The Byzantine(?) Smart Phone
“To Balkanize” has mostly negative connotations, yet there are connotation there that we need.
A connotation that stumps us for now it that of shifting alliances.
I think that can be addressed but I forgo that temptation now and thus play down the Balkan analogy.
“Byzantine” has other problems.
If you hire an old world butler, (as depicted in an English movie set in 1820), you expect him to understand the compartments of your life.
If a visitor arrives while you are conferring with an earlier guest, your butler will know whether to identify the current guest to the new visitor.
Today’s smart phones have no inkling of such niceties.
Some resort to two or more phones but the disadvantages are too obvious to enumerate.
Bare metal virtual machines solve some of these problems, yet that is far too drastic a separation.
Capabilities are adept at describing and enforcing simple, or complex rules.
The vague description is a set of worlds and a directed graph among them.
New (5th level) software is in charge of this graph.
An arc from X to Y in this graph means that world X is aware of world Y.
No hard and fast rules follow from this graph but it determines what interactions initiated by the user between worlds are easy and which raise annoying questions.
This software has not been designed and the design needs to be informed by relevant experience and UI designers, with suitable input from paranoids.
Many security properties will obviously rely on this software.
Simple variations of this software might meet the classic military security classification requirements (Orange Book, etc.).
I don’t know if Apple’s iPhone design includes preventing ransom as described in this report:
“Some fake apps contain malware that can steal personal information or even lock the phone until the user pays a ransom.”
If so they have a bug, otherwise they have a bad design.
“Scrutiny” is not a viable plan.
From Fred Brooks’ “The Design of Design” I see:
Experienced designers often begin by writing down exactly what they know about the user, the user’s purposes of use, and the modes of use. Wise designers also write down explicitly what they don’t know but assume about the user and uses.
- I see individuals writing a diary with no intent for others to read it.
- I see machinery controlled by a computer which provides moment to moment control and at the same time collects data from the machinery for analysis very soon or next year.
Coordination of the machinery with similar far away machinery may be accomplished.
Perhaps the cost of failure of this machinery is many times the cost of the machinery.