Category Archives: Commentary

Hacktivism & Mistakes

I know that much ink has already been spilled over Aaron Swartz‘s indictment. If you haven’t read any of it, this New York Times article is a good start. Kevin Driscoll, posting on the Students for Free Culture blog notes … Continue reading

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The Punk Test

Predicting the results of important technology, copyright and patent cases is almost impossible. Experts who are intimately familiar with the subject matter and precedents are only slightly better than a coin toss at guessing outcomes. Even cases which seem simple … Continue reading

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BitTorrent is ThoughtCrime

[caption id="attachment_440" align="alignright" width="320" caption="CC by blogpocket on flickr"]I Love P2P[/caption] Use of BitTorrent is stigmatised, and poses potential administrative cost and liability risk for anyone who uses it. Since BitTorrent is the most effective ways to distribute large files -especially by individuallys, and small businesses who can’t afford much infrastructure – this limits technical options that many people have. Academic analysis of copyright infringement and the surrounding ecosystem may even require such direct data analysis.

This taboo ties the hands of many, even when the protocol is used for legitimate purposes. If an academic wants to conduct investigations which have strong fair use defences, these costs and risks may result in personal or institutional aversion to such research. This has the effect of chilling discussion and investigation of P2P technology, and the related public policy issue of copyright infringement.

Read on for more. Continue reading

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Do Not Track means Do Not Track

I’ve been giving some thought to proposed “Do Not Track” legislation. The proposals, currently being considered by the FTC and the legislature, seek to protect user privacy by empowering us to tell online services not to track us in a … Continue reading

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Twitter for Grown-Ups

Derek Powazek has some pretty good advice on how to use Twitter like a reasonable person. Gina Trapani likes to follow everyone important (to be polite), but only actually reads tweets from a scant 9% of those people who are … Continue reading

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Real Cybersecurity Begins at Home

The Tech Liberation Front has a great article rejecting some of the thoughtless panic around the way that Google’s streetview cars have been mapping wifi networks. One of their subtitles really jumped out at me: Real Cyber Security Begins at … Continue reading

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Writing Law Like We Write Code

As I, and others, have remarked before: laws bear certain resemblances to computer code. A state’s constitution is like the operating system for that country. We have different types of government: democracy, monarchy, &c, just as we have different operating … Continue reading

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