Archive for Uncategorized
April 30th, 2012
Julie Brill Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission sat down for an informal talk with The Berkman Center’s John Palfrey in a classroom environment to talk about internet privacy concerns and the government role in protective policies (see the video here). She initially spoke on the growth of consumer protective measures and the history of the federal trade commission. Brill stated that the “the trade commission was founded in 1914, it was the brainchild of Louis Brandeis.” She goes on to explain how the commission is formulated with a broad flexible mandate, allowing for the regulation of trust regulation and consumer protection to evolve with the marketplace instead of waiting for the slower regulatory processes of legislative bodies. Explaining the role of oversight relating to consumer protection practices she explains that the FTC looks into areas such as advertising substantiation and telemarketing, among others. One of the more useful services produced for consumer protection by The Federal Trade Commission that many of us take advantage of is the Do Not Call List. She touts this program as being “the most popular government program since the Elvis Stamp.”
Getting into the core of the discussion relating to consumer privacy concerns Brill explains how the many functions of the FTC; study research, consumer protection, and economic competition, all come together well when focusing on consumer privacy concerns. Modern consumer privacy concerns are not totally confined to internet and data security, but a large portion of the focus today surrounds this area. As more and more people rely almost completely on web based products and services, consumers open themselves up to ever evolving cyber crimes. One of the central concerns of the FTC is how consumer information is collected and used. Online privacy statements of some of the largest and wealthiest targeted advertisement companies have come under a great level of scrutiny over the past few years.
Investigating the manner in which companies such as Google and Facebook collect, use, and sell consumer information is central to modern consumer privacy protection. Disclosure and clarity is a struggle for both consumers and companies in a climate where the demand for instantaneous service is so high. In settlements relating to Google and Facebook online privacy and consumer information sharing, the FTC instituted a system of independent auditing to try and maintain compliance with privacy laws and regulations. This was largely due to the manner in which they would share information with third party advertisers and applications. What concerns me is that since these companies have grown so
large and wealthy from selling consumer information, they can easily lobby government officials for looser regulation and oversight. Although Brill talks about how independent the FTC is from the central government, appointments to the commission are made by the president and approved by the senate. With the FTC being able to levy fines and collect consumer restitution funds, there is no doubt that many companies would rather spend that money on creating a regulatory environment that is pro-business.
A conversation with Julie Brill,
Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission, and John Palfrey | Berkman Center.
(n.d.). Retrieved April 4, 2012, from
April 30th, 2012
A smart mob is defined by its practices that are coorodinated towards a singular goal by “smart” technology….ie: twitter and texts. Albeit less meaningful .. isn’t any gathering aided by technology a smart mob. Neither yours or my phone will likely take down the next Libyan dictator, but bringing together 20 people to dominate a bar scene fills the definition well. With all the modern interconnectedness of society we generate a certain level of spontaneity theat had characterized the millenial generation… the smart mobbers.
April 30th, 2012
Mobile security, as explained at mobileactive.org, is a great concern for journalists working in austere locales. The security of mobile devices that we all rely upon is equally important. Although we may not have to guard against intelligence gathering services that seek to either feed upon or quiet the voices of the free press, the public does have to guard itself against the press itself. If the British tabloid phone hacking scandal has taught us anything, it is that everyone is vulnerable in a world where information is money.
April 29th, 2012
Everyday technology is becoming a larger part of our lives, but with many of us often interacting with each other through electronic means, are we become less connected with the world around us. There are many downfalls to being increasingly disconnected to the world at large; anxiety, depression, but none possibly as harmful as the literal downfalls. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPpzj4PjNjU