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”

Report On Brooklyn College Teach-In On ‘Web Surveillance And Security’

Yesterday, as part of ‘The Brooklyn College Teach-In & Workshop Series on Resistance to the Trump Agenda,’ I facilitated a teach-in on the topic of ‘web surveillance and security.’ During my session I made note of some of the technical and legal issues that are play in these domains, and how technology and law haveContinue reading “Report On Brooklyn College Teach-In On ‘Web Surveillance And Security’”

Self-Policing In Response To Pervasive Surveillance

On Thursday night, in the course of conversation with some of my Brooklyn College colleagues, I confessed to having internalized a peculiar sort of ‘chilling effect’ induced by a heightened sensitivity to our modern surveillance state. To wit, I said something along the lines of “I would love to travel to Iran and Pakistan, butContinue reading “Self-Policing In Response To Pervasive Surveillance”

Are There No Ethically Uncompromised Lunches In The Universe?

Once upon a time a farmer told his neighbors that they could use his land for ‘free’–as a kind of community recreational space. His neighbors were told they could set up little stalls. where they could play music, show off their handicrafts, display family photo albums, and of course, walk over to their friends’ spacesContinue reading “Are There No Ethically Uncompromised Lunches In The Universe?”

Beyonce And The Singularity

A couple of decades ago, I strolled through Washington Square Park on a warm summer night, idly observing the usual hustle and bustle of students, tourists, drunks, buskers, ┬áhustlers, stand-up comedians, and sadly, folks selling oregano instead of good-to-honest weed. As I did so, I noticed a young man, holding up flyers and yelling, ‘LegalizeContinue reading “Beyonce And The Singularity”

Not So Fast With The Private Surveillance

A revealing–no pun intended–reaction to news of Steven Salaita’s troubles at the University of Illinois was that he was only paying the price for having his social media speech monitored (or surveilled) by his employer. As the argument goes, all employers monitor social media; we should all accept the consequences–in our places and zones ofContinue reading “Not So Fast With The Private Surveillance”

Political Schooling Via The Usenet Newsgroup

As my post yesterday should have indicated, we are educated by a variety of modalities. A powerfully formative one for me was my exposure to Usenet newsgroups. I discovered newsgroups in 1988, shortly after I began work as a research assistant with the Computerized Conferencing and Communications Center at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.Continue reading “Political Schooling Via The Usenet Newsgroup”

Programs as Agents, Persons, or just Programs?

Last week, The Nation published my essay “Programs are People, Too“. In it, I argued for treating smart programs as the legal agents of those that deploy them, a legal change I suggest would be more protective of our privacy rights. Among some of the responses I received was one from a friend, JW, whoContinue reading “Programs as Agents, Persons, or just Programs?”

Random Searches on the New York Subway: A User’s Story

Today’s post will simply make note of an interesting (and alarming) email I’ve received from a reader. Please do share this widely. Some time ago I was researching the random bag check policy for the NYC subway system and stumbled across your blog posting [on random searches on the New York subway]. Until today IContinue reading “Random Searches on the New York Subway: A User’s Story”

Facebook and Writers’ Status Messages

My last post on Facebook led me to think a bit more its–current and possible–integration into our lives, especially those conducted online. As ‘net users are by now aware, almost any site you visit on the ‘net features a Facebook button so that you can indicate whether you ‘Like’ the page and thus, share itContinue reading “Facebook and Writers’ Status Messages”