How Privacy Advocates Respond to Piracy Hawks: a rudimentary analysis on public salience

It makes sense that the salience of these two issues would be related. Anti-piracy laws and countermeasures tend to violate traditional privacy norms – indeed they are perhaps the biggest threat to our online privacy these days. The Google insight chart below shows the relative volume of ‘privacy’ and ‘piracy’ in news headlines since 2008. What we see here is that often after an upward blip in the public salience of piracy, there is a corresponding upward blip in the public salience of privacy (there are, however, spikes in privacy that are seemingly unrelated to piracy salience). This fits with […]

What Privacy Advocated DO Get About Data Tracking on the Web

This post is a clarification of some recent work I have done, which I think has been taken in slightly a different manner than I intended it. The clarification is substantive. I wrote a piece recently for The Atlantic entitled, “It’s Not All About You: What Privacy Advocates Don’t Get About Data Tracking on the Web.” The thesis of this piece was, essentially, the power that massive user and behavioral data gives private corporation (and the asymmetry between them and everyone else) is more important ramification of this new ecology than any individual level breech of personal information. Creepily targeted […]

Weekend Quick Hits

This is going to become a weekly thing. Just some quick notes about interesting things that have been floating around over the week and are worth a quick comment. On paying an unlimited fine, or the UK shills for the media industry: Ars was among a group of outlets commenting this week on the notice that the UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) put up on a domain it had seized, RnBXclusive.com. Below is a screencap of the warning that SOCA put up for 32 hours. The egregious thing here isn’t actually the domain seizure (although that game of whack-a-mole […]

Is Linkbait the new Classifieds?

The news has always been subsidized; it has never been a money maker. Print newspapers were mechanisms that bundled content and the lucrative parts – automotive, home and garden, classifieds – subsidized the difficult to monetize but incredibly socially valuable national and international news sections. According to a 2010 presentation by Hal Varian, classified ads once accounted for about 32% of total newspaper revenue. Craigslist, monster.com, and other online venues have removed this revenue source for newspapers – even in their online manifestations. Total classified ad revenue declined over 70% between 2000 and 2010 industry-wide, from a robust $19.6 billion […]

The Heartbreaking Irony of Open Peering

I just stumbled into a heartbreakingly ironic example of the Internet sucking. Larry Lessig, who is of course the man, updated his seminal Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999) in 2006 by, in part, putting it up on a collaborative wiki and allowing people to participate. This was great because, like licensing all of his work under Creative Commons licenses and making them all available as free pdf downloads, it was another example of him putting his money where his mouth is. As someone who purports to believe in the power and value of an open and participatory internet, […]