As a result, Hearsay Culture has taken a bit of a summer hiatus; but, I have a few more shows from the past two months to post. Here’s the first, show # 256, May 20, my interview with Francesca Musiani of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Profs. Derrick L. Cogburn of American University’s School of International Service (SIS), and Laura DeNardis of American University’s School of Communication, co-editors of The Turn to Infrastructure in Internet Governance. Francesca, Derrick and returning guest Laura, along with co-editor Nanette Levinson, have gathered leading scholars and thinkers on the state of Internet operations. This area is critically important as the Internet moves into governance by international, rather than American, organizations. Particularly given the chaotic state of our public discourse, it is essential for policymakers to understand the various forces that operate to expand and constrain the Internet. In our discussion, we covered a range of topics, from Internet governance politics to whether international bodies can take on this complex task. I greatly enjoyed this wide-ranging discussion!
Get ready for one of my common (but not yet patented — too abstract?) barrages of new shows over the next few days. That’s what weekends are for — catching up on Hearsay Culture postings! So,to quote XTC — appropriately in this insane election cycle and as one bulwark against the ignorance enveloping our political process — let’s begin!
I’m pleased to post the first of the Spring 2016 shows, Show #252 from April 22, with Prof. Ben Peters of the University of Tulsa, author of How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet.
Ben has written a fascinating, exquisitely written and thoroughly researched and contextualized history of the repeated failures over 30+ years to create a Soviet Internet. Not merely a history, Ben’s analysis and writing shines when he places the ebbs and tides of its development in the broader socio-political environment in which a few brave pioneers were operating. That the Soviet Internet never developed reveals far more about the nature of a closed but competitive administrative state than it does about the genius underlying failed efforts. In our interview, we discussed both the intuitive and counter-intuitive modern insights borne from Ben’s meticulous writing and research.
Thanks to Hearsay Culture repeat guest Frank Pasquale for affording the opportunity to meet Ben at Yale Law’s extraordinary Unlocking the Black Box conference in April, and I hope that all of you enjoy the interview as much as I did!
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!
As always, the show is about the guests. I’m grateful for their willingness to come on the show and share their knowledge with all of you — who are the reason that I do the show. Look for the first show to air on April 15!
As promised (at least via Twitter), I’m finally posting new shows for the winter quarter of 2016. First up: Show # 247, January 15, 2016, my interview with Nato Thompson, author of Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century. Nato is an atypical but completely appropriate Hearsay Culture guest: an art curator. In Nato’s book (and broader work), he studies the use of art as a social and political force in a world infused with easy and transformative communication technologies. In our discussion, we explored the challenges and opportunities presented to and by our creative activists, and how consumers can interact with and react to this demonstration of power. Given the power of images and physical structure in our world, Nato’s focus is both highly relevant and largely unique. I greatly enjoyed chatting with Nato, and hope that you find the discussion enlightening!
For the final of the July shows, I’m thrilled to post Show # 243, July 31, my interview with Prof. Jacqueline Lipton of The University of Akron Law School, author of Rethinking Cyberlaw: A New Vision for Internet Law. Jacqui’s work is well known to Internet and intellectual property law scholars, and she makes a wonderful contribution with her take on the state of Internet Law as a field today. Focusing primarily on copyright, trademark and speech caselaw and doctrine, Jacqui suggests that Internet Law’s primary focus is now information and intermediaries (think Google or Facebook). As I’m going to be teaching Internet Law again starting in a few weeks, I’m integrating Jacqui’s insights into my materials. We discussed the state of the field and where its headed in our discussion, which was a lot of fun.
The Summer 2015 schedule is posted! It’s a terrific group of guests, discussing topics ranging from legislative decision-making to control over robots. I look forward to chatting with them!
Note: because I have several writing deadlines coming up this summer (on issues like trade secrecy in start-ups and transparency in trade negotiations), there’s a a slightly lighter schedule than normal. Apologies; alas, articles do not write themselves — yet.
At long last, I’m pleased to post Show # 237, May 20, my interview with return guest Prof. Gabriella Coleman of McGill University, author of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous. Biella has written a remarkable anthropological study of Anonymous, the ubiquitous collection of technology activists who were born out of the “lulz” (i.e., pranksterism plus). Over many months, Biella got to know an assortment of individuals involved in Anonymous, and through that interaction paints a complex and surprising picture of their operations. In our discussion, we talked about both her research methods and the insights that she developed through her work. In an era of networked interactions that exist on the spectrum from public to secret, Biella’s work is both groundbreaking and essential. I greatly enjoyed our broad discussion.
I’m pleased to post Show # 234, April 22, my interview with Prof. Danielle Citron of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace. Danielle has written the definitive study of the range of activities that constitute “hate crimes” on the Internet. Focusing on activities ranging from “revenge porn” to cyber-stalking, Danielle takes a critical look at the law and norms around this behavior today. Given that policymakers, speech platforms and even law enforcement are struggling to ascertain the scope of these problems and how they should be addressed, Danielle’s work is a timely and sorely needed contribution to our understanding of speech and harms in modern communications today. I was thrilled to have Danielle on the show and hope that you find the show enlightening.
I’m pleased to post Show # 220, August 6, my interview with James Grimmelmann of the University of Maryland School of Law and David Post of Temple University School of Law, on the recent US Supreme Court decision in ABC, Inc. v. Aereo and Facebook’s emotional manipulation study. David and James are both repeat guests on Hearsay Culture, but have never been on together. We focused on two issues: (a) the Aereo amicus brief authored by David and James on behalf of law professors, and the impact of the Aereo decision on copyright law and how new content delivery systems may or may not run afoul of copyright law, and (b) the impact of Facebook’s secretive 2014 behavioral study in which it manipulated the content delivered to users’ newsfeeds, particularly James’ extensive analysis of the problems associated with the study. Both issues raise important questions of the role of law in information and content distribution and how private entities and the public might navigate the current technological terrain. I always enjoy David and James as insightful guests capable of wide-ranging discussion, and this show was no exception.