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Forbidden Research liveblog: Against the law: countering lawful abuses of digital surveillance

With bunnie huang, Author, Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering and Edward Snowden. Liveblog by Sam Klein, Erhardt Graeff, and myself.

Introduction and overview from Snowden

This is my first time giving an academic talk, and I think it's the first time a US exile is presenting research at a US academic institution. One of the great things about Cory's talk is that we don't talk enough about how laws are a weak guarentee of outcome. theft, murder, etc still happen.

Introduction to Forbidden Research

Liveblog by Sam Klein and myself

Joi (director of the Media Lab), Opening

Research is forbidden when it won't get peer reviewed, you'll be ridiculed, your lab won't get any new students. Academic freedom is diminishing. We're not killed any more for the things we say and do (mostly). But looking at Nobel prizes, people are taking career-risking moves to discover something. Civic did an event called Freedom to Innovate. Laws for criminals used to stifle innovation. Courage needed to explore these areas on Forbidden Research.

So we're asking ourselves: how does an institution become robust? Laws etc put in place to protect the status quo. Academic institutions or society should question the status quo. All the things in history that we see as moments of social change have to do with doing taboo things. Reed Hoffman has agreed to support a Disobedience Prize ($250k). Difficult to award because "what is societally useful disobedience" ends up being complicated. We don't have a firm date but it's an experiment.

Media Lab Conversations Series: Challenges in the Fight Against Ebola

Liveblog by Alexis, Jude, Ed, Lilia, Alexis, Yu, & Heather

Event description: “Partners in Health and its collaborators on the ground in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea have been playing a critical role in the fight against Ebola. To date, Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people, and continues to wreak havoc in the region. What are the facts from the ground? What technological tools are lacking that could be used to limit the current outbreak?


HOPE X: Wireless Meshnets: Building the Next Version of the Web

Liveblogged at HOPE X. Presentation available here.

Kevin Carter - Technologist, Writer
Peter Valdez - NYC Meshnet
Kurt Snieckus - NYC Meshnet

Kevin begins by asking "why build a new network?" The internet has grown far beyond any scale that was predicted. Things like security were added after the fact. Control of the network has shifted from academic, to corporate and political. The internet is becoming less democratized with threats to Net Neutrality and increased surveillance. Governments can and do intercept router hardware and install malware.

Mesh networks are decentralized. Peers relay information to each other and connect by peering with any other connected node. One example is Hyperboria which runs the cjdns protocol. Other protocols include BATMAN. Decentralized networks put power back in the hands of the users. Although NYC Meshnet uses cjdns, they focus on using whatever technology works, and evolving as necessary.

Shaka Senghor and Martha Minow discuss mass incarceration and restorative justice

Notes from the Media Lab Conversations Series with Shaka Senghor and Martha Minow, 2/7. This is a collaborative liveblog and may contain errors. Contributors: Edward L. Platt and Erhardt Graeff.

Shaka Senghor - Author, mentor, activist, ML Director's Fellow. Author of Writing My Wrongs

Martha Minow - Dean and Prof at Harvard Law School. Author of Between Vengeance and Forgiveness


Shaka's journey started as many others in his community in Detroit during the crack era. He ran away at age 13, got involved with selling drugs and became addicted. He was robbed at gunpoint, beaten, and left for dead in the back of a crack house.

Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Controlled Interactivity: Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age

Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Controlled Interactivity: Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age

Notes from Center for Civic Media Lunch, 02/20/14. This is a collaborative live blog by attendees and may contain errors. A video of the talk will be posted soon.  

Jennifer begins by showing a slide: Obama "This person's got his back – share this if you do too."

This particular effort launched during the 2012 campaign around the time that Romney was getting attention as the apparent Republican nominee. They made this meme with the idea that people would change their profile picture to this image.

Transnational Dimensions of Spreadable Media

Liveblog of the MiT8 panel on Transnational Dimensions of Spreadable Media moderated by Sam Ford. Notes with Rodrigo Davies and others.

Nancy Baym, Music Without Borders: Globalization and its Contents

Nancy introduces two current, competing frames of music consumers: Pirates vs Customers. We ask, are musicians getting paid enough? But the question frames musicians as producers, as manufacturers.

How do musicians understand their interactions and relationships with their audiences? How have social media affected these things? What is the broader system of values into which money fits?

Survivors, Cyber-Law & Harm Reduction: liveblog

Cowritten with Rebecca Perry, with help from Shreeharsh Kelkar; video by Lan Li; this workshop occurred on April 26, 2013.

The final session of the MIT Sex Trafficking & Technology Workshop.



Virginia Greiman (Ginny)

Abigail Judge


Manduhai Buyandelger

Technology & Trafficking Discourses: liveblog

Cowritten with Rebecca Perry, photography & video by Lan Li; workshop occurred on April 26, 2013.

The welcome to the MIT Sex Trafficking & Technology Workshop, given by Mitali Thakor.

Today’s Sex Trafficking & Technology workshop centers on issues of sex trafficking and labor and human rights, from the viewpoint of activists and scholars. The workshop is a joint collaboration between MIT’s Anthropology Program and Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

Questions the workshop explores (from the workshop site):