23 November 2013

Here are my ShmooCon submissions

I made two submissions to ShmooCon this year. The first is a full-fledged talk and the second is a "One Track Mind" 20-minute talk. Here are the abstracts, and wish me luck!

©opyright Gone Wrong: Our Broken System and How We Can Fix It

The Constitution grants the Congress the power to enact intellectual property laws "[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." Since the founding of our country, protection of intellectual property has undergone several systematic changes that have extended the time rights are protected. Additionally, protections have gotten increasingly aggressive and oppressive. This presentation will briefly discuss the history and development of IP law, and then focus on the more recent and onerous provisions that have become embroiled in controversy. Along the way, we'll talk about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,  copyright and patent trolls, and other methods of intellectual property abuse. Lastly, we will take a look at some of the ways we can reform our broken system to free consumers from burdensome restraints, while at the same time protecting the intellectual property of the creators.


In Washington, DC, the federal government is arguing against a prolific Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requester that his multitudinous requests, taken together, constitute a "mosaic" of information whose release could "significantly and irreparably damage national security" and would have "significant deleterious effects" on the bureau's "ongoing efforts to investigate and combat domestic terrorism." In the District of Columbia, the federal government is defending the legality of the intelligence community's surveillance programs under a 1979 Supreme Court case, Smith v. Maryland, that found constitutional use of a “pen register” device to gather information on numbers called by a criminal suspect. So, yes: the government is simultaneously arguing to that too much otherwise-legitimate FOIA data creates a mosaic that threatens national security--but large scale metadata collection, far beyond anything contemplated by a simple pen register device in 1979--is perfectly legitimate. Is this a problematic dichotomy? And if so, what can we do about it?
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