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 […]

Playing with New Toys

Last week, I found myself in Nuffield College, watching a bright-eyed lecturer, Ilmo van der Lowe, in fascination. Believe me when I say that I knew less about the topic, ‘co-rumination,’ than you did. But knowing Ilmo’s background in social psychology (a field in which I had received my bachelor’s degree), I had trekked over to glean what I could. Luckily for me, the lecture topic seemed almost extraneous. Ilmo laid the foundation for how the field of social psychology was waiting for its next theoretical breakthrough, and then broke out his real reason for speaking: to show that network […]

Slow Down, Apple: How to Look at Technology in Education

  On January 20th, Wired published an article reporting the results of a pilot study jointly conducted by Apple and Houghton Mifflin on the impact of iPads in a middle school classroom. The title (“iPad a Solid Education Tool, Study Reports”) reflected the optimistic and surely-not-conclusive need for digital supplements to enhance educational outcomes. To keep it brief, the study basically put iPads in the hands of middle schoolers and told them to read their algebra textbook using its interface. 78% of the students who were given iPads tested at proficient levels or higher in algebra, compared with 59% of […]