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    This was such a weird announcement. “We hired the guy who used our products in one of the most insidious ways possible and we are very cool with surveillance.” If they are so cool with surveillance, it makes one wonder what is on their board/OSes.

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      it makes one wonder what is on their board

      Does it really, though? Do you have to grandstand and “just ask questions”?

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        It literally makes me wonder what a company this passionate about hiring snoops and defending the surveillance state (to the point of blocking customers expressing concerns about the implications of the hire and their “yay surveillance cops!” blog-post) is comfortable putting on their boards.

        Not sure why you think that’s “grandstanding” or some kind of bad-faith “just asking questions” move? People in this world will have valid, good-faith concerns that differ from yours.

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          They’re not passionate about hiring snoops, they’re passionate about hiring people who like raspi. The guy happens to formerly have been in the surveillance/policing industry. You think if they were hiring this guy to backdoor your SoC they’d tweet what they did?

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            Can you point me at other social media posts on twitter or mastodon in which they’ve felt a need to call attention to the previous careers of their hires?

            They seem unusually proud of this hire.

            You think if they were hiring this guy to backdoor your SoC they’d tweet what they did?

            You’re completely misunderstanding the criticism and the questions their behaviour here raises. It’s not “hiring this guy means they hired him to do backdoors!”, it’s “coming out as a strong and enthusiastic supporter of the surveillance state says to me that this company won’t resist efforts by the government to obtain information about or access to their customers’ info, even if the requests go beyond what the government is legally permitted to compel, simply because this company is run by people who think state surveillance is capital-G Good”

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      Not quite on topic for lobsters (cancel culture?). Another way of thinking about this is: here’s a human being who’s a fan of cool gear and quite a geek and he switched jobs from working in surveillance (boo) to working for Raspberry Pi, which gives us average people cool tech (yay).

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        Yeah, it’s the tone of the announcement that’s a bit of a yellow flag, and then the replies from the official account that are atrocious.

        I’m glad the guy’s not doing surveillance tech any more. That part I’m probably fine with.

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        Is the premise of the backlash that all surveillance is evil? There is crime in the world, and sometimes cracking cases involves criminal surveillance; this doesn’t seem controversial to me.

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          sometimes cracking cases involves criminal surveillance

          You speak as though the cops regularly crack cases. I think someone’s been watching too much TV…

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            They do regularly break cases. They just don’t have a very good success rate across all cases. These are two different things.

            Classic base rate neglect fallacy.

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            No, it’s a necessary evil – and as such, it’s something to be discussed with appropriate gravity. Not “whee, he makes light sabers, bye bye” which are literal quotes from the official account.

            But really, it’s the insults that are astonishing.

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              Yeah, that’s definitely not an appropriate response. It sounds like they hired a child to run social media:)

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            A bit of a weird post (for lobsters) as it’s a social media post and not an article, but this is apparently their official account, and this seems like the kind of Milkshake Duck moment that would be relevant to a lot of people here.

            Feel free to suggest updates to the title. It’s a little hard to summarize…

            EDIT: Here’s a screenshot of the thread complete with blocked replies, sorry it’s in this format: https://lab.brainonfire.net/tmp/delete-after/20231231/rspy.png

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                Oof, yeah, their site isn’t doing so well, and the snapshot that I thought I’d saved… isn’t. Their original post:

                We hired a policeman & it’s going really great. Meet our #Maker in Residence @TobyRobertsPi.

                “I was a #Surveillance Officer for 15 years, so I built stuff to hide covert video & audio gear. I’d disguise it as something else, like a piece of street furniture or a household item.

                During all those years of working with Raspberry Pi, I never thought I’d end up working here; as I’ve always been a #RaspberryPi fan, I’m fascinated to see what takes place behind the scenes.”

                That’s followed by a large number of people questioning if this is a joke or saying that it’s in poor taste, then getting a mix of belligerent and condescending replies from the account, and finally getting blocked. (Possibly so their replies don’t show up on the page?) I’ll try to get a screengrab, but here’s an example:

                <@eviloatmeal@ak.angelstrapped.com>: Yikes.
                <@Raspberry_Pi@raspberrypi.social> @eviloatmeal Wanna block us or should we block you?

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                I find “spy” to convey ill intent. I would keep with the language from the post by either using “police officer” or “surveillance specialist”, or something similar.

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                  Thanks, updated to “surveillance cop”. There’s a character limit in the title.

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                It’s not just on Mastodon, but also on Twitter.

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                  Besides the bad (employee used to build covert A/V devices for surveillance purposes in his old job), there’s also some advantages to this:

                  • Employee is able to design/integrate embedded computers in household items, and has experience with this
                  • Employee has experience with low-power environments, most likely battery powered
                  • A/V experience with RPi is a nice-to-have nowadays, given the popularity of motion/frigate and integrations with smart home boxes (which are very well supported on (surprise!) Raspberry Pis

                  Discrimination based on previous job, without any proof that he had any malicious intention or did anything wrong, is something I’m surprised to see as a first reaction.

                  Until I find any of his covert devices in my home, on my street, or read about similar stories somewhere else, I’d be willing to give the guy a chance!

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                    I might actually be fine with them hiring the guy! But it’s hard to know because by the time I saw the thread, whoever was running the account was already saying (and I quote) “bye bye” to politely surprised posts and blocking people. The community manager is who needs to be fired.

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                    A lot of the drama can be read by following Aral: https://mastodon.ar.al/@aral

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                      I don’t think this is on topic. As the moderation log is fond of saying, “Lobsters is not the torch and pitchfork store.”

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                        I’m not asking for revenge or whatever—this is a warning about a well-known manufacturer behaving badly.

                        But fair enough that it may not be on-topic enough. I’ve never been entirely clear on what lobsters considers on-topic and off-.

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                          this is a warning about a well-known manufacturer behaving badly.

                          Personally I find this a useful datum.

                          Similarly, the drama around Manjaro’s expenses and their financial controller leaving - I don’t care for arguing about it online, but it did feed into my decision to use Mint rather than Manjaro on my recent gaming system reinstallation.

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                          The title is clearly informative and 100% tech related. It is a really useful post.

                          Note that the discussion here is civil and focused. People are discussing what it means to hire a surveillance cop in such a company, with pros and cons.

                          Lobste.rs cannot be a buble “tech without politics” because the tech itself is politic and influencing human politic more than ever before. It would be like talking about cars without talking about drivers and effect on the environment.

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                            Seconded. This is not on topic and is not useful.

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                            I’m not particularly a fan of the UK police or many of the laws they enforce (although this is a bit academic for me personally, I don’t live there and have never been). That said, I don’t think that it’s inherently immoral for the police to build devices to surveil people they are investigating for crimes, and a Raspberry Pi is a reasonable device to build a surveillance device on from a purely technical perspective.

                            In fact, I myself might want to build RasPi-based surveillance devices much like ones the police are using in order to surveil people - perhaps even counter-surveilling the police! Or I might want to build devices to counteract potential surveillance from the police upon me or my friends. Either way, I’d probably have something to learn from a former cop who build surveillance devices as part of his cop work. I don’t object to the Raspberry Pi organization hiring this guy.

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                              I don’t think that it’s inherently immoral for the police to build devices to surveil people they are investigating for crimes

                              That would be A-OK if they limited themselves to that but there have been many[1] instances[2] where they’ve crossed not only ethical but legal boundaries.

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                                In fact I would be very surprised to hear of any Police agency who even made an effort to operate within the spirit of laws relating to surveillance. Overreach, abuse, and corruption are normal in these areas.