Category Archives: Essays

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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Bitcoin: More Covert than it Looks

There’s been a lot of discussion in the past few weeks about how anonymous Bitcoin actually is. If you’re new to Bitcoin, you can check my short introduction to the cryptocurrency over at Ars Technica. Bitcoin is often incorrectly touted … 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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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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Why no SSL?

This week, I’d like to start a short series on the social failures of good security on the web, focusing on the disuse of HTTPs, and the absence of good (or – at least – best practice) authentication on the … Continue reading

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HTTPs Actually Doesn’t Suck

Locking Nothing by Darwin Bell on Flickr Two weeks ago, in a sentiment echoed far and wide on the interwebs, I talked about the human, and logistical difficulties associated with our hierarchical trust model for SSL certificate signing. This week, … Continue reading

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Before the Law

This essay is a response to Franz Kafka’s parable Before the Law. It was originally assigned as part of POL 318: Law and Society, taught by Sarah Staszak in the Spring 2010 semester at Princeton University. As Derrida has commented, … Continue reading

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Cryptography and the Human Aspects

It’s a common conception within the cyber security community that in the security arms race, cryptography always wins. However, this position – while consistent with the state of the art of the technology – perhaps ignores some of the logistics … Continue reading

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Science Fiction and Fantasy as Genres

Science Fiction and Fantasy are two genres often differentiated by their settings: in a fantasy novel, the impossible occurs by magic, while sci-fi achieves the same through speculative technology. This may once have been the best way to identify and … Continue reading

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Responses to Lichtman on Copyright

In his paper, Copyright as Innovation Policy, Douglas Lichtman makes several bold assertions about the purpose, function and intent of copyright law, both generally, and with specific reference to the fair use doctrine. These claims are presented as obviously true … Continue reading

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