FIPPA • privacy • corporate co-option • net neutrality • DRM • risk • patent system • security • trolls • openwashing • CISPA • spying • fraud • tracking • hacking • apathy • CALEA • data snooping • LMS/VLE-ification • mass surveillance • Facebook • phishing • spamming • NSA • Gamergate • PRISM • student data is the new oil • vendor lock-in
The Web We Lost (Anil Dash)
This isn’t our web today. We’ve lost key features that we used to rely on, and worse, we’ve abandoned core values that used to be fundamental to the web world. To the credit of today’s social networks, they’ve brought in hundreds of millions of new participants to these networks, and they’ve certainly made a small number of people rich.
But they haven’t shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they’ve now narrowed the possibilities of the web for an entire generation of users who don’t realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be.
An increasing sense we don’t (or can’t) understand the things we need to, in order to function.
Terms of Service, Didn’t Read – Integrates legally-informed ratings with a browser extension.
Algorithms – The Cathedral of Computation
Here’s an exercise: The next time you hear someone talking about algorithms, replace the term with “God” and ask yourself if the meaning changes. Our supposedly algorithmic culture is not a material phenomenon so much as a devotional one, a supplication made to the computers people have allowed to replace gods in their minds, even as they simultaneously claim that science has made us impervious to religion.
Thousands of data brokers keep tabs on everything from social-media profiles and online searches to public records and retail loyalty cards; they likely know things including (but not limited to) your age, race, gender, and income; who your friends are; whether you’re ill, looking for a job, getting married, having a baby, or trying to buy a home. Today, we all swim in murky waters in which we’re constantly tracked, analyzed, and scored, without knowing what information is being collected about us, how it’s being weighted, or why it matters—much of it as irrelevant and inaccurate as the hearsay assembled during the early days of consumer reporting.
It is the iron cage in binary code. Not only is our social life rationalized in ways even Weber could not have imagined but it is also coded into systems in ways difficult to resist, legislate or exert political power.
The “internet of things”
The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things, Bruce Sterling
Digital commerce and governance is moving, as fast and hard as it possibly can, into a full-spectrum dominance over whatever used to be analogue. In practice, the Internet of Things means an epic transformation: all-purpose electronic automation through digital surveillance by wireless broadband.
Surge Pricing for Your Entire Life, Jacob Silverman
Insurers and devices manufacturers have quickly united over their shared love of data—our data—and insurance customers are starting to see the effects. Real-time pricing, behavioral nudges: these are the new costs of being insured.
This month, John Hancock Insurance—whose patriotic namesake might be disappointed that the company is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian giant Manulife Financial—announced that it would distribute rebates to life insurance customers in exchange for access to their fitness monitor and location information.
…What happens when you drive a little too fast on the way to the gym, and your health insurer rewards you but your car insurer slaps on a penalty? What happens when BlueCross knows what’s in your smart fridge? Your life becomes a series of overlapping—and often competing—rewards programs, gamified events, penalties, coupons, warnings, alerts, and nudges. Practically your entire existence becomes subject to dynamic surge pricing.