I used to like interviewing people, especially interesting people. Through various different strands of my work, I have interviewed a lot of interesting people, including the man who coined the phrase “net neutrality”, the “inventor” of the world wide web, and the woman who exposed the MPs’ expenses scandal. Here are some of my favourite interviews.
Julian Assange | Tim Berners-Lee | Phil Booth | Stewart Brand | Heather Brooke | Adam Curtis | Cory Docotorow | Daniel Domscheit-Berg | Andrew Gowers | Johann Hari | Brewster Kahle | John Lanchester | Lawrence Lessig | Evgeny Morozov | Angela Saini | Tim Wu | Ethan Zuckerman
I interviewed Julian Assange in 2009 at the Chaos Communications Congress in Berlin, just before WikiLeaks garnered global attention publishing high profile leaks from the US military establishment. The transcript of that interview is available here. The interview is recounted in “Courage is Contagious”, chapter two of my book, Barefoot into Cyberspace.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee is credited with “inventing” the world wide web, thanks to his development of the http protocol. I interviewed him for a research report commissioned by the Transparency and Accountability Initiative about open government data. I had loads of things I wanted to ask him, but I couldn’t.
I interviewed Phil Booth, former National Coordinator of the No2ID campaign, in the weeks following the coalition government’s announcement that they would scrap the ID card scheme. The interview is recounted in “Anarchists in the UK”, chapter 5 of my book Barefoot into Cyberspace.
Stewart Brand coined the term “information wants to be free” and is the missing link between the Californian hippy counterculture and the techno-utopianism of the early web. I have interviewed Stewart Brand on several occasions. My interview with him in January 2010 forms the backbone of “Information Wants to be Free”, chapter 3 of my book Barefoot into Cyberspace. A transcript of that interview is available here. Along with Neil Denny I also interviewed him for Little Atoms around this time, about his book Whole Earth Discipline: an Ecopragmatist Manifesto.
Along with Neil Denny, I interviewed Heather Brooke, the woman who kicked off the UK MPs expenses scandal, for Little Atoms in August 2011, around the publication of her book The Revolution will be Digitised.
Neil Denny and I interviewed cult film director Adam Curtis for Little Atoms about his documentary “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace” in May 2011.
I first interviewed Cory Doctorow when he was working for the Electronic Frontier Foundation agitating for copyright reform at the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva. That interview was published on openDemocracy.net in April 2005. I interviewed Cory again in early 2010, this time about his experiences growing up in a radical political family in Canada in the seventies and eighties, and how they influenced his decision to fight for digital rights. That interview forms the backbone of “Just Kids”, chapter 4 of my book Barefoot into Cyberspace.
I interviewed Daniel Domscheit-Berg (then known as “Daniel Schmitt”) in 2009 at the Chaos Communications Congress in Berlin, just before WikiLeaks garnered global attention publishing high profile leaks from the US military establishment. The transcript of that interview is available here. The interview is recounted in “Courage is Contagious”, chapter two of my book, Barefoot into Cyberspace.
Andrew Gowers is a former editor of the Financial Times who was commissioned by Gordon Brown in 2005 to review the UK’s intellectual property framework. The Gowers Review was widely welcomed by the intellectual property reform community, particularly because it recommended strongly against extending the term of copyright in sound recordings. I interviewed Gowers on the day he published the review for openDemocracy.net. Unfortunately, the government was unable to make good on any of Gowers’ positive recommendations, even going on to endorse copyright term extension some years later. It’s worth noting that Gowers went on to work at Lehman Brothers then, when they collapsed, joined BP as head of media relations just in time to deal with the BP Gulf oil disaster.
Neil Denny and I interviewed Johann in February 2011 for Little Atoms, a few months before it was revealed that he was a plagiarist. I don’t condone anything Johann has done, but on a personal level (we got to know each other very well when we were at the same University) I feel protective over him and I’m sad about the levels of vitriol that have been directed at him.
Brewster Kahle founded the Internet Archive. He is a true visionary. I interviewed him in 2005 for the New Statesman.
Neil Denny and I interviewed John Lanchester for Little Atoms about his book on the financial crisis Whoops: How everyone owes everyone and no one can pay in April 2011. Doing Little Atoms is great because it means you get to meet your favourite writers.
Lawrence Lessig is the father of the Creative Commons movement. I interviewed him in September 2004 for The Guardian, as he was advising the BBC how to make their huge archive available on the web.
I interviewed Evgeny Morozov, the respectable face if internet trolling, for Little Atoms in January 2011 around the publication of his book The Net Delusion.
Angela Saini is author of Geek Nation and a former colleague at openDemocracy.net. This interview Neil and I did with her for Little Atoms about the book is one of my favourites.
Tim Wu is a law professor and the man who coined the term Net Neutrality. Neil Denny and I interviewed him for Little Atoms in April 2011 about his book The Master Switch.
Ethan Zuckerman is head of the MIT Center for Civic Media and a bit of a hero of mine. I interviewed him for “Learning to love the Goolag”, chapter 7 of my book Barefoot into Cyberspace. The interview was republished in Index on Censorship.