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Episodes

Section 230 And Political Bias

12/11/2018
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We've got another panel discussion from the Lincoln Network's Reboot conference this week, all about the law on everyone's minds lately: Section 230 of the CDA. The debate includes law professor Eric Goldman, the EFF's Corynne McSherry, and Dr. Jerry A. Johnson from National Religious Broadcasters, offering up a wide spectrum of opinions on Section 230 and political bias.

Duration:00:56:45

Free Speech Disorder, With Mike Godwin

12/4/2018
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Last week, we published a series of posts by Mike Godwin looking at Our Bipolar Free Speech Disorder And How To Fix It (check out part one, part two, and part three). But with a topic like this, there's always more to dig into, so this week we've got Mike Godwin joining the podcast to take a closer look at his ideas about free speech in the digital era.

Duration:00:42:27

Should We Break Up Big Tech?

11/27/2018
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A few weeks ago, we featured a panel discussion with Mike and others at the Lincoln Network's Reboot conference on the podcast. This week we're doing something a little different and featuring another panel discussion from that conference, but one in which Mike wasn't involved. Instead, it's an interesting — and at times contentious — debate about one big question: do the big tech firms need to be broken up?

Duration:00:54:23

What The Hell Is Initiative Q?

11/13/2018
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By now, there's a good chance you've received an invitation to join Initiative Q, and also a good chance that you took one look at it and thought "wow, this seems extremely sketchy." And indeed, there's little reason (other than hopefulness) to see the strange new proposed payment system as anything but a pyramid scheme. But it's got people talking, thanks in no small part to its viral marketing scheme, so this week's episode is all about trying to figure out just what Initiative Q really is.

Duration:00:47:53

Government, Activism & Silicon Valley

11/6/2018
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In late September, Mike joined a panel at the Lincoln Network's Reboot conference to tackle the question "will rising activism limit government’s access to Silicon Valley?" along with Trae Stephens, Pablo E. Carrillo, with moderator Katie McAuliffe. For this week's episode, we've got the full audio from that panel plus an additional introduction from Mike with some thoughts after the fact. Enjoy!

Duration:00:55:43

AI, Free Speech & Human Rights

10/30/2018
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As artificial intelligence technology marches onwards, it's raising a lot of complicated questions about free speech, privacy, and important rights. One person who's been thinking a lot about these questions is David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, who recently published a thorough report [pdf] on the subject. This week, David joins us on the podcast to discuss artificial intelligence and its implications for...

Duration:00:54:05

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 anonymous...

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

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