Doc Searls

Zoom needs to clean up its privacy act

Doc Searls

As quarantined millions gather virtually on conferencing platforms, the best of those, Zoom , is doing very well. Hats off. But Zoom is also—correctly— taking a lot of heat for its privacy policy , which is creepily chummy with the tracking-based advertising biz (also called adtech ).

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So far, privacy isn’t a debate

Doc Searls

Remember the dot com boom? Doesn’t matter if you don’t. What does matter is that it ended. All business manias do. That’s why we can expect the “platform economy” and “surveillance capitalism” to end.

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Coming From Every Here

Doc Searls

To answer the question Where are SiriusXM radio stations broadcasted from? , I replied, If you’re wondering where they transmit from, it’s a mix. SiriusXM transmits primarily from a number of satellites placed in geostationary orbit , 35,786 kilometres or 22,236 miles above the equator.

Bad $20

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I once tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Actually, twice. The first was when I paid for a lunch at Barney Greengrass in New York, about two years ago. After exposing the $20 to a gizmo at the cash register, the cashier handed it back to me, saying it was counterfeit.

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Will our digital lives leave a fossil record?

Doc Searls

In the library of Earth’s history, there are missing books, and within books there are missing chapters, written in rock that is now gone. The greatest example of “gone” rock is what John Wesley Powell discovered in 1869, on his expedition by boat through the Grand Canyon.

About a pretty pole

Doc Searls

The tallest structure in Santa Barbara’s skyline is a 200-foot pole painted red and white. It stands in a city equipment yard, not far from the ocean and the city’s famous Wharf. You can see it in the photo above, with the Wharf behind it.

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More on Zoom and privacy

Doc Searls

Zoom needs to clean up its privacy act , which I posted yesterday, hit a nerve. While this blog normally gets about 50 reads a day, by the end of yesterday it got 15000. So far this morning (11:15am Pacific), it has close to 8000 new reads.

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Saving the Internet—and all the commons it makes possible

Doc Searls

This is the Ostrom Memorial Lecture I gave on 9 October of last year for the Ostrom Workshop at Indiana University. Here is the video. The intro starts at 8 minutes in, and my part starts just after 11 minutes in.)

An audio blog post

Doc Searls

I’m trying something new here, speaking instead of writing. Here it is: [link]. I recorded it last night while walking twelve thousand steps, briskly, on the deck of my house. Think of it as a kind of voice mail to readers. The topic I cover is one I’ve written about here; but I’m not going to provide any links—at least not yet. That’s because I want to see if what I’m trying to say comes across better in speaking than in writing.

The GDPR’s biggest fail

Doc Searls

If the GDPR did what it promised to do, we’d be celebrating Privmas today. Two years after the GDPR became enforceable, privacy would be the norm rather than the exception in the online world. That hasn’t happened, but it’s not because the GDPR is poorly enforced.

Do you really need all this personal information, @RollingStone?

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Here’s the popover that greets visitors on arrival at Rolling Stone ‘s website: Our Privacy Policy has been revised as of January 1, 2020. This policy outlines how we use your information. By using our site and products, you are agreeing to the policy.

On humanity, surveillance and coronavirus

Doc Searls

Just learned of The Coronavirus (Safeguards) Bill 2020: Proposed protections for digital interventions and in relation to immunity certificates. This is in addition to the UK’s Coronavirus Bill 2020 , which is (as I understand it) running the show there right now.

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The best way to forget is to never know

Doc Searls

@EvanSelinger tweeted , While some companies think it’s enough to tweet support for social justice while marketing a tool for oppression, IBM gets out of the facial recognition business & states opposition to mass surveillance & racial profiling.

Going #Faceless

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Facial recognition by machines is out of control. Meaning our control. As individuals, and as a society. Thanks to ubiquitous surveillance systems, including the ones in our own phones , we can no longer assume we are anonymous in public places or private in private ones.

The Web and the New Reality

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I posted this essay in my own pre-blog, Reality 2.0 , on December 1, 1995. I think maybe now, in this long moment after we’ve hit a pause button on our future, we can start working on making good the unfulfilled promises that first gleamed in our future a quarter century ago. Contents.

Zoom’s new privacy policy

Doc Searls

Yesterday (March 29), Zoom put up a major rewrite to its privacy policy. The new language is far more clear than what it replaced, and which had caused the concerns I detailed in my previous three posts: Zoom needs to clean up its privacy act , More on Zoom and privacy , and. Helping Zoom.

Audio blog #2

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[link]. Yesterday’s audio blog post (again, not a podcast—I already do two of those ) had 81 visits during that day and another couple dozen this morning. It also got one response on Facebook, a few on Twitter and a couple by email and other channels. Two responses were to the substance of the post, and one addressed the issue of recording while walking. Which I admit was an issue.

Thoughts at #ID2020

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I’m at the ID2020 ( @ID2020 ) Summit in New York. The theme is “Rising to the Good ID Challenge.” ” My notes here are accumulating at the bottom, not the top.

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Remembering Freddy Herrick

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The picture of Freddy Herrick I carry everywhere is in my wallet, on the back of my membership card for a retail store. It got there after I loaned my extra card to Freddy so he could use it every once in awhile.

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GDPR will pop the adtech bubble

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In The Big Short , investor Michael Burry says “One hallmark of mania is the rapid rise in the incidence and complexity of fraud.” ” (Burry shorted the mania- and fraud-filled subprime mortgage market and made a mint in the process.).

Choose One

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A few days ago, in Figuring the Future , I sourced an Arnold Kling blog post that posed an interesting pair of angles toward outlook: a 2×2 with Fragile <—> Robust on one axis and Essential <—> Inessential on the other.

On Dion Neutra, 1926-2019

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The Los Angeles in your head is a Neutra house. You’ve seen many of them in movies , and some of them in many movies. Some of those are now gone , alas, as is the architect and preservationist who also designed, or helped design, many of the buildings that bear his surname.

Let’s get #deepreal

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Deepfakes are a big thing, and a bad one. On the big side, a Google search for deepfake brings up more than 23 billion results. On the bad side, today’s top result in a search on Twitter for the hashtag #deepfake says, “Technology is slowly killing reality.

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Digging in Radio.Garden

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Radio.garden is an amazing and fun discovery, perfect for infinite distraction during life in quarantine. James Vincent in The Verge calls it “Google Earth for Radio.”)

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Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica problems are nothing compared to what’s coming for all of online publishing

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Let’s start with Facebook’s Surveillance Machine , by Zeynep Tufekci in last Monday’s New York Times.

The universe is a start-up

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Earth is 4.54 billion years old. It was born 9.247 years after the Big Bang , which happened 13.787 billion years ago. Meaning that our planet is a third the age of the Universe.

Figuring the future

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The weekend of March 7-8, on our drive to Baltimore (where we would visit the grandkids one last time before the lockdown came), we tried to talk about the likely cascading effects that would come if large parts of the economy shut down.

We haven’t seen this movie before

Doc Searls

Three weekends ago, we drove from New York to Baltimore to visit with family. We had planned this for awhile, but there was added urgency: knowing the world was about to change in a big way. Or in many big ways. The hints were clear, from China and elsewhere: major steps would need to be taken—by people, businesses and governments—to slow the spread of a new virus against which there was yet no defense other than, mainly, hiding out.

Helping Zoom

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I really don’t want to bust Zoom. No tech company on Earth is doing more to keep civilization working at a time when it could so easily fall apart. Zoom does that by providing an exceptionally solid, reliable, friendly, flexible, useful (and even fun!)

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From meat space to meet space

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We’re 19 days away from our 30th Internet Identity Workshop , by far the best unconference I know. Okay, I’m biased, since I’m one of its parents.)

Angel from Maywood

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John Prine and I are both from Maywood. Well, not the same one. His was in Illinois and mine was in New Jersey. So that wasn’t a connection. Instead it was just one of many small doors between souls with some common likes. One of those likes was country.

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What’s wrong with bots is they’re not ours

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In Chatbots were the next big thing: what happened? Justin Lee ( @justinleejw ) nicely unpacks how chatbots were overhyped to begin with and continue to fail their Turing tests , especially since humans in nearly all cases would rather talk to humans than to mechanical substitutes.

Cluetrain at 20

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The Cluetrain Manifesto went online for the world o n March 26, 1999. “People of Earth,” it began. Nothing modest about it. . Chris Locke and David Weinberger both had newsletters with real subscriber bases ( Entropy Gradient Reversals and JOHO , respectively).

Toward no longer running naked through the digital world

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We live in two worlds now: the natural one where we have bodies that obey the laws of gravity and space/time, and the virtual one where there is no gravity or distance (though there is time).

The Spinner’s hack on journalism

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The Spinner* (with the asterisk) is “a service that enables you to subconsciously influence a specific person, by controlling the content on the websites he or she usually visits.” ” Meaning you can hire The Spinner* to hack another person.

Where journalism fails

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“What’s the story?” ” No question is asked more often by editors in newsrooms than that one. And for good reason: that’s what news is about: stories. I was just 22 when I got my first gig as a journalist, reporting for a daily newspaper in New Jersey.

Lost stories

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Wanted: Online Pubs Doing Real (and therefore GDPR-compliant) Advertising

Doc Searls

This is what greets me when I go to the Washington Post site from here in Germany: So you can see it too, wherever you are, here’s the URL I’m redirected to on Chrome , on Firefox , on Safari and on Brave. All look the same except for Brave, which shows a blank page.

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Here’s hoping our Age of Ageism is a brief one

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A few days ago a Twitter exchange contained an “OK Boomer” response to one of my tweets. At the time I laughed it off, tweeting back a pointer to Report: Burying, Cremating Baby Boomers To Generate $200 Trillion In GDP , which ran five years ago in The Onion. But it got me thinking that “OK Boomer” might be more—and worse—than a mere meme. Still, I wasn’t moved to say anything, because I had better stuff to do.

Data is the New Love

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Personal data, that is. Because it’s good to give away—but only if you mean it. And it’s bad to take it, even it seems to be there for the taking. I bring this up because a quarter million pages (so far) on the Web say it “data is the new oil.”

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Ad blocking passes 2 billion worldwide

Doc Searls

GlobalWebIndex ‘s Global Ad-Blocking Behavior report says 47% of us are blocking ads now. It also says, “As a younger and more engaged audience, ad-blockers also are much more likely to be paying subscribers and consumers. Ad-free premium services are especially attractive.”

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Remembering Freeman Dyson

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By his own description , Freeman was a frog: Some mathematicians are birds, others are frogs. Birds fly high in the air and survey broad vistas of mathematics out to the far horizon.

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About face

Doc Searls

We can know more than we can tell. That one-liner from Michael Polanyi has been waiting half a century for a proper controversy, which it now has with facial recognition.