A fond farewell

Friends and Followers the time has come that we must part ways. Over the past two months we have tried our best to inform you and ourselves with research and conversations in understanding the nature of Digital Civil Liberties. When this blog was first started it was clear that we as writers and researchers were just as confused as anyone would be when presented with a topic such as this. Once starting our journey into research of the digital constructs and makeup of this issue we all found this topic to be rich with excitement and easy to talk about. A constant conversation amongst our contemporaries and scholars allowed us to find a plethora of journals and online resources.

The format in which we have been able to engage with you our reader in the form of a blog is a unique concept. We were not charged to write essays or new briefs, rather we were able to write in our own voices.  Being allowed to present ourselves through our work may at times have allowed for bias to creep its way into our poetic posts, but it also allowed for us to develop a personal attachment to our content. We wrote about what we cared about, and we hope that was something that you, the readers, enjoyed.

Our research also was interesting to us because of the relevance that it has on our daily lives. Many of our posts dealt with social media sites and other forms of communication that we use every day. It was an interesting experience to read research that was telling us about our lives. We were not stuck in the abstract nature of the research; we were able to synthesize the findings with our own experiences.

Overall we feel that our blog was a great success. We have received great feedback from so many of you and have had the pleasure of insightful discussions and riveting debates over our posts. We have even been fortunate enough to have a response from outside bloggers due to our persistence in posting our article on Facebook and Twitter. Our ability to be picked up and followed by other Digital Civil Liberty scholars proves that we are able to encourage critical though and debate about topics that are quickly becoming one of the most important issues of the decade.

As we said before it is time for us to say goodbye, as we will not be continuing this blog after this semester. We encourage you all to continue reading up on this topic, using some of our posts as a starting point, as we will also be continuing to stay informed on this issue. Two of our writers, Erin and Kevin, will be graduating at the end of this week and we would like to wish them well in their post collegiate pursuits. It has been a pleasure working together and being able to share ourselves and out ideas with you all.

From all of us here at Digi Civi Libies we would like to thank you for being a reader and for giving us great support in our academic undertaking. We hope that you have enjoyed these past few months as much as we have while also learning some new information.

Keep informed friends.  It has been a pleasure researching with you.


The Power of Klout

Klout, a San Francisco based company, has generated a lot of controversy over the last month. For those of you who don’t know, and don’t feel bad if you don’t, Klout is a fairly new social media profiling application that scores a users ability to generate social capital/influence via social media. The app does this by taking data from the social media sites you use. Klout then measures the size of your network, the content you generate, and how people within your network interact with it.

With this data Klout provides you with a breakdown of your score. First an overall analysis with a score of 1 – 100.

It then breaks it down further into “True Reach,” which is, “the number of people you influence both within your immediate network and across their extended networks.”

Amplification is how much you influence people. It indicates how likely your audience is to respond to your content.

Finally,  Network Impact  looks at everyone else in your network and measures the influence of your audience.

Klout has come under heavy criticism, though few people are denying the affect it has/could have. Perhaps most obvious is that the data provided by Klout is a little dubious. Not everyone online is trying to generate influence. The data also doesn’t examine context or actions that occur offline, as Jason Falls points out in his article on Social Media Explorer. There are a huge number of issues when dealing with social profiling in any context whether online or offline.

This is precisely the point, writes web strategist Jeremiah Owyang. “Whether it’s on a job interview, before a meeting, a first date, and as you walk into a store, more disruptive technologies are on the horizon that will enable social data to be easily accessed and viewable in real world situations. Profiling, which has negative connotations in terms of race, law enforcement, and beyond, is commonly used by marketers (and humans sub-consciously) to sort people around us.”

He lists three ways that Klout and similar applications are going to affect society, whether you like it or not. Owyang writes that digital profiling could mark a change in how we determine dominant members in society, “The largest male, the richest female, may now rival that of the most ‘influential’ person in the room –and everyone will know it quickly.” Second, marketers will use these tools to prioritize influencers. As Owyang and many other writers point out, this is already occurring. Palm Hotels in Las Vegas uses Klout to prioritize guests with digital influence rewarding them with upgrades and other perks in order to generate positive buzz online. Owyang posits that this trend will quickly move into the retail industry. Finally, he writes that this will also lead to the importance of “digital grooming,” making sure that your online image is the best it can be.

Klout is not a fad. There is real world use of its services and it is not limited to hotels upgrading rooms. Klout recently passed an important hallmark for many successful tech companies, receiving a write up in Wired magazine several days ago.

The article tells the story of Sam Florella who was recruited for a VP position at a large marketing agency in Toronto. Florella had 15 years of experience and was feeling confident until the interviewer asked him about his Klout score. After admitting he did not know what that was the interviewer showed him his Klout score, which stood at 34. The interview ended shortly after and the agency specifically hired a candidate whose score was 67.

Klout’s VP claims in the article that many major companies are thinking about ways to use Klout scores and he predicts that it will not be long till those with higher scores are boarding planes earlier and receiving discounts from retail stores.

While Klout might be viewed as trivial or narcissistic it has received a rumored $30 million in funding and is here to stay. And, unfortunately, for those of you who hope to avoid being judged based on what Klout thinks of your ability to influence your online network, it is already possible that you are being judged like Sam Florella. Klout is an opt-in program utilizing Facebook and Twitter’s API. This means that your score is viewable whether you’ve installed the app or not.

*Kout currently has access to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress, Last.fm and Flickr

Mommy, I want to be a pretty princess. Here is my shopping list.

In my twenty some odd years of being alive, only six of which I believe I could be considered sentient, I have come to realize that it is hard to be a kid. There are so many decisions that kids are faced with everyday from what clothes to wear to what six hour T.V. block to sit through.  Rough sauce, right? As if that is not hard enough there are always people who want things from you be it you new holographic Charizard, good grades, or even something as odd as all your personal information so that a corporation can bend you to their every will and make you think everything you do is really you own discussion.

Childhood is a time of innocence and consumerism; as in the children do not realize that they are being forced into the mind set of what to buy and when to buy. The people who are the best at this are the mega multimedia companies such as the Disney Corporation.(http://truth-out.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2808:how-disney-magic-and-the-corporate-media-shape-youth-identity-in-the-digital-age) Hiding behind the comically large ears of a mouse and theme parks called the happiest places on Earth (I wonder what the happiest place in the solar system is…) Disney has perfected the art of using children as a gold mine and sociological study. The laboratories that the studies are conducted in are cute little online nooks that are seen to the untrained eye as a simple RPG with characters like fairies, or penguins, or even a masculine version of a cartoon mouse with a self destructive vibe. These sites incorporate the push for brand recognition to continue the trend of certain films like the Fairies Series and Pirates of the Caribbean while also secretly gathering all the information need to make consumer zombies out of children.

Too much?

Not at all when the games can be looked as mini economic models of consumerism, a main component of these games is t purchase items like clothes, pets, and extra materials that give a wide range view of how the child-consumer will act in the real world. There is also the added benefit of having a secret data mine. The amount of information that is pumped out of the small gooey minds of these pre-teens and younger allows for research that often these kids are paying to be a part of.

The amount of time that these children spend consuming visual mediums is on the rise; in fact soon the amount of time that children spend consuming mediums will soon equal the amount of time that they sleep. (For college students that is like what… 2 hours a day?)

It has been found that by the time that a child is 9 years old they will be able to properly identify and have memorized 300-400 different brands. The ability to exploit this is important to snatching up the demographic. Finding out what is attractive to younger generations starts as early as infancy. Disney is engaged in making toddler videos that are used to figure out what color patterns and visual stimuli more effectively pull a response from the audience.

The issue is found in the fact that these media powerhouses are teaming up with technology goliaths like Apple to gain access into a larger realm of the digital age. The more prevalent the exposure the easier it is to shape the wants and image of a younger generation. In essence Disney and other Media moguls are convincing children what to buy and what to strive for. It is interesting to note that what they want children to strive for is to be middle class asexual consumer robots (that think Hannah Montana is a real rock star).

At the end of the six hour marathon about teens singing about how normal their lives are we are left with one single fact: In the digital era we are defined by consumption (including advertisements, products, and that whole bag of sun chips you just ate… really? You had better have a work out plan.) It is important to understand how the brains of the future generations are being shaped, but it does worry me that they are being shaped by a mouse with the ability to pull in multimillions of dollars every year and the ability to avert the public eye.

RE: CISPA vs. SOPA post

As the CISPA bill moves to the house floor, The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a major internet freedom advocacy group has withdrawn their protests against the CISPA bill.

CDT issued the following statement on CISPA—

In sum, good progress has been made. The Committee listened to our concerns and has made important privacy improvements and we applaud the Committee for doing so. However, the bill falls short because of the remaining concerns –the flow of internet data directly to the NSA and the use of information for purposes unrelated to cybersecurity. We support amendments to address these concerns. Recognizing the importance of the cybersecurity issue, in deference to the good faith efforts made by Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger, and on the understanding that amendments will be considered by the House to address our concerns, we will not oppose the process moving forward in the House. We will focus on the amendments and subsequently on the Senate.

Download Digital Dino Disaster

Getting older is one of things that none of us can avoid, no matter how expensive the plastic surgery or how young the new wife is, we are getting old with each passing second. Traveling parallel to that is the advancement in technology. As we get older with each passing second technology is being increased, sometimes at a faster rate.

When we get older we become slower (don’t tell my Mom-Mom) and have a harder time adjusting to change, especially in technology (How do I even use the remote… where is the remote?). The edging out of a generation due to technological advancement has created part of the population to be deemed Digital Dinosaurs. DDs like the creatures they were named after were at one point a proud and noble race. Ferocious go-getters with nothing standing in their way (Spielberg even showed us that raptors could open doors!) have now been challenged with the threat of extinction because of Digital Natives.

After the comet of technology truck the Earth and the market place, the DDs have found themselves on the path to extinction. They are unable to adapt fully enough to be functional in this new world.  Slow to accept change only to find that once they are comfortable with a new technology that it has been replaced with something newer (thinner? Blond?) and once again the DD is forced to go back to start (without collecting $200 for passing Go).

So what does it take to not be reduced to the fate of the Dodo? Is it as simple as just learning, or is there just a time to let go and accept that you have finally been beaten? According to http://www.forbes.com to stay alive takes more than just having a twitter and facebook (no Mom I will not accept your friend request!) It takes an understanding of online strategy. This includes obtaining a comfort level in new communication methods that allow for you to reach a target audience and be able to incite them to do something. There is also the need to be willing to fail often to learn what works and keep up with the ever changing digital world. (For some reason I cannot help but think of Digimon right now… digital monsters… they survived right?)

Forbs calls for an end to the stereotype claiming that the resilience of the dinosaur generation allows for them to be able to become equal players in the digital sphere (I mean crocodiles are still around… and my fourth grade English teacher…)

Is it worth the effort to adapt? According to the 2012 Brandfog CEO, Social Media and Leadership survey… it is! They found that 82% of respondents trusted a company more if the leaders of the company were actively involved in social media communications. This was on top of the 77% who said that they were more likely to buy products from a company that used social media to clearly define values and leadership principles. To appease these customers a company and the Dinosaurs must adapt.

It is important to let you all know right now that technology is here to stay (it is not a fad like those tomagatchi that you loved so much). Around 65 to 85% of students and their parents have access to computers and are increasing the rate at which they are integrated into their lives. Simply put you do have to get off your high horse and stop being stubborn about not learning new technology. (CD’s will never catch on, right guys?) It is possible to learn everything you need to… so long as you are willing to put up with a few struggles along the way (Don’t worry uncle Bill… soon you too will be able to destroy forts filled with little piggies with Darwin’s wet dream of birds).   Worried that you might just be a DD? Check out some facts here to see… http://www.frontiernet.net/~techlady/immigrants.html#dinosaur.

This is heavily contrasted by the ideas of Sherry Turkle in her writing in “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other” where she expresses that ‘just as 50-year-olds shouldn’t really try to dress like 20-year-olds (although they do), should we all try to text like 20-year-olds[?]’’ she wrote in an e-mail to the Globe. “In our culture, we all wear blue jeans. It has become universal. But ripped jeans at fifty? Perhaps one needs to leave certain styles to the young.’’

As for where to draw the line for what to learn and what to not learn is not clearly defined and will most likely never be. The location of this line is just as ambiguous as the differences between the old and newest iPhone. http://articles.boston.com/2011-06-30/lifestyle/29722573_1_twitter-account-iphones-technology-moves/2

With each passing day more people are undergoing a metamorphosis of a proud and noble race into a violent creature whose very will to exist is a clash against society’s trends. Is it to be the fate of all that one day we shall be obsolete and replaced by someone younger?  Personally I feel that I am quickly approaching the time when I grow a tail and fangs and take my place among those who have already become Digital Dinosaurs.

How long will it be before you too take on a reptilian nature? Where will the breaking point be… and how large will the divide between natives and dinosaurs become? Is it time to just accept our fates and enjoy the ride? Only time will tell…

CISPA vs. SOPA: a summary and analysis of issues in online privacy legislation

This year witnessed SOPA/PIPA, and now we have CISPA, which stands for The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. The issue of privacy and information gathering online is a hot topic, not only for privacy activists, but also for governments and corporations. The government feels it does not have enough access to online information to maintain national security. Corporations worry about liability of policing the Internet and limits on their ability to grow and profit. And citizens are split between being terrified that their privacy will be destroyed irreparably and not caring one way or the other.

The apparent worries on all sides of the issue make it clear that there is an obvious need for some kind of bill. I won’t argue whether or not CISPA is good or bad. The arguments on both sides are fairly solid. Let’s be clear that CISPA is not the new SOPA. Here is why.

What is CISPA?

CISPA stands for The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, written by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD). The main objective of the bill is to facilitate the sharing of information between companies and the federal government in order to prevent cyber attacks. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) suggests that the bill is written too broadly and allows the monitoring of citizens private communication and allows companies, “to hand over large swaths of personal information to the government with no judicial oversight,” which would undermine all existing privacy laws.


The issues that the EFF and other privacy advocates have with CISPA are similar to SOPA, breach of privacy, allocation of authority, lack of oversight, vague language allowing abuse etc. However, the campaign against CISPA will be very different from the one against SOPA and is less likely to succeed. The biggest reason for this is that the major companies who acted against SOPA are actually for CISPA.

There are very good reasons for this in fact. A major concern for companies—and while not pertinent to this bill, the worry is also shared by institutions like colleges and universities—is liability. In order to avoid the risk of lawsuits, companies and institutions must spend large amounts of money on monitoring social media activity within their networks. SOPA put the responsibility of policing the Internet and monitoring ‘dangerous’ activity in the hands of the companies. For example, this meant that if Facebook failed to recognize a threat they would be at fault.

CISPA not only eliminates this duty from companies purview but also removes all culpability from them should a situation occur. This is fantastic news for these companies and they are unlikely to risk jeopardizing it.

What does CISPA mean for online privacy?

It’s difficult to say what the risk is if CISPA were to pass. The EFF argues that the bills text is too vague. However, after reading it, the bill seems pretty explicit. Mark Burnett, a security consultant with xato.net, argues that perhaps the language in CISPA isn’t as bad as the EFF and other privacy advocates think. He directly addresses several claims made by the EFF.

The EFF states that CISPA will give “companies a free pass to monitor and collect communications, including huge amounts of personal data like your text messages and emails, and share that data with the government and anyone else.” The bill expressly states that for cyber security purposes, an organization may “identify and obtain information about threats to their own rights and property,” writes Burnett.

(A) CYBERSECURITY PROVIDERS- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a cybersecurity provider, with the express consent of a protected entity for which such cybersecurity provider is providing goods or services for cybersecurity purposes, may, for cybersecurity purposes
(i) use cybersecurity systems to identify and obtain cyber threat information to protect the rights and property of such protected entity; and
(ii) share such cyber threat information with any other entity designated by such protected entity, including, if specifically designated, the Federal Government. (HR 3523 RH)

Burnett continues by addressing the EFF’s fear that the term “cybersecurity threats’ is too vaguely defined. “Worst of all,” the EFF continues in their statement, “the stated definition of “cybersecurity” is so broad, it leaves the door open to censor any speech that a company believes would ‘degrade the network.’” Burnett argues that in fact the bill defines it clearly.

(4) CYBERSECURITY PURPOSE- The term `cybersecurity purpose’ means the purpose of ensuring the integrity, confidentiality, or availability of, or safeguarding, a system or network, including protecting a system or network from–
(A) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or
(B) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information. (HR 3523 RH)

This definition of what a ‘cybersecurity purpose’ is seems pretty explicit and not nearly as open to loopholes as the EFF worries. Burnett argues, and I agree, that it would be a big leap for a company to claim that speech would ‘degrade the network.’ Burnett addresses other issues brought up by the EFF regarding intellectual property, monitoring and censoring, and civil and criminal immunity.

It comes down to an issue of balancing consumer privacy, commercial rights and national security. Communication in both the US and the world is increasingly online, which has led to an increased risk of cyber attacks. According to Representative Greg Walden (R-OR) in his article titled, Rethinking Communications Law in a Converged, 21st Century Marketplace, in CommLaw Conspectus the commercial industry has taken steps to protect the nations networks and any legislation in this area should, “seek to capitalize on commercial sector expertise and existing cybersecurity organizations and infrastructure.” Walden puts forward several key questions that need to be asked when considering bills like CISPA, “what has been the role of federal agencies in securing cyberspace? In what ways can federal agencies better partner with private enterprise to improve the cybersecurity defenses of our communications networks?“

He also addresses the issue of privacy. Most US privacy laws were written when electronic communications were still coming into existence. “As consumers are using increasingly diverse means to communicate, the divergent protections for consumer privacy have become more and more apparent,” he writes. Walden accurately addresses the problem that American consumer privacy laws are inadequate in a converging market and that the privacy protections in place are dependent on many variables like the means used to communicate, the carrier, the device, the application on the device and so on. However, he fails to address the issue of privacy protections from the government.

This whole issue falls into a vast gray area. There is not a baseline for legislators, companies, or citizens to build from. In February the White House unveiled a plan for an online privacy bill of rights.

The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights provides a baseline of clear protections for consumers and greater certainty for businesses. The rights are:

  • Individual Control: Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data organizations collect from them and how they use it.
  • Transparency: Consumers have a right to easily understandable information about privacy and security practices.
  • Respect for Context: Consumers have a right to expect that organizations will collect, use, and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide the data.
  • Security: Consumers have a right to secure and responsible handling of personal data.
  • Access and Accuracy: Consumers have a right to access and correct personal data in usable formats, in a manner that is appropriate to the sensitivity of the data and the risk of adverse consequences to consumers if the data are inaccurate.
  • Focused Collection: Consumers have a right to reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain.
  • Accountability: Consumers have a right to have personal data handled by companies with appropriate measures in place to assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

Office of the Press Secretary

In order to focus the discussion that has led to the proposition of bills like SOPA and CISPA a standard needs to be established that protects citizen privacy rights and brings policy into the digital age. The plan for a privacy bill of rights would accomplish this, rooting the discussion about government acquisition of information and authority in the digital realm in American law.

20 CommLaw Conspectus i. (2011 – 2012 ): 5300 words. . Web. Date Accessed: 2012/04/20.

Backing up your social media

*not a formal post*

“Social media for many of us is a marketing haven, though like much in this world its pace is accelerating and so it can be hard to keep up. You write a tweet, post it and then it’s gone – far down the list of social media has-beens. So, if you want to keep your social media history, how do you do so? After all this data can be valuable marketing and client based data for the future,” writes Cormac Reynolds.

I thought I’d post this since it is practical example of how your social media can be tracked and downloaded on more public forums like Twitter. Unlike the options for Twitter, most of the services offered can only be done by the actual owner of the account. However, it might be interesting to download all of your Facebook and see how much information is actually still on the site.


The Nuances of Privacy

My previous posts have examined specific actions that the US government and/or corporations have taken regarding citizen’s privacy and the use of their information. The Internet has given these two bodies unprecedented access to our personal information and the tools to collect, store, and analyze it. However this is not a black and white issue and labeling the citizens as simply victims over-simplifies the issue.

We often focus solely on how government and businesses are tracking us. I’d like to step away from that for a moment to examine some of the complexities involved in privacy and surveillance. We keep digital records of ourselves day in and day out: search histories, photo albums on Flikr, Photobucket, Picasa, and Facebook. Instant message programs like Skype log our chats and store them for our later perusal.

Lee Humphrey, in his paper, Who’s Watching Whom: A study of Interactive Technology and Surveillance, describes Oscar Gandy’s theory on the relationship between surveillance and technology. Gandy draws from Jermey Bentham’s idea of the Panopticon.

The Panopticon is a conceptual building designed by Jeremy Bentham in 1791. It would confine each individual to a small cell. However every cell would be viewable from one central room , allowing for absolute control and surveillance. He hoped the design could be used for factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, madhouses, and jails.

Gandy posits that the growth in databases incentivizes a culture of surveillance and monitoring. He claims that information technology “facilitates the surveillance by an unseen corporate and bureaucratic observer.” The information that is gathered is then used to define and control access to goods and services, which are implicit in a modern capitalist economy. Gandy made this claim in 1993 long before Facebook, Amazon, Google and the number of other companies and technologies that record our online activities. Gandy argues that with this information the population can then be categorized based on inferred economic and political value.

To better understand the issue of privacy we must realize that it is not a simple issue. Humphrey defines four forms of surveillance but only places three in his list. The first form of surveillance is the general concept of a non-transparent body, like a state or corporation, monitoring the populace with impunity.

I. Voluntary Surveillance: This occurs when people provide their consent in being monitored. This is exemplified by consumer societies willing participation in the monitoring of their consumer tendencies
II. Lateral Surveillance: This is the nontransparent monitoring of citizens by each other. This occurs every time you decide to ‘stalk’ someone on Facebook.
III. Self-surveillance: This is the act of recording your own data so that it can be replayed or viewed later. Self-surveillance allows us to reexamine events that took place in the past and replace our interpretation of them with a new one that is informed by the second viewing. This means that the participants can examine their own behaviors in a way that was not possible before.

The issue of privacy is very often oversimplified during the common dialogue. Luckily for everyone scholars and academia exist to examine all the little nuances that are ignored throughout our daily routine. Humphrey performed a yearlong study on Dodgeball, the precursor to Foursquare and Google Latitudes. This case study is great example of the three forms of privacy and how the average user generally does not conceptualize how skewed their idea of privacy is. Dodgeball was a Google owned service that recorded and distributed location-based information of the users.

Humphrey found that the users were, in general, not concerned with their privacy because they, “felt they had control over their information and to whom it was sent and because they were experienced and savvy internet users.” During his interview process he found that some users were unconcerned about their privacy because they could control when they would share their location and to whom. This ignored the fact that Google and the Dodgeball service were monitoring them, thus making their understanding of their privacy naively narrow. For the most part Humphrey found that the users information did not go further than the user’s selected friends. However, they did not have control over the dissemination of their information to corporate entities.

But what could corporations possibly do with our feed of location check-ins? This information can be linked with other databases giving marketers and corporations a more holistic view of their consumer. This is an example of voluntary surveillance.

The Dodgeball case study also examined lateral surveillance. In order to function the service required lateral monitoring. The issues that come up in relation to this were more apparent to the users. There existed users who never posted their location and merely eavesdropped on the other users locations. Humphrey points out the lateral surveillance could also lead to stalking, but found that, again, users were unconcerned. Here is the response from one interviewee.

I just figure there are some people who are just more into checking in all the time and some people are lazier. So if you have someone who’s lazy and never checks in, are they surveying me? Not really, I’m willingly checking in. There’s no surveillance aspect to it at all because it requires that a user input a check in. There is no kind of surveillance. I never feel like it’s a stalking or whatever. You know, and in my circle, it’s at least 50% female. Although you know that’s probably not reflective of Dodgeball in general because I’m sure girls are afraid of the stalking aspect. You know, when you sign up for Dodgeball they explain all the ground rules. They do go way out of their way to try to calm people’s concerns. They go, ‘‘Look, we’ve prevented all these ways so that no one can really stalk you.’’ And you know that’s good enough for me. But then again I’ve never really been stalked so I can’t say it’s high on my priority of what I’m afraid of. I’d probably be more complimented. ‘‘Oh you’re stalking me? That’s so cute!’’
(Irwin, Los Angeles)

Finally, we’ve arrived at self-surveillance. Dodgeball provided a recording service so users could go through and look at their behavior and see patterns. “The self-surveillance that Dodgeball facilitated allowed users like Irwin to see where he had been in ways that were previously much more difficult to do. Not only did Dodgeball keep an itemized list of his social outings, but also it created a visual representation of outings on the Google Map. By combining his map with the maps of his friends, he could visually compare and contrast social outings,” writes Humphrey. This allows users to develop a connection between the data and their physical reality.

Perhaps the specificity of this study makes it not as applicable to everyone. However, it was clear from the study that mobile social networks encourage all three forms of surveillance. It doesn’t matter if you’re not using a service like Dodgeball or Foursquare. Allowing Twitter and Facebook to track your geographic location on your phone creates the same environment.

I believe that the lack of concern that Humphrey found in his study reflects the unsophisticated thoughts that are held by many online users regarding privacy. In order to have a real discussion about privacy rights the general public needs to have a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of their privacy and how it has been compromised.

Who’s Watching Whom? A Study of Interactive Technology and Surveillance.Lee Humphreys. Journal of Communication. 61.4 (Aug. 2011) p575.


I’m 12 years old (and a cyborg) wat is this?

During my (artificial) REM cycle sometime between 23 hundred hours and 7 hundred hours I processed some code. This code was similar to a lesson I had downloaded the previous morning. The code was CA 1-4-5-14. The code was analyzed in the 1800’s. The code once entered isolated a singularity, and protected the singularity from others.

The United States Constitution does not directly provide details on privacy protection; however since the 1800’s the fight for privacy rights have been interoperated by justices from multiple Constitutional Amendments. The most notable are the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth. The issue lies in the fact that there is a statutory right to privacy that has been applied to data protection. Despite efforts from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, there is still no direct legislation over digital privacy.

I ‘wake’ up fully charged. I unplug myself from the wall and begin my morning reboot. I log into the morning activities of cleaning myself and processing the tasks for the day. I log onto my companion. We begin our interface. I check my vitals; my mail, my stories, my contacts, my pictures of cats. I enter my zone and inform others where I am and my intents for the day.

It has been said that the world of cyberspace is ‘seductive and manipulative for children’ mostly due to the capacity of young people to enforce self-regulation is limited. In the digital sphere there are many areas where children and students are targeted because of this lack of regulation. Many younger adults will share a multiplicity of their private information through online registration, web profiles, internet based quizzes, entry forms, and coupon downloads. All of these actions allow for collection of information on this younger generation.

Within five minutes three others ‘like’ what I have planned. I know that I need to download some carbohydrates into my processor soon, but I don’t want to leave. Today I have decided to start a new interface. My web profile is not enough for me to be connected… I am missing out. I need a fast status updating program to inform my followers of my life. They care. They listen. They’ll follow.

One of the issues of this over exposure into the personal lives of younger generations is that the excessiveness of their lives could allow for negatives to be shown. In a very reductionist way of thinking, this could hinder the future of a child. A mistake in the past could become a very big issue in the future.

Warning. Warning. Upload in progress, refresh for information. What is this? Images of me. I did not put these here. Tag. Upload. Tag. Upload. No… it is happening too fast. These images will ruin me. A night I cannot remember… did I delete the memory… Error Warning: Future in Jeopardy. Course of action, delete posts, take down images. Was I too late? Time to move. Miss me. Follow me. Love me.

In addition to the expansive array of information that younger generations put up on the web there have been advances in technology that have been invented to protect children or prevent harm. This technology has the means to track people. There are positives and negatives to this type of technology and now more communities are experimenting with this type of techno tracking.

I transfer my avatar to the Dining Download center. Check in. DigiMe is at Dining Hall. I download my fill. ‘Totally full! I love pancakes!!’ Two minutes until three likes pop up. I go to my software downloading centers. Two new lessons today. ‘GUH homework… meet me in the Library.. it’s going down!’ DigiMe is at the Library. Buzz Buzz. Interface with DigiHer/Him. –SUP?- DigiMe@ Dorm getting it getting it. Interface. DigiMe+DigiHer/Him are in a relationship <3. DigiMe is at the movies with DigiHer/Him. Follow me. Find me. Know me.

A community like the United States has many groups set up to monitor this techno tracking.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Instant translate: Who watches the watchmen? Similar searches: Alan Moore.

            The American Civil Liberties and the Electronic Frontier foundation state that this type of surveillance will treat children like inventory. The idea of safety and security of young adults has also been considered. An issue with this is the ruling by the Supreme Court over how children cannot be deemed equal with adults. This includes their vulnerability, their inability to make critical decisions in an informed manner, and the importance in a parental role.

DigiMe download back to dorm room. Internet calls+texting+web profile chat+ digital downloaded television. ‘Busy night’ Comment/Like. Follow me. Like this like that. Know me. Know me. Now a member of DigiThem. Follow them. Like this. Buy me. Share. Share. Not enough. USB direct connection to the digital sanguine stream. Heart beats at 54Mbps. Download and consume.

Where the issue lies is truly found in how much technology has been able to enter homes and the work place. There has been such a pervasive growth of social problems in the digital realm like racism and sexism that lead to a question of the legitimacy of the information present on the internet. As digital technology becomes the norm in our society we are faced with economic oppurtunities along with threats to our personal security.

Cat photos. Like. Beyonce music video. Watch. Advertisment Pop up: Beyonce with cats. Perfect. Click. Fill out survey… … … wait. Location. Social Security Number. Let us find you. Let us help you. Plug in. Jack in.  Follow. Consume. Find. Data. Computer used locate… Location identified. Please verify. You are the 10,000,000th visitorvictim. Process halt. CtrlAltDelete.

                Within the digitally literate society there is a divide of data between what information is and what can be classified as knowledge. What happens to accessible data in a rapidly growing digitally literate society is the ability for the younger generation to consume and manipulate the communication technologies. Engaging heavily into the digi-sphere is dangerous because often even the most digitally literate are still ignorant of the long term effects of communication and interfacing with the digital society.

I rip the USB out of my wrist. My focal screens go black. Reboot in progress. Reboot in progress. Open your eyes to start. I open my eyes. I look around as I hear birds chirping in the background. It is near dusk and the colors of the sunset pour in through my windows. I smell the cool spring air with a touch of daffodil on its wing. I see a glowing box on my wooden desk, it is all black besides the blue radiating from the screen. A message appears: Come back. We miss you. Interface once again. I look at the fading light. A picture of a cat with a female singer pops onto the screen with a message: they always come back. We know where you are. Not tonight I think to myself as I remove my clothes until I have on nothing but my underwear. With no wires in my veins I can finally run free. I sprint from my dorm into the woods. There is no service there, for now they cannot find me. 

Lawmakers and Facebook Act Against Employers Demanding Access to Facebook Profiles

According to the Associated Press, “it has become common for managers to review publically available Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other sites to learn more about job candidates.” Companies that don’t ask for passwords ask applicants “to friend human resource managers or to log into [Facebook] on a company computer during an interview. Once employed, some workers have been required to sign non-disparagement agreements to ban them from talking negatively about an employer on social media.”

While stories about companies, colleges, and government agencies asking job applicants for access to their Facebook profiles have grown in recent months, the issue gained public attention when Bob Sullivan, of MSNBC’s The RedTape Chronicles blog, posted an article titled, “Govt. agencies, colleges demand applicants’ Facebook passwords.” According to Sullivan, the Maryland Department of Corrections has been asking job applicants to log into their Facebook accounts and allow the interviewer to look over their shoulder as they clicked through their profile. This is nothing new. In the past, applicants have been asked to provide the department with their username and password. While these Facebook reviews are voluntary, most applicants agreed to them assuming they were necessary for doing well in their interview.

However horrifying the FBI’s development of social media monitoring applications may appear, a story that I’ve written about previously, monitoring applications already exist and are in use. Colleges, for example, have been taking advantage of social media monitoring companies, particularly to monitor college athletes. Sullivan noted this in his article, writing about instances where colleges require their athletes to friend “a coach or compliance officer… and [provide] access to their ‘friends only’ posts.”

On Friday, Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, issued a statement regarding this problem,

“As a user, you shouldn’t be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job. And as the friend of a user, you shouldn’t have to worry that your private information or communications will be revealed to someone you don’t know and didn’t intend to share with just because that user is looking for a job. That’s why we’ve made it a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.”

This approach, one that both Facebook and some lawmakers are taking, focuses less on the issue of privacy and more on liability. Egan provides an example as a warning about overstepping, “if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.), that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don’t hire that person.”

Sullivan added to Egan’s point, writing that employers might not have proper policies and training to protect their company in handling applicant’s private information. “The employer may assume liability for the protection of the information they have seen or for knowing what responsibilities may arise based on different types of information (e.g. if the information suggests the commission of a crime).”

Hints about potential liability have already been raised. One of the most recent warnings was raised when a jury awarded $4 million on March 14 of this year to two separate families affected by the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech after the school was found negligent due to their inability to warn students. Bradley Shear, a D.C.-based lawyer who practices cyber and social media law, suggested that the monetary damage could have been much higher if the school employed the use of a social media monitoring company.

“Now that two $4 million dollar jury verdicts have been returned against an academic institution for a delay in properly warning its students about a killer being on the loose on campus, imagine if a school follows the above advice by Varsity Monitor [@tombuchheim It is still best practice for the athletic dept to continue to monitor social media for brand and athlete protection & edu] and a tragedy occurs that social media monitoring should have warned against but did not? Instead of multiple $4 million dollar jury verdicts would it be multiple $25 million or $50 million or $100 million dollar negligent social media monitoring jury verdicts?”

While little legislation has been put forward to protect students against monitoring, legislators in several states including Connecticut, California, Washington, Illinois and Maryland have begun the process of introducing bills that would prohibit companies from asking employees or potential employees for Facebook passwords.

“Employers can’t ask in the course of an interview your sexual orientation, your age, and yet social media accounts may have that information,” a California state senator said.