zittrain

The Past and Future of The Internet: A Symposium for John Perry Barlow

The Duke Law and Technology Review has released a special edition dedicated to examining the legal and philosophical legacy of John Perry Barlow: co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; junior lyricist for the Grateful Dead; biofuel entrepreneur; philosopher; poet; hacker Zelig; and driven, delightful weirdo. Read the rest

"Intellectual Debt": It's bad enough when AI gets its predictions wrong, but it's potentially WORSE when AI gets it right

Jonathan Zittrain (previously) is consistently a source of interesting insights that often arrive years ahead of their wider acceptance in tech, law, ethics and culture (2008's The Future of the Internet (and how to stop it) is surprisingly relevant 11 years later); in a new long essay on Medium (shorter version in the New Yorker), Zittrain examines the perils of the "intellectual debt" that we incur when we allow machine learning systems that make predictions whose rationale we don't understand, because without an underlying theory of those predictions, we can't know their limitations. Read the rest

Towards a general theory of "adversarial examples," the bizarre, hallucinatory motes in machine learning's all-seeing eye

For several years, I've been covering the bizarre phenomenon of "adversarial examples (AKA "adversarial preturbations"), these being often tiny changes to data than can cause machine-learning classifiers to totally misfire: imperceptible squeaks that make speech-to-text systems hallucinate phantom voices; or tiny shifts to a 3D image of a helicopter that makes image-classifiers hallucinate a rifle Read the rest

How do we fix IoT security without blocking interoperability and creating monopolies?

Jonathan Zittrain (previously) writes, "There’s reason to worry about security for the ever-growing Internet of Things, and it’ll be tempting to encourage vendors to solely control their devices that much more, limiting interoperability or user tinkering. There are alternatives - models for maintaining firmware patches for orphaned devices, and a 'Faraday mode' so that iffy devices can still at least partially function even if they’re not able to remain safely online. Procrastination around security has played a key role in its success. But 'later' shouldn’t mean 'never' for the IoT." Read the rest

FBI's war on encryption is unnecessary because the Internet of Things will spy on us just fine

The war on encryption waged by the F.B.I. and other intelligence agencies is unnecessary, because the data trails we voluntarily leak allow “Internet of Things” devices and social media networks to track us in ways the government can access.

That's the short version of what's in “Don’t Panic: Making Progress on the ‘Going Dark’ Debate,” a study published today by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. Read the rest

Time-capsule crypto to help journalists protect their sources

Jonathan Zittrain writes, "I published an op-ed in the Boston Globe today musing on the prospects for 'time capsule encryption,' one of several ways of storing information that renders it inaccessible to anyone until certain conditions -- such as the passage of time -- are met. I could see libraries and archives offering such technology as part of accepting papers and manuscripts, especially in the wake of the "Belfast Project" situation, where a library promised confidentiality for accounts of the Troubles in North Ireland, and then found itself amidst subpoenas from law enforcement looking to solve long-cold cases. But the principle could apply to any person or company thinking that there's a choice between leaving information exposed to leakage, or destroying it entirely."

I'm less enthusiastic about this than Jonathan is. I think calibrating the strength of your time-capsule is very hard. If the NSA might be an order of magnitude faster than the rest of us at brute-force cryptanalysis, that means you need to make your 10-year capsule strong enough to last for 100 years just to be on the safe side. Same goes for proof-of-work. Read the rest

This Day in Blogging History: Calvin and Hobbes search engine; Boyle's "Public Domain"; Sex-blogging in China

One year ago today

Search engine for the full text and descriptions of every Calvin and Hobbes script: A search engine that runs against the full text and descriptions of all the Calvin and Hobbes strips.

Five years ago today

James Boyle's "The Public Domain" -- a brilliant copyfighter's latest book, from a law prof who writes like a comedian: Boyle ranks with Lessig, Benkler and Zittrain as one of the most articulate, thoughtful, funny and passionate thinkers in the global fight for free speech, open access, and a humane and sane policy on patents, trademarks and copyrights.

Ten years ago today

Female blogger's first-person sex column causes ruckus in China: 25-year-old Chinese blogger Mu Zimei, whose sexually explicit first-person accounts have generated controversy -- and celebrity -- for the former magazine columnist. Read the rest

This Day in Blogging History: Victory for naked American hero; Crazy nude airplane passenger; How suits and lawyers ruined nerds' good time

One year ago today

Portland's "Naked American Hero" not guilty! John was found not guilty -- hurray!

Five years ago today Nude, crazed airplane passenger: "stripped naked, got dressed again, and then attempted to open the emergency exit door."

Ten years ago today How the Nerds Were Having A Perfectly Good Time Until The Businesspeople And Lawyers Showed Up And Ruined Everything: Jonathan Zittrain and Terry Fisher's talk: "Domain names - How the mess came about" Read the rest

Harvard, let everyone have access to the Bluebook!

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,

One of the most important books in the U.S. legal profession is known as the Bluebook®: A Uniform System of Legal Citation®. The Bluebook® has all the rules about how you talk about law: the proper way to cite sources and format footnotes in legal briefs, law journal articles, and any other legal document. The rules are highly specific, and many courts explicitly require that any brief submitted must conform to the rules.

What is strange about the Bluebook® is that it is owned by a consortium of four rich law schools (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Penn) and they keep a really tight grip on it. Every law student has to pay the $30 Blue Tax for their copy. Even worse, if you want to embed the rules in a style language to help lawyers do footnotes better, or any other innovative tool for the legal profession, you would need permission from the Blue People and that permission is simply denied.

Read the rest

Former FCC Chairman: Let's Test an Emergency Ad Hoc Network in Boston

Jonathan Zittrain writes, "Ad hoc mesh networking has been developed to enable free and censorship-resistant communications in places like Egypt and Syria. (The New America Foundation's Commotion project is an example of that kind of network.)

Less explored has been this kind of networking for public safety purposes, such during attacks or natural disasters. In this article, former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and I explain why it'd be a good idea to develop these kinds of networks, and sketch out how they might work."

Former FCC Chairman: Let’s Test an Emergency Ad Hoc Network in Boston Read the rest

Blowing up Morozov's "To Save Everything, Click Here"

Tim Wu has written an admirably economical and restrained review of Evgeny Morozov's new book, "To Save Everything, Click Here." I wrote a long critique of Morozov's first book in 2011, and back then, I found myself unable to restrain myself from enumerating the many, many flaws in the book and its fundamental dishonesty, pandering and laziness. Wu has more discipline than I do, and limits himself to a much shorter, sharper and better critique of Morozov's new one. It's a must-read:

“To Save Everything, Click Here” is rife with such bullying and unfair attacks that seem mainly designed to build Morozov’s particular brand of trollism; one suspects he aspires to be a Bill O’Reilly for intellectuals. How else to explain the savaging of thinkers whom you might think of as his natural allies? Consider Nicholas Carr, another critic of Silicon Valley, who wrote a book, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” detailing the malicious effect of Web apps on our minds. He commits the unforgivable sin of discussing “the Internet” and is therefore guilty of what Morozov calls “McLuhanesque medium-centrism.” (Morozov is evidently licensed to use concepts, even if his targets are not). Similarly, although most of my work is an effort to put the Internet in historical or legal context, I, too, am an “Internet-centrist” (but at least I’m in good company).

Too much assault and battery creates a more serious problem: wrongful appropriation, as Morozov tends to borrow heavily, without attribution, from those he attacks.

Read the rest

Declaration of Internet Freedom

I've signed the Declaration of Internet Freedom, a short, to-to-point manifesto for a free and open Internet. It's attracted some very august signatories, including Amnesty International, Hackers and Founders, Global Voices, Mozilla, the NY Tech Meetup, Personal Democracy, Fight for the Future, Yochai Benkler, danah boyd, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Aaron Swartz and Jonathan Zittrain. You can sign it too, and talk about it here or on Reddit.

We stand for a free and open Internet.

We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:

* Expression: Don't censor the Internet.

* Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.

* Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.

* Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users' actions.

* Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.

Declaration of Internet Freedom Read the rest

ROFLcon III

ROFLcon, the biennial extravaganza of deranged internet culture, takes place this weekend in Cambridge, Mass. The third such event, there'll be panels about memes, microfame, gaming and art, with a keynote speech from Jonathan Zittrain.

Attending will be Anil Dash, Andy Baio, Chris Poole, Nick Douglas, Joel Veitch, Chris Torres, Jason Scott, and many more. We will do our best to amuse one another, and you.

I'll be moderating a panel about the web of the 1990s, with Eric "conveys an emotion" Wu, Josh Levine of zombo.com, and Jonti "Weebl" Picking.

Here's the full schedule. Tickets to the two-day epic can be gotten for $55 and up. Don't fret if they're all sold out: there will be videos galore posted next week. Read the rest

Wikileaks panel with Ellsberg, Shirky, Thiel, Zittrain & Singham

This 1:48 panel discussion from Silicon Valley's Churchill Club features Daniel Ellsberg, Clay Shirky, Peter Thiel, Jonathan Zittrain and Neville Roy Singham on the topic of "WikiLeaks: Why it Matters. Why it Doesn't." Though the Q&A gets a little sidetracked, the discussion covers a lot of good, thoughtful, nuanced ground. Read the rest

Video of a 3D printer in action

Marketplace Tech Report had a piece on 3D printing this morning. I came away with two thoughts:

1: I MUST see photos of the bicycle made from 3D printed parts that Jonathan Zittrain mentions in the interview. (So far, no dice. If you find anything, let me know.)

2: "Holy Cats! I've never watched a 3D printer work!" Luckily, YouTube came through for me. Big time. I chose this video to post because of the nifty song that goes with it, but there's lots more 3D printer videos available—including some that feature DIY printers. Follow the link, be awed, kill lots of time.

See Also:

Cheap, portable personal 3D printer: the UP! Turn an inkjet into a 3D printer White paper on 3D printing and the law: the coming copyfight 3D printing with glow-in-the-dark plastic NYT on 3D printing Read the rest

Wonderful scans from a 1962 book of tech predictions for1975

Here's Meat Puppets drummer Derrick Bostrom's scans from Arnold B. Barach's 1962 book, 1975 and the Changes to Come. In addition to the usual hopes for space colonies and some prescient looks at things like pacemakers, there's also a healthy dose of wonderfully goofy, super-modernist TV designs and the ever-popular Kitchen of the Future (shown here).

1975 And The Changes To Come

(via Paleofuture)

Robert Heinlein's minimalist home of the future from 1952 - Boing ... Future of Publishing video will amuse and delight Zittrain's "The Future of the Internet" -- how to save the ... Tim O'Reilly explains the Cloud 17th century scientist does "predictions of the future" better ... Heathrow gets driverless car of tomorrow, today Skyscraper airport of tomorrow, 1939 The phone-watch of tomorrow, (rendered) today Video: Tex Avery's Television of Tomorrow (1953) Sky belt-trains of tomorrow, 1932 The Arcade Cabinet of Tomorrow Read the rest

Jonathan Zittrain is on the mend, thanks in part to the internet

Author and Internet researcher Jonathan Zittrain got hit with a mysterious but serious illness that doctors couldn't figure out. A friend created a blog (with Zittrain's identity veiled, for privacy) to crowdsource the investigation into why he was illin'—and it looks like they've figured it out. Zittrain is on the road to recovery, and is no longer in need of help finding out why. Yay, internet, and yay, smart doctors! Get well soon, Jonathan. Read the rest

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