Is the Internet going to live up to its promise as the greatest force for individual freedom that the world has ever known? Or is the hope for a global community of creative intellectual interaction lost…for now?
In last year’s Black Hat keynote—entitled “Lifecycle of a Revolution”—noted privacy and civil liberties advocate Jennifer Granick told the story of the Internet utopians, people who believed that Internet technology could greatly enhance creative and intellectual freedom. Granick argued that this Dream of Internet Freedom was dying, choked off by market and government forces of centralization, regulation, and globalization. The speech was extremely popular. Almost 8000 people watched it at Black Hat. It was retweeted, watched and read by tens of thousands of people. Boing Boing called it “the speech that won Black Hat (and DEF CON ).”
This year, Granick revisits the state of the Internet Dream. This year’s crypto war developments in the U.S. and U.K. show governments’ efforts to control the design of technologies to ensure surveillance. The developments also show that governments see app stores as a choke point for regulation and control, something that couldn’t easily happen with general purpose computers and laptops but which could be quite effective in a world where most people access the network with mobile devices.
Also in the past year, the European Court of Justice embraced blocking orders and ISP liability in the name of stopping copyright infringement, privacy violations, and unflattering comments from ever being published online. The effect of these developments is to force Internet companies to be global censors on the side of online civility against the free flow of information and opinion. If we want to realize some of the promise of the Internet utopian vision, we are going to have to make some hard political choices and redesign communications technology accordingly. The future could look a lot like TV, or we could work to ensure our technology enshrines individual liberties. This talk will help attendees join that effort.
In 1995, Jennifer Granick attended her first DEF CON at the Tropicana Hotel. Since then, she has defended hackers and coders in computer crime, copyright, DMCA and other cases. Jennifer left her criminal law practice in 2001 to help start the Stanford Center for Internet and Society (CIS). From 2001 to 2007, Jennifer was Executive Director of CIS and taught Cyberlaw, Computer Crime Law, Internet intermediary liability, and Internet law and policy. From 2008 to 2010, Jennifer worked with the boutique firm of Zwillgen PLLC and as Civil Liberties Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Today, Jennifer has returned to CIS as Director of Civil Liberties. She teaches, practices, speaks, and writes about computer crime and security, electronic surveillance, technology, privacy, and civil liberties. She earned her law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and her undergraduate degree from the New College of Florida.