Quinn Norton: Everything [in IT] is Broken

IO Impotency
Quinn Norton
Quinn Norton

Everything Is Broken

It’s hard to explain to regular people how much technology barely works, how much the infrastructure of our lives is held together by the IT equivalent of baling wire.


Computers, and computing, are broken.

The NSA is doing so well because software is bullshit.

Your average piece-of-shit Windows desktop is so complex that no one person on Earth really knows what all of it is doing, or how.

The number of people whose job it is to make software secure can practically fit in a large bar, and I’ve watched them drink. It’s not comforting. It isn’t a matter of if you get owned, only a matter of when.

C is good for two things: being beautiful and creating catastrophic 0days in memory management.

People, as well, are broken.

The whole thing is a shitty battle of attrition between what we all want for ourselves and our families and the ways we need community to survive as humans — a Mexican stand off monetized by corporations and monitored by governments.

In the end, it’s culture that’s broken.

When the IC or the DOD or the Executive branch are the only true Americans, and the rest of us are subordinate Americans, or worse the non-people that aren’t associated with America, then we can only become lesser people as time goes on.

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Phi Beta Iota: We are now following Quinn Norton, who is a rather extraordinary person we were too slow to notice.

I'm @quinnnorton on Twitter. I have a Wikipedia entry, which is better than it used to be but not as funny as when my friends used to deface it regularly. I write regular articles about the strangeness of the world and the complexity of people for Medium, and contribute to the group collection The Message.

I was Wired‘s correspondent on Anonymous and the Occupy movement in 2011 & 2012. While I wrote dozens of articles, witnessed six evictions and several major hacks/Anonymous protest actions, two pieces hold a special place in my coverage:

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