Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

It has been discussed a lot since the creation of Google Street View about the privacy problems of that program.  Thanks to an algorithm the problem is solved. What that algorithm does is to recognize the faces and the registration plates of the cars and then the program erase them automatically.

Here  is a demonstration about how Street View works after aplying this new algorithm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpuGG2vvDIc

This program has been created because of the hundred thousands complains from differents users accusing Google of not respecting their privacy. Germany has required Google to respect the privacity of people, creating a law to regulate the data of the german users.

Discorse about privacy legislation on Google Street View takes place also in other countries like USA or UK . If you are more interested in, you can have a look to this good case study :

http://studentorgs.law.smu.edu/getattachment/International-Law-Review-Association/News/Archive/Student-Working-Papers/InternationalPrivacy.pdf

Do you remember the good old boardgames? Many of us had a good many nights of playing boardgames for hours and hours with friends and family.  As cosy as those nights were, they were often educational to some extent as well. If you have ever played Trivial Pursuit – you’re bound to remember the “heureka-moments” connected with showing off your knowledge to your friends and family.

Then along came the computer. With it, gaming moved to a new digitalized platform, which had parents worried about loosing their teenager children to the power of virtual life. Spending too much time in front of any screen was generally regarded as developing a bad habit.

Nowadays, games and gaming has by far moved into its new platform – namely digital devices. And with a wide array of purposes too. To conceive of gaming today as merely entertainment is too simple. A lot of games do  not only include rational decision-making, but also a new way of communicating a given message. Companies and institutions are increasingly utilizing games to get across a certain message. This spans from educational to political purposes. For instance, take a look at America’s Army – the official game intended for U.S. Army recruitment:

The intention of this game is to educate American would-be soldiers about the facets of war. This is something quite different than “innocent apps” such as WordFeud. Games such as America’s Army does not restrict the player to an already outlined story, but rather the player creates the story through his choices in-game. Another example of this, is the Primaire à gauche.newsgames from the French newspaper Le Monde.fr. In it, the player is a political candidate, and has to shape his or her own political campaign. This is a way of providing insight into the vast amount of variables which go into political campaigning.

The potential benefits of these new Serious Games are many. It is a new way to create and share informations across a variety of subjects – even to introduce subjects to new target groups – in the case of Primaire à gàuche, one of its stated intentions was to get more young people interested or informed about politics.

One does not have to think far in order to grasp the opportunities this new media tool. It can be used for many ends, commercial, educational or political.  One could think about the efficiency of this kind of communication. Also, couldn’t this be used for manipulation – for instance promoting a certain ideology and rewarding its user for uncritically promoting it?

Want to learn more?

http://www.americasarmy.com

http://seriousgames.msu.edu/games.php

http://coventry.academia.edu/EikeFalkAnderson/Papers/110808/Serious_Games_in_Cultural_Heritage

http://www.omnsh.org/spip.php?article148 (in French)

 

Nowadays technology is present in every aspect of our daily life. Computers, mobile phones, Internet, smartphones and other electronic devices save our time and make us more productive. However, in this digital world, burocracy is still stuck in the old-fashion days requiring us to show up physically in order to carry out any procedures. The step further was taken and the electronic ID card has been introduced. It already exists  in some territories such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Portugal, Morocco and Spain. The usage of this card is not extended yet, but we can actually see some of its benefits such as:

• In the relation between citizens:

  • The electronic signature of the electronic ID garantees the identiry of the person and the integrity of the content.
  • It provides you the maxim confidenciality grade and security in Internet.

• In relation to the Public Administration:

  • You don’t have to be physically present in the Government offices to guarantee your identity at the time of making procedures.
  • You can vote online.

• In relation to the companies

  • You can reach a more confidential relation with a company you are dealing with.
Despite this fact we don’t have to forget the digital division between generations and the problems that this population could have if this system becomes compulsory. In addition, the necessity of a machine that conects the electronic ID with the computer is an inconvinience that the Government could solve facilitating free adapters.

Iga Drobnik, Aneley Lampugnani, Ares Subirà
References: European Commission;  Research and Innovation: Electronic ID becoming a reality in the EU; 2011.

In all western countries there’s a big decline in amount of people voting in elections and referendum. There’s not enough discussion between politicians and citizens. Is there anything to be done for this situation?

The online participatory democracy or e-democracy could be a way how to involve people to make decisions concerning their society. The evolution of new media and technology makes it possible to break the chains of time and space and therefore it’s not maybe compulsory to have people representing you in desicionmaking when you can get involved yourself through the internet. There’s new ways and internet platforms to motivate people to participate in the public debates and decisionmaking.

For example in Latvia there is an internet platform called My Voice where people can petiton for policy changes. It has already made an impact on Latvian policy – some citizen requests has been discussed in Latvian Saeima (parlament). More information about this case you can find here

There is also tendencies in other countries to ensure citizens participate in e-democracy:

Reference:

e-Democracy and Participatory Decision Processes: Lessons from e-Negotiation Experiments

The power of social media is becoming more and more obvious. In the Middle East the phenomenon “Twitter Revolution” is spreading, which now results in revolutions against the government. Social media is being used as a weapon against the authorities who are now trying to restrict its range or even shut it down in order to prevent activists from planning a revolt.

Twitter Revolutiontwitter-revolution-tunisia-strongman-ruling-leader-12629386 ABC News

Read the article on the Tunesian Twitter Revolution here

Most people would agree that using social media for revolution is a good thing and that government restrictions are bad.

However, social media sites can also be used for harmful purposes. Fx. supporting terror organizations, nazi movements or simply bullying certain people online.

This is a case of social media having negative dramatic consequences.

Read the full article about the Facebook bully victim here

So the question is: Should there be restrictions for social media interaction?

“12345” has been released as the Sirian president password that gives acces to all his own private information. Owing to revealing this information, Anonymous hacktivists group intented to make people aware of the net’s fragility. In relation to that, they alert both world’s governments and ordinary citizens that privacy on the net is not guaranteed. In a time in which our identities are being constructed through Internet, be careful on what you share, you are being watched.

Reference:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/02/08/anonymous-hacks-syrian-presidents-email-with-12345-password/

http://anonanalytics.com/

FRACKMAN, A; MARTIN, Rebecca; RAY, Claudia. Internet and online privacy. A legal and business guide; American Lawyer Meda, Inc; 2002

Authors: Clàudia Aragon, Iga Drobnik, Aneley Lampugnani, Ares Subirà.