Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view



UPCOMING EVENTS: Privacy



MULTIMEDIA: Privacy Topics

Evan Selinger on Algorithmic Outsourcing and the Value of Privacy

Meet the dazzling flying machines of the future

Terrorists Might Be Dumb, but They’re Tech-Savvy

Why Apple is Rejecting FBI’s Request for Universal Access to iPhones

All your devices can be hacked

Switzerland: Basic Income ‘Robot’ causes a commotion in Davos

Dead Bodies, Naked Women or Money. Which Excites You More?

This is what happens when you reply to spam email

How the Mysterious Dark Net Is Going Mainstream

The moral bias behind your search results

Deep Web

A Brief History of Marijuana in the 21st Century

What is the Future of Advertising?

Have You Been Inventoried? Identity Future Emerge

The problem with “trickle-down techonomics”




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Privacy Topics




Does Self-Tracking Promote Autonomy? An Initial Argument

by John Danaher

Seneca was a wealthy Roman stoic and advisor to the emperor Nero. In the third of his Letters from a Stoic, entitled ‘On True and False Friendship’, he makes the following observation:

As to yourself, although you should live in such a way that you trust your own self with nothing which you could not entrust even to your own enemy, yet, since certain matters occur which convention keeps secret, you should share with a friend at least all your worries and reflections.



The Ethics of Intimate Surveillance (2): A Landscape of Objections

by John Danaher

This is the second in a two-part series (read Part I here)looking at the ethics of intimate surveillance. In part one, I explained what was meant by the term ‘intimate surveillance’, gave some examples of digital technologies that facilitate intimate surveillance, and looked at what I take to be the major argument in favour of this practice (the argument from autonomy).



The Ethics of Intimate Surveillance (1)

by John Danaher

Intimate Surveillance’ is the title of an article by Karen Levy - a legal and sociological scholar currently-based at NYU. It shines light on an interesting and under-explored aspect of surveillance in the digital era. The forms of surveillance that capture most attention are those undertaken by governments in the interests of national security or corporations in the interests of profit.



Cyberspace is the Child of the Industrial Age - Defining it as Independent is Nonsense

by Woody Evans

In February, 1996, John Perry Barlow (of Grateful Dead, Electronic Frontier Foundation, etc.) declared cyberspace to be independent of states and their industries, economies, and politics.  He was wrong.  “Cyberspace” (and we’ll use the same term here, for what it’s worth) is an expression of fleshly and natural and mechanical processes; it is derived from human politics and industry, and it cannot be independent of it.

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Will Reproductive Rights Advocates Stand Up for Men?

by Valerie Tarico

Frozen embryos open new questions about forced parenthood and whether men, too, might have rights under Roe v. Wade.

Those of us on the Left like to say that we’re all “in it” together: rich, poor; white, brown; queer, straight; old, young; secular, devout; and even other species.

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The Internet of Things and the Great Recalibration

by Anthony Miccoli

I’ve been playing catch-up since my tenure application and my class preps for the Spring semester, but I’ve finally been able to re-engage with my usual sites, and all of the fantastic content in my Google+ communities.  One thing that’s been coming up in various iterations is the concept of the “internet of things.” In a nutshell, the term loosely (and, I think perhaps a little misleadingly) refers to a technological interconnectivity of everyday objects: clothes, appliances, industrial equipment, jewelry, cars, etc, now made possible by advancements in creating smaller microprocessors.

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Who Controls the Internet?

by David Brin

The End of the Internet Dream?

Ever since Congress passed Al Gore’s bill, around 1990, setting the Internet free to pervade the world and empower billions, repressive governments have complained, seeing their despotic methods undermined. And yes, democratic governments have often muttered: “Why’d we go and do that?” as their citizens became increasingly rambunctious, knowing and independent-minded!

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“Technology Could Bring Heaven on Earth, or Create Hell” - interview with futurist Gerd Leonhard

by Hank Pellissier

Gerd Leonhard is an acclaimed European futurist; his popular video was recently featured at IEET and he will soon be an IEET contributing writer. To introduce him to our audience, I interviewed him on his forecasts, ideas, and values.

IEET: Can you expand on your comment in the video, where you say: ”we will see more changes in the next 20 years than we did in the previous 300” ?

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#5: The price of the Internet of Things will be a vague dread of a malicious world

by Marcelo Rinesi

According to IEET readers, what were the most stimulating stories of 2015? This month we’re answering that question by posting a countdown of the top 30 articles published this year on our blog (out of more than 1,000), based on how many total hits each one received.

The following piece was first published here on September 25, 2015,  and is the #5 most viewed of the year.

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Paranoia, Conspiracies and Surveillance

by David Brin

== Another summons to resigned despair ==

Conspiracy theories abound.  They erupt out of human nature, it seems, and your ethnicity or caste or political leanings only affect which direction you credit with devilish cleverness, secret power and satanic values. For sure, as a science fiction author I can concoct plausible schemes and plots with the best of them!  Indeed, let me add that some real life cabals are so blatant and proudly obvious that you just have to admit – sometimes “they” are completely real and up to awful mischief.



Obfuscation: protect privacy by destroying the Web!

by David Brin

Time for a return to the core issue of our time: how shall we best preserve and extend freedom?  Along with freedom’s contingent benefits, like privacy?

In the LA Review of Books, Internet Privacy: Stepping Up Our Self-Defense Game, Evan Selinger reviews a slim book—Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest, by Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum.



After Paris, can we be both safe and free?

by David Brin

Of course we are all still quivering, following the attacks in Paris last week that killed 129 people, not so very far from where my wife and I lived for a couple of years, as newlyweds during the 1990s.  Our hearts go out to the brave folk of Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité in la Ville Lumiere.



Anonymous vs ISIS: Vigilante justice in the War against Terrorism

by Stefan Morrone

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind centred around the terrorist group knows as the Islamic State.  First, several attacks in Paris left 129 dead and countless others injured, then a bomb threat in Germany and a threat by ISIS to attack the rest of Europe and Washington, D.C. Fear grips the hearts of people around the world in an iron vice. And that is exactly what ISIS wants.  Right now, they are winning.



A Multifaceted Strategy to Defeat ISIS

by Gennady Stolyarov II

The recent slaughters of hundreds of innocent civilians in Paris, in Ankara, in Beirut, and aboard the Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 illustrate without a shadow of doubt that the threat from the barbaric sect known as ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, and the Islamic State cannot be contained within the Middle East. ISIS is an enemy of humanity, decency, and Western civilization. It will continue killing completely peaceful civilians of Western nations, both in their home countries and abroad, in gruesome ways. ISIS is a cancer upon humanity, and it will continue to metastasize and inflict damage until it is either eradicated or until it completely kills its host. Like cancer, ISIS cannot coexist with a healthy humankind. This cancerous “Islamic State” should be eradicated using the resources of any willing parties.



Will At-Home Therapeutic Miscarriage Make Abortion Clinics Obsolete?

by Valerie Tarico

At the turn of the millennium, the FDA approved a pill that could replace most abortions with early at-home therapeutic miscarriage.  When will that potential be realized?



Propaganda in America Today

by John G. Messerly

I generally avoid political issues in this blog,  but there are a number of very disturbing trends in American politics today that demand attention. The reason for that attention is simple. As both Plato and Aristotle reasoned long ago, one cannot have a good life without a good government; without a good government, few of us will be able to live well.



The Incoherence and Unsurvivability of Non-Anarchist Transhumanism

by William Gillis

The more means by which people can act the easier attack becomes and the harder defense becomes.

It’s a simple matter of complexity. The attacker only needs to choose one line of attack, the defender needs to secure against all of them. This isn’t just true of small thermal exhaust ports, it’s true in our software ecosystems today and any other system with many dimensions of movement.

Complexity, more degrees of freedom within a system, allow for greater attack surface. When they can come not just from all points on the compass but from above and below as well.

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Our Narcissistic Politicians - should MRI brain scans be required of all candidates?

by Hank Pellissier

We want our government officials to be brain-healthy, right? With sanity, integrity, and high moral values?

Sadly, the inverse seems true. Psychologists claim many of our politicians have Narcissist Personality Disorder.

What is a narcissist? What’s the precise definition of this personality malfunction that afflicts 1 - 3% of the population? With huge percentiles on Wall Street and in Washington DC?

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Guns vs Cameras - which are “equalizers” that can prevent tragedy?

by David Brin

The most recent mass-shooting tragedy sets into stark contrast two national misfortunes.  At surface, they seem similar—crazed gunmen opening fire on citizens and lethal misbehavior by a minority of bad cops. But in several important ways, the trends are diametrically opposite.

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IEET Fellow David Brin Named 2015 NEH Visiting Fellow at Bard College

IEET Fellow David Brin has been named the first annual National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. David will be in residence at the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College from Monday, October 5, to Sunday, October 25. As part of David’s fellowship, he will mentor selected Bard students on their fiction and nonfiction writing. Brin will also offer a number of lectures and discussions during his residency at Bard.

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The price of the Internet of Things will be a vague dread of a malicious world

by Marcelo Rinesi

Volkswagen didn’t make a faulty car: they programmed it to cheat intelligently. The difference isn’t semantics, it’s game-theoretical (and it borders on applied demonology).



In this Digital Age, your Privacy is Continuously Invaded

by Richard van Hooijdonk

Nothing that you thought only you could see is safe anymore. Digital privacy cannot be trusted. I say this because something happened recently which prompted me to write this post. Spotify, the popular music application, revamped its privacy policy which contained shocking revelations regarding its use of personal user data. Spotify’s new policy declares that the company can access the photos, contacts and other personal data of its users. 

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Can We Save Freedom by Hiding?

by David Brin

Across all my years as an impudent dissenter from mob-think regarding freedom and privacy, one fact has left me boggled, time and again. The way activists and academics and pundits – many of them clearly intelligent and sincere thinkers – leap to make the same mistake, over and over again.  The error of technological myopia.

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Sexual Assault, Consent Apps and Technological Solutionism

by John Danaher

Sexual assault and rape are significant social problems. According to some sources, one in five American women will be victims of sexual assault or rape at some point during their university education. Though this stat is somewhat controversial  (see here for a good overview) similar (sometimes higher) figures are reported in other countries. For example, in Ireland one estimate is that 31% of women experience some form of ‘contact abuse’ in their lifetime. The figure for men is lower, but higher than you might suppose, with abuse more likely to occur during childhood.

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42 Splices and Counting: Nine Facts You Should Know About the Planned Parenthood Smear Campaign

by Valerie Tarico

Imagine that someone hated you (or your company) and wanted to make you look bad. So, he pretended to be a friend or colleague, went to your events, repeatedly asked you to meetings or lunch, gained your trust, and then spent two years recording private conversations. Could he find stuff that would make you sound like a heartless monster? If you’re like me, the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, there’s no way it would take years.

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Ten Health Benefits of Marijuana

by Marc Howard

10. Treatment of Glaucoma

If you are one of the millions who have been suffering from glaucoma, then smoking marijuana can help you get the best eyesight and relieve pressure from they eyes. Intraocular pressure can increase in certain individuals, especially those who have diabetes. Glaucoma is serious disease that can cause blindness.

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The Politics Of Gay Marriage In Nigeria

by Leo Igwe

President Muhammad Buhari has stated during his recent visit to the US that his government would not consider decriminalizing gay marriage in Nigeria. Well, that did not come to me as a surprise because President Buhari is a hardline conservative muslim whom I think would be unwilling to support any legislative or policy change that is not compatible with sharia law.

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A Tale of Vigilante Justice: Adulterers, Hackers, and the Ashley Madison Affair

by Russell Blackford

Hackers calling themselves “The Impact Team” recently stole the customer data of Ashley Madison, an online dating service for people who are married or in committed relationships. Ashley Madison employs a slogan that says it all: “Life is short. Have an affair.”

During July and August, customer data was released online by the hackers: the upshot is that it’s now possible to identify many individuals who held Ashley Madison accounts. This includes such intimate details as their sexual fetishes and proclivities.

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The Telemarketer Singularity

by Marcelo Rinesi

The future isn’t a robot boot stamping on a human face forever. It’s a world where everything you see has a little telemarketer inside them, one that knows everything about you and never, ever, stops selling things to you.

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The Social Fabric of a Technically Advanced Society

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

There is so much human potential. I see it everywhere I turn. Yet something seems to hold us back, ever so slightly, from actually becoming a stable species. Yes, we have come a long way, yet at this moment in time it seems we have but two choices before us, begin to cooperate and live in harmony, or destroy everything, including our planet.

Full Story...

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