Sun, 19/12/2021 - 02:43

I can’t believe I have to spell this out, but:
free/libre/open-source software developers and open web activists selflessly running independent services online are people too.

It seems this idea is especially difficult to grasp for researchers (including, apparently, whoever reviews and green-lights their studies). The latest kerfuffle with the Princeton-Radboud Study on Privacy Law Implementation shows this well.

“Not a human subject study”

The idea of that study seems simple enough: get a list of “popular” websites (according to the research-oriented Tranco list), send e-mails to e-mail addresses expected to be monitored for privacy-related requests (like, and use that to assess the state of CCPA and GDPR implementation. Sounds good!

Sat, 18/12/2021 - 22:42

“[We are] like a school bus teetering on the guardrail of a bridge over a roaring river. The bus driver is trying to coax the children to move calmly and carefully to an exit door in the portion of the bus that is still on the bridge, but some of the children are running and […]

The post “Like a school bus teetering on the guardrail of a bridge over a roaring river.” appeared first on Zeldman on Web and Interaction Design.

Fri, 17/12/2021 - 09:21

In his opening address to the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow at the beginning of November, Boris Johnson evoked the end of a James Bond movie in which the hero is “strapped to a doomsday device, desperately trying to work out which colored wire to pull to turn it off, while a red digital […]

The post ‘Arum Arum Araaaaaagh’ appeared first on The New York Review of Books.

Sat, 11/12/2021 - 12:33


Just announced: I'm being given the International Sociological Association's Award for Excellence in Research and Practice. This award is given once every 4 years; it's a great honour. My thanks to the ISA! And to the many, many colleagues & friends I have worked with, over the years.


The social science I value is engaged in the world, it doesn't watch from a distance. It's empirical and utopian. It's willing to explore questions ranging from personal life to global empire. It doesn't flinch from issues of violence and power. But it also asks how new and better possibilities emerge.


Sat, 11/12/2021 - 07:48

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Friday, December 10th, 2021 -- A global community of activists is taking part today in the Defective by Design campaign's 15th annual International Day Against DRM (IDAD) to protest use of Digital Restrictions Management, a widespread technology that places unethical restrictions on how people access digital media. Though from different backgrounds, countries, and perspectives, participants in the campaign share the common cause of opposing DRM in all of its forms. This year's target is Disney+'s streaming platform.

Sat, 11/12/2021 - 05:02
During the Trump days, I argued that the Trump presidency signified the waning power, if not end, of the Reagan regime. To that extent, Trump bore comparison to Jimmy Carter, whose presidency also signaled the end of another political order (the New Deal). I was wrong about that, and I explained how and why in a lengthy piece in 2019. My argument about Trump was based on two theories: one, my own, about conservatism and the right; the other, Steve Skowronek’s theory of the presidency. In the New York Times this weekend, I take stock of the Biden presidency, asking, essentially, this: if Trump turned out not to be Carter, how does that help us understand Biden? The Skowronek theory […]