A Tech/Law Talk Show designed to cover modern technology and Internet issues with host Dave Levine.

Show # 87 — Prof. Ron Deibert — posted

I am pleased to post the first show of the new quarter! Show #87, April 8, is my interview with Prof. Ronald Deibert of the University of Toronto, discussing Tracking GhostNet, Access Denied and Citizen Lab. In the interview, we cover Ron’s recent groundbreaking work on GhostNet, as well as the broader question of the use of technology by intelligence services and governments. Ron was a great guest and I hope that you enjoy the interview!

Look for new shows coming up, starting May 20!


Preempted! and News

The nature of radio is that you can get preempted by national events, emergencies, press conferences, or, if you have a show on KZSU-FM (Stanford) by Stanford baseball. Although I am a baseball fan and wish Stanford well, unfortunately this means that I will not have a new show air (after April 15) until May 20.

Although many of you listen by stream or rss subscription, there are also listeners in the Bay area who tune in the old-fashioned way, by turning a radio dial (figuratively, in all likelihood). I want to give all of my guests the “full” radio treatment. Hence, I do not do new shows when the show is preempted on KZSU-FM. While this quarter’s schedule on KZSU makes this decision particularly impactful, it is in the best interests and treatment of Hearsay Culture’s guests. So, thanks for your understanding and please stay tuned! You can look forward to the outstanding slate of guests that will carry us through the summer!

Separately, on a personal note, I am thrilled to announce that I will be joining the faculty of Elon University School of Law in the fall. Have no fear, the show will continue uninterrupted on KZSU and the other media channels through which the show is distributed. I’m very excited at joining Elon and helping build a great and forward-thinking law school! Talk to you soon!


Show #86 — Andrew Lewman and Prof. Wendy Seltzer of the Tor Project — posted and programming note

I am pleased to post Show #86, March 11, my interview with Andrew Lewman and Prof. Wendy Seltzer of the Tor Project. Tor is an innovative and somewhat controversial organization whose purpose is to provide the software necessary for any Internet user to maintain anonymity online. The controversy lies in its alleged uses, but there is no controversy about the impact and need for the technology itself. In the interview, we discuss Tor, how it works, and its uses and implications. I enjoyed the interview and hope that you do as well!

Hearsay Culture will be on hiatus during KZSU-FM’s interim period. Look for new shows beginning April 15. I am very excited about the slate of guests coming up! As always, if you have any suggestions for guests, please email me at dave@hearsayculture.com.


A simple idea to help save print journalism

My days working in the New York State Legislature — 1994-1995, pre-law school, right after graduation from college, as a Legislative Aide to a member of the Assembly — vividly and starkly illustrated to me the need for beat reporters to observe, question, fact-check and, most importantly, report on the goings-on in state capitols. Even with the fine journalism of the Albany Times-Union and the Troy Record, sometimes the best scoops came from the student-run Legislative Gazette (which, when I was in Albany, was generally not available outside of the Legislative Office Building (LOB)). Even with three newspapers, there was limited space to report on all of the goings-on; to bring sunshine to the dim hallways of the LOB. But the newspapers (overall) did their job of keeping the public informed well — they undoubtedly kept some people more honest than they might have been.

Contrast that with the recent explanations offered by CNBC’s Jim Cramer with regard to the errors made by his 24-hour news network: “We’ve got 17 hours of live TV a day to do.” Sadly, in 2009, while these cable news networks, desparate to fill airtime with whatever they can, become many people’s main source of news, traditional print media is atrophying.

We can’t “bail out” the press without losing freedom of the press, so how can private citizens help save the print news media (which, if there had been better and more investigative journalism, may have prevented, among other debacles, Madoff, Iraq, Bear Stearns, AIG, as well as expose potential problems at the state and local level?) Let’s start by *buying* a subscription to our *local* newspaper. I have far more faith in the print media to publicize and expose governmental activity than the current state of television news. Of course, people need to actually read the paper, but a good start to keeping the best of American journalism afloat is to actually buy state and local newspapers. Let’s do this before our state and local papers disappear and we suffer even more consequences of the massive erosion of transparency and accountability.


Shows 83, 84 and 85 — Prof. Mireille Hildebrandt, Bob Wallace and Prof. Ned Snow — posted

I am pleased to post three more shows for the quarter. The first, Show 83, January 28, is my interview with Prof. Mireille Hildebrandt of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), co-editor of Profiling the European Citizen. Mireille’s book is a compendium of analysis related to the use of data mining and other technologies to analyze and keep track of citizens of the EU, and is a cutting-edge study of this emerging practice. We had a wide ranging discussion of the ramifications of profiling and I thoroughly enjoyed the interview.

On February 4, Show # 84, I interviewed Robert Wallace, co-author of Spycraft. Spycraft is a history of the CIA’s Office of Technical Services, and is a fascinating account of the use of technology by the CIA and other intelligence agencies. I hope that you enjoy our discussion.

*Unfortunately, the audio quality of shows 83 and 84 is poor — you need to turn up your volume to maximum to make the discussion intelligible. Rather than re-record the interview, I post them here, and apologize to my guests and listeners for the technical difficulties.*

Show #85, February 18, is my interview with Prof. Ned Snow of the University of Arkansas School of Law on the perils of copyright. We discussed Ned’s insightful article Copytraps, a study of the impact of current copyright law on the unwitting copyright violator. Ned’s work is of universal interest, and I hope that you enjoy our discussion!


Show # 82 — Zohar Efroni — posted

Welcome to a new quarter! I am pleased to post the first show of the quarter, Show #82, January 14, my interview with Zohar Efroni, Non-Resident Fellow at CIS, discussing Israeli copyright law. Zohar writes in comparative copyright law, with particular focus on the law of Israel. In our discussion, we examine recent developments in the copyright law of Israel, and its impact on the Israeli economy. Zohar’s work is unique in its focus and perspective, and I hope that you enjoy the discussion!

Unfortunately, due to a technical malfunction, Shows #82 and 83 have poor sound quality. I am in the process of (hopefully) tweaking the audio to make them comfortably listenable. Thus, while they are now available on iTunes, I am not posting them here at this time. I hope to have an improved version of those shows posted here soon.

Meanwhile, I look forward to a great slate of guests coming up in the next several weeks!


What about the sacredness of our children’s future?

As I read about the latest industry to beg DC policymakers to give them taxpayer money to “bail” them out, I am reminded of the words of the late Senator Paul Tsongas: “We are a continuum. Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values, so we, as guardians of that legacy, must reach ahead to our children and their children. And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.”

In the flurry of fear accompanying every industry’s prediction of imminent demise, we seem to have lost that sense of sacredness. Although I understand that in the very short term we need to invest and table deficit reduction as a top priority, I am very concerned that the taxpayer will lose massive amounts of money on the [insert massive number north of $1 trillion here] “bailout” and we’ll still be talking about short-term stimulus packages in 2012 and 2016.

Let’s hope that there are people left in positions of power who care about our children’s future and are incensed that our children will pay for the greed of today. In the race to save all who did well when times were good and now want taxpayers to cover their downside risk, perhaps policymakers can stop once in a while and say “no.” Our children will be happy we did.


Disclosure Statement

For those that are interested, I’ve posted a disclosure statement addressing the major questions that you might have about the logistics and operations of Hearsay Culture. I hope that you find it . . . disclosing.


Show #81 — Prof. John Palfrey — posted

I am pleased to post Show #81, December 3, my interview with Prof. John Palfrey of Harvard Law School, co-author of Born Digital (co-authored with Urs Gasser). Born Digital addresses the basic questions of how we should view our children as they are (in large part) unwittingly immersed in a vastly interconnected world. What issues do we need to confront when it comes to regulating, protecting and judging today’s youth in the context of “read-write” culture? John and Urs move well beyond the “good Internet/bad Internet” discussion to offer deeper analysis of the questions and answers we must consider. Directed at parents, technologists and lawyers, I hope that you enjoy the interview!

Happy holidays to all; look for new shows beginning in mid-January!


Hearsay Culture selected as one of the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 of 2008

I am thrilled and honored to announce that Hearsay Culture has been listed in the American Bar Association (“ABA”) Journal’s Blawg 100 of 2008, as one of the “top 100 best Web sites by lawyers, for lawyers.” Specifically, Hearsay Culture was selected by the editors as one of the top five in the new podcast category. Ominously, the ABA Journal issued a “warning” about Hearsay Culture in its description: “The shows are academic and, as a result, very long.” As far as I could tell, Hearsay Culture is the only podcast that earned an explicit “warning,” an honor (as far as I’m concerned) in and of itself.

Now comes the quasi-crowdsourcing (credit: Jeff Howe) part: lawyers can vote for their favorite podcast through January 2, 2009. So, I encourage all lawyers who listen to the show and feel it worthy to vote for Hearsay Culture. I am facing some excellent competition, so regardless of your vote, I encourage all to check out the other terrific podcasts listed.

Thanks, as always, for your support of the show!