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STEAL THIS SHOW

Discussions in the technology, politics and culture of decentralization. From peer-to-peer networks and cryptocurrencies to darknet markets and distributed autonomous organizations, this show looks at how decentralization is changing the world. Hosted by the creator of STEAL THIS FILM, timely, thought-provoking interviews with technologists, activists, troublemakers and thought leaders.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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12: 'Shadow Brokers vs. NSA: All About the Bitcoins?' with Ben Buchanan

In this episode, I talked with Ben Buchanan author of The Hacker And The State. We look at Ben's research into 'Shadow Brokers', the mysterious hacker group who first appeared in the summer of 2016,  attempting to auction off a treasure trove of previously unknown NSA exploits. We discuss the hackers' tense relationship with the media, possible suspects including Kaspersky Labs, and motivations Shadow Brokers may have had beyond their claims that it was 'all about the Bitcoins'.

44mins

28 May 2020

Rank #1

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‘Solarpunk Social’, with Scuttlebutt

In this episode we meet Zenna, Andre and Zack from Scuttlebutt, a P2P-based social ‘network of networks’ based around a BitTorrent-like distribution technology.  After figuring out what Scuttlebutt is (and is not) we discuss: the roots of Scuttlebutt in New Zealand, the system’s politically anarchist/libertarian ethos, how Scuttlebutt survived (or shrugged off) a right-wing deluge; and how SSB’s technical architecture eliminates the need for moderators. With social networks like Facebook, Twitter and 4Chan increasingly becoming propagation tanks for viciously partisan net cultures, we talk about what makes Scuttlebutt different: it’s a network that resists aggregation, massification,  and centralisation. Scuttlebutt is succeeding where Diaspora failed precisely because it doesn’t seek to replace the social media behemoths: Scuttlebutt is tiny by design, happy to be human, and based around the ethos of ‘solarpunk’ — a vision of a future we actually want, where high technology is put in service of humans and the environment. Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Lucas Marston (Hollagully) Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch Presented by TorrentFreak  | Season SponsorPrivate Internet Access Episode Sponsor ZCash Company Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez, Adam Burns, Daniel, Grof. Sponsorship slots are currently full. For future sponsor opportunities, please email info@stealthisshow.com

1hr 11mins

31 Aug 2018

Rank #2

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15: Taking Down OneCoin: The $4.6bn Crypto Ponzi, with Tim Tayshun Pt. 1

Part One of a two part interview in which Tim Tayshun (AKA Tim Curry) of EZCoinAccess discusses taking on OneCoin, the massive crypto ponzi scheme responsible for bilking investors out of $4.6bn dollars. We discuss: how OneCoin was supposed to work vs. the dismal reality, its colourful cast of leaders and the lengths they went to in order to establish OneCoin as a valuable investment and the risk OneCoin posed to the growth of Bitcoin itself.

46mins

30 Apr 2019

Rank #3

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2: On The Frontline Of The Code War, with John P. Carlin

In this episode Jamie meets up with John P. Carlin, author of Dawn of the Code War and former Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division to discuss the ongoing network war with China -- one that's about to ratchet up, as 5G connects billions of devices via a technology heavily dependent on China's Huawei. What does it mean to wage war in the era of distributed networks? How do networks change the very idea of 'Command and Control' towards leaderless, non-hierarchical memetic structures? We dig into crowdsourced terrorism' of Al Qaeda and look at some similarities with Anonymous and the QAnon phenomenon. Finally, we discuss the widespread idea that there's a kind of break with authority going on in the online era—what could be described as an 'epistemological crisis' created by our hyper-informational environment—one that's being exploited and amplified by various lords of chaos to create new and unpredictable political realities.

52mins

14 Nov 2019

Rank #4

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3: How Silicon Valley Reinvented America, with Margaret O' Mara

We are living in a world eaten by software -- software created, owned and operated by Silicon Valley. In this episode, Jamie meets Margaret O' Mara, author of 'The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America' to discuss how Silicon Valley's rejection of the conventional bureaucracies and corporate structures, its turning away from the mainframe towards a decentralized attitude to innovations and development, led to a huge new empire -- one that is radically restructuring the world's institutions.

1hr 4mins

10 Dec 2019

Rank #5

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11: 'The Dark Economics Of DDOS', with Abhishta

In this episode, returning guest Abhistha -- now Assistant Professor in network security at the University of Utwente  -- digs into his latest research on the real economic impact of distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks such as the Mirai botnet. With the internet-of-things continuing to grow as an attack surface, and compromised devices increasing both in number and processing capacity, we take an in-depth look at the underground economics of botnets -- and why some large corporations may not be owning up to the true extent of the threat to their bottom line.

32mins

30 Apr 2020

Rank #6

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1: Stolen Headlines 4: 'Live From the Memewars'

In this episode of Stolen Headlines, Tim, Mattias and Jamie get together to discuss how 8Chan came to influence White House policy; why in China, the Little Red Book *reads you*; and the array of Silicon Valley companies caving to China's stringent censorship demands. Links: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/qanon-ukraine-server/ https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/chinese-app-allows-officials-access-to-100-million-users-phone-report-2115962 https://www.businessinsider.com/tech-companies-censoring-content-for-china-apple-microsoft-2019-10?r=US&IR=T Stolen Headlines is created in the STEAL THIS SHOW Discord channel, in collaboration with the show's patrons. Join us and get involved: patreon.com/stealthisshow.

57mins

22 Oct 2019

Rank #7

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17: Radicalized: The Future of Power, with Cory Doctorow

In this episode author Cory Doctorow discusses three stories from his new collection, Radicalized. We discuss:  the perils of DRM, and becoming dependent on manufacturers --- from printers, to toasters and beyond -- and how (or if) we can force control of our technological future what lengths it’s permissible to go to when we're trying to effect change against the systems which might very well end the world as we know it;  if all of this fails, the ethical, philosophical and practical problems involved in waiting out the apocalypse in a high-tech, high-security bunker. Grab Cory's new book Radicalized -- DRM and EULA free - at Craphound.com, or all the traditional online retailers.

49mins

5 Jun 2019

Rank #8

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11: Software Eats The World (Part 1), with Rabble

This is part one of a two-part interview with @Rabble (Evan Henshaw Plath) -- activist technologist, co-founder of Indymedia, and one of the originators of Twitter. We discuss the origins of Twitter in the protest organisation tool TxtMob; Evan's work developing Indymedia and the early days of tech's interaction with activism; how social media is continuing to mutate politics, for better and worse; how the sorting algorithms developed by Big Social are becoming indelibly embedded in our world -- and finally Evan introduces the subject of part two: Silicon Valley's hidden mission to restructure the world's institutions via software.

1hr 5mins

5 Feb 2019

Rank #9

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Advanced Persistent Threat Part 1: ‘The What & How Of the Bangladesh Bank Heist’

Advanced Persistent Threat is a  STEAL THIS SHOW special series looking at the 2016 Bangladesh Bank Heist. Had it succeeded, this would easily have been the biggest bank robbery in history — and it was carried out almost entirely in the digital realm, using a variety of exploits and malware, in order to leverage access to the SWIFT banking network and the US Federal Reserve. In Part One, we look at exactly what happened in the Bangladesh heist, and walk through how it was carried out. To help us through the complex story, we hear from Cheryl Biswas, Strategic Threat Intel Analyst in Cyber Security at a Big Four consulting firm. After covering the how of the robbery, we consider whether trusted systems like SWIFT can remain secure in an information environment replete with radically heterogeneous, eminently hackable devices. Cheryl Biswas wishes to make clear that she speaks here on her own behalf Her views do not represent those of her employer. This episode was completed in part with funding from Film Agency Wales. Presented by TorrentFreak  | Season Sponsor Private Internet Access Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editing & Post Lucas Marston Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch Episode Sponsor ZCash Company Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez, Adam Burns, Daniel, Grof, Sean Lynch.

19mins

17 Oct 2018

Rank #10

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18: You'll See This Message When It Is Too Late: Financial Cyberwarfare, with Josephine Wolff

In this episode we meet Josephine Wolff, author of a new book on financial and economic cybercrime, You'll See This Message When It Is Too Late.  We discuss two important case studies from the book. First, GameOver Zeus - a massive financial fraud botnet which innovated by using P2P to distribute its command and control infrastructure, and a network of money mules to route funds to its owners, making it extremely hard to detect. The evolution of this botnet in response to Bitcoin demonstrates how cryptocurrency has produced a real paradigm shift in cybercrime - not least in shifting the financial impact of the crime onto the individuals and away from credit card companies and banks. Moving on to the case of PLA 61398, we discuss the Chinese deployment of hacking resources for economic advancement via China's so-called APT or Advanced Persistent Threat Units. What started with phishing attacks on the email accounts of company offices eventually obtained -- via privilege escalation -- intelligence on pricing, methods, and enough information to tip the balance on crucial trade negotiations. What I found most interesting of all here is that the way China responded to detection shows that it brooks no distinction between political and economic espionage, or America's idea of what is 'okay' and 'not-okay' digital spying. Wrapping up, we discuss the question of international law and order in the context of massive, distributed cyber operations that remain extremely hard to detect and police. Will  multinationals be forced into service as proxies for international co-operation at state level, and into taking responsibility as intermediaries in cybercrime?  How would such politicisation of platforms and services look -- and are we in its first stages already? And finally, could there be a new detente as the great powers understand the leverage they have available to affect each other's critical infrastructures through cyberwarfare? Josephine Wolff is an assistant professor in the Public Policy department at RIT and a member of the extended faculty of the Computing Security department as well as a fellow at the New America Cybersecurity Initiative. Wolff received her Ph.D. in Engineering Systems: Technology, Management and Policy and M.S. in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as her A.B. in Mathematics from Princeton University.  Grab Josephine’s book, ‘You’ll See This Message When It Is Too Late,’ here at Amazon or at any other traditional online retailers.

1hr 1min

19 Jun 2019

Rank #11

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28: 'The Assassin's Mace': Strange Asymmetries In The Soft War With China

In Fighting For The Perimeter: Huawei & The 5G Surveillance Empire. I looked at 5G as a new global surveillance surface, one largely dependent on Huawei, a company run by ex-officer of China's military. Using the documentary American Factory as a springboard, this episode looks at how and why the West has allowed a strategic adversary to occupy key elements of its economic infrastructure. Transnational capital was supposed to create a world of free-market democracies. Instead, China has used the free market system to maintain and grow itself into a dominant ‘command economy’, based on a highly technologized form of authoritarian capitalism.  What are the consequences of hooking up our factories, nuclear power production, and networking infrastructure to a Chinese state which is openly seeking empire and hegemony?  This is a kind of precursor to the next episode in this sequence, which will look at the role information technology is playing in the success of China’s centralised command economy. Why might a state based on centralised control succeed, in today's digital environment, where others in the past have failed?

24mins

10 Oct 2019

Rank #12

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19: The Dark Side Of The Moon, Taking Down OneCoin with Tim Tayshun (Pt.2)

This is the second part of a two-part interview with Tim Tayshun, bitcoin entrepeneur and activist, who dedicated himself to exposing the crypto ponzi scheme, OneCoin. We discuss: how the internet changed the business of running a ponzi; the simlarities between scams like OneCoin and the crypto world's ICOs; how OneCoin modeled the way it moved money and on methods used by drug dealers; how Tim used memes to deal some deadly blows to the operation; and why Onecoin -- which by its own account should now be worth more than all US dollars in circulation --- still refuses to die.

25mins

8 Jul 2019

Rank #13

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16: Fighting For The Perimeter: Huawei & The 5G Surveillance Empire

In this episode, I consider the inter-state struggle over 5G, the rollout of which will create a new global surveillance surface. Who will control this massive new opportunity to surveil the world's data?  If China gets its way, it will be Huawei, run by ex-Chinese-military officer Ren Zhengfei. And if the precedent of the world pharmaceutical market - almost completely controlled by China - is anything to go by, there may not be much anyone can do to stop them.

21mins

20 May 2019

Rank #14

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5: Russia's Sandworm: A New Front In The Cyberwar, with Andy Greenberg

In this episode, we meet Andy Greenberg, senior writer at Wired Magazine and author of Sandworm, A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hacker. We how Russia is developing a secret hacking programme with the ability to take out national infrastructure across the world -- and how, under a new paradigm of 'total war', essential elements of our lived environment are increasingly vulnerable to digital attack -- from banking to electricity to transport systems and beyond. Find out why Russia may now be trying to export the 'controlled instability' it has produced in Ukraine to the West, and how this could provide the country with an unprecedented 'asymmetric' military upper hand.

49mins

11 Feb 2020

Rank #15

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26: Orbital Waste: The Strange Afterlife Of Space Technology, with Josh Reno

In this episode, we meet anthropologist Joshua Reno, author of 'Military Waste: The Unexpected Consequences of Permanent War Readiness' to discuss Josh's investigations into the strange externalities of rapidly proliferating military technology, both on planet Earth and beyond. Join us to discover Point Nemo, the so-called "oceanic pole of inaccessibility,” and graveyard of the world's downed orbital tech;  why future war really will be fought in space; how ‘Oumuamua’ may be the first instance of interstellar landfill; and how hackers are repurposing abandoned orbital technology using ham radio and rented satellite dishes.

1hr 11mins

10 Sep 2019

Rank #16

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9: How To Build A Counterpower, with Inhabit

Part pamphlet, part platform, part programme, Inhabit.Global, outlines what its members call an 'operation in a cyberwar'. Collectively and anonymously produced by a network of actors across North America, Inhabit.global presents a call to arms for a new autonomous, decentralized movement. This interview introduces two Inhabit members to discuss the sharp end of decentralized autonomy as the network seeks to become a force for global change in the style of Anonymous, Lulzsec and other '4th generation warfare' non-state actors. Starting from the principle that 'only the tech industry is allowed to change the world', the Inhabit.global network proposes repurposing the technologies around us to produce real social change. We discuss: what happens when AI replaces the middle class (lawyers, programmers, doctors); the politics of cryptocurrency and money as a protocol; and whether citizens still have the power to produce real change.

26mins

19 Dec 2018

Rank #17

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STEAL THIS SHOW S01E04 – With The Decentralized Library of Alexandria

In this episode we’re joined by Devon Read and Ryan Taylor, co-founders of peer-to-peer upstart The Decentalized Library Of Alexandria. After discussing the blockbuster hack of Amazon’s Fire TV stick, the increasing power of pirate...

31mins

11 Jan 2016

Rank #18

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STEAL THIS SHOW S01E08: ‘Maybe Free Is Not The Future’ – with Ashwin Navin & Dave Harrison

Featuring Ashwin Navin and Dave Harrison. Ashwin was one of the founders of BitTorrent Inc., and is now CEO of Samba TV; Dave was one of the inventors of BitTorrent streaming and is Samba’s CTO. We discuss...

30mins

8 Apr 2016

Rank #19

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‘Enter The Periphery’: Regulation & Decentralization

In this episode, I reflect on STEAL THIS SHOW episode S04E03, with Cory Doctorow. One of the big themes to come up in the conversation was the European Copyright Directive — which, if passed early next year, will threaten the future of the Web as we know it. But does this threat to the future of the the traditional Web mean the moment of decentralized services like IPFS and Blockstack has finally come? Presented by TorrentFreak  | Season Sponsor Private Internet Access Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editing & Post Lucas Marston Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez, Adam Burns, Daniel, Grof, Sean Lynch.

19mins

1 Oct 2018

Rank #20