A Response to “Responsible Encryption”

On October 10, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave a speech at the U.S. Naval Academy about encryption. I have a lot to say about his remarks, so this will be a long post. Much of Rosenstein’s speech recycled the same old chestnuts that law enforcement’s been repeating about crypto for years. I’m happy to roast those chestnuts.

Public Access to Smart Data

Last month, the Supreme Court of California may have decided the future of the public's access to "smart city" data without knowing it. In ACLU v Los Angeles Police Department, the court accepted that raw data collected by Los Angeles police and sheriff departments, using automated licence plate readers (ALPRs), constituted a public record subject to disclosure under California's Public Records Act (CPRA) absent an exemption. The court held that the catch-all disclosure exemption in the CPRA applied, which requires balancing the public interest in preventing disclosure where certain harms can be identified against the public interest served by disclosure such as furthering the public's understanding of the privacy risks of the ALPR program.

Internet & Jurisdiction's August in Retrospect: Privacy in India, Real Name Policies in China, Counter Terrorism in Europe, and More.

The August 2017 edition of Retrospect is now available.
This edition brings news about the recognition of the fundamental right to privacy in India, efforts in Europe to counter terrorism online, the approval of regulations determining the adoption of real name policies in China, Facebook's new measures against misinformation, and more.

"Tool Without a Handle: Metaphors of Gender"

It’s difficult to recall an internal memo gone viral that has sparked as much commentary as James Damore’s statement on gender and engineering at Google.  This post is not about that memo, although the volume of commentary on it did prompt the thoughts that follow.  Nor is this post about workplace diversity, at least not directly.  Instead, like many other “Tool Without a Handle” posts, it is about metaphor.

In particular, I wanted to test whether, in preferring the metaphor of “a tool you use” as distinct from “a place you go,” I’d unduly limited my thinking to an “androcentric” view of networked information technologies.  In other words, is “tool” a masculine metaphor, implying a gendered orientation towards my preferred approach to thinking about technology?  

I conclude the answer is “no,” in part because metaphor differs from gender, and in part because metaphor is a feature of language, while gender is a feature of persons. Moreover, I identify a general objection to dichotomizing and to gender metaphors.


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