Archive | November, 2010

Is there still any privacy online?

29 Nov


  • Do employers have the right to know what their employees do when they are not working? Why or why not?

I do not think that employers have the right to know what their employees do when they are not working. Employers should judge employees by their working ability instead of personal life. As long as employees have good performance in work, there is no reason for employers to interfere their personal life. However, it becomes harder and harder to draw the line between work and personal life. Just like Abe (2009) mentioned, “people have come to experience the convenience and efficacy of digital interactive media in their everyday life.” The products of digital era such as Facebook, MSN and smartphone make the line between work and personal life blurring. Employers can easily get employees’ personal life information even when they are not intended to.

  • Can these cases with professional athletes (Sanderson, 2009) can be applied to (or compared with) other types of employees — such as lawyers, teachers, advertising sales reps, etc. Why or why not?

I think the cases cited by Sanderson (2009) can be compared with other types of employees. Although the athletes cited by Sanderson (2009) are famous, people may have much interest in their life. We can still see that there are many “normal people” being discussed on certain forum about their special/unethical behavior. For example, there was a case in Taiwan that a nurse was taken a photo when she was maltreating an old patient. The photo was wide spread online and eventually the hospital fired the nurse. It may be hard for other types of employees to interact with online users actively. However, users are willing to provide information when they think the encounter is interesting and worth to discuss.

  • Is the typical college student’s participation in Facebook an example of Abe’s “peer surveillance”? Why or why not?

I think that college students participating in Facebool is an example of Abe’s “peer surveillance” (2009). Although the system of Facebook is not like mixi that you have to be invited by a member to participate in and there is no “trace record” in Facebook, we can still choose to friend with whom, to share life with the friends we feel safe and comfortable. When feeling safe and comfortable, we would be more willing to share our personal life. And we can interact with friends on Facebook. We are “as an active agent of surveillance” on Facebook.

  • When you think about Abe’s claim that “every aspect of our communication via those media can be easily traced back and stored” (p. 76), does this seem good to you, or bad? Why or why not? Consider the idea that everyone is monitoring everyone else.

I would say that communication can be traced back and stored is good to me, but it is definitely convenient. I do not have to bring map to travel, do not have to memorize every word I typed. To be honest, I was the kind of people Abe (2009) mentioned, I didn’t think I may be in the risk of being monitored. I just enjoyed the convenience which technology gives to me. However, the situation mentioned by Abe reminds me the movie “Enemy of the State.” We may not face the exaggerated situation. Yet, if our personal information such as bank account is really easily being got by others, then this seems bad to me.



Crowdsourcing: diversity in the crowd

15 Nov

I chose “Talking Points Memo U.S. attorneys” case since the word “left-center” which Muthukumaraswamy mentioned attracted my attention. I am curious about the credibility of the result of crowdsourcing when the website has certain ideology. Will the result be biased when the “crowds” of the website have common ideology? Or will the common ideology strengthen the users’ determination to find out the truth? In my opinion, I think that bias in crowdsourcing can sometimes be devastating. Diversity in the crowd should be important. The link addressed that diversity of opinion among crowd need to be ensured to bring the potential of the crowd into full play. The crowdsourcing way which Speechology uses may be able to reduce the biased risk because the website invites their users to provide “videos” as testimonies. Speechology becomes an “archive of videos” showing what politicians had actually said which diminish the risk of bias.

According to Muthukumaraswamy (2009), TPM “has capitalized on these services by utilizing simple reader alerts and extensive analysis by its robust audience.” And the author also mentioned that “most readers of TPM are well connected, and have expertise in specialized fields such as law, policy and national intelligence” (Muthukumaraswamy, 2009, p.53) However, I could not find any contributors requirement on TPM website when I sign up. I wonder about how they do the contributors screening process to “recruiting an expert audience” since I do not think that the TPM has the right to ask audience providing their personal information when audience contributes. If the TPM is just screening audience’s contribution by their employees, then I do not see that there is difference from other “general audience” generating website. Therefore, I do not think that the subheading “wisdom of crowds in general-interest reporting by recruiting an expert audience” is suitable. “Wisdom of crowds in general-interest reporting by recruiting generalists” may be more suitable.

Crowdsourcing is definitely a good way to supervise government. Besides the TPM provides a platform for their audiences to gather and contribute information about the government, there are more and more websites also try to supervise government. Therefore, the U.S. government started to “embrace crowdsourcing.” Besides “the President Obama’s goal to create a more transparent, participatory and collaborative government” declared by the White House. I also found many government websites such as St. Louis County Crime Incident Map and Ideas for Seattle. The crowdsourcing trend may change the old administrative way of government.

To sum up, I do not think that the TPM is a good example of crowdsourcing because I cannot be sure that the information on the website is really from “crowd.” Unlike the Ushahidi website has clear way for audiences to contribute information, I do not understand where the “open-source” of the TPM is. To me, it is more like regular news website where users can comment.

Remix: creativity or stealing

7 Nov

If there was no one translating the Bible to different language and spreading it to the world, what would the world be today?

If we set the boundary for creativity, will there still be new technology?

If we did not set the boundary to protect copyright, would there be anyone who wants to create new things?

How do draw the line for “First Amendment?”

To be honest, I still have no answer.




It seems that I did not communicate my message clearly. I  doubt that “you can’t argue creativity when it’s based on other people’s stuff.” Because we will never know where this kind of creativity will lead us to. That is why I put the pictures of Spanish Bible, the English version of the Analects of Confucius and many other “art parodies” in the video. We can see in many cases, parody/remix work make people notice the original work. Moreover, it can even create culture. With the Internet, the effect of it is more obviously. So I put the song “Let’s go crazy.” If you have opinion, just do it. Bring those creativitis out and let the world know.

Although I think it is important but hard to find the balance between copyright and creativity. There is no reason to let “the past controls the future.”