[Lab] Ahmed's Clock - Discussion

Andrew Szeto andrew.szeto at outlook.com
Wed Sep 16 14:55:59 EDT 2015

Obama himself:
Not all is lost haha. Dialog is definitely important though! Strive for the best, prepare for the worst.


From: anthony.scavarelli at gmail.com
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 12:54:15 -0400
To: jason.cobill at gmail.com
CC: lab at artengine.ca
Subject: Re: [Lab] Ahmed's Clock - Discussion

This is a really powerful and important topic worth formally discussing Human nature and the fear of the unknown is always a tricky thing; and also, not to sound too pessimistic, in our corporate-run world once maker technology starts competing with the “free market” there will be more pressure on the makers and maker technology. I agree with Jason that the sooner we start an open dialog about the potential dark side we can be better prepared for its possible future. 
On Sep 16, 2015, at 11:13 AM, Jason Cobill <jason.cobill at gmail.com> wrote:
   This is from a while ago, but came up on my twitter feed:
   The story is about an MIT student who wore a light-up hoodie (with an exposed breadboard) to the Boston airport to pick up a friend and has guns drawn on her.
   "She's extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force 
would have been used," Pare told The Associated Press. "And she's lucky 
to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue."

   How risky is it to leave an exposed lilipad board on your sleeve, or to have loose wires hanging from a wearable?
   How important is the context? Clearly I can get away with something hacked together at Maker Faire - could I ride a bus or visit a busy mall with a sense of security?

   To be fair, I'm playing devil's advocate a little:
   I think skin colour is probably a factor in both of the cases I posted. As a white middle-aged male I think it's unlikely police are going to shoot me for wearing a blinky sweater. Combine a circuit with a hijab though, and I'm less optimistic that you'll get an easy pass.

   -Jason Cobill

On Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 9:51 AM, Andrew Szeto <andrew.szeto at outlook.com> wrote:

Whoa! That's deep stuff Jason. I feel like "camoflouging" maker gadgets and products is probably not the right way to go about it. In Ahmed's case, it sounds like a bit of paranoia and as his father stated, potentially some profiling as well. It's a bit of a shame that the "engineering teacher" sort of blew it off too (no pun intended). As opposed to hiding anything, I think the best remedy is to keep promoting all the awesomeness and innovations. Things like the Maker faire, Darcy's videos and website, Elon Musk's projects, help educate folks and puts the movement in the forefront of folks' eyes. More of that, better promotion and a strong, fostered community with events like high school outreach programs will really help foster a love and passion for these types of projects as opposed to the fear of the unknown. I'm always super stoked and inspired seeing the thought process and emails coming through, but more people championing the movement and "dumbing" it down a bit and making it more accessible would hopefully help with the future and how these projects are perceived. Just my two cents! 


Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 08:59:55 -0400
From: jason.cobill at gmail.com
To: lab at artengine.ca
Subject: [Lab] Ahmed's Clock - Discussion

   A cautionary tale about a young maker who's clock was misconstrued as a bomb. (There's an #IStandWithAhmed hashtag floating around if you want to read the reaction)
   Should we talk about this as a maker community? This actually touches on a concern I often have about doing technology projects (especially unauthorised ones) in public: that someone's going to misconstrue a project for something it's not, which keeps happening (do a search for Boston Mooninite to see an example of an entire city shutting down over some harmless LED displays).   I suspect the day is coming that someone's wearable project gets misconstrued for a bomb - already kids are getting shot by police in the US for having cell phones in their hands and carrying crock-pots to picnics.   This kind of knee-jerk prosecution is definitely having a chilling effect on the maker movement, particularly in non-white communities.
   Is the solution to "camouflage" your inventions?   Do we have a responsibility to educate the general public about "how to read" an electronics project?
   Eventually something like this is going to happen in Ottawa - security is getting tighter after the Parliament Hill incident, and we have a thriving maker community - someone's going to raise flags for having a home-made watch (or a hacked backpack, or a drone, or a blinky hat) in a public place. Is anyone preparing statements for this when media comes calling for responses? Should we think about a Maker Legal Defense Fund?
   -Jason Cobill

Lab mailing list
1. subscribe http://artengine.ca/mailman/listinfo/lab
2. then email Lab at artengine.ca to send your message to the list 		 	   		  

Lab mailing list
1. subscribe http://artengine.ca/mailman/listinfo/lab
2. then email Lab at artengine.ca to send your message to the list

Lab mailing list
1. subscribe http://artengine.ca/mailman/listinfo/lab
2. then email Lab at artengine.ca to send your message to the list 		 	   		  
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://artengine.ca/pipermail/lab/attachments/20150916/7e867887/attachment.html>

More information about the Lab mailing list