June 1st, 2006

Chris Keeley

Crashing the Wiretapper's Ball

Reporter sneaks into wiretapping-vendor's conference

Wired News sent Thomas Greene to the ISS World Conference, a no-press-allowed conference for companies that sell wiretapping equipment to law enforcement, ISPs, telcos, and repressive governments. These super-s33kr1t spies blabbed everything in the bar, let Greene slip into the conference spaces and eavesdrop, and slipped him a copy of the conference CD to copy to his laptop. 


recounts some fascinating discussions he held with attendees about the ethics of selling snooping technologies to the kinds of governments that imprison and torture dissidents. In one case, he had a remarkable conversation with an attendee who assured him that the Bush administration was less conscientious of human rights than foreign dictators:

"Well, it's quite an issue," I said. "This is the equipment of totalitarianism, and the only things that can keep a population safe are decent law and proper oversight. I want to know what they think when they learn that China, or Syria, or Zimbabwe is getting their hands on it."

"You really need to educate yourself," he insisted. "Do you think this stuff doesn't happen in the West? Let me tell you something. I sell this equipment all over the world, especially in the Middle East. I deal with buyers from Qatar, and I get more concern about proper legal procedure from them than I get in the USA."

"Well, perhaps the Qataris are conscientious," I said, "and I'm prepared to take your word on that, but there are seriously oppressive governments out there itching to get hold of this stuff."

He sneered again. "Do you think for a minute that Bush would let legal issues stop him from doing surveillance? He's got to prevent a terrorist attack that everyone knows is coming. He'll do absolutely anything he thinks is going to work. And so would you. So why are you bothering these guys?"


Chris Keeley

Tim's house was always open to anyone and was a crossroads where Hollywood stars, hippies, technolog

Joi Ito remembers Timothy Leary

To mark the tenth anniversary of Timothy Leary's death, Joi Ito has posted a long remembrance of his relationship with the man -- physchedelic guru and cyber-enthusiast. Joi was Leary's godson and the executor of his estate.
In LA, I spent a lot of time with Tim working on a book and producing a TV show in Japan called "The New Breed" based on our conversations. He enlisted me as a "God Son" which he has been known to do from time to time to people he considered family. I continued to meet people through Tim. Tim's house was always open to anyone and was a crossroads where Hollywood stars, hippies, technologists, academics, artists and just about any other kind of person you could imagine would come and hang out and enjoy his hospitality and share thoughts. I miss Tim very much and I miss the network of people he helped bring and keep together. I am still in touch with many of the people from those days but it's obviously not the same without him. However, I believe his influence and legacy lives on and every day I say my favorite words of his: "Question Authority and Think for Yourself." That is the motto that I live by.


Chris Keeley

The art of Baseman and Biskup are acts of pervasion.

Biskup and Baseman joint show in Laguna Beach 


Pervasion: The Art of Gary Baseman and Tim Biskup

June 18-September 24, 2006

The art of Baseman and Biskup are acts of pervasion. Pervasive artists, as defined by Gary Baseman, use every outlet at their means – art galleries, print, TV, film, lecture halls, and even commerce – to infuse their vision deeper into the fabric of contemporary life. The strength of Baseman’s and Biskup’s art is not based on where the art is seen, but based on the esthetic and message.

Compartriots for several years, and this being their first museum exhibition of showing together exclusively, Pervasion explores how both artists are at the forefront of blurring the lines between fine art, toy culture and other forms of media. Each has created unique characters that originate within densely packed imagery found in their paintings and sculptures, such as Baseman’s Toby, or Biskup’s Helper. These characters then become motifs that appear on clothing, in books, as toys, and even on animated cartoons. Organized by Laguna Art Museum, and curated by chief curator Tyler Stallings

fave artist Tim Biskup and Gary Baseman will share the gallery at Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California, this summer. The joint show, titled Pervasion, runs from June 18 to September 24. The artists reception is June 17 with Baseman lecturing on July 30 and Biskup on August 6, both at 1pm