It’s Copyright Week, and I’ve kicked it off with a post at the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Deep Links explaining why, regardless of copyright term extension, Mickey Mouse will probably never be “free” — but that doesn’t mean that Disney is acting irrationally in its fight as hard as they are for eternal copyrights.
Late last year, the Computer Science Club at the University of Waterloo (a university I am proud to have dropped out of!) invited me to give a lecture: No Matter Who’s Winning the War on General Purpose Computing, You’re Losing. They’ve posted it in many formats for your enjoyment.
If cyberwar were a hockey game, it’d be the end of the first period and the score would be tied 500-500. All offense, no defense.
Meanwhile, a horrible convergence has occurred as everyone from car manufacturers to insulin pump makers have adopted the inkjet printer business model, insisting that only their authorized partners can make consumables, software and replacement parts — with the side-effect of making it a felony to report showstopper, potentially fatal bugs in technology that we live and die by.
And then there’s the FBI and the UK’s David Cameron, who’ve joined in with the NSA and GCHQ in insisting that everyone must be vulnerable to Chinese spies and identity thieves and pervert voyeurs so that the spy agencies will always be able to spy on everyone and everything, everywhere.
It’s been fifteen years since the copyright wars kicked off, and we’re still treating the Internet as a glorified video-on-demand service — when we’re not treating it as a more perfect pornography distribution system, or a jihadi recruitment tool.
It’s all of those — and more. Because it’s the nervous system of the 21st century. We’ve got to stop treating it like a political football.
My latest Guardian column, ‘Poor internet for poor people': India’s activists fight Facebook connection plan, tells the story of how India’s amazing Internet activists have beaten back Facebook’s bid to become gatekeeper to the Internet for the next billion users.
My new Locus Magazine column, Wicked Problems: Resilience Through Sensing, proposes a solution the urgent problem we have today of people doing bad stuff with computers. Where once “bad stuff with computers” meant “hacking your server,” now it could potentially mean “blocking air-traffic control transmissions” or “programming your self-driving car to kill you.”
It’s been a year since I sat down at the mic, but it’s Christmas and we have a tradition to uphold. Now we’re settling in here in Burbank and I’ve got a new computer, I’m hoping to get everything running again and get back to a regular schedule.
In my latest Guardian column, The problem with self-driving cars: who controls the code?, I take issue with the “Trolley Problem” as applied to autonomous vehicles, which asks, if your car has to choose between a maneuver that kills you and one that kills other people, which one should it be programmed to do?
I appeared on the current episode of “A Call From Paul” (MP3), a podcast created by Paul Holdengraber, who curates the NY Public Library’s amazing interview series. Paul and I talked about London, UK politics, class war, education, and books.
I’m in Berlin to speak at OEB, a conference on technology and education. It costs a hefty sum to attend the whole event, but my talk tomorrow at 1200h, “No Matter who’s Winning the War on General Purpose Computing, You’re Losing
” is free. Just show up at the Hotel Intercontinental on Budapester Strasse and check in at the OEB desk with the password “PINEAPPLE” for a voucher that will get you into my talk.
I have an editorial in the current issue of Communications of the Association of Computing Machinery, a scholarly journal for computer scientists, in which I describe the way that laws that protect digital locks (like America’s DMCA) compromise the fundamentals of computer security.
At the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we’re anxious to talk with computer scientists whose research is impeded by DMCA and laws like it, and to discuss how they can improve their odds of coming out on top in legal challenges. It’s part of the Apollo 1201 project to kill all the world’s DRM within a decade.