Law in the Internet Society

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Law in the Internet Society

Professor Eben Moglen
Columbia Law School
Fall 2023

For our last meeting on 6 December, please read EyesWideShut. If you have not yet read Turkle's Alone Together, you need to read it now.

ClassAudio and ClassTranscripts for the current term will be available weekly as soon as I catch up.

Please keep up with what's On the Radar.

All revisions will be due by 5pm on Friday 19 January. If you need more time, email an extension request and your deadline is automatically extended to February 1. If you have completed your revisions and you want your grade immediately, please email me.

Now that the term has concluded, my office has been returned to me and we can meet in it. I will hold office hours Tuesday 12 December and Thursday 14 December, 12:30-4pm. I will also be in my office, likely busy with technical work but at least botherable, Wednesday 13 December. Otherwise, please email


Technology Project 2:
Secure Proxy Browsing

Details and instructions

Technology project 1: Create a GPG key and upload it to the keyservers

Details and instructions


On the Radar

Noam Chomsky, Ian Roberts and Jeffrey Watumull, The False Promise of ChatGPT, New York Times, March 8, 2023


Kashmir Hill, The Technology Facebook and Google Didn't Dare Release, New York Times, September 9, 2023

Johann Hari, Your attention didn't collapse. It was stolen, The Guardian, January 2, 2022

Timnit Gebru, For truly ethical AI, its research must be independent from big tech, The Guardian, December 6, 2021

Rebecca Ratcliffe, Social media creating virus of lies, says Nobel winner Maria Ressa, The Guardian, November 18, 2021

Shoshana Zuboff, You Are the Object of a Secret Extraction Operation, New York Times, Nov. 12, 2021

Ayad Akhtar, The Singularity Is Here, The Atlantic, November 5, 2021

Ethan Zuckerman, Hey Facebook, I Made a Metaverse 27 Years Ago, The Atlantic, October 29, 2021


Simon Usborne, Intimate data: can a person who tracks their steps, sleep and food ever truly be free?, The Guardian, October 5, 2021

Leah Nylen, Facebook paid billions extra to the FTC to spare Zuckerberg in data suit, shareholders allege, Politico, September 21, 2021

Brian X. Chen, The Battle for Digital Privacy Is Reshaping the Internet New York Times, September 21, 2021

Ryan Mac and Sheera Frenkel, No More Apologies: Inside Facebook's Push to Defend Its Image, New York Times, September 21, 2021

Francis Fukuyama, Barak Richman, and Ashish Goel, How to Save Democracy From Technology: Ending Big Tech's Information Monopoly, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2021

Richard Speed, Privacy campaigner flags concerns about Microsoft's creepy Productivity Score, The Register, November 26, 2020

Anna Wiener, Taking Back Our Privacy, The New Yorker, October 26, 2020

Steve Lohr, IBM, Seeing Its Future in the Cloud, Breaks Off I.T. Unit, NY Times, October 8, 2020

Alex Hern, How Excel may have caused loss of 16,000 Covid tests in England, The Guardian, October 5, 2020

Patrick Wintour, Oxford moves to protect students from China's Hong Kong security law, The Guardian, September 28, 2020

Josh Simons and Dipayan Ghosh, Utilities for democracy: Why and how the algorithmic infrastructure of Facebook and Google must be regulated, Foreign Policy, August 2020

Sue Halpern, The Trump Campaign’s Mobile App Is Collecting Massive Amounts of Voter Data, The New Yorker, September 13, 2020

GPT-3, A Robot Wrote This Entire Article. Are You Scared Yet, Human?, The Guardian, September 8, 2020

Julia Jacobs, Natural History Museum Union Files Complaint Over Coronavirus App, New York Times, August 26, 2020

Thompson and Warzel, Smartphones are Spies, New York Times December 20, 2019

Lora Kelley, When Big Brother Isn't Scary Enough, New York Times, November 4, 2019

Economic Times Staff, Mass Surveillance: Face Recognition in India, Economic Times, November 7, 2019

Scroll Staff, Whatsapp spyware: 14 confirmed cases,, October 31, 2019

Scroll Staff, Whatsapp spyware used on Indian activists,, October 31, 2019

Nellie Bowles, Addicted to Screens? That's Really a You Problem, New York Times, October 6, 2019

Bianca Vivion Brooks, Fear of Being Forgotten, New York Times, October 1, 2019

Jane Rosenzweig, The Whistle-Blower's Guide to Writing, New York Times, September 27, 2019

Timothy Liebert, This Article is Spying on You, New York Times, September 18, 2019

Adam Santariano, Real-Time Surveillance Will Test the British Tolerance for Cameras, New York Times, September 15, 2019

Rob Walker, There Is No Tech Backlash, New York Times, September 14, 2019

Glenn S. Gerstell, I Work for N.S.A. We Cannot Afford to Lose the Digital Revolution, New York Times, September 10, 2019



Paul Lewis, 'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia, The Guardian, October 6, 2017

Spy Files Russia: PETER-SERVICE, WikiLeaks? , September 19, 2017

Ron Nixon, Cellphone and Computer Searches at U.S. Border Rise Under Trump, New York Times, January 05, 2018

David Streitfeld, Tech Giants, Once Seen as Saviors, Are Now Viewed as Threats, New York Times, October 12, 2017

Mawuna Koutonin, No business, no boozing, no casual sex: when Togo turned off the internet, The Guardian, September 21, 2017

Kenneth P. Vogel, Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank Funded by the Tech Giant , New York Times, August 30, 2017

Barry Lynn, I criticized Google. It got me fired. That’s how corporate power works., Washington Post, August 31, 2017

Tom Simonite, Google and Microsoft Can Use AI to Extract Many More Ad Dollars from Our Clicks, Wired News, August 31, 2017

Keith L. Alexander, Judge orders tech company to release Web user data from anti-Trump website, Washington Post, August 24, 2017 -

Kenneth Lipp, AT&T Is Spying on Americans for Profit, New Documents Reveal, Daily Beast, October 25, 2016

Nicole Perlroth, How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone, New York Times, September 2, 2016



Eben Moglen and Mishi Choudhary, Zuckerberg Nobly Carries White Man's Burden: Poor Indians' Data Packets, Indian Express, October 30, 2015

David Gelles, Hiroko Tabuchi and Matthew Dolan, Complex Car Software Becomes the Weak Spot Uinder the Hood, New York Times, September 27, 2015


Jim Dwyer, Volkswagen's Diesel Fraud Makes Critic of Secret Code a Prophet, September 22, 2015

Eben Moglen, Transcript: When Software is in Everything: Future Liability Nightmares Free Software Helps Avoid, June 30, 2010


Robert A. Burton, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love A.I., New York Times, September 21, 2015

David Yee, Video Surveillance: Abusing Power or Protecting the Public?,, Aug. 21, 2015

Julia Sklar, Policing sex trafficking in the digital age, MIT News, August 18, 2015

Grant Gross, "DOJ calls for encryption balance that includes law enforcement needs, CIO, August 12, 2015

Andrew Blake, Can you see me now? ‘Privacy Visor’ goggles trick facial recognition tech, Washington Times, August 12, 2015


<-- paywalled 

Danny Yadron, Former Heads of Homeland Security, NSA Back Encryption, The Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2015



Anne Flaherty, Social media companies fighting Senate surveillance bill, The Columbus Dispatch, July 27, 2015

Cyrus Farivar, "Facebook’s facial recognition will one day find you, even while facing away, Ars Technica, Jun 24, 2015


<-- paywalled 

Ben Sobel, Facial recognition technology is everywhere. It may not be legal., The Washington Post, June 11, 2015



Alejandro Llorente et al, Social media fingerprints of unemployment, arXiv:1411.3140, November 12, 2014

Brent Skorup, Cops scan social media to help assess your ‘threat rating’, Reuters Blog, December 12, 2014


People Love Spying On One Another: A Q & A With Facebook Critic Eben Moglen, Washington Post, November 19, 2014


Eben Moglen, The GCHQ boss’s assault on privacy is promoting illegality on the net, The Guardian, November 13, 2014

Event: 1971 Screening and Discussion on Surveillance November 7, 2014, Davis Auditorium

Robert Lemos, Mac OS X Yosemite sends location, search data to Apple, Ars Technica, October 20, 2014


Watch: IASC & the Elinor Ostrom Award, Commons In Action (2014)


Dominic Rushe, Router That Anonymises Internet Activity Raises $300,000 on Kickstarter, The Guardian, October 14, 2014

Michael Corkery and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Miss a Payment? Good Luck Moving That Car, New York Times, September 24, 2014


<-- Paywalled

Devlin Barrett & Danny Yadron, New Level of Smartphone Encryption Alarms Law Enforcement, Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2014

atockar, Riding with the Stars: Passenger Privacy in the NYC Taxicab Dataset, Neustar Research, September 15, 2014

Eugene Mandel, How the Napa earthquake affected Bay area sleepers, Blog, August 25, 2014

Al Sassco, Fitness Trackers are Changing Online Privacy — and It's Time to Pay Attention,, August 14, 2014

Eric Adler, Law Students Fend Off a Patent Troll.,, August 8, 2014

Tom Warren, Microsoft, like Google, tips off police for child porn arrest, The Verge, August 7, 2014


<-- Paywalled

Douglas MacMillan, Foursquare Now Tracks Users Even When the App Is Closed, Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2014

Vindu Goel, How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil, New York Times, August 2, 2014

Dan Froomkin, Top Journalists and Lawyers: NSA Surveillance Threatens Press Freedom and Right to Counsel, The Intercept, July 28, 2014

Alex Marthews and Catherine Tucker, Government Surveillance and Internet Search Behavior, SSRN, March 24, 2014


Primary Readings

The most important book to read this term is Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power (2019). Because it is 700 pages long, you will try not to, but you must.

The second most important is Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (2012).

For access, see ReadingList.


Introduction, Political Economy:
The Way We Live Now

Sociology, Economics, Legal Theory:
Grasping the Net

Copyright and Other Intellectual Improperty:
Anarchists, Authors, and Owners

Carriage Regulation:
Controlling the Switches

Privacy in Private and Public Law:
The State, The Spook, The Cop, Her Wife, and His Lover

Eyes Wide Shut:
Taboo Enforcement and Free Expression

Making Broadcasters Unconstitutional:
Rethinking Media Law

Electronic Democracy:
Restructuring Politics

A Word on Technology Old and New About the Word

This seminar is an attempt to learn about, understand and predict the development of law in a rapidly changing area. We must assemble the field of knowledge relevant to our questions even as we begin trying to answer them. Wiki technology is an ideal match for the work we have in hand. Below you will find an introduction to this particular wiki, or TWiki, where you can learn as much or as little about how this technology works as you want.

For now, the most important thing is just that any page of the wiki has an edit button, and your work in the course consists of writings that we will collaboratively produce here. You can make new pages, edit existing pages, attach files to any page, add links, leave comments in the comment boxes--whatever in your opinion adds to a richer dialog. During the semester I will assign writing exercises, which will also be posted here. All of everyone's work contributes to a larger and more informative whole, which is what our conversation is informed by, and helps us to understand.

Please begin by registering. I look forward to seeing you at our first meeting on the 6th.

Introduction to the LawNetSoc Web

The LawNetSoc site is a collaborative class space built on Twiki [], a free software wiki system. If this is your first time using a wiki for a long term project, or first time using a wiki at all, you might want to take a minute and look around this site. If you see something on the page that you don't know how to create in a wiki, take a look at the text that produced it using the "Edit" button at the top of each page, and feel free to try anything out in the Sandbox.

All of the Twiki documentation is also right at hand. Follow the TWiki link in the sidebar. There are a number of good tutorials and helpful FAQs there explaining the basics of what a wiki does, how to use Twiki, and how to format text.

From TWiki's point of view, this course, Law in the Internet Society, is one "web." There are other webs here: the sandbox for trying wiki experiments, for example, and my other courses, etc. You're welcome to look around in those webs too, of course. Below are some useful tools for dealing with this particular web of ours. You can see the list of recent changes, and you can arrange to be notified of changes, either by email or by RSS feed. I would strongly recommend that you sign up for one or another form of notification; if not, it is your responsibility to keep abreast of the changes yourself.

LawNetSoc Web Utilities

Revision 349r349 - 08 Jan 2024 - 23:13:51 - EbenMoglen
Revision 348r348 - 09 Dec 2023 - 20:02:30 - EbenMoglen
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