Sheila is an active voice for more technical privacy provisions to improve the digital user experience. She hopes to optimize a new modern social discipline "to be more private". What started as a dedicated practice tour of the human rights and digital policy landscape, has landed on the edge of a technical self-leadership approach to reclaiming ownership of personal data.
In 2017, she placed her sandwich board out in the open for business as a privacy solutions consultant.
In order to restore certain imbalances in society, she’s trying a lot of things. Writing, speaking, productions, events and business opportunities are being pursued.
SO YOU ARE A WRITER…
What kind of writer are you?
I’m an opinion blogger and news writer. I'm also the author an upcomingdigital privacy self-help book. Release scheduling and chapter samples will be available on the blog at this site. It's more "privacy sherpa" than guru. Privacy is a solitary art; which requires to you use both feet yourself to get you where you need to go.
What sort of things do you write about?
I will point out the creepy and painful things about government brands hiding from you so you won’t defund their operations. (Privacy & mass surveillance)
I will write about conflicts in our society that make it hard to do normal things like drink water from the tap. I thought it was really odd while Africans in third world countries carry well water to their house, it’s usually pretty clean water. It’s a huge chore to live without having indoor plumbing. When someone in Los Angeles carts bottled water up the stairs, it’s because there are SSRIs, gas, lead and perchlorate polluting the tap water they pay for.
I would like to edge in opinion remarks on public reception of propaganda. We generally have a low opinion of propaganda, if we know it is propaganda. I think Americans don’t know how much propaganda we are actually consuming in context of television programming and film. I think certain people like propaganda because they don’t call it propaganda. They call it the Military Channel on cable. Propaganda is also known by blockbuster grossing titles like: Seal Team 6, The Interview, Zero Dark Thirty and American Sniper.
I will write about the stuff I find completely absurd, like existing exopolicy in our National Security budgets. I thought it was weird to have an internal opening for someone to work with aliens if the government has denied they exist since 1969. Why should the taxpayer just keep someone the payroll to deal with non-existent persons? In fact, I might challenge 90% of relevance of the black budget. No one can prove its anything other than graft or agency malfeasance to the taxpayer. [ I actually have a 20 page white paper nearly written with policy recommendations, if anyone is interested.]
I jump in on comment boards and social media, the people who know me will find me watching watchers and trolling trolls.
What are you working on now?
I’m self-publishing a book to help people remove barriers to their digital privacy. It’s not for people who want to disappear or fall off the grid. It’s for people who want a personal data reclamation so they can reinstate some basic dignity to their electronic interactions.
I’ve also been working on a really strange sort of children’s book, too. It's a real fairy tale complete with fairies, elves, woodland creatures, magic, evil wizards, and bad politicos who face off with a big dragon. It's coming up after I get done with the privacy book.
When I get sick of chapter work, I will blog at Godzilla Government.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing most of my life. I started writing with intent to publish in 2005.
Why do you write?
When left to my own devices, with no supervision or input of any kind from others, I find myself writing. It’s been that way since I was a kid.
That being said, 4 out of 5 days I don’t want to write. I want to do comment dumps on other people’s blogs, play on Twitter, drink coffee and listen to recordings all day.
When I finally do get around to writing, I want to write stuff that keeps me so involved I drool on my keyboard and forget to eat. I can't always do that.
Over time, I have realized I write as a byproduct of being here; whether people want me to do it or not.
Who were you in High School?
Disaffected goth associate. Opinion editor. Environmental Club President.
What have you done in your career?
Once upon a time, I promoted recordings to radio to get them in play rotation to help market CDs. Then the MP3 market changed all that.
Then I did a lot of sundry jobs for years in Los Angeles and starved. I learned a lot about passionate crazy people trying to run small businesses and live above their means. Then I went back to school to upgrade my editing & digital writing skills in 2007.
I got active politically. At the time, I had an irrepressible urge to try do something about RFID tag surveillance. There was a crisis with national identity articles; which provided a connectivity and goal navigation in a way I hadn’t really had before.
I started BeatTheChip blog; which is full of writing on the Real ID Act. It transitioned into a mash of community reporting, activism on mass surveillance and repressive behavior in government. My effort combining broadcast journalism, blogging and real time advocacy became the 5-11 Campaign. I kept coughing up podcast episodes for Waking Up Orwell, a radio program I started in Austin, well after I left KOOP.
The problem with campaigning is it can get really confusing over an extended period of time. When I started the campaign, Real ID policy and RFID geotagging was perceived as the biggest threat to domestic privacy interests. The scope of surveillance moved to database infrastructure, abused intelligence license and then ballooned into the online marketplace with Big Data. Eventually, I had to call it quits because the campaign had outlived its relevance.
By 2011, Real ID was nullified and surveillance had moved its cheese to biometric scanners that could fly (drones). I had liquidated all of my capital on advocacy. The RFID scare was replaced by the saga of the NSA's massive ubiquitous uber-mech, complete with nazi contractor villains and airport scanners for your “junk”. Accredited, reporters were now competing for emerging surveillance technology beats.
After 5 years of this, things were so much worse. I was producing all the time, but I felt like I was shouting in a closet until Edward Snowden dropped his cables. Thank you, Ed Snowden. Now I can write up a really good book.
The atmosphere in news is still overcommited to industry spoiled by PR treatment and grounded by the military hush committee in outlets with big reach. It should never have taken Wikileaks and Anonymous hackers to squeeze out reports on our military’s misdeeds, but that’s the way it is. No one should be in jail today for speaking to the press. No one should be in jail for being the press either.
What options did established censored press really leave us? It was worth trying if it could get Congress to recognize the War on Terror is just a globally shared power grab over regular Americans property & rights with a constantly warring foreign policy agenda. You just can't say that on national television even though its the truth.
I'm busy playing author. I'm struggling a lot less with myself about that. I'm happy and confident after one book is finished another will begin completion. I have methods for approaching news as I need to.
What kind of publications would you like to write for?
I want to try to write for publications I read. I like Forbes, The Daily Beast, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Ars Technica, WIRED, The Economist, The Atlantic, Motherboard, The Verge, and The Intercept. I want things to go well, but there are so many publications who might actually pay me to write something. If the five-to-ten publications I read daily are saturated then you will understandably read my work elsewhere.
What’s it like to work with you? What kind of employee are you?
I am an easy person to work with if things are straight forward. I hate ambiguity. I’m a terrible employee, but I’m a great creative collaborator. I will show up when you do. I need a clear understanding of what you need in your story, just like everyone else. People who try to pay in sticks and carrots, intangibles (like friendship), or swag should leave me alone. I'm sensitive, so be nice.
What’s the best part of working with you?
I’m open to all kinds of ideas. I am also flush with ideas, but like Nicola Tesla, and a few other good people, I have had a few ideas stolen. So I'm being more careful with the ideas I plan to manufacture. So just sign the NDA, already.
I am also pretty fun to work with if you are a creative person. I work really hard when I’m inspired and motivated. Coffee is proven medical wizardry for culling both wisdom and inspiration for me on a productive day. I like contributing in a team. I like to read and review others' writing.
I like to add comments and casual punditry to what is being discussed. It doesn’t take that long. I often have short bursts of comedic relay; which helps me and a lot of people get more relief around getting things done. Think of it like working with a human version of one of Jim Henson’s muppets, if it hacked up acidic political commentary.
What’s the worst part of working with you?
Business development. Money is a defining motivator to keep me engaged in the process. I'm pretty sure if someone can just get past the insult of paying me for a write up, we can probably work together. You'd be surprised how many people try to get any kind of labor for zero money these days.
You did radio for awhile. I like your voice! Why aren’t you doing radio?
Radio is a narrowing market. The advertising cult that helps middle aged fat guys stay on the air so they can do fart jokes and verbally assault feminists just isn’t compelling anymore. Nor is working 6 months for free with petty tyrants for a community air slot. Then came the moment I realized I don’t even listen to talk radio.
How can I ask people to endorse my voice on a medium I don’t even listen to myself?
I’ll just write books. I’m confident enough in my narrative skill that, with a workbook, I can release it on tape. It will sell like hotcakes! Regardless of what has happened to the recording industry, I know people still buy recordings.
Do you like writing?
Not really. It’s a byproduct of being an educated voice. It’s a lot of work. You have to produce lots of it in subjective levels of "quality" to turn over low amounts of coin. By that metric, one's fate is worse than a touring entertainer.
People may hate you for saying something they couldn’t manage to say themselves. That’s not a fault though. That’s a gift people don’t always understand.
A lot of people who say “Write,” don’t read. They watch films and listen to music. However, deep down they just want you to tell them a story. I’m full of knowledge and story. So I have to get that over to you. I have to write something so I can tell you. I understand the people who really want to know, won’t necessarily read my copy. I’ll have to find another medium so they will commit to receipt of the message.
So I'm just as guilty of trying to persuade good writers, better than myself, to move on stories I won't write myself. That's called Public Relations. People don't like it as much. They think your cheating at news production if they see you behind the curtain there moving levers to get news coverage.
What would you really like working on if you’re not writing?
Believe it or not, I like digging up research information and pulling together sources for articles. I read laws and policy papers so I can learn how make a decent suggestion for a fix in government, because they do need help.
I love to use Twitter because I can pill out information as I go. The link dump is a good space to work from when digesting lots of news. Twitter is like a news potluck.
The other things I like to do are some photography and mixed media painting. Most of the photos you see on this site I took.
Who would be a great mentor?
Someone who doesn’t major on the minors. Someone willing to tolerate correcting some ignorance from a vociferous know-it-all. Someone who insists I understand how to get paid properly for my work. Someone who will let me fail a little in demonstration so I can correct the staging before showtime. Someone really secure in their own writing & life accomplishments. Someone who understands that time is the only thing in life you can’t get back. Someone kind of like me.