Why Peer Review and Open Source matter

This article is a follow up on an earlier blog post Co-Immunology and the Web, which looked at the many dimensions of immunological thinking.
Here I look critically at how those concepts can be applied to code, by looking at the controversy about the Imperial College Model, then looking at the reactions to it, and finally showing some glimpsed of how Category Theory can help.

The Imperial College Model and Peer Review

The Imperial College Report by Prof. Ferguson published on 16 March 2020 was widely attributed for a change of strategy by the UK government from a one of Herd Immunity to that of lockdown (but…

For a Healthier World

René Magritte: The Lovers II (via Judy’s Blog)

The COVID-19 global pandemic has taught us that immunology is not just a biological phenomenon, but a personal one requiring us to adopt hygienic practices, a social one and indeed with the closing of frontiers a geopolitical one. But it also breaks into the space of technology with requirements that we learn hygiene rules about reposting content, to limit transmission of false information about the virus.
I will show how the concept of co-immunity developed by Peter Sloterdijk can give us a framework to understand this. …

Every Nation consists of institutions and stands to others in what we can think of as a diplomatic social network. Were this information to be published using Linked Open Data, what useful things could we do to increase Trust on the Internet? How can we help create an immune system for the body politic?

Here are 13 use cases for the Web of Nations:

  1. Enhance Trust in Small Business
    (Here I explain how the verification works, so this part is a must-read)
  2. Help Legitimate Institutions of Knowledge stand out
  3. Make Fake News sites stand out
  4. Stop Phishing attacks
  5. Stop GUI…

Some seem to assume that because Data is manipulable by computers that it is objective, others that because it is a form of code, that its interpretation is fixed, and so is not amenable to use in legal contexts. I here do some legwork to put these two misunderstandings aside, in order to open space for applications of legal data to improve security on the Web.

Mathematical Semantics

To do this, I will be looking at the most advanced data standards we have, namely those developed at W3C under the umbrella term Semantic Web.

A likely origin of the idea that data…

On Dependent Sums and Products

(this is research in progress)

Below I start by giving some background on how I came to discover the new foundation mathematics HoTT by talking to Odersky creator of Scala and how recently I discovered Modal HoTT, which should be useful for my work in Web Security. Reading about Modal HoTT lead me to grapple with how Dependent Types map to Categories. I hope the text below will help make this clear to myself and to others too.


Close to 5 years ago I went to Scala Exchange to give a talk on the Scala library banana-rdf and the purpose…

Three years ago as founder of co-operating.systems I initiated a proposal that brought together a consortium of top European partners¹ to get EU funds to build a Sovereign decentralised platform based on Tim Berners-Lee’s SoLiD, which he is now pursuing with private funds as part of his Inrupt startup.

Imogen Heap’s who has been working relentlessly to give control of music back to those that make it, inspired this use case. Her MyCelia project has been involved with Blockchain and Linked Data technology to invent ways to help Musicians, bands and the whole musical economy surrounding them... …

On Fake News and Digital Sovereignty

Photo taken by Darryl Bush in 1999 for the San Francisco Examiner

Abstract: The web is an open platform that allows anyone to publish anything, and so raises anew many epistemological questions: how can one distinguish what is true, what is fake or what is fictional on the web? Indeed how can one know anything at all? We start from an analysis of knowledge that makes space for radical skepticism and which allows us to locate the essential problem with the current web application architecture. This allows us to propose a set of criteria that explicate and justify the decentralised architecture of the internet and the…

Epistemology of the screen

We learn very young to distinguish between what someone says and what we believe. We distinguish between «Donald says “I am a great salesman”» and «Donald is a great salesman», even though if the second sentence is true, then Donald would be saying something true in the first. However, it is quite possible for the second one to be true, and Donald to have never uttered those words. And vice versa it is possible for him to utter “I am a great salesman” and for it not to be true. Thus we keep track of why we believe things. Was…

a socio/technical answer

As reported by the Anti-Phishing Working Group’s (@APWG) in their report released May 15th 2018, there was a 6 fold increase of phishing sites hosted on https that year. I explain here what that means, why it is happening and what is needed to stem the efficacy of these attacks.

Following up on a proposal for an Institutional Web of Trust, Bryan Ford replied in a short Tweet with a question that will be on the back of many Cyber Security specialists mind on reading the words “Web of Trust”

Discussing this on the Gitter SoLiD (Social Linked Data) Channel, Tim Berners-Lee suggested that (typos corrected)

[It] would be interesting to review PGP and come up with a list of reasons why it didn’t take off more seriously.

Having started thinking about it he listed a number of points as to what could have been problematic to PGP’s success…

Henry Story

is writing his PhD on http://co-operating.systems/ . A Social Web Architect, he develops in Scala ideas guided by Philosophy, and a little Category Theory.

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