Today's assigned readings on digital civil society:
- Neil Richards, The iPhone Case and the Future of Civil Liberties, Boston Review, February 2016
- Neil Richards, Apple's Code = Speech Mistake, Technology Review, March 2016
- Cathy O'Neill, The Ethical Data Scientist, Slate, February 2016
Neil Richards on the need to be able to regulate code - software code and those who create it - in many uses and forms in the digital age and his admonition that Apple's arguments about privacy are sound, while their arguments about free speech are problematic. Applying a free speech framework to software code will make it very difficult to monitor and regulate uses of code that discriminate or cause other harms. And, increasingly, we are going to recognize that our civil rights battles are being fought on digital turf.
All three articles focus on our need to assume software code is fundamental now - to how decisions get made in society, business, and policy making. Indeed, they argue that software code under girds how we act as private citizens, associate with one another, and express ourselves. These rights, in turn, support civil society as we know it. Those of us focused on improving nonprofit or foundation action, on using digital tools for social outcomes, on building globally influential digital tools for social good need to take these lessons to heart.
Philanthropy and civil society now rests on software code - it is digital civil society.