Leaks, geeks, & reporters

The recent spat of Washington D.C. leaks is "unusually active," according to FBI Director Mr. James Comey. Even if the leaks are as normal as they are in an allergic nose dealing with New Orleans spring pollen, what are the legal and ethical issues in leaking such confidential information, unknowingly reverse engineering it, or in publishing the leaks?

"Neural Lace," Extended Cognition, and Privacy

Imagine a world, not as distant as we might like to think, where our individual thought processes are aided and improved by technologies external to the biologically-bequeathed neural matter that sits within our skulls and throughout our nervous systems. Further, these technologies are designed and optimized to perform these functions in such a way as to become automatic or invisible to their user. And rather than act as simple one-way conduits or repositories, they actively drive their user's thinking in a manner that creates a two-way, symbiotic interaction between human and device.

Tool Without a Handle: "Trustworthy Tools" - Part 2

In my previous blog on propaganda, I noted private information, when stolen and published, can prove useful for propaganda efforts.  This post develops that concept in more detail, with an emphasis on privacy considerations.

I agree with interpretations of the First Amendment finding important protections for publication of private information without consent.  And I concur that, as a matter of principle, the public interest can justify such publication.  But too often the “public interest” defense is rather often a post hoc rationalization rather than a reasoned justification.

Contemporary analyses give insufficient weight to privacy and information security interests.  Such interests often outweigh the public interest value of making private information public without the consent of the owner or data subject, but that weight may not be recognized.  Some reasons for this potentially include media business models that reward clicks and attention, increased partisan polarity (and the utility of such disclosures for propaganda), mistrust of government, and insufficient enforcement of laws on cybercrime.  

A Response to Paul Vixie’s "Notice, Takedown, Borders, and Scale”

Late last month, I posted to SSRN a draft of my forthcoming article, “Notice and Takedown in the Domain Name System: ICANN’s Ambivalent Drift into Online Content Regulation.” The article takes a close look at ICANN’s role in facilitating a new program of extrajudicial notice and takedown in the DNS for domain names associated with accused “pirate sites.” The program is a cooperative, private venture between Donuts, the registry operator for hundreds of new gTLDs in the DNS, and the Motion Picture

Legislative Shout Outs to Georgia and Virginia

How Governments Can Promote Automated Driving recommended that governments conduct "legal audits" to "identify and analyze every statute and regulation that could apply adversely or ambiguously to automated driving." Automated Vehicles Are Probably Legal in the United States attempted this nationwide, and now the authors of Georgia's HB 248 have produced a bill that (while not perfect) reflects a tho

Wiretap Reports Not So Transparent

I have been writing for some time about the huge discrepancy between the number of wiretaps reported annually by the Administrative Office (AO) of the US Courts and the numbers reported by phone companies and online service providers in their transparency reports. It never occurred to me that the AO might be at fault for some of the apparent under-reporting of wiretaps.


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