Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Electronic tags worry privacy chief

Electronic tags worry privacy chief
Tiny electronic chips called radio frequency identification devices that track goods from manufacture to point of sale could be used to collect information about consumer habits and even the consumers themselves, Canada's Privacy Commissioner warns.

"This is a major new issue because it gives the possibility for every object in the world to be uniquely identified and to be tied to people by the linking of our personal information with the object," Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said yesterday.
RFIDs can be placed in just about anything that is sold to, or used by, people, including bank cards, credit cards, money, passports, luggage, badges and wrist bands, clothing, vehicles and vehicle parts, appliances, phones, drugs, documents and food packaging.
Because they can be read from a distance, "it may not be readily apparent that RFID technology is in use, making it virtually impossible for a person to know when or if he or she is being scanned," "Even if information about the tagged item remains generic, identifying items people wear or carry could associate them with particular events -- for example, political rallies or protests,"
But if an RFID can tie a product to a person through their credit card or some other identifier, that person could be tracked or a profile of their purchasing habits could be created.
The commissioner said she hopes all of the products that contain the tags will provide some notification of their presence and that consumers will be told how to turn them off. She also wants to ensure that the tags are not allowed to contain personal information.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

her to check the meter: Rogers CFO predicts 'metered' on-line billing : Rogers CFO predicts 'metered' on-line billing:

"The Internet industry must move towards a 'metered' billing system in the future as customers increasingly download video and other bandwidth-intensive applications, Rogers Communications Inc. chief financial officer Bill Linton said yesterday in a presentation at Morgan Stanley's 11th Annual Media & Communications Conference in Washington

'The objective here is not to restrict usage,' Mr. Linton said. 'The objective here is for people to use this service as much as they want. We just want them to pay a reasonable amount for what they use.'

'Usage is going up and it costs a lot of money to produce that capacity,' Mr. Linton said...well exactly how much does it cost? And what profit do you expect to generate from it? Without transparency, thes "growing costs" arguments are just lobbying efforts to limit internet usage.

Let's make it a municipal service, and let the meter readers and chargers be the people.

Social networks fickle like hot nightclubs

Matthew Ingram of the Globe and Mail suggests "social networking sites are like hot nightclubs -- they become popular and then flame out as the hip crowd moves on" as evidenced by membership decline from its heyday...yet even though they are of questionable value as an asset, there seems to be no end of folks wishing to buy them at exorbitant prices.

Rupert Murdoch pays more than half-a-billion dollars for
yahoo bought and
Viacom bought
remember when... Yahoo bought GeoCities in 1999 for $3.5-billion, Lycos bought Tripod

Last week AOL announced a MySpace-style social network called AIM Pages with ability to create blogs.

But is there money to be made from those assets? How can you monetize those users without pushing them away or ruining your brand?

Social networking sites that become the "property" of a large conglomerate has little chance for survival. these conglomerate are out to make money, and once they monetize the site, it loses its value to those using the site.

Google to shut down Orkut communities

The freedom of association afforded by social software - like networking tool Orkut - does have it's downside.

In Brazil, Orkut has some eight million users, representing about a quarter of all Brazilians who have access to the Internet.
Google Inc. has agreed to shut down some communities on its popular Orkut social networking site because the Brazilian government says they advocate violence and human rights violations. Orkut's terms of service forbid "any illegal or unauthorized purpose,"
The Brazilian human rights commission presented evidence that Brazilians have been using the invitation-only networking site to promote crimes and violence. In recent years, news reports have linked drug dealing operations and organized fights between soccer fans to Orkut communities. One community allegedly advocated killing the president and planting a bomb in Congress.

But at least Google has repeatedly stressed its commitment to protect its users' information within the bounds of local laws.
Google fought a U.S. Justice Department subpoena seeking an extensive list of the search requests that people had been entering into its search engine claiming the demands were an unnecessary intrusion that threatened to undermine the public's trust in the Internet. A U.S. federal judge agreed. ...Google launched a search engine in China earlier this year and chose not to offer e-mail service to minimize the likelihood of facing a government subpoena seeking access to private messages. But, sadly, Yahoo Inc. has provided the Chinese government with personal e-mails that have contributed to the convictions of several journalists.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

make your voice heard: Save the Internet

Save the Internet :

Take a look at this link and join the fight for internet freedom.
While this site is geared towards political action in the US congress, Canadians can offer their support. Let's not be too smug - our government may well follow suit.

Right now the U.S. Congress is pushing a law that would abandon the First Amendment of the Internet -- a principle called "network neutrality" that preserves the free and open Internet.

Politicians are being wooed by people like AT&T's CEO, who says "the Internet can't be free."

The cable and phone lobby is bombarding Washington with TV ads urging Congress to support their plans to seize control of the Internet. According to Jeff Chester, the industry is spending nearly $1 million a week on an ad blitz to convince elected officials to side with AT&T and Verizon — and against their constituents.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

'Skypecasts' Allow 100-Person Conferencing

'Skypecasts' Allow 100-Person Conferencing

Skype ready to roll out free audio conferencing for up to 100 users; also for a fee they will allow their new version to send text messages to cellphones.

Tim Berners Lee on Neutrality of the Net

Neutrality of the Net Decentralized Information Group (DIG) Breadcrumbs
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web on the threat of the telcos to create a 2 tier net:

"When, seventeen years ago, I designed the Web, I did not have to ask anyone's permission. The new application rolled out over the existing Internet without modifying it. I tried then, and many people still work very hard still, to make the Web technology, in turn, a universal, neutral, platform. It must not discriminate against particular hardware, software, underlying network, language, culture, disability, or against particular types of data.
Anyone can build a new application on the Web, without asking me, or Vint Cerf, or their ISP, or their cable company, or their operating system provider, or their government, or their hardware vendor.
It is of the utmost importance that, if I connect to the Internet, and you connect to the Internet, that we can then run any Internet application we want, without discrimination as to who we are or what we are doing. We pay for connection to the Net as though it were a cloud which magically delivers our packets. We may pay for a higher or a lower quality of service. We may pay for a service which has the characteristics of being good for video, or quality audio. But we each pay to connect to the Net, but no one can pay for exclusive access to me. "

See link for further details.

More Professors Ban Laptops in Class

Newsvine - More Professors Ban Laptops in Class

There will always be obstacles to change, and here is another example. Banning laptops from the classroom is just another example ot teaching tyranny; students are the one's paying for the course, they are the ones applying themseleves to the learning situation. They are the ones who must enjoy and express the freedom of learning. Express tryanny, suppress freedom, create tension - ban laptops! Just plain wrong, very wrong.

Net Neutrality: Video explanation

The Ninja knows! Take a look at Ask A Ninja You Got Questions, Ninja Got Answers., a normally funny site making a serious comment on its future - questionable - should net neutrality be diminished. The Ninja includes a video demonstrating the impact of ISP ownership of site access : "If the ISPs get their way, people like the Ninja will no longer exist unless they have some sort of corporate seal of approval.
That would suck. To have you say visit and see how you can get your voice heard on this important issue.