Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

From Anonymity to Identification

The inaugural issue of the Journal of Self-Regulation and Regulation is out, and it includes an article of mine, From Anonymity to Identification. The article is adapted from a talk I gave in Heidelberg last December. I’m in good company: other authors in this issue are Markus Beckedahl, Jeanette Hofmann, Marianne Kneuer, Milton L. Mueller, Ekkehart Reimer, William Binney, Kai Cornelius, Myriam Dunn Cavelt, Sebastian Harnisch and Wolf J. Schünemann.

The full text of this open-access journal is available online, including a .pdf of From Anonymity to Identification. As Larry Solum likes to say, download it while it’s hot.

Here’s the abstract for “From Anonymity to Identification”:

This article examines whether anonymity online has a future. In the early days of the Internet, strong cryptography, anonymous remailers, and a relative lack of surveillance created an environment conducive to anonymous communication. Today, the outlook for online anonymity is poor. Several forces combine against it: ideologies that hold that anonymity is dangerous, or that identifying evil-doers is more important than ensuring a safe mechanism for unpopular speech; the profitability of identification in commerce; government surveillance; the influence of intellectual property interests and in requiring hardware and other tools that enforce identification; and the law at both national and supranational levels. As a result of these forces, online anonymity is now much more difficult than previously, and looks to become less and less possible. Nevertheless, the ability to speak truly freely remains an important ‘safety valve’ technology for the oppressed, for dissidents, and for whistle-blowers. The article argues that as data collection online merges with data collection offline, the ability to speak anonymously online will only become more valuable. Technical changes will be required if online anonymity is to remain possible. Whether these changes are possible depends on whether the public comes to appreciate and value the option of anonymous speech while it is still possible to engineer mechanisms to permit it.

Posted in Law: Internet Law, Surveillance, Writings | Leave a comment

I’m on the Drone Law Today Podcast

DroneLawTodayToday’s Drone Law Today guest is … me.

Professor Froomkin Talks Drone Law

Hello, Drone Law Nation! In this episode, we speak to Professor Michael Froomkin of the University of Miami School of Law. Professor Froomkin is a leading scholar on “drone law” and robotics. He is also the founder and chair of the We Robot academic conference.

We Robot will be hosted by Miami Law in April, 2016. The call for papers is out! Head over to the We Robot site for attendance information and for more on how to apply to be a speaker or presenter.

Listen in to hear Professor Froomkin’s take on federal and state drone law, self-defense against robots and drones, federal preemption, and a whole lot more.

You can hear the podcast in iTunes or Stitcher.

Update: Thanks to Steve Hogan, the host of Drone Law Today, here are links to a direct download mp3 and to the Libsyn site with the show notes and embedded player for those of us on Android and PC without iTunes or Sticher.

Posted in Robots, Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

Tell Us What You Really Think

Former chief of staff to Sen. John McCain unloads on Ted Cruz:

Although I find Sen. Ted Cruz’s “lonely man of principle” act as tired as it is phony, I should give the devil his due. Cruz has given Americans exasperated with Washington gridlock hope that Congress can, when sufficiently motivated, find consensus and act.

In this instance, the consensus is that Ted Cruz is a jackass.

Posted in Politics: The Party of Sleaze | Leave a comment

High Noon at ICANN’s Accountability Gulch

Deja vu all over again?

Basically, ICANN is up to its bad old tricks to escape accountability. It hates that stuff. The problem is getting so bad that heresy is being spoken,

So the choice being faced in Los Angeles is a stark one: do we want to make ICANN accountable or not? And if not, can we actually have an IANA transition? Will there be any support for it? A growing number of people would prefer the status quo (U.S. oversight) to an ICANN without a membership and the CCWG-proposed community empowerment mechanisms.

Let the record show that I said years ago that US government involvment was likely better than cutting ICANN loose without adult supervision. I confess that the CCWG had me thinking they might have done the near-impossible. But now it appears we see regression to the ICANN mean.

Posted in ICANN | 1 Comment

Winning Graphics

SandersClintonI don’t know who made that picture, I saw it at Down With Tyranny, but it’s the sort of thing that wins elections.

Graphics like the following, from the same source, are much more informational, but I think much less effective for most people:

Update: Does Rand Paul belong in the top picture? I thought he was more isolationist. Actually, if you go by the second debate, wasn’t Donald Trump also?

Posted in 2016 Election | Leave a comment

Good Karma, Bad Karma

I’m busy. Read Grimmelmann and Grossman…and of the Karma Police.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Finis?Les Guignols de l’info are being destroyed (or if you prefer, decapitated) by the new owner of Canal+ the French cable network. According to Le Parisien, “Canal + : «Les Guignols» décapités, les auteurs historiques virés” the network fired the four long-standing members of the writing team. After many years of being broadcast in the the clear, whatever is left of the show will now appear behind a subscribers-only crypto wall for TV watchers; Canal+ has also stopped adding to the portal for internet users.

Supposedly there will be clips on Daily Motion somewhere, but I didn’t find much recent stuff when I looked just now.

This will degrade my ongoing knowledge of French politics by at least 50%, and — even more serious — remove a decent chunk of my video comedy diet. Plus it was my main source of new French slang.


Posted in Completely Different, Politics: International | Leave a comment