Why do 87% of Americans hold a favorable view of Net Neutrality? Not because the vast majority of the country has become wonkishly interested in the intersection of competition policy and telcoms regulation: it's because they care about the internet.
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Last week, we celebrated Data Privacy day. Everything we do online—whether on a computer or on a mobile device—is being tracked, traced, compiled, crunched, bought and sold by familiar tech-titans like Google, Facebook, Verizon and hundreds of lesser known data brokers who help advertisers build frighteningly detailed digital profiles of users by harvesting data from a variety of sources, including customer databases and online platforms. After I lecture to my students on this topic, rattling off a dozen mechanisms by which corporations and governments can spy and pry on us, threating both anonymity and privacy, their reaction is usually either indifference (because, you know, they think they have nothing to hide) or for those that I’ve convinced they should care, some measure of despair.
Burger King's video on "Whopper Neutrality" (see Carla's earlier post) -- an analogy to explain Net Neutrality that's also obviously a marketing campaign for Burger King -- is a surprisingly great explainer, but even more importantly, it's an important bellwether for corporate America's perception of public support for Net Neutrality.
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In Deloitte's new 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, the company notes that "connected home systems—a category that includes home security, thermostats, and lighting—continue to lag behind other connected devices such as entertainment systems and connected vehicles," which the report attributes to "concerns about security and privacy."
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As the Spanish government was hacking the Catalonian independence movement, shutting down the .cat top-level domain, and engaging mass-blocking of websites and apps to control information about yesterday's referendum on Catalonian independence, the Xnet collective published a basic (but wide-ranging) guide to "preserving fundamental rights on the Internet," suitable for anyone living under the kind of state suppression that Spain underwent. Read the rest
The Swedish Transportstyrelsen (Transport Agency) botched its outsourcing to IBM, uploading its records to IBM's cloud and then emailing cleartext copies to marketing managers, unvetted IBM employees in the Czech Republic and others. Read the rest
Yesterday's Net Neutrality day marked unprecedented public participation in the formerly fatally dull realm of telcoms policy, as 1.6 million Americans sent the FCC comments supporting Net Neutrality. Read the rest
Information security is a race between peak indifference to surveillance and the point of no return for data-collection and retention. Read the rest
Despite Trump's denial of climate change the the ghastly attacks on climate science and mitigation in the new proposed budget, the Carbon Bubble -- which overprices hydrocarbons and the industries that rely on them, as though we'll be burning all of them with impunity -- is about to pop. Read the rest
My new Locus column is "It’s Time to Short Surveillance and Go Long on Freedom," which starts by observing that Barack Obama's legacy includes a beautifully operationalized, professional and terrifying surveillance apparatus, which Donald Trump inherits as he assumes office and makes ready to make good on his promise to deport millions of Americans and place Muslims under continuous surveillance. Read the rest
My latest Locus column, "Peak Indifference", draws a comparison between the history of the "debate" about the harms of smoking (a debate manufactured by disinformation merchants with a stake in the controversy) and the current debate about the harms of surveillance and data-collection, whose proponents say "privacy is dead," while meaning, "I would be richer if your privacy were dead." Read the rest