Thursday Morning: Try

Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns, doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try

— excerpt, Try by P!nk

Racier than the usual video here, but I’m trying — hence this selection. I’m fried after a late night, can’t muster much mental wattage this morning. Only one cohesive theme emerged by itself from my news feeds, though I kept trying for a second one.


  • Surveillance as shrug: British activists doing nothing about surveillance (OpenDemocracy) — Study shows UK activists have not taken action against state surveillance, offering a number of explanations for why. But perhaps the most obvious one not addressed is an unconscious chilling effect of surveillance combined with cognitive dissonance about the degree of instrusion by the state.
  • Surveillance as future shock: State’s ability to monitor us has exceeded our laws (Ars Technica) — No shit, really? ~sigh~ It’d be nice if this piece actually called out lawmakers for their inability to keep up and put a brake on the state’s capabilities and practices. Even educators on this topic — like Prof. Elizabeth Joh interview here — don’t appear to realize pre-crime has arrived. It’s just not yet evenly distributed.
  • Surveillance as filler: Access to private surveillance cams makes local news (KOKI) — Fox affiliate in Tulsa OK demonstrates ease with which strangers can access surveillance cam feeds — and the story is picked up by another local news affiliate in Memphis TN. Reaction appears blasé as the story doesn’t spread to national outlets.
  • Surveillance as art: Watched! Surveillance, Art and Photography (e-Flux) — The panopticon pervades our culture as it becomes the topic of our art, manifest in this exhibition. Anybody making a trip to Gothenberg, Sweden this summer? Check this show out.
  • Surveillance as social life: Fairly average 13-year-old’s life online (WaPo) — Unrelenting self-examination of one’s life as it may be observed by others — that’s what our kids and grandkids are doing to themselves and others. They’re growing up with a deeply embedded sense that watching everything and critiquing what they see is their life. What is it doing to their sense of privacy, to their understanding of human social boundaries?

Yuck. I could just barf after that last one. We are jacking our kids into this monster without pause. That’s enough for today.

7 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Suzanne (4:32) — OMG what?! Women AND men use PP for birth control; some women rely on PP for gynecological exams and breast cancer screening. How do these jackasses know who is there for abortion? How are they not committing a HIPAA violation by monitoring who is seeking health care, when and where? Ugh. I think I put this one on the list for tomorrow. Thanks for point it out.

  2. person1597 says:

    Machine learning: Good or not good?

    The question may be rhetorical now, but next year? Who knows?

    Guidance appreciated…

  3. bloopie2 says:

    Yes, I read that article and it is scary; definitely worth further discussion. But a HIPAA violation? I can’t see that. As the Salon article notes, there are already many legal ways to track PP visitors, and First Amendment law will never be trumped by a HIPAA statute. It seems that, unfortunately, and as with many other aspects of life, the only way to avoid such GPA tracking for sure is to not carry a (turned-on and location services activated) smartphone with you. Many people live that way today. And we all lived that way not too long ago, and we did survive life.

  4. Rayne says:

    bloopie2 (8:21) — Cellphone users have a reasonable expectation to privacy. If they load an app on their phone, it’s a contract between them and the app provider, including any info services the app offers. Their cellphone service is a contract between them and the carrier. No one else has been given permission to access their information outside those contracts. And nowhere in those contracts are open, undefined authorizations to complete strangers to interfere with or monitor in any way their pursuit of health care services.

    If you don’t grok this, you’re not grokking the problems with the government’s indiscriminate dragnet collection and storage of communications, either.

    It’s also an unreasonable expectation for persons to have to shut down access to what has become their digital wallet. This is no longer an analog age, but like the analog age, total strangers should not nose their way into your wallet and follow you around and harass you based on unauthorized access and discovery of the contents of your wallet.

    A substantive portion of the posts at this site deal directly with the fact our lives have changed dramatically with the internet, and our government must change with it. The internet and network-mediated communications are not going away. Like the shift in human’s understanding and behavior which came with a transition to democracy from monarchies, so too, are we shifting with the change from an analog to a digital world. We may have survived the last transition, but we fought for it. We didn’t simply roll over to unilateral monarchism, saying, “Many people live that way. We did survive” in a variation on “We’ve always done it this way.” The boundaries are established by rejecting the pervasive monitoring by the government, and by strangers who have no business injecting themselves in our lives.

    For visitors relying on reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood, this also means strangers need to get the hell out of others’ crotches.

  5. bloopie2 says:

    Okay, I think I am missing some technical knowledge that I need to inform my comments. it I haven’t affirmatively given location information consent to Company X, then how do they get my location information? I don’t understand that, technically. When I turn on location services on my Samsung to use Google Maps (for directions), it always warns me something like “people will use this information”. If I turn it on, and I go into Target, does Target know I am there? If so, how do they know that? Did Google or Samsung tell them? Is Target’s knowledge unauthorized? (I don’t have a “Target app”.)
    I do have a 1,000% problem with the government collection and storage. That’s why I called out private vs. government in my comment.
    I agree with all the rest that you say and I am all for this and I try to convince others of this whenever the opportunity arises. And I keep location services turned off by default. Why do I need it turned on if I am going shopping at Target?
    “Strangers need to get the hell out of others’ crotches.” Well you can tell them that but if they are bad people you won’t stop them from trying. Someone (I can’t recall who) once (long ago, it’s nothing new) said, “Every day, half the world gets out of bed and sets out to screw the other half.” We have to find a means to prevent their attempts from working. How do we stop unauthorized access to our location information?
    Thanks again, I enjoy the critiques.

  6. bloopie2 says:

    I’ve been reading up on this stuff. Here’s an interesting quote: “As for me, I find the advantages of having knowing exactly where I am and where the hotel, restaurant, theater, or what-have you are in relationship to my location to be worth the vanishingly small chance that someone is tracking me with this data.”
    That fellow is trading his location data for the convenience of (1) never having to look at a map or (2) never having to figure out in advance how to get somewhere or (3) being able to see what’s around him at this moment that he might be interested in doing because what he is already doing just isn’t that interesting. That’s a conscious trade-off. I don’t make that trade-off, do others on this site make it? For example, five days a week, I get up, go to work, then go home and stay home. Why would I need location services turned on to do that? To locate that cute new restaurant for lunch? Well, I can look it up on Google Maps on my desktop before I go—is that too old-fashioned?
    Is this an appropriate question as to location services: “What things have I done in the last 24 hours, using that feature, that I absolutely couldn’t live without? Have I really needed it, or was it just for convenience? Or, have I arranged my life today so that I can’t really get along without it?”

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