Like a phoenix, Semiphemeral will rise from the ashes

Posted July 17, 2024 in semiphemeral

Semiphemeral helped tens of thousands of people delete tens of millions of tweets, likes, and DMs. Then Elon Musk ruined everything. But don't worry, Semiphemeral is coming back! And it will help you reclaim your data from more than just X.

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The Intercept laid me off

Posted March 20, 2024 in journalism code

Last month, The Intercept laid me off along with fifteen other employees — one-third of the newsroom.

I'm officially on the job market. My current title is Director of Information Security. I've been working in media for the last decade, but I'm also open to engineering or security roles in other sectors — as long as I'm working on interesting problems and doing good things for the world. Please tell me about open positions that would be a good fit, or if you want to hire me! You can email me at [email protected].

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OnionShare 2.6.1 released, and I wasn't even the one who did it!

Posted February 29, 2024 in onionshare code

I'm excited to announce that OnionShare 2.6.1 is released — this version includes support for Apple Silicon Macs, among other things — and I'm even more excited that Saptak Sengupta, one of the talented OnionShare maintainers, put in all the work required to make the release, instead of me! Go check out the new version of OnionShare at

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How to buy Hacks, Leaks, and Revelations, and how to get it for free

Posted January 9, 2024 in hacks-and-leaks

Today, my book Hacks, Leaks, and Revelations: The Art of Analyzing Hacked and Leaked Data is available for sale wherever books are sold! My goal with this book is to teach journalists, researchers, and activists all the skills they need to download and analyze any datasets they get their hands on, finding all of the juicy revelations they might contain. No prior experience is required. You can think of following along with my book as taking a complete course where you'll download real leaked datasets, and then (by following alongside the exercises) learn the tools and coding required to analyze them.

The paperback costs about $50 and the ebook costs about $40. However, I don't want the price to be a barrier to access to anyone who needs this information. For this reason, I also decided to release the book for free under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. In other words, I'm giving away the book online for free.

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Hacks, Leaks, and Revelations: The Art of Analyzing Hacked and Leaked Data

Posted December 5, 2023 in hacks-and-leaks

After just about two years of writing, hacking, analyzing data, writing some more, and editing, I'm ridiculously excited to announce that I'm now a published author! As of today, my book Hacks, Leaks, and Revelations is for sale.

Technically, the official release date is January 9, 2024, but it ships today if you order it directly from the publisher, No Starch Press (the physical book includes the DRM-free ebook too). If you order it from anywhere else, like to support independent bookshops, or Amazon if you want the Kindle version, it will be available January 9.

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CASE STUDY: Extracting data from ADL's "Antisemitic Incidents and Anti-Israel Rallies" map

Posted November 13, 2023 in hacks-and-leaks social-justice

On Saturday, I published an article for The Intercept about how the Anti-Defamation League has included dozens of Gaza ceasefire protests that were organized by progressive Jews in its map of "antisemitic incidents and anti-Israel rallies," alongside genuine antisemitic vandalism, harassment, and assault by neo-Nazis.

ADL doesn't publish its raw data, but I managed to get it anyway while doing this reporting. In the spirit of sharing data journalism skills, I will show you exactly how I extracted it from the map.

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Why we shouldn't use the slogan "from the river to the sea"

Posted November 5, 2023 in social-justice

In the 1970s, some wingnuts founded a UFO cult called Raëlism. It's an atheistic religion that believes that aliens called the Elohim created humanity on Earth using advanced technology. Raëlism was started in France but has since became an international cult. They proposed building an embassy for the Elohim, complete with a spaceship landing pad, in Israel. However, the Israeli government wasn't too keen on the idea because the Raëlism symbol includes a swastika in it -- a hate symbol mostly widely associated with Nazi Germany, though the symbol first originated in ancient religions like Hinduism in India.

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What goes into making an OnionShare release: Part 3

Posted October 20, 2023 in code onionshare

About a month ago I started working on an OnionShare release, documenting the entire arduous process. It's always a painful process, but it's absolutely bonkers how much work has gone into this release.

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What goes into making an OnionShare release: Part 2

Posted September 29, 2023 in code onionshare

A few weeks ago I intended to make an OnionShare release, documenting the entire arduous process. I made a lot of progress, but then ran into endless problems getting the Flatpak packaging working and so decided to delay the release. Now I'm back at it. In this post I will finish tackling Flatpak and start tackling the Windows and macOS releases.

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Hacks, Leaks, and Revelations: Pandemic Profiteers and COVID-19 Disinformation

Posted September 26, 2023 in journalism code hacks-and-leaks

I've spent the last two years writing Hacks, Leaks, and Revelations: The Art of Analyzing Hacked and Leaked Data, a book that teaches journalists, researchers, and hacktivists how to report on leaked datasets! Datasets like these get dumped online literally every day (much of it published by DDoSecrets), but few people have the technical skills to download it and uncover its secrets. I'm hoping to change that.

In August, I gave a talk at the DEF CON 31 Misinformation Village about one of the case studies from my book called Pandemic Profiteers and COVID-19 Disinformation, where I explain in detail how I analyzed hacked data from the anti-vax group America's Frontline Doctors ("the horse paste peddlers" that were "hilariously easy to hack," according to my source). They raked in millions of dollars selling ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, all while telling their supporters that COVID-19 vaccines are deadly and convincing them that things like wearing masks during a pandemic was a violation of their rights. My reporting led to a Congressional investigation into them.

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