As I catch-up on posting shows that should have been posted several months ago, but are (perhaps sadly) still quite timely, I’m pleased to post Show # 262, May 31, 2017, my interview with Prof. Al Roberts, Director of the School of Public Policy at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of Four Crises of American Democracy: Representation, Mastery, Discipline, Anticipation. Al is one of the nation’s leading scholars on government secrecy, and his recent work has focused on the broad functional challenges faced by governmental institutions today. In our wide ranging discussion, we examined the state of government today, its capacity to withstand the pressures exerted on it by outside forces, and what we can reasonably expect government to do and not do in response. Obviously pressing and critical issues, I always enjoy my discussions with Al, and hope that you do as well!
I’m pleased to post Show # 255, May 13, my interview with Prof. Michael Schudson of the Columbia School of Journalism, author of The Rise of the Right to Know: Politics and the Culture of Transparency, 1945–1975. Michael is one of the leading media historians writing today, whose many books have helped shape the media studies field. His focus in this work is the mid-century struggle to offer public access to government operations despite the many traditions and practices that pushed against such openness. The post-war era was marked by many ebbs and tides of openness, of which the passing of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was most well-known. In our discussion, we focused on FOIA and other open government laws, its challenges and the impact of this history on our understanding of the Wikileaks-Snowden era. I was thrilled to have Michael on the show, and hope that you find the discussion enlightening.
I’m excited to post Show # 249, February 26, my interview with Lorelei Kelly of the New America Foundation on technology and legislative decision-making. Lorelei has done unique, critical and groundbreaking working focusing on the collapse of substantive expertise within Congress. More recently, Lorelei has been working on how governments can build resiliency into the legislative process in order to be able to operate effectively and proactively in our dynamic society. Thus, e-government, Congress’ current state, the challenges of policy-making in today’s DC, and her concept of “resilient government” was the focus of our discussion. Lorelei’s work deserves significant attention, I’m an unabashed fan, and she’s an engaging speaker, so I hope that you enjoy the show!
(a) The State of Our Union is Strong (in Oregon), Huffington Post, January 16, 2016.
(b) Civility Is a National Security Issue, Huffington Post, March 25, 2016.
(c) Congress’ Wicked Problem, Open Society Institute, documenting the destruction of expertise capacity within Congress.
I am thrilled to post Show # 223, November 6, my interview with Prof. Frank Pasquale of the University of Maryland School of Law, author of The Black Box Society: Technologies of Search, Reputation, and Finance. I am an unabashed fan and admirer of Frank’s work, and find his ability to annotate blog posts to be the gold standard. So this was a difficult interview for me, simply because I was tempted to use the classic professorial one-word prompt “discuss,” and leave the microphone open for Frank to deliver a monologue for 50 minutes.
Alas, I did not do that. Frank’s book discusses the challenges inherent in commercial secrecy from a information access and democracy perspective. Focusing on algorithmic computing, he runs through the opacity of computing and its impact on the average consumer in areas ranging from finance to Internet searches. We discussed these challenging issues and potential solutions in our discussion. These critical issues deserve the attention that Frank pays to them, and I hope that you enjoy the discussion as much as I did.
I’m pleased to post Show #210, April 22, my interview with Mary Wong, Senior Policy Director at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on the move towards international administration of the Internet. Over the past three months, there has been much discussion about the move from US to ICANN administration of domain names. Mary, a former law professor, is at the center of this issue at ICANN, and I wanted Mary to come on the show to answer questions and dispel myths about this important procedural issue. In our discussion, we discussed the role of ICANN and what their increased role in administering domain names means and doesn’t mean. I enjoyed the discussion.
New semester, and new projects, means that I’m only now posting the last four shows from the summer quarter. They are:
First, Show # 189, July 17, is my interview with Valentin Dander, PhD candidate at the University of Innsbruck, on open government data. I met Valentin at MIT8, a wonderful conference where this law professor got to meet with and learn from many fascinating communications scholars, some of whom will be future guests on Hearsay Culture. Having heard Valentin’s talk on open government data, I thought it would be a great topic for the show — and it was! We discussed the theory underlying and need for open data structures in government, and their ramifications. I greatly enjoyed the interview!
The second show, Show #190, July 24, is my interview with Prof. Deven Desai of Thomas Jefferson Law School, on 3D printing. Deven’s work focuses on the implications of 3D printing — the ability to “copy” physical objects — in the intellectual property sphere, particularly patents. The dramatic impact of 3D printing is only now beginning to be felt and weighed by scholars, policymakers and society, so I was very excited to have Deven on the show to discuss his early insights. I very much enjoyed the interview!
Additionally, I’m pleased to post the third show, Show #191, August 14, my interview with Prof. Michael Rich of Elon University School of Law, on technology and crime. Mike, who is not only a colleague but a friend, has been doing cutting-edge work on the question of how technology can be used to prevent crime, and the ramifications of using such technology. During our discussion, we focused on two of his articles examining the contours of this issue, from what we mean by “perfect prevention” of crime to the technological limitations of such efforts. As always, I greatly enjoyed by conversation with Mike and consider myself fortunate to work with him at Elon.
Lastly, I’m thrilled to post Show #192, August 23, my interview with Tim Jordan of King’s College London on hacking. Tim is (and has been) doing fascinating work on the question of how the Internet has changed communication practices. Drawing on the worlds of 19th century Australian pioneers and modern-day virtual world gamers, Internet, Society and Culture: Communicative Practices Before and After the Internet, published by Bloomsbury, was a terrific book from which to draw many enlightening and fun points of discussion. I learned much and loved the interview.
I am now in the process of setting the schedule for the Fall 2013 quarter, so please look for the schedule by the end of September (I am excited to note that the first guest will be Prof. Anupam Chander of UC Davis Law, author of the just-released book The Electronic Silk Road). In the interim, please email me at email@example.com if you have any comments, questions or suggestions for future guests. Thanks for listening!
I’m pleased to post the last three shows of the spring quarter.
The first, Show #163, May 22 is my interview with Prof. Lea Shaver of Hofstra Law regarding her article Illuminating Innovation. Lea focuses on the story of Edison’s invention of the lightbulb, but draws some surprising conclusions about its import to intellectual property law and, through discussion of less well-known aspects of the story, reaches some surprising results. Drawing on Lea’s deep knowledge of the issues surrounding one of the seminal inventions of the modern era, I very much enjoyed the discussion.
The second show, Show #164, May 29, is my interview with Christopher Soghoian and Stephanie K. Pell, co-authors of Can You See Me Now?: Toward Reasonable Standards for Law Enforcement Access to Location Data that Congress Could Enact. Chris and Stephanie discuss the largely unknown (and not understood) issues surrounding the use of technological location data (think, GPS on your cell phone) by law enforcement. Their combined knowledge, drawn from the worlds of technology/security and law enforcement, respectively, makes for an unusually thorough examination of this challenging issue. We discussed the technology, how its used, and what to do about it. I learned from and enjoyed the interview.
Finally, the last show of the spring quarter, Show #165, June 5, is my interview with Marvin Ammori, author of First Amendment Architecture. Marvin has written an exhaustive analysis of how architecture, be it technological or physical, or as Marvin calls them, “spaces,” play into the law surrounding the First Amendment. This important but under-theorized issue is critical to the ability to maintain and protect the ability to speak in a technologically unstable time. The issue of spaces is thoroughly analyzed in Marvin’s article, and we discussed his theories and their ramifications going forward in this fun and enlightening discussion.
I am in the process of finalizing the schedule for the summer quarter, so look for that on Monday!
May brings the combined professor’s pincer of grading and writing deadlines. So it is that I submitted my 3L grades yesterday and now I’m posting (finally!) four new shows.
The first, Show #159, March 16, is my interview with Prof. Julie Cohen of Georgetown Law, author of the book Configuring the Networked Self. Julie has written a fascinating and forward-thinking critique of our relationship to technology and the primary challenges facing consumers of technology as they navigate the increasing intrusions of technology into our everyday lives. We covered a variety of topics in this discussion, from social constructs to secrecy, and part two (to be scheduled) will focus on a major portion of the book that was not covered here: privacy. I greatly enjoyed the interview.
Show #160, April 17 is my interview with Prof. Jennifer Holt of the University of California Santa Barbara, author of the book Empires of Entertainment. Jennifer looks at the period just prior to the explosion of the commercial Internet, 1980-1996, and focuses on the changes and consolidations that occurred during that tumultuous time in the history of the entertainment industry. Jennifer examines not just the business environment during this era, but also the legal and social contours that lead to where we were at the dawn of the Internet, and in that way has made a unique contribution to the literature on this era. We covered not just that recent history, but also some current events like the battle over SOPA and PIPA. The interview was fun and I hope that you enjoy it as well.
The third interview, Show #161, April 24 is my interview with Prof. Hamilton Bean of the University of Colorado Denver, author of the book No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence. Hamilton has written a first-of-a-kind analysis of the use of public information (i.e., open source) in the collection and analysis functions of the US intelligence community. Drawing on many first-hand interviews, he focuses on the mystique and myths around secrecy in the intelligence community and the challenges of institutionalizing the use of open source information. Given the increasing study of “secrecy” as a field, I was excited to have Hamilton on the show and enjoyed the interview.
Finally, Show #162, May 1 is my interview with Prof. Daniel Margocsy of Hunter College, co-editor of States of Secrecy, a new volume of the British Journal for the History of Science. Daniel has brought together many great contributors, including several former guests on Hearsay Culture like Mario Biagioli and Peter Galison to analyze secrecy as a political, legal and social construct in the scientific community. Drawing on the history of the theory of secrecy, we (in some measure) continued the discussion from the previous week to focus on what secrecy means to the continued flow of knowledge and information to and from the scientific community. This was yet another interview that I found personally illuminating and fun.
Thanks for your patience and look for more new shows on the way soon!
I’m pleased to post the last show of the summer quarter, Show #149, August 31, my interview with Prof. Susan Shirk of the University of California – San Diego, editor of the book Changing Media, Changing China. Susan has edited a book comprised of essays about China’s media landscape by some of China’s leading journalists and academics, as well as other experts. As a scholar with decades of experience living in and studying Chinese media, Susan was an outstanding guest with whom to discuss the complex and somewhat counter-intuitive relationship between the Chinese government and the media, which ranges from government to private entities. I greatly enjoyed the conversation!
I am pleased to post three new shows in this hectic semester. The first, Show #123, October 27 is my interview with Fred Stutzman, doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science. Fred is doing cutting-edge work on the impact of social media and, as a software designer, has also authored an application that kills social media on your computer for a fixed period of time. In our interview, we discussed Fred’s work and the role that social media plays in the life of current teenagers. I greatly enjoyed the interview.
The second, Show # 124, November 3 is my interview with Prof. Peter Lee of UC-Davis School of Law, discussing technology transfer and innovation. Peter focuses on issues involving the murky world of university research and regulation. Our discussion focused on the competing values of the traditional university and modern commercialization efforts and the law surrounding this complex dichotomy. Peter shed light on a number of considerations key to this issue and I enjoyed having the discussion.
The final show being posted today is Show #125, November 10, my interview with Prof. Tim Wu of Columbia Law School, author of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. Tim’s book focuses on the environments in which entities can control the flow of information. We discussed a variety of topics ranging from the role of the FCC in information regulation to the threat posed by Apple. I enjoyed Tim’s book and our broad discussion.
Three more shows coming soon!