I tend to (almost exclusively) access key websites related to my research and personal interests through RSS feeds. As a result of using Google Reader to collate new content, I rarely actually see the blogrolls and suggested links that are provided by those key websites that I grab content from on a daily basis. Given that I’m sure many people read this site almost exclusively through RSS, I wanted to prepare a short piece that highlights just some of the key blogs and websites that I turn to on a regular basis in the hopes that readers might find some cool and interesting new sources of information they’d otherwise never come across. As a hat tip, this post is largely inspired by Rebecca Bollwitt‘s “The Missing Link” that considers (as of 2008) the changing characters of link lists and blogrolls.
Aya Walraven is a digital media and internet enthusiast who primarily works in video, web, and emerging technologies. A self-appointed internet-culture historian and archivist, she studies and documents mobile technologies and online behavior, particularly in Japanese youth and anonymous communities.
Her blog name is a combination of AR (Augmented Reality) and Matome, the latter being a romanization of the Japanese term まとめ which means round-up, collect, mass, or summary. Her blog is a round up of news, findings, commentary and links related to Augmented Reality and the technological, economic and social landscape in which it develops.
Ars is the tech site that you need to be visiting if you (a) speak English; (b) have diverse tech-related interests; (c) like actual, critical, reporting. Ars’ writers regularly break new ground with the work they produce – Nate Anderson’s work on DPI inspired me to dedicate a fair chunk of time to the privacy and surveillance implications of Deep Packet Inspection – and write in accessible formats that makes their articles useful to the geeks and non-geeks alike.
Bruce is often heralded as the ‘rockstar of security’, and it’s a well deserved title. He writes in a very accessible format, while striking to the heart of security and security technology issues. If you’re doing work in the security field, he’s required reading, even if you disagree with him.
Kate recently received her PhD from SFU, and worked with Andrew Feenberg during her studies into how activists in the global justice movement appropriate technology to achieve their social justice goals. She sees tech activism as having (at least) three simultaneous outcomes: it democratizes technology, it develops democratic practice and it produces an alternative vision of society.
Her blog is meant to be a space for documenting the history and accomplishments of tech activism. In the spirit of the free software movement, it is an experiment in open scholarship, and all tech activists are encouraged to participate through contributing to the project, as well as questioning, editing and correcting information found here.
While there are several DPI vendors who’s work I follow, I’ve often found iPoque’s to be the most transparent. While their executive blog isn’t updated terribly often, when updates are released they tend to be very interesting for those of us focused on DPI, network neutrality, and copyright. Given that there is a lot of attention on the North American DPI vendors, I think that it’s important to pay attention to those that operate a bit differently across the Atlantic – iPoque is one of the largest vendors in the EU and Africa, and thus justly deserves consideration by North American and European scholars alike.
While Lessig is often the target of popular and academic criticism (if not outright derision) one is forced to admit that his work has been seminal in the network neutrality, copyright, and free culture debates. His blog is on a hiatus at the moment, but the archives are filled with incredibly thought-provoking content. Love or hate him, he’s effectively required reading (if only so you know WHY you love or hate him grin) when studying contemporary digital issues.
A group of computer and security researchers at Cambridge University regularly contribute content to their Light Blue Touchpaper blog. I tend to follow Richard Clayton, in particular, but the researchers’ contributions in general are delightfully accessible and technically oriented. It’s rare that you run into security researchers who can communicate with the public, but it would seem that Cambridge houses a whole lot of them!
The Perceptric Blog is where business partners in Perceptric Pty Limited, Chris Gilbey and Tom Koltai post thoughts, ideas, and links to stimulate thought and accelerate the transfer of ideas with a particular focus on P2P. Tom, in particular, has a strong background in running ISPs, and so his writings about P2P technologies and their disruptive impacts is commonly insightful. This said, while the Cambridge scholars are almost always accessible reads, it might take some background to catch many of the nuances in Tom’s and Chris’ work. Good reading if you’re interested in P2P and its impact on ISPs’ core services.
Privacy lives is ‘monitors the pulse of privacy’. It regularly engages with privacy matters that arise from technology, government, corporate, and academic fields. Melissa Ngo, the site’s author, is a Privacy and Information Policy Consultant and has testified about privacy and civil liberties before legislators and government agencies, and she discusses such issues at academic, policy, and trade conferences. Prior to publishing Privacy Lives, Ngo was Senior Counsel and Director of the Identification and Surveillance Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a non-profit research education center in Washington, DC.
Melissa is often at the forefront of the critical commentators who engage with contemporary privacy-related matters. Highly related if privacy is foregrounded in your research/reading interests.
Ralf’s blog is self-described as presenting ‘thoughts and observations of a privacy, security, and Internet researcher and activist.’ While his schedule prevents him from updating regularly, his posts constitute ‘deep content’ – it’s well thought out, researched, and immediately useful. He’s presented some good work on DPI, and is well regarded amongst the circle of privacy academics I increasingly find myself amongst.
Jesse Brown is one of the very few competent, critical, technology-oriented journalists in Canada. Search Engine was previously with the CBC, but is now with TVO. He has weekly podcasts that touch on all things social and tech – don’t read him expecting updates on the latest iPod, but instead on how DRM, copyright, and the Canadian government intersect (as an example). He’s one of the most public (and loudest!) voices speaking about copyright in Canada. I wait up most Monday nights to listen to his podcast fresh off iTunes, and so should you!
Likely abandoned, Kriss Andsten’s blog on DPI was great because it gave actual insights into the technology from a person inside the industry. His work comes across as authentic and is helpful for trying to figure out how ‘the industry’ might talk about DPI in a bar, as opposed to on a PR stage.
Christopher Soghoian has been described as an activist, muckraker, and general pain in the ass. I like to think of him as a model of what academics can, and should, become; he rigorously pursues his research interests while drawing on them to try and transform the social landscape he operates within. Christopher does great work investigating the modes of surveillance that are deployed by corporate and government agents alike, and has regularly embarrassed both sets of actors in publishing information they’d rather just stayed private.
Susan does amazing work at the forefront of American telecommunciations and network policy. If ICANN, network neutrality, ISP competition, and related issues spark your interest, then start reading her work if you’re not already.
Mark Goldberg is a key figure in the Canadian telecommunication community. A noted consultant and key organizer for the Canadian Telecommunications Summit, his work is widely read and his opinions often drawn on to form public and private opinion on various telecom-related matters. If you’re interested in Canadian telecommunications, then his work is required reading.
Ian Glazer et al. write some really provocative thoughts on social networking and social media. If you are doing anything related to Facebook and privacy, you are required to know and think about Glazer’s Privacy Mirror application, which renders transparent the actual capacities of Facebook’s privacy settings.
Jonathan Zittrain’s blog is intended to accompany the concepts and principles found in ‘The Future of the Internet – And How To Stop It’ and apply them to the issues of the day. While updates are somewhat sporatic, and seemingly produced (largely) by his assistants/RAs with comments from Zittrain, the issues that are raised and modes of engaging with them are often provocative. If you liked his book, or were at least interested in elements of it, his website may be of use for your ongoing engagement with the text.
A blog maintained by David Murakami Wood, Canada Research Chair in Surveillance Studies at Queen’s University and Managing Editor of Surveillance and Society, readers will regularly be delighted by critical, engaging, of often sarcastic comments about pressing surveillance and privacy-related matters. David will likely be cutting back on his almost-daily publishing schedule with a recent addition to his family, but we can nevertheless continue to expect the same high-quality, attention grabbing, information and commentary that we’ve come to expect over the past several years.
Given that many of you know that my research interests surround DPI, copyright, network policy, privacy, surveillance, and technology, what less-known blogs and websites would you recommend I start reading for the new year?