samlanning.com

I'm a Computer Science Graduate from Oxford University, England. After deciding to leave Oxford at the start of my 4th year to do something more interesting, and just stick with a BA, for one year I worked for 4 days a week as a software engineer at a Semmle (a company that does some cool source code analysis for a few big tech companies, including NASA, Dell, and Dropbox), and also taught Computer Science at a school for students on the autistic spectrum once a week. I now work full time at Semmle as Lead Developer on lgtm.com.

During my time at Oxford, I have been both the Secretary and the President of the Oxford University Computer Society, and also the IT Rep for the JCR at St. Catherine's College. In addition, I was involved in 3 separate "Learn to Code" courses for students, including one of which I organised, ran and co-wrote the content for. I also volunteered as a helper at my local CoderDojo for some time.

Inside the software field, my main interests are in Communication & Networking (in particular mesh networks), Security, Cryptography (especially usability), Anonymity, and Censorship Resistance. I do like to periodically get away from technology however, and outside of that I have quite a bit of interest in political / social structure (completely re-factoring it, that is), and generally doing my part to help bring about a better world.

If you want to get in touch, your best bet is probably via twitter.

Recent Blog Posts

The Tor and CloudFlare Problem

Mar 06, 2016

For a while, users of Tor have been exposed to a great deal of frustration while browsing the web; when visiting websites that are using CloudFlare, they are presented with a Captcha before being able to load the website. (for every, single new website they navigate to in a single session).

This makes navigating the web a particularly tiresome experience, especially as so much of the web is protected by CloudFlare's services.

Right now, there is an ongoing discussion on the Tor Project's ticket system regarding this problem, inviting anyone to propose potential solutions to the problem. There have been a few potential solutions discussed, but ultimately nothing that solves all the problems for all concerned parties.

Over the course of this ticket being open though, CloudFlare's CTO has been very active in this thread, and CloudFlare now provides the option for its customers to decide on how to treat tor traffic, specifically, it allows customers to whitelist Tor exit nodes. This is great news and shows CloudFlare's willingness to discuss and come to a solution with the community.

In this post I propose a take a critical approach to discussing the existing suggestions and propose a new potential solution.

Read More…

Why Democracy Doesn't Work

Jan 29, 2015

Democracy is a beautiful concept:

Democracy is a form of government where citizens choose and replace the government through free and fair elections. Democracies allow active participation of the citizens in politics and civic life, protect the human rights of its citizens and apply laws and procedures equally to all citizens.

(source: Wikipedia)

Equal distribution of power among citizens: power to vote, power to stand for office, power to be free... Surely such a system would lead to a society which is best for everyone.

Unfortunately this is not the case, and as far as I can tell, a large part of it is down to 3 particular human traits:

Read More…
View All Posts…

Sam Lanning

Sam Lanning

Studied Computer Science @ Oxford University. Interested in Communication, Security, Privacy, Anonymity, P2P, E2E, Mesh, Censorship Resistance etc...

Oxford - UK