Academic Writing

User Agreements Are Betraying You

Author(s): 
Woodrow Hartzog
Publication Date: 
June 5, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

The user agreement has become a potent symbol of our asymmetric relationship with technology firms. For most of us, it’s our first interaction with a given company. We sign up and are asked to read the dreaded user agreement — a process that we know signifies some complex and inconveniently detrimental implications of using the service, but one that we choose to ignore.

The FBI blunder on phone encryption, explained

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
May 30, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

The FBI has been arguing for years that the approach of Apple and other companies that strongly encrypt phones is a big problem for law enforcement, which cannot get access to information it needs to catch criminals. Some days ago, these claims led to a big controversy when it turned out the FBI had been accidentally exaggerating the number of phones it couldn’t open for years.

The exit polls say Ireland has voted to legalize abortion with a smashing majority

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
May 25, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

An Irish Times exit poll says Ireland has voted to repeal the constitutional provision banning abortion with a crushing majority. The poll says that 68 percent voted yes and 32 percent voted against. People on both sides had expected a yes vote over the past couple of days; few had expected that the margin would be so decisive.

Here’s how Europe’s data privacy law could take down Facebook

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
May 25, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

On Friday, the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) privacy regulation goes into effect. Many articles have been written complaining that the regulation is ambiguous, confusing and difficult to implement.

The Constitution requires a census and State of the Union. Steve Ballmer wants to bring them up to date.

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
May 23, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Steve Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft and the creator of USAFacts, an organization dedicated to making government data sources more publicly accessible and easier to use. In an interview (which has been edited for length and style), I asked him about what USAFacts is doing and how it is trying to help people understand how the government spends its money.

Google's march to the business of war must be stopped

Author(s): 
Peter Asaro
Publication Date: 
May 16, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Should Google, a global company with intimate access to the lives of billions, use its technology to bolster one country’s military dominance? Should it use its state of the art artificial intelligence technologies, its best engineers, its cloud computing services, and the vast personal data that it collects to contribute to programs that advance the development of autonomous weapons?

Trump’s U-turn on Chinese mega-firm ZTE damages U.S. power and credibility

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
May 14, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

The Trump administration made two very different policy statements on sanctions Sunday. President Trump said in a tweet that an earlier decision to impose massive U.S. sanctions on the Chinese telecommunications behemoth ZTE, for selling equipment to Iran, might be open to renegotiation.

Only giant internet firms may be able to comply with one-size-fits-all rules

Author(s): 
Daphne Keller
Publication Date: 
May 10, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

If you paid attention to Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress last month, you might have gotten the impression that the internet consists entirely of titanic, California-based companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google. Congress is right to call these companies to account for outsize harms like disclosing personal data about many millions of users. But it is very wrong to act as though these companies are representative of the whole internet.

The “Intellectual Dark Web,” explained: what Jordan Peterson has in common with the alt-right

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
May 10, 2018
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Bari Weiss, an opinion writer and editor at the New York Times, created a stir this week with a long article on a group that calls itself the “Intellectual Dark Web.” The coinage referred to a loose collective of intellectuals and media personalities who believe they are “locked out” of mainstream media, in Weiss’s words, and who are building their own ways to communicate with readers.

Pages