About the Episode
Today, my guest Tobin Shea, gets real with the facts about media coverage, gun statistics and more. You will agree with him that nothing is truly absolute. Science proves that, it comes down to what the data is, time and time again..
Tobin Shea oversees all activities, employees, product development, and fundraising for MindWise as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to co-founding MindWise, Shea was a researcher within Saint Mary’s College of California’s Chemistry Department and presented his research on the synthesis and testing of photo-responsive liquid crystal elastomers at the American Chemical Society Conference. He also started his own rare disease genetic research on Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia disease within the Biology department. Shea holds a Bachelor’s from Saint Mary’s College with double majors in Biology and Philosophy and double minors in Chemistry and Music. Outside of academics, Tobin has developed several patent-pending devices ranging from ventilators in response to the pandemic to firearm safety devices. MindWise leverages our Dark Web surveillance capabilities to provide solutions across several use cases. Some of these include, fraud prevention (credit card, synthetic, identity theft, etc.), data breach monitoring, compromised credential monitoring, and threat intelligence. These use cases cross over into several different areas.
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- What is ethical and what isn’t?
- Politicized Science
- The depths of the Dark Web
- Drop Service of duffle bag cash
Good to have you back. I’m excited that we’re all here together today. I’m Rick Jordan and today we’re going all in. I want you to share this out with three people today because I was looking through the notes for the show ahead of time. It’s a crazy transition from Rare Disease genetic research into dark web monitoring and some other things you know, which identity theft data breaches all that which is my wheelhouse, of course, along with everything else that I do, being an autodidact or a Polymath. Now look those words up. We don’t talk about those much either. My guest today is in Walnut Creek, California right now. I just finished my lunch. He’s about to eat his as soon as we’re done recording this show, Tobin Shea, welcome, man.
Hi, Rick, thank you so much for having me today.
Dude, it’s good to have you on. I was looking through everything ahead of time and redoing it, and, you know, my team can see me, you know, when you can’t see me, and the faces I was making, I was like, Whoa, you know? What, like, that’s an interesting transition, man, because I certainly, like dang Tobin’s a really, really smart dude, which is awesome, and, you know, genetic disease research, you know, some of these things, you know, Hereditary Hemorrhagic. This next word, I cannot. I will not get right. Lanzerac Tasia.
Thank you. Yeah, I mean, hemorrhagic. Wow, okay, I’m gonna, I’m gonna shut up and not try to read these words anymore. I know. Right. But you know, it’s interesting because you develop several patent pending ventilators, right? In response to firearm safety devices. That’s it?
Yeah. So during COVID 19 pandemic, I have some patent pending ventilator technology too, you know, that was a big issue early on. Then in response to some of the gun violence we’ve seen in the US, I also invented some firearm safety devices. So different issues, but I like to think I contributed a little bit.
That’s interesting. Yeah. I mean, the ventilators are great, but you’re talking to firearm safety devices now that this is also in my wheelhouse from having a private protection agency before too. So what specific type of safety devices are you looking for?
For sure. So I took a pretty unique approach. You know, I think we get into a high dichotomy, especially, you know, mainstream media politics. Right, as people as Yeah, right. We either categorize people as, you know, 100%, unlimited guns for everyone, or zero guns, never for anyone.
No matter what seems to be the way it’s presented, isn’t it?
Exactly, and I don’t think I don’t think it has to be that way. I mean, statistically, it’s just impossible to ignore the fact that there are Every year hundreds of 1000s of violent crimes, assaults, robberies, are actually stopped by firearms. So I think the pain is so black and white is, you know, firearm bad, is not quite accurate. However, I do also understand that, you know, the need and desire to, you know, have some levels of safety and protection integrated. So the device I came up with, was a device that was made for the AR 15 type rifle, and that essentially, kind of bear hugs the magazine area, and prevents the changing of the magazine, unless you can biometrically verify that you’re the legal owner of the firearm. You know, a lot of times in these crimes, it’s stolen firearms that are being used or, you know, a parent’s firearm or grandfather’s firearm. So, by doing this, we cannot disable the firearms capacity to be used in a defensive situation, but by preventing the magazine from being changed except by the lawful owner, you take a lot of the potential dangers out of, you know, said weapons.
That’s interesting, man, you’re talking biometrics right now, I’m gonna give you real world scenarios here. Because I have a biometric gun safe right next to me. It’s a small safe right next to my bed, right? Within it is a Glock 19 Ready to go already? chambered you know, it’s for defense just in case something happens, right? The only thing I don’t like about it, maybe it’s just because of the type that I have, you know, but it’s, it takes a little bit, you know, to some comparing this way you’re talking about like to actually read my fingerprint, you know, and when it comes to that, I mean, I’ve been trained, of course, you know, I’ve been licensed to carry in 37 Different states that that’s great.
I’ve had a private protection agency where I could carry full time even if I wanted to, because of the legality of the business and the protection nature of that security role. You know, and two to three seconds is like life changing You know, and this is something that I was taught and data shows that somebody can run 21 feet in just a matter of two to three seconds. That’s all it is. So that’s when I looked at it like, Can’t this thing move any quicker? You know, but then is it quicker to punch numbers in and open the thing, whatever it is, but how does yours change that? You know, because I think it might be different from changing a magazine. You know, because you’ve got you can obviously take cover real quick, obviously, I’ve been trained to change out the magazine, but it’s still two to three seconds, wouldn’t it be years years quicker?
Yeah. So you’re right. You know, with any technology, there’s going to be some lag time and not, you know, I’ve seen the biometric safes to usually hold holding, click OK. There it is. So my, my, you know, imagined use case would be that you would actually, you know, like you said, your Glock 19 is ready to go locked and loaded next year, Ben, you know, unloaded gun doesn’t work. That’s, that’s true. Yeah.
Or even a gun with a safety on for that matter? Because, again, that’s precious time.
Yeah, exactly. So my imagined use case, what the gun would actually be loaded, and the device would not hamper the loading of the gun. So if you wanted to keep it, you know, hot in the safe, that’s fine, and you should have, depending on your state, you know, 10 to 30 rounds, already to go for whatever defense situation you need. That being said, if someone does steal it, they will have a maximum of 10 rounds of, you know, potential damage to inflict before that gun was locked out, and now useless to them. So it’s not a perfect system, you know, if someone steals it, they would have 10 rounds to inflict some damage. But you look at every live shooter scenario, there’s mag change, after mag change after both police are getting it under control. So this, again, it’s a little bit of a compromise, but the compromise will allow for a lawful gun owner to to still be safe and defend himself. And it gets it puts a big wrench in the works of you know, someone trying to use this for, you know, immoral purposes.
No doubt, and I know, we talked about before the show having the real talk, right, you know, there’s not much editing on the show, and it’s because I love the non-political conversations about topics that are heavily made political. So when you mentioned data, you know, I love looking at the data of these things, because I’m always just in search for what the actual truth is, you know, and then you can formulate an opinion, of course, based upon that, but the, but the no guns to the let them run wild and free. There’s really no data that backs up either of those perspectives, is there.
No, absolutely not, and, you know, I totally agree with you it, you know, and I think, if we’re going to find the solution, that means we need to accurately diagnose the problem first, if we just keep making things up, that are very emotional, and, you know, I understand the play by both sides. But if we’re just going to stay in these emotional arguments, we’re not really honing in on the real problem, which means whatever solution we come up with, isn’t actually going to address the problem because we didn’t take the time to actually investigate. So I like to look at numbers and try to, you know, deeply politicize things wherever possible, because that usually doesn’t lead to productive conversations.
Politicize rather than humanize, that’s the best way to take it, and it’s a cool conversation, we’ve developed just off literally three words of your bio, firearm safety devices. You know, it’s awesome. Man, I, I take a look back because Illinois was talking about data, right? Love data, Illinois was the last state, the very last state to hold out on a concealed carry license. And an event had to be overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013, and went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, because the state of Illinois, very similar to California, of course, in New York, you know, which happens to be the state that I’m in here is Illinois. It’s it’s interesting, because as soon as that was done, you saw a sharp drop in the amount of home invasions in the data of home invasions, because these word, of course, firearms that the the offenders acquired illegally, you know, whether it was a stolen weapon or something from a family member to perpetuate the crimes, but all of a sudden, there was almost it was like a playing field leveler, and they were they started at least this is perception and opinion.
Now, the data was that home invasions dropped substantially. Then perception of opinions from my sense, like, well, they can get shot back at now. You know, it’s, you get into the conversation, like do nuclear deterrence really work, you know, in those scenarios, and it’s like, well, it’s held things at bay for about 80 years so far. The nuclear deterrence, you know, but where’s the middle ground on these things? I love finding that, you know, and I think even in something like what you’re in with rare genetic disease research There’s probably data that scatters the whole realm of theories and hypotheses there, and then how do you settle on something in any sort of data research project to get to where it’s like, “Hey, this is it?”
Absolutely, yeah. So in science, too, it’s funny. You know, during the COVID, 19 pandemic science as a weird abstract that, you know, kind of trusts science, that was such a funny phrase to me. Was going Tobin, I like you. Thank you, Rick. It was just a funny phrase to be like, where is the science? Can I look at this, you know, it was weird.
If you’re watching this on YouTube, please at least check out Tobin’s facial expressions, it’s awesome. Anyways, continue.
You know, it’s just so interesting, because, you know, being, you know, I’m hardly going to call myself, you know, in academics, but as someone who’s who’s done research, and spent a lot of time you know, learning, learning about science, nothing is absolute, you know, everything is the best leading theory data supports the idea that, you know, nothing is nothing is so absolute. It was weird to see it presented that way, in the media. But you’re right, everything comes down to the data and the best possible idea we have for now, and then usually, in a few years, another study comes up and says, Okay, wait, maybe that was all wrong, because of new evidence. So this ongoing conversation, and it’s really not as concrete as you know, it’s been presented. So I think that’s important for people to understand that most of science is just based on the data, what seems most likely is that, you know, insert hypothesis here, insert theory here.
For sure, and sometimes you take your best guess, and then you can get lucky when it comes to data, no joke.
Yeah, that’s, that’s, you know, that’s the scientific method, right? You have a hypothesis, you, which is more or less a guess you’ve observed, and you say, Hey, I think this is what’s going on, and then you test it. You might be right, it might be wrong, or maybe somewhere in between?
Dude, you just, don’t you? I mean, I love how you’re doing the air quotes with science, right? You know, because it seems like a lot of the last two years, just completely through the scientific method, out the window, because it came to yes, you have a hypothesis out of observation, but then there was never any testing after that, to either prove or disprove the hypothesis, you know, and whether that was and I’m not gonna get I’m not gonna go on a political soapbox with this. But you know, if it was Max vaccines, whatever, there was really never any testing, to see what the rates were of transmission, or if these things actually functioned. It was just using the data that was made to generate these things. It’s like, Okay, here’s, as you said, the science, you know, what was the science? Because the science has to include, after hypothesis, it has to include the testing phase, to prove or disprove.
Yeah, and then when I said like, “You just get lucky,” there’s an article I was reading the other day about a medication that was for Endometrial Cancer, you know, because now we’re back into the, into the disease disease research here, right, and they had a hypothesis that was based upon some data, then they went and tested it, and they got frickin lucky, because they got so lucky that it cured 100%. It was rectal cancer. They used a drug for endometrial cancer, had some data, formulated a hypothesis, then tested it on a group of people. And it had a 100% cure rate. You know, so that was the thing. It’s like, we’re going to try to prove this. Nobody was ever expecting that because it’s never happened before. They got lucky by actually just saying, but the only way you got lucky is actually by doing Oh, man. I did. That’s true. People have told me Oh, you’re just so lucky. I’m like, No, momentum knows momentum. But dude, you only get lucky because you actually did in the first place. You actually took some kind of action?
Sure. Yeah. Definitely. So, you know, you’re right, that it’s one thing to have hypothesis, it’s one thing to go through the testing and support your hypothesis and kind of graduate to a to a theory more or less than, I think in the last two years, especially around COVID I think, I think two things kind of happened. One I mean, it is it is difficult to do tests especially when it’s non laboratory setting this was this was real people you know, really experiencing a virus so obviously there’s ethical I don’t want to call them boundaries but but parameters to take into account at you couldn’t for example, say okay, we have 100 people with COVID will treat half of them and not treat the other half. That’s unethical. So that doesn’t make it harder to test, like that, especially when we’re going through it now on a you know, quite literally pandemic scale. So I’ll give the scientists a little bit of slack there. But the other thing that I won’t give
The politicians’ luck, though, I’ll give the scientists some slack but not the politics.
I agree with you there that that’s my next point in science but also got politicized, and I think that is a great disservice. A lot of the big publications, you know, I don’t want to name this specific one. But one of them actually came out and said, you know, for our first time, and however many decades, so and so journalists are getting political, and they kind of framed that as a good thing. Like, we’re entering politics, this is a good thing. I read that I said, this is horrible. science and politics, you know, should have very little to do with each other, either. That’s just bad when our scientists are going to, I mean, science, aren’t we trying to eliminate bias? Yeah. But then by entering politics, we’re entering a realm of almost pure bias.
Right on, and that was one of the reasons why NASA stayed private for so many years is because it was able to have separation. Of course, there was federal funding that goes into it, you know, does it but that’s, that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work, that private and public are supposed to have this cohesion together in order to do the best for mankind?
I think so, too, and theory is a great system, and you know, execution. Usually things don’t go as planned.
I’ll be a little ideological today for you. How about that Tobin? Dude, thanks for indulging me and all that. But yeah, I appreciate that. We’re on the same page on all these things, too, because it’s just a page of truth. You know, it’s down the middle, just give me the hard data.
I agree. I, you know, I think if everyone was willing to sit down with each other, and, you know, put aside the passion behind, you know, whatever, whatever point they’re arguing, I think, I think the middle ground is a lot more reasonable than people think, and it’s easier to get there. If you’re willing to give that conversation time today.
Very eloquently said, my friend. Now, let’s shift gears real quick, because you’ve done all these amazing things, and by the way, I feel everybody that I’m really talking to a genius right now, just because of everything that he’s gone through that it is so incredible, incredible brain on zoom right now in front of us. So you went from all of these amazing things, right, you know, rare disease research and firearm safety devices, and now you have something going on with Dark Web surveillance, you know, that’s a heck of a shift, man, you know, how did that first we’ll get into what you’re doing in a minute, but why that shift? How’d you make that shift?
Sure, so kind of, you know, behind the resume, something my whole life that I’ve been, you know, very interested in fascinated by is, you know, computers and, and cybersecurity and, you know, kind of all the things going on under the hood that we don’t, we don’t interact with on every day, like the dark web. So certainly, while I was, you know, getting educated and stuff, you know, all that is very transparent on the resume. But, again, behind the scenes, I just have this deep fascination for this sort of stuff. You know, credit where credit’s due, mostly our co-founder is, he’s a real computer genius here. We actually grew up as great friends together and kind of as a pet project. Actually, we were curious, we thought, you know, by exploring the dark web, we’re seeing, you know, kind of fraud on the industrial scale. Really? Yeah, and we’re kind of curious, Hey, I wonder how many, how many credit cards do you think are getting sold on the dark web? I don’t know. That’s a great question. Let’s find out. So just as kind of a pet project, you know, my, our co founder, developed a kind of monitoring technology, and we’re just looking at how quickly cards were turning over on the dark web. It’s very quick, by the way.
Logins very quickly. Yeah, very quickly,
We’re able to realize this is valuable information we’re gathering, and this can be helpful information if shared with the right people. So then we kind of, you know, built a business model out of it and changed the focus to enriching data to a usable level that we could, you know, share with, with law enforcement and potential clients as well.
That’s incredible. So what were some of the biggest discoveries that you found?
Sure, again, I think, I think when we started, we knew Yeah, of course, there’s some cyber criminals. There’s hackers, you know, living in basements and, and stuff, but when we really started kind of crunching the numbers, I’m talking 10s of millions of cards being sold every year. That’s just credit and debit cards. Then we said, well, oh my gosh, there might be even more social security numbers and you know, people’s home addresses, phone numbers, you know, just personal identifiable information or PII, for sure. Getting sold and again, it just reached this industrial scale that was kind of hard to find. have actually, you know how much was really going on?
It’s interesting because I mean, that’s my world that I live in, right having a cybersecurity company, and the dark web is an interesting thing. You know, there was a documentary that just released a couple of weeks ago, then I’m in it was the sequel to an original called cybercrime. But this one is called the dark web and covered in one of the points that I made in it was, you know, the dark web is actually really just where the transaction takes place. You know, and that’s where you are having all of your data and research involved with, but then there’s also delivery of the goods, you know, I’d be interested even beyond that, I don’t know how you would capture this data, you know, you see the credit cards turnover so much on the dark web, but then how long does it take from that to get to the actual fulfillments of the product? The product can be if we’re talking real, you know, anything from drugs all the way down to human beings in trafficking?
Yeah, and so we actually, we briefly, unofficially, it didn’t pan out, you know, budgetary issues, and, you know, whatnot, it’s a big machine. But we briefly helped out with the United States Postal Service, and delivered or identified packages that were used to deliver, you know, illicit substances, mostly trucks. Kind of funny, a little unknown fact. It’s theorized that the US Postal Service is the largest drug distributor in the world, that wouldn’t surprise me. Yeah, and, you know, pros and cons of the Fourth Amendment are, you know, of course, our individual privacy, but it also makes it hard for the government to, you know, do mass, like package scanning, and stuff like that.
Especially when it’s domestic, you know, coming in from overseas, it’s a different story, because it has to go through customs, and that’s wrong.
Yes, that means they catch a lot of domestic, they have to have pretty compelling evidence to open the back, you got it. So you’re right, the fulfillment is, that’s a whole nother crazy process. You know, to some extent, you can monitor, you know, try to monitor shipping trends and things like that. But I believe it was the hydro market that was recently closed down this year, and a pretty neat, multinational campaign. But one of their services was money laundering. So you sent them your Bitcoin, and they sent you a No kidding, a duffel bag of cash, and how they would do it was, you know, you’d send them your Bitcoin, of course, they’d probably take a you know, 10-15% fee off the top. Then you would get a message of GPS coordinates, you would go to set coordinates that said day, and you would dig up a duffel bag of money. That’s the wildest thing ever. That sounds like something out of a movie, and they moved. I mean, who knows how much money that way? Some speculate millions. Others speculate billions of money by this crazy drop service of burying duffel bags around the world, for cyber criminals to launder their money.
No joke, you know, I talk to my team a lot here on the cyber side. And, you know, nobody within the cybersecurity company was involved with my private Protection Agency. And blending those two together. It’s exactly what you’re talking about. And I will tell stories and be or just say, well, this kind of stuff goes on, and almost all of them are just disbelief, right? No way. No way that’s real. They’ll just like you said, it sounds like it’s something out of a movie. I’m like, for real, there’s a world out there. That is exactly what you’re saying right now, that is still just like some kind of dropped from a James Bond movie. This is how this stuff takes place. You know, money laundering still lives on well, and by the way, that’s why the Secret Service was actually initiated to begin with outside of presidential protection, most of what the Secret Service does, even to this day, has to do with counterfeit money and money laundering. That’s I think that’s like 75% of their budget, man. It’s insane.
Absolutely, yeah. You know, I think it was an interesting statistic. I think it was about 1/5 of the world economy is thought to be part of the, quote, black economy, you know, illegal things. And that comes out to oh, gosh, I think it was something like $16 trillion a year was part of the illegal economy. Yeah. That’s a lot of money. Yep. 16 odo years, so you bet that there is industrial, you know, business going on at that scale to support $16 trillion. You bet there are delivery services and you know, money laundering cast drops, and, you know, only a fraction of that exists on the dark web. But, you know, the point is, it’s a big industry and big industries need, you know, large stable companies to support them and they exist out there.
Oh, man. Well, this was exciting. You know, we’ve had we’ve gotten such through an array of conversation today, starting out with three words from your bio about firearm safety going into genetic research and Dark Web surveillance, man, you’ve done so much. It’s interesting how you started across all these different thresholds. But I see the common thread across all of them, and it’s data that really, if I were to phrase it a different way, it’s true. You know, that’s what I appreciated about what you’re doing, and I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next. Now, man, we’re gonna, we’re gonna stay in touch for sure. I’m excited to see what is next. You got to have something cooking up in that amazing, ginormous brain of yours.
Thank you so much. Yeah, no, I would certainly love to stay in contact, but you’re right. Data truth and, you know, when I meet clients or or, you know, potential investors, fundraising. I get questions. Yeah. science background that’s interesting as you get into this, and I always say, you know, I’m a scientist, first of everything we do here at mind wise, our cybersecurity fraud prevention company. It’s all about the data. It’s all backed by data. So scientists first
So scientists’ first brilliantwebsitemindwise.io Check it out. Connect with Tobin on LinkedIn. It looks like Tobin Shea. Dude, thanks for coming on today, man. I appreciate the conversation.
Thanks so much, Rick. It was great talking with you.