Category Archives: materality of computation

The Volkswagen Scandal: The DMCA Is Not the Problem and Open Source Is Not the Solution

VW Super Beetle (1972)

tl;dr The solution to the VW scandal is to empower regulators and make sure they have access to any and all parts of the systems they oversee. The solution is not to open up those systems to everyone. There is no “right to repair,” at least for individuals. Whether or not it deserves to be […]

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Encryption and Responsibility: A Note on Symphony

Typically, those of us concerned about the widespread use of encryption and anonymization technologies like Tor are depicted by crypto advocates as “anti-encryption” or “freedom haters” or “mind-murdering censors” or worse. Despite the level of detail these people can bring to technological matters, they often portray the political options as very stark: either “encryption” or […]

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Crowdforcing: When What I “Share” Is Yours

a crowd

Among the many default, background, often unexamined assumptions of the digital revolution is that sharing is good. A major part of the digital revolution in rhetoric is to repurpose existing language in ways that advantage the promoters of one scheme or another. It is no surprise that while it may well have been the case […]

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All Cybersecurity Technology Is Dual-Use

geer at black hat

Dan Geer is one of the more interesting thinkers about digital security and privacy around. Geer is a sophisticated technologist with an extremely varied and rich background who has also, fairly recently, become a spook of some kind. Geer is currently the Chief Information Security Officer for In-Q-Tel, the technology investment subsidiary of the CIA, […]

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‘Permissionless Innovation’: Using Technology to Dismantle the Republic

polluted WV water

There may be no more pernicious and dishonest doctrine among Silicon Valley’s avatars than the one they call “permissionless innovation.” The phrase entails the view that entrepreneurs and “innovators” are the lifeblood of society, and must be allowed to push forward without needing to ask for “permission” from government, for the good of society. The […]

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Bitcoin: The Cryptopolitics of Cryptocurrencies

I’m happy to have a piece up at the Harvard University Press blog, entitled “Bitcoin: The Cryptopolitics of Cryptocurrencies.” It was written as a bit of an introductory piece for readers who don’t know much about Bitcoin and may have heard the news from Mt. Gox this week, so it will probably be old news […]

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Glasslinks: Privacy, Glassholes, Panics, & Take-Backs

google glass

A colleague asked if I had any links to writings about Google Glass, so I dug around in my files and found quite a few things. I thought they might come in handy for others doing research on the topic. I have even more, but this is overwhelming enough as it is. The final pair […]

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On the Idea of a Feminist Programming Language

Arielle Schlesinger, a student in Technology and Social Change (at an unnamed school) who is working on a thesis about Feminist Programming Languages, has written a couple of blog posts about the topic at HASTAC: Feminism and Programming Languages and A Feminist & A Programmer (Brian Lennon has a thoughtful reaction, “A Feminist Programming Language,” […]

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Bitcoin Will Eat Itself: More Contradictions of (Digital) Libertarianism

bitcoin

Bitcoin (BTC), the much in-the-news and up-for-government-discussion cryptocurrency favored by Deep Web drug markets, libertarians, anarchists and would-be assassins everywhere, has been on a tear recently, and as of yesterday has hit an all-time high (albeit briefly) of more than USD $900 mark. It’s not hard to find—in fact it’s difficult to avoid—cyberlibertarians of all […]

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Talk: ‘Cyberlibertarianism: The Extremist Foundations of ‘Digital Freedom”

lib soc fed

Talk delivered at Clemson University, September 5, 2013 Full paper: Cyberlibertarianism: The Extremist Foundations of ‘Digital Freedom’ Abstract Cyberlibertarianism has rapidly become the dominant mode of political thought of our time. Especially in the US, but also around the world, the view that might be summed in the slogan “computerization will set you free” has […]

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