parker higgins dot net

My first 100 EFF deeplinks

Over on the EFF “Deeplinks” blog, I’ve just published my 100th post, an intro to the cryptographic property of perfect forward secrecy. One hundred strikes me as a nice big round number, averaging a little more than one a week since I started in November 2011. Here are some of my favorite posts of the first 100.

Dear Hollywood: An Open Letter to the Hardworking Men and Women in the Entertainment Industries – In the wake of SOPA (and the petty response from the top lobbyists that failed to get it passed), this letter speaks to the actual people that those lobbying groups purports to represent. I got a number of responses from people who work in the film industry, including an email from a director whose work I really admire, and it was generally pretty fun to write this.

Google Abandons Open Standards for Instant Messaging – As Google is switching from Talk to Hangouts as its instant message platform, it’s also dropping support for federated XMPP connections. That’s a pretty technical issue, so I wanted to make sure that I communicated it in a way that expressed the significance of the issue to people who aren’t familiar with all the specifics. I got a lot of feedback while drafting, and I’m proud of the way this turned out.

Why Isn’t Gatsby in the Public Domain? – This was maybe my favorite to actually write, as I got the idea one evening and whipped through it the next morning in a generally really enjoyable situation. Every piece we post on Deeplinks has had at least two sets of eyes, but the person I worked for to edit this one is my favorite.

Critical Fixes for the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act – For weeks after Aaron Swartz’s death, EFF attorneys worked with other prominent legal experts and even got feedback from Congressional staffers on how to improve the statutory language in the CFAA. But after a few weeks, there was still no generally readable summary of the changes that need to be made. This was my intro-to-CFAA-reform document in the form of a call to action. I was paid the highest possible compliment on this one: copies were printed out and left on every seat at Aaron’s DC memorial service.

Mobile User Privacy Bill of Rights – These are some basic rights that any phone user deserves, but that carriers, app developers, and even OS makers have at times undermined. Most can be addressed by the app developers, though, which is why this is targeted at them in addition to us users ourselves. When the California AG released its guidelines for mobile privacy, it tracked this list of rights pretty closely.

Congress Shouldn’t Debate Copyright in a Reality-Free Zone – Many of the facts that should inform the copyright debate are as undisputed as they could possibly be, but Congress refuses to engage in an evidence-based debate. There’s a lot of political pressure on them not to, in fact. But really, copyright is fundamentally an economic policy, and its stated goal can be measured and achieved. We’ll get real, meaningful reform when Congress stops debating copyright in a reality-free zone.