Tag Archives: privacy

you’ve been murdoched!

What Facebook thinks

“I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away,” she said during a panel discussion on social media hosted Tuesday evening by Marie Claire magazine. “People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.”

Our “leaders” scramble to enact

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 19-10 for H.R. 1981, a data-retention bill that will require your ISP to spy on everything you do online and save records of it for 12 months. California Rep Zoe Lofgren, one of the Democrats who opposed the bill, called it a “data bank of every digital act by every American” that would “let us find out where every single American visited Web sites.”

Dots connected.

amazonian irony

Amazon remotely deletes purchases from Kindles.  Removes 1984, causing Orwell to promptly pop a 360 underground.

Amazon CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos has apologized to Kindle customers for remotely removing copies of the George Orwell novels “1984” and “Animal Farm” from their e-reader devices. The company did so after learning the electronic editions were pirated, and it gave buyers automatic refunds. But Amazon did it without prior notice.

Of all the titles it was 1984.  Sweet.

etch-a-sketch 2.0

I’m starting to get the hang of this conference thing. Not so much the schmoozing and networking aspect, but corralling all the ideas that tend to congeal when driving home from an intense day of presentationing. After attending the Independent Colleges of Indiana Tech Summit at the picturesque DePauw University, my band of brarians were introduced to a couple of new and exciting technologies that are worth exploring for the library.

One particularly innovative application caught my absent-minded gaze. A company based in my neck of the woods, DyKnow offers a product that offers nearly limitless possibilities within the classroom. Dyknow Vision is like an electronic etch-a-sketch, allowing complete interactivity within the classroom. They summarize:

  • Instantly transmit prepared or extemporaneous content to student computers for annotation
  • Spark discussion by broadcasting a student’s screen
  • Empower students to lead class and share work from their seats
  • Poll students to quickly assess understanding and receiving immediate feedback
  • Save class notes and audio recording on a central server where students can access and replay them anytime, anywhere

Here was the scenario…we all enter the presentation and take our seats, in front of which is placed a tablet PC. Then the instructor tells us that we don’t need to take any notes with our notebooks, as we will be writing and saving them on our computers. We have a mock presentation in which the instructor delivers a lecture and we take notes on the tablet (with fake pen), answer electronically submitted polls, submit work to the professor, and email our notes to ourselves.

The possibilities are endless. Here are just some ideas for use:

  • physics lectures are delivered instantly to students and their thought patterns are recorded while solving problems on the tablet PC while taking notes
  • language instructors – analyze how students conceptualize writing Asian characters stroke by stroke…and correct their mistakes
  • students ask questions anonymously, reducing embarrassment
  • Deliver quizzes, class polls, homework all via the software

The issue of privacy does surface, as the software does monitor the work performed on the PCs; however, depending on the policies established by the institution/department, monitoring can be limited or extended to the classroom, building, department, etc.

From the library side, I can see potential for information literacy sessions, classification outlines, even web design principles using DyKnow. Rather than being social networking oriented, it is more socially collaborative. Something perhaps innovative enough to pry your students away from facebook.

more privacy

Like spiders crawling the Googlewebs, so unfolds our privacy saga.  Has some middle ground been struck?

According to the agreement, YouTube will mask the identities of individual viewers when it provides viewership records to Viacom. Among the things YouTube will cloak: user IDs and Internet protocol addresses (the unique numbers for each Web-connected device).

Viacom has said that, under the court’s confidentiality order, the data will be released only to its outside attorneys and consultants and can be used only in this lawsuit, not to pursue individuals.

Whew.  I was wondering whether I would surrender my privacy by showing a video discussing how better to  protect it.

privacy: or, google, thou art now a ‘brary

Still trying to wrap my head around this whole YouTube ruling.  Especially in light of what Congress, now with a single digit approval rating, has just decided with respect to telecom immunity.  What is clear, infopeeps, is its similarity to the situation faced by libraries since 9/11: requests for patron circulation habits and records.

Quick…blame Jon Stewart!

The order comes as part of a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit brought against YouTube’s owner, Google, by Viacom, the media company that owns large cable networks such as MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon. Viacom alleges that YouTube encourages people to upload significant amounts of pirated copyrighted programs and that users do so by the thousands, profiting YouTube and Google. It wants to prove that pirated videos uploaded to the site — video clips of Jon Stewart‘s “The Daily Show,” for instance — are more heavily viewed than amateur content.

The article goes on to mention the staedfast assurances that Viacom will not go after individual users, but rather compare copyrighted vs. non-copyrighted content, Google has taken the library stance:

“We are pleased the court put some limits on discovery, including refusing to allow Viacom to access users’ private videos and our search technology,” Google senior litigation counsel Catherine Lacavera said in a statement. “We are disappointed the court granted Viacom’s overreaching demand for viewing history. We will ask Viacom to respect users’ privacy and allow us to anonymize the logs before producing them under the court’s order.”

Nice middle road approach, I suppose.  But how reliable is that anonymizing?

But making the records anonymous is not fail-safe. In 2006, an AOL researcher inadvertently posted three months’ worth of searches typed in by 650,000 anonymous AOL users. Although their identities were masked — each user was given a randomly generated unique identification number — the search terms, which included names, home towns and interests, could be collated and used to identify a person, as an enterprising New York Times reporter showed.

Forget IP information, user addresses, and unique logins for a second. Did anyone even consider that one’s search terms can be studied to understand online research/viewing patterns?  Subtle and far fetched, perhaps, but it is indeed a behind-the-scenes method for piecing together a user’s zigsaw puzzlery of searching patterns.

Disturbing thought…will this decision get society, and ultimately librarians (preferably in reverse order) to shift this debate focusing on clarifying copyright before it’s necessary to invade privacy?  We’re a motley lot, us ‘brarians…do we have the attention span for that? I guess it’s just easier for Viacom to get the data than think about fair use.  Does ALA have a response to the ruling?

Meld this to your minds, infomaniacs…is it not ironic how fake news so powerfully informs people to the extent they are frenzied to embrace such online havoc?

Jon Stewart is powerful indeed.


librarian.net came away from ALA with some thoughts about it.