Tag Archives: Social networks

A New Reason for Foreigners to Avoid Google and Facebook

By Leonid Bershidsky – A Philadelphia court has made the unfortunate decision to reopen the legal debate on whether the U.S. has the right to access e-mails stored on foreign servers if they belong to U.S. companies.

That’s a dangerous approach that hurts the international expansion of U.S. tech companies. Privacy-minded customers in Europe are already suspicious of the U.S. government’s cooperation with the tech giants, revealed by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Nationalist politicians in some countries — for example, Marine Le Pen of the French National Front — want to ban cross-border personal data transfers, arguing that such data must be stored on servers inside the internet user’s country. That, however, does not appear to guarantee that the U.S. won’t get at it, either.

Those who are uneasy about the degree of the U.S. government’s reach into their private files and communications need to start thinking about alternatives, no matter how hard it may be to replace Google, Microsoft or Facebook. more> https://goo.gl/a1hqfP

How social media is crippling democracy, and why we seem powerless to stop it

Tech-assisted gaslighting is destroying truth, justice, and the American way. Can anything be done?

By ason Perlow – Because so many of us that “are on the spectrum” work in technology, and so many of us use these tools for business and not just for recreational purposes, we all have to work extra hard to hone our “soft” skills, as all of these tools are not particularly helpful in developing our interpersonal relationships and how we interact with people in the real world.

The more disconnected from face-to-face relationships we become, the more our soft skills atrophy. And these tools not only make the soft skills deteriorate, but they also reinforce bad habits and amplify our negative personality traits.

We all know someone whose personality traits are amplified in this way.

These tools can do much more than alter and distort the way we perceive our relationships with others and how others perceive us. These tools can alter our very sense of reality. more> https://goo.gl/BXBk9J

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Free speech debates are more than ‘radicals’ vs ‘liberals’

BOOK REVIEW

Hate Speech and Democratic Citizenship, Author: Eric Heinze.
Excitable Speech, Author: Judith Butler.
On Liberty, Author: John Stuart Mill.

By Eric Heinze – The main schism in today’s free speech debates pits liberals, advocating unbridled speech as a tool of freedom, against radicals, who unmask unbridled speech as a tool of class privilege. But that rift tells only one story.

In almost all democracies today (the United States being the sole and oft-criticized exception), mainline liberal doctrines overwhelmingly require limits on provocative speech. Liberals today largely consent to drawing lines between the lawful and the unlawful expression of ideas.

They disagree only about where that boundary should lie. Indeed, an ever more distinct libertarianism has arisen in diametric opposition to the ‘balance of interests’ approaches of our more conventional liberal approaches. The strident (though still minority) libertarian would wholly abolish those lines in favor of free speech. Accordingly, far from dissenting from the more mainstream liberal line-drawing, radicals wish merely to draw the lines more tightly around certain types of expression. They differ from liberals only as a matter of degree, not as a matter of principle, even when they appear to adopt different philosophies or vocabularies.

If we want to avoid the impasses and repetitions plaguing the free-speech debates, one way is to stop assuming that ‘the liberal position’ always dictates one outcome, and ‘the radical position’ another. Both approaches supply plausible justifications for supporting restrictions on public discourse – but even stronger grounds for opposing them. more> https://goo.gl/DxjOMc

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Putin’s Real Long Game

By Molly K. McKew – What both administrations fail to realize is that the West is already at war, whether it wants to be or not. It may not be a war we recognize, but it is a war. This war seeks, at home and abroad, to erode our values, our democracy, and our institutional strength; to dilute our ability to sort fact from fiction, or moral right from wrong; and to convince us to make decisions against our own best interests.

So far, Trump seems far more likely than any of his predecessors to accelerate, rather than resist, the unwinding of the postwar order. And that could be a very bad — or an unexpectedly good — thing. So far, he has chosen to act as if the West no longer matters, seemingly blind to the danger that Putin’s Russia presents to American security and American society.

The question ahead of us is whether Trump will aid the Kremlin’s goals with his anti-globalist, anti-NATO rhetoric– or whether he’ll clearly see the end of the old order, grasp the nature of the war we are in, and have the vision and the confrontational spirit to win it. more> https://goo.gl/vgwEmY

In 2017, Cost Per Bit Exceeds Revenues

By Carol Wilson – This is the year when most telecom network operators will see their revenue-per-bit fall below their cost-per-bit, says a veteran industry analyst, and that financial reality is going to reverberate through the industry for at least the next two years, prompting further consolidation and cuts by network gear makers, as operator capex budgets shrink.

Companies such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) have been very open in saying the revenue-cost crossover drives their aggressive transformation efforts, because they recognize it is impossible to meet bandwidth requirements of the future doing things the way they’ve been done in the past.

That will mean continued price pressure on equipment vendors, CIMI Corp. CEO Tom Nolle, maintains. He points to declining revenues, quarter over quarter, for companies such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and to the fact that Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is alone among vendors in growing its revenues because it is a price leader in many categories.

The analyst expects 2017 and 2018, at minimum, to be pretty bleak years for the telecom equipment space. more> https://goo.gl/ayoS7W

I’ve left Twitter. It is unusable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators

By Lindy West – Twitter, for the past five years, has been a machine where I put in unpaid work and tension headaches come out. I write jokes there for free. I post political commentary for free. I answer questions for free. I teach feminism 101 for free.

Off Twitter, these are all things by which I make my living – in fact, they comprise the totality of my income.

But on Twitter, I do them pro bono and, in return, I am micromanaged in real time by strangers; neo-Nazis mine my personal life for vulnerabilities to exploit; and men enjoy unfettered, direct access to my brain so they can inform me, for the thousandth time, that they would gladly rape me if I weren’t so fat.

I talk back and I am “feeding the trolls.” I say nothing and the harassment escalates. I report threats and I am a “censor.” I use mass-blocking tools to curb abuse and I am abused further for blocking “unfairly.” I have to conclude, after half a decade of troubleshooting, that it may simply be impossible to make this platform usable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators.” more> https://goo.gl/YTbReR

2017 Will Be The Year Of Cyber Warfare

By Paul Laudicina – I am pleased to share the “top ten” predictions for the year ahead from A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council.

The first prediction among these top ten, that a crippling cyber attack on critical infrastructure in a major economy will occur—an attack we all won’t miss in the headlines, or forget —is the one I believe merits the most attention. It demonstrates clearly that the current power politics dynamic has shifted dramatically. In the space of the last half century, hard power has given way to soft power which has in turn now yielded increasingly to cyber power.

And the challenge to leadership at every level of both the public and private sector to protect our physical, financial, institutional and ideological assets is considerable.

During the mid-20th century, “hard” military and economic might was how power was measured, with the high costs of “mutually assured destruction” acting as a deterrent against another world war.

After the fall of the Berlin wall, “soft” power, the ability to shape the preferences of others “through attraction rather than coercion or payments,” became the most influential medium advancing the interests of great powers, particularly the United States with its dominance in media, entertainment, lifestyle, and popular culture. more> https://goo.gl/ya3PyZ

Lessons From a Dark Year in Syria

By Noah Feldman – The fall of Aleppo at the close of 2016 signals an especially depressing future for the civil war, the region, and the vast number of refugees within Syria and beyond. For all practical purposes, the end of this battle means that the Syrian dictatorship has, with Russian help, won its war for survival.

However, there is no clear path for the Assad regime to wipe out the last of the rebels.So fighting will continue, and a rump Syrian Sunni statelet will persist. And because displaced Sunnis will remain deeply wary of going home to places now controlled by the hostile regime, the long war’s refugee problem may become permanent. That’s no small matter. In scope it dwarfs the Palestinian refugee crises of 1948 or 1967.

The human rights failure in Aleppo is on par with other failures in recent decades, from Srebrenica to Rwanda. more> https://goo.gl/VzovDA

Are humans evolving beyond the need to tell stories?

BOOK REVIEW

Phone, Author: Will Self.
Pride and Prejudice, Author: Jane Austen.
Ulysses, Author: James Joyce.

By Will Self – The neuroscientist Susan Greenfield has been prominent in arguing that our new digital lives are profoundly altering the structure of our brains. This is undoubtedly the case – but then all human activities impact upon the individual brain as they’re happening; this by no means implies a permanent alteration, let alone a heritable one.

After all, so far as we can tell the gross neural anatomy of the human has remained unchanged for hundreds of millennia, while the age of bi-directional digital media only properly dates – in my view – from the inception of wireless broadband in the early 2000s, hardly enough time for natural selection to get to work on the adaptive advantages of … tweeting.

If we take seriously the conclusions of these recent neuroscientific studies, one fact is indisputable: whatever the figures for books sales (either in print or digital form), reading for pleasure has been in serious decline for over a decade.

That this form of narrative absorption (if you’ll forgive the coinage) is closely correlated with high attainment and wellbeing may tell us nothing about the underlying causation, but the studies do demonstrate that the suite of cognitive aptitudes needed to decipher text and turn it into living, breathing, visible and tangible worlds seem to wither away once we stop turning the pages and start goggling at virtual tales. more> https://goo.gl/8eOXh4

Is Clear Thinking Morally Superior?

Many of us think so, a new study finds, and that could explain why arguments over science and faith get so heated.
By Nathan Collins – Our traditional founts of moral wisdom, religious institutions, have not always been the strongest supporters of clear, empirically based thought. Just ask Galileo, Darwin, or pretty much any climate scientist.

“Opinions grounded in moral conviction are different from equally strong but amoral opinions, in that they are perceived as ‘oughts’ rather than as personal preferences, and lead to intolerance towards those that are attitudinally dissimilar,” psychologists Tomas Stahl, Maarten Zaal, and Linda Skitka write in PLoS One. “However, it is not only the morally motivated defenders of traditional beliefs that have been characterized as intolerant in these debates.”

“More specifically,” they continue, “we suggest that people can come to view it as a moral virtue to form and evaluate attitudes and beliefs based on logical reasoning and evidence, and to view it as a vice to rely on less rational processes, an inclination we refer to as moralized rationality.” more> https://goo.gl/g6XgM5