A Tech/Law Talk Show designed to cover modern technology and Internet issues with host Dave Levine.


Hearsay Culture Kicks Off 2021 with the Visionary Voting Tech Leader

Greensboro, North Carolina, January 8, 2021: KZSU-FM (Stanford)’s Hearsay Culture is relaunching in 2021 with its first guest, global newsmaker Antonio Mugica, CEO of voting technology innovator Smartmatic.

Smartmatic, which has counted billions of votes worldwide, has been at the center of President Trump’s unproven “stolen election” claims, and has been the subject of numerous allegations on 24-hour news outlets like Fox News and Newsmax. Smartmatic has now retained a leading defamation attorney to defend its reputation as a reliable, apolitical election technology provider. The company has found itself enmeshed in a Constitutional crisis that has been threatening the United States’ ability to conduct a peaceful transfer of power in less than two weeks. Hearsay Culture speaks to Mugica about the crisis, the integrity of the company’s technology, the future of voting, and other subjects top of mind with Americans today.

On the show, Mugica addresses what he calls the “completely false claims made about our company” that have been “amplified in the media” recently. Host Dave Levine asks Mugica about his views on transparency in voting, the recent violent occupation of Congress, circulating misinformation campaigns, and his current lawsuit against the government of Venezuela. On a personal note, Mugica discusses his favorite recent book and offers advice to younger listeners who may be experiencing an election for the first time. The result is an insightful, newsmaker interview that sheds light on the heart of the democratic voting process.

Mugica is a 20-year voting machine industry veteran, and his company provided voting technology to Los Angeles during the 2020 elections. The Los Angeles County solution, known as Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP), provides “voter-verified paper records” that go to the heart of public confidence in accurate vote tabulation, and appears to have worked very efficiently in Los Angeles. Although allegedly having ties with the Venezuelan government, Smartmatic has denied any prior or current ties with Venezuela, and no evidence has been offered to prove otherwise. Reuters, in fact, reported that Smartmatic blew the whistle on turnout manipulation problems in Venezuela’s 2017 National Constituent Assembly elections. 

Hearsay Culture, hosted by Elon Law Professor and Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society Affiliate Scholar Dave Levine,is a media platform that features interviews with recognized experts on immediate challenges that span from technology, to law, to the arts. Building upon its 14 year history on Stanford University’s KZSU-FM, Hearsay Culture elevates facts and knowledge, rather than sides and uninformed opinions, offering clear views on emerging issues. Over 260 shows later, the new Hearsay Culture is breaking modern information silos and challenging misleading narratives, soon to be offering closely-moderated debates and other content along with its signature one-on-one long-form interviews. Find out more at hearsayculture.com, on Twitter @hearsayculture, and on Facebook at Hearsay Culture.

The Antonio Mugica interview will air on Friday, January 8 at 8pm pacific on KZSU-FM; stream it live at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/live/. It will be available as a podcast thereafter.  

Media Contact: Dave Levine, dave@hearsayculture.com

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A note from me to my new law students

I am relaunching an expanded Hearsay Culture in 2021, and I’m super-excited about it. This year, however, has obviously started terribly. Aside from our out-of-control preventable pandemic, Wednesday’s events in Washington were devastating.

As you likely know, I’m a law professor at Elon University School of Law. While the violence was unfolding in DC, I felt compelled to email my 81 first-year law students, whom I met this past Monday, and will teach via Zoom as we began our study of Contracts.

I thought that some of you might be interested in an excerpt from my message:

At this hour, our country faces a violent crisis that we have not experienced since the end of the Civil War. We should all be horrified by these actions, regardless of political affiliation, as they go against our collective values as Americans, including the rule of law. 

As I’ve already said, the courts are the bulwark against chaos. . . . I encourage you to view today’s ongoing events in and around our Congressional buildings as the starkest illustration of the need for people willing to take on the sacred responsibility of promoting the rule of law. Although I cannot predict future events, I can assure you that attorneys and a functioning judiciary are the necessary prerequisites for restoring our country. The United States and all who look to the US for enlightened world leadership need you now, more than any time in living memory.

I am honored and privileged to help you achieve your noble goal of joining my chosen profession. See you on Zoom on Friday. Be safe and well, and be resolved.

I will see my students tomorrow, and may follow-up with their reactions. Meanwhile, thoughts on the above can be emailed to me at dave@hearsayculture.com.



A Broadcast StartUp Story – From Creation to Acquisition

As the world reels from the consequences of the Coronavirus, Hearsay Culture is returning to the air this week! With its 10+ year heritage of pioneering law and technology radio and podcasting, Hearsay Culture is back to help guide our new communications ecosystem with expanded and timely expert interviews. 

We kick off a new season with author and innovator Andre Gueziec. Inspired by wondering how television traffic reports could be improved, Andre founded Beat the Traffic, a dynamic visualization software for broadcasters that was quickly adopted by television stations and soon after acquired by The Weather Network (Pelmorex Corporation).

In this episode, Dave chats with Gueziec, an inventor with 50 patents, about his book You can be a Silicon Valley Success. During the interview, we examine the founder’s innovation journey and explore global digital technology and culture. Among topics discussed are Gueziac’s view on innovating in a dynamic environment and tips for success, the challenges of finding a great idea, and how Covid-19 may change the landscape for innovators going forward. 

Dave is an associate professor at Elon University School of Law and an Affiliate Scholar at Stanford Center for Internet and Society. A KZSU (Stanford Radio) thirteen year veteran, he conducts intimate expert-to-expert conversations focusing on the art of the question

Listen to the interview on Friday, April 24 at 8pm Pacific on KZSU-FM. The show will be subsequently available via hearsayculture.com, the Stanford Center for Internet and Society page, and in your favorite podcast application.

Lastly, stay tuned for more information about Hearsay Culture’s plans for the future, building on its 260+ interview legacy and influence (starting in May 2006) in the world of communications, law, intellectual property, cybersecurity, privacy, and technology!


Show # 262 — Prof. Al Roberts, author of Four Crises of American Democracy — posted

As I catch-up on posting shows that should have been posted several months ago, but are (perhaps sadly) still quite timely, I’m pleased to post Show # 262, May 31, 2017, my interview with Prof. Al Roberts, Director of the School of Public Policy at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of Four Crises of American Democracy: Representation, Mastery, Discipline, Anticipation. Al is one of the nation’s leading scholars on government secrecy, and his recent work has focused on the broad functional challenges faced by governmental institutions today. In our wide ranging discussion, we examined the state of government today, its capacity to withstand the pressures exerted on it by outside forces, and what we can reasonably expect government to do and not do in response. Obviously pressing and critical issues, I always enjoy my discussions with Al, and hope that you do as well!


Show # 261 — Prof. David Golumbia, author of The Politics of Bitcoin — posted

I’m delighted to post another 2017 show, # 261, my May 31, 2017 interview with Prof. David Golumbia of Virginia Commonwealth University, author of The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism In his book, David examines the connections between cryptocurrencies and the United States’ far right. Specifically, David identifies the underlying theories that animate both cryptocurrency enthusiasm and far right thinking today. While our wider US political context plays an important role in understanding David’s critique, cryptocurrency structure and stated goals stand at the center of David’s focus. I enjoyed discussing this challenging and timely topic with David, and fully expect that his scholarship will help us understand where we are headed as commerce becomes increasingly decentralized.


Hearsay Culture Update, and Show # 260 — Prof. Ramesh Srinivasan, author of Whose Global Village? — posted

On this unusually snowy day here in Greensboro, North Carolina, I am returning to Hearsay Culture.

For now, I will explain my absence for the past 13 months simply by noting that the results of the 2016 elections caused me to focus my attention elsewhere. On a personal level in the past year, I’ve launched a new non-partisan policy advocacy group in Greensboro and taken on the Presidency of the Greensboro City Arts Drama Center’s Booster Club (in which my sons are very active). Moreover, I’ve deepened my focus on daily efforts to bolster our governmental institutions and oppose the unprecedented assault on decency and facts that envelops our nation, through advocacy and education.

On a professional level, several law review articles have been published or will be soon. The most recent article, Confidentiality Creep and Opportunistic Privacy, has just been published by the Tulane Journal for Technology and Intellectual Property. Additionally, I’m honored to have been named the Jennings Professor and Emerging Scholar at Elon University School of Law. In addition to teaching Contracts, Intellectual Property Survey, Internet Law, Privacy Law, and Trade Secrets, its been a busy year.

Hearsay Culture, in its current form, has therefore taken a backseat. But in this new year, I will be returning to recording new interviews. I am also in the process of revamping Hearsay Culture to be more relevant and influential within the media culture and information systems that dominate today. More on these issues  in the future. For now, I’m here to post several shows from last year, and apologize to all that they were not posted more quickly after having aired on KZSU. Fortunately, the issues within these interviews are hardly stale; indeed, they perhaps have more currency now than they did when recorded.

Thus, I’m pleased to post Show # 260, May 31, 2017, my interview with UCLA Prof. Ramesh Srinivasan, author of Whose Global Village? Rethinking How Technology Shapes Our World. In his essential book, Ramesh takes on the difficult question of how technology impacts communities and cultures that are often ignored by the entities and governments that dominate the technology world. The challenges here are many, from the private development of information dissemination tools, to the ethical obligations of technology developers to consider broad perspectives and uses throughout their design and implementation process. Ramesh and I dug into these and other issues in our fascinating interview, and I’m delighted to post it today, as these issues remain at the forefront for policymakers throughout the world. Thank you Ramesh for your diligence and your patience!


Memory of my dear friend and colleague, Michael Rich

Elon Law lost a tremendous teacher, scholar, mentor, and colleague this past Wednesday, Prof. Michael Rich. Mike’s commitment to Elon, and particularly the work that he did in service of its new legal education program — after his cancer diagnosis — was a marvel of professionalism and dedication. More broadly, the legal community has lost a scholar of immense talent, whose foundational work in policing and algorithmic computing will inform future scholarship and policy for years. That he was also beloved by his students demonstrates that he was truly the ideal law professor and colleague. Our world is much poorer in Mike’s absence.

On a personal note, Mike was a close colleague and even closer friend. His integrity, humor, candor, and enormous insight will be missed dearly. Even though Mike is no longer with us, his character and integrity will inspire me for the rest of my days, and I consider myself fortunate to have known and worked closely with him at Elon these past several years.

For the benefit of Hearsay Culture listeners and for those who didn’t know his work, I’m reposting my August 2013 Hearsay Culture interview with Mike, and will re-air it next Friday at 2pm pacific on KZSU. At that time, Mike was just getting into the policing and algorithmic computing issues about which he later became known. Much more than just having a dear and close friend and colleague on the show, Mike’s work deserved (and deserves) significant attention. Mike was, naturally, a terrific guest, and I loved having him on the show. Mike’s groundbreaking work can be found on Google Scholar.

My thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s wonderful wife Amy Minardo, as well as Mike and Amy’s beautiful daughters. May Mike’s memory be a blessing to all.FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Show # 259 — Prof. Shannon Vallor, author of Technology and the Virtues — posted

As you may have noticed (even in the barrage of election coverage), I’ve been silent since the end of July. The reason is rather simple: since July, I’ve taught five classes (Contracts, Intellectual Property Survey, two sections of Internet Law, and a new course (for me), Employment Discrimination Law). To do that well, along with being a present husband and father to my two young sons, and maintain forward motion with my scholarship, Hearsay Culture gives way. I don’t like that effect, but its unavoidable so long as I continue to do the show gratis (which is not a complaint; its a reality).

So, on this momentous and nerve-wracking Election Day afternoon, I’m pleased to post one new show, Show # 259, September 16, my interview with the amazing Prof. Shannon Vallor of Santa Clara University, author of Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting. Shannon has written an exceptionally important and unique work focusing on what personal virtues should guide our integration of new technologies into society. Defining the contours of what she calls “technonormal virtues,” Shannon calls on informed citizens to become “moral experts” in a collective effort to create “a future worth wanting” (or, even better, demand for “useful tools that do not debilitate us.”) Because Shannon writes about philosophy and virtue as an applicable construct rather than an abstraction, her book should be required reading for anyone seeking better understanding of how we might achieve the best social and moral results from our technological advancements.

I very much enjoyed the interview, and hope that you find it valuable and gripping. Indeed, with so much left to discuss, look for part two of the interview in December!


Show # 258 — Prof. Paul Ringel on commercializing childhood — posted

I’m pleased to post show # 258, June 24, my interview with Prof. Paul Ringel of High Point University, author of Commercializing Childhood. Paul’s study may seem superficially beyond Hearsay Culture’s scope, until one considers the role of marketing, especially to children, on the Internet. Paul’s book frames part of this heretofore-unknown marketing history by focusing on early American efforts to create children’s magazines. As a historian, Paul explores the motivations for creating such magazines, as well as their successes. In our interview, we discussed this history and how we might think about today’s technologically-enhanced efforts to capture children’s eyeballs. I greatly enjoyed this discussion with my friend Paul, and hope that you find it enlightening!

Postscript: Look for the Fall 2016 quarter schedule in August, which begins in September 2016. Have a great rest of the summer!


Show # 257 — Prof. Neil Netanel on Jewish copyright law — posted

I’m pleased to post show # 257, June 17, my interview with Prof. Neil Netanel of UCLA Law, author of From Maimonides to Microsoft: The Jewish Law of Copyright Since the Birth of Print. I’ve had occasion to discuss Jewish intellectual property law in the past, and always seize the opportunity when it arises. Neil offers such an opportunity, as he’s written a thoroughly researched and annotated history of the Jewish copyright law and theory. As we discussed, this was a particular challenge since the word “copyright” is largely absent from Jewish writing. Drawing on extensive Jewish law and commentary over centuries, Neil articulates the many facets of Jewish copyright theory that capture elements of modern copyright theoretical bases like personhood and Lockean labor. By examining not just the theory but the types of disputes that arose in Rabbinical courts, as well as the relationship between Jewish jurists and their non-Jewish counterparts, we had a unique and fascinating discussion. Having a prolific and thoughtful scholar on the show is always an honor; thus, I hope that you enjoy this in-depth conversation with one of intellectual property law’s scholarly giants!