Resisting Big Data: Interfering With ‘Collaboration,’ Nonconsensually

Consider the various image-sharing databases online: Facebook’s photo stores, Instagram, Flickr. These contain trillions of photographs, petabytes of fragile digital data, growing daily, without limit; every day, millions of users worldwide upload the  images they capture on their phones and cameras to the cloud, there to be stored, processed, enhanced, shared, tagged, commented on. AndContinue reading “Resisting Big Data: Interfering With ‘Collaboration,’ Nonconsensually”

Contra Corey Pein, Computer Science Is A Science

In this day and age, sophisticated critique of technology and science is much needed. What we don’t need is critiques like this long piece in the Baffler by Corey Pein which, I think, is trying to mount a critique of the lack of ethics education in computer science curricula but seems most concerned with assertingContinue reading “Contra Corey Pein, Computer Science Is A Science”

Leaving Facebook: You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

I first quit Facebook in 2010, in response to a talk Eben Moglen gave at NYU about Facebook’s privacy-destroying ways; one of his most memorable lines was: The East German Stasi used to have to deploy a fleet of undercover agents and wiretaps to find out what people did, who they met, what they ate,Continue reading “Leaving Facebook: You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide”

Dear Legal Academics, Please Stop Misusing The Word ‘Algorithms’

Everyone is concerned about ‘algorithms.’ Especially legal academics; law review articles, conferences, symposia all bear testimony to this claim. Algorithms and transparency; the tyranny of algorithms; how algorithms can deprive you of your rights; and so on. Algorithmic decision making is problematic; so is algorithmic credit scoring; or algorithmic stock trading. You get the picture;Continue reading “Dear Legal Academics, Please Stop Misusing The Word ‘Algorithms’”

Death Of A Password

Time to bid farewell to an old, dear, and familiar friend, a seven-character one whose identity was inscribed, as if by magic, on my fingertips, which flew over the keyboard to bring it to life, time and time again. The time has come for me to lay it to rest, after years and years ofContinue reading “Death Of A Password”

The Fragile Digital World Described By Zeynep Tufkeci Invites Smashing

In “The Looming Digital Meltdown” (New York Times, January 7th), Zeynep Tufekci writes, We have built the digital world too rapidly. It was constructed layer upon layer, and many of the early layers were never meant to guard so many valuable things: our personal correspondence, our finances, the very infrastructure of our lives. Design shortcutsContinue reading “The Fragile Digital World Described By Zeynep Tufkeci Invites Smashing”

Ken Englehart’s Exceedingly Lame Argument Against Net Neutrality

Over at the New York Times, Ken Englehart, “a lawyer specializing in communications law, is a senior adviser for StrategyCorp, an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and a senior fellow at the C. D. Howe Institute” offers us an astonishing argument suggesting we not worry about the FCC’s move to repeal Net Neutrality.Continue reading “Ken Englehart’s Exceedingly Lame Argument Against Net Neutrality”

Contra Cathy O’Neil, The ‘Ivory Tower’ Does Not ‘Ignore Tech’

In ‘Ivory Tower Cannot Keep On Ignoring Tech‘ Cathy O’Neil writes: We need academia to step up to fill in the gaps in our collective understanding about the new role of technology in shaping our lives. We need robust research on hiring algorithms that seem to filter out peoplewith mental health disorders…we need research to ensureContinue reading “Contra Cathy O’Neil, The ‘Ivory Tower’ Does Not ‘Ignore Tech’”

The Distinct Relief Of Being (Partially) ‘Off-Line’

I’ve been off blogging for a while, and for good reason: I’d been traveling and did not bother to try to stay online during my travels. Interestingly enough, had I bothered to exert myself ever so slightly in this regard, I could have maintained a minimal presence online here at this blog by posting aContinue reading “The Distinct Relief Of Being (Partially) ‘Off-Line’”