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


Show # 239 — Jacob Silverman, author of Terms of Service — posted

I’m pleased to post Show # 239, June 3, my interview with Jacob Silverman, author of Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection. Jacob has written an insightful critique of the costs associated with information socialization and sharing. [Note: as a contracts professor, I should point out that this book does not use “terms of service” (end-user license agreements and the like) as we might in first-year Contracts]. Focusing on the meaning of status, visibility and followers, Jacob runs through a range of concerns surrounding social media, including sentiment analysis, privacy and “dataveillance.” We probed several areas in our discussion, from the meaning of the monicker “Luddite” to whether technology is, in fact, neutral. I greatly enjoyed the interview.

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Show # 238 — Prof. Arvind Narayanan on Bitcoin, cryptography, privacy and web transparency — posted

I am pleased to post Show # 238, May 27, my interview with Prof. Arvind Narayanan of Princeton University on Bitcoin, cryptography, privacy and web transparency. Arvind does a range of information policy-related research and writing as a professor affiliated with Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP). [Note: I am a Visiting Research Collaborator at CITP]. Through studying the operation of and security challenges surrounding the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, Arvind has been able to assess cryptography as a privacy-enhancing and dis-intermediating technology. To that end, we had a wide-ranging discussion, from the varied roles of cryptography to commercial surveillance and transparency. Because Arvind is such a dynamic and interdisciplanary scholar, we had a wonderful discussion that I hope you enjoy!

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Show # 237 — Prof. Gabriella Coleman on Anonymous — posted

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.

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Show # 236 — Prof. Peter Asaro on killer robots — posted

I’m pleased to post Show # 236, May 13, my interview with Peter Asaro of the School of Media Studies at The New School, on killer robots. Peter is one of the leading experts on the somewhat haphazard introduction of robotics into everyday life. As the Spokesperson for the The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, Peter has taken a key role in educating the public about robotics’ current and potential future capabilities. In our discussion, we canvassed the nascent world of robotics law and regulation, and the impact of robotics on everything from the availability of jobs for humans to the right of privacy. Because we are seemingly at the near-dawn of this era, I was thrilled to have Peter on the show to discuss his important work. I hope that you enjoy the interview.

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Show # 235 — Profs. Irina Manta and David Olson on consumer monitoring and price discrimination in the software market — posted

I’m pleased to post Show # 235, April 29, my interview with Profs. Irina Manta of Hofstra Law and David Olson of Boston College Law, authors of Hello Barbie: First They Will Monitor You, Then They Will Discriminate Against You. Perfectly. Irina and David have written a challenging and insightful article that posits a burgeoning economy where, as they put it, “manufacturers of software and of consumer goods … make use of consumer monitoring technologies and restrictive software licenses to more perfectly price discriminate.” Put differently, Irina and David argue that corporate monitoring and the ability to set restrictive license terms may not have the negative effects that one might assume; indeed, it may make software more affordable for more people. Drawing on the somewhat-creepy story of Mattel’s Hello Barbie, Irina and David have penned a fascinating article that positions the Internet of Things as a potential boon to software and technology access. We explored the structure and ramifications of their arguments in a fun discussion, which I hope you enjoy!

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Show # 234 — Prof. Danielle Citron on Hate Crimes in Cyberspace — posted

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.

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Show # 233 — Pedro Roffe and Prof. Xavier Seuba on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and intellectual property in trade agreements — posted

I’m excited to post the last show of the winter 2015 quarter, Show # 233, March 18, my interview with Pedro Roffe of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and Prof. Xavier Seuba of the University of Strasbourg, co-editors of ACTA and the Plurilateral Enforcement Agenda. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was the first modern effort to address copyright piracy on the Internet in the international lawmaking arena. It was a failure in no small part due to the excessive secrecy of the negotiations; nonetheless, there is more to learn from the experience than merely procedural failure. In our discussion, we spanned procedure and substance, including lessons to be learned for ongoing trade negotiations like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TTP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Given the ongoing battle over fast tracking the TPP, this show is particularly timely. I greatly enjoyed the discussion and hope that you do as well!

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Show # 232 — Jack Rabid on The Big Takeover, the music industry and online publishing — posted

I am pleased to post Show # 232, March 11, my interview with Jack Rabid, editor-in-chief and founder of the legendary music magazine The Big Takeover. Jack is one of the pioneers of modern music writing and criticism, having launched The Big Takeover in New York in 1980 as a critic and fan of punk music. Since then, he has developed a loyal subscriber base, including your host! I’ve been an admirer of Jack’s and his writing for some time; indeed, his magazine clued me in quite a bit of great music that I’d have never heard about otherwise (kind of like my goal for intellectual property and technology issues on Hearsay Culture). On the show, we discussed his experience launching a music magazine, the conversion to electronic publishing and the status of the music industry. Given his unique perspective as a music critic, publisher and musician himself, I enjoyed having him on the show and hope that you find this wide-ranging interview enlightening.

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Welcome to HearsayCulture.com 2.0 (thanks to Brandon Frye and William Moner!)

In May 2006, I launched the Hearsay Culture radio show because I missed doing radio (after a 16 year hiatus) and wanted a way back in. I also sought a way to force myself to read the articles and books that I thought I should be reading as a new academic and putative scholar (and after eight years of practice as a commercial litigator, much of it in the intellectual property and entertainment space, I really needed to get up to policy and theory speed). Much to my delight, the show was successful, and by early 2007 I had launched Hearsay Culture’s website (with webhosting recommendations from early guest Colette Vogele).

Until today, I had used the exact same design and functionality as was available to my rookie brain in 2007. Given time constraints — teaching, writing, committee work, service, travel, family, biologic need for sleep and exercise, fantasy baseball, etc. — almost all of my Hearsay Culture time has been devoted to identifying, scheduling, preparing for interviews, recording and interviewing, and posting shows. Whatever extra time that I had was monopolized by a multi-year effort to fend off hackers (thanks to the wonderful Oliver Day of Securing Change for all of the expert help and ingenious patches).

Today, I’m thrilled beyond words to unveil the new hacker-free Hearsay Culture website. You should not only see a clean and exciting new design, but much more robust functionality, from expanded social network linking to an embedded audio player for each show post. The Listen link now corrects my early error by clearly identifying the year associated with an interview (who knew that the show would run for nine years and counting?) The site is now mobile-friendly. You’ll even see a new logo! Play around with site and let me know what you think at the new Contact link. What else would you like to see?

Just as the show is about the guests, the fact of a new site is also about others. I am proud to say that I can thank two Elon University colleagues, iMedia graduate student Brandon Frye and his professor William J. Moner, for the complete overhaul announced today. It would not have happened without them. Brandon and William have spent many volunteer hours on this project, including Brandon’s design of the website and logo under William’s guidance. I am extremely grateful for their creative, expert and professional work, and the results speak for themselves. Aside from being honored to call them Elon colleagues, you can now call me a reference and a client.

I hope that the new website augments and streamlines your listening experience. Look for tweaks in the coming weeks, including integration with popular podcast streaming applications, an updated Resources page and perhaps some additional blog content beyond the shows. Others may follow depending on your comments.

Thanks so much for listening — you’re the reason that I continue to record new shows. In fact, in tandem with this announcement, I’ve posted a new show with Stanford’s Jonathan Mayer on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and hacking. Two more new shows will follow over the coming two days.

Finally, check out the upcoming schedule for this quarter and the future. The first show of the new quarter, with Prof. Danielle Citron of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law on her book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, airs tomorrow, April 22, at 4pm pacific on KZSU. Here’s to another 230 shows!

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