Sunday, January 31, 2016

iFest 2016: Feb. 1, 2016 10 AM - 11 AM Workshop: "Ethics, the Great Dilemma, and Managing through Conflict"

iFest 2016: Feb. 1, 2016 Workshop: "Ethics, the Great Dilemma, and Managing through Conflict" : "Monday, February 1
Workshop: "Ethics, the Great Dilemma, and Managing through Conflict"
Facilitators: Leona Mitchell, Visiting Professor of Practice and Former IBM Executive; Kip Currier, Assistant Professor, PhD, JD
Monday, February 1, 10:00 - 11:00 AM
3rd Floor Theatre, School of Information Sciences
Anyone whose professional path involves working in teams, managing others, serving a client, or being a client, knows that conflicts can consume an inordinate amount of time and can be the most challenging barriers to a successful outcome. Join Leona Mitchell, professor of practice in the School of Information Sciences (and with over a decade of senior leadership experience at IBM) and Kip Currier, Assistant Professor, PhD, JD at the iSchool at Pitt, as they share philosophies and strategies on identifying, managing, and resolving conflicts. These strategies are applicable to both classroom and work settings, and this session ls open to all students at all levels."

How Europe is fighting to change tech companies' 'wrecking ball' ethics; Guardian, 1/30/16

Julia Powles and Carissa Veliz, Guardian; How Europe is fighting to change tech companies' 'wrecking ball' ethics:
"Culture and ethics beyond law...
European politicians want the new General Data Protection Regulation – the most-debated piece of EU legislation ever – to be part of the solution, along with the remainder of Europe’s pioneering fundamental rights framework. But law is not, and cannot be, the whole. Mostly, it’s about culture and ethics.
One European institution wants to seize this broader challenge. The European data protection supervisor, or EDPS, is the EU’s smallest entity but also one of its most ambitious, and immediately followed Schulz’s address by announcing a new ethics advisory group.
EDPS hopes this group will lead an inclusive debate on human rights, technology, markets and business models in the 21st century from an ethical perspective.
Six individuals have been selected to spearhead what is initially a two-year investigative, consultative and report-writing initiative: iconoclastic American computer scientist and writer Jaron Lanier; Dutch data analytics consultant Aurélie Pols; and four philosophers, Peter Burgess, Antoinette Rouvroy, Luciano Floridi and Jeroen van den Hoven, who bring experience in political and legal philosophy, logic, and the ethics and philosophy of technology.
Technology needs a moral compass
Bringing ethics into the data debate is essential."

Saturday, January 30, 2016

White House denies clearance to tech researcher with links to Snowden; Guardian, 1/29/16

Danny Yadron, Guardian; White House denies clearance to tech researcher with links to Snowden:
"The White House has denied a security clearance to a member of its technology team who previously helped report on documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Ashkan Soltani, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and recent staffer at the Federal Trade Commission, recently began working with the White House on privacy, data ethics and technical outreach. The partnership raised eyebrows when it was announced in December because of Soltani’s previous work with the Washington Post, where he helped analyze and protect a cache of National Security Agency documents leaked by Snowden.
His departure raises questions about the US government’s ability to partner with the broader tech community, where people come from a more diverse background than traditional government staffers."

Aaron Swartz and copyright wars in the Internet age; Boston Globe, 1/28/16

Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe; Aaron Swartz and copyright wars in the Internet age:
"Swartz is a particularly tragic casualty of a conflict as old as the Gutenberg Bible. When copycats can easily republish the latest Charles Dickens novel or Adele CD, how will artists and publishers get paid? But laws to protect intellectual-property rights can cripple the free exchange of ideas.
Justin Peters seems as helpless as the rest of us to resolve this dilemma. But in his lucid and witty new book, he ably sketches the contours of the dilemma...
Peters places Swartz’s well-meant misdeeds in historical context, showing how this young man was one of many smart, ambitious combatants on both sides of the copyright wars.
"I can’t fault Peters’s sympathy for Swartz, and I share his opinion that the prosecutorial sledgehammer fell much too hard. But Peters seems a little too inclined to play the populist, sneering at the pro-copyright arguments of publishers. Yes, our current intellectual property statutes are absurdly restrictive. But apart from strong protections, how would artists and writers hope to make a decent living?
The conundrum continues, with activists on both sides engaged in constant efforts to redraw the boundaries. Peters’s new book is an excellent survey of the battlefield, and a sobering memorial to its most tragic victim."

30 Years After Explosion, Challenger Engineer Still Blames Himself; NPR, 1/28/16

Howard Berkes, NPR; 30 Years After Explosion, Challenger Engineer Still Blames Himself:
"The space shuttle program had an ambitious launch schedule that year and NASA wanted to show it could launch regularly and reliably. President Ronald Reagan was also set to deliver the State of the Union address that evening and reportedly planned to tout the Challenger launch.
Whatever the reason, Ebeling says it didn't justify the risk.
"There was more than enough [NASA officials and Thiokol managers] there to say, 'Hey, let's give it another day or two,' " Ebeling recalls. "But no one did."
Ebeling retired soon after Challenger. He suffered deep depression and has never been able to lift the burden of guilt. In 1986, as he watched that haunting image again on a television screen, he said, "I could have done more. I should have done more."
He says the same thing today, sitting in a big easy chair in the same living room, his eyes watery and his face grave. The data he and his fellow engineers presented, and their persistent and sometimes angry arguments, weren't enough to sway Thiokol managers and NASA officials. Ebeling concludes he was inadequate. He didn't argue the data well enough."

Friday, January 29, 2016

Academics Want You to Read Their Work for Free; Atlantic, 1/26/16

Jane C. Hu, Atlantic; Academics Want You to Read Their Work for Free:
"Whitaker, who founded two other Elsevier journals and has a combined 50 years of editorial experience with the company, came into his new position after he heard about the former Lingua board’s actions and contacted Elsevier to express his dismay. “I disagreed with just about everything they were doing,” he said. He came out of retirement to sign a new contract with Elsevier in early January, and has since recruited several interim editors. He says that he and his editorial staff have received a fair amount of animosity from Glossa supporters.
But Whitaker stands firmly in favor of for-profit publishing; noting that publishers’ profits allow them to invest in new projects. (Elsevier gave Whitaker funds to found two new journals—Brain and Cognition and Brain and Language.) Plus, he says, profits ensure longevity. “That’s one of the many reasons I support the idea of a publisher that makes money,” he says. “Lingua will be here when I retire, and Lingua will be here when I die.”
The fate of Cognition, meanwhile remains to be seen. Barner and Snedeker plan to submit their petition to Elsevier on Wednesday. “The battle has been taken from a very small region—linguistics—to a much larger one,” says Rooryck. Barner and Snedeker are staying silent about their long-term plans, but their request sends a clear message to publishers: Scientists are ready for change."

Karolinska Institute may reopen ethics inquiry into work of pioneering surgeon; Science, 1/29/16

Gretchen Vogel, Science; Karolinska Institute may reopen ethics inquiry into work of pioneering surgeon:
"A documentary on Swedish Television (SVT) has prompted the Karolinska Institute (KI) in Stockholm to consider reopening its investigation into possible misconduct by surgeon Paolo Macchiarini. After an investigation last year into Macchiarini’s work at KI, where he performed experimental trachea surgery on three patients, Vice-Chancellor Anders Hamsten concluded that the surgeon had not committed misconduct, although some of his work did “not meet the university’s high quality standards in every respect.” But the documentary has raised new concerns by suggesting that Macchiarini misled patients."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Facebook's Isn't Going Over Well in India; Fortune, 1/22/16

Claire Groden, Fortune; Facebook's Isn't Going Over Well in India:
"Mark Zuckerberg is learning the hard way that philanthropy is never as straight-forward as it seems.
Facebook’s crusade to bring basic free Internet to people in lower-income countries without web access reached India in February 2015. In a triumphant Facebook post, Zuckerberg announced that the initiative,, had launched in India, “giving people in six Indian states access to free basic internet services for health, education, jobs and communication.”
Less than a year later, hasn’t gone over as well as Zuckerberg had hoped. On Thursday, hundreds of people gathered at a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India forum in India’s capital to discuss whether the initiative should be shut down, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Advocates for net neutrality argue that the free service, which offers access to only some websites, is “poor internet for poor people,” forcing users to only access parts of the web that are in Facebook’s best interest."

With Corbis Sale, Tiananmen Protest Images Go to Chinese Media Company; New York Times, 1/27/16

Mike McPhate, New York Times; With Corbis Sale, Tiananmen Protest Images Go to Chinese Media Company:
"Corbis, the photography archive owned by Bill Gates that includes some of the most famous pictures ever made, has sold its image and licensing division to a Chinese company.
The sale gives the new owner, Visual China Group, control over photographs of immense cultural and commercial value — Marilyn Monroe on a subway grate, Rosa Parks on a bus, Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock and Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue.
But it has been the transfer of images from the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square, an event that China’s Communist Party has aggressively blotted out of public view ever since, that has perhaps raised the most alarm."

Ethics charges filed against DOJ lawyer who exposed Bush-era surveillance;, 1/26/16

David Kravets,; Ethics charges filed against DOJ lawyer who exposed Bush-era surveillance:
"A former Justice Department lawyer is facing legal ethics charges for exposing the President George W. Bush-era surveillance tactics—a leak that earned The New York Times a Pulitzer and opened the debate about warrantless surveillance that continues today.
The lawyer, Thomas Tamm, now a Maryland state public defender, is accused of breaching Washington ethics rules for going to The New York Times instead of his superiors about his concerns about what was described as "the program."
Tamm was a member of the Justice Department's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review and, among other things, was charged with requesting electronic surveillance warrants from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."

In Kansas City, Superfast Internet And A Digital Divide; NPR, 3/9/15

Frank Morris, NPR; In Kansas City, Superfast Internet And A Digital Divide:
"Mike Scott, the president of AT&T Kansas, stands by as workers splice fiber-optic cable before sinking it into someone's back yard. Last month AT&T became the third provider broadly offering affordable, one gig Internet here. Time Warner and other providers have also boosted speeds.
"It's a fiber war so to speak," he says. "We are literally standing in the trenches of a fiber war. And I think the customer ultimately wins in all this competition."
But not everyone's a customer. In some Kansas City neighborhoods only one in five households has any type of Internet connection, let alone a fast one. Michael Liimatta runs a nonprofit called Connecting for Good that's trying to change that.
"Our center here, you might consider it to be the front lines closing the digital divide in Kansas City," he says.
Folks from this low-income neighborhood come in and use Google Fiber for free, but no one has it in the huge housing project across the street. Liimatta says he's sometimes disappointed that some of the expectations that the city had in terms of universal adoption, and loads and loads of free bandwidth, "never came to be.""

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

THE BUSINESS OF HUMANITY® PROJECT; University of Pittsburgh Katz Business School, 2015

University of Pittsburgh; THE BUSINESS OF HUMANITY® PROJECT:
"Motivation and Rationale for the Study
Primary Objectives of the Study
The Elements of Humanity"

Digital divide deepens between rich and poor - internet a family's lifeline?; Age, 1/21/16

Miki Perkins, Age; Digital divide deepens between rich and poor - internet a family's lifeline? :
"Travel anywhere in Australia and pretty much everyone has their head buried in a mobile phone.
When they return home, about 90 per cent of households in Australia have internet access.
Broadband is now a basic utility, just like water or electricity, but there are fears the rapid uptake of digital technology is leaving disadvantaged people in its wake.
"This is about having a basic adequate standard of living. If you're not able to get online on a regular basis you now live a completely different and excluded life," says Cassandra Goldie, the head of the Australian Council of Social Services.
The changing digital environment may exacerbate the experience of poverty and the trend towards greater inequality says ACOSS, in a new policy push on the "digital divide", released on Friday.
With government services increasingly online (and not always successfully - Centrelink clients recently missed out on payments because the service's website malfunctioned), people on low incomes have to use the internet frequently."

Digital Divides 2015; Pew Research Center, 9/22/15

Lee Rainie, Pew Research Center; Digital Divides 2015:
"Lee Rainie, Director of Internet, Science, and Technology research, details the digital divide that Americans face in accessing the internet to the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. Using Pew Research Center data spanning 15 years, he discusses how household income, educational attainment, race and ethnicity, age and community type affect internet usage among Americans and how those demographics have shifted since 2000."

Broadband City: How New York Is Bridging Its Digital Divide; Nation, 1/8/16

Maya Wiley, Nation; Broadband City: How New York Is Bridging Its Digital Divide:
" Few would debate that the information superhighway is both an on-ramp and HOV lane for the global economy. Whether a resident needs to get online to access homework or supplemental educational tools, to search for a job or start a business, broadband is a necessity. Most may not realize how many can’t afford it. Jillian Maldonado, a South Bronx single mom who was earning $300 a week as an Avon representative is an all-too-familiar victim of the digital divide. After a long day, she would come home, make her young son dinner, and then take him past the check-cashing store, a small grocery, and the occasional drug dealer to get to the library to get him online to do his homework.
A family that doesn’t know how it will make its monthly rent payment may not have $75 a month for in-home broadband, let alone a computer. More than a third of low-income New Yorkers still do not have broadband at home. It’s why this year, for the first time in the history of the city, we added a broadband category to the capital budget and pledged $70 million over the next 10 years towards free or low-cost wireless service for low-income communities. These investments are part of the mayor’s aggressive approach to expanding broadband access."

The New Digital Divide: Mobile-first design serves all virtual patrons; American Libraries, 1/4/16

Meredith Farkas, American Libraries; The New Digital Divide: Mobile-first design serves all virtual patrons:
"According to a recent Pew Research Center study of smartphone use, for approximately one in five Americans, their mobile device is their primary computing tool. Even for those who have personal computers, many people use their smartphones for progressively more purposes, including seeking health-related information, banking, looking for jobs, and completing coursework.
Until recently, mobile library websites were envisioned not as total online library experiences but as quick lookup tools. They often did not contain the full range of services as the regular website but a curated collection of commonly used items, such as a catalog search, hours and directions, an ask-a-librarian feature, and room booking. The assumption was that patrons would use a computer for anything more intensive, such as doing research.
If patrons are using mobile devices as their primary computing tools, a website designed for quick lookup will frequently be insufficient...
The ways that patrons are using available technologies continue to change rapidly, but focusing first on serving those with the least and most challenging access may help libraries design a better online user experience for all their patrons."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Lawmaker: Backlash on Reporter Registry Bill Made Point; Associated Press via New York Times, 1/25/16

Associated Press via New York Times; Lawmaker: Backlash on Reporter Registry Bill Made Point:
"The South Carolina legislator whose journalism registry proposal touched off a media firestorm said Monday he never actually wanted to require reporters to register with the state, but the instant backlash made his point.
By "immediately screaming First Amendment," the media reacted to his bill exactly as he expected, Rep. Mike Pitts told The Associated Press.
The retired law enforcement officer said he mirrored the state's concealed weapon permit law in proposing a "responsible journalism registry," substituting language he found in journalistic associations' ethics codes.
"Do I really want to register reporters? No. I don't want to register guns or pens. I'd prefer to have a lot less government," said Pitts, R-Laurens.
But he did want to spark discussion on what he calls media bias in treating free speech rights under the First Amendment as more sacrosanct than gun rights under the Second Amendment."

Friday, January 22, 2016

And the Oscar Goes to … White People; New York Times, 1/22/16

Room for Debate, New York Times; And the Oscar Goes to … White People:
"The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 2016 Oscar nominations this week; all of the nominees were white. What’s more, in two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters — “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton” — nominations for those movies went to white people.
Once again, social media was filled with complaints: #OscarsSoWhite. How can the Academy increase diversity in nominations and awards?"

Depraved Indifference Toward Flint; New York Times, 1/22/16

Editorial Board, New York Times; Depraved Indifference Toward Flint:
"The 274 pages of emails released under pressure on Wednesday by Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan show a cynical and callous indifference to the plight of the mostly black, poverty-stricken residents of Flint, who have gone for more than a year with poisoned tap water that is unsafe to drink or bathe in. There is little doubt that an affluent, predominantly white community — say Grosse Pointe or Bloomfield Hills — would never face such a public health catastrophe, and if it had, the state government would have rushed in to help.
At every juncture when state officials could have avoided or reduced the harm in Flint, they ignored public pleas and made every effort to dismiss the truth.
The newly released emails show that members of Mr. Snyder’s administration consistently mocked and belittled the complaints of Flint residents and the evidence gathered by independent researchers."

Mt. Lebanon weighing nonlethal methods for deer population control; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/19/16

John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Mt. Lebanon weighing nonlethal methods for deer population control:
"How do you want your deer to die? It’s a question that has overwhelmed Mt. Lebanon and is being asked everywhere that human populations make natural predation of adult white-tailed deer impossible.
As a controlled archery hunt comes to an end and a sharpshooting program is poised to begin, Mt. Lebanon commissioners are considering whether to request state permission to conduct an experiment in nonlethal deer control."

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Biden Is Sick Of LGBT People Getting Treated Like Second-Class Citizens; Huffington Post, 1/20/16

Alana Horowitz Satlin, Huffington Post; Biden Is Sick Of LGBT People Getting Treated Like Second-Class Citizens:
"Vice President Joe Biden got visibly heated while discussing the importance of LGBT rights on Wednesday.
Speaking at an LGBT rights roundtable at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Veep lamented that openly gay and transgender people are still treated like second class citizens around the world.
"LGBT people face violence, harassment, unequal treatment, mistreatment by cops, denial of health care, isolation -- always in the name of culture. I've had it up to here with culture. I really mean it," he said, striking the table with his palms. "Culture never justifies rank, raw, discrimination or violation of human rights. There is no cultural justification. None. None. None."
Biden said that he has confronted at least four heads of state from countries where people face persecution over their sexuality. He didn't say which leaders he spoke to, but at least 75 countries represented in Davos outlaw homosexuality."

In Albany, Those Who Might Address Ethics Meet Rarely and Offer Less; New York Times, 1/19/16

Vivian Yee, New York Times; In Albany, Those Who Might Address Ethics Meet Rarely and Offer Less:
"In the Senate, the Ethics Committee’s last recorded hearing came more than six years ago, in June 2009, when John L. Sampson was its chairman. Mr. Sampson, a Democrat from Brooklyn, is no longer the chairman, nor is he a senator: He was convicted last year of obstructing a federal investigation into whether he had embezzled state funds.
The committee has not even met as a group in at least several years, a hibernation that has lasted through Republican leadership, Democratic leadership, power-sharing leadership and more than a dozen scandals over lawmaker misbehavior.
“It is a body bent on self-protection,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, a government watchdog group, referring to the Legislature. “And so you have two different committees in two different houses bent on self-protection.”"

Case Could Widen Free-Speech Gap Between Unions and Corporations; New York Times, 1/18/16

Adam Liptak, New York Times; Case Could Widen Free-Speech Gap Between Unions and Corporations:
" The Citizens United decision, which amplified the role of money in American politics, also promised something like a level playing field. Both corporations and unions, it said, could spend what they liked to support their favored candidates.
But last week’s arguments in a major challenge to public unions illuminated a gap in the Supreme Court’s treatment of capital and labor. The court has long allowed workers to refuse to finance unions’ political activities. But shareholders have no comparable right to refuse to pay for corporate political speech.
At the arguments in the case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915, the justices seemed poised to widen that gap by allowing government workers to refuse to support unions’ collective bargaining activities, too.
The case should prompt a new look at whether the differing treatment of unions and corporations is justified, said Benjamin I. Sachs, a law professor at Harvard...
The differing treatment is warranted, the Supreme Court has said, because it is hard to change jobs and easy to sell shares, and because shareholders can influence what corporations say."

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The 62 Richest People On Earth Now Hold As Much Wealth As The Poorest 3.5 Billion; Huffington Post, 1/17/16

Emily Peck, Huffington Post; The 62 Richest People On Earth Now Hold As Much Wealth As The Poorest 3.5 Billion:
"All the money in the world is growing ever more concentrated in the hands of just a few people, a report released Sunday night makes clear.
Just 62 ultra-rich individuals -- a list that is primarily made up of men and includes Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, the Koch Brothers and the Walmart heirs -- have as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity. Five years ago, it took 388 rich guys to achieve that status.
The wealth of the richest 62 has increased an astonishing 44 percent since 2010, to $1.76 trillion. Meanwhile, the wealth of the bottom half of the world dropped by 41 percent.
“This is terrible,” Gawain Kripke, Oxfam's Policy Director, told The Huffington Post. “No one credible will say this is good for the world or good for the economy.”"

Spread of internet has not conquered 'digital divide' between rich and poor – report; Guardian, 1/13/16

Larry Elliott, Guardian; Spread of internet has not conquered 'digital divide' between rich and poor – report:
"The rapid spread of the internet and mobile phones around the globe has failed to deliver the expected boost to jobs and growth, the World Bank has revealed in a report that highlights a growing digital divide between rich and poor.
The Bank said no other technology has reached more people in so short a time as the internet, but warned that the development potential of technological change had yet to be reaped.
According to the Bank’s new “World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends”, the number of people connected to the internet has more than tripled in the past decade, from 1 billion to an estimated 3.5 billion. In many developing countries, more families own a mobile phone than have access to electricity or clean water.
But the report said the benefits of rapid digital expansion had been skewed towards the better-off and the more highly skilled, who were better able to take advantage of the new technologies. By comparison, 4 billion people – or 60% of the world’s population – had no access to the internet."

You are not what you read: librarians purge user data to protect privacy; Guardian, 1/13/16

Sam Thielman, Guardian; You are not what you read: librarians purge user data to protect privacy:
"Interlibrary loans, said Alison Macrina, founder and director of the Library Freedom Project, form an ad-hoc record of departures from regular patterns of lending – the kind of thing that often interests intelligence and law enforcement analysts.
“It seems like it’s a more interesting data trail,” said Macrina. “It’s a book you wanted so bad that you went to special lengths to get it, and we know how intelligence agencies pay attention to breaks in patterns.” Macrina hadn’t heard about the CUNY Graduate Center initiative, but said it was a relief to her. “It’s taken a little too long but I’m really glad to see it’s happening somewhere.”
Libraries continue to develop ways to keep patron privacy at the forefront of the services they provide, including material accessed through library computers. Macrina’s group encourages libraries to operate “exit nodes” that aid the operation of difficult-to-trace web browser Tor – the Department of Homeland Security attempted to enlist the help of local law enforcement to shut down the project at a New Hampshire library last year, but was thwarted."

Anne Frank's diary caught in fierce European copyright battle; Guardian, 1/18/16

Alison Flood, Guardian; Anne Frank's diary caught in fierce European copyright battle:
"In a letter to Ertzscheid sent in late December, the foundation asks him to “cease and desist” from making The Diary of a Young Girl available online, to “immediately” announce he was “misinformed” about the copyright in the diary, to compensate damages, and to pay €1,000 each day he does not comply with the instructions, or risk court proceedings.
Ertzscheid went ahead, however, describing it as a “gift”. “This first of January 2016, 70 years after the death of Anne Frank, because this is enough time and because it is legal, this diary, her diary, enters the public domain. It belongs to everyone. And it is up to each of us to weigh its importance,” he wrote."

Friday, January 15, 2016

Americans don't trust companies with their data, but give it up anyway; FedScoop, 1/14/16

Greg Otto, FedScoop; Americans don't trust companies with their data, but give it up anyway:
"According to research unveiled Thursday, most Americans are willing to sacrifice their data privacy if they believe it will somehow benefit them; otherwise they are resigned to the fact they have no control over their personal information if they plan on being a consumer in the modern, Internet-connected, data-driven retail space.
The former conclusion is suggested by a study released by the Pew Research Center Thursday, which measured attitudes to privacy and surveillance among a nationally representative and statistically valid sample of adult Americans, and then explored the results in a series of focus groups.
A majority of respondents told Pew they have low levels of confidence in both business and government when it comes to data collection; but many were prepared to put their concerns aside if there was a trade-off — some benefit they got in return. Supermarket loyalty cards, for instance, track holders' shopping preferences in return for discounts on products — a trade-off seen as acceptable by 47 percent of survey respondents.
By contrast, research presented at the Federal Trade Commission’s PrivacyCon Thursday suggested that marketers are taking advantage of the widespread acceptance of certain kinds of trade-offs to collect massive amounts of data — and thereby inspiring cynicism and resignation among Americans about their privacy."

"It Is Obvious We Need To Educate The Visitors"; National Parks Traveler, 12/30/15

Kurt Repanshek, National Parks Traveler; "It Is Obvious We Need To Educate The Visitors" :
"How should we act in a national park? That might seem to carry an obvious answer, but it's not always so obvious these days.
As different generations, different racial groups, and different cultures enter the National Park System, not everyone seems to be there to enjoy the natural beauty on display in the landscape parks, content merely to walk about, gaze at the setting, hike or backpack, paddle or climb, or watch wildlife.
The parks are backdrops for enjoyment, that's for sure, but some visitors don't understand that barriers are there to preserve the landscapes and protect visitors...sometimes from each other."

Yosemite to Rename Several Iconic Places; Outside, 1/14/16

Christopher Solomon, Outside; Yosemite to Rename Several Iconic Places:
"The outgoing company also trademarked “Yosemite National Park” for merchandising purposes, said Gediman. Will you be able to buy a Yosemite T-shirt at the gift shop come March 1? “That’s something that remains to be determined,” he said.
The announcement is the latest drama in a long legal dispute between the park service and the concessionaire, DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. And it comes as the agency kicks off the centennial celebration year of America’s national parks system—when the park service would rather be feting America’s parks, not painting over signs at one of its marquee locations.
The news angered some park watchers.
“It’s a really unfortunate situation where the National Park Service is being held hostage by a corporate concessionaire who clearly does not have the public interest at heart,” said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin. “I think this is pretty outrageous that the park service, because of a 50-plus-million-dollar lawsuit, is forced to change these historic namesakes,” Trainer said. “It’s a tragedy.”...
The federal government might find some relief, however, in a law Congress passed in late 2014 that allows the government to keep a name that’s historically associated with a building or structure that is either on, or eligible, to be included on the National Register of Historic Places, says Sitzmann."

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The anti-eviction blues: audio reports from San Francisco's gentrifying streets; Guardian, 1/14/16

Erin McElory, Guardian; The anti-eviction blues: audio reports from San Francisco's gentrifying streets:
"Our data visualisation project grew to study relations between gentrification and factors such as speculation and property flipping, racial profiling and luxury development. But as we produced more and more maps, we became increasingly concerned with the dangers of reducing complex social and political worlds to simple dots on a map – such data can never fully describe the personal and neighbourhood displacements through gentrification.
Our Narratives of Displacement and Resistance project is an attempt to address this. Over the last two years, we have been gathering oral histories of those impacted in different ways by Tech Boom 2.0 – from those evicted by networks of shell companies, to those who have experienced increased racial profiling and those who have fought their evictions through direct action … and won."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How to protect your money, privacy and yourself if you win Powerball; Guardian, 1/13/16

Suzanne McGee, Guardian; How to protect your money, privacy and yourself if you win Powerball:
"Most of those who buy lottery tickets on a regular basis – and those like me who pick up tickets when the jackpots get really, really big – tend to spend their time thinking about how to spend the money.
Should we win, however, we need to start at the other end of the spectrum, and start thinking about how to protect both our money and ourselves. Because there are some truly ugly statistics out there showing that 70% of lottery winners end up losing it all: some blow through all their money and end up destitute, while others end up losing their lives, even being murdered for their riches.
The first tip: do whatever you can to protect your privacy.
This may not be much. In many cases, the good folks at Powerball have the right to splash your name and image, clutching one of those giant faux cheques, across media organizations worldwide. So you’d better be prepared.
Here’s how."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Should There Be a Right to Be Forgotten?; American Libraries, 1/11/16

Amy Carlton, American Libraries; Should There Be a Right to Be Forgotten? :
"ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) hosted a discussion at Midwinter about the right of European Union citizens to have links to certain personal information removed from the results of web searches on their names. Should the United States adopt similar rules?
The panel included James G. Neal, university librarian emeritus of Columbia University, trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and a member of ALA’s Executive Board; Abigail Slater, vice president, legal and regulatory policy, for the Internet Association; and Tomas Lipinski, dean of the School of Information Studies at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a member of IFLA’s Committee on Copyright and Other Legal Matters. Alan S. Inouye, director of OITP, moderated the discussion."

FTC warns companies that ‘big data’ comes with the potential for big problems; Washington Post, 1/7/16

Andrea Peterson, Washington Post; FTC warns companies that ‘big data’ comes with the potential for big problems:
"Companies are tracking more data about consumers than ever. Practically every click you make online creates new records in some distant database, and your real world actions, too, can increasingly be tracked through your mobile phone or new commercial surveillance advances.
But the Federal Trade Commission, one of the government's chief privacy watchdogs, just warned companies to think twice about how they use those vast data troves.
The agency on Wednesday released a new report that advises companies on how to avoid hurting the most vulnerable as they push further into the booming "big data" economy."

Thousands of Hong Kong protesters gather to demand release of booksellers; Guardian, 1/10/16

Tom Phillips, Guardian; Thousands of Hong Kong protesters gather to demand release of booksellers:
"The booksellers’still unexplained disappearances have sparked international condemnation.
On Friday the US said it was “disturbed” by the unfolding scandal. The EU said the continuing lack of information about the booksellers’ welfare and whereabouts was “extremely worrying”, adding: “Respect for freedom of expression underpins all free societies.”
During a two-day visit to China last week, British foreign secretary Philip Hammond said Beijing would be guilty of an “egregious breach” of Hong Kong’s autonomy if the involvement of its agents in Lee Bo’s snatching was confirmed.
Some describe Lee Bo’s suspected abduction as a potentially fatal blow to the former colony’s supposed autonomy from authoritarian China."

The new way police are surveilling you: Calculating your threat ‘score’; Washington Post, 1/10/16

Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post; The new way police are surveilling you: Calculating your threat ‘score’ :
"Police officials say such tools can provide critical information that can help uncover terrorists or thwart mass shootings, ensure the safety of officers and the public, find suspects, and crack open cases. They say that last year’s attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., have only underscored the need for such measures.
But the powerful systems also have become flash points for civil libertarians and activists, who say they represent a troubling intrusion on privacy, have been deployed with little public oversight and have potential for abuse or error. Some say laws are needed to protect the public."

Monday, January 11, 2016

Rather than a last stand, the Bengals stupidly went for a last punch; Guardian, 1/10/16

Les Carpenter, Guardian; Rather than a last stand, the Bengals stupidly went for a last punch:
"The best NFL teams aren’t necessarily those with the most talent.
The best NFL teams are those that don’t do what the Bengals did against the Steelers.
The best teams resist the urge to throw the last punch...
Football can be such a damning game with its contradictions. Be violent but not too violent. The line between acceptable an [sic] unacceptable brutality is vague. The Steelers have always danced along it, seemingly knowing when to stay on the proper side. On Saturday Burfict and Jones could not. And the fallout is only just beginning."

Sunday, January 10, 2016

‘Mein Kampf,’ Hitler’s Manifesto, Returns to German Shelves; New York Times, 1/8/16

Melissa Eddy, New York Times; ‘Mein Kampf,’ Hitler’s Manifesto, Returns to German Shelves:
"At a time when nationalist and far-right politics are again ascendant in Europe, a team of German historians presented a new, annotated edition of a symbolic text of that movement on Friday: “Mein Kampf,” by Adolf Hitler.
The Nazi leader’s manifesto, which first appeared as two volumes in 1925 and 1927, was banned in Germany by the Allies in 1945 and has not been officially published in the country since then. A team of scholars and historians spent three years preparing a nearly 2,000-page edition with about 3,500 annotations in anticipation of the expiration on Dec. 31 of a 70-year copyright held by the state of Bavaria.
The effort by the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich to publish the new, critical edition was the subject of debate almost as soon as it was announced, with some seeing it as an important step toward illuminating an unsavory era in Germany, never to be repeated, while others argued that a scholarly edition would gitimize the rantings of a sociopath who led the country down the path of evil."

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Drone Regulations Should Focus on Safety and Privacy; New York Times, 1/9/16

Editorial Board, New York Times; Drone Regulations Should Focus on Safety and Privacy:
"Increasingly coveted by hobbyists and businesses, these devices flew (as it were) off the shelves and into living rooms by the hundreds of thousands.
But as drones have become smaller, cheaper and more numerous — some popular consumer models sell for less than $1,000 — policy makers have had to address potential problems. These machines can obviously be put to good use — say, inspecting cellphone towers, shooting movies or compiling multidimensional real estate portfolios. They can also be used to snoop on people and harass them. And they can threaten other aircraft.
Some regulation of the private and commercial use of drones thus seems inevitable. The task for regulators is how to protect privacy and promote safety without infringing on the First Amendment rights of citizens and businesses that wish to use drones for legitimates purposes, like photography or news gathering (The Times has used drones to shoot videos and take photographs)."

Monkey Has No Rights to Its Selfie, Federal Judge Says; New York Times, 1/8/16

Mike McPhate, New York Times; Monkey Has No Rights to Its Selfie, Federal Judge Says:
Last July, another legal effort to reinterpret the rights of other primates failed to persuade a judge. The Nonhuman Rights Project argued in a State Supreme Court in Manhattan that two apes being held by a university for research were “legal persons,” highly intelligent and self-aware, and should be removed to a sanctuary. The judge took the case seriously, but ultimately decided that under the law, Hercules and Leo were property, not people.
Despite PETA’s setback this week, the group cast its unorthodox legal battle as a crucial step toward enlarging the rights of animals.
“We will continue to fight for Naruto and his fellow macaques,” Jeff Kerr, an attorney for PETA, said in a statement, adding “As my legal mentor used to say, ‘In social-cause cases, historically, you lose, you lose, you lose, and then you win.’”"

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Takata Emails Show Brash Exchanges About Data Tampering; New York Times, 1/4/16

Danielle Ivory and Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times; Takata Emails Show Brash Exchanges About Data Tampering:
"When Honda Motor Company said two months ago that it would no longer use Takata as supplier of its airbags, the automaker said that testing data on the airbags had been “misrepresented and manipulated.”
Now, newly obtained internal emails suggest the manipulation was both bold and broad, involving open exchanges among Takata employees in Japan and the United States.
“Happy Manipulating!!!” a Takata airbag engineer, Bob Schubert, wrote in one email dated July 6, 2006, in a reference to results of airbag tests. In another, he wrote of changing the colors or lines in a graphic “to divert attention” from the test results and “to try to dress it up.”
The emails were among documents unsealed recently as part of a personal injury lawsuit against Takata and obtained by The New York Times...
Honda would not comment on whether the emails were examples of Takata misrepresentations. The automaker said that it had reached its conclusions after reviewing millions of internal Takata documents. But four airbag experts asked by The Times to review the emails said that they suggested an effort to misrepresent testing data.
“To have these kinds of offhand remarks shows that this is a systemic issue at Takata,” said Mark Lillie, a former Takata engineer and whistle-blower."

All the people Donald Trump insulted in 2015; Washington Post, 12/30/15

Gillian Brockell, Thomas LeGro, Julio Negron, Washington Post; All the people Donald Trump insulted in 2015:
"Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has publicly insulted at least 68 people or groups in 2015, many of them multiple times. Here is a comprehensive list."

Monday, January 4, 2016

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Why the Post Office Makes America Great; New York Times, 1/1/16

Zeynep Tufekci, New York Times; Why the Post Office Makes America Great:
"I bit my tongue and did not tell my already suspicious friends that the country was also dotted with libraries that provided books to all patrons free of charge. They wouldn’t believe me anyway since I hadn’t believed it myself. My first time in a library in the United States was very brief: I walked in, looked around, and ran right back out in a panic, certain that I had accidentally used the wrong entrance. Surely, these open stacks full of books were reserved for staff only. I was used to libraries being rare, and their few books inaccessible. To this day, my heart races a bit in a library.
Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the link between infrastructure, innovation — and even ruthless competition. Much of our modern economy thrives here because you can order things online and expect them to be delivered. There are major private delivery services, too, but the United States Postal Service is often better equipped to make it to certain destinations. In fact, Internet sellers, and even private carriers, often use the U.S.P.S. as their delivery mechanism to addresses outside densely populated cities.
Almost every aspect of the most innovative parts of the United States, from cutting-edge medical research to its technology scene, thrives on publicly funded infrastructure. The post office is struggling these days, in some ways because of how much people rely on the web to do much of what they used to turn to the post office for. But the Internet is a testament to infrastructure, too: It exists partly because the National Science Foundation funded much of the research that makes it possible. Even some of the Internet’s biggest companies, like Google, got a start from N.S.F.-funded research.
Infrastructure is often the least-appreciated part of what makes a country strong, and what makes innovation take flight. From my spot in line at the post office, I see a country that does both well; not a country that emphasizes one at the expense of the other."

TPP trade deal pits Pittsburgh against Philadelphia; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/3/16

Tracie Mauriello, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; TPP trade deal pits Pittsburgh against Philadelphia:
"Pittsburgh manufactures the products. Philadelphia ships them around the world.
One city stands to gain from expanding trade into the Pacific Rim while the other has much to lose, their mayors say.
That’s why Philadelphia’s outgoing mayor, Michael Nutter, has been helping the White House stump for the Trans-Pacific Partnership while Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto stands opposed...
Mr. Peduto acknowledges that the trade deal might be good for some industries, but says any benefits are outweighed by harm it would do to the steel industry."

Your health records are supposed to be private. They aren’t.; Washington Post, 12/30/15

Charles Ornstein, Washington Post; Your health records are supposed to be private. They aren’t. :
"After spending the past year reporting on loopholes and lax enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the federal patient-privacy law known as HIPAA, I’ve come to realize that it’s not just celebrity patients who are at risk. We all are...
We all know HIPAA, whether we recognize the acronym or not. It’s what requires us to stand behind a line, away from other customers, at the pharmacy counter or when checking in at the doctor’s office. It is the reason we get privacy declaration forms to sign whenever we visit a new medical provider. It is used to scare health-care workers, telling them that if they improperly disclose others’ information, they could pay a steep fine or even go to jail.
But in reality, it is a toothless tiger. Unless you’re famous, most hospitals and clinics don’t keep tabs on who looks at your records if you don’t complain. And even though the civil rights office can impose large fines, it rarely does: It received nearly 18,000 complaints in 2014 but took only six formal actions that year. A recent report from the HHS inspector general said the office wasn’t keeping track of repeat offenders, much less doing anything about them."

Friday, January 1, 2016

Poachers using science papers to target newly discovered species; Guardian, 1/1/16

Arthur Neslen, Guardian; Poachers using science papers to target newly discovered species:
"Academic journals have begun withholding the geographical locations of newly discovered species after poachers used the information in peer-reviewed papers to collect previously unknown lizards, frogs and snakes from the wild, the Guardian has learned...
But earlier this year, an announcement in the Zootaxa academic journal that two new species of large gecko had been found in southern China contained a strange omission: the species’ whereabouts.
“Due to the popularity of this genus as novelty pets, and recurring cases of scientific descriptions driving herpetofauna to near-extinction by commercial collectors, we do not disclose the collecting localities of these restricted-range species in this publication,” the paper said.
The relevant data was instead lodged with government agencies, and would be available to fellow scientists on request, the study made clear."