The Year in Cheer
192 more stories of progress from 2021.
192 more stories of progress from 2021.
Some welcome perspective on healthcare, conservation, human rights, and energy.
If you dodged an accessibility lawsuit because you have physical locations, what does it mean when those physical locations close?
As movie theaters, restaurant ordering, college courses, and more move to online-first delivery, the notion of a corresponding brick-and-mortar venue falls away. If the current pandemic physical distancing measures stretch into the next year as many think, then this blip becomes the de facto new normal.
An excellent piece by Maciej on the crucial difference between individual privacy and ambient privacy (and what that means for regulation):
Ambient privacy is not a property of people, or of their data, but of the world around us. Just like you can’t drop out of the oil economy by refusing to drive a car, you can’t opt out of the surveillance economy by forswearing technology (and for many people, that choice is not an option). While there may be worthy reasons to take your life off the grid, the infrastructure will go up around you whether you use it or not.
Because our laws frame privacy as an individual right, we don’t have a mechanism for deciding whether we want to live in a surveillance society. Congress has remained silent on the matter, with both parties content to watch Silicon Valley make up its own rules. The large tech companies point to our willing use of their services as proof that people don’t really care about their privacy. But this is like arguing that inmates are happy to be in jail because they use the prison library. Confronted with the reality of a monitored world, people make the rational decision to make the best of it.
That is not consent.
For more detail, I highly recommend reading his testimony to the senate hearing on Privacy Rights and Data Collection in a Digital Economy.
Are we headed toward an Orwellian future where a handful of corporations monitor and control our lives? Or are we on the verge of creating a better version of society online, one where the free flow of ideas and information helps cure disease, expose corruption, reverse injustices?
It’s hard to believe that anyone—even Zuckerberg—wants the 1984 version. He didn’t found Facebook to manipulate elections; Jack Dorsey and the other Twitter founders didn’t intend to give Donald Trump a digital bullhorn. And this is what makes Berners-Lee believe that this battle over our digital future can be won. As public outrage grows over the centralization of the Web, and as enlarging numbers of coders join the effort to decentralize it, he has visions of the rest of us rising up and joining him.
Declan from MakerClub came by the office week and told us all about this great initiative for kids in Brighton that we’re supporting through the BrightSparks programme.
In this excerpt from his forthcoming book, Cennydd gives an overview of what GDPR will bring to the web. This legislation is like a charter of user’s rights, and things don’t look good for the surveillance kings of online advertising:
The black box will be forced open, and people will find it’s full of snakes.
A write-up of the BrightSparks programme that Clearleft is taking part in.
Each company agreed to help support one local child from a low-income family, on free school meals or with a yearly household income of under £25k.
You don’t need to be an American citizen to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union. The online payment process is quick and painless.
If you make a donation—and I sincerely hope you do—ping people who are generously offering to match donations.
A series of quick’n’dirty prototypes to illustrate some of the design challenges involved in handling personal data:
If we don’t start exploring what the General Data Protection Regulation means for people, the same thing that happened with the cookie law will happen again.
These new rights have the potential to improve how our digital products and services work.
But under the guise of innovation and progress, companies are stripping away worker protections, pushing down wages, and flouting government regulations. At its core, the sharing economy is a scheme to shift risk from companies to workers, discourage labor organizing, and ensure that capitalists can reap huge profits with low fixed costs.
There’s nothing innovative or new about this business model. Uber is just capitalism, in its most naked form.
CAPTHCAs are a terrible, terrible solution to a technological problem. But at least these CAPTCHAs acknowledge that the person typing is not only not-a-bot, but a human being.
Yet another reason to host your own content instead of sharecropping; danah boyd wakes up one morning to find her Tumblr account has been moved to a different URL.
I believe it was the philosopher Conflicticus who said, "Only stupid bastards help EMI."
Oh, the irony! Unconstitutionally draconian French "anti-piracy" organisation uses a pirated font in its logo.
Lawrence Lessig's newest book, Remix: Making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy, is now available as a free PDF download.
Mark Pilgrim knows the score.
Social networking Terms Of Service compared and contrasted.
New Zealand is enacting one of the most draconian unfair ISP policing policies in the Western world. "Section 92 of the Copyright Amendment Act assumes Guilt Upon Accusation and forces the termination of internet connections and websites without evidence, without a fair trial, and without punishment for any false accusations of copyright infringement."
Here's a depressing counterpoint to my feel-good story about Iron Man: someone else who's picture was used in the film (in good faith) decided to sic the lawyers on Jon Favreau.