[SIGCIS-Members] In today's Boston Globe, re developer of EMAIL

Erik Rau erau at Hagley.org
Tue Feb 14 13:16:43 PST 2017


I think it could work nicely with the conference theme: technology, democracy, and participation (contra exclusion).

--

Erik P. Rau, PhD
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[cid:E12F2703-EC62-400D-8B93-62513230F199 at Hagley.org]

On Feb 14, 2017, at 16:11, Jonathan Coopersmith <j-coopersmith at tamu.edu<mailto:j-coopersmith at tamu.edu>> wrote:

Do I sense a possible panel for SHOT on this particular episode and the larger issues that Tom so eloquently raises?

 Jonathan

Jonathan Coopersmith
Professor
Department of History
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX  77843-4236
979.845.7151
979.862.4314 (fax)

http://historynewsnetwork.org/blog/author/42
:
latest post is
 "Academic opposition to Trump's Muslim ban," http://historynewsnetwork.org/blog/153892


FAXED.  The Rise and Fall of the Fax Machine (Johns Hopkins University Press) is the co-recipient of the 2016 Business History Conference Hagley Prize for best book in business history.


On Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 3:04 PM, Heyck, Hunter <hheyck at ou.edu<mailto:hheyck at ou.edu>> wrote:
An excellent, succinct message, Tom.
—Hunter

Hunter Heyck
Professor and Chair, Department of the History of Science
University of Oklahoma
601 Elm St., PHSC 601
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hheyck at ou.edu<mailto:hheyck at ou.edu>
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Author of: Age of System: understanding the development of modern social science<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu_content_age-2Dsystem&d=CwMGaQ&c=ODFT-G5SujMiGrKuoJJjVg&r=xd_h1GnqUOIgUwdyipeynKCpqL76q7QWVzlt1TjNm50&m=utVVfIvdGnqQuZN1TkCIS0hnTG5UwcT2LYkm0iHhLPA&s=KG1lv2yw6GKXdGudPhKw6phoVcDqZVSie74xe7ozEQU&e=>
And, Herbert A. Simon: the bounds of reason in modern America<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu_content_herbert-2Dsimon&d=CwMGaQ&c=ODFT-G5SujMiGrKuoJJjVg&r=xd_h1GnqUOIgUwdyipeynKCpqL76q7QWVzlt1TjNm50&m=utVVfIvdGnqQuZN1TkCIS0hnTG5UwcT2LYkm0iHhLPA&s=Pri_jDtK6eDq_4cG5b98AIRGslRK1YsLL1n53hcMDMo&e=>











On Feb 14, 2017, at 2:54 PM, Thomas Haigh <thomas.haigh at gmail.com<mailto:thomas.haigh at gmail.com>> wrote:

Perhaps the most disturbing thing in the Boston Globe column (which I notice Ayyadurai is already featuring prominently on his own website) is the line “One early innovator declined to be interviewed, fearing litigation from Ayyadurai.” So we now live in a world where Internet pioneers are afraid to tell journalists that electronic mail was widely used in the mid-1970s. That is what is known as a “chilling effect” on free speech.

I have focused my own statements (www.sigcis.org/ayyadurai<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.sigcis.org_ayyadurai&d=DwMFaQ&c=qKdtBuuu6dQK9MsRUVJ2DPXW6oayO8fu4TfEHS8sGNk&r=BM0VlL6M9YOYuQiIBopsWA&m=4cwWCDpBnWaKHuMF0UgEaaz3mxYabQa7bDXFiqMGlYY&s=vv1gYQ7TjFxltGg3bBOCpf2mHu7A8KGwDjw2i9F9R18&e=>) on Ayyadurai’s claims and arguments rather than his ethics and motivations. My expertise is as a historian and technologist, not an ethicist or psychologist. My position is simple:

1)      Nobody can invent a technology that already exists, still less one that is in widespread use.
2)      “Email” is a contraction of “electronic mail” and refers to the same thing. For example, Abbate’s Inventing the Internet (p. 106) notes “The network’s users unexpectedly came up with a new focus for network activity: electronic mail. Email (initially called ‘net notes’ or simply ‘mail’….”
3)      Electronic mail systems were in widespread use many years before Ayyadurai developed his “EMAIL” system at some point between 1978 and 1982. For example, Abbate states (p.107) of the early-1970s ARPANET that “Email quickly became the network’s most popular and influential service, surpassing all expectations.”
4)      Therefore, Ayyadurai is not “the inventor of email.”

The implication of Ayyadurai’s recent lawsuits is that anyone who acknowledges that 1, 2 and 3 are true, and that 4 is their inescapable corollary, risks a hugely expensive legal ordeal. Here is what his press release of Jan 4 said. “There is no reasonable dispute that Dr. Ayyadurai is the inventor of email. The full press kit contains more than 20 testimonials from leading technology experts and numerous Ph.D.s. The press kit also includes two extensive research papers prepared by well-respected academic university professors and scientists explaining why Dr. Ayyadurai is the inventor of email, and how the few doubters are wrong.” The next sentence announces the lawsuit against Techdirt. (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/gawker-media-pays-dr-shiva-ayyadurai-inventor-of-email-750000-settlement-300385899.html<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.prnewswire.com_news-2Dreleases_gawker-2Dmedia-2Dpays-2Ddr-2Dshiva-2Dayyadurai-2Dinventor-2Dof-2Demail-2D750000-2Dsettlement-2D300385899.html&d=DwMFaQ&c=qKdtBuuu6dQK9MsRUVJ2DPXW6oayO8fu4TfEHS8sGNk&r=BM0VlL6M9YOYuQiIBopsWA&m=4cwWCDpBnWaKHuMF0UgEaaz3mxYabQa7bDXFiqMGlYY&s=Hp0fhd1r6YHg4CUnL402IRJJ7IcSabArSWcea7X15Mg&e=>)

I hope that members of this community will not allow themselves to be intimidated, though as David warns it may be prudent not to say anything one would not feel comfortable defending in court. If Ayyadurai’s legal campaign succeeds then what would happen to books like Abbate? Will anyone who uses Abbate’s work in the classroom run the risk of a multimillion dollar lawsuit? Ayyadurai has also shown himself willing to exploit open records laws to obtain my university emails, perhaps in a hunt for discrediting or actionable materials. http://www.tomandmaria.com/Tom/emailgrab<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.tomandmaria.com_Tom_emailgrab&d=DwMFaQ&c=qKdtBuuu6dQK9MsRUVJ2DPXW6oayO8fu4TfEHS8sGNk&r=BM0VlL6M9YOYuQiIBopsWA&m=4cwWCDpBnWaKHuMF0UgEaaz3mxYabQa7bDXFiqMGlYY&s=Wi4sM8AmGU0qA7IXZpmSNaKLT3Ax8YeXXxwqUHE0ANY&e=>. Other such requests have been harshly criticized by scholars as an assault on academic freedom.

A few weeks ago Christopher Leslie asked whether this case is really so important to us, versus say defending net neutrality from the Trump administration. I would argue that it is, because the challenge that the post-fact world poses to academic freedom (and to so much else) is something that we are all called to fight in our own little corners of the world. Netflix and other tech firms will fight for net neutrality, but who will fight for history? If the SIGCIS community doesn’t stand up for the integrity of the historical record, against such a concerted campaign to undermine it, then who will?

Best wishes,

Tom


From: Members [mailto:members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org] On Behalf Of Sarah T. Roberts
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 12:15 PM
To: David C. Brock <dcb at dcbrock.net<mailto:dcb at dcbrock.net>>
Cc: members at lists.sigcis.org<mailto:members at lists.sigcis.org>
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] In today's Boston Globe, re developer of EMAIL

I mean I certainly don't intend to be silenced about either the record or my take on this situation, or engaging with others about it. That's rather the aim of suing, right?

--Sarah
---

S a r a h  T.  R o b e r t s,  P h. D.

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On Feb 14, 2017, at 9:14 AM, David C. Brock <dcb at dcbrock.net<mailto:dcb at dcbrock.net>> wrote:
Dear All:

I think it might be wise for you to consider that the SIGCIS Members email discussion archives are published publicly.

Dr. Ayyadurai and his lawyers are included in this public.

David

On Feb 14, 2017, at 12:10 PM, Sarah T. Roberts <sarah.roberts at ucla.edu<mailto:sarah.roberts at ucla.edu>> wrote:

It may be an ideal time to publicize this goofiness, given the area of alternative facts and the public' fatigue with them, and the bullies who rely upon them.

---

S a r a h  T.  R o b e r t s,  P h. D.

Assistant Professor
University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Information Studies
Graduate School of Education & Information Studies
https://is.gseis.ucla.edu/<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__is.gseis.ucla.edu_&d=DwMFaQ&c=qKdtBuuu6dQK9MsRUVJ2DPXW6oayO8fu4TfEHS8sGNk&r=BM0VlL6M9YOYuQiIBopsWA&m=4cwWCDpBnWaKHuMF0UgEaaz3mxYabQa7bDXFiqMGlYY&s=qpIiy4UB71Lmn13ZvEskRb58_UhPDkcjt8294_ukeVo&e=>

Blogging periodically at
http://illusionofvolition.com<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__illusionofvolition.com_&d=DwMFaQ&c=qKdtBuuu6dQK9MsRUVJ2DPXW6oayO8fu4TfEHS8sGNk&r=BM0VlL6M9YOYuQiIBopsWA&m=4cwWCDpBnWaKHuMF0UgEaaz3mxYabQa7bDXFiqMGlYY&s=4CamuoOoksX8qNMO0s7W6eu12wHHtd3zD0UU2Ea2pJA&e=>

On Feb 14, 2017, at 8:48 AM, Dave Walden <dave.walden.family at gmail.com<mailto:dave.walden.family at gmail.com>> wrote:
The reporter is quite a good technology reporter, in my view; and I see the Globe as a pretty high quality newspaper.  I suspect that the article was carefully reviewed by the Globe's legal people to cast doubt on Ayyadurai's claims without making it possible for him to sue them for saying his claims are wrong.

On 2/14/2017 11:42 AM, Pierre MOUNIER-KUHN wrote:
Well, the article – and even more the readers' comments – are far from providing our self-proclaimed hero with the best publicity...
The most objectionable in this paper is the term "skeptics" ("The skeptics say that by the 1970s, e-mail as we know it today was routinely used"). We are not "skeptic", we know that S.A.'s claims are wrong.
Yours truly,
Pierre MK

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