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.
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. — Read the rest
I've just finished reading Jonathan Zittrain's The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, a provocative, well-reasoned, well-informed and sometimes frustrating book about the power of the Internet to allow people to be more effective at taking action — whether that action is good or bad. — Read the rest
Nick sez, "Jonathan Zittrain gets so many things right in his book, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It about what he calls 'generative technology' and why it's so important. It's chock-full of all sorts of issues that make Boingers salivate – freedom of speech, copyright, open source software, digital rights activism, privacy, censorship – put together into a very convincing argument in favor of unbridled innovation. — Read the rest
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.
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.
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
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. — Read the rest
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
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. — Read the rest
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. — Read the rest
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"
Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,
— Read the rest
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.
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. — Read the rest
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. — Read the rest
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. — Read the rest
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.
Joseph Reagle Jr's Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia is exactly what a popular, scholarly work should be: serious but not slow, intelligent but not dull, and esoteric but not obscure. It's practically a textbook example on how to adapt a dissertation as a trade book — dropping the literature review, moderating the stuff that's meant to prove you've done your homework, and diving straight into the argument. — Read the rest
Marketplace Tech Report had a piece on 3D printing this morning. I came away with two thoughts:
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). — Read the rest