Law, More or Less

So I’ve spent the last 1.5 years doing odd things; after spending the first half of 2011 teaching the Department of Defense information warfare (which is a good time, actually), I moved to Madison, WI to go to law school at the University of Wisconsin.

“Wait, what? I thought you said you’d never go to law school.”

Well, this is true. Ultimately, though, I decided it might be enjoyable– if nothing else, people are almost as frightened of lawyers as of hackers, so doing both can only bring hilarious results. Hence, here I am.

Or rather, there I was for the school year. Currently, I’m in Virginia, working for The Rutherford Institute, which is a pretty fun civil liberties firm. (For those of you who don’t study constitutional law obsessively, that means they make sure people get rights.) In addition to my regular work there, I’ve been able to write some articles on topics of concern to TRI, including this one on Bradley Manning, or more specifically, how whether he’s guilty or not, he ought to be able to have the basic protections of law we afford to all people in this country before they are determined to be guilty.

One of the neat things about working for a public-interest firm is that they’re very interested in meeting new people who might need their help; therefore, they were entirely happy to have me continue to go to the summer security conferences. I’ll be attending BlackHat USA 2012 and Defcon 20 this year, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to speak at HOPE Number Nine; I’ll be giving a speech entitled “Hack The Law,” on why we need more hackers to go to law school. Law Technology News did a brief write-up on the talk, and I hope that I might be able to change the way hackers relate to lawyers (that is, something other than being prosecuted by them), at least in part. In addition, my usual partner in crime Dr. John Griffin will be giving a talk entitled “Why You Shouldn’t Write Off Higher Education, Young Grasshopper,” a fun response to the anti-higher-ed animus in the hacker community over the last few years.

I have also been invited to speak at the International Bar Association’s 2012 Conference in Dublin, Ireland, this fall– which should also be interesting. There’ll be more information on that as it comes a bit closer.

In addition to law school, I spent much of the spring working on a DARPA Cyber Fast Track contract, related to the F-BOMB work I did in the fall. Hopefully I’ll have more to say publicly about the outcomes from that soon.