kNOw Future Inc.

law, technology and cinema, washed down with wine

What am I?

Alan Toner, copyright and data protection researcher, living in Central European Time. You may have met me long ago at New York University, where I was a fellow at the Information Law Institute and the Engelberg Center on Law and Innovation, read something I wrote for Mute or Diagonal, conspired around WSIS: We Seize!, or met me through Steal This Film.

Leave a comment on an article if you want to get in touch.

Current Interest: Tracking of users via browser, mobile, or any other digital prosthesis. I believe that users need a universal opt-out from practices that put their web-reading habits in the hands of third parties – Do Not Track. Our online environment should be redesigned to make ubiquitous commercial surveillance impossible, just as it should make the political surveillance revealed by Snowden impossible. Those who believe that such observation brings them benefits are free to hold that point of view, but it just shouldn’t be hardwired into the architecture and should be a matter of free and informed choice.

Earlier I followed developments at the new-born European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, and its first major project: the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED 2), which will propose new criminal sanctions for IP offenses. The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure page dedicated to its previous instantiation can be found here. I’m also interested in ACTA and support the work of the people from Knowledge Ecology International, La Quadrature du Net, the FFII.

And I’m always interested in the conflicts around peer production, p2p and piracy.If you’re interested in this subject you can download and watch Steal This Film, and check out our searchable archive of interviews, built on an early version of

Continuing on the same theme I spent much of 2009 following events in France around the Creation and Internet law (Hadopi), and the Pirate Bay trial in Sweden.

Since 2008 I have participated in a network organised by La Ex promoting alternatives to traditional copyright thinking, am a signatory of their Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge, and a contributor to their work on Sustainable Models for Creativity in the Digital Age.

In 2005 and 2006 I spent time in Argentina, looking at disputes in the field of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. At some point I’ll get back to this area, in the meantime, check out GRAIN.

Hedonism and the need to maintain some connection with material culture lies behind the occasional investigative wine tangent: how it’s made, the story it tells, and of course, how it tastes. Responsibility for this vice can safely be attributed to Critical Wine, a network of small producers in Italy who presented it in a political/cultural context that I found… compelling!

Here are links to some blog entries which I think are important:



  1. nice site

    Comment by david quesnel | July 6, 2007 | Reply

  2. […] Read more about this topic from the author here. […]

    Pingback by Copyright Revewals » What am I? kNOw Future Inc. | March 24, 2008 | Reply

  3. Hey,

    thank you very much for the translation of the open letter signed by various artists against Hadopi. Actually its not Paulo Branco but his son, Juan Paulo Branco, who occures to be me, that wrote the letter (it can be seen on the blog):).

    It is important for us to see that this fight againt hadopi has been followed closely in the foreign countries, it gave us strenght. Now hadopis should be censored by the “conseil constitutionnel”, and if not by the european court of justice. Anyway, it’s sure no court will ever apply it.
    I’m now working on a “memoire” on the different approaches the US and France had on fighting against downloading. If you have any piece of advice, don’t hesitate to contact me !

    thanks again,
    juan paulo branco lopez

    Comment by juanpaulobranco | May 22, 2009 | Reply

  4. Hi Alan,

    come stai??!! ti ho beccato per caso cercando “property rights” anche se io per un altro motivo…Il tuo sito è una figata! will subscribe così mi leggo i tuoi articoli!

    spero che ti ricordi di me, long time no see :)(ultima volta a Buenos!)
    vivo a Madrid te dove sei?? perdona questa intrusione nel tuo blog ma non trovo il tuo contatto personale

    Comment by Alice (ciccia) | August 27, 2010 | Reply

  5. Hey Alan,
    Jonathan from the class of 91 here. Garth was filling me in on your blog at the reunion on Saturday so thought I’d drop you a line and say you were missed.
    Impressive blog!

    Comment by Jonathan Staunton | May 9, 2011 | Reply

  6. Alan it’s Heidi!

    Great to read you sounding as enthusiastic as ever about your favourite topics. Would love to catch up with you. My mob is 07545279046
    Lots of love x

    Comment by Heidi Perry | November 4, 2011 | Reply

  7. Alan — You still spending any time in NYC? Would love to catch up again. I’m still in Greenpoint, albeit at a different address. Lemme know!

    Comment by Rick Karr | January 18, 2012 | Reply

  8. […] Toner dalle pagine del suo blog kNOw Future Inc. ricorda che veniva alimentato in modo significativo anche dagli stessi autori dei […]

    Pingback by In Loving Memory of « Digital Piracy | March 15, 2012 | Reply

  9. Hey, long time no see! when are you in London next?

    Comment by Javier | May 9, 2013 | Reply

  10. Is that Alan T., TCD ’92-96? Drop me a line if it is!

    Comment by Michael Finucane | November 17, 2013 | Reply

  11. Alan, Cormac Deane here. Drop me a line when you get the chance, please

    Comment by Cormac | April 4, 2017 | Reply

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