Hello. I’m Iain R. Learmonth a.k.a. irl. Nouns that can describe me include: hacker, researcher, developer and activist. I live in Aberdeen, Scotland, Europe, Earth, Milky Way.
I’m a heavy user of technology and have been known to implement technological solutions to problems that never existed. This does not mean that I believe technology to be a magic solution, at least in its current state of development, to all problems. Many of the cases I see technology used in terrify me greatly.
I often find myself frustrated with the instability and inflexibility of certain proprietary technologies that turn what would be a simple task on paper into an overly complicated task filled with workarounds and hacks (not to mention licensing). I believe it is this frustration that has inspired me to work on free software projects. Hopefully I can also save others from the same frustration.
I am a subscriber to the “Hacker Ethic” as described by journalist Steven Levy as in his 1984 book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. I am a founding member of 57North Hacklab, Aberdeen’s first hackerspace. I hack both hardware and software, though I am definitely more proficient with software hacks.
I am a licensed radio amateur (MM0ROR) and enjoy operating with packet modes and using low power levels (QRP). I maintain a number of amateur radio packages in Debian and in the past have assisted maintaining an APRS digipeater that served the Aberdeen city center.
In my day job, I’m a software developer and researcher in the Metrics team at Tor Project. I currently develop and maintain tools for collecting and analysing analytics from the public Tor network, while maintaining the privacy and security properties of the network.
Previously, I was a researcher in the Electronics Research Group at the University of Aberdeen. I was funded by the EU Horizon 2020 MAMI Project and my main area of research was related to Internet path transparency. I developed PATHspider as part of this research and used it to perform measurement studies. I am still involved in the development of PATHspider and would be happy to assist any researcher in getting started if they felt it would bring benefit to their research.
In the past, hackers may have claimed to not have political stances. To them, ideas like privacy for individuals, transparency in governments and unimpeded access to the Internet were just common sense. Now that technology has permeated into just about every part of our daily lives however, these are hot issues in the political world.
I am a member of the Open Rights Group Supporter Council and co-organise events in Aberdeen relating to digital rights in Scotland and in the wider UK. As part of these events we try to raise awareness of the issues and encourage the general public to be involved in the political processes.