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Category Archives: Privacy

Flamethrowers and Fire Extinguishers – a review of “The Social Dilemma”

“The myth of technological and political and social inevitability is a powerful tranquilizer of the conscience. Its service is to remove responsibility from the shoulders of everyone who truly believes … Continue reading

September 17, 2020 · 12 Comments

“Cover Your Tracks!” – A Critique of the Privacy Project from The New York Times

Whatever you say, don’t say it twice. If you find your idea with somebody else: deny it. He who didn’t sign anything, who didn’t leave an image Who wasn’t there, … Continue reading

April 15, 2019 · 4 Comments

All watched over by machines – a review of Yasha Levine’s “Surveillance Valley”

There is something rather precious about Google employees, and Internet users, who earnestly believe the “don’t be evil” line. Though those three words have often been taken to represent a … Continue reading

June 8, 2018 · 15 Comments

Techlash! What Techlash?

In the early 1990s an assortment of activists and academics banded together in an attempt to challenge the direction in which high-technology, and infatuation with it, was taking society. And … Continue reading

April 27, 2018 · 13 Comments

The Nerd and the Inured

There’s no point being vague about it: Mark Zuckerberg won. Considering what could have possibly awaited the Facebook CEO when he testified before Congress he got off easy. Despite the … Continue reading

April 12, 2018 · 6 Comments

The future looks expensive

When times are grim, and menacing clouds literally gather on the horizon, it can be immensely reassuring to have some event that restores faith in the future. All that is … Continue reading

September 13, 2017 · Leave a comment

Apple is all ears

Once upon a time, if somebody claimed that there were microphones installed in their home that were listening in on their every word they would be dismissed as a paranoid … Continue reading

June 7, 2017 · 2 Comments

The Internet of Things…that spy on you

There is a sequence in the horror film 28 Days Later in which the protagonists find that they have to drive through a dark tunnel. As the car idles outside … Continue reading

March 3, 2017 · 1 Comment

Don’t like what you see? – A review of Season Three of Black Mirror

“The future is not a blank page; and neither is it an open book.” – Lewis Mumford 1. When the daily news takes on a particularly grim sheen it can … Continue reading

February 3, 2017 · 4 Comments

Apple Is Not the Messiah

There is a lot of money to be made in crafting carefully manicured public relations campaigns for major corporations. Numerous large firms exist solely for the purposes of selling their … Continue reading

February 18, 2016 · 4 Comments

How to Keep What You Are Reading Secret

Is there anything more annoying than being interrupted with the question “hey, what are you reading?” while you are engrossed in a book? Is there anything more frustrating than feeling … Continue reading

January 21, 2016 · 6 Comments

Friends Don’t Let Friends Join Peeple

Social media can leave a funny taste in your mouth. Legion are the companies declaring that their platform will help you reach full actualization whether this occurs through connecting with … Continue reading

October 7, 2015 · 2 Comments

Google learns the Alphabet

“You still have to learn the ABC. The ABC says: They will get you down.” – Bertolt Brecht The way to spell “Google” has changed, and now the way to … Continue reading

August 13, 2015 · 3 Comments

Ashley Madison and the Internet’s “Original Accident”

The news that a website, retailer, or famous individual has been the victim of hackers has, at this point, become not particularly sensational. It’s the type of revelation that still … Continue reading

July 21, 2015 · Leave a comment

Google Wants to Get Into Your Pants

This is not meant as an insult, really it isn’t (please do not be offended), but your pants are stupid. And your skirt, your jacket, your dress, your sweater, your … Continue reading

June 19, 2015 · 1 Comment

Laws Expire, Surveillance Remains

The technological landscape of today is quite a bit different from what it was in the fall of 2001. This point is so obvious as to be banal, but to … Continue reading

May 21, 2015 · 1 Comment

On Broken Glass

Depending on one’s personal stance, the news that Google is halting production of its polarizing product Glass is either cause for celebration, disappointment, or – for most people – simply … Continue reading

January 21, 2015 · 11 Comments

All Hitherto Existing Social Media – a review of Christian Fuchs’s “Social Medial: a Critical Introduction””

Legion are the books and articles describing the social media that has come before. Yet the tracts focusing on Friendster, LiveJournal, or MySpace now appear as throwbacks, nostalgically immortalizing the … Continue reading

September 25, 2014 · Leave a comment

Placing Bets and Asking Questions

Though there was not terribly much question about it, there is now clear confirmation that “wearable technology” will be the next major front in technological society. While there had been … Continue reading

September 12, 2014 · 4 Comments

Concerned about Privacy? Consider going Postal!

The contents of a mailbox can become amusingly mundane: bills, solicitations, catalogs, credit card offers, and assorted other odds and ends that wind up in the recycling bin without being … Continue reading

August 8, 2014 · 1 Comment

A Threatened Net or a Threatening Net?

The activist and writer Grace Lee Boggs is known for starting conversations and lectures with the following question: “What time is it on the clock of the world?” It may … Continue reading

July 7, 2014 · 1 Comment

Are We Technologically Literate?

Some of the appeal of new technologies is the ease with which they can be used. Though we may recognize, on a subconscious level, that these devices represent impressive feats … Continue reading

July 3, 2014 · 37 Comments

Facebook Gets Emotional

Have you ever found that you felt rather depressed after using social media? What about quite happy? It is probably no great stretch to imagine that the answer to at … Continue reading

June 30, 2014 · 20 Comments

The Less Things Change…

The shock has worn off. At first we reeled and balked out of a sentiment of betrayed fury, but eventually we grew glumly quiet – and gradually we opened our … Continue reading

June 10, 2014 · 7 Comments

Google Glass in Libraries – Disruption or just Disruptive?

Libraries are highly technological places. From books to microfilm readers to computers – a library that is free of technology is an oxymoron. Granted, there is a difference between a … Continue reading

May 23, 2014 · 5 Comments

Whose Vision of the Future is This?

Lurking in the background of most inquiries into the technologically wrought future is an oft-unasked question regarding who exactly gets to determine the shape this future shall take. From a … Continue reading

May 5, 2014 · 21 Comments

The Flawed “Frames” of Google Glass

It is premature to compose an obituary for Google Glass. While there are many who would be eager to hear Google announce that the eyewear’s full launch is being indefinitely … Continue reading

April 28, 2014 · 13 Comments

Make Your Library the Protest

It is an exciting time to be a librarian. No, really. Whether it is a result of potentially positive changes or due to worrisome occurrences (budget cuts) libraries (and by … Continue reading

April 23, 2014 · 7 Comments

The Heartbreak of Heartbleed

Periodically when a person uses a computer one may receive notifications that contain phrases such as “do you trust this connection” or “do you trust this site.” While it is … Continue reading

April 14, 2014 · 57 Comments

We Apologize, We Will Change – An open letter from the NSA

[For Immediate Release – an open letter from the Assistant Director of the National Security Agency] To my fellow citizens, We are sorry. Let me repeat that to make my … Continue reading

April 1, 2014 · 2 Comments

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