Category Archives: Political

Women, Technology, and Freethinking

I just finished reading a fascinating article about how sexism has been an issue within the athiest movement. It’s a controversial subject, not only because it speaks against world religion, but also because it talks about issues women have had with technology use and how quickly and devastatingly it leads to harassment and threats towards other human beings on the grouds of gender and/or sexual orientation.

 

I am am not personally an athiest, but I wanted to share this article on the basis of computer ethics. It describes how hotstile the online world is towards people who are passionate about their beliefs, and how that can fuel the fire and bleed outside of the virtual world into our physical lives. Basically, it talks about one of the most mainstream forms of bullying. You know, the adult kind of bullying, where police can get involved and entire movements can be formed or brought down and either help or hinder entire people groups. It also describes some of the ugly of wester culture, which is also controversial. To to be a culture of innovation, sometimes we have to let go of the old ideas and build towards something newer and better.

This article is littered with graphic descriptions of “alleged” events, lots of swearing, and hints of the use of technology as a means of harassment as well as a means for change. Click here to read the article “Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement?:
The continuing debate over a murky sexual encounter at a 2008 convention for cheekily anti-establishment skeptics underscores a broader dilemma: How can a progressive, important intellectual community behave so poorly towards its female peers?”

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Saving Net Neutrality…Hello Again Readers

 

So I haven’t been posting for a while now, mainly because I am way too busy being a corporate sellout adult with a real world job that sucks my soul away.

So let’s carry on like nothing ever happened and pretend we aren’t upset about the whole ordeal. Let’s talk about Net Neutrality a little bit. It sounds intellectual and stuff and whatever.

So I haven’t been paying attention to online issues lately, mainly because I struggle with the issue of skewed journalism, and am not entirely sure what is correct an incorrect information. All I know is one day as I scrolled through my newly opened Google+ account I ran into this little jewel.image

What has happened to my wonderful, free speech and equal opportunity internet?

Slowly (because of working a “part-time” job of 40 hrs a week mostly late into the night), I began to try to figure out what all this crap was about. Granted, most of the action happened in January of 2014, while I was still busy working post-holiday damage control in retail. But, I was just hearing about this now? Why? Was the internet turning against me already, trying to keep me from seeing what matters? Was I just being paranoid? Was I under a rock?

Probably all the above.

It doesn’t surprise me though. People online have been looking to make more and more money off the internet since it’s explosive popularity some 20+ years ago. It is not even a little surprising that it was under attack again, trying to limit the freedoms of its users and offer unequal opportunity to those with the deepest pockets. But what did that mean for me? What does that mean for the fate of the internet?

So what did I do upon coming out of my internet cave with the sun glaring in my eyes? I turned to savetheinternet.com.

For those of you just as confused about what all this Net Neutrality stuff is about, I found this site to be extremely helpful. One, because it really gets down to what this could mean negatively for the typical user. Secondly, it helps streamline the basics and keeps us up-to-date on what court rulings mean. For starters, I wanted to know what Net Neutrality actually described:

“Net Neutrality means an Internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that Internet service providers should provide us with open networks — and should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company cannot decide who you could call and what you say on that call, your ISP should not be concerned with what content you view or post online.”

So for avid (and lazy corporate sellout) bloggers like us (me), this can be a threatening issue. A threat to Net Neutrality could mean that Companies (specifically Internet Service Providers) can buy better internet accessibility and have sole control over that online traffic. They can choose who sees what. They can see what you see and keep track of it without any protection on your part. It threatens small online markets for building networks and clientele. It even can prevent minority communities from freely expressing cultural issues and building networks online.

Really it is a threat to freedom.

The truth is, we don’t know for sure what it could actually look like. The programs wouldn’t be made overnight, but that didn’t mean any change would happen gradually. It would take time to develop the servers and prep them for the segregation. That is what it would be after all. Online segregation. Just like the rest of American History, inequality was going to find another platform to present itself and rear it’s ugly head threateningly. Except, it would become a socioeconomic segregation. The well-off would win out against the not-so-well-off. A struggle that has been an issue in the United States for ages as well.

For more information on this issue and a better in-depth idea of how it might affect you, please visit savetheinternet.com and also feel free to sign the online petition provided by Etsy.com for protecting Net Neutrality and small online markets.


Best iPad Apps for Designers: A Link List

A bunch of great resources I found while perusing the internet! Follow the links below for some great Apps for Designers (I didn’t label them …I got a little lazy…I regret nothing).

 

http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design-tips/mobile-apps/best-ipad-apps-1233629

http://www.techradar.com/us/news/mobile-computing/tablets/the-best-creative-apps-and-accessories-for-ipad-and-iphone-1154099

http://spyrestudios.com/30-ipad-apps-for-designers-developers-and-creative-types/

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2362577,00.asp

 

 


Verizon Phones and Big Brother: How “We The People” Let It Happen

As posted this morning by none other than British News The Guardian, the United States is up in arms about finding out that Verizon has been providing cell phone call information to the Government for a few years now.

The Verizon order was made under the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) as amended by the Patriot Act of 2001, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. But one of the authors of the Patriot Act, Republican congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, said he was troubled by the Guardian revelations. He said that he had written to the attorney general, Eric Holder, questioning whether “US constitutional rights were secure”. -The Guardian

He said: “I do not believe the broadly drafted Fisa order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act. Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.”

Another article I found says a bit more on the subject:

In 2006 USA Today reported that the NSA had a similarly expansive database of cellular data, not only from Verizon but also from AT&T and BellSouth. That program was launched as part of the push for tighter security and surveillance in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Despite public uproar and several lawsuits against cell phone carriers following the revelation, the NSA never officially announced that the database was shut down. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a lobbying group that promotes digital privacy, still has pending litigation seeking to curtail the NSA’s practices. – Time ; 7 Things to Know About the Government’s Secret Database of Telephone Data

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/06/05/7-things-to-know-about-the-governments-secret-database-of-cellular-data/#ixzz2VT7atHbQ

May people think this information is new, but it really isn’t. It’s ages old, and without this scandal we still know that it was bound to happen sooner or later anyway since the Patriot Act after 9/11 was voted in. I had personally figured this had been happening much longer than these articles had allegedly stated, perhaps even before 9/11. In fact I just assumed I was being “followed” since the day I bought a cell phone, got an e-mail address, or even joined Pinterest, that someone out there was collecting my information. How? Because I signed a contract that said my information might go elsewhere for any undisclosed reason beyond my knowledge. Why? Because everyone else was doing it.

The issues we’re dealing with are ones philosophers and average Joe’s’ and Jane’s’ alike have been concerned about for some time. Though newer generations don’t mind the subject so much. Our personal information has been able to be tracked sine we checked the “I Agree” buttons on Facebook , Google, Yahoo etc… Terms of Agreements. The issue is not really “Can the Government do that?” The issue is…we let them by giving our information away. Authors Hal Abelson, Ken Lendeen, and Harry Lewis sate in their book Blown to Bits:

We lose control of our personal information because of things we do to ourselves, and things others do to us. Of things we do to be ahead of the curve, and things we do because everyone else is doing them…We give away information about ourselves — voluntarily leave visible footprints of our daily lives — because we judge, perhaps without thinking about it very much, that the benefits out weigh the costs.

Ever bought a grocery club card, joined a social media group, paid taxes, walked into a store with security cameras? Then you should know already that you’ve been watched. To be fair not every surveillance camera is owned by Big Brother, and not every grocery store is selling you a card so some creep can know what kind of turkey you buy, but with each of these actions we are continually handing over our rights to privacy and offered limited control over it to make us feel a little better. We’re offered the incentive of a lower price for getting a grocery card so we can be statistics on consumer reports. We’re keeping in touch with our friends on social networks in exchange for having ads targeted at us. We’re willingly walking along the street allowing cameras to look at us, keep track of us, all for the sake of feeling a sense of security without a second thought. We pay money and give information to a government, with the mindset of patriotism and the idea that they’ll keep things running so we can live our lives feeling safe (though lately I’m not sure many feel this way anymore). We are willingly handing over our privacy. Or are we? Has the idea of privacy changed since the dawn of the technological age? It’s hard to say. All I know is privacy doesn’t seem like it means being left alone.


Why I Think We’ll Never Go Paperless…and a Great Commercial

May people ask me as a designer if I ever think print will die. First I respond with laughter, because I often think it a rather stupid question. Then I proceed to say “I certainly hope not…”

Paperless has become quite a trend. People often think that we’ll be entirely paperless by some distant point in the future in order to save millions of trees and deforestation of rain forests etc. Their biggest advocate? The eBook. Why? Because there isn’t any paper pages, and often they’re cheaper to purchase. A pretty solid argument right? Perhaps… if you don’t live in a third world country.

There has been a big push for literacy in the world as a step towards solving poverty. It’s a great start I think, and a very noble task. People need to learn how to read as a means of making it through this life and becoming a “successful and functional member of society”  (I’d love to hear someone tell an African Tribe leader that, they’d probably end up disgraced and kicked out of the village, or even worse in some cultures). Written language certainly can open many doors, but if we’re making the striving to build up the economic world using literature, we’d have to make it accessible to everyone. Now tell me, how many isolated tribes in the rainforest have pluming and electricity? Probably none of them huh?

What I’m getting at is this: eBooks are not all accessible. Not everyone in the world has internet. Not everyone in the world even has basic necessities for that matter. So why are we so convinced that going paperless is a real option for the whole world? Perhaps for more developed nations it can be a reality, but that would also cause the problem of increasing the poverty gap, and perhaps even possibly make poverty a bigger problem…or worse…cause us to take extreme measures destroying cultures by bringing in a very western and commercial line of thinking.

There is this great documentary on PBS about the development of nations based on the question “Why are some countries more developed than others?” It’s called Guns, Germs, and Steel based on a book by William McNeill and if you’re interested in the subject I recommend you find it or perhaps download it somewhere and watch it. It’s quite fascinating if you’re a history buff.  It’s good stuff and talks about some of the issues of poverty and resources in certain nations, and how they developed into power houses and third worlds.

I do not think print will ever die. Printed books are easier to get to the masses that digital ones for the reasons I said above, and so many others as well. Paper is used in so much more than printed work, poster, fliers and pamphlets. It’s a practical resource.

If you need more convincing…then watch the video below.


Killing Drones: Ethical for Use or not?

Screenshot taken from http://youtu.be/aSCzfoXJL6Y

Screenshot taken from http://youtu.be/aSCzfoXJL6Y

With the War ongoing and the dilemma of ethical technology use ever more blurry. Many lawyers have been conducting legal research on the matter and the issue stands whether or not it is a legal issue at all, or simply a moral one.

This topic was brought up by what is being called the  “White Paper Memo” saying the President has the right to kill indiscriminately using drones…including US citizens (don’t you just love the freedom of equality).

For an introduction to the topic, please visit the link below.

The link below is a video that discusses the issue of Drone Warfare and the argument against it’s ethical and legal use.

The link below is to a video of Harold Koh, legal advisor to the US Department of State, arguing that the use of drone warfare is legal according to United States and International law.

Regardless of a person’s stance on the issue, we have to agree that to every action there is an intention, and there are those things that are unintended.


The Facebook Copyright Hoax

I don’t know about any of you, but I saw this on one of my dear friends facebook statuses today and it caused me to get a little nervous:

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention).
For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!
(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place
them under protection of copyright laws.

By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.

Being an artists, graphic designer, and photographer, I know better than to post any of my most personal info and artistic content on Facebook. Having a healthy caution of putting things on the internet is the first step to being a responsible patron of the online community (and respect of yourself). However, whenever I heard of things like this I always tend to get a little paranoid. So, I do what I do best, and take a little peek at the online news to see if I can find enough reliable resources to validate or refute the statements. Turns out this whole thing is a hoax and honestly, you cannot refute the contract via facebook status. That’s not how the law and copyright works friends (and if anyone seriously thought that it did then you’ve been seriously uneducated). Also how can you refute facebook’s ownership with a status when they own the statuses you put up?
If you are interested in legally putting your work under Copyright then please visit the U.S. Copyright Office website for more information on going through the proper channels. For more info on the Hoax and facebook policies read your Facebook Terms of Agreement, and view these helpful articles: