Bit Stories: Cory Doctorow, “Privacy Isn’t Dead — Let’s Not Kill It”

(Cross posted from Intel Software Network)

This episode of Bit Stories was recorded at the O’Reilly Executive Briefing held at OSCON 2007 – the O’Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland, Oregon, on July 24, 2007.

At the briefing, Cory Doctorow gave a talk titled “Privacy Isn’t Dead — Let’s Not Kill It”, in which he talked about making software that we control, instead of letting software control us, and how we face the danger of becoming willing members of a police and surveillance state.

Cory Doctorow is one of my favorite science fiction authors, and writes more understandably about complex topics like privacy, DRM, open software and culture, and how technology affects our lives than anyone I’ve read. He’s one of the main contributors to the most popular blog on the Internet, His personal blog is, where you can find and download complete copies of all of his books under a Creative Commons license (as well as read about why he, as an author, thinks this is a great idea). Can you tell I’m a fan? 😉

I was thrilled to hear him speak at OSCON, and even happier when he agreed to let me publish this recording of his speech. Cory also asked me to crossload the audio file to the Internet Archive, which I was happy to do. Just as a note, all Bit Stories media files are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial license, and automatically crossposted to the Internet Archive via, in no small part because of Cory’s influence on my thinking and work. 🙂

This Bit Stories episode is audio only, about 30 minutes long. You can listen in the streaming player above, download the MP3 file directly at this link (weighs about 30MB), or subscribe to the Bit Stories feed in your favorite podcast aggregator (like iTunes) to receive this and other Bit Stories episodes automatically and for free. Check out the Bit Stories home page for other episodes and more information, and let me know what you think of the show!


One thought on “Bit Stories: Cory Doctorow, “Privacy Isn’t Dead — Let’s Not Kill It”

  1. Mike says:

    Hi Josh!

    Thanks for posting this recording of Cory, he addresses a serious issue within our American society as well as our Internet society. Too many people are willingly trading freedom and privacy for security, both in real life and online. Many of these people are the followers, not the original leaders, of either society, and a very large group are children or maturing young adults.

    Along with introducing my teenagers and their friends to such wonders of technology as the slide rule, in both plastic and wooden forms, and typewriters, where the printer and keyboard are in one piece, I have regaled them with stories of my 60’s childhood. Stories of when I carried a pocketknife to school each day and nobody died or even felt threatened (and I could feel masterful using a blade to tighten the screws on the desk in my 3rd grade classroom); being allowed to walk through the woods to school, a walk of about 45 minutes in length–alone; and many other insignificant, but telling, anecdotes that reveal today’s loss of privacy and freedom, and reveal the rise of conformance.

    1984 was a few years back and I remember how significant it felt to me that we did not live in a world as described in the novel “1984”. Maybe I was wrong and just didn’t see that world for what it now is, or maybe I privately celebrated too early (another case of science fiction being a step or two ahead of reality).

    Someday we will look back and see the path we have taken, until then, “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.”

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