Tag Archives: re-blog

With Google Glass, everyone can be Little Brother

Reblogged from: Access Now.

It’s not just a style thing: you may have good reason to avoid the geek at the bar or in the park wearing Google’s latest invention, the wearable interface known as Glass. One feature of the interface is the life-logging feature ‘Life Bits,’ intended to help the Glass user log the ephemera of everyday life. Despite its innocuous intent, the design has unintended consequences: Life Bits logs everyone who comes into direct contact with the Glass wearer, transforming them into a mobile recording device.

Google is positioning Glass as a revolution in the way we live, work, and interact with people, online and offline–essentially by projecting your smartphone into your eyeball.

It’s a cool concept, but at what cost? Life-logging devices like the Nike FuelBand FitBit [correction: FitBit is made by a company by the same name] have increasing numbers of fans, but Glass is among the first to capture personally identifiable information in rich media about others. This brings up a number of privacy concerns: How does consent work in these situations? Who owns the data that is collected on these devices? How and where is that data stored, and who will have access to it?

In our daily lives, we’re already under fairly pervasive surveillance: CCTVs in public places are increasingly inescapable, and online your actions are tracked by everyone from governments to marketers. But with tools like Glass, everyday citizens are poised to become Little Brothers without even realizing it.

Perfect digital memory – A good idea?

Committing each and every detail of your life to eternal digital memory is not a new, or even uniquely ‘Googley’ idea. As collecting and storing data becomes infinitely cheap and easy, many are keen to adopt such technologies that remember everything — automatically.

Microsoft has been working on something similar to Glass for several years now, known as MyLifeBits. Born out of a 2001 initiative that explored the possibility of storing all personal information that could be found in PCs, MyLifeBits evolved to try and store everything that could be captured using real-time data collection and advanced “SenseCams”: phone calls, conversations, keystrokes and mouse clicks, pictures and meetings.

And although MyLifeBits grew out of research, the “Memoto” is a pure consumer tool: a camera worn around the neck that takes a picture every 30 seconds. The Swedish startup is based on the premise that the important moments in life aren’t “only the stuff you thought you would want to remember.” The device is small and unobtrusive, and doesn’t come with a delete function, increasing the chances the camera will remain undetected, while committing the user to recording absolutely everything.

Glass: Taking surveillance to another level?

Devices like the Memoto or tools like MyLifeBits might not bother you from a privacy perspective–after all, we’re pretty much always under some type of surveillance every day. Whether at the bank, on the street, in buildings, in the metro, security cameras are littered across our urban areas. We don’t actively consent to those cameras, so what’s the difference?

Unlike cameras operated in public, laws regulating the surveillance of one individual over another are patchy, confused and most likely not well known to average citizens. And unlike Google’s usual privacy dilemmas, this isn’t about what actions the company takes, but about how its users behave.

Contrary to Google’s other products, using Glass means you become the collector of data – scanning and recording information in the real world and uploading it into the Google servers. When Glass becomes part of inevitable partnerships with other services (Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has already noted his interest) and the eventual introduction of tools like facial recognition technology, and we’re talking about turning citizens into Little Googles, collecting and storing information wherever they go.

Even before they are widely available to the public, the backlash against Glass has begun. A cafe owner in Seattle has pre-emptively banned them from his establishment, worrying that privacy-loving clients might be driven away. And while coffee isn’t the end of the world, there are plenty of more serious scenarios where indiscriminate logging could create discomfort: what about on playgrounds, schools, parks or other places where small children can be found?

What do we do about life-logging?

Despite the real concerns, it’s inevitable that life-logging technologies will only become more prevalent–and in the very near future. In fact, the Chinese search engine Baidu has already confirmed plans to launch its version of Glass, called Baidu Eye.

So what can citizens do? Ignore the people with the funny looking glasses? That’s not likely to be a real solution, as these technologies will only get smaller and more discreet – after partnering with a trendy glass maker like Warby Parker, isn’t it only a matter of time before a contact company like Bausch + Lomb?

Because of these very real privacy concerns, it will be essential for Google to indicate exactly how life-logging information is collected and where and how it will be stored. It’s no secret that governments around the world are keen to get their hands on the troves of data that consumer tech companies collect–transparency reports from companies like Twitter, Google, and Microsoft show increasing volumes of government requests for user data. It’s not hard to imagine how much more valuable unedited footage would be than metadata to certain interested parties. Or worse: a combination of the two.

There are also pending questions about ownership of the collected data. Does the data belong to the recorder, the person recorded, or the service provider? If I’m passively surveilled in my favourite restaurant, will I have the option to search through Google’s database and delete what has been recorded by the Glass wearer?

These questions must be worked out in some way as these lifelogging technologies become more widespread as these increasingly discrete devices make informed consent harder than ever. Life-logging technologies illustrate the critical importance of having strong privacy standards in place that provide citizens with greater control over their data, as well as ensuring that companies that collect and process our information do so transparently, responsibly and in accordance with data protection laws in the various jurisdictions it operates.

In Europe, a standard setting body on the protection of privacy and data protection, there is such a proposal — to find out more and to get involved, go to privacycampaign.eu.

-by Raegan MacDonald

HELP THE ELF: I Found Santa’s Missing Nice List!

Hi everyone! As you may remember, a few weeks ago PETE the Elf had a touch too much Eggnog at the Holiday Christmas Party and as he stumbled home, he lost Santa's NICE LIST.

The North Wind scattered the papers to all four corners of the world, and The Bookshelf Muse put out a call to help find them in order to SAVE CHRISTMAS.

Ever since I read about it, I've been on the lookout. And then today, EUREKA!

Yes that's right...I found part of Santa's missing NICE LIST. There it was, fluttering in the wind, half caught under the corner of my welcome mat. And shock of all shocks, I recognized the name, and I bet you will too.

Here it is below:

ImageChef.com

NAME: Jennifer Boyce & Fabiola Surya

LOCATION: North America

NICE LEVEL: Jen, 95%; Fab, 94%

NAUGHTY LEVEL: Jen, 5%; Fab 6%

OBSERVATIONS: Jen and Fab are great friends, awesome beta readers, are generous with their time and all around fantastic women. They could, however do with more pineapple! The amounts they eat is terrible.

RECOMMENDATION:     a) Coal                   b) Gift

~ ~ * ~ ~

Because poor Pete is dashing all over the place trying to hunt down the rest of Santa's missing Nice List, I decided to take care of this one myself. Ladies, I feel so blessed to know you! Though it isn't much, I hope you enjoy the gift I sent to your inbox and have a wonderful Christmas!

How about you, Readers? Is there someone you'd like to say Happy Holidays to, or tell them how much they mean to you? JOIN US! There's plenty of days left until Christmas, and sometimes a kind word can lift people up in a way that they really need. It's as easy as sending a free ecard or email note, posting on a Facebook wall or sending out a tweet. So go ahead and spread some kindness and cheer!

Photo credit:

assorted gold baubles (christmasstockimages.com) / CC BY 3.0

A Couple Things That Puzzle Me

The last few weeks, several of my interactions online have boggled my mind. It’s not stupidity (I’ll get to that shortly), it’s the reactions of a few folks to things I’ve said, or done. I’ve chatted on facebook with a couple of female friends and they’ve told me about some of their issues and how they feel. That’s not what confuses me. The part that boggles my mind, is when I tell them how much they mean to me, or compliment them, they act as if I’m the greatest person ever. These are amazing women. Surely I can’t be the only one that sees, and appreciates, this?

Another thing that has me confused: Not too long ago, I talked about how awesome I found a pair of books (1 & 2) by R.S.Guthrie and I also reblogged a post from a funny lady, Sweet Mother. Both of these wonderful people seemed to think I was pretty cool for doing this. The part I don’t understand is, is it simple appreciation, of were my actions that rare? Eh, it’s got to be simple appreciation.

Okay, now for the part you’ve been waiting for: The stupidity I have encountered. Not too long ago, at the place where I do most of my writing (Peace & A Cup Of Joe, if you’re in Baltimore, come check it out. It’s awesome), a group of people came in to hold a meeting. They’re trying to get the U.S. to become a Socialist state. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your outlook), I sat and listened. I don’t remember what their name is, or what their website is, or I’d link to it. (I seem to be link happy today)
So, the stupidity, for me, came in with a few of the things they were spouting. For example: Did you know that in Cuba, they have a vaccine for brain cancer? They can’t distribute it to the world because the United States and our Allies have an embargo on that country. Never mind the fact that Elian Gonzalez came here from Cuba back in the 90s and hundreds of others have, too. Let’s also ignore the fact that that would be worth Trillions of dollars and couldn’t be held back for anything. Let’s focus on what was said with a perfectly straight face: “They. Have. A Cure. For. Brain Cancer. In. Cuba.WHAT?! Let’s break down why this is impossible, shall we?
1) Brain cancer is not caused by viruses. It’s a result of cells mutating uncontrollably.
2) There are about 120 kinds of brain cancer.
3) It’s Cuba. Despite what the pro Cuba people want the world to believe, it’s not a good country. If it were, there would be more people sneaking in not out. They don’t even recognize the Scientific Method. Da fuq?! How can you say Cuba is a world leader in Science without recognizing the most important factor of science?

Another thing these fools spouted got me steaming:
When they come into power (their words), they will take all the money from banks and corporations and give it to everybody, starting with the homeless. What the fuck?! That’s money you and I worked our asses off for! No one is entitled to it but those that worked for it. Listen: I’ve not yet made more than $11,000 a year. You rob Bill Gates to give me some of his money, I’m gonna kick you in the groin and give it back. I don’t do handouts. I’m sure there are other who feel the same as me, but unfortunately, there are too many who will gladly sit on their butts and take. My question is this: Without banks and corporations, there are no jobs. With no jobs there is no money. What are you going to do when no one has anything? Beg for help from others?

And… I’m done for now. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Talk to me!

Blog Hop

Okay, I was invited to do this last month, but I forgot all about it (Sorry, Ms. Brown! :-$) It’s a little thing called a blog hop. Evidently, it’s used to get to meet more people (and maybe to boost blog viewership?). I figure it sounds fun, so here’s my stab at it (I’m going to cheat and answer the questions after :-D)

Rules:

***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress)
on your blog
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop
over and meet them.

Questions:

1. What is the working title of your book?

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

3. What genre does your book fall under?

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

10. What else about your book might piqué the reader’s interest?

Next up, I tag:

[List 5 other bloggers]

1) I have three, or four, in progress, so I’ll give the title of the one that is the closest to being finished: Into The Realm: The Chronicles of Carter Blake, Book 1 (I’ll post a link to the raw version shortly after I create it).
2) The idea of my book came from many places: I’m a big Dungeons & Dragons fan (look), I’m a big video game fan, and I’m a fan of fantasy in general.
3) See above. 😀 (That was easy)
4) Oh, that’s a tough one. Carter would have to be a young unknown, Dearbhaile would be played by either Anne Hathaway or Natalie Portman, Angriz would be one of the following four people: Clancy Brown, Michael Rosenbaum, Sam Jackson, or James Earl Jones. (That’s a lot of links)
5) A 14-year-old book journeys to the Realm of his favorite game and learns everything is not as he believes.
6) I’m going to self publish the whole way.
7) The first draft took me about a year to write. (Wow. I didn’t realize it was that long.)
8) I’d have to compare it to D&D books as well as the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind: Gaming mixed with adult themes. (Note, adult themes does not equal erotica)
9) An event and a person inspired me: Wizards of the Coast told me I couldn’t write a Dungeons & Dragons book, and my then girlfriend, Valerie suggested I write on based on a made-up tabletop role-playing game.
10) My main character is 14 and telling you how his story began. Also, Carter pops up in almost all of my other projects, too.

And now to link to other bloggers:

The young lady who introduced me to this idea.
An awesome gentleman, and fantastic author, who is helping me to improve my writing.
A funny man who is a fellow beginning author.
This blog has helped me go from a mediocre writer to a better one.
The site of a great writer.

Good points: all of them.

Cristian Mihai

I usually try to avoid three things: controversial subjects, shameless marketing, and bar fights. And most of the time I’m lucky.

But today I feel like making a stand. Yeah, it’s late and the USB ports on my laptop stopped working, but I want to tell you my honest opinion about self-publishers and all the people who have been criticizing them.

A number of agents, editors, and traditionally published authors consider self-publishing as some sort of mistake. Self-publishers are just lazy. Why? Because they didn’t go through the route. They didn’t query agents, they didn’t get rejected over and over again. Stuff like that. Also, they’re bad to the world of publishing, because some of them did try to get published via the traditional way, but were rejected. Oh, and did I mention this stupid, stupid habit they have, of selling e-books well below what the big Six deem as…

View original post 1,143 more words

As I promised…

I’ve discovered some fantastic resources for my writing. There’re listed below with a short blurb about why I like them and links to them.

The Bookshelf Muse: This blog, by two YA authors, is a great writing resource. It features things like a Setting Thesaurus, which helps beginning writters with describing locations; a Character Traits Thesaurus, which helps flesh out your characters; and a few others. Bookshelf Muse

The Emotion Thesaurus: A book, written by the authors of The Bookshelf Muse, that aids you in showing, not telling, how your characters are feeling. I have a copy, and it really has helped improve my work. Buy a copy here: Emotion Thesaurus

AutoCrit Editing Wizard: Kind of self-explanatory. With the free version, you paste your work (5oo words) and press the analyze button. The wizard will indicate what words are overused, sentence variation and cliche’s & redundancies. AutoCrit Wizard

I’ll post more later.