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Annotated Links of Interest: October 8th 2008

Links of interest for October 3rd 2008 through October 8th 2008:

  • Generational Myth: Not all young people are tech-savvy [ChronicleReview.com] – Siva Vaidhyanathan convincingly argues we need to move away from the simplistic rhetoric of the ‘digital natives’ before this generational pigeon-holing causes even more harm: “We should drop our simplistic attachments to generations so we can generate an accurate and subtle account of the needs of young people — and all people, for that matter. A more responsible assessment would divorce itself from a pro- or anti-technology agenda and look at multiple causes for problems we note: state malfeasance or benign neglect of education, rampant consumerism in our culture, moral panics that lead us to scapegoat technology, and, yes, technology itself. Such work would reflect the fact that technologies do not emerge in a vacuum. “
  • MySpace a new fraud market [The Age] – “Hugely popular services such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn are being blamed for a boom in sophisticated email scams in which criminals mining the information on social networking sites to create personalised attacks.
    These so-called spear phishing emails appear to come from a trusted source and aim to persuade the victim to hand over valuable data such as banking details or passwords to corporate networks.”
  • Privacy lags in technology rush [The Age] – “The [Australian] federal minister in charge of privacy, John Faulkner, has warned that personal information posted on social networking websites can linger forever “like an ill-considered tattoo”. But the cabinet secretary said the challenge for legislators was not to protect people from the information they volunteer about themselves but the data collected by others. He called for privacy values to be at the forefront – not an afterthought – when technology was being developed.”
  • A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century [Esquire] – “Chuck Klosterman issues his predictions for the coming century.” It’s more speculative satire than future history, but this sort of fictional list is always amusing and until 2040 it extrapolates from contemporary trends fairly well. Then we get time travellers, robots, AIs, war with the animals and overpopulation on the moon.
  • China spying on Skype users – VoIP – Connectivity – Technology – theage.com.au – “China is monitoring the chat messages of Skype users and censoring them if they contain sensitive keywords such as Tibet or Communist Party, according to a group of Canadian researchers. The massive surveillance operation of TOM-Skype, a joint venture between Chinese mobile firm TOM Online and Skype, owned by US online auction house eBay, was alleged by Citizen Lab, a University of Toronto research group.” (Another case where ethics are treated as national institutions, not global issues!)
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