Tag Archives: internet

Why is the Freedom app so popular? – Slate Magazine

Why is the Freedom app so popular? – Slate Magazine.

Can We Really Unplug?

The illusion of Internet freedom.

How many people made New Year’s resolutions to spend less time on the Internet? Yet another friend recently recommended that I try Freedom, the popular program that “locks” you off the Internet. The ubiquitousness of this program, which calls itself “a simple productivity application,” feels ominous to me. It somehow brings to mind the Ionesco play, Rhinoceros, where one by one the townspeople turn into rhinoceroses.

I don’t in any way question why anyone would want Freedom. The addictive, mindless thrill of the Internet is clear: Why work when you can go on email or check the weather? We are, in Eliot’s words, “distracted from distraction by distraction.” With this program, the longest you can be barred from the Internet is eight hours, so the particular freedom it is offering is not crazy or excessive. You do not, in the reassuring world of Freedom, spend, say, an entire day offline


Read the full article here: Slate Magazine


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Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, a pair of bills that threaten Internet freedom. – Slate Magazine

Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, a pair of bills that threaten Internet freedom. – Slate Magazine.

The Internet’s Intolerable Acts

You should be very afraid of a pair of bills that threaten Internet freedom.

Posted Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, at 7:19 AM ET

The United States of America was forged in resistance to collective reprisals—the punishment of many for the acts of few. In 1774, following the Boston Tea Party, the British Parliament passed a series of laws—including the mandated closure of the port of Boston—meant to penalize the people of Massachusetts. These abuses of power, labeled the “Intolerable Acts,” catalyzed the American Revolution by making plain the oppression of the British crown.

More than 200 years later, the U.S. Congress is considering bills that would lead to collective reprisals against online communities.* The Senate’s PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House are supposed to address copyright infringement and counterfeiting. In reality, they are so technically impractical that they do little to address these problems. They would, however, undermine participatory democracy and human rights, which is why these bills have garnered near-universal condemnation from both human rights groups and technologists.


Read the full story here: Slate Magazine

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Filed under censorship, Media, Media and Politics, USA

The Politics of EconomicsThe Politics of Economics – NYTimes.com

The Politics of EconomicsThe Politics of Economics – NYTimes.com.

Op-Ed Columnist

The Politics of Economics in the Age of Shouting

I share a virtual neighborhood with a legion of Times reporters, editors and columnists who know more than I will ever know about business and economics. (Look! Right over there: a Nobel-prize-winning economist!) In this humbling company, on this intimidating matter, who am I to tell anyone what to think? And so my plan was, frankly, to avoid the subject.


There really is a textbook way to fix our current mess.  […] the basic formula is not only common sense, it is mainstream economic science, tested many times in the real world.

So what’s the problem? Why is our system so fundamentally stuck? Partly it’s a colossal, bipartisan lack of the political courage required to tell people what they sort of know but don’t want to hear. Partly it’s a Republican Party that, for its own cynical reasons, wants no deal with this president. Partly it’s moneyed, focused lobbies that swarm in defense of specific advantages written into the law; there is no comparable lobby for compromise, let alone sacrifice.

But also, I’ve come to think something is rotten in the state of economics.


Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Firewall Law Could Infringe on Free Speech – NYTimes.com

Firewall Law Could Infringe on Free Speech – NYTimes.com.

Stop the Great Firewall of America

China operates the world’s most elaborate and opaque system of Internet censorship. But Congress, under pressure to take action against the theft of intellectual property, is considering misguided legislation that would strengthen China’s Great Firewall and even bring major features of it to America.

The legislation — the Protect IP Act, […] The bills aim not to censor political or religious speech as China does, but to protect American intellectual property. Alarm at the infringement of creative works through the Internet is justifiable. The solutions offered by the legislation, however, threaten to inflict collateral damage on democratic discourse and dissent both at home and around the world.

The bills would empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial. The House version goes further, allowing private companies to sue service providers for even briefly and unknowingly hosting content that infringes on copyright — a sharp change from current law, which protects the service providers from civil liability if they remove the problematic content immediately upon notification. The intention is not the same as China’s Great Firewall, a nationwide system of Web censorship, but the practical effect could be similar.


Read the full story here: The New York Times

see also:Shoot-Out at the Political Corral“, in: Politico

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Filed under 1st Amendment, Constitution, USA

Partisan Corners of Online and TV News – NYTimes.com

Drilling Down

The Partisan Corners of the News


Published: May 8, 2011

Almost as many Americans now receive their political campaign news from the Internet as from newspapers, with nearly a quarter getting the bulk of their information on the 2010 midterm elections that way, according to a Pew Internet report.

Online news tends to be partisan, and 55 percent say they believe that the Internet increases the influence of those with extreme views, compared with 30 percent who think it has mitigated such perspectives by giving “ordinary citizens a chance to be heard.”  Forty-four percent of Republicans usually get political news from online sources that share their point of view, versus 37 percent of Democrats.

Read the full article here:  Partisan Corners of Online and TV News – NYTimes.com.

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Go forth and blog.

That’s what the San Antonio Express-News call the Pope’ new commandment fot priests, when he recommended priests use all multimedia tools at their disposal to preach the Gospel and engage in dialogue with people of other religions and cultures.

cf. San Antonio Express-News, Sunday, January 23, 2010, p. 6A

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Streisand effect

self-defeating behaviour or unintended consequences of drawing attention to some unwanted material on the internet by suing

seen in The Economist

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