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Category Archives: Surveillance

The technology giants didn’t deserve public trust in the first place

Amazon may have been expecting lots of public attention when it announced where it would establish its new headquarters – but like many technology companies recently, it probably didn’t anticipate … Continue reading

November 19, 2018 · 2 Comments

“Striving to minimize technical and reputational risks” – Ethical OS and Silicon Valley’s guilty conscience

Considering how proudly they declare that they are designing the future, technology companies seem almost comically bad when it comes to anticipating the consequences of the things they create. While … Continue reading

August 24, 2018 · 16 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 · 12 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 · 2 Comments

Facebook – to delete, or not to delete?

‘Who rules here?’ I asked. They said: ‘The People naturally.’ I said: ‘Naturally the people but who really rules?’ – Erich Fried, “In the Capital.”   1. While many things … Continue reading

March 22, 2018 · 7 Comments

Technological Resolutions for 2018

The early weeks of January represent a precious liminal period in which many people seek to establish new patterns that they hope to follow for the new year. The New … Continue reading

January 5, 2018 · 2 Comments

From Net Neutrality to the Net’s New Reality

There is a chance that this page took quite a while to load. Or that this particular site is now taking longer to load than it did in the past. … Continue reading

December 15, 2017 · 4 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

A chip off technology’s block

Of the various characters who populate our computer dominated society, one of the most curious sorts is the “early adopter.” These are the figures found sprinting headlong to the frontier … Continue reading

August 3, 2017 · Leave a comment

Amazon is hungry for more

Here is a joke: Question – Why did the online retailer renowned for its super cheap prices buy a brick and mortar grocery chain known for its ridiculously high prices? … Continue reading

June 21, 2017 · 3 Comments

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

When real life emulates dystopia…it isn’t a good sign…

“If people are not aware of the direction in which they are going, they will awaken when it is too late and when their fate has been irrevocably sealed. Unfortunately, … Continue reading

March 31, 2017 · 8 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

Here’s looking at you…

If at first an ill-advised piece of consumer technology doesn’t succeed in winning over a skeptical public, you can be certain that another tech company will be willing to try … Continue reading

February 24, 2017 · 2 Comments

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 · 2 Comments

What could go wrong? Another question to ask of new technology

Those who spend a lot of time traveling by airplane steadily grow accustomed to the standard spiel issued by members of the TSA and airline personnel. Yet, recently, a new … Continue reading

October 20, 2016 · 7 Comments

Google unveils more of the same

Here is a question: have you heard about the new smartphone that’s being released? Here is a completely legitimate way to answer the above question: which smartphone do you mean? … Continue reading

October 5, 2016 · 1 Comment

AI and Drones and Bio-engineering, oh my! – A Review of A Dangerous Master by Wendell Wallach

Popular culture is lousy with tales of techno-science escaping human control. And as these stories — involving rebelling robots, murderous artificial intelligence systems, and genetically modified chimeras on a warpath … Continue reading

June 23, 2016 · 1 Comment

Beyond the Prototype: Libraries as Convivial Tools in Action

How important are the technologies found in a library to the actual library? Are libraries simply places where various tools and technologies are used, or can libraries (themselves) be viewed … Continue reading

May 26, 2016 · 2 Comments

Facebook Reactions Are No Laughing Matter

Prepare yourself for a not particularly shocking observation: when it comes to interpersonal communication, there are certain types of information that are not conveyed particularly well by information technology. Indeed, … Continue reading

February 25, 2016 · 9 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 · 3 Comments

A Charitable Definition of Charity

When the state of the world seems terrible, it becomes all too easy to pine for good news. And if one is to glance at the headlines in recent weeks … Continue reading

December 2, 2015 · 5 Comments

TOR, Libraries, and DHS: fuck that noise

Our dear comrade Alison Macrina at the Library Freedom Project had the fabulous idea to set up Tor relays in public libraries — after all, providing services and assuring patron … Continue reading

September 11, 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

To Do: Digital Rights in Libraries

[Hi, pirates. The following is a press release from our dear comrade Alison Macrina of the Library Freedom Project. If you are going to ALA, or live near the Bay … Continue reading

June 4, 2015 · Leave a 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

A Dark, Warped Reflection – An Analysis of Black Mirror

Editor’s Note: what follows is an analysis of the first two seasons of Black Mirror. An analysis of  the third season has also been posted. Depending upon which sections of … Continue reading

February 12, 2015 · 14 Comments

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