Author Archives: Michael Froomkin

Ello There

I just joined Ello, the ad-free, public-spirited, clean-design alternative to Twitter.

It’s pretty, and I like the spirit of the thing, but I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with it — many of the accounts there seem much more graphics-oriented than I am. Not to mention cooler.

Posted in Internet | Leave a comment

IAB’s Major Statement on Internet Privacy

Looks like the IAB is being all Habermasian again:

IAB Statement on Internet Confidentiality

In 1996, the IAB and IESG recognized that the growth of the Internet depended on users having confidence that the network would protect their private information. RFC 1984 documented this need. Since that time, we have seen evidence that the capabilities and activities of attackers are greater and more pervasive than previously known. The IAB now believes it is important for protocol designers, developers, and operators to make encryption the norm for Internet traffic. Encryption should be authenticated where possible, but even protocols providing confidentiality without authentication are useful in the face of pervasive surveillance as described in RFC 7258.

Newly designed protocols should prefer encryption to cleartext operation. There may be exceptions to this default, but it is important to recognize that protocols do not operate in isolation. Information leaked by one protocol can be made part of a more substantial body of information by cross-correlation of traffic observation. There are protocols which may as a result require encryption on the Internet even when it would not be a requirement for that protocol operating in isolation.

We recommend that encryption be deployed throughout the protocol stack since there is not a single place within the stack where all kinds of communication can be protected.

The IAB urges protocol designers to design for confidential operation by default. We strongly encourage developers to include encryption in their implementations, and to make them encrypted by default. We similarly encourage network and service operators to deploy encryption where it is not yet deployed, and we urge firewall policy administrators to permit encrypted traffic.

We believe that each of these changes will help restore the trust users must have in the Internet. We acknowledge that this will take time and trouble, though we believe recent successes in content delivery networks, messaging, and Internet application deployments demonstrate the feasibility of this migration. We also acknowledge that many network operations activities today, from traffic management and intrusion detection to spam prevention and policy enforcement, assume access to cleartext payload. For many of these activities there are no solutions yet, but the IAB will work with those affected to foster development of new approaches for these activities which allow us to move to an Internet where traffic is confidential by default.

Posted in Internet, Surveillance | Leave a comment

Jotwell Conference Friday & Saturday

Great lineup!


JOTWELL 5TH anniversary Conference

Legal Scholarship We Like and Why It Matters

University of Miami School of Law
Nov 7-8, 2014

Friday Nov 7

1pm Welcome
Vice-Dean Patrick Gudridge, Welcome
A. Michael Froomkin, A Little About Jotwell

1:15 – 2:00
Steven L. Winter, When Things Went Terribly, Terribly Wrong Part II

2:15- 3:00
Patrick Gudridge, Past Present (Revised Version)

3:15 – 4:30 Counterpoint
Jeanne Schroeder and David Carlson, Improving Oneself and Ones Clients; Not the World
Neil Buchanan, Legal Scholarship Makes the World a Better Place

4:45 – 5:30 Keynote Address
Margaret Jane Radin, Then and Now: Developing Your Scholarship, Developing Its Audience

5:30- 6:30
Reception, Faculty Lounge

7:00 ->
Conference Dinner

Sat Nov 8

9:00-9:30
Breakfast

9:30 – 10:45 Counterpoint:
James Chen, Modeling Law Review Impact Factors as an Exponential Distribution
Patrick Woods, Stop Counting (Or At Least Count Better)

11- 11:45
Benjamin Keele, Improving Digital Publishing of Legal Scholarship

12-12:45
Mark Tushnet, The Federal Courts Junior Scholars Workshop (originally submitted as a contribution to Jotwell).

12:45-2:00
LUNCH

2:15- 3:00
Frank Pasquale, Symbiotic Law & Social Science: The Case for Political Economy in the Legal Academy, and Legal Scholarship in Political Economy

3:15 – 4:00
James Grimmelmann, Scholars, Teachers, and Servants

4:15-4:30
Envoi

Accepted papers from scholars unable to attend:

Angela Mae Kupenda, Personal Essay–On the Receiving End of Influence: Helping Craft the Scholarship of My Students and How Their Work Influences Me

Posted in Jotwell, Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

Oy Vey

The only candidate I voted for who got elected was the Property Appraiser?

Posted in 2014 Election, Miami | 3 Comments

Propensity to ‘Disgust’ Defines Political Beliefs?

Here’s a thought for this election week: If you are more disgusted by mucus and maggots, you’re a conservative. So says Nonpolitical Images Evoke Neural Predictors of Political Ideology, a recent article in Current Biology:

We carried out a passive picture-viewing experiment to test the hypothesis that nonpolitical but affectively evocative images elicit brain responses that predict political ideology as assessed by a standard political ideology measure. …

Accumulating evidence suggests that cognition and emotion are deeply intertwined, and a view of segregating cognition and emotion is becoming obsolete. People tend to think that their political views are purely cognitive (i.e., rational). However, our results further support the notion that emotional processes are tightly coupled to complex and high-dimensional human belief systems, and such emotional processes might play a much larger role than we currently believe, possibly outside our awareness of its influence. …

We proposed that conservatives, compared to liberals, have greater negativity bias, which includes both disgusting and threatening conditions in our study. Our finding that only disgusting pictures, especially in the animal-reminder category, differentiate conservatives from liberals might be indicative of a primacy for disgust in the pantheon of human aversions, but it is also possible that this result is due to the fact that, compared to threat, disgust is much easier to evoke with visual images on a computer screen.

Lastly, this study raises several important but unaddressed questions. First, while political ideology has effects on many forms of behavior (including, but not limited to, voting behavior), it is unknown whether it does so thanks to the neural differences in affective processing that we measured. Second, and relatedly, it is important also to know how individual differences in the capacity to regulate emotion, and the neural bases of that capacity, are related to political ideology. A third set of questions concerns the bearing of the present study on the development of biological measures of political ideology. While it is of use in a variety of settings to measure political ideology (political polls, for instance, typically include some measurement of it), it remains an open question whether biological measures could become more accurate, or more useful, than the tools (such as self-report measures) currently employed.

… The more we learn about the sensitivity of political ideology to subtle differences in affective response and their neural bases, the more we will know about the feasibility of useful and portable tools for ideology’s biological measurement. This would then raise a further and difficult ethical question about the circumstances, if any, in which it is appropriate to use such tools. And, finally, the present study raises important questions about the possibility of, and obstacles to, understanding and cooperation across divides in political ideology. Would the recognition that those with different political beliefs from our own also exhibit different disgust responses from our own help us or hinder us in our ability to embrace them as coequals in democratic governance? Future work will be necessary to answer these important questions.

(Via Slashdot, where the comments were even more inane than usual.)

Personally, I’m disgusted by people who want to block healthcare for the poor. Apparently that makes me a liberal. I’m unwilling to suggest that makes them maggots, but science?

Posted in Politics, Science/Medicine | Leave a comment

Election Vitriol is Nothing New

Back in 1800 they really knew how to sling it:

Posted in 2014 Election | Leave a comment

Unicorn Sighting: I Agree With Judge Silberman

Posted in Law: Privacy | Leave a comment