March 2012

Bruce Schneier on the importance of trust in society

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Bruce Schneier, internationally renowned security expert and author, discusses his new book entitled, “Liars & Outliers: Enabling the Trust That Society Needs To Thrive.” Schneier starts the discussion by looking at society and trust, and explains why he thinks the two are necessary for civilization. According to Schneier, two concepts contribute to a trustful society: first, humans are mostly moral; second, informal reputation systems incentivize trustworthy behavior. The discussion turns to technology and trust, and Schneier talks about how the information society yields greater consequences when trust is breached. He then describes how society deals with technology and trust and why he thinks the system is not perfect but working well overall.

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Jason Mazzone on copyright and the abuse of IP law

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Jason Mazzone, professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, discusses his new book, Copyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law. Copyfruad, according to Mazzone, occurs when intellectual property law is used in an abusive or overreaching manner. Mazzone believes the problem arises when content owners make false or fraudulent claims of intellectual property rights that are not recognized by the law. The discussion turns to the scope of harm that results from Copyfraud, and Mazzone proposes that the solution lies in legislative measures as well as education on the scope of intellectual property law.

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Gabriella Coleman on Anonymous and LulzSec

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Gabriella Coleman, anthropologist and the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy in the Department of Art History & Communication Studies at McGill University, discusses hacktivist group, Anonymous. Coleman begins with an overview of Anonymous starting with its beginnings as a group of pranksters to its evolved state of political activism. The group, according to Coleman, started out pulling pranks, or “lulz,” on the message board 4chan. The pranks consisted of Internet memes and practical Internet jokes called trolling. She then discusses how the group moved into activism using denial of services attacks to shut down websites and issued a series of videos against the Church of Scientology. The discussion then turns to the recent arrest of several Lulzsec members, including Sabu, the hacker turned FBI informant.

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Rebecca MacKinnon on Internet freedom

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Rebecca MacKinnon, a former CNN correspondent and now Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, discusses her new book entitled, “Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom.” MacKinnon begins by discussing “Net Freedom,” which she describes as a structure that respects rights, freedoms, and accountability. She discusses how some governments, like China, use coercion to make private companies act a as subcontractors for censorship and manipulation. She goes on to discuss a project she launched called Global Network Initiative, where she urges companies like Google and Facebook to be more socially responsible. MacKinnon believes technology needs to be compatible with political freedoms, and she issues a call to action for Internet users to demand policies that are compatible with Internet freedoms.

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