Connectivity Problems

Week 4

  • Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg penned a lengthy letter to the public this week outlining the company’s current goals and championing its connective power. On the largest social network, Zuckerberg addressed the world with it in mind. He believes Facebook could be doing more to build a better world and has vaguely outlined how the company will do so by harnessing global connectivity in an increasingly divided world. With a noticeable change in tone, Facebook has committed to mitigate isolationism while building community by establishing meaningful groups and keeping people safe. Keep in mind however, that although Facebook is a social infrastructure, it is also a business and encouraging connectedness is also encouraging increased use of their service. Read the post in its entirety here. (Engadget, The Guardian)
  • Disney and YouTube have cut ties with PewDiePie, one of the video sharing platform’s most followed users, after the Wall Street Journal reported several posts with anti-semitic imagery and acts. PewDiePie is a popular video-game live streaming account run by Felix Kjellberg with 53 million subscribers. Mr. Kjellberg has made millions from his enormous following and resulting partnerships. This incident sheds light on the ever-present hateful online communities, as well as the vetting process for internet celebrity sponsorship by big companies. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • The travel ban executive order has been posted on the White House website with inaccuracies. While executive orders can be found in their entirety in the Federal Register, the White House website is traditionally a source for more readable synopses. USA Today discovered more than five differences between the official version of the travel order and the White House’s description from grammar corrections to altering previous citations. (Gizmodo)
  • In the whirlwind of the Trump presidency important things can easily be forgotten, like the unsecured and outdated smartphone Trump still uses that is putting him and the nation at risk. Fear not, California Congressman Ted Lieu remembers. Rep Lieu has asked for an investigative hearing on reports “that the President is jeopardizing national security by egregiously failing to implement commonsense security measures across the board.” Even after many warnings from the Secret Service, Trump is still reportedly using an old and ordinary Android that can be easily hacked. Best of luck, Ted. (TechCrunch)
  • Sadly, with the way things are, it is helpful to know one’s rights if border agents want to search their phone. This week, the New York Times printed the following legal information and recommendations. American border agents are legally allowed conduct broad searches more so than the police. However, the information found in luggage versus that in a phone is arguably more private, so, agents need reasonable suspicion of illegal acts before seizing a phone. While they can take a phone, they can’t force an individual to unlock it. The government does not have the right to demand a device’s password without a warrant. It is understandable why some would comply to the request. Denying access or asking for a lawyer tends to escalate a situation. It is suggested to travel with the least amount of data needed to ensure one’s privacy. This could include buying a burner phone to use during travel or encrypting data before trips. (The New York Times)
  • Ah meme culture, you’ve done it again. “Tiny Trump” is the new craze. Whip out your magnifying glass and take a peak.
  • Still here? Pop on over to the Microsoft blog and read about the need for a Digital Geneva Convention. Can I get an Amen?