Tag Archives: internet

Facebook’s Not Designed to Create a “Global Community”

Mother Jones

In the early 1960’s, Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan coined the term “global village.” He predicted that electronic technologies would come to connect citizens around the world, forming one huge community. Mark Zuckerberg, whose company Facebook has 1.8 billion users worldwide, continues to echo the idea in his public talks, including in February when he apologized about the spread of fake news on his platform and restated his mission to “build a global community that works for all of us.” But was McLuhan right? Have the internet’s inventions brought us closer together?

Ramesh Srinivasan, a professor at UCLA, raises this question in his debut book Whose Global Village? Rethinking How Technology Impacts Our World. As a researcher focused on the relationship between technology, politics, and society, Srinivasan proposes a deconstruction of Western tech company narratives. He points out that today’s most popular technological tools were developed by just a few men in Silicon Valley. And while their social media platforms may be wildly popular, these founders tend to get too much credit for influencing events around the globe. For instance, Srinivasan points out that there is a belief that the Egyptian revolution during the Arab Spring in 2011 was only possible thanks to Twitter and Facebook—actually, less than 10 percent of Egyptians had access to those platforms in their homes at the time.

Srinivasan also shares his own experiences about community empowerment through technology with Native Americans in California and New Mexico, and with locals in Egypt and in rural India. In addition to greater transparency in contracts established on the Internet, the author urges for the creation of more tech tools that respect cultural values ​​and the voices of local communities.

Mother Jones: Why did you write this book?

Ramesh Srinivasan: The book really comes out of my own personal experience. I am a former engineer and I was really excited about the possibility of building better technology to serve humanity. A lot of us as engineers have this belief that if you build a tool you somehow can empower humans economically or socially. The idea of building a better technology often means more efficiency. When I was in graduate school at MIT I was trying to think about how to develop software and systems for farmers and villagers in India. In the process of doing that, I realized that my reference point was internal to the laboratory, rather than in the communities that I was wanting to serve. So in a sense I was not necessarily thinking about the values, belief systems, and the realities that are being experiencing by the communities that I was supposed to be working with. I realized that I could no longer assume what a good technology looks like from inside the laboratory; instead, I had to be in the world with people. Not just designing for them but with them.

MJ: What is the real meaning of technology to you?

RS: Technology is nothing but an expression of human values. It’s not neutral, it’s not about efficiency, it’s about people’s values and their knowledge. If you share information widely, but you present that information in ways that fits your own view, you’re actually still misrepresenting. So instead what you should do is figure out ways to build systems that allow people to experience and classify their information in ways that are meaningful for them.

MJ: What is the “global village,” and why is it a myth?

RS: It was a term that was stated by Marshall McLuhan; his prediction was some kind of electronic communication technology would emerge to instantaneously connect the world so much so that the whole globe would be like a village. The question isn’t about global village but whose global village. The point I’m trying to make is if these networks of communication technologies are owned, monetized, surveilled, and classified by those with power—very few people, mainly white men in Silicon Valley—then it is a global village build upon the ideas, visions, words, and protocols of the few. So it’s not global—it’s like Epcot center. It’s like Disneyland: a small worldview of the larger world.

MJ: As you said, Twitter and Facebook were accessed in fewer than 10 percent of Egyptian homes in 2011. Why do people believe the revolution was led by this kind of technology?

RS: Some of the activists of course were using social media. But overall in the country, including in Cairo, a very small percentage were using it. They were using these tools to influence journalism, to influence the international coverage. The Egyptians used every form of organizing they could think of and they built coalitions. A lot of the people that were involved in this had been organizing for 30 or 40 years.

MJ: Why do you say that inequality today is a major part of the story of the internet?

RS: In its early days the Internet seem to be a counter cultural space and an anti corporate space, now is the place for corporate economic production. What the internet is now isn’t what it used to be and it doesn’t have to be what it turns into. Instagram was sold to Facebook for $1 billion with 13 employees in the Bay Area. In the same year, Kodak, which had employed more than 40,000 people, was bankrupt. What is happening in a digital economy where 40,000 people lose their jobs and 13 people become super millionaires? Those systems are created in such way that support the capturing of data, keeping of data, buying and selling the data to support what we call corporate surveillance. These are things that are happening right now and they’re really bad.

MJ: What are the main conceptual changes that the World Wide Web has faced since the 1990’s? It was a more decentralized structure before, right?

RS: Absolutely, it was horizontal, decentralized. It was like being in Wild West, the frontier. There is a reason why Electronic Frontier Foundation is called that way. It was supposed to be this open place where all sorts of crazy stuff could happen, like unpredictable, uncontrolled space, that really supported autonomy and privacy, but still worked because people had an idea of social contract. You could kind of be free and expressive but you already knew when you joined the internet, you knew that you should not be a troll. So what happened? Part of it is the internet scaled to such a degree so the kind of idea of a social contract or a community became increasingly difficult to maintain. Part of it is that platforms took over the open internet. You began to experience the internet through platforms that were themselves controlled by specific companies, technical instruments of those companies, like search and retrieval and ordering and classification.

MJ: Isn’t it also a problem of scale?

RS: Scale doesn’t need to mean the absence of decentralization. If you create networks that allow people in their own local systems to have power and agency and sovereignty in their own systems. The idea that people could just know what’s happening with their data. You could work with the platform, in communication with it, more than “I’m just like experiencing as a blind person in a black box”.

MJ: Do you think we should have more legislation about privacy?

RS: Not just about privacy, but also about community sovereignty. Communities that are using the internet should be aware of what the terms of their contract are with these platforms and they don’t even know. Google and Facebook extend internet access across the world, but the access is generally speaking to an internet that is focused on the advertisers to those sites. So I’m really interested not just in privacy for the individual but respect for the local communities. And I think we have a problem with both and whenever industries kind of become almost monopolistic they have to be challenged to be more responsible. We can challenge them in the press, in the courts and in regulation.

MJ: I’m afraid that government ruling the internet might not be a good thing either.

RS: I think the governments need to encourage these companies and convince them that they can be extremely profitable without necessarily spiraling out of control. Without becoming monopolist. But we are getting close to the point where as every platform of tech that has any level of scale gets bought by either Google or Facebook or sometimes Microsoft. We are getting to the point where we see some oligopoly in terms of behavior online, and that it’s really problematic because the oligopolies are completely non transparent, they are terrible in terms of labor and economic equality and they support systems of surveillance. It can create a world where we are all placed in bubbles, where the systems themselves can be manipulated by people who don’t have our best interests in mind. The fake news thing came out that system. Fake news is a product of the internet that is not transparent. Fake news can spread online because as users we have no idea where any of the content we see comes from.

MJ: What do you see happening with the big tech companies right now?

RS: We are at a moment that some of the Silicon Valley companies are feeling the pressure. These days the founder of Twitter apologized that his company promoted some of the things that elected Trump. You don’t see that much of these apologizing from Google. From Zuckerberg you are hearing a little bit more of it, but he is a little more “Oh, well, this is what happens because the internet scaled up and everybody has fake news; oh, we are gonna build a better technology”. This is what engineers in Silicon Valley typically do. “Ok, well, of course there are some problems of our technology because it is so excellent and is so global so we are just gonna build a better one.” What do you mean by better? They are not understating that they are so politically and socially and culturally central in the world. They would probably never have thought that they would become like this. But now that they are, what are they gonna do about it? I have a lots of friends who work in these companies: it’s about taking responsibility.

Continue reading here: 

Facebook’s Not Designed to Create a “Global Community”

Posted in Citizen, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Live From New York It’s…(The End Of The Season Of) Saturday Night Live!

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

Saturday Night Live has been around forever. The first season wasn’t even on TV, it was performed in the fields, where people lived for millennia prior to the advent of structures. Since then the NBC sketch show has experienced hills & valleys in terms of both relevance and quality. Though the jury on the latter is still deliberating, with regard to the former it seems pretty safe to say 2017 is a peak. Everyone watches because of Trump & co, a clownish bunch who are often hard to distinguish from satire in life but somehow still laid bare in comedy.

The internet has done lots of fun and wonderful things but it’s also done bad and terrible things and, most confusingly, things that are both good and bad. Facebook has turned the world into news consumers. That is both good and bad. Good: More readers of news! Bad: No one can escape the news. So these weeks we’ve had of breaking news interrupting developing news interrupting holy shit omg news, and all of it very serious and terrible and dramatic and unreal, make everyone exhausted. They’re exhausting. So we all gather around basic cable together, like our parents and their parents before us, for some cathartic jokes about Trump and his merry band of incompetent kleptocrats.

One of my favorite lines is from the Hayden Carruth poem Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey. “Here we are now in the White Tower, leaning on one another, too tired to go home.”

It us.

Anyway, tonight is the season finale!

The Rock is the host and Katy Perry, who I still can’t hear without getting sad about the election, is the musical guest.

The cold open had the Trumps (and Death?) singing Hallelujah.

It was a call back to this:

&lt;br /&gt;

Then the Rock said he was going to run for president with Tom Hanks.

Remember a few inches above this when I was like, “Death?” That was supposed to be Steve Bannon in the cold open. It’s a recurring thing. I forgot!

Here’s an earlier skit with Bannon as Death:

Then Alec Baldwin really took his Trump impersonation to a whole new level:

Just kidding. That is a scene from the 90s thriller Malice.

This is the real clip from tonight. Alec does a perfect Trump impersonation.

This post is being updated.

Excerpt from: 

Live From New York It’s…(The End Of The Season Of) Saturday Night Live!

Posted in Everyone, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Everyone On The Internet Is Fighting About This Image. What Do You Think It Is?

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

Good afternoon.

What is this?

Twitter user @wayne5540 made this amazing observation today. But what exactly is the observation? People can’t agree!

Do you know? Because I know. The internet isn’t sure. “What is this drawing?” asks the internet.

Is it a cat?

An Elephant?

The United States of America?

What do you think?

#qp_main1071606 .qp_btna:hover input background:#00355F!important #qp_all1071606 max-width:815px; margin:0 auto;

What is this?

Cat

Elephant

USA

Something else


survey maker

It’s an elephant.

Have a nice day.

See more here: 

Everyone On The Internet Is Fighting About This Image. What Do You Think It Is?

Posted in Citizen, Everyone, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Macron Campaign Hit With "Massive and Coordinated" Hacking Attack

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

A massive trove of documents purporting to contain thousands of emails and other files from the campaign of Emmanuel Macron—the French centrist candidate squaring off against right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen—was posted on the internet Friday afternoon. The Macron campaign says that at least some of the documents are fake. The document dump came just over a day before voting is set to begin in the final round of the election and mere hours before candidates are legally required to stop campaigning.

At about 2:35 p.m. ET, a post appeared on the 4chan online message board announcing the leak. The documents appear to include emails, internal memos, and screenshots of purported banking records.

“In this pastebin are links to torrents of emails between Macron, his team and other officials, politicians as well as original documents and photos,” the anonymous 4chan poster wrote. “This was passed on to me today so now I am giving it to you, the people. The leak is massvie and released in the hopes that the human search engine here will be able to start sifting through the contents and figure out exactly what we have here.”

The Macron campaign issued a statement Friday night saying it was the victim of a “massive and coordinated” hacking attack. That campaign said the leak included some fake documents that were intended “to sow doubt and misinformation.”

The Macron camp compared the document dump to last year’s hacking of emails associated with Hillary Clinton. The US intelligence community has concluded that Russia was responsible for the Clinton hacks. “This operation is obviously a democratic destabilization as was seen in the United States during the last presidential campaign,” the Macron statement said.

The timing of the leak is particularly noteworthy. Under French law, candidates and their campaigns cannot speak to the media or do anything in public in the 24 hours before the start of Sunday’s election. The Macron campaign’s statement was issued three minutes before the deadline.

It’s unclear when the files originally appeared on the internet. The official Twitter account for WikiLeaks—the group that released the Clinton emails last year—tweeted a link to a page where the Macron data was hosted at 1:13 p.m. ET.

“Fully analyzing the hacked documents to verify that they are genuine will take some time, but from what I’ve seen so far, it looks very serious,” said Matt Tait, a former information security specialist for the GCHQ (the United Kingdom’s equivalent of the National Security Agency) and CEO of Capital Alpha Security.

In February, Macron said he had evidence his campaign had “suffered repeated and multiple attacks from hackers” and that “many come from Ukraine.” At the time, the Macron campaign blamed the Russian government for the attacks, a claim the Kremlin denied. The campaign suspected the attacks were coming their way because of Macron’s tough stance on Russia. Le Pen, on the other hand, has taken a much more favorable stance toward Russia.

Earlier on Friday, according to the New York Times, the Le Pen campaign claimed in a statement that its campaign website had been the victim of “regular and targeted” attacks, and that a hacker “close to extreme-left circles” had been arrested.

Taken from – 

Macron Campaign Hit With "Massive and Coordinated" Hacking Attack

Posted in ALPHA, Cyber, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Oster, PUR, Radius, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Revisiting the Rodney King Verdict 25 Years Later

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

On April 29, 1992, Los Angeles was engulfed in flames after a jury acquitted four LAPD officers who had been charged in the beating of Rodney King, an African-American motorist. Videos and images of King’s brutalization were widely circulated, provoking an immediate call for justice. When that call went unheeded, the ensuing unrest ignited a wave of violence, death, and financial loss in America’s second-largest city. Fifty-four people were killed in the riots, nearly 12,000 were arrested, and the city incurred more than $1 billion in damages. (The following year, two of the officers were convicted in federal court of violating King’s civil rights; the other two were acquitted once again.)

The parallels between modern-day police brutality and the 1991 King beating serve as a grim reminder of how little has changed today, despite efforts to reform law enforcement. Here are four documentaries and television specials that offer a window into the enduring legacy of the King verdict:

  1. LA Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later
    Despite being a retrospective, A&E’s special does not allow readers to retreat from the present-day, unfurling images of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin at the start of the two-hour film. LA Burning spins through first-person recollections from a week of dark, incendiary nights in Los Angeles. The grievances and discontent of rioters are visible onscreen, and notable interviewees include George Holliday, the photographer whose video of King’s beating went viral in the pre-Internet age. The special is available to stream on A&E’s website.
  2. LA 92
    At a midnight speech in Sacramento, California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) declares a state of emergency in LA: “This is a matter that needs to be settled in the courts and not in the streets,” he tells residents. Using archival footage, LA 92 is National Geographic Channel’s reconstructed glimpse into the turbulence roiling the city during the riots. We shuttle from images of the California National Guard on standby duty to moments of quiet calm at the First AME Church, where African-American city council member Rita Walters tells crowds, “Tonight we must tell our children one more time: Stay cool, be calm…that for African-American children and adults, freedom is not yet a reality in the United States.” The film premieres on Sunday, April 30, on National Geographic.
  3. The Lost Tapes: LA Riots
    As conflagrations spread across Los Angeles, first responders, dispatchers, and law enforcement agents scrambled to ensure the city did not fully descend into flames. Their voices are among those highlighted in this program from the Smithsonian Channel, which stitches together raw footage and homemade videos capturing the riots at the height of their intensity—some of it rarely-seen footage. “I can smell the fires,” one resident phones into a local radio station. “I’m really angry, and I’m really very scared. I just spent the last 10 years of my life in college. But it doesn’t really matter because even with a briefcase in my hand and suit on my back, I’m still just another nigger to the cops out there.” The episode is available online.
  4. Burn Motherf*cker, Burn!
    Showtime’s 99-minute documentary evaluates the events preceding the King beating, outlining the LAPD’s long history of systematic racism. The Sacha Jenkins film revisits the 1965 Watts riots, which were sparked by the arrest of African-American driver Marquette Frye. The six-day rebellion that followed in this largely African-American LA neighborhood killed 34 people and led to approximately 4,000 arrests. It was the costliest urban riot of its period, and it served as a precursor to the 1992 riots. The documentary also examines California’s Simi Valley, the predominantly white community to which the King trial was moved after fears of media saturation led to a venue change. No black citizens served on the Simi Valley jury that acquitted the officers. The full film is available on Showtime’s website.

Source: 

Revisiting the Rodney King Verdict 25 Years Later

Posted in Citizen, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Radius, Smith's, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Revisiting the Rodney King Verdict 25 Years Later