Internet Law Is a Garbage Fire, Let's Watch It Burn Together

Every journalist with a beat thinks their beat is the most important and interesting thing in the world, and I’m no exception.

Aug 3 2015, 1:37pm

Every journalist with a beat thinks their beat is the most important and interesting thing in the world, and I'm no exception. The law isn't an arcane and incidental facet of modern life, it's an invisible web of power that can determine the shape of the future. Behind dry documents and inscrutable jargon are stories about the way we live now and the way we will live eventually—"portraits of the future," as Derek Mead once described what Motherboard does.

We live in strange times, and the great thing about Motherboard is how it embraces the strangeness. I, too, am a strange kind of journalist with a strange kind of beat.

I've written about revenge porn, about Bitcoin, about privacy, about the wonderfully odd convolutions of copyright law since graduating from law school in 2014. A lot of writers seem to think that going from law to journalism was a poor life decision. (Tellingly, most lawyers have the opposite reaction.)

I've reported on tech companies. I've written on Supreme Court cases. I reported directly from the Silk Road trial for three weeks. I wrote a book about online harassment. And beginning today, I will be writing for Motherboard, reporting from the San Francisco Bay Area on the technology industry and the law. I'm starting at the time when a booming tech industry is shadowed by a number of class action lawsuits, when countless emergent technologies are being scrutinized by courts, by federal agencies, and by lawmakers.

Now and then you'll spot tourists in San Francisco walking down the street, snapping pictures of every tech company logo that they recognize—Twitter, Square, Yelp, Slack, Eventbrite—signs affixed to buildings that are surprisingly small. For them, the Bay Area is the internet made flesh. It's adorably naïve but there's something to it. The whole world is wired now, and the wires all lead back here. There's something happening out here that is both mundane and bizarre, both provincial and world-shattering. I want to bring those stories to you.

Send me your tips, your ideas, the untold tales you wish someone would tell. Reach out! I'm listening.