Personal Information

For a broad overview of who I am and what I have done, you could look at my resume.

Presently, I am VP/general counsel for Nexum, a national (Chicago-based) IT security company with a serious no-nonsense attitude. Nexum's big differentiator is its emphasis on smart architecture as a security cornerstone -- not just tossing products at problems. With law, compliance and risk management in mind, my role there should be pretty obvious (for clients and for Nexum itself).

Before Nexum, I served as GC of Neohapsis and director of Neohapsis Labs, part of the Chicago-based computer security consulting firm Neohapsis, a computer security specialty firm -- we tested beta gear for vendors, helped with product design and QA, and did select policy and implementation work. I came up with tests related to network security and sometimes even subjected vendors to them in public.

I spent my undergraduate, law school, and early graduate years at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and am in the dissertation writeup phase of a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Chicago, currently on indefinite leave. Until 2000, I supported my 'bad educational habit' by working to develop computer and network policies for The Tribune Company as a senior network security consultant. Then I spent a year doing the "dot com thing" designing complex network security systems and writing security policy for EthnicGrocer, a once burgeoning start-up company in Chicago.

Theory-wise, my research interests are the study of law as a cultural phenomenon, and of culture as sedimented practice and observed practices/performances of all kinds (including the "linguistic"). My most basic influence in this notion is Husserl, whose concepts of the sense-act and sense-experience I believe can be taken to describe the central process of enculturation. For example, my paper Soliloquy or Psychosis? A Cultural Look at Schizophrenia, employs my notion of culture to describe schizophrenic "madness" as a phenomenon of culture in many ways. Subject wise, I study (in the U.S.) the increasingly popularized (and performed) phenomenon of unauthorized access to computers and communications systems where no fiscal motive is involved. Other people call it other things, and I study those peopele while I'm at it. My thesis proposal bandies about the phrase "intellectual banditry" which I like because it has both a romanticized rebellious-hero connotation (particularly in the British sense) and the socially frowned-upon "thief" connotation, which I think gets a lot of the popular feelings about "hackers"... so, perhaps we'll be seeing 'stand and deliver!' login prompts on a rooted box near you....

You can read some important information on informed consent and protection of participants for my research (those in the modern era, of course, I mean). The study had to receive special informed consent dispensation (no written authorization). It makes an interesting read.

If you're really interested, you can read the plain-text version of the research proposal my committee approved, now online in fairly parseable format, with all footnotes intact. Mind you, I've diverged significantly from the original thesis proposal, so don't take it as a precise description of what I am doing. Also note that the alertist tone in the opening was put there mostly to satisfy the (rather irritating, but I suppose necessary) "why is this important" question asked by dept. members and funding agencies, most of which have no clue about computers, let alone unauthorized access to systems, so please ignore it if it irks you. It's no where near as important as the rest of the thesis proposal; ditto for the title. That all said, you can get it here in PRE-formatted plaintext. Again, don't let the title mislead you.

I had the luck to have an immense black cat, Perseus, who was with me since day one of law school, and passed away in 2006. "Perse" was a big, smart short-haired panther of a cat, and anyone who met him knew he was a peculiarly smart and affable fellow. Andromeda ("Romy"), his sweet, shaggy sister and litter-mate, passed away in September 2004. We all miss her immensely. Around 1994, wee little "Zeke" joined the fold; Ezekiel is a shelter-found red Somali. My sweetheart and I combined herds (officially since 2003), so it's still pretty dang cat-ful around here.

I have written some funny stuff in response to the great Pluto planet designation controversy.

I am a fan of fine ales and scotches, pubs, and fog.

Jazz tickles my fancy, as does most music if done well.

My tastes are extremely wide, ranging from traditional Sephardic music, through bebop, klezmer, percussion of all kinds, and frankly most forms of jazz, to punk, glam rock, and fusion jam bands like Phish. Essentially, if it's played with skill and soul, I might like it.

I am a voracious reader of philosophy, anthropology, 19th and early 20th C. English literature, Alexandre Dumas, modern American and English fiction and certain particular SF writers, most notably Philip K. Dick (1928-1982), John Brunner (1934-1995), Mick Farren, Melissa Scott, and J. G. Ballard.

Finally, I am a Firesign Theatre fan. I am a fan of the Firesign Theatre. I fan the Firesign Theatre.

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