Digital rights activist Cory Doctorow joins a panel of experts for a Ford Hall Forum discussion of “The Remote-Controlled Society” – a look at how restrictions built into computers and phones change their degree of usefulness – from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Suffolk University’s C. Walsh Theatre, 55 Temple St., Boston.
With computers increasingly built into devices from cars to refrigerators, consumers are losing control over their devices. In the eyes of manufacturers, we don't own the products we buy; we merely rent them. The restrictions now built into computers and phones to protect music and movie royalties make these devices less useful. Meanwhile, the day may come when an auto manufacturer could shut down a consumer’s car when he misses a payment. Or the bank could lock a homeowner out of her house when she falls behind on the mortgage.
Doctorow, a science fiction novelist and co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing, joins with authoritative voices from Suffolk University Law School and the Sawyer Business School, and Boston University in asking: Have we created a Digital Rights Management monster? This event is co-sponsored with the Boston Literary District.
Doctorow is a special consultant to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties, and he co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. He contributes frequently to The Guardian, Wired, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites.
Doctorow’s novels are published traditionally and released simultaneously on the Internet under Creative Commons licenses that encourage their reuse and sharing.
His New York Times bestseller Little Brother, a young-adult novel, won the Ontario Library White Pine Award, the Prometheus Award as well as the Indienet Award. It was the San Francisco Public Library’s One City/One Book choice for 2013 and was nominated for the 2008 Hugo, Nebula, Sunburst and Locus awards. Doctorow’s latest books are In Real Life, a young adult graphic novel created with Jen Wang (2014); and Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, a business book about creativity in the Internet age (2014).
He holds an honorary doctorate in computer science from the Open University (UK), where he is a visiting professor. He served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California in 2007.
The Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University is the nation’s oldest free public lecture series. It promotes freedom of speech and fosters an informed and effective citizenry through events that illuminate the key issues facing society.
The forum presents knowledgeable and thought-provoking speakers, including some of the most controversial opinion leaders of our times, in settings that facilitate frank and open debate.