Academic Writing

Most of what you think you know about human reasoning is wrong. Here’s why.

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
July 12, 2017
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber are the authors of “The Enigma of Reason,” a new book from Harvard University Press. Their arguments about human reasoning have potentially profound implications for how we understand the ways human beings think and argue, and for the social sciences. I interviewed Mercier about the book.

Court Orders Prolific Patent Troll Shipping & Transit LLC To Pay Defendant’s Legal Bill

Author(s): 
Daniel Nazer
Publication Date: 
July 7, 2017
Publication Type: 
Other Writing
Shipping & Transit LLC, formerly known as Arrivalstar, is one of the most prolific patent trolls ever. It has filed more than 500 lawsuits alleging patent infringement. Despite having filed so many cases, it has never had a court rule on the validity of its patents. In recent years, Shipping & Transit’s usual practice is to dismiss its claims as soon as a defendant spends resources to fight back. A district court in California issued an order (PDF) this week ordering Shipping & Transit to pay a defendant's attorney's fees.

Stupid Patent of the Month: Using A Computer To Count Calories

Author(s): 
Daniel Nazer
Publication Date: 
June 30, 2017
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

This month’s stupid patent, like many stupid patents before it, simply claims the idea of using a computer for basic calculations. U.S. Patent No. 6,817,863 (the ’863 patent) is titled “Computer program, method, and system for monitoring nutrition content of consumables and for facilitating menu planning.” It claims the process of using a computer to track nutrition information like calorie or vitamin intake. It is difficult to think of a more basic and trivial use for a computer.

McMansion Hell Responds to Zillow’s Unfounded Legal Claims

Author(s): 
Daniel Nazer
Publication Date: 
June 29, 2017
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Earlier this week, Zillow sent an aggressive cease and desist letter [PDF] to Kate Wagner, the creator of the McMansion Hell website. Zillow demanded that Wagner remove any image originally sourced from Zillow’s site. Today EFF sent a response to Zillow on Wagner’s behalf. Our letter [PDF] explains why none of Zillow’s contentions have any merit.

‘NotPetya’ ransomware attack shows corporate social responsibility should include cybersecurity

Author(s): 
Scott Shackelford
Publication Date: 
June 27, 2017
Publication Type: 
Other Writing
As the “NotPetya” ransomware attack spreads around the world, it’s making clear how important it is for everyone – and particularly corporations – to take cybersecurity seriously. The companies affected by this malware include power utilities, banks and technology firms. Their customers are now left without power and other crucial services, in part because the companies did not take action and make the investments necessary to better protect themselves from these cyberattacks.
 

Political Parties as Critical Infrastructure?

Author(s): 
Kristen E. Eichensehr
Publication Date: 
June 22, 2017
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson testified Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee as part of the House investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

We need our platforms to put people and democratic society ahead of cheap profits

Author(s): 
Brett Frischmann
Publication Date: 
June 16, 2017
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Fake news captures attention and is corrosive. Like many similar social problems online, it is a symptom of surveillance capitalism. Surveillance capitalism explains the economic incentives that drive media production and distribution on internet platforms like Facebook. The business model used by internet platforms relies on collecting data and using that data to create profiles of users to predict their interests and behavior.

Making Google the Censor

Author(s): 
Daphne Keller
Publication Date: 
June 12, 2017
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Prime Minister Theresa May’s political fortunes may be waning in Britain, but her push to make internet companies police their users’ speech is alive and well. In the aftermath of the recent London attacks, Ms. May called platforms like Google and Facebook breeding grounds for terrorism.

A tiny party of hardliners holds the balance of power in Britain. Here’s what you need to know

Author(s): 
Henry Farrell
Publication Date: 
June 9, 2017
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

After last week’s shocking results, Britain’s Conservative Party had to make a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to return to government. It appears likely that the DUP will not go into a coalition with the Conservatives, but will simply support the “minority government” from the outside on key votes, while not being part of the coalition.

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