Category Archives: News

PODCAST: Twitter, Snowden and Privacy


This episode breaks down last week’s online Q & A between Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and infamous NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden on Periscope. The event, promoted by the organizers of the campaign Pardon Snowden, featured a lengthy discussion on privacy and the role of social media in sharing user data with law enforcement and intelligence agencies.


Jacob Young – who submitted a question to Snowden and had it answered, sorta.

The event also included questions from Twitter users. Jacob Young, a software engineer and privacy advocate, was one of the lucky users who submitted a question and had it answered by Snowden during the event. Jacob joins the podcast to give his reaction to Snowden’s answer to his question and also shares his thoughts on mass surveillance, privacy and more.

If you are curious about the Snowden Q&A in question and want to view the event in it’s entirety, here’s a link to the Periscope video:

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PODCAST: Jon Nichols


Jon Nichols

Jon aka “@wvualphasoldier” is a security researcher, consultant, policy advisor and former US military PSYOP soldier. He served on and off the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. We discuss the recent Shadow Brokers auctioning of computer network exploits which are alleged to have been stolen from NSA linked security firm, Equation Group.

TOPICS INCLUDE: Shadow Brokers, Equation Group, NSA, PSYOP, atmospherics, military intelligence, deception operations, propaganda, patriot hackers, The Jester, ISIS, Junaid Hussain (aka TriCk), Edward Snowden, Zipa Dux, insider threat vs. outside attacker theories, attribution, @thegrugq, Takashi Shimura, Rashomon and more!



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Build Your Own Ahmed Clock


Over the past few days I’ve been following much of the hype surrounding the latest feel-good-news-story-of-the-moment about young Ahmed Mohamed of Irving, Texas.

Being a news junkie and, by default, an avid Twitter user, it seemed like most online sentiment unanimously supported the innocent high school kid. As the days lingered on since, I’ve noticed some people interacting online and being genuinely contentious about this kid’s story and his “clock.” I’ve seen many negative opinions posted about Ahmed, some of which are utter conspiratorial hyperbole.

It wasn’t until I learned that some folks in the maker community were crying foul over the actual device Ahmed allegedly “made” himself when I decided to take a closer look at Ahmed’s clock. I eventually read this article (along with its somewhat heated commenters).

The picture of Ahmed’s clock from the article made it seem pretty straightforward.


So, for funzies, I picked up a pencil case for $4 USD and took apart an old clock radio which had been collecting dust and… replicated Ahmed’s clock.

Not much to it. Took me about 30 minutes to do. He simply took the housing off an alarm clock and put the gutted electronics inside a pencil case. He essentially created a portable time box which needs to be plugged in to work.

Of course I took to Twitter for a little show and tell of my own.


What exactly was the device which garnered Ahmed a meeting with the President of the United States (plus support from NASA, MIT, Facebook, etc)?

Here’s my 5 step guide to building your own “Ahmed Clock.”

STEP ONE: get an old digital clock radio, a pencil case and a Phillips head screwdriver


STEP TWO: disemble the clock housingHowtomakeAhmedclock2

STEP THREE: discard the clock housinghowtomakeyourownahmedclock3

STEP FOUR: remove radio receiver and place the remaining clock parts in pencil box


STEP FIVE: use leftover screws to attach display inside the case. Then plug in power.


I admit, when I was 14 years old, taking things apart to see how the electronics worked inside didn’t even remotely cross my mind. So I give props to Ahmed for inspiring me to tinker with old electronics and think “outside the box.”

Also, I feel like an idiot because on my version I snapped off the AM/FM radio portion from the board just so I could closely replicate the clock. This unit would be way cooler with an AM/FM radio included. It’s whatever. I had fun taking it apart.

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