Why Do We Care So Much About Privacy? | The New Yorker:

Possibly the discussion is using the wrong vocabulary. “Privacy” is an odd name for the good that is being threatened by commercial exploitation and state surveillance. Privacy implies “It’s nobody’s business,” and that is not really what Roe v. Wade is about, or what the E.U. regulations are about, or even what Katz and Carpenter are about. The real issue is the one that Pollak and Martin, in their suit against the District of Columbia in the Muzak case, said it was: liberty. This means the freedom to choose what to do with your body, or who can see your personal information, or who can monitor your movements and record your calls—who gets to surveil your life and on what grounds.

I like changing the argument to liberty. There’s a ton of Founding Fathers materials on the topic.

Of course, in my professional capacity there’s a different argument to make but one that still applies to the individual.

As we are learning, the danger of data collection by online companies is not that they will use it to try to sell you stuff. The danger is that that information can so easily fall into the hands of parties whose motives are much less benign.

Intentional Twitter Usage:

Turning my notifications off mediated this somewhat, I am no longer poked to go back to Twitter by dings. I have never really viewed those notifications as important that need instant attention. The answer has been simply removing the app from my phone, I have drastically reduced my exposure to Twitter, and I really do feel better for it.

My Twitter usage is now restricted to when I want to ‘go and check’ Twitter on my computer. The downside is that I don’t reply to messages and mentions like I used to, and also my tweets will come in short bursts of quite a few in a short space of time. So I must apologise for the time line spam, however I will still continue to share things to Twitter using Linky, and posts to micro.blog will appear there also. I am not gone, just using Twitter far more intentionally and it has worked wonders.

(Via Greg Morris)

I did a version of Greg’s write-up a while ago. I was going to take the extra step of killing off my Twitter accounts but changed by mind, at least for now.

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Saw this coming …

Document: Trump’s Blocking of Critics on Twitter is Unconstitutional, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Rules:

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has issued a declaratory judgment holding that President Trump’s blocking of his critics on Twitter violates the First Amendment. The ruling is included in full below.

 

 

(Via Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices)

UPDATE: Here’s more …

Federal Court Rules Trump Can’t Block People on Twitter:

A federal court ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s wanton smashing of the “block” button on Twitter is unconstitutional.

In July 2017, civil liberties group Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sued Trump on behalf of seven people whom he’d blocked on Twitter.

The ruling, made by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, determines that the president’s @realDonaldTrump account is a “public forum,” and therefore his blocking people based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment. It also includes an agonizingly thorough description of what Twitter is and how it works but manages to leave out the phrase “hellscape” entirely.

 

(Via Motherboard)

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Quick summary of how I use Facebook:

  1. Launch a VPN
  2. Use a private browser (with ad blocking) to navigate
  3. I do my Facebook stuff
  4. I log out of Facebook and then out of said private browser after clearing my browsing history
  5. I disconnect from the VPN

The moral of the story is that I use Facebook so long as it offers me value. However, I do not use it trivially. If and when I log in, it is with purpose and my session lasts exactly as long as I want.

I set myself up for success:

  • I have no app connections or integrations (with my personal website posts going away soon)
  • I don’t use Facebook for authentication anywhere
  • I do not have any of the mobile apps installed (other than Instagram, and only for the moment)
  • I set up two-factor authentication for Facebook login using an Authenticator app (not SMS or email)

What I thoughtlessly shared on Facebook is out there. Time and experience will tell the usefulness of that information and the impact of my data hygiene regimens.

What are you doing to reduce your social media surface and/or take ownership of your data?

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When I first managed people, just as I’d taken over a troubled retail sales department and had to do performance evaluations, I got a great piece of advice from my then mentor:

> If all your reviews are a 5 you are doing it wrong. You may have reasons to rationalize such scores, but you do no one – especially yourself – any favors by doing so.

We, my new team, turned the department around quickly. I ignored my mentor’s advice and went ahead with my “All 5” reviews (the best possible) and … they were rejected. I had to do them all over again, this time with supervision.

My mentor rightly chastised me for ignoring his guidance and then gave me the next nugget:

> If your team is all 5s, they’re all 2s.

Meaning if your baseline is so high and everyone gets the highest level, normalize the baseline. And it’s probably still too high.

> If people don’t have a challenge to overcome they will tend toward complacency.

I was lucky to have smart leaders. They saw my naïveté as an advantage. My short sighted management style was converted into a galvanizing experience for the team. Meanwhile, I reassessed.

Fast forward to today. We rank all kinds of things: Amazon purchases and podcasts and Lyft drivers and restaurants and beers and so on. How many of us default to 5 stars or equivalents? What about vapid or useless “me, too” comments? And how about the essay review? My approach is evolving, but in short:

> Am I adding value and what value am I adding?

If I experience something enjoyable but otherwise unremarkable, am I doing anyone any favors by assigning a 5? Better to make 2.5 the baseline.

What about the skew toward high scoring? Am I not making it worse for some things?

I try to add content to the review. A 3 beer, for example, is better than the average mass produced brew. If I give a beer such a score I will add the context to the score. Maybe it’s dry or fruity or hoppy or has some other attribute placing it above the norm.

Until this becomes normal I do not rely on straight up scored reviews for anything substantial. Again with beer or food I will trend toward the high scores with high review counts.

I suggest all embrace circumspection in scoring of things, services & people.

Let me know if you can identify the post’s title reference.

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I can’t agree more:

Social media is as compelling as ever, but people are increasingly souring on the surveillance state Skinner boxes like Facebook and Twitter. Decentralized media like blogs and newsletters are looking better and better these days…

From kottke.org.

The article has some great sites to add to the RSS reader as well.

I’m buying in to the push away from the behemoths but they still play a role in getting the word out around content.

I like my site. I write it for me, often times as a bit of my exocortex. But if others enjoy it or find value, so much the better. I like the quote Jason has in his piece from someone named Kari:

I also keep it out of spite, because I refuse to let social media take everything. Those shapeless, formless platforms haven’t earned it and don’t deserve it. I’ve blogged about this many times, but I still believe it: When I log into Facebook, I see Facebook. When I visit your blog, I see you.

She wrote it far better than I.

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On June 19, Twitter has said it will be disabling “streaming services,” which is how third-party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific can stream the timeline and send push notifications. The replacement, the Account Activity API is not available to third-party developers …

From 512pixels.net.

If this plays out the way it seems at the moment, this might not work out the way Twitter hopes it will. This feels like a monetization play.

I know of only one person in my circle who prefers the default Twitter client experience. As “The Most Interesting Man in the World” might say, “I don’t always visit Twitter. But when I do, I prefer Tweetbot.”

The third party developers of Twitter clients Twitterific, Tweetbot, Tallon, and Tweetings have a website on the topic and there’s an associated hashtag campaign. These efforts impacted Twitter’s plans at least to delay implementation.

“Stay tweety, my friends”?

Further reading

From BoingBoing.net:

So please #DeleteFacebook, but then remember that your ISP is the original creeper, and your Congressjerk is probably in their pocket, and make that a midterm election issue. We can’t win all the really important fights — climate, racial justice, sexual and gender justice, inequality — without an internet to organize with, so we must take the net back to secure those other victories.

Setting aside the name calling, this is definitely true in the US. I’m not sure about other countries.

Another strong largely hyperbole free summary from Lawfare including possible legal ramifications.

The Cambridge Analytica-Facebook Debacle: A Legal Primer:

What Happened?

On March 17, the New York Times that Cambridge Analytica, the British data analysis firm with ties to Robert Mercer and Stephen K. Bannon and that was hired by the Trump campaign, “harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission.” This set off a firestorm in the U.S. and the U.K. as regulators announced they would get to the bottom of what went wrong. Sen. Ron Wyden asked Facebook a . Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey into the matter, followed by the . And the U.K.’s information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said she would . This in turn —down nearly 7 percent by the market’s close on Monday, March 19 and down nearly another two points on Tuesday, March 20. On Monday night, the New York Times revealed that Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, is after much internal disagreement with the way the firm handled concerns about misinformation in the 2016 elections.

(Via Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices)

Enjoy!

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El entierro by Francisco Proaño

I want to start by clearly stating that I am not “rage quitting” my social media. I am reducing my footprint and reliance on them. To that end …

I removed the share buttons for social media from my site. I do not like how they call home even if you chose not to share my post. It’s rude. And the buttons row on my posts is ugly. I might reverse my decision at any point.

I removed the automatic post sharing on social media. Blasting my posts across the Social Media with no tailoring is inconsiderate at best. While all my written gems are exactly that, it is not my place – after this post – to demand your attention on every utterance. I might reverse my decision at any point.

How will I follow your crazy shenanigans“, you ask?

The best way to track my site is to subscribe to the full text RSS feed.If you’re not interested in every one of my whims, each category has its own RSS feed as well. If you’re my parents and siblings, your email updates will not change.

If you, Dear Reader, would like an email newsletter of some kind, please leave a comment on this post to let me know.

Another note for the more technically interested in website hosting, I am playing with removing CloudFlare from my site. I experienced odd behaviors I thought my CDN caused. Turns out that my site was no longer redirecting to the HTTPS page, maybe due to the service.

In other news, all requests are once again going to the HTTPS version of my site. I don’t know when, why, or how my old .htaccess file changed, but it is again serving up the correct version of my site.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please leave a comment on this post.