Cory Doctorow, the popular science fiction author and journalist blogger, says he will be writing a lot less in order to focus on his digital activism work in fighting Digital Rights Management (DRM) laws alongside the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
He was speaking at a recent event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Artist Talks series, on the topic of how museums and libraries can "shape conversations about civic participation and cultural citizenship."
He said that museums and libraries employ lots of highly skilled archivists and that they should be taught some software engineering skills to help take their work into digital realms.
Much of his SFMOMA talk, however, was about current copyright laws and the danger they pose to democracy and to basic rights such as expectations of privacy and protection from government surveillance.
He warned that the Internet of Things and new electronics products such as a connected smart rectal thermometer would allow the government to spy inside our bodies.
He says government surveillance is tightly linked with DRM laws. People can be jailed for five years for disabling DRM systems, and can be prosecuted if they share such information. This bars researchers from discovering security holes that could be exploited by criminal organizations or or foreign states.
The security of corporate IT systems is weakened by many of the provisions in DRM laws, which raises the cost of business operations as massive security breaches continue to rise in number around the world.
Doctorow says that it is important that these DRM laws be challenged and changed. He is working with the EFF on legal strategies and legal actions aimed at challenging US DRM laws.
He says the work is more important than his novels and his posts for Boing Boing, a popular blog site he co-edits.
"I'll start slowing down on my posts on Boing Boing and doing more with EFF," he said.
His posts have helped bring attention to the problems caused by DRM laws, such as this recent one: Scotland Yard charge: teaching people to use crypto is an act of terrorism / Boing Boing
...according to Scotland Yard, serving a site over HTTPS (as this one is) and teaching people to use crypto (as this site has done) and possessing a secure OS (as I do) are acts of terrorism or potential acts of terrorism.