net.wars columns, published every Friday since November 2001 at the net.wars blog, on Saturdays on CIX (join! discuss!), at Cybersalon, and sometimes at other sites such as ORGzine, as well as other places such as Privacy Surgeon from time to time. If there's any column you'd like to republish/cross-post, just ask. net.wars also has a Pinboard for stories that come up between columns on the subject net.wars covers: computers, freedom, and privacy, aka the border wars between cyberspace and real life.


  • Joined-up thinking (10/21/2016) - proposing mandatory Security Impact Assessments for new legislation.
  • Coffee pots with benefits (10/14/2016) - finding problems from the proposal made at this year's Gikii by OII's Philip Howard that Internet of Things devices should be required to identify the ultimate beneficiary of the data they collect.
  • Smut (10/7/2016) - checking out proposed mechanisms for age verification, mandated in the Digital Economy bill.
  • On the internet no one knows you're a... (9/30/2016) - why women should be visible on the internet.
  • This sporting law (9/23/2016) - the recent Sports Law conference at Anglia Ruskin University asks whether sports can remain autonomous, as Pierre de Coubertin wanted.
  • New masters (9/16/2016) - Games, art, AI, and strides towards intelligent games at the IGGI conference.
  • Unlinked (9/09/2016) - a recent court case and the EU's draft copyright directive threaten the link. This again?
  • Guardians (9/02/2016) - attempting to answer a friend who asked, "is my 12-year-old son OK online?"
  • Return of the penguin (8/26/2016) - seven months after switching the desktop to Linux, a serious mistake forces a restart.
  • The 0.06 percent (8/19/2016) - lamenting the continuing disappearance of comment boards off of news sites even though moderating them is a hellish job.
  • Somebody else's problems (8/12/2016) - why the Internet of Things requires software manufacturers to accept product liability.
  • Going for the Golem (8/05/2016) - the problem of sharing space with Pokemon Go and its coming succssors.
  • Legislating the sea of holes (7/29/2016 - breaking down the Investigatory Powers bill.
  • Judgment days (7/22/2016) - courts deliver sensible rulings in the Microsoft case regarding data stored in Ireland and in Tom Watson's and David Davis's action against the UK government regarding DRIPA.
  • New tricks (7/15/2016) - investigative journalism finds new homes in cooperatively-run local start-up publications.
  • Respawn (7/08/2016) - in the background of the post-EU referendum governmental musical chairs, Privacy Shield is approved to replace Safe Harbor, the Investigatory Powers bill marches on, and a new Digital Economy bill gets ready for action.
  • Copyright exception gymnastics (7/1/2016) - the morning after the EU referendum, MEP Julia Reda tells the audience at CREATe's annual conference that national sovereignty is an illusion and asks why we keep patching a law whose fundamental principles no longer fit.
  • Funny money (6/24/2016) - finding out what's really new about the blockchain.
  • Staying in (6/17/2016) - arguing the case for Remain, a week before the referendum vote.
  • Dinosaur bones (6/10/2016) - a series of privacy events remind why privacy really matters even if Europeans can sigh and say, "That couldn't happen here.".
  • The rift (6/03/2016) - Oculus Rift as a metaphor for none so blind as will not see that users hate ads.
  • Luddite engineers (5/26/2016)- updating the case against online voting, which is no more attractive when you sprinkle it with magic fairy dust like "blockchain" nad "open source software".
  • Adventures in television, part 438 (5/19/2016) - my weirdest TV experience ever. Update (5/19/2016): I still have no idea what that was about.
  • Pay pal (5/12/2016) - is the Dutch start-up Blendle's ease of payment the start of something big for publishers seeking profits?
  • The Knowledge (5/07/2016) - more adventures in mapping and navigation. Yeah, still prefer paper.
  • Wild things (4/29/2016) - as the industry continues to define 5G, the real question they still can't answer: what do people want?
  • The blockchain menu (4/22/2016) - this year's Tomorrow's Transactions Forum has my first Lego prototype of an Internet of Things implementation but like many other technologies on display, needs a clear problem to solve.
  • Hit for six (4/15/2016) - Privacy Shield is rejected, General Data Protection Regulation passes, 5G is still searching for priorities, FBI's Apple crack inspires end-to-end encryption adoption, Phorm is finally really dead, SCO vs IBM is not, and Pastafarianism may or may not be a religion, depending where you live.
  • Humans all the way down (4/08/2016) - the human-robot interface is this year's We Robot's emerging problem; in such systems, says Madeleine Elish, the humans will become "moral crumple zones".
  • The lab and the world (4/01/2016) - "how the next generation thinks" isn't as different as some people seem to think.
  • Murphy's internet (3/24/2016) - charting progress towards ICANN's independence from the US government. Update (10/21/2016): As we now know, the IANA transition went ahead as planned on October 1, safely before the presidential election.
  • Bypass (3/17/2016) - Hillary Clinton's email server escapdes illustrate why security people need to listen to what their users need. Update (10/21/2016): The main point stands whether or not you believe that the security personnel's refusal to supply Clinton with a Blackberry was in fact the driving reason she used the server.
  • Don't stand so close to me (3/10/2016) - at Internet Law Works-in-Progress, in response to proposals to use social media to provide alternate forms of credit scoring, Nizan Geslevich-Packin and Yafit Lev-Aretz propose the right to be unnetworked.
  • The seven-percent solution (3/03/2016) - copyright is only a solved problem if you forget the purpose was to finance the work of artists and creators.
  • Monster trucks (2/26/2016) - Oxford's autonomous vehicles group ponders the shape of problems to come.
  • Poisoning the fruit tree (2/19/2016) - the FBI and Apple lock antlers over Sayed Rizwan Farook's encrypted iPhone because: math.
  • Parcel of rogues (2/12/2016) - considering the unthinkable as the US presidential election grinds towards choosing a candidate: what would it be like if the person wielding the Investigatory Powers bill were Donald Trump?
  • Marvin Minsky and his gizmo (2/05/2016) - Minsky's death on January 14 led me to republish this 1995 Guardian interview.
  • The power of us (1/29/2016) - Gloria Steinem's memoir and the Guardian's short film "The Power of Privacy" suggest the need for responses to some standard questions about privacy.
  • Penguin time (1/22/2016) - my future running Linux finally arrives.
  • Tripartite (1/15/2016) - an ECJ decision does not grant employers unprecedented rights to snoop on employees' messaging, Google's Nest shows the future Internet of Bugs, and the bitcoin community discovers that community doesn't scale.
  • The secret adversary (1/8/2016) - why the people drafting the Investigatory Powers bill should assume, like Jonathan Smith, that there is always an adversary waiting to attack.
  • Hold the fireworks (1/1/2016) - reviewing 2015.
  • 2015
















    The full text, online of the 1998 book - or buy net.wars (1998)

    or From Anarchy to Power (2001)

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