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Privacy, Middleware, and Interoperability: Can Technical Solutions, Including Blockchain, Help Us Avoid Hard Tradeoffs?

Interoperability and distributed content moderation models have tremendous promise. But they raise major questions about user privacy. Ultimately, they will likely require difficult tradeoffs between competing goals including competition, privacy, and improved speech environments. This post examines technical solutions, including ambitious blockchain-based ones, that can reduce -- but not eliminate -- those tradeoffs. Read more about Privacy, Middleware, and Interoperability: Can Technical Solutions, Including Blockchain, Help Us Avoid Hard Tradeoffs?

Tool Without A Handle: Tools For Vigilantes

In this blog, I focus on principles to protect privacy when such considering publication of personal data or conclusions one can draw from it, where that data is sensitive, and revealing of personal failure. A principle that “the public should know of private wrongdoing” needs to be carefully balanced against whether that publication is needed for a public purpose, such as safety, or shedding light on institutional failures to act on the information, or where an individual persists in resisting accountability. I see none of those purposes in the recent publication of personal data concerning a Catholic Church official who engaged in same-sex relationships, notwithstanding doing so was violative of his vocational promises. Read more about Tool Without A Handle: Tools For Vigilantes

I Have a Lot to Say About Signal’s Cellebrite Hack

This blog post is based off of a talk I gave on May 12, 2021 at the Stanford Computer Science Department’s weekly lunch talk series on computer security topics. Full disclosure: I’ve done some consulting work for Signal, albeit not on anything like this issue. (I kinda doubt they’ll hire me again if they read this, though.) Read more about I Have a Lot to Say About Signal’s Cellebrite Hack

AI Creations: Legally Protected?

Imagine you just purchased a painting from Sotheby’s called Portrait of Edmond Belamy (“Portrait”) for $432,500. Portrait was AI-generated. Your neighbor Jim takes a photo of the painting as you are bringing it inside. Jim puts Portrait on t-shirts for sale online.

What, if anything, can you do, provided you wanted to? What about the software company who owns the AI? Does it matter whether you live in the US or the EU? Read more about AI Creations: Legally Protected?

Setting the Record Straight: Carriers Can Help Veterans and Comply with California’s Net Neutrality Law

On Wednesday, Politico reported on a leaked email from the Department of Veterans Affairs, expressing concern that California’s net neutrality law could force some wireless providers to end a program that exempted the V.A.’s telehealth app from their customers’ data caps.

Veterans across the country and in California shouldn’t have to worry they’ll go over their data caps by talking to their doctor or mental health provider online. In fact, no American or Californian should.

But California’s net neutrality law is not the problem here. Read more about Setting the Record Straight: Carriers Can Help Veterans and Comply with California’s Net Neutrality Law

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