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Episodes

Free Speech & Content Moderation (Panel Discussion)

10/9/2018
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For this week's episode of the podcast, we're featuring a recent panel discussion from Mozilla's Speaker Series. Mike Masnick sat down with Guillaume Chaslot from Algo Transparency, hosted by Mozilla Fellow in Residence Renée DiResta, to talk about the challenges of online content moderation and its implications for freedom of expression. Enjoy!

Duration:01:03:01

Building New Senses (Plus The Possible End Of The World)

10/2/2018
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This week, we've got a special cross-post from Rob Reid's excellent After On podcast. After a conversation between Mike and Rob about the possible end of the world, we pivot to the full episode of After On in which Rob talks to neuroscientist David Eagleman about his fascinating work using technology to create new human senses. We hope you enjoy it!

Duration:01:20:37

Life Insurance, Life Surveillance

9/25/2018
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A major insurance company recently announced that it would offer discounts on life insurance to customers who wear activity trackers and log data showing they live a healthy lifestyle. This understandably freaked out some people, but there are interesting aspects to the idea as well. There's plenty to consider, so this week regular hosts Mike, Hersh and Dennis discuss whether this is an exciting innovation, a worrying expansion of surveillance culture, or both.

Duration:00:40:49

No Easy Answers For Content Moderation

9/18/2018
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We've done it — we've solved the challenge of content moderation! (Checks notes). No, wait, sorry: we haven't. But what we have done is invited Kate Klonick, law professor and author of the excellent paper The New Governors: The People, Rules, and Processes Governing Online Speech, to join us for an in-depth discussion about how we got here and why there are no easy or simple answers for content moderation.

Duration:00:50:23

Anonymity In The Media & Online

9/11/2018
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Anonymity is back in the news in a big way, especially since the New York Times published an explosive opinion piece by an anonymous White House official. Here at Techdirt — proudly one of the few blogs that still allows completely anonymous comments with no sign-up — we've talked about anonymity for a long time in the context of the internet. On this week's episode, Mike and regular co-hosts Dennis Yang and Hersh Reddy talk about the benefits, challenges, and overall importance of...

Duration:00:40:37

There's Always Something New To Learn About Copyright

9/4/2018
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Copyright is a big, complicated monster of a law, composed of patchwork updates and shaped by international agreements — which is, in fact, the source of a lot of its problems. But fixing copyright means understanding it, so this week we've got a conversation with UCLA professor Neil Netanel, author of the new book Copyright: What Everyone Needs To Know, because there's always something new to learn about copyright.

Duration:00:42:42

Do Short-Term Profits Hurt Long-Term Innovation?

8/28/2018
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Is the way companies are currently structured and operated conducive to long-term innovation? It's a tough question, but there are plenty of reasons to consider that short-term profit incentives might be getting in the way of better overall innovation strategies — and lots of possibilities for how we might rethink companies to change this. This week, the regular crew of Mike, Hersh and Dennis discuss how this problem could be addressed, and whether there's truly a problem at all.

Duration:00:46:11

Emoji & The Law

8/22/2018
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Have you ever thought about the legal issues surrounding emoji? Don't worry, most people haven't. But they are myriad and interesting, with roots nearly two decades ago following the emergence of emoticons — and two people who definitely have thought a lot about it are Eric Goldman and Gabriella Ziccarelli, who join us on this week's episode to talk about the various intersections of emoji and the law.

Duration:00:51:15

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

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

MEP Julia Reda On EU's Dangerous Copyright Proposal

6/5/2018
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As we've noted recently, the current copyright reform proposal being considered by the EU is full of extremely dangerous ideas, from mandated filters to a "link tax". This week, we're joined by European Parliament member Julia Reda to talk about the details of the regulatory process and the problems with the current proposal.

Duration:01:05:19

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