Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium

4:30 PM, Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Shriram Center for Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering Room 104

A Borderless Internet With Borderless Laws?

Danny O'Brien
Electronic Freedom Foundation (

About the talk:

One conception of the Internet -- and rapidly-changing technology in general -- is to claim that it is beyond effective regulation, because its effects are not constrained by borders. No legal system has jurisdiction over the Internet, and the Internet has seemed to be resistent to any institution or state asserting its control.

This is changing. In the last few years, national and supra-national governments have asserted not only their right to manage and govern the use and spread of technology, but to enforce those laws beyond their own borders.

We'll take a look at Australia's new anti-encryption law, the EU's GDPR and Article 13 and 11 of the proposed Copyright Directive, and cases from Russia and Brazil to France and Canada and the United States where governments have sought to control the global Internet -- with more or less success. We'll also look at how this might change the assumptions around innovation and research, and how new technology transfers into the wider world.


To access the live wecast of the talk (active at 16:28 of the day of the presentaton) and the archived version of the talk, use the URL SU-EE380-20190130. This is a first class reference and can be transmitted by email, Twitter, etc.

To watch the YouTube view of the lecture, please click HERE.

About the Speaker

[speaker photo] Danny O'Brien is EFF's International Director. Danny O'Brien has been an activist for online free speech and privacy for over 20 years. In his home country of the UK, he fought against repressive anti-encryption law, and helped make the UK Parliament more transparent with FaxYourMP. He was EFF's activist from 2005 to 2007, and its international outreach coordinator from 2007-2009. After three years working to protect at-risk online reporters with the Committee to Protect Journalists, he returned to EFF in 2013 to supervise EFF's global strategy. He is also the co-founder of the Open Rights Group, Britain's own digital civil liberties organization.

In a previous life, Danny wrote and performed the only one-man show about Usenet to have a successful run in London's West End. His geek gossip zine, Need To Know, won a special commendation for services to newsgathering at the first Interactive BAFTAs. He also coined the term " life hack."

It has been over a decade since he was first commissioned to write a book on combating procrastination.