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Episodes

Old Tweets & Your Permanent Record

8/14/2018
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There has long been anxiety around the "permanent record" of the internet, and recent public shamings based on old tweets have brought that fear to the forefront for many people. But the mass deletion of old tweets also means throwing out huge amounts of potentially valuable information. Is there a technological solution? A cultural one? This week, we're joined by returning guests Cathy Gellis and Parker Higgins to discuss a proposal for fixing the problem without sacrificing the permanent...

Duration:00:50:21

Why People Don't Trust Capitalism Anymore

8/7/2018
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The tides of public opinion on economics seem to be shifting, and criticism of the very idea of free markets is on the ride. The conversation is messy, confusing, and transcends many traditional political boundaries — so we've got an expert source to help us dig in. EconTalk host Russ Roberts joins us to look at why so many people don't trust capitalism anymore.

Duration:00:57:42

The EU's Copyright Threat To The Open Internet

7/31/2018
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We've got a crossover episode this week, all about the EU's disastrous moves on the copyright front. Mike recently joined the Building Tomorrow podcast to discuss the subject with Paul Matzko and Will Duffield, and now you can listen to it here on this week's episode of the Techdirt Podcast.

Duration:00:45:54

Building Communities Outside Facebook

7/24/2018
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One thing we've talked about for a long time at Techdirt is the importance communities for media outlets, including our own. These days, it feels like a lot of media companies are giving up on this work altogether and outsourcing it to social media platforms — but that means foregoing some of the most powerful aspects of the internet. This week, we're joined by Josh Millard, who recently took over MetaFilter, to talk about building online communities and not relying on Facebook.

Duration:00:54:48

How Private Agreements Recreated SOPA

7/17/2018
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One of the most dangerous aspects of SOPA and other copyright proposals is the idea of moving enforcement and liability further down the stack of technology that powers the internet, even all the way to the DNS system. Although SOPA's DNS-blocking proposals were heavily criticized and the bill ultimately defeated, the idea of deep-level copyright enforcement has lived on and been implemented without changes to the law. This week our returning guest, law professor Annemarie Bridy, discusses...

Duration:00:54:08

Sci-Fi & Scenario Planning

7/10/2018
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Eliot Peper is a novelist who uses thorough research and creative thinking to produce science fiction that can feel more like eerily-accurate prognostication. Exploring possible futures with real insight has always been one of sci-fi's greatest strengths, and this week Peper joins Mike on the podcast to discuss his work, methods, and ideas about tomorrow. Eliot Peper - http://www.eliotpeper.com/

Duration:00:46:03

Are Tech And Journalism Att Odds With Each Other?

6/26/2018
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Between Elon Musk's proposal for a website ranking the credibility of journalists and Tim Draper blaming the collapse of Theranos on the press (not to mention Peter Thiel's attack on Gawker), it feels like there's a war brewing between Silicon Valley and journalism. Though the press has some major problems, it really seems like tech entrepreneurs are misunderstanding how it works and proposing some dangerous ideas. This week, we discuss the tensions between tech and journalism, and what...

Duration:00:53:01

Debating Steam's New Hands-Off Policy

6/19/2018
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Recently, Valve sent waves through the PC gaming world by announcing an upcoming policy change for its Steam platform: it will no longer enforce specific content rules and will allow all games as long as they aren't illegal or "straight-up trolling". Though it's not exactly clear what this means, the reaction from the gaming press has been largely negative, and it's hard to say how the new policy will be implemented — so this week myself, Tim Geigner and Cathy Gellis join the podcast to...

Duration:00:46:42

Are E-Scooters A Problem?

6/12/2018
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The latest entrant on the decentralized transportation scene is the suddenly-ubiquitous electric scooters that are taking over San Francisco and other cities. Their appearance has triggered the inevitable controversy, with some saying they are ruining cities while others laud their convenience for urbanites. And, of course, a regulatory battle wasn't far behind. On this week's episode, we discuss the e-scooter trend and its many pros and cons.

Duration:00:49:45

Rob Reid's Mind-Bending Podcast

5/29/2018
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We've talked about author Rob Reid many times on Techdirt, and had him on the podcast once before. Now, in what started as a project to promote his latest novel, Reid is hosting a podcast called After On, which tackles some pretty crazy real-world topics — from alien life to mind-reading technology — befitting a science fiction writer. This week, he returns to our podcast to discuss what it's like interviewing big thinkers about mind-bending ideas.

Duration:00:46:26

CIA: Collect It All

5/19/2018
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We're nearing the end of the Kickstarter campaign for CIA: Collect It All, our polished and fully-playable version of a formerly top secret card game used by the CIA to train new recruits. In this special Saturday edition of the podcast, the three of us working on the project — myself, Mike, and Randy Lubin of Diegetic Games — sit down to talk all about what players can expect from CIA: Collect It All. Our Kickstarter:...

Duration:00:39:51

How The Courts Created The Surveillance State

5/8/2018
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The US has been something of a surveillance state since long before the Snowden revelations that showed the full extent of some of the NSA's activities. A lot of this is made possible — often unintentionally — by decades-old court decisions regarding technology. It's a problem. This week, reporter Cyrus Farivar — whose new book Habeas Data digs into this judicial history — joins us to discuss how courts created the surveillance state. Habeas Data - https://www.mhpbooks.com/books/habeas-data/

Duration:01:00:50

Is "Free" Bad?

5/1/2018
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In the last few years, a lot of the conversation around technology in general has shifted its focus from excitement about the obvious benefits to concern about its downfalls and side effects. It even feels like there's a general sense that "technology is bad for society" in a lot of places. This comes with a lot of associated myths, including the prominent idea that "if you're not paying for something, you're the product being sold" — an idea that is, at best a massive oversimplification....

Duration:00:48:04

Getting News Without Social Media

4/25/2018
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Social media can be an extremely powerful tool for gathering, finding and sharing the news. It can also be... a bit of a disaster. It would be nice if such an important question had a simple answer, but they never do, do they? So this week, we're discussing and dissecting whether or not social media is "good" for the way we consume the news.

Duration:00:09:39

Teaching The Law Via Podcasts

4/17/2018
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Law isn't simple, and truly learning about it takes more than a few short primers or even an in-depth guide or two — which makes it the perfect topic to explore via the medium of podcasts. This week, we've got a pair of guests who are doing exactly that: Ken White of Popehat fame, who recently launched the Make No Law podcast about First Amendment issues, and Elizabeth Joh, co-host of the What Trump Can Teach Us About Constitutional Law podcast. Instead of picking their brains about the...

Duration:00:42:48

Can The Blockchain Save Publishers?

4/10/2018
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After the recent launch of po.et, which aims to use the blockchain to create a new business model for digital media companies, Mike was... unconvinced. This led to a Twitter discussion with CEO Jarrod Dicker, which in turn led to a longer in-person conversation about the ideas behind the service and where it might go — and you can listen to the whole thing on this week's podcast episode.

Duration:00:48:09

How One Court Just Screwed Up Software Development

4/3/2018
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We've already written about the insanity of the appeals court overturning Google's fair use victory against Oracle — but there's plenty to dig into regarding just how bad the ruling is. This week, we're joined by Pamela Samuelson, a law professor and co-director of the Center for Law & Technology at Berkeley, to discuss what the court just did to the world of software development.

Duration:00:48:07

Overreacting To Facebook's Mistakes Won't Solve Anything

3/27/2018
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Facebook. Cambridge Analytica. Need I say more? There's plenty to discuss. Among them is the question of similarities between what happened and the Obama campaign — which is why we're lucky to be joined this week by Catherine Bracy, who led the Obama campaign's San Francisco tech office, and worked on its Facebook app, for a discussion about what really went down with Cambridge Analytica, and all the misinformation that's out there.

Duration:00:49:21

What Does It Mean For Social Media To Be Held Accountable?

3/20/2018
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This isn't the first time we've discussed this on the podcast, and it probably won't be the last — disinformation online is a big and complicated topic, and there are a whole lot of angles to approach it from. This week, we're joined by Renee DiResta, who has been researching disinformation ever since the anti-vaxxer movement caught her attention, to discuss what exactly it means to say social media platforms should be held accountable.

Duration:01:01:53

How MoviePass Makes Money

3/13/2018
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The apparent success of MoviePass raises a whole bunch of interesting business model questions — and privacy concerns about the data-harvesting portion of that business model add another layer of complexity. So this week, we're going back to a good old-fashioned formula for the podcast, and dedicating an episode to examining the company in detail and trying to figure out where it might be headed.

Duration:00:47:55