Hi! I'm Steven Phillips: techno-activist, computer programmer, and philosopher. I love ambitious people, democratizing forces, and revolutionary projects.
The two life accomplishments I'm most proud of are the creation of Executable Philosophy, a new philosophical methodology that enables us to compute philosophical facts (see below), and the creation of CrypTag, software that encrypts data and makes it searchable by tag, thereby making new categories of secure (zero-knowledge) software applications possible.
I exist to produce revolutionary change, beginning with Philosophy (via ExPhil) and online data privacy (via CrypTag).
Projects and Accomplishments
In August of 2015 I gave a talk at the Crypto & Privacy Village at DEF CON, "the world's largest underground hacker conference", in Las Vegas. At my talk I announced CrypTag, software I designed and wrote that effectively makes encrypted data partially searchable (by tag/keyword).
My first goal with CrypTag is to enable every internet user to access all their data from all their devices without trusting intermediaries.
For technical details, see these slides from my DEF CON talk.
In 2012, after heeding the warnings of Jacob Appelbaum and Julian Assange of an ever-growing surveillance state, I began thinking hard about what properties we need in crypto systems but don't yet have.
That's when I thought of Cloakcast and the idea of "time shielding" -- that is, keeping secret when it is you are communicating with whoever you're chatting with -- in a messaging system. Cloakcast sends a message to your chat partner once per second. If you type a real message within that time, that's what's sent, but if you didn't, a "decoy" message is sent instead. (The recipient's LanChat client discards decoy messages and only displays real messages to the user.)
I gave a presentation on Cloakcast in July of 2012 for a WebTech Wednesday for SB Hackerspace, whose slides you can see here.
LanChat: Encrypted chat for the paranoid
LanChat is a program that enables people to chat over the local network (the LAN). Why not use OTR over a regular chat network like Google Talk? Because then you're revealing the fact that you're chatting in the first place, and with whom. Read this for more reasons.
In August of 2010 I co-founded Santa Barbara Hackerspace, which has been visited by thousands of people and has expanded 5 times. Entrepreneurs, inventors, and engineers come by to learn and create.
In 2010 I gave 6 lectures as part of a college computer security course where I was technically an in-class tutor, but the professor was happy to have me spread the knowledge I had acquired from using Linux since 2001 and learning about security on my own.
During this course I performed ethical hacking demonstrations, taught students how to use Ubuntu in VirtualBox, and explained many security concepts and types of attacks. Hacking demos ranged from port scanning and vulnerability scanning to password attacks and WEP cracking.
In late 2009/early 2010 I considered becoming a penetration tester, and have a related talk at SBLUG, the Santa Barbara Linux User Group called "Hack Attack! An Introduction to Penetration Testing". You can find those slides here.
Linux Network Administration
In 2009, a friend of mine wanted to learn more about Linux, and I wanted to create a product based on my Linux knowledge, so we joined forces and created a booklet for students in the computer networking lab at Santa Barbara City College where we were learning networking.
You can find the 57-page PDF here.
UC Santa Barbara
From 2004 to 2008 I attended University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) where I double-majored in Philosophy and mathematics. As an undergrad I wrote over 2000 pages of (attemptedly) original Philosophy, which has since culminated in the creation of a new philosophical methodology, Executable Philosophy, which enables us to compute philosophical facts.
I believe that Philosophy should be done in a programming language -- within which we can leverage software automation as well as use logic, mathematics, set theory, and whatever other powerful, well-defined abstractions exist -- rather than a natural language (like English or German).
For more about specific projects, see my portfolio.