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Google CEO on Privacy, and Natural Surveillance

Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher recently interviewed Google CEO Eric Schmidt at D9. The whole thing is worth a watch, but two statements by Schmidt were truly exceptional. The first is his definition of privacy, the second is his framing of mobile tracking as “natural.”

Schmidt on privacy:

… from our perspective, privacy is a compromise between the interests of a government and the citizen.

Schmidt on (what I’m now calling) natural surveillance:

I’m very concerned, personally, about the union of mobile tracking and facial recognition. Because, mobile tracking is something that can occur naturally by virtue of these devices … biometrics, in general, will make it possible to do facial recognition in crowds.

I should have known it was mother nature, and not mankind, that created this form of surveillance … damn you nature!

Informationell Deutschland

In preparation for the 2011 Graduate Center-Humboldt University Summer Seminar that I’ll be participating in, I thought it would useful to take stock of some of the recent informational happenings in Germany:

  • Germany is now the largest market for video games in Europe, driven primarily by German interest in the Wii Fit (more …).
  • German laws banning the distribution of photos of people or their property without their permission is forcing Google to modify its StreetView functionality before its launch in Germany (more …).
  • A number of German states, led by Lower Saxony, are now trying to prevent web services such as Amazon, Facebook, or Google from aggregating and sharing visitor information without the explicit consent of the visitor (more …).
  • Facebook has grown by 260% in Germany over just the past year and Germany is now the 18th largest country in Facebook with over 2M members. However, Facebook still remains much smaller in Germany than the Berlin-based StudiVZ social network which boasts over 13M members (more …).
  • A Hamburg court has ruled that YouTube can be held liable for damages when it hosts copyright-protected material without permission (more …).
  • Dead Drops — an anonymous, offline, p2p file-sharing network in public space — has been established by Berlin based media artist Aram Bartholl. Dead Drops embeds USB flash drives into walls, buildings and curbs in public space, allowing anyone to plugin their laptop to share their favorite files and data (more …). h/t jgieseking

This is, but of course, a very small sample of recent happenings. Hopefully I’ll have more to report post-seminar.

AAG Presentation: iLearn

I’ll be presenting “iLearn: Space, Time and Social (Re)Production in Young People’s Informational Environments” tomorrow at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Seattle. If you’re attending the AAG, stop on by!

Session:
Beyond School: Geographies of Informal and Alternative Learning Practices II

Location:
Grand Ballroom C – Sheraton Hotel, Second Floor

Date/Time:
Tuesday, 4/12/2011, from 2:40 PM – 4:20 PM

Presentation Title/Abstract:
iLearn: Space, Time and Social (Re)Production in Young People’s Informational Environments

This presentation will draw on MyDigitalFootprint.org, a participatory action research project with New York City youth ages 14-19, to unpack the reciprocity between informational development and contemporary geographies of education. The near ubiquitous presence of cyberspace in young people’s everyday life has both compressed and expanded the space of the ‘traditional’ school and the time in which ‘formal’ learning occurs. Amidst the current transition from industrial to informational capitalism within the U.S., this space-time compression and expansion provides both opportunities for youth empowerment as well as domination. How contemporary spatialities, materialities, and practices of informationalism become produced and reproduced in young people’s everyday learning will be discussed as will the role of securitization in formalizing the boundaries, relationships, and flows that operate between ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ spaces of education. This presentation will conclude with a discussion of the participatory action research methods developed to investigate such (re)production as well as strategies for reworking educational boundaries, relationships, and flows towards young people’s situated interests and concerns.

MiND-Fi

Technology Loop from Portlandia (h/t Lisa Ashby Brundage):

Carrie: Welcome to MiND-Fi

Fred: Carrie, What’s that?

Carrie: It’s MiND-Fi, I just installed it. It’s like Wi-Fi, but for thoughts. Now, you can let go of all your electronic devices and just be free in your mind.

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