American media famously dominated the globe for most of the 20th century. But like a lot of things in the last decade or so, U.S. cultural imperialism has been lagging a bit. A Story in today’s issue of Le Monde discusses the internet fortunes built by American companies like Google and Facebook – and the future.
“The geopolitics of the Internet broke open during the first half of December at an international conference in Dubai convened by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN affiliate agency with 193 national members. At these meetings, states (thronged by corporate advisors) forge agreements to enable international communications via cables and satellites. These gatherings, however boring and bureaucratic, are crucial because of the enormous importance of networks in the operation of the transnational political economy. Continue reading “The decline of American (internet) empire?”
A recent article published on Tea Leaf Nation, and tweeted by Tricia Wang, explains what the flesh searches are
and how they change China. SmartMods reports that “Despite their ghoulish resonance, they refer to grassroots, collaborative efforts to share and probe personal information online with the goals of romance, kinship, justice, or vindication.They are netizen initiatives to solve cases of injustice and cruelty left unbalanced by a society that is not democratic and has no rule of law, where the government officials show innefficiency, detachment, or even smugness in the face of public tragedies or social injustices.
“Which was the case of Yang Dacai, a government official, who’s grinning face while watching the burning bus that killed 36 people in August was tweeted via Sina Weibo, the China’s Tweeter. His dispassionate smile, contrasting the tragedy he was witnessing, and his expensive tastes in watches, belts, and eyeglasses that didn’t match the his meager wage as a government employee triggered the “cyber vigilatism” of the netizens (as Rebecca MacKinnon called it in her article) and prompted a flesh search. Yang was eventually dismissed from his position as chief of Shaanxi Safety Supervision Bureau. Continue reading “Human flesh searches explained”
After this upcoming weekend, you have to ask your phone company if you want to use the phone you (kind of) bought from them on any other carrier’s network.You used to be able to ask for, or purchase, or hack your way to an “unlocked” phone, but that will be illegal after Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013.
Lifehacker reports that “The Librarian of Congress believes cellphone companies are doing a good enough job of fostering competition in their market, so the era of third-party unlocking is coming to a close.
“Back in October 2012, the Librarian of Congress was asked by the Register of Copyrights to examine the exemptions made for certain classes of work under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. I know what you may be thinking. “This Librarian, and this Register—do they live in giant vine-strewn towers? Do have any special powers if they leave Washington?” That is a good question, but first we must address other things. Continue reading “No more phone unlocking”
“Congratulations. Reading the first paragraph of this article has earned you a badge.” In a curious piece in today’s New York Times, Nick Winfield discusses a concept already well known in gaming circles: that the tasking and reward systems of video games have broader social implications. As the article continues:
“If this made-up award makes you feel good about yourself, then you are on your way to understanding gamification, a business trend — some would say fad — that aims to infuse otherwise mundane activities with the excitement and instant feedback of video games.
“Many businesses are using these game tricks to try to get people hooked on their products and services — and it is working, thanks to smartphones and the Internet.
“Buying a cup of coffee? Foursquare, the social networking app that helped popularize the gamification idea, gives people virtual badges for checking in at a local cafe or restaurant. Continue reading “The world as game”
If you haven’t heard, the internet privacy wars are gearing up to what could be Armageddon for advertisers and commercial data collectors. With Microsoft automatically setting the “Do Not Track” option “On” in its latest version of Internet Explorer 10 as many as 43 percent of internet browsers may stop reporting customer information to merchandisers and other snoopers. As discussed recently in the New York Times, “The advent of “Do Not Track” threatens the barter system wherein consumers allow sites and third-party ad networks to collect information about their online activities in exchange for open access to maps, e-mail, games, music, social networks and whatnot. Marketers have been fighting to preserve this arrangement, saying that collecting consumer data powers effective advertising tailored to a user’s tastes. In turn, according to this argument, those tailored ads enable smaller sites to thrive and provide rich content.” Continue reading “To track or not to track”
Here is the scenario. You find yourself in a virtual game-world where you can be anything you want––say, a princess, a superhero, or maybe a dragon. Enter Micha Cárdenas. The question is this: in assuming a new identity, are you really leaving behind the actual “you”? Nearly two decades ago, a now-famous New Yorker cartoon made popular the adage, “On the internet, no one knows you are a dog,” referencing the presumed demarcation between virtual and real personas. But this begs the question of where the expression of the self resides, inasmuch as identity is a largely mental process. Continue reading “Becoming transreal”