politicians–and especially those linked to surreptitious influence operations–would already run afoul of Canadian law. The CSIS Act bars clandestine foreign intelligence operations which are regarded as threatening the security of Canada. Specifically, threats to the security of Canada means:

(a) espionage or sabotage that is against Canada or is detrimental to the interests of Canada or activities directed toward or in support of such espionage or sabotage,

(b) foreign influenced activities within or relating to Canada that are detrimental to the interests of Canada and are clandestine or deceptive or involve a threat to any person,

(c) activities within or relating to Canada directed toward or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political, religious or ideological objective within Canada or a foreign state, and

(d) activities directed toward undermining by covert unlawful acts, or directed toward or intended ultimately to lead to the destruction or overthrow by violence of, the constitutionally established system of government in Canada,

CSIS is authorised to undertake measures which would reduce the threats to the security of Canada, perhaps in partnership with the Communications Security Establishment, should such a threat be identified and a warrant obtained from the federal court.

On the whole a general ban on TikTok is almost certainly disproportionate and unreasonable at this point in time. There is no evidence of harm. There is no evidence of influence by the Chinese government. Rather than banning the platform generally I think that more focused legislation or policy could make sense.

First, I think that legislation or (preferably) policies precluding at least some members of government and senior civil servants from using TikTok has some merit. In these cases a risk analysis should be conducted to determine if collected information would undermine the Government of Canada’s ability to secure confidential information or if the collected information could be used for intelligence operations against the government officials. Advice might, also, be issued by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service so that private organisations are aware of their risks. In exceptional situations some kind of security requirements might also be imposed on private organisations and individuals, such as those who are involved in especially sensitive roles managing critical infrastructure systems. Ultimately, I suspect the number of people who should fall under this ban would, and should, be pretty small.

Second, what makes sense is legislation that requires social media companies writ large–not just TikTok–to make their algorithms and data flows legible to regulators. Moreover, individual users should be able to learn, and understand, why certain content is being prioritised or shown to them. Should platforms decline to comply with such a the law then sanctions may be merited. Similarly, should algorithmic legibility showcase that platforms are being manipulated or developed in ways that deliberately undermine social cohesion then some sanctions might be merited, though with the caveat that “social cohesion” should be understood as referring to platforms being deliberately designed to incite rage or other strong emotions with the effect of continually, and artificially, weakening social cohesion and amplifying social cleavages. The term should not, however, be seen as a kind of code for creating exclusionary social environments where underprivileged groups continue to be treated in discriminatory ways.

So Is TikTok ‘Dangerous’ From A National Security Perspective?

Based on open source information2 there is no reason to think that TikTok is currently a national security threat. Are there any risks associated with the platform? Sure, but they need to be juxtaposed against equivalent or more serious threats and priorities. We only have so many resources to direct towards the growing legion of legitimate national security risks and issues; funnelling a limited set of resources towards TikTok may not be the best kind of prioritisation.

Consider that while the Chinese government could compel TikTok to disclose information about its users to intelligence and security services…the same government could also use business cutouts and purchase much of the same information from data brokers operating in the United States and other jurisdictions. There would be no need to secretly force a company to do something when, instead, it could just lawfully acquire equivalent (or more extensive!) information. This is a pressing and real national security (and privacy!) issue and is deserving of legislative scrutiny and attention.

Further, while there is a risk that TikTok could be used to manipulate social values…the same is true of other social networking services. Indeed, academic and journalistic research over the past 5-7 years has drawn attention to how popular social media services are designed to deliver dopamine hits and keep us on them. We know that various private companies and public organisations around the world work tirelessly to ‘hack’ those algorithms and manipulate social values. Of course this broader manipulation doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t care but, also, makes clear that TikTok isn’t the sole vector of these efforts. Moreover, there are real questions about the how well social influence campaigns work: do they influence behaviour–are they supplying change?–or is the efficaciousness of any campaign representative of an attentive and interested pre-existing audience–is demand for the content the problem?

The nice thing about banning, blocking, or censoring material, or undertaking some other kind of binary decision, is that you feel like you’ve done something. Bans, blocks, and censors are typically designed for a black and white world. We, however, live in a world that is actually shrouded in greys. We only have so much legislative time, so much policy capacity, so much enforcement ability: it should all be directed efficiently to understanding, appreciating, and addressing the fulness of the challenges facing states and society. This time and effort should not be spent on performative politics that is great for providing a dopamine hit but which fails to address the real underlying issues.


  1. I have previously talked about the broader risks of correlating national security and information security. ↩︎
  2. Open source information means information which you or I can find, and read, without requiring a security clearance. ↩︎
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Postal Interception Coming to Canada?

The Canadian Senate is debating Bill S-256, ‌An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (seizure) and to make related amendments to other Acts. The relevant elements of the speech include:

Under the amendment to the Customs Act, a shipment entering Canada may be subject to inspection by border services officers if they have reason to suspect that its contents are prohibited from being imported into Canada. If this is the case, the shipment, whether a package or an envelope, may be seized. However, an envelope mailed in Canada to someone who resides at a Canadian address cannot be opened by the police or even by a postal inspector.

To summarize, nothing in the course of the post in Canada is liable to demand, seizure, detention or retention, except if a specific legal exception exists in the Canada Post Corporation Act or in one of the three laws I referenced. However, items in the mail can be inspected by a postal inspector, but if it is a letter, the inspector cannot open it to complete the inspection.

Thus, a police officer who has reasonable grounds to suspect that an item in the mail contains an illegal drug or a handgun cannot be authorized, pursuant to a warrant issued by a judge, to intercept and seize an item until it is delivered to the addressee or returned to the sender. I am told that letters containing drugs have no return address.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, in 2015, raised this very issue (.pdf). They recognised “that search and seizure authorities granted to law enforcement personnel under the Criminal Code of Canada or other criminal law authorities are overridden by the [Canada Post Corporation Act], giving law enforcement no authority to seize, detain or retain parcels or letters while they are in the course of mail and under Canada Post’s control.” The result was the Association was resolved:

that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police requests the Government of Canada to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act to provide police, for the purpose of intercepting contraband, with the ability to obtain judicial authorization to seize, detain or retain parcels or letters while they are in the course of mail and under Canada Post’s control.

It would seem as though, should Bill S-256 pass into law, that seven or eight years later some fairly impressive new powers that contrast with decades of mail privacy precedent may come undone.

Quote

Section 7 protects against the deprivation of an individual’s life, liberty and security of the person unless done in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. These include the principles against arbitrariness, overbreadth and gross disproportionality. An arbitrary law is one that impacts section 7 rights in a way that is not rationally connected to the law’s purpose. An overbroad law is one that impacts section 7 rights in a way that, while generally rational, goes too far by capturing some conduct that bears no relation to the law’s purpose. A grossly disproportionate law is one whose effects on section 7 rights are so severe as to be “completely out of sync” with the law’s purpose.

Government of Canada, Bill C-27 Charter Statement

I like how tight and punchy the Government of Canada frames the principles of fundamental justice in its Charter statements. I’m familiar with each concept though, admittedly, through a different (academic) lens. I suspect that this framing will help me to have more fulsome and productive interactions with legislative drafters in the future.

Gallery

Which Photo (Or Three…) Best Represents 2022?

‘Til Pandemic Does Us Part | Excluded Audience | Amour by Christopher Parsons

Neale James, host of the Photowalk, challenged the ‘Extra Milers’ to look through our pictures and find one (or three…) which really spoke to our 2022. It could be a best photograph, or one that captures some memory or another, or really anything…the question was deliberately left pretty open to interpretation.

It served as a good experience for me. I went back through the past 11 months of images and, in the process, was reminded of numerous photos and experiences I’d forgotten about.

The first image (“‘til Pandemic Does Us Part”) speaks to how seriously some were still taking the pandemic much earlier in the year.

‘Til Pandemic Does Us Part by Christopher Parsons

The second (“Excluded Audience”) is very similar to an image I made in early 2020 which defined that stage of the pandemic in Toronto for me. “Excluded Audience” is meant to call back to that image and showcase that while things were going back to normal as the year progressed, that normal isn’t necessarily positive for everyone in the city. I’ve also included that reference image (“Down But Not Out”) below, after the set, just to indicate what I was trying to call back to.

Excluded Audience by Christopher Parsons

The final image of the year in this set (“Amour”) is meant to document how things are, today, with those in love able to see and hold one another amongst crowds once more. As a set, I think they have a symmetry in story and composition across them.

Amour by Christopher Parsons

And, finally, the reference image really just captures what Toronto was like in the early days of the pandemic when the entire downtown core had just shut down in its entirety.

Down But Not Out by Christopher Parsons

In terms of process for selecting photos, most years I start by reviewing images that I posted to social media that year, which in 2022 has been Glass. From the 300-365 images I work down to 30 images or so that best tell the story of the year. However, using this process I miss some photos that I really like but haven’t uploaded and, at the same time, include some images in the sort that I’ve somewhat fallen out of favour with since posting them.

All of which is to say: I think that going through and taking the time to review/re-examine all the images we’ve taken over a year is a splendid exercise, and especially because there’s a bit of time between when an image was captured and now. For me, at least, this helped to surface work that resonates more today than I think that it did when I first made it.

How do you go through and review your photos annually? What’s your best photo or photo set of the year, and what’s the story behind them?

Apple To More Widely Encrypt iCloud Data

Photo by Kartikey Das on Pexels.com

Apple has announced it will begin rolling out new data security protections for Americans by end of 2022, and the rest of the world in 2023. This is a big deal.

One of the biggest, and most serious, gaping holes in the protections that Apple has provided to its users is linked to iCloud. Specifically, while a subset of information has been encrypted such that Apple couldn’t access or disclose the plaintext of communications or content (e.g., Health information, encrypted Apple Notes, etc) the company did not encrypt device backups, message backups, notes generally, iCloud contents, Photos, and more. The result is that third-parties could either compel Apple to disclose information (e.g., by way of warrant) or otherwise subvert Apple’s protections to access stored data (e.g., targeted attacks). Apple’s new security protections will expand the categories of protected data from 141 to 23.

I am very supportive of Apple’s decision and frankly congratulate them on the very real courage that it takes to implement something like this. It is:

  • courageous technically, insofar as this is a challenging thing to pull off at the scale at which Apple operates
  • courageous from a business perspective, insofar as it raises the prospect of unhappy customers should they lose access to their data and Apple unable to assist them
  • courageous legally, insofar as it’s going to inspire a lot of frustration and upset by law enforcement and government agencies around the world

It’ll be absolutely critical to observe how quickly, and how broadly, Apple extends its new security capacities and whether countries are able to pressure Apple to either not deploy them for their residents or roll them back in certain situations. Either way, Apple routinely sets the standard on consumer privacy protections; others in the industry will now be inevitably compared to Apple as either meeting the new standard or failing their own customers in one way or another.

From a Canadian, Australia, or British government point of view, I suspect that Apple’s decision will infuriate law enforcement and security agencies who had placed their hopes on CLOUD Act bilateral agreements to get access to corporate data, such as that held by Apple. Under a CLOUD bilateral British authorities could, as an example, directly serve a judicially authorised order to Apple about a British resident, to get Apple to disclose information back to the British authorities without having to deal with American authorities. It promised to substantially improve the speed at which countries with bilateral agreements could obtain electronic evidence. Now, it would seem, Apple will largely be unable to assist law enforcement and security agencies when it comes to Apple users who have voluntarily enabled heightened data protections. Apple’s decision will, almost certainly, further inspire governments around the world to double down on their efforts to advance anti-encryption legislation and pass such legislation into law.

Notwithstanding the inevitable government gnashing of teeth, Apple’s approach will represent one of the biggest (voluntary) increases in privacy protection for global users since WhatsApp adopted Signal’s underlying encryption protocols. Tens if not hundreds of millions of people who enable the new data protection will be much safer and more secure in how their data is stored while simultaneously restricting who can access that data without individuals’ own knowledge.

In a world where ‘high-profile’ targets are just people who are social influencers on social media, there are a lot of people who stand to benefit from Apple’s courageous move. I only hope that other companies, such as Google, are courageous enough to follow Apple at some point in the near future.


  1. really, 13, given the issue of iMessage backups being accessible to Apple ↩︎
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Who Benefits from 5G?

The Financial Times (FT) ran a somewhat mixed piece on the future of 5G. The thesis is that telecom operators are anxious to realise the financial benefits of 5G deployments but, at the same time, these benefits were always expected to come in the forthcoming years; there was little, if any, expectation that financial benefits would happen immediately as the next-generation infrastructures were deployed.

The article correctly notes that consumers are skeptical of the benefits of 5G while, also, concluding by correctly stating that 5G was really always about the benefits that 5G Standalone will have for businesses. This is, frankly, a not great piece in terms of editing insofar as it combines two relatively distinct things without doing so in a particularly clear way.

5G Extended relies on existing 4G infrastructures. While there are theoretically faster speeds available to consumers, along with a tripartite spectrum band segmentation that can be used,1 most consumers won’t directly realise the benefits. One group that may, however, benefit (and that was not addressed at all in this piece) are rural customers. Opening up the lower-frequency spectrum blocks will allow 5G signals to travel farther with the benefit significantly accruing to those who cannot receive new copper, coax, or fibre lines. This said, I tend to agree with the article that most of the benefits of 5G haven’t, and won’t, be directly realised by individual mobile subscribers in the near future.2

5G Standalone is really where 5G will theoretically come alive. It’s, also, going to require a whole new way of designing and securing networks. At least as of a year or so ago, China was a global leader here but largely because they had comparatively poor 4G penetration and so had sought to leapfrog to 5G SA.3 This said, American bans on semiconductors to Chinese telecoms vendors, such as Huawei and ZTE, have definitely had a negative effect on the China’s ability to more fully deploy 5G SA.

In the Canadian case we can see investments by our major telecoms into 5G SA applications. Telus, Rogers, and Bell are all pouring money into technology clusters and universities. The goal isn’t to learn how much faster consumers’ phones or tablets can download data (though new algorithms to better manage/route/compress data are always under research) but, instead, to learn how how to take advantage of the more advanced business-to-business features of 5G. That’s where the money is, though the question will remain as to how well telecom carriers will be able to rent seek on those features when they already make money providing bandwidth and services to businesses paying for telecom products.


  1. Not all countries, however, are allocating the third, high-frequency, band on the basis that its utility remains in doubt. ↩︎
  2. Incidentally: it generally just takes a long, long time to deploy networks. 4G still isn’t reliably available across all of Canada, such as in populated rural parts of Canada. This delay meaningfully impedes the ability of farmers, as an example, to adopt smart technologies that would reduce the costs associated with farm and crop management and which could, simultaneously, enable more efficient crop yields. ↩︎
  3. Western telecoms, by comparison, want to extend the life of the capital assets they purchased/deployed around their 4G infrastructures and so prefer to go the 5G Extended route to start their 5G upgrade path. ↩︎

Which Three Terms Describe Yourself?

I can see my life by way of several extended moments and, over time, how I’d describe myself has changed and expanded—from perhaps just one term to two—and deepened insofar as the descriptions arguably better articulate who I am.

For the past several months I’ve been reflecting on the terms that likely best briefly describe me. As it stands, I think that the current stage of my life is best captured as: policy wonk, street photographer, and Torontonian. And not necessarily in that order!

Each term speaks to less what I aspire to be—there are lots of terms I could use there!!—and more to who I am, by way of the actions I undertake on a daily or at least highly regular basis.

What three terms best describe you, today?

The Future of How I Share Links

man wearing vr goggles
Photo by Harsch Shivam on Pexels.com

There’s a whole lot happening all over social media and this is giving me a chance to really assess what I use, for what reason, and what I want to publish into the future. I’ve walked away from enough social media services to recognize it might be time for another heavy adjustment in my life.

Twitter has long been key to my work and valuable in developing a professional profile. I don’t know that this kind of engagement will be quite the same moving forward. And, if I’m honest, a lot of my Twitter usage for the past several years has been to surface and circulate interesting (often cyber- or privacy-related) links or public conversations, or to do short-form analysis of important government documents ahead of writing about them on my professional website.

The issue is that the links on Twitter then fade into the digital ether. While I’ve been using Raindrop.io for a while and really love the service, it doesn’t have the same kind of broadcast quality as Twitter.1

So what to do going forward? In theory I’d like to get back into the habit of publishing more link blogs, here, about my personal interests because I really appreciate the ones that bloggers I follow and respect produce. I’m trying to figure out the format, frequency, and topics that makes sense; I suspect I might try to bundle 4-6 thematic links and publish them as a set, but time will tell. This would mean that sometimes there might be slightly busier and slower periods, depending on my ability to ‘see’ a theme.

The challenge is going to be creating a workflow that is fast, easy, and imposes minimal friction. Here, I’m hoping that a shortcut that takes the title and URL of an article, formats it into Markdown using Text Case, and then provides a bit of space to write will do the trick. This is the format I used to rely on to create my Roundup posts, though I don’t really expect I’ll be able to return to such length link blogs.


  1. I have, nonetheless, created an RSS feed with mostly links to privacy, cyber, and national security articles. ↩︎