Tag Archives: Reblogged

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

Know Me Better 1

I found this a on blog called, I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. I follow it via e-mail. Each week, five questions are posted for bloggers to answer. This week’s questions are:

What was the last thing that made you cry?
What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
What is your favorite form of exercise?
What is your current desktop picture?
You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?

What was the last thing that made you cry?

A couple of scenes in Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. They were familiar to me. Look for my review later in the week. I’m gonna re-read it.

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Almost all of them. I’m inherently lazy. But the one that is currently tops for me is filling out job applications.

What is your favorite form of exercise?

Sex. What? It counts. You burn calories. Okay, fine: Jumping rope. Yes, jumping rope. Feck off.

What is your current desktop picture?

It is a collage of characters from 80’s cartoons.

You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?

Even though I just got back Thursday night, I’d go to Tampa, Florida. This time, I’m not sure I’d return though…

I invite you to share your answers to these questions as well. You can share them as a comment on this post or share them on your own blog and link up to this post.

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Check these out, too while you’re at it.











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:


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

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

Islamaphobia (warning: Not safe for work)

It seems to me that every fucking time I turn around, some bleeding-heart Liberal dickcheese is screaming about “Islamophobia.” You know the types. The same types of people who call you a woman-hating sexist if you suggest that maybe an 8-month pregnant woman shouldn’t be loading concrete blocks for a living, or that you’re devaluing a woman and treating her like a sex object if you ask her to have coffee with you. Yeah, these no-brain dipshits.

So today I’d like to take some time to address this “issue” of Islamophobia. There seems to be a lot of confusion out there and it’s caused mainly by the very types of assholes who coined this stupid phrase in the first place. As always, I’m here to clear up your confusion.

First, let’s get back to the basics of how it all started. After the 9/11 attacks, there was a growing anti-Islam sentiment here in America, as well as a general distrust and dislike of anyone middle eastern. The “let’s love and hug everybody” Liberals were quick to point out that most Muslims were peaceful people and it’s racist to consider all middle easterners to be terrorists. And they were right about that, for the most part.

But those are two separate issues being discussed. One was the issue of hating a religious group, the other was an issue of hating an ethnic group. As different facets of an issue, those are legitimate topics. The problem has come when the two have been mixed. Fast-forward to 12 years after the attacks and what we now have is a “conform to our love-all bullshit” mindset where if you have a problem with something objectionable in the religion of Islam, you are now labeled an Islamophobe, which also incorporates the element of racism along with the idea that you hate the entire religion.

It’s sad that I need to actually say this, but here it is anyway: Islam is not a race. Hating it – even openly and unapologetically despising it – has nothing to do with any feelings one may have toward middle eastern people. This is one of those situations where the Left has tried so hard to be non-racist that they’ve actually done something racist. I’d like to ask all who hold this view: Where do you get off, implying that only middle eastern people are Muslim? I mean, if someone is truly phobic of Islam (which is a religion, not an ethnicity), then isn’t that a dislike of IDEAS and CONCEPTS? Ideas and concepts that are held by people of many different ethnicities all across the world, in fact! The idea that hating a religion that is stereotypically middle eastern is an idea that is, itself, racist as fuck! Perpetuating this idea is perpetuating the stereotype, assholes! Let me give a more clear-cut example of the kind of things that’s going on here.

Person A: Man, I hate fried chicken and watermelons!
Person B: WTF? You racist!
Person A: How the fuck is hating food racist?!
Person B: You clearly hate black people!
Person A: Wha…. how? *facepalm*

In the above example, Person A stated that he hated two food items which, in combination, are stereotypically associated with black Americans. Person B, being a sappy ass hippy Leftard, only heard the stereotype and his brain immediately locked on to that stereotype and nothing else, sacrificing the actual meaning of the statement itself. In his fervor to defend against racism, Person B became the racist that he thought he was castigating! Maybe Person A just doesn’t like the taste of fried chicken and watermelons. Maybe Person A wasn’t even thinking of the racist stereotype when he said that. But Person B was thinking of nothing BUT the racist aspect. Ladies and gentlemen, if you dig for racism around every corner, you are sure to find it, whether it really exists or not. And that, IS, racism!

By the same token, if someone states that they hate Sharia Law (for example) and you call them an Islamophobe (implying racism along with it), YOU become the racist! What has Sharia Law got to do with any ethnic group? No more than fried chicken and watermelons. In other words, no more than the connections that your secretly-racist little mind chooses to make! And it’s even more fundamental than that! The very act of using the term “Islamophobia” to imply racism IS RACIST in and of itself! When you do it, you’re associating Islam with middle eastern people in exactly the same way that Person B associated fried chicken and watermelons with black people! THAT’S A STEREOTYPE, FUCKNUT! And it’s racist! Yes, lots of Muslims are middle eastern. That’s true. But also, lots of black people actually do like fried chicken and watermelons. That’s also true. But is it fair to point out that truth to the exclusion of all others who enjoy fried chicken and watermelon; people of every ethnicity? Isn’t it racist to do so? So why then is it not racist to point out that there are middle eastern Muslims to the exclusion of all the many millions of Muslims who are not part of that ethnic group? The answer is simple: It IS racist to pretend that any anger, hate, or mistrust directed at Islam equates to anger, hate, or mistrust directed at people of middle eastern descent. YOU are the racist.

Phew…. Well, now that we’ve managed to get through discussing what Islamophobia ISN’T, maybe we can actually start talking about what it IS instead. Is that ok with you tree-huggers?

What is a phobia? According to dictionary.com:

“a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.”

So, if we alter the definition to fit Islamophobia specifically, we get:

“a persistent, irrational fear of Islam that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.”

The trouble with that definition, you see, is the word “irrational.” There’s absolutely nothing irrational about fearing people who have openly stated their goal of gutting the Infidels (that’s us). Those Islamists SHOULD be feared and, in that fear, disliked as well!

“But Galen, not ALL Muslim people are that way, in fact most of them are peaceful and wonderful people!”

Yes, I know. Unlike most of the people who spout this by rote, I’ve actually been friends with foreign Muslims while living overseas. I can indeed attest that every Muslim I’ve ever personally known has been very kind and wonderful. I’d also say that most Catholics are nice people who aren’t running around fucking little boys in the ass, but that doesn’t fucking excuse the ones who HAVE! You see, fucking idiots, when a group of people have become defined by the evil minority in their midst, it is now put upon them to either drive out the evil themselves or suffer the guilt-by-association for their failure to do so! If the Catholic Church had actually taken care of the pedophile priests, there wouldn’t have been a problem, but the leadership of the church and those within the church who had power made a choice to bury the problem instead. The majority of Catholics don’t approve of boy fucking, but what has that majority DONE about it? Not a goddamn thing, that’s what! Likewise, I would ask what have the majority of peaceful Muslims done to tell their leaders that endorsing a terrorist Jihad is unacceptable? About the same as the Christians who support gay marriage have done to let their leadership know to shut the fuck up and stop being hate-mongers. Not a damn thing! And so, in the public eye, all Catholics are seen to support pedophilia (even though most of them clearly don’t), all right-wing American Christians are seen to be homophobes (even though a great many of them are not) and all Muslims are seen to be terrorists are at least supportive of the terrorists (even though millions of them are not).

I’m not supporting unfair stereotypes. Not at all. But there’s the old saying, “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” It’s not right and it’s not fair, but it IS the reality. Guilt by association is a powerful motivator and it’s not entirely unjustified.

Be that as it may, that’s not even really the point I was going for. The point is that if I say “I fucking hate Muslims, blowing our shit up all the time!” then it’s pretty damn obvious that I’m not talking about the peaceful nice fluffy cuddly Muslims. Isn’t that obvious to you? Or are you just so fucking eager for a fight that you choose to ignore it?

Another salient point here is that the kinder gentler Muslims are not following their own religion, so it’s difficult to think of them as actually being Muslims. You see, Islamic doctrine DOES command that all Infidels be put to death! Muhammad DID command that all the faithful of Islam should “terrorize” the unbelievers and murder them! See, when I say “I fucking hate Christians with their anti-gay bullshit!” I’m talking about the Christians who actually FOLLOW their Bible, which does indeed say that homosexuals should be put to death. By hating gays and denying them their rights, they are following their religion as much as modern law allows. The difference, for Muslims, is that the ones carrying out acts of terrorism don’t have laws stopping them from doing so. They have governments that support them and help them. And were are these Muslims and their supporting legal systems located?

Yes, now we get right back to it, don’t we? The middle east. When someone is “Islamophobic” it’s pretty obvious that they’re usually not hating the cuddly sweet Muslims. They’re hating the terrorist Muslims. And the terrorist Muslims, for the most part, are middle eastern. So if I say something Islamophobic, your reaction of taking it as racism tells me two things. Firstly, that you know it’s middle eastern Muslims I dislike. Secondly, you know this because you know they’re the ones guilty of all the fucktarded behavior like killing innocent people for not following their religion. So, your shouts of “Islamophobia!” not only show you to be a racist, but they also show to believe that middle eastern Muslims are guilty of terrible evil. I’ve just shown that, in your zeal to combat racism, you’re part of the problem.

But you’re a moron. It really doesn’t have anything to do with race. It has to do with culture, certainly. The fact that the terrorist culture is also of a specific race is an indictment of THEIR racist ways, not ours. I mean, the Third Reich was all one race too, but nobody called the Allied Forces bigoted for going after them! Why not? Because it’s not about who or what they are, it’s about what they’ve done and, in the case of Islam, what it’s still trying to do!

Islamophobia: “a persistent, justified fear and dislike of Islam that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.”

I don’t support racism for any reason, but I do support Islamophobia. They are not the same thing. They are not the same thing. Fucking say it with me: Islamophobia and racism are NOT THE SAME THING! I despise Islam as I despise all religions. It’s not that the people, as individuals, are bad. It’s that the IDEAS themselves are horrendous! The hatred and fear of Islam is a hatred and fear of IDEAS, not of people or ethnicity. And given the prevalence of immoral, irrational, unspeakable, unforgivable, evil ideas perpetuated by the Quran, this hatred and fear is JUSTIFIED!

I’d also like to point out that I’m Christianphobic for these same reasons. I’m also Scientologyphobic. The only “phobia” that matters here is the fear, distrust, dislike, and outright hatred of unconscionable ideas and pathetic “morals” that cannot stand unchallenged by a rational thinking society!

I’ve always said that the only bigotry I suffer from is a bigotry against the stupid. That remains true. If a middle eastern Muslim emails me tomorrow to say “Galen, I don’t hold those beliefs of killing Infidels and terrorizing other nations” then I will say “Good!” and that person is clearly smart enough to take their religion and throw out the shit they don’t like, which (on a subconscious level at least) is an acknowledgement that it’s all man-made bullshit anyway. Unlike many Atheists, I don’t begrudge someone their religious faith. Religious faith, all by itself, isn’t stupid, it’s just ignorant. Being ignorant is not a crime. But there is no level of ignorance that can possibly excuse the belief that your god wants you to end the lives of other human beings. That’s not ignorance, THAT is stupidity and THAT is what I HATE with every cell in my body!

You don’t get to claim “it’s their religious beliefs!” No. Not a chance, asshat! There’s a difference between a Christian who believes in God because they were raised in that culture and just don’t have the knowledge and understanding to see how it’s wrong compared to a Christian who thinks God’s messages of hate and death in the Bible are just fucking dandy to follow. We have an evolved tendency to assign agency to natural events (that is, to think there is a purposeful intent behind shit that happens), but we also have an evolved tendency to refrain from harming other human beings unless provoked. Both of these aspects of our nature can be overcome, but only one should be! When the former tendency (agent-seeking) becomes a pathway to overcoming the latter tendency (murder aversion), you’re doing it wrong!

And that’s the problem (the ONLY problem) with the Muslim religion. When practiced as its founders intended it to be practiced and as its holy book instructs, it takes ignorance and transforms it into willful stupidity – dangerous willful stupidity!

I do hate that.

I do FEAR that.

Anyone with a critically-thinking intellect will feel the same.

From: snipeme.com

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.