The Blacknight Podcast has returned! It’s been almost a year since we last released an episode and it’s time to start again. Our CEO Michele Neylon will be acting as the main host, with backup from me (Jonathan Thomas) as co-host and producer.

In our first new episode of the relaunched Blacknight Podcast, we talk about what’s happening at Blacknight – we’re hiring, launching a new platform, etc, and then segue into talking about Ukraine and Russia and how it’s having an effect on the internet. We finish with an update about another Blacknight relaunch – our new tech and science blog

Producer’s note: Apologies for the low-level hum on Jonathan’s audio, he’s having a technical problem with his fancy podcast microphone. 

Listen below:

Click on the player below to play the podcast, or download it here: Blacknight Podcast March 11th, 2022.

Subscribe for free to receive The Blacknight Podcast, via Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts or RSS.

Show Notes:

Blacknight is hiring.

New Blacknight Platform Preview

CentOS Transition

Ukraine asks ICANN to revoke Russian domains and shut down DNS root servers


Producer’s note: This transcript was created with automated software listening with AI – it’s not perfect, but you get the idea. Any errors are the AI’s! Bad AI!

Michele: [00:00:00] Good afternoon. Good morning. And good evening. Welcome back to the black Knight podcast. I’m your host, McKayla Neyland, the CEO and founder of black. Nice. I’m taking over the role of hosting this because comm has moved on to, to new pastures. And hope he’s getting along well there. So it’s been a while since we’ve done any podcasts.

So we thought we’d pick it up again, but we’re changing things around a little. I’ll be hosting to some of this and other times I’ll be joined by my sidekick. Jonathan, who hails from all the way across the Atlantic in the U S survey. He’s our token American Jonathan’s say hello?

Jonathan: Hello. Here’s your token American report.

Michele: So, how are you doing? I’m fine. How are you? I am not enjoying the weather. That is for sure. The, it is cold here. It’s focusing down here at the moment. I don’t know [00:01:00] why, but the weather, , has just gone. Nasty. I think we’re now dealing with two or three weather warnings again, which is a bit crazy considering it’s March.

So, rather than talk about the weather, which, which all Irish people love doing. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the things that are happening in the wonderful world of black. Nice. so first up we’re hiring.

Jonathan: Yay. More co-workers.

Michele: Yeah, but you don’t get to see them. Jonathan, you don’t even in the office

Jonathan: just for once a year at Christmas,

Michele: I suppose.

Well, we can let you over other times as well, you know? Never, you never know. We might, we might expand that. We might let you have like two hours in a year. I’m ready and waiting. So yeah, we’re hiring again. We’re expanding our customer service team. I’m looking for people to join us in our Carlo headquarters.

the job out is up on black [00:02:00] Or you can go over to our blog where there’s a bit of information about us. I’m not sure what else I could really say about the house. I mean, it’s,

Jonathan: it’s a technical support role and it’s a, it’s a challenge. You get to learn all the techie things that make the web run and, you know, we train you and you gained skills to succeed in Ireland’s digital.

Michele: Yeah, that sums it up. That sums it up better than I could do. Yeah. Pretty good. Yeah. I know. Look, I mean, the thing is, I mean, the, the reality is, you know, the, you know, th we, we, we always look for, we’re always on the lookout for, for new staff to join those teams and You know, you don’t need to have, like super-duper complex qualifications.

It’s more down to having practical experience and an interest in learning. So, you know, if you’re, if you’re comfortable mucking [00:03:00] around with PCs, if you, if you’ve taken a PC apart on managed to put it back together on it still works, preferably taking it apart is easy. By the way, you can just use a sledgehammer.

you know, then maybe you should be looking at something like Bob. I mean, it’s the kind of thing where you need to have some, you need to have a certain amount of technical skill. You also need to be good with people. I think, Because lot, all the time, you’re talking to our clients from across Ireland, Europe and further a field.

And if you don’t like dealing with other human beings, then you probably don’t want to be in that job because you’re talking to people who can be. From all over the place and you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s an N you’re not interacting with them in person, but you are on the phone on email, on live chats and everything else with them pretty much all day.

It’s kind of full contact sport, I suppose.

Jonathan: It’s the best kind, right?

Michele: Hey, look, I mean, it’s, it’s. [00:04:00] It’s a, it’s it look, it’s a role that I think, you know, it’s important for us. I mean, from our perspective, what’s the difference between us and the competition. I mean, it’s, it’s all going to be down to that customer experience.

So from our side, our customer service team need to be, need to be the best we can get. You know, they need to be made to be good. They need to be responsive. And you know, it’s not, it’s not a role. I think that everybody’s going to love. Yeah, I think it’s a role that some people will.

Jonathan: Yeah. And I can say, in addition to working for black Knight, I’m also a black Knight customer for my own businesses.

And whenever I’ve had an issue with my server, you know, they’re always very helpful and they know how to fix it. So when I break things, they fix it.

Michele: Yeah. So what else is going on? Okay, so Ireland, Most of the restrictions around COVID and the pandemic have been lifted, at this stage. Now I think the only [00:05:00] restrictions left really would be around on public transport and in a medical setting.

everywhere else, you know, the mask mandates are gone. Social distancing has gone. All those stickers on the floor and shops in forests in shops are gone. so I think a lot, a lot of people have come back to, into, you know, back into their offices. It’s going to return to normal. on our side, we’re seeing more staff coming back into the office, which is, is interesting.

for some people I think they haven’t been in there in. Probably two years.

Jonathan: Right. I know what I know when I was there in December, it was still, it was still pretty empty in it. That was the first time I’d been in an office in two years.

Michele: Yeah. I mean, it’s something where we’ve been, we’ve been trying to encourage people to come back into the office a little bit more.

but you know, I think things are kind of stabilizing now. It’s no longer. [00:06:00] It’s no longer a case of, you know, something that constant moving targets where you wouldn’t know what the government was going to come out with the next week. So, yeah, I think, you know that it’s a move back towards the office more, but I don’t think we’re ever going to be back in a situation where every single employee is working in an office, be it for ourselves or for anybody else, you know, five days a week.

I just don’t see that, that kind of situation being the norm ever.

Jonathan: And that’s nice because, you know, while working from home is great and convenient, it’s also nice to go into an office occasionally and interact with humans and you know, it, it it’s just a night, it’s kind of like a treat almost.

Michele: Yup.

Fortunately you broke up on me, but I kind of worked out what you were saying. You talking about how being in the office can be a bit of a, tree’s a break.

Jonathan: Yeah. And especially if you’ve got young children and, and, you know, working from home might not be the most ideal scenario for a lot of people, but [00:07:00] sometimes it does work and it it’s nice.

The flexibility is becoming the default, whereas before it was very rigid. I know even here in the us where employers are notably inhumane, when it comes to things like this are being very, very accommodating and flexible.

Michele: Yeah, look, I think, you know, the, I think we all have to kind of look at work, in a kind of more balanced way, I suppose.

I mean, the, the over the, over the, the, the course of the last couple of years, that work-life balance like difference between work and life. I think almost disappeared for a lot of the people because you were, yeah. You know, the, the lines became so, so blurred for many people now, Hey, You know, we’re, we’re, we’re lucky enough to work in, in a sector which allowed us to do that.

So, I mean, if you were right, if you’re working in a shop, you know, you’re working in the shop, you know, that’s, but didn’t change. You couldn’t exactly do that remotely from home. So, you know, we, we have been quite fortunate. [00:08:00] Well,

Jonathan: it’s, what’s funny is I know for the, before I worked for black Knight, I worked from home for 10 years and it was completely normal to me.

So when. When the lockdowns happened and everything shut down, I was like, welcome to the fun everybody you’re working

Michele: from home.

Yeah. So, let’s see, what else. Let’s actually have a, I’m going to pull up the blog there as well. So I mean, a lot of the time, what we tend to do is we talk about stuff that’s going on on the, on black we try to push out information that’s of use. To our customers and partners

Jonathan: and yeah, the big, the big thing this week or last week now, cause God time is a time is a compressed circle.

is that sentos is basically going away not just with us, but with in the wider world, it’s being replaced with Alma Linux because of, because of, you know, licensing issues with red hat and all that. So if you use CentOS. And your [00:09:00] dedicated or virtual servers, you’re going to have to change that and we’re not going to sell CentOS

Michele: anymore.

Yeah. I mean, the, the thing, but sent the thing with open source software is, you know, this happens from time to time. Like I remember it probably 10 or so years back. A load of, of us were looking at red hat enterprise derivative. But this was before CentOS even became really a thing. And at that time I think there were probably a half dozen fledgling projects and, you know, low to people were like, oh, you know, this one looks good and this one looks good.

And then they try things out. And then you discover two, three months further down, or maybe a bit further down the line. Does you know, it wasn’t going to be the one, it wasn’t going to be the one that was going to get that community back. You know, if you need something that has that community around it, because otherwise, you know, you’re not going to get your patches.

You’re not going to get the updates. You’re not going to get the new features. It needs to have a good, [00:10:00] strong support base. So if the Alma Alma Linux is being looked after by the are backed in some, to a certain degree by the people who are all involved with cloud Linux. Right? So that means that it’s got, it’s got some level of stuff.

Jonathan: Right. And it’s basically a fork of the last version of CentOS, correct?

Michele: I’m not sure what it was for, from CentOS to centers or for, from red hot red hot enterprise, but it’s, you know, the thing is it’s, it’s one of those things it’s, it’s, it’s all kind of in that realm. I mean, there, you know, you’ve got your, you know, you’ve gone to your, your, your, your, your CentOS.

You’ve got your Debbie and you’ve got a couple of other. Other distros that are, are popular. And you know, they send to us is, is the longer going to be an option? Alma is probably the one that a lot of people are going to end up using. It’s the one we’re going to be offering from now on our we’re going to start moving deployments [00:11:00] on to the us and you know, it’s a little edit.

It’s fine. I mean, ultimately look, you know, you’re running, you’re running stuff from things. On a Linux-based server, if you want a red hot derivative you’ll end up in Alabama. I mean, that’s basically where it’s going. Yeah. So I mean, CentOS CentOS is going to be under life. I’m actually just trying to confirm the actual dates for you because it’s one of those things that we just need to be, we be clear about hours, so CentOS and Central’s Linux is end of life.

As of December 31st, 2018. So it’s actually end of life already. Okay. CentOS CentOS is going into life. It’s not going to be supported any farther. We made the D we were looking for alternatives as were a lot of other people. The team behind cloud Linux are backing Alma Linux. So that’s the option that we’re going with.

So w four, so we’ll be offering them. For two people dedicated servers [00:12:00] and we’ll be also switching some of our own stuff over to us in the coming months. And you know, it’s not, it’s not, it’s a kind of, it’s used, but it’s not really that kind of amazing or anything because realistically, you know, if you’re, if you’re using SEM toss, you should probably look at doing a refresh and switching over, or you can do things like where you can either.

If you’re refreshing your hardware at some point, then that would be the ideal time to make that change. But there are, but there are also options for doing what they call like a aside grade, which would be that you’d move from, from CentOS to, to Alma Lennox, which will probably work fairly well in many scenarios.

But it’s not the kind of thing that I would recommend. Somebody who isn’t comfortable with with running Linux servers to try out. Experiment with, so Jonathan, I’ll try this, please. I really don’t want to have to deal with the tears. [00:13:00] My websites were broken. Yeah, exactly. I mean, you know, it’s the kind of thing where, you know, if you, if you decide at 10 o’clock at night, your time in your time zone to go playing around with this you’d be waking up all of my poor staff in the middle of the night to, to, to try and fix your server for you.

Okay. Nobody’s going to be happy about this. It’s just going to be, it’s going to be and

Jonathan: happy that happened once. My, my backup function went out of control and ate the hard drive space. And it sent alarms and alerts that woke up the on-call technician. And he, he was not exactly pleased, but you know, he fixed it.

Michele: Yeah. Well, the reason was that problem where you know that because you’re because you’re a star. They’re kind of like what they, this is going to go, oh, staff, person’s having a problem, you know, you’ll get it. So you get this kind of, you get the best, the best of the worst of them in that you’ll get really good support for certain [00:14:00] things, but, but they’ll be incredibly grudging about giving up.

And they’ll complain about it all the time, because they complained to you that they can’t complain to, to our normal clients because you know, that would be inappropriate anyway. Nevermind. Do you want to move

Jonathan: on to

Michele: wh MCs? Yeah, so, so this is something that we’re we’re, so we’re still working away on this, and this is one of those things where I kind of think, look, I think it’s important that we let people know that.

We are working on this new platform and but we’ve run it. We ran into, into some technical issues and difficulties. So originally the two of us talked about this, going back to when was, it was like September, October of last year. And you know, we put out a blog post and then people were contacting us and we ended up where the deadline, all the deadlines slipped and they’ve slept a couple of times since then.

But [00:15:00] now I think we’re, we’re very, very, very close to being able to turn it on, to be able to, to start offering that to people. I mean, it’s, it’s a big, it’s a big change for us. I mean, it’s, we’ve been using B Odin Ingram micro platform for Ooh, 14, 15 years.

Jonathan: Wow. That’s ancient and computer

Michele: terms. Well, yeah, I mean, it was, but it was, it was updated, upgraded across that time.

It wasn’t, it’s not like what you log in to today is exactly the same as what you logged in right. 15 years ago. No, no.

Jonathan: And it works and it works

Michele: great. You know, I mean, look, I’m not, I’m not, there’s no point getting into an entire kind of what’s wrong with the current set of setup. That’s, that’s not particularly helpful, but they know the new, the new system when it’s put live.

It’s the user experience should be a lot better. And it’s, we’re going to have teething problems and there’s going to be [00:16:00] issues. There’s going to be problems. But I think compared to it’s, it’s like it’s compared to a situation where we would end up how particularly say, well, we can’t fix this anytime soon.

It’s a kind of, it should be a case of, okay, you found a problem. Let’s see how quickly we can fix that. And because we will have, we will have a greater ability, I think, to fix, to fix some of these, these kind of user experience type issues. We we’ve been testing a lot of different scenarios. I mean, you’ve got an account on it.

I’ve got an account on us. I mean, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s easier to do things. Yeah.

Jonathan: I’ve I spent considerable amount of time breaking it as I like to say. And it is, it is a, a great new experience. You know, there’s. New customers will probably have a lot easier time when they log in for the first time, figuring out what to do, because it’s just kind of handholds you through the whole process.

And you know, it’s got a pretty [00:17:00] interface. It’s got nice colors and you know, it’s just, it’s it’s it’s, it’s nice. I like it. The big, the thing I’m really excited about though is the new Titan email that’s. That’s sexy new emails is

Michele: something. Yeah. I mean, they looked at the email. I think I was all, cause I was talking to somebody earlier today about, you know, small, the average small business.

I mean, whatever the hell, the average small businesses. And you know, I think the reality is we’ve been doing this for about 20 odd years now. Like we’ve been doing and providing hosting and domain services to companies of all shapes and sizes. For the vast majority of them email is the thing that they care the most about in the, in the whole wide world.

You know, if their websites goes offline, Half an hour or whatever something happens, something breaks. I mean sure. But they don’t like it, but they’re not going to be bawling their eyes out. Whereas if their email is a little bit slow or [00:18:00] there’s any kind of issues with it’s, it’s a major headache for them, so, okay.

Type the, and email is a massive upgrade on the email service that we’ve been providing for the last few years. Now, the key difference is that. Like with the, with Microsoft 365, it’s not hosted on our servers. It’s it’s on somebody else’s servers, it’s on somebody else’s infrastructure. So there’s going to be a few little things where, where, you know, we won’t have access to some, some things that we did have, but by comparison, like you’ll have like this so much better experience.

I mean, it’s a. It’s a really, really nice way of managing email. You got a nice if a mobile app that works well. I haven’t tried the Android ones I’m on, on iPhone here. But the iOS app is, is very, very functional as not just, not just like a, a way of just sending and receiving email, but you can do a bit more than that in the [00:19:00] app.

Jonathan: Yeah. It’s a whole experience, which is nice. It’s all into.

Michele: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s part of a kind of, yeah, it’s, it’s part of a kind of thing within that, that this tight of experience that I think should be, it should just be it’s it’s better. I mean, it’s, it’s more modern. It’s what people want.

Yeah, there’s no point getting into that. I think what we need to say is it’s cool. You love.

Jonathan: Yeah, I’ve I’m an email nerd. I like getting an email and I’m trying to find excuses to use my new tight email account just because I like being in it. So, but that’s me, I’m a nerd. So

Michele: I think we need to, we need to stage an intervention.

I need to have words with your wife your wife and I we’ll have a little chat about this. We’ll see what we can do to fix you, because that is just not. I have a muse that you’re abusing a black Knight mug, whereas I’ve got my Batman one here.

Jonathan: Yeah, I have, I have every email I’ve ever sent since I started emailing [00:20:00] back to my prodigy and EarthLink days.

Michele: Okay. You really do need help. I have, I have had and lost access to email accounts so many times over the past. 27 or 28 years. But yeah, I mean, I’ve, I have absolutely no, I have no access to the first half dozen or so email accounts that I had. They’re completely gone.

Jonathan: Yeah. So some of the emails can’t be open, but they’re there.

I know they’re I know they’re

Michele: there. Yeah. One of the, one of the problems I’ve been trying to deal with is, is, is getting, getting back access for family members who had stuff in it in some of these free email accounts from years ago. And, you know, the recovery email address of the recovery telephone number and all that is, is defunct.

You know, [00:21:00] they, the person moved countries that the company went out of business. It becomes really, really hard to, to regain access. If all of those things are just wrong. Oh, well, anyway, anyway.

Jonathan: So, do you want to talk about the internet issues raised by the Ukraine and Russia issue?

Michele: Well, sure, but I think you’re going to have to ask me about it,

Jonathan: so, okay.

What various issues are cropping up on the interwebs to do with this war that are sort of unexpected or. Showing that people don’t really understand how the internet works. And also perhaps that Russia doesn’t understand how the internet works. You know, what are, you know, you’ve got various social media networks where they’re still operate.

They in theory could operate in Russia, but now they’d been blocked. Or you’ve got, you know, networks voluntarily leaving the Russian market. Then you have them [00:22:00] bolstering their presence in Ukraine. And so it feels like the, almost like the internet is a new front in whatever is going on. And there’s a lot of.

Disagreement argument over like, should Russia be disconnected from the internet? Should we ban their, their, their domain extension? And, and what, what is the appropriate action to take when in this new world where a country feels like it can evade another one and how can they expect to be treated on the internet as equals when they’re an aggressive force?

Michele: Well, you know, it’s, so this is, this is one of these kinds of situations where there’s the so many factors at play and they’re all kind of, it’s a kind of a perfect storm, I suppose, in many respects. Like if you think back it’s probably. The first major conflict [00:23:00] in a social media world in many respects.

I mean, sure. I mean, that’s probably, that’s probably not entirely true to think Syria is another one, but I think it’s one where like Russia has being involved with or accused of being involved with a very large part of the, some of the cyber attacks and misinformation and disinformation. In in more than one country over the last few years.

And you know, Russia is, is a major world power. They’re not, they’re not some kind of secondary or tertiary power. They’re they’re major power. And parts of any part of any war is always going to be propaganda. But propaganda, these days is real time. It’s not, it’s not, it’s not a quite case of, you know, thing, something happened, something.

Yesterday or two or three days ago, and we have to wait 48, 72 hours for it to appear on the front pages of our newspapers. Like citizen journalists are [00:24:00] able to push out content in almost in real, in real time or close to real-time. Yeah. I mean, it’s so there’s a, there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on there.

I mean, how you’ve got I mean, th the social networks. Deciding that they can’t operate because Russia is introducing new laws or restricting what they do and how they do us. And then, you know, some other, some other companies decided that they, that they can’t operate there for a variety of other reasons.

And it’s, it’s really, really weird. I mean, the how quickly it all happened. So he went from, there’s a PR potential problem between Russia and Ukraine. But nah, nothing’s going to happen to, oh my gosh. Russia has invaded Ukraine not happened very, very quickly now. Suppose for those of us who’s who aren’t, who are kind of interested in current affairs, but not like spending our entire days, looking at the geopolitics of the world, we [00:25:00] probably weren’t expecting.

I suspect others would kind of look at and kind of go, Hey, we saw this coming from, you know, miles off, but on the intranet side of the things, I mean, let’s not get bogged up in the politics of it on the internet side of things. It’s interesting because Russia and China are part of the global internet.

I mean, they, they have. They have their own country code, top level domain. So you’ve got dot R for China. There they actively engage with, with icon ripe. IATF IGF, all those acronym soups that I, I spend time hanging out with. So, you know, they’re involved in those conversations about internet policy globally, but they’ve always been a little bit of an outlier.

You’ve always had this kind of thing. It was like, well, they’re engaging, but I, you know, are they, are they really engaging with the same rules as the rest of us? And I, it was never, it was never a hundred [00:26:00] percent. And then the, at least one person, plus I think several people within the Ukrainian government rose to both icon and ripe.

So I can see it in a corporation for assigned names and numbers. They look after domain names globally on ripe is the organization that looks after IP addresses in Europe and parts of Africa. And, you know, the Ukrainian has wrote to these organizations going. Russia’s doing nasty stuff you need to, you should take if disconnect them from the broader internet.

So it was kind of, it was a very, very extreme ask. I think that’s been repeated this week during the ICANN meeting, that’s being held virtually where represent a representative from the Ukrainian government. Has asked icon and others to do things. And I dunno, it’s, it’s like, it’s one of those things where [00:27:00] you kind of just kind of say, no, this is the wrong thing.

I mean, you can, but you know, you kind of just, just say. What they’re asking for is completely inappropriate. They shouldn’t ask for it. They should know better. You know, you need to be a little, you need to be a little bit more nuanced about, I mean, you have to understand where they’re coming from, even though the answer is, this is the wrong thing.

Right. And,

Jonathan: and they have to be very careful about what kind of precedent they set. And we don’t, you know, we don’t want the internet to fracture and have separate internets for separate countries where the rules are different. We want the global internet to work the way it does, which is open somewhat and co-operative.

And if, if, if we just Willy nilly decide to kick somebody out of the DNS route, will. You know, that’s a power that nobody should really wield. And then unless it’s an extreme, extreme circumstance and I, I’m not sure [00:28:00] again, you’d have, you could probably speak to this worldly. I’m not sure this is an extreme enough circumstance to warrant that kind of action.

Michele: Well, but here’s the fun thing. And this is the bit that a lot of people seem to have misunderstood is, you know, the ask itself was ridiculous because it assumes that. Dos are the only dots are you? Domain names are used by Russians, right? Whereas that’s not the case at all. I mean, RT Russia today, which the EU is, has sanctioned.

You sang should RT and Sputnik last week. And it’s our It’s not our team’s off our, you it’s our right? Sputnik up. I think it might be as well, but you, somebody, the, the, the idea that, you know, if you could, if there is no like, easy way, there’s no kind of off switch the internet, doesn’t have an off switch, like in, within a [00:29:00] country, a government could turn round to every ISP and say, you know, turn it off.

You know, pull the plug. But it’s, it’s the, the way the internet has always worked is by, by having that decentralization. Right. And even when it comes to blocking websites or blocking access to services, like, cause you know, the Russian government, I think, decided to block Facebook the other day And it’s clear from what I’m seeing.

That block has been far from perfect, because I’ve seen Russians popping up on Facebook. You know, there are none, it is not as large, a number as pre previously.

Jonathan: Well, and, and that kind of goes into one thing that we want to talk about is there are ways around these arbitrary blocks using VPNs or using the tornado.

It’s, it’s changing and make you more aware of the tools people can use to circumvent this kind of top-down censorship.

Michele: Yeah. But I mean, you know, the thing about it is, I mean, if you’re, if you’re [00:30:00] tech savvy, a lot of those blocks aren’t going to impact you, you’re going to find a way to get around them be that using Tor or using VPNs using, I mean, in some cases it’s as simple as changing your DNS.

You know, if, if the resolver that you’re using is blocking certain things, then, you know, you can switch to another resolver narrow. That’s not going to always work because some, sometimes the ISP will, will kind of force you to use a particular one which kind of happened. And it’s the same with VPN the same that, you know, VPN.

China is the country where I think a lot of people would probably have experienced that you, if you’re traveling in China you know, you’re going to find that you have patchy connectivity to a lot of Western services that, you know, it’s, it’s not that some of them would be blocked out. Right. But others will be blocked some of the time.

Not all the time and [00:31:00] you can’t be sure that, you know, you’re not, it’s not being observed. I mean, it’s, you know, the thing that’s supposed to really though is, is, you know, it’s, what do you, what, you know, you can circumvent some of that, but the bigger issue is, you know, is it, is it appropriate for a government to, to block access to certain content?

And I think I can argue it both ways. I mean, you know, you’re okay. Like your case, your, your, a parent would you want your children to have access to every single website on the internet without your supervision?

Jonathan: Absolutely not. And I actually run a DNS level blocker on my home network to block stuff.

We don’t want them to see which irritating link prevents the parents from seeing a lot of anodyne stuff, but, you know, You know, it’s just enforcing a safe, a safe level for them, but until they’re old enough to make decisions for themselves, they’re not

Michele: now. And then I think this [00:32:00] is part of the problem is that it’s, there’s always this kind of interesting debase, like, you know, where do you draw the line?

So I’d like to take as an ISP as a, as a provider. Should I allow access to everything from my network to other networks? Or should I. Putting controls so that you’re protected from harm. I use the word harm intentionally. I’m not saying what kind of harm, but let’s, let’s look, but let’s say we break it down a bit further.

So you’re saying okay. Harm. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. That’s that’s okay. I can see why you want to do that. And there’s arguments. Why, you know you, that you should be doing that you should be protecting your users from harm. But then, you know, while there’s harm, are we talking about malware? We’re talking about viruses.

Are we talking about child abuse material? Are we talking about communist [00:33:00] websites or. Anti-vax blogs. Are we talking about, what are we talking about? What is the harm, right? Where do you draw the

Jonathan: line that, you know, and this is, as they say, it’s the thinning of the wedge, you know, where do you draw the line and then where do you stop?

Yeah, I mean this,

Michele: and this is part of the thing. Like, I mean, you know, the, the EU issued sanctions against RT and Sputnik what basis? Well, because basically those, those services. That exist across multiple media exist primarily as a state sponsored propaganda. I mean, you can call it misinformation or disinformation if your wish, but I mean, I think using kind of older words as it were.

So I think disinformation and misinformation are thrown around a lot these days as a kind of a catch all for information that you don’t like in some respects. But I think if you look at it in terms of its propagate, So, you know, it’s Russian propaganda, it’s the Russian [00:34:00] version of it’s the Russia, it’s the Russia states view of the world.

So I can understand why they would wish to block that now, should they have blocked us? That’s another question entirely, right. And can argue with both ways, to be honest with you, I could look at it and say, well, yeah, because people are saying. You know, the, where we are collectively dumb. We, we, you know, we, we, we, we will believe things that we see that we read, that we, that we S that we hear.

But if I follow that through logically, if they’re, if they’re blocking our T why aren’t they blocking Fox news?

Jonathan: Right. Cause then you have to sort of get into this, into the weeds and philosophical about what is misinformation? Is it misinformation if it’s capitalists misinforming you, or is it misinformation? If a government is misinforming you where, you know, where’s the line where. [00:35:00]

Michele: Yeah, no, I don’t tell him the answer.

I mean, I genuinely don’t know the answer I can like, like from my, okay. So moving away from the philosophy, looking at it from a practical perspective as an Irish business, we’re an Irish company we’re based in Ireland. We have subject to are slow. So any, if the EU says, you know, you have that, you have to block.

Access to these particular things you can say, well, okay. I don’t agree with that, but, you know, I don’t agree just because you don’t agree with the speed limit doesn’t mean that you got to drive faster. Right. You know, you, you don’t like that. That’s the kind of thing that you can get a trade association or a lobbyists to deal with for you.

Or you can talk to your local TD, maybe. But you’ve changed the law by ignoring us

Jonathan: and let’s face it. If you really want to read RT and Sputnik, you can figure out

Michele: how, oh yeah, of course. You know, you

Jonathan: don’t, you don’t [00:36:00] need the, the EU to give you permission to do it. You can find it yourself.

Michele: Oh, totally. I don’t mean this.

There’s a load of services out there that do things like proxying one website through another so that you can access things. I mean, like, yeah. I mean, th the, since GDPR, a load of us website, Are not accessible in Europe anymore. You know, there’s ways to get to them. You know, you can, you know, you could fire up a VPN and pretend to be in the U S I can do this.

And I’ve done that in the past. I mean, I’ve, I’ve done that in order to to see what price I can get on certain products by access it from a U S IP it’s one price, fax it from an Irish IP. It’s another, but it’s yeah. It’s one of those things. I dunno. I think the way I look at it is that technology in general is shipping neutral.

Like networks should be neutral. The internet should be neutral. You shouldn’t be weaponizing the infrastructure. If, if, if you want to block, [00:37:00] like you’ve done in your home, you said, right, you’re not going to allow PornHub into the house. You’re entitled to do this, but you shouldn’t have a situation where.

Nobody can have a porn hub in their house. Exactly.

Jonathan: But what do you do when someone like Russia is weaponizing the internet? I mean, what is the consequence of that? What should be the consequence?

Michele: Well, that’s th this is one of the, one of those kinds of questions, again, that you’re like, well, I can think of things that I would like to say, but how do you balance it?

I mean, I think that. That’s the problem with a lot of these things is that we don’t, in many cases, we don’t have scalpels. We have hammers. Like we, we see, I mean, there’s a lot, there’s a lot of these kind of hilarious expressions. And you know, if you’re, if you’re, if you’ve got a hammer, all you see is nails.

You know, everything looks like a nail. And it’s very easy to, to take the high ground and say, you know, philosophically I’m [00:38:00] opposed to that. I think, I think a lot of it is just kind of educating people in general. I mean, making people aware of that, you know, the internet isn’t inherently bad, but it’s good.

And if you look at this had been so many positive things, been how people have come together and, you know, dumb things together that being positive. But I dunno, I mean, state sponsor to state sponsored, hacking state sponsored. Propaganda D dos attacks, all of those kinds of things. I dunno. I think, I think we, we probably need to be, to be better at defending as well, I suppose.

I mean, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re American. Yay. Good for you. You’re not neutral country. No,

Jonathan: no, we’re not. And we will take a side and we will back up that side, you know, with force, if necessary. And not only that, you know, we, [00:39:00] what we decide to do a lot of the rest of the world will follow. And so it’s, it’s it it’s, you know, with great power comes great responsibility.

How do we, how do we go about it in a responsible way that doesn’t violate our principles, that you know, that we hold dear, we got free speech, you know, free religion and all those things. How. We don’t want to become the enemy to fight the enemy, you know? And if, if we say cut them off the internet, well, that, that makes us, that makes us the bad guy that kind of takes away sheen from being the force of good.

We like to believe we are, let’s not get into the weeds with that.

Michele: No, no, but you know, it’s the thing it’s like you’re in here in Ireland over the last couple of weeks The, the position Ireland’s position as a neutral nation is something that’s come up in, in, in, in multiple fora. [00:40:00] You know, they, it’s very, very clear that we are not as neutral as some people would believe, would like to believe that we are.

And I think there’s a definite feeling as well that we probably shouldn’t be. But that doesn’t mean either about. But you know, that new, the flavor of neutrality means that we’re no longer neutral at all. That we’re suddenly going to start invading countries left, right. And center, you know,

Jonathan: right there.

It’s a fine line. You know, you don’t know this because you, you want to take a stand on. Against a bully doesn’t mean you have to take a stand with your army. You can take a stand economically or with sanctions and, you know, with just with just your actions and also supporting others who may be taking more direct action.

Michele: You see the, see the problem you say that we’re having here is that how do you [00:41:00] draw that line? So how. Where on the spectrum, do you go from being supportive of other countries that are taking action versus stepping over the line and actually taking action? So let’s say Irish, Irish citizens residents have have gone to fight and Ukraine.

The Irish army houses also perfectly fine. We are, we, we are sending money fund. We’re sending financial support to Ukraine, but it’s, it’s humanitarian. We’re not sending financial, we’re not going to be sending money to support the Ukrainian army. Now I personally, I think I’m, I’m, I’m quite comfortable with that.

I thought make sense to me. As I say, as you say, I think, you know, standing up to a bully and backing those countries that are standing up to a bully makes perfect sense, but I’m not sure. I’m not sure where the line is, you know?

Jonathan: [00:42:00] Well, and there, and there was a, there’s an element of rail politic to it as well.

You. You know, I don’t, I don’t know how much we want to get into foreign affairs here, but stopping Russia and Ukraine now is better than stopping them when they’re at KLA or they’re at, you know, if they’re outside Irish ports, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s sort of a self preservation as well. You’re a new trial.

They will only protect you until there’s gunboats in your harbors, you know?

Michele: Yeah. I suppose. I don’t know. I mean, it’s just, I think, I just think it’s something that Ireland, Ireland has played lip service to the concept, to being a neutral country for the better part of a century. Right. But it’s only, it’s very rarely that we have any real debate or discussion as a country.

About what the hell that [00:43:00] means, and whether it is the appropriate position for us to take, like we’re a small country, right. If we were to, if we were to drop on you are our suppose of neutral stance and, you know, start getting involved more actively and various different things. It’s not that it would make a huge difference to anybody realistically, because we’re.


Jonathan: probably the Brits would be the ones who only really care because it would affect them directly

Michele: potentially. I don’t know, but it’s just, it’s one of these things where we’re getting this kind of, there’s good people on both sides kind of argument from, from some people and it’s, I’m seeing it from the extreme, right.

And I’m seeing it from the extreme left and this, I mean, it feeds back into some of this is more political than it would be technical or anything else, but I think it has an impact because. It’s also a lot of these conversations are also impacting conversations around online moderation and, you know, [00:44:00] content controls and what constitutes the correct usage of the internet, et cetera, et cetera.

I don’t know. I think there’s some big questions that we probably need to face, but not. But not today. So the other thing, the other thing that we did want to talk about very, very briefly. So we’ve, so technology data, IE has awoken. So this is reborn. Well, it was slumbering. It’s kind of woken up a little bit and it’s, it’s moving around.

It’s shaking, shaking itself up a little. Okay. So what we’ve, we’ve done on. This is a lot of us is actually Jonathan’s work because, you know, he knows things. I know

Jonathan: how to run publications. Let’s just

Michele: say that. Or so you say, so you say so we’re now pushing out some content there most days of the week with a mixture of articles that we’re getting in from a third-party source, which is kind of helpful.

So we’re [00:45:00] trying to do focus on. Topics that are, you know, read technology related in some way.

Jonathan: And S tech

Michele: tech and science, tech, science, engineers, stuff that we think is kind of interesting and useful.

Jonathan: Yeah. And our goal is to sort of. Build it up as an sort of independent technology, new source for, for Ireland.

So the content we’re kind of picking is things we know will sort of directly affect Ireland or would be of interest to the Irish tech crowd like yesterday. You know, we put up the stuff about Apple’s new phones and whatnot, you know, things

Michele: like that. Apple, apple is always going to get us, get people, all excited and stuff.

I mean, there’s some, it’s kind of fascinating if you think. That, you know, the w w th the, I was looking at some statistics from IPsoft, Sam RBI and they do these surveys on, on social media and messaging usage. Like the, the biggest one now is [00:46:00] tick-tock. And that wasn’t even around like three years ago.

Well, maybe four years ago. I don’t know if it’s, if it existed three or four years ago, it just, wasn’t on anybody’s radar really. And now it’s like the place to go. I have no idea how you’re meant to use those. Please don’t tell me. I don’t need to know. I

Jonathan: don’t know either. I, I, I have it on my phone, but I haven’t opened it.

Michele: Yeah. I mean, that’s the other thing is I’ve seen some companies starting to do some stuff on on Tik TOK and. I don’t know, it’s, it’s a weird, it’s a weird kind of foremost. I mean, it’s not I think it lends itself to certain types of content. And I think, you know, the, the likes of say, live Bible, for example, I can see how I could see them doing well.

Or some of these other ones where, you know, their entire thing is, is around. Gags and humor and

Jonathan: I am uninterested in building my audience on another platform. I [00:47:00] not going down that road again. Yeah. I mean, it leans on the ridiculous and that’s, that’s hard to

Michele: monetize. Yeah. I mean, I don’t know how you monetize.

I mean, how would you monetize on Tik TOK? I mean, we’re talking like product placement. What? I don’t know anyway. So here we are. So just the black. So the black note podcast, it’s kind of back in a new form. I suspect that I’ll get bored after a couple of weeks and just hand it over to your job.

I’m joking. Or am I ha no, I think

Jonathan: you’ll have to give me Irish diction lessons, lessons.

Michele: So you can sound like, it sounded like you’re Irish. No, I don’t think I don’t see that happening. We’ll, we’ll try to, to put out podcasts. More frequently, more regularly than we have done. But I don’t think right now we should, we should commit to, and the thing too aggressive, because we’re probably missed our deadline completely, but let’s, let’s see how we see how we get on.

If we can do, do a [00:48:00] couple of podcasts a month, I’d be quite happy.

Jonathan: Sounds good. Well, thank you for listening to everyone. Well, Key things we talked about in the show notes, and we’ll try, also try to get a transcript of this. So for people who don’t want to listen, could read it and we will see you next time.

Thank you.

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