Technology is a tool: it is a process by which political and human desires are instantiated in the world. What is significant about that instantiation is that it must take a visible form. It may be a written, readable code, or a physical infrastructure in the landscape: servers in data centres, cameras on poles by the roadside, rusting signs on forecourt walls declaring the owner’s intentions.
When there is pressure to obscure that infrastructure—camouflaging cameras, closing down networks, or blocking freedom of information requests—a corresponding pressure is exerted on the very democracy it purports to uphold.
The NSA: An Inside View. Interesting essay from a former NSA employee.
To make journalism harder, slower, less secure. Great observations from Jay Rosen about the current challenge to journalism from the surveillance state.
All I know is that anyone living anywhere theoretically has the ability to do what I do, for any company based anywhere in the world — just like anyone can be a journalist, or write software or develop apps or design products, or edit books or movies or music, or do a thousand other things that only require a PC and an Internet connection.
That can cause problems for governments, obviously, since they are used to seeing jobs as things that can be contained by national borders and put in discrete little boxes for neat categorization, so that the visas can be issues (and taxes can be assessed). But the reality is that many of us don’t live in such a neat and tidy world any more, and while that may look like a threat to some, it’s also a huge opportunity — and that’s part of what we mean when we talk about the future of work.
Matthew Ingram — Detained by U.S. Customs: Some thoughts about the future of work.
Fliers Still Must Turn Off Devices, but It’s Not Clear Why. This is my least favorite aspect of flying. The notion that my tiny Kindle can endanger an airplane is ludicrous. Laws and regulations that have no basis in reality make me want to bash my head against a wall.
I’m headed to Spain this morning to hang out with Cam who’s spending 6 months working in Lasarte-Oria. From there I’m headed east to Marseille to see my brother who’s studying abroad.
Should be a great 11 day trip. I decided to go super light so I’m all packed up into a 22 litre day pack. At first I had a small canvas bag as well since Cam was craving some Adam’s peanut butter. Sadly, it turns out TSA doesn’t like a large glass jar of peanut butter so that didn’t make it past security.
Some real Shock and Awe: Racially profiled and cuffed in Detroit. A fascinating read about the problems inherent in trading individual liberties for a sense of security.
My high school’s new grading system makes it trivial to view other students’ info (read: grades). Implications?. Fascinating Reddit thread with advice to a student who found a major vulnerability in the school’s online grades system. Reminds of what Daniel found a couple years ago. (via Ian Stewart)