Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Electronics Frontier Foundation‘s Legal Assistance Program

Experienced at working in fast-paced and exacting environments, Ben Pu has helped provide software and hardware solutions in the various companies he has engaged with. Outside of his professional activities, Ben Pu supports a number of advocacies, including the Electronics Frontier Foundation (EFF). 

Established in 1990, EFF is a nonprofit organization taking the lead in defending civil liberties in the digital industry. In advocating for users’ free expression, innovation, and privacy, the foundation is active in the court system.

As part of its mission, EFF provides legal assistance to those who believe that government entities or large corporations are violating their rights. As a nonprofit funded by donations, the foundation has to carefully manage its resources because such cases can be time-consuming and expensive. 

This means that EFF accepts cases based on certain criteria, such as frontline cases, and which the court’s decision will establish a legal precedent that stands to impact many people. The case must also be in line with EFF’s mission and within its area of expertise. The foundation avoids cases that may involve other areas such as immigration law even if it also involves technology issues. 

If EFF is not able to help, it may refer the case to outside attorneys who are passionate about the issue and willing to take the case. If the foundation cannot provide a referral, it will try to find another avenue. EFF also suggests making inquiries with the local bar association.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Development of the Classical Period in Western Music

An engineering professional, Ben Pu balances these responsibilities with the active pursuit of athletic, cultural, and intellectual hobbies. Ben Pu is an aficionado of classical music and enjoys attending piano concerts at the New England Conservatory.

The Classical period of Western music arose out of the complex yet delicately ornamented style of the Baroque period. Ornamentation reached its peak during the Rococo period, in the last years of composers such as Handel and Bach, when melodic lightness predominated across new works. Audiences began to criticize the superficiality of this work, and the resultant simplification paved the way for the start of the Classical era.

Music historians place the start of the Classical era at approximately 1775. Music of that time had begun to reflect the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment, which emphasized the inherent value of the human mind and heart. The intellectual structuring of complex decoration faded into the background, and simple melodies emerged, rich with human emotion.

As feeling became more of a focus in new compositions, the sound itself became richer and fuller. The symphonies of Ludwig von Beethoven, which featured numerous instruments and voices, exemplify the dramatic and emotionally intense nature of this period. The expanded symphony orchestra, as we know it today, grew out of this period, as did the prominence of the expressive piano as a foundational element of instrumental music.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Center for Democracy and Technology Studies the Online Community

Experienced computer scientist Ben Pu balances his professional pursuits with the work he does in support of various advocacy groups. In addition to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Free Software Foundation, Ben Pu dedicates his time and resources to the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT). 

In its efforts to protect the open nature of the Internet and the privacy of Internet users, the CDT runs several campaigns focused on free expression, Internet architecture, security, surveillance, and other issues. Recently, the organization launched a long-term initiative that seeks to advance the understanding of how the various elements in the Internet ecosystem combine to create online communities and shape user experiences. 

Over the course of the campaign, the CDT will create a dialogue by evoking wide-ranging questions related to power structures, identity, speech, and community. The campaign will draw on existing research related to online communities and pursue new research through partnerships with Internet users, academic institutions, and scholars from various disciplines. Ultimately, the CDT will use the campaign to advance Internet policy and best practices that will improve user engagement and empowerment.