Saturday, March 30, 2013
Michael Winerip, New York Times; Ex-Schools Chief in Atlanta Is Indicted in Testing Scandal: "It is not just an Atlanta problem. Cheating has grown at school districts around the country as standardized testing has become a primary means of evaluating teachers, principals and schools. In El Paso, a superintendent went to prison recently after removing low-performing children from classes to improve the district’s test scores. In Ohio, state officials are investigating whether several urban districts intentionally listed low-performing students as having withdrawn even though they were still in school. But no state has come close to Georgia in appropriating the resources needed to root it out."
Alex Williams, New York Times; The Emily Posts of the Digital Age: "Are manners dead? Cellphones, Twitter and Facebook may be killing off the old civilities and good graces, but a new generation of etiquette gurus, good-manner bloggers and self-appointed YouTube arbiters is rising to make old-fashioned protocols relevant to a new generation... But perhaps the fastest-growing area of social advice — one that has spawned not just videos but also Web sites, blogs and books — is the Internet itself, and the proper displays of what’s been termed “netiquette.” There are YouTube videos on using emoticons in business e-mails, being discreet when posting on someone’s Facebook wall, limiting baby photos on Instagram, retweeting too many Twitter messages and juggling multiple online chats. “We’re living in an age of anxiety that’s a reflection of the near-constant change and confusion in technology and social mores,” said Steven Petrow, an author of five etiquette books including “Mind Your Digital Manners: Advice for an Age Without Rules,” to be published in 2014. (Mr. Petrow is a regular contributor to The New York Times, writing an advice column on gay-straight issues for the Booming blog.)"
Monday, March 25, 2013
David Carr, New York Times; In Leak Case, State Secrecy in Plain Sight: "Reporters covering the government’s prosecution of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is being court-martialed for conveying secret information to WikiLeaks, have spent a year trying to pierce the veil of secrecy in what is supposed to be a public proceeding. In pretrial hearings at Fort Meade, Md., basic information has been withheld, including dockets of court activity, transcripts of the proceedings and orders issued from the bench by the military judge, Col. Denise Lind. A public trial over state secrets was itself becoming a state secret in plain sight. Finally, at the end of last month, in response to numerous Freedom of Information requests from news media organizations, the court agreed to release 84 of the roughly 400 documents filed in the case, suggesting it was finally unbuttoning the uniform a bit to make room for some public scrutiny."
Rebecca Skloot, New York Times; The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the Sequel: "Imagine if someone secretly sent samples of your DNA to one of many companies that promise to tell you what your genes say about you. That report would list the good news (you’ll probably live to be 100) and the not-so-good news (you’ll most likely develop Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder and maybe alcoholism). Now imagine they posted your genetic information online, with your name on it. Some people may not mind. But I assure you, many do: genetic information can be stigmatizing, and while it’s illegal for employers or health insurance providers to discriminate based on that information, this is not true for life insurance, disability coverage or long-term care. “That is private family information,” said Jeri Lacks-Whye, Lacks’s granddaughter. “It shouldn’t have been published without our consent.”"
Elizabeth Jensen, New York Times; A Family’s Secrets Bared, on Camera: "More problematic for the filmmakers was that early on in the filming Darian made a wrenching charge: her father, Anthony Charboneau III, had sexually abused her. As a filmmaker, said Lois Vossen, the series producer of “Independent Lens,” “your natural instinct is to want to use that.” At the same time “you want to help somebody, not put them in harm’s way.” When editing got under way, Ms. Aronson-Rath said, “we had a really robust editorial discussion around both Darian and also her brother. We thought long and hard about it. We listened to David Sutherland for days and days and days about his decision making and the level of access that he had and the trust that he had built between them. And we were convinced that there was a real trust there, that Robin was acting on behalf of her children in a way that was responsible, from what we could tell.”"
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Amy Argetsinger, Washington Post; Read this: Jane Goodall caught in plagiarism scandal: "Jane Goodall, the groundbreaking primatologist and wildlife-documentary superstar, is the latest high-profile author caught in a plagiarism scandal — and this one is really embarrassing, reports Steve Levingston. Among the passages her new book apparently rips off (as discovered by a critic for the Washington Post) are ones stolen from Wikipedia, some marketing material for an organic-tea company, and an astrology Web site."
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
David Streitfeld, New York Times; Google Concedes That Drive-by Prying Violated Privacy: "Google on Tuesday acknowledged to state officials that it had violated people’s privacy during its Street View mapping project when it casually scooped up passwords, e-mail and other personal information from unsuspecting computer users. In agreeing to settle a case brought by 38 states involving the project, the search company for the first time is required to aggressively police its own employees on privacy issues and to explicitly tell the public how to fend off privacy violations like this one. While the settlement also included a tiny — for Google — fine of $7 million, privacy advocates and Google critics characterized the overall agreement as a breakthrough for a company they say has become a serial violator of privacy."
Monday, March 11, 2013
Richard Perez-Pena, New York Times; Harvard Search of E-Mail Stuns Its Faculty Members: "News of the e-mail searches prolonged the fallout from the cheating scandal, in which about 70 students were forced to take a leave from school for collaborating or plagiarizing on a take-home final exam in a government class last year. Harry R. Lewis, a professor and former dean of Harvard College, said, “People are just bewildered at this point, because it was so out of keeping with the way we’ve done things at Harvard.”... Last fall, the administrators searched the e-mails of 16 resident deans, trying to determine who had leaked an internal memo about how the deans should advise students who stood accused of cheating. But most of those deans were not told that their accounts had been searched until the past few days, after The Boston Globe, which first reported the searches, began to inquire about them."
Richard Perez-Pena, New York Times; Harvard Searched E-Mails for Source of Media Leaks: "Harvard secretly searched the e-mail accounts of several of its staff members last fall, looking for the source of news media leaks about its recent cheating scandal, but did not tell them about the searches for several months, people briefed on the matter said on Saturday. The searches, first reported by The Boston Globe, involved the e-mail accounts of 16 resident deans, but most of them were not told of the searches until the last few days, after The Globe inquired about them."
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Anne Eisenberg, New York Times; Keeping an Eye on Online Test-Takers: "The issue of online cheating concerns many educators, particularly as more students take MOOCs for college credit, and not just for personal enrichment. Already, five classes from Coursera, a major MOOC provider, offer the possibility of credit, and many more are expected...The developing technology for remote proctoring may end up being as good — or even better — than the live proctoring at bricks-and-mortar universities, said Douglas H. Fisher, a computer science and computer engineering professor at Vanderbilt University who was co-chairman of a recent workshop that included MOOC-related topics. “Having a camera watch you, and software keep track of your mouse clicks, that does smack of Big Brother,” he said. “But it doesn’t seem any worse than an instructor at the front constantly looking at you, and it may even be more efficient.”"
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Natasha Singer, New York Times; Senator Seeks More Data Rights for Online Consumers: "Before his planned retirement from Congress at the end of next year, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat, intends to give American consumers more meaningful control over personal data collected about them online. To that end, Mr. Rockefeller on Thursday introduced a bill called the “Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2013.” The bill would require the Federal Trade Commission to establish standardized mechanisms for people to use their Internet browsers to tell Web sites, advertising networks, data brokers and other online entities whether or not they were willing to submit to data-mining. The bill would also require the F.T.C. to develop rules to prohibit online services from amassing personal details about users who had opted out of such tracking."
Alan F. Westin, Who Transformed Privacy Debate Before the Web Era, Dies at 83; New York Times, 2/22/13
Margalit Fox, New York Times; Alan F. Westin, Who Transformed Privacy Debate Before the Web Era, Dies at 83: "Alan F. Westin, a legal scholar who nearly half a century ago defined the modern right to privacy in the incipient computer age — a definition that anticipated the reach of Big Brother and helped circumscribe its limits — died on Monday in Saddle River, N.J. He was 83... A lawyer and political scientist, Mr. Westin was at his death emeritus professor of public law at Columbia, where he had taught for nearly 40 years. Through his work — notably his book “Privacy and Freedom,” published in 1967 and still a canonical text — Mr. Westin was considered to have created, almost single-handedly, the modern field of privacy law. He testified frequently on the subject before Congress, spoke about it on television and radio and wrote about it for newspapers and magazines. “He was the most important scholar of privacy since Louis Brandeis,” Jeffrey Rosen, a professor of law at George Washington University and the legal affairs editor of The New Republic, said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “He transformed the privacy debate by defining privacy as the ability to control how much about ourselves we reveal to others.”"
Daniel Girard, (Toronto) Star; Rebecca Marino quits tennis following cyberbullying incidents: "Marino, who took a seven-month break from the game beginning in February 2012, said that while she believes “social media is actually a really important part of our society and there can be a lot of good that comes out of it,” it proved too “distracting” to her. She talked of receiving tweets that she should “go die,” “go burn in hell” and had cost bettors lots of money. “That’s just scratching the surface,” she said of the online assaults, but added she still believes she’s a person with “a thick skin.” On Monday, Marino deleted both her Twitter and Facebook accounts. While admitting that “in a way I wish I hadn’t joined social media,” she said she has no regrets about being part of it and may even return one day. Marino said neither social media nor depression, which she said still prevents her from getting out of bed some days, is the main reason she quit. “The reason I’m stepping back is just because I don’t think that I’m willing to sacrifice my happiness and other parts of my life to tennis,” she said."
Lesley Ciarula Taylor, (Toronto) Star; Canadian ‘pork chop’ bullying video goes viral: "Canadian poet Shane Koyczan has hit a nerve in the public psyche with his newly illustrated video on bullying. Koyczan, who electrified audiences with his performance at the Vancouver Olympics, describes bullied kids as growing up “believing no one would ever fall in love with us, that we would be lonely forever.” In two days, more than 1 million people have watched the seven-minute video, part of the anti-bullying campaigner’s “To This Day Project.”"