Sunday, September 29, 2013
Ross Douthat, New York Times; The World According to Team Walt: "In the online realms where hit shows are dissected, critics who pass judgment on Walt’s sins find themselves tangling with a multitude of commenters who don’t think he needs forgiveness... The allure for Team Walt is not ultimately the pull of nihilism, or the harmless thrill of rooting for a supervillain. It’s the pull of an alternative moral code, neither liberal nor Judeo-Christian, with an internal logic all its own. As James Bowman wrote in The New Atlantis, embracing Walt doesn’t requiring embracing “individual savagery” and a world without moral rules. It just requires a return to “old rules” — to “the tribal, family-oriented society and the honor culture that actually did precede the Enlightenment’s commitment to universal values.” Those rules seem cruel by the lights of both cosmopolitanism and Christianity, but they are not irrational or necessarily false. Their Darwinian logic is clear enough, and where the show takes place — in the shadow of cancer, the shadow of death — the kindlier alternatives can seem softheaded, pointless, naïve."
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Mariam Pera, American Libraries; Expanding Privacy Legislation to Include Ebooks: "While privacy continues to be an issue on the national scene, at least two states—Arizona and New Jersey—have taken steps to expand their library privacy laws to include ebooks... Arizona and New Jersey follow in the footsteps of California, which in 2011 passed the Reader Privacy Act, extending library records protections to print-book and ebook purchases."
Cyrus Farivar, Arstechnica.com; Facebook “Like” button just as protected as written speech, court rules: "In a unanimous decision on Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision, declaring that a Facebook “Like” is protected under the First Amendment, like other forms of speech. The Virginia case involves a former deputy sheriff in Hampton, Virginia, who claimed that he had been fired for “liking” his boss’ rival in a political campaign for county sheriff. In the original lawsuit, a federal district judge tossed the case, saying that a Facebook “Like” was “insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection.”"
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Lizette Alvarez, New York Times; Girl’s Suicide Points to Rise in Apps Used by Cyberbullies: "For more than a year, Rebecca, pretty and smart, was cyberbullied by a coterie of 15 middle-school children who urged her to kill herself, her mother said. The Polk County sheriff’s office is investigating the role of cyberbullying in the suicide and considering filing charges against the middle-school students who apparently barraged Rebecca with hostile text messages. Florida passed a law this year making it easier to bring felony charges in online bullying cases...“It’s a whole new culture, and the thing is that as adults, we don’t know anything about it because it’s changing every single day,” said Denise Marzullo, the chief executive of Mental Health America of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville, who works with the schools there on bullying issues. No sooner has a parent deciphered Facebook or Twitter or Instagram than his or her children have migrated to the latest frontier. “It’s all of these small ones where all this is happening,” Ms. Marzullo said. In Britain, a number of suicides by young people have been linked to ask.fm, and online petitions have been started there and here to make the site more responsive to bullying. The company ultimately responded this year by introducing an easy-to-see button to report bullying and saying it would hire more moderators."
Friday, September 13, 2013
New York Times; Opinion in Google Street View Privacy Case: "A federal appeals court rejected Google’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit accusing it of violating a federal wiretap law when it collected data for its Street View program."
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Jay Rosen, Guardian; The NSA's next move: silencing university professors? : "In commenting critically on a subject he is expert in, and taking an independent stance that asks hard questions and puts the responsibility where it belongs, Matthew Green is doing exactly what a university faculty member is supposed to be doing. By putting his thoughts in a blog post that anyone can read and link to, he is contributing to a vital public debate, which is exactly what universities need to be doing more often. Instead of trying to get Matthew Green's blog off their servers, the deans should be trying to get more faculty into blogging and into the public arena. Who at Johns Hopkins is speaking up for these priorities? And why isn't the Johns Hopkins faculty roaring about this issue? (I teach at New York University, and I'm furious.)"