fen's blog

Privacy Awareness Week

It's Privacy Awareness Week. The following Security Tips are worth a scan:

'Digital privacy does not really exist'

Good Q&A in Politico on (the lack) of online privacy.  I agree that 'Digital privacy does not really exist' though I also believe there's a better chance for it online then there is in person. Back in 1998 David Brin's The Transparent Society foresaw the erosion of privacy partly due to low cost surveillance - what we now call IoT. With camera and microphones everywhere - including the phones in our pockets - it's difficult to escape our every action being recorded.

Stop data violence and give users control over their information

The big boys are starting to say that people should own their own data. This is great to see; we've been talking about an Identity Commons for some time now...

The MIT Intelligence Quest

As digital transformation revolves around data, managing - making sense of - that data is increasingly the realm of Artificial Intelligence. AI is what Google uses to determine what ads to show you, it's what Amazon uses to get you to buy new things, and it's what Facebook uses to make sure you keep clicking. All of these things increase the revenue of these companies but perhaps at great cost to democracy as they segment society.

GMOs and Kashi Boycott

I'd like to think Ms. Carson would be an advocate against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) creeping into our food supply. There's great debate about whether Monsanto's GMO corn is unsustainable and there are reports that GMO foods can "can significantly impact the viability of human cells".

Rachel Carson and the Silent Spring

I work at CivicActions where we provide online consulting and services for non-profits and progressive organizations. We host websites on a variety of machines (servers) each given a different name so that we can refer to them easily. Civicactions.com resides on a server named 'carson', named after Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring and credited with helping to advance the environmental movement.

More Silliness: Plastic Disposable Razors

We are now aware - or should be aware - that anything that is "plastic and disposable" should be avoided whenever possible. Plastic is a petroleum product and isn't bio-degradable, as horrifically evidenced by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Money Corrupts (but the media won't cover this)

Corporations have one essential purpose aside from creating products or services that result in happy customers: to increase shareholder value. If the current CEO and Board of Directors fails to do so, they will be voted out and replaced with those that will.

And guess what: all major media are - or are owned by - major corporations.

What would be your answer to the Answer Man?

Listening to the Cause last night, the last line from St. Stephen (written by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia) struck me: "What would be your answer to the Answer Man?"  Though I've heard this line sung so many times before, this time my brain mapped it differently than I have before, with Google (plus all other hunter/gatherers of personal information - I'm looking at you, Facebook and Amazon) playing the part of the Answer Man.

the Cause

Last night I had a most enjoyable experience listening to the Cause, a Greatful Dead, Beatles, Dylan etc. cover band that also tossed in a few of their own (notably "Never Alone" written by Pappy, the lead guitarist). During my 25 years in Santa Cruz and San Francisco I was fortunate to see the Grateful Dead several hundred times and was (nearly) always pleased by how "live" the band was in a very improvisational jazz kind of way.

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