This week in cyberpunk we see a sustained attack on the internet, consumer privacy, but some light in that the internet is being slowly brought to Africa. Ghost in the Shell and Alien‘s promotional campaigns are in full swing are we getting more Tron after all?
Wikileaks Exposes CIA Hacking Arsenal
Wikileaks has released a trove of documents, being called Vault 7, that contains 8,761 files that detail the majority of the CIA’s hacking arsenal. Experts believe the documents are real but don’t make up the entirety of the CIA’s capabilities, but Wikileaks claims they haven’t released all of the files and have redacted some portions. Since the initial release, Wikileaks has reached out to tech companies whose products have been compromised by the CIA and offered to give them the source code of the CIA tools so they can seal the holes in their products.
Congress Rolls Back Internet Privacy Protections
25 senators in the US Congress have introduced legislation, spearheaded by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), that rolls back FCC privacy rules that prevent ISPs from selling your data (everyone’s data including children’s and health information) and reduces the agency’s enforcement capabilities. The legislation is making use of Congressional Review Act, which prevents the FCC from reintroducing rules that will continue to protect the data of Americans. The new head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, has made his intentions known to be in line with Flake’s legislation introducing new rules that allow ISPs greater freedom in handling user data.
Genetic Privacy at Risk
The US Congress has introduced legislation that would allow corporations to do genetic testing on employees as part of “Wellness Programs.” Previous laws have expressly forbidden the use of genetics as a means of discrimination in either healthcare or the workplace. This law would create a loop-hole for companies to exploit to get around existing protections in the guise of being helpful. The bill has already passed the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
Kenyan Start-up Bringing Internet to Africa
One-third of Africa’s population has no access to the Internet, 1.2 billion people. Most of them couldn’t afford it, even if it were available. The Kenyan start-up BRCK is working to change that. They have developed a waterproof, solar-powered Wi-Fi box that operates as a 3G hotspot and off-grid server called the SupaBRCK. Currently, the start-up is looking into ways to bring the Internet to the masses, with their products, provide the service for free, but still turn a profit. A difficult proposition indeed. It will be interesting to see where BRCK takes us; maybe we’ll get some new cyberpunks from Africa.
Ghost in the Shell
The new Ghost in the Shell teaser showcases a dubstep remix of Kenji Kawai’s theme for the 1995 Ghost in the Shell by Steve Aoki. Frankly, it is a little disappointing, but there is a great moment in the teaser where we get a good shot of Saito in action.
In other GitS news, the original cast of the 1995 Ghost in the Shell will be reprising their roles by dubbing the Scarlett Johansson GitS into Japanese, which feels like one of the best moves they have made with this film so far.
In other, other GitS news, there is going to be a Ghost in the Shell World Art Expo show at the Seibu Gallery in the Seibu Ikebukuro department store on April 3. On the 8th, Mamoru Oshii, himself, will be there to promote the release of GitS in Japan. The gallery will display props from the upcoming movie, and over 400 images from previous iterations of the GitS franchise.
Scarlett Johansson’s Ghost in the Shell hits theaters in the US on March 31st.
The latest teaser for Alien Covenant is a commercial for the Walter android line. It is suitably creepy for being part of the Alien franchise. At the moment, it looks like androids are going to play an even larger role in Covenant than previous movies, which potentially means this could be one of the most cyberpunk of the franchise. David, also played by Michael Fassbender (who is also playing Walter) will be returning in this film as well. If you want to learn more about Walter, check out the promotional website meetwalter.com.
In other Alien news, if Covenant does well, Ridley Scott is prepared to do six, yes six, more films in the franchise and apparently already has a script for Alien Covenant‘s sequel. Alien Covenant hits theaters on May 19th.
Tron 3 is purportedly back in the works but will be starring Jared Leto who is possibly best known in recent memory as The Joker in Suicide Squad. The film is said to be based on the scrapped Tron 3: Ascension script which involving the world of The Grid spilling over into our reality, which is no surprise to anyone who watched Tron Legacy. Justin Springer who produced Legacy is back, but it looks like Jared Leto will also be joining the production as a producer.
Johnny Lin and Brian Oliver have picked up the rights to produce a full-length feature based on the short film Rise written and directed by David Karlak (who will also direct the film), although the full-length script for Rise was penned alongside Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton from the Saw series. If the movie does well, the producers are prepared to turn this into a franchise, which for us is a welcome thought.
Cyberpunk Television Series
Mr. Robot will be returning for a third season this year, beginning in October, and will have another full 10 episode run, all directed by Sam Esmail. The exciting news is that BD Wong, who plays the Chinese leader of the dark army Whiterose, has been upped to series regular, which makes sense in the wake of the events of the final episodes of season 2. More good news is that Bobby Cannavale, best known for his roles in Boardwalk Empire and Vinyl, has joined the cast as “Irving, a laconic, no-nonsense used car salesman.” We are excited for this one.
Cyberpunk Video Games
Orphan Black: The Game
Orphan Black has become nothing less than a science fiction phenomenon with Tatiana Maslany playing most of the leading roles in this clone drama, which will be airing its final season this year. Now, Boat Rocker Media presents an iOS game based in the world of Orphan Black. The game looks like it follows the story of the series closely.
Ghost in the Shell: Global Neural Network and Ghost in the Shell README: 1995-2017
Kodansha Comics has announced that they will be releasing two new books in the Ghost in the Shell franchise. The first is a comic anthology called Ghost in the Shell: Global Neural Network, which will feature GitS stories from Western comic creators (here’s hoping for some Warren Ellis) and is slated to come out in April 2018. The second book is Ghost in the Shell README: 1995-2017 and will be a guide to the various adaptations of Ghost in the Shell from the 1995 film to the new Johansson film, it will be coming out this September.
The Hardware Hacker
The Hardware Hacker by Andrew “bunnie” Huang, who became famous after his persecution for hacking an x-box while at MIT, is a book that explores the important themes of making, intellectual property, and manufacturing but from the perspective of the punk and hacker ethos. Here is the official summary:
For over a decade, Andrew “bunnie” Huang, one of the world’s most esteemed hackers, has shaped the fields of hacking and hardware, from his cult-classic book Hacking the Xbox to the open-source laptop Novena and his mentorship of various hardware startups and developers. In The Hardware Hacker, Huang shares his experiences in manufacturing and open hardware, creating an illuminating and compelling career retrospective.
Huang’s journey starts with his first visit to the staggering electronics markets in Shenzhen, with booths overflowing with capacitors, memory chips, voltmeters, and possibility. He shares how he navigated the overwhelming world of Chinese factories to bring chumby, Novena, and Chibitronics to life, covering everything from creating a Bill of Materials to choosing the factory to best fit his needs.
Through this collection of personal essays and interviews on topics ranging from the legality of reverse engineering to a comparison of intellectual property practices between China and the United States, bunnie weaves engineering, law, and society into the tapestry of open hardware.
With highly detailed passages on the ins and outs of manufacturing and a comprehensive take on the issues associated with open source hardware, The Hardware Hacker is an invaluable resource for aspiring hackers and makers.
If you want to dig into The Hardware Hacker, you can get a copy here.
Did we miss anything this week? What are you most excited about this week, or in the cyberpunk future? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.
This game might be right up your alley: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2017/03/07/huntdown-preview-retro-game/
Isaac L. Wheeler (Veritas)
Thanks for the recommendation!
Rise looks so fucking amazing.