bestnom1000x50

Porn, policy, and living with cerebral palsy: Three stories and an opinion about the end of privacy

Here's a newsflash: privacy is kind of under attack. Fine, we all sort of had that one figured out. But this week in the Phoenix we're bringing you three stories that attempt to bring that big idea into tighter focus. In "Google: The Ultimate Cockblocker," Boston-bred Hustler contributor Scott Fayner laments his inability to date nice suburban girls without them quickly finding out that he used to be married to a porn star. (Elsewhere in this issue, Fayner also tracks down the MIT brain behind Cambridge's dogshit-powered dog park.) In "Friends With Benefits," Genie Williamson hangs out with college student and aspiring filmmaker Alex Freeman to ask what privacy looks like when, as Alex's cerebral palsy dictates, you're almost never, ever alone. In this week's editorial, Peter Kadzis offers some historical context of the right to privacy -- and suggests it may be a historical blip on the radar. And in "The World Is Watching," Mike Miliard talks to several of the smartest people thinking about privacy today, to offer a stream-of-consciousness survey of our contemporary culture of surveillance -- as well as a few hints about what may come next.

(While you're at it? Check out film editor Peter Keough's review of Catfish and interview with the filmmakers for this year's most astonishing cinematic look at online identity and the nature of truth. The future is now.) 

As we've assembled these stories over the past six weeks or so, we've been keeping a collective reading list; delving into the narratives of privacy's devolution is sort of like dipping your toe in a black hole. We got a little sucked in. Across the river at Harvard, the Berkman Center's Jonathan Zittrain, Danah Boyd, Ethan Zuckerman, and others are ionizing the debate with extraordinarily smart research, opinion, and analysis. A few weeks after we started working on this package, the mainstream media jumped in with both feet -- including a New York Times Magazine cover story and an ongoing Washington Post investigative series. And the organizations that have taken up the full-time job of defending our online freedoms -- especially the Electronic Frontier Foundation -- are breaking news on a daily, if not hourly, basis. 

With that in mind, we think of this week's issue as a jumping-off point for further discussion. If you're inspired to read on, here's a chunk of the link-dump we collected while thinking about this issue. 

Electronic Frontier Foundation
They’re sort of the ACLU of the internet. If you follow just one Twitter feed to keep up on privacy, make it these guys.

The Future of Privacy Forum
Washington think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. Home of Jules Polonetsky, who is quoted extensively in our story

Electronic Privacy Information Center
Washington think tank dedicated to focusing “public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values.”

Tor: How To Stay Anonymous
This tool is reportedly used by undercover cops, the military, human rights organizations, and citizens living under repressive regimes, all of whom have the same goal: maintaining their Internet anonymity

It’s like a smoke detector, only for when Google is watching
DIY “Google Alarm” lets off a really loud noise when it detects Google tracking your online movements.

Video: Privacy, Identity, Innovation
Highlights and keynotes from 2010 the Privacy Identity Innovation Conference

Black Hat: Finding Location without GPS
Using only your browser, a hacker can determine your physical location within 30 feet. Thanks Google!

Surveillance Watch: Berkman Center at Harvard and the MacArthur Foundation
Not-often-updated but still-crucial reading list from the smarterst people on the internet.

How Teens Hide In Plain Sight
Berkman fellow, Microsoftie, hackstress, and ex-raver Danah Boyd is researching how kids navigate privacy issues. Here she explains how teens signal friends through status updates even when they know their parents are reading. You should also read her blog. All the time.

Facebook Places: Is this Orwell’s 1984?
Forget Big Brother – meet Little Brother. TechCrunch parses the similarities between Facebook’s new geo-location check-in system . . . and the world’s most famous totalitarian dystopia.

Everyone, Naked, in the Airport
You know those full-body scans they take of people as they walk through airport security checkpoints? The Feds admitted they kept a bunch of those. Not for personal use, of course.

That’s Easy: They Know Everything About You
“What They Know,” the Washington Post’s ongoing series about scary-as-shit internet tracking practices in advertising and marketing,

The Web Means the End of Forgetting
From the New York Times Magazine, a meditation on the consequences of your digital reputation.

How To Stalk Women on Foursquare
A how-to guide published by the reputable London newspaper, The Guardian.

The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace
Sounds harmless, right? Wrong. Miliard mentions this in his piece: Check out the US government’s plan for asking us to get an identity card and an absolute, verifiable, online ID. Even if this isn’t the sign of the beast, it isn’t good.

US Commerce Committee’s Hearing on Internet Privacy
Watch the video, read the statements . . . call the bullshit? Remember all this pre-election posturing when the lobbyists kill this legislation next year.

Lessig: The Architecture of Privacy
Lawrence Lessig unpacks our current morass. This would have been an impressive document if he’d written it last week. The astonishing thing is that he wrote it in 1998.

Privacy for the Rich!
In the future, says Mother Jones, only the wealthy will be able to afford privacy.

| More


ADVERTISEMENT
 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
ADVERTISEMENT
Latest Comments
ADVERTISEMENT
Search Blogs
 
Phlog Archives