NYT Mag on the Slants

My first for NYT Mag, online:

Federal registration is the T.S.A. PreCheck of intellectual-property law: Not everyone has to get it, but if you do a lot of business, you probably should. The problem is that in the Slants’ case, the trademark office has come to look a bit like the popular image of the T.S.A.: a bureaucracy of bored enforcers just trying to churn through the queue and get through the day. Except that every now and then, something complicated comes down the screening belt, or someone gets a little overzealous about the job, and everyone winds up looking bad.

My debut in the Washington Post

My first article in the Post, for a special issue that celebrates the anniversary of the Web.

As the Web turns 25, it’s worth looking back on how the Internet has changed our perception of the naked female body and the woman who is the naked body. All attempts at Internet regulation raise the same question: What is the ideal level of responsibility for the companies, platforms and websites that make up the Web? It’s not a coincidence that female nudity is so frequently the catalyst for these policy battles. Our convoluted, twisted and ever-evolving social attitudes about sexuality create a perfect flash point for issues of censorship and responsibility.

How panics about pictures of naked women shaped the Web as we know it

Series at The Atlantic

I’m writing a series of articles for The Atlantic revolving around the topic of surveillance, privacy, and rights in the digital age—particularly in the financial sector. The first went up on Friday:

How a Cashless Society Could Embolden Big Brother 

In a cashless society, the cash has been converted into numbers, into signals, into electronic currents. In short: Information replaces cash.

Information is lightning-quick. It crosses cities, states, and national borders in the twinkle of an eye. It passes through many kinds of devices, flowing from phone to phone, and computer to computer, rather than being sealed away in those silent marble temples we used to call banks. Information never jangles uncomfortably in your pocket.

But wherever information gathers and flows, two predators follow closely behind it: censorship and surveillance. The case of digital money is no exception. Where money becomes a series of signals, it can be censored; where money becomes information, it will inform on you.

Great art by Kara Gordon.

 

 

Termination Rights in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

I co-wrote this piece on termination rights in the TPP.

Regardless of the intent behind the provision, it is clear that the lack of transparency regarding the TPP is a problem. In 1999, much of the outrage was directed at the manner in which the Glazier amendment was added to an unrelated bill—“No hearings were held, no public debate took place, and no member of Congress sponsored the act[ion].

When intellectual property policy is taken up in the trade context, that very lack of democracy and transparency becomes the standard.