Since privacy is an illusion anyway…

Daniel Kerr argued that anonymity should no longer be the goal of privacy legislation. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguards people’s private communications and financial information. Kerr: “Protecting anonymity isn’t a fight that can be won. Anyone that’s typed in their name on Google understands that.” Currently the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act doesn’t require the gov’t to obtain a warrant for communication between someone on American soil and someone in another country. Kerr wants this to include anyone, anytime, period. Some are arguing that this legislation is coming on the heels of lawsuits against the big telecommunications companies that shared info with the US gov’t. This would grant immunity to these companies. (link)

Earlier this week it was leaked that the FBI had considered tracking the sale of falafels in order to catch Iranian terrorists…

the next president better know how to use a computer

TechPresident is doing some really interesting stuff:
“TechPresident was started by Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry as a new group blog that covers how the 2008 presidential candidates are using the web, and vice versa, how content generated by voters is affecting the campaign.

The 2008 election will be the first where the Internet will play a central role, not only in terms of how the campaigns use technology, but also in how voter-generated content affects its course. plans to track all these changes in real-time, covering everything from campaign websites, online advertising and email lists to the postings on YouTube and who’s got the fastest growing group of friends on MySpace.”

It’s really worth a look-see.

facebook is watching you…

Facebook is creating a whole new way for companies to advertise using information generated from user profiles.  The problem is that ads Facebook get ignored because people are too busy checking on the status of their first high school girlfriend or editing their profiles.  Facebook is developing a system that will use all this great information to create a network in order to display ads on other sites.  Facebook claims that the info on its website is accurate as people are inclined to tell the truth because they use the site to communicate mostly with friends.  Here is a New York Times article with some pretty scary although probably realistic predictions for this technology as well Facebook’s own press release.

Bob McChesney on the FCC and net neutrality

Bob McChesney, keynote speaker at the Citizen Media Forum on November 3rd, discusses new FCC chairman Kevin Martin’s plan to relax rules regarding media ownership at a public hearing tomorrow with the Minnesota Monitor as well as issues surrounding net neutrality. He cites as an example the Telus incident in Canada, pointing out that there are no net neutrality laws here. Speaking of which, according to BetaNews, Sympatico admitted just a few days ago to many of the same internet filtering techniques as Comcast.

She’s Oprah..of course

Oprah has had her own YouTube channel for 6 whole days now (here is the story). She introduced her channel by hosting a television show with all the YouTube “stars”. Her favorite was Tyson the skateboarding dog: “If we all had the passion of that dog everyone would be successful”. Really Oprah? A passionate dog? Either way I find Oprah-juggernaut terrifying. YouTube has clearly cemented itself as commercial venture, as Oprah is using YouTube celebrity cache to hawk her show, the veneer of equality is clearly gone. Oprah is the new YouTube star.

Year Three Underway

Rethinking Media Democracy and Citizenship commences its blog on matters relating to digital publics and digital dissent–welcome to Kelly Ladd, our Project Blogger! This updated Project News site will track related online events and news as we enter Year Three of this SSHRC-funded project.

Since we began the Project examining digital dissent in 2005, much has changed in the online world of social web.  YouTube, for one, has spiraled into its massive orbit, while Facebook colonizes attentional economies across the web.

Our blog posts will amplify the research questions of our SSHRC project—but given the rapidly changing uses of the Social Web, some of what we will track will now includes not only “political” uses of the social web but the increasingly convergence of independent or alternative uses of these social media, with commercialized cooptation (ranging from corporations phishing Facebook, to Oprah running her own YouTube channel, etc.)

One frame for all the questions and posts is: how long will we see equal access to the net?  Given the increasing urgency for advertisers to profit from online media, struggles over equal access to the net (so-called Net Neutrality) will be reflected in the new blurring of corporate and participatory user-generated cultures.