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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

From Net Neutrality to the Net’s New Tragedy

Whether it goes under the guise of SOPA, CISPA, TPP, or the NSA there has been plenty of evidence of late that the Internet is under assault by acronyms. The … Continue reading

January 15, 2014 · 3 Comments

Towards Which Utopia in 2014?

The start of a new year is the socially sanctioned moment when people are encouraged to engage in optimistic dreaming. People “resolve” that in this year they shall achieve some … Continue reading

January 2, 2014 · 9 Comments

In 2014…they’re resolved to keep watching…

It may be an understatement to claim that 2013 was an interesting year. Though it may also be a rather meaningless statement seeing as any year could be described as … Continue reading

December 30, 2013 · Leave a comment

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (and the NSA was watching)

Twas the night before Christmas, and all thro’ the house The only sound to be heard, was the click of a mouse; The family used their digital devices with little … Continue reading

December 24, 2013 · 70 Comments

(Probably Not You) – A review of Jaron Lanier’s Who Owns the Future?

These days there is barely time to get a firm grounding in the latest technological status quo before the whole situation changes again – often dramatically. A person can just … Continue reading

December 22, 2013 · 8 Comments

What Will 2014 Bring for Libraries?

Libraries survived 2013. Libraries will also survive 2014. This is not to suggest that all libraries, and by extension those who work in them and care about them, had a … Continue reading

December 18, 2013 · 12 Comments

Surveillance!? We’re Shocked! Shocked!

Of all the victims of the NSA’s massive surveillance effort – from world leaders to you to civil liberties and privacy – there is one particular group that has been … Continue reading

December 10, 2013 · 9 Comments

Is Privacy Really A Priority?

Would you be willing to get rid of your smartphone to protect your privacy? What about e-mail, would you close your account if it meant that you could be certain … Continue reading

October 31, 2013 · 17 Comments

They’ll Keep Watching Us…

The crowds gathered at a public protest seldom represent the true numbers that agree with the protestor’s cause. Whether prevented from attending by the physical obstacle of distance, financial obstacle … Continue reading

October 28, 2013 · 3 Comments

How Cheaply We Are Bribed…

Without meaning to be rude or insulting, here is a question for you to ponder: how cheaply can you be bought off? How lavish a bribe would need to be … Continue reading

October 22, 2013 · 13 Comments

Q: Who gets shut out in the shutdown? A: All of us.

At this point, it seems almost too quaint to refer to the situation in Washington D.C. as “the government shutdown.” While this certainly retains much truth to it – after … Continue reading

October 16, 2013 · Leave a comment

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You…

If one is willing to look for them, political history supplies no small supply of darkly amusing parallels. October 1, 2013 marked the start of a government shutdown, but on … Continue reading

October 3, 2013 · 2 Comments

A Government Shutdown Keeps the Power On

In technological times it is easy for people to understand the concept “shut down.” It’s what one does with computers, and numerous other gadgets. When one is finished one selects … Continue reading

September 30, 2013 · 4 Comments

Banned Books and Budget Cuts

The honor “Banned Book” does for a book what a leather jacket did for James Dean. Before it was handsome, now it’s handsome with a vaguely rebellious air. For those … Continue reading

September 25, 2013 · 3 Comments

From Occupy to Preoccupied

Unsuccessful social movements are doomed to become fodder for academics and cause for continual quibbling amongst those who had once participated. Granted, the very question of “success” (and therefore “unsuccessful”) … Continue reading

September 16, 2013 · 2 Comments

Rotten to the Core

The new Apple product never falls too far from the technical tree; and the digital fruit that is picked from the orchard this season is rarely significantly different from the … Continue reading

September 11, 2013 · 13 Comments

Does it Matter Who Leads Microsoft Next?

When a massive technology corporation declares that their current CEO will be retiring in the next year to be replaced by an as-yet-unnamed successor this may simply appear to be … Continue reading

August 26, 2013 · Leave a comment

A More Connected World (to mine for data)

For those with a speedy Internet signal and a multitude of sleek technological toys at their (non-metaphorical) fingertips it can be easy to forget that much of the world (billions … Continue reading

August 23, 2013 · 8 Comments

A Prequel to 1984? Just look around…

If George Orwell had decided to write a prequel to his novel 1984 it is conceivable that the tale would look very much like a description of our current times. … Continue reading

August 20, 2013 · 13 Comments

Luddism for These Ludicrous Times

A specter is haunting our technological society – it is the specter of General Ludd. Granted, Luddite is generally not considered to be a complementary term. Most of the time, … Continue reading

August 12, 2013 · 71 Comments

Trystero’s e-mail account – Mailpile!

Regardless of what gets revealed about the surveillance that takes place though our technological devices, the fact remains that most people (the vast [vast!]) majority are not going to actually … Continue reading

August 8, 2013 · 6 Comments

Surveillance Fever! The infection spreads…

By the end of the day on August 5, 2013 a person in the US could be forgiven for thinking that the major news of the day was that an … Continue reading

August 6, 2013 · 1 Comment

The Cell is the Phone – Defining Our Machine Wrought Maladies

It was in 1983, a year before the age immortalized in authoritarian auspiciousness by George Orwell, that a judge in New Mexico began the program of monitoring people’s movements with … Continue reading

August 5, 2013 · 18 Comments

If the NSA is the Fever, is the Internet the Disease?

Confirmation came on July 31, 2013, of what many had feared, but which few had possessed the hard factual evidence to establish as more than a flight of paranoia. The … Continue reading

August 1, 2013 · 5 Comments

To Live Justly in Unjust Times

Key to the concept of democracy is the notion that those who are elected to serve the people will be good stewards of this responsibility. That these individuals will recognize … Continue reading

July 31, 2013 · 12 Comments

How Not to Heed a Warning

“The public was actively misled.” With those five words Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) provided further evidence of the need for whistle blowers in an age where the concept of an … Continue reading

July 28, 2013 · 8 Comments

A RoboCop Statue Amidst the Rubble – Distraction, Dystopia, Detroit

In dystopian fiction, the path that led to these crumbling civilizations is obscured by a haze of ash. While there may be general allusions to the historical event (a calamity … Continue reading

July 22, 2013 · 8 Comments

Grifting, Garbage and Graph Search

Money is much beloved by tech companies and major websites, yet it is hardly the most important thing for them. What glitters most brightly is not gold, but information. Granted, … Continue reading

July 18, 2013 · 6 Comments

Happy Days or Happy Daze? (A permission slip to not care about privacy)

When a scandal goes on too long, particularly one that touches many areas of our lives, we can quickly become inured to it. And as more NSA misdeeds came to … Continue reading

July 9, 2013 · 4 Comments

When Tinfoil Hats Become Fashionable…

Have you yet had the odd, if rather disconcerting, pleasure of walking by somebody wearing Google Glass? It can take a moment to recognize what has just occurred, after all, … Continue reading

July 7, 2013 · 4 Comments

Ne'er do wells



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