My Favorite Things
I’m going to write out some of my favorite things. Now you can learn more about me
- Spending time with my husband
- Chocolate ice cream
- The color purple
- Looking at Lolcats
France is demanding that Twitter unmask users who posted anti-Semitic comments on the social media site. Given the history of Jews in France during WWII, the country has enforced strict laws against making ethnic slurs. (Case in point: top designer John Galliano of high-fashion house Dior was found guilty in a French court last year following his drunken rant against Jews and charged a $19K fine.)
Twitter is refusing to disclose the users’ identities based on principles of privacy—and different laws in the United States, where the data is stored. However, Twitter did “remove some of the content at issue…in keeping with company policy to remove posts in countries where they violate the law”. The question is, of course, about jurisdiction over content on the Internet, especially in the cloud that is made up of “sprawling data centers” across the globe.
When a US court served notice to Twitter in 2011 due to steps taken by the British government to find a user who had been “defaming members of a British town council,” the company complied. Because it was a US court, not a British court or French court. On the other hand, European governments are nervous about American policy that permits the “surveillance of foreign citizens”.
How far can Twitter really go in defending privacy and free speech (no matter how objectionable) under such laws both here and abroad?
Blogging has changed the face of fashion. And, of course like blogging, fashion is a form of self-expression. Two trends seem to be popular in the blogosphere: personal style sites and “street style” catalogs.
Personal Style Blogs
Personal style sites like eat.sleep.wear and Honestly…WTF are usually created and maintained by one or two women (I’m not able to speak much to men’s style sites since I lack familiarity with them). She often features a variety of blog topics in addition to clothing, such as DIY projects, food, and travel. According to the Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) community, the key is to publish often in order to develop a large following. What’s interesting is how these committed women have parlayed their passion into ad sponsorships and top magazine coverage. Online magazines such as Marie Claire are taking these homegrown stylists seriously, featuring them and their blogs in editorial forums.
With a grassroots approach called “street style,” photographers are taking the pulse of cultures across the globe.
Bill Cunningham, one of the earliest street fashion photographers, has been capturing New York City trends for the New York Times for more than 40 years. His work has influenced an entire movement in street style now made possible by current technologies that support instant self-publication.
Scott Schuman, known internationally for his blog The Sartorialist, is a self-made, self-promoted street fashion photographer whose quality images are a testament of the creativity and panache of everyday fashionistas (and fashionistos). His images taken in large cities around the world were comprised in a book that sold over 100,000 copies within 3 months.
A spin-off is The Campus Sartorialist who tracks college style!
Again these are potential articles. Feel free to find a different article to respond to.
The 26-year-old Internet activist and co-founder of Reddit committed suicide this past week. Caution: The New York Times obituary includes details of the suicide. Talk suggests that Aaron Swartz was feeling dogged by the Justice Department in a prolonged case involving his downloading of academic articles from the well-established subscription database JSTOR. (Maybe y’all have used JSTOR for classes?)
The charge against Swartz was that he illegally gained access to JSTOR (via the network at MIT) and downloaded nearly…wait for it…5 million articles. Swartz’s defenders insist that he had legal access to the articles but that JSTOR voiced objections to the speed at which Swartz downloaded the articles. It’s interesting to note that JSTOR eventually dropped charges against Swartz when he turned over the downloaded files; however, the government continued with its case. According to US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, “Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar.”
The Justice Department initially charged Swartz with four felony charges including wire fraud and computer fraud. Those charges climbed to a full thirteen. If convicted, he could have faced up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
So, why did Aaron Swartz do it? If his previous endeavors indicate anything, Swartz believed in the freedom of information. Free as in freedom but also free as in beer, to quote Richard Stallman, the father of open source software. Speaking of free, JSTOR announced this week that it would open access to 1200 journals in its database for a limited time. Huh. Was Swartz ahead of the game after all? Did he indeed pirate content? What do you think?
Here are some potential articles that you might want to use for your first news discussion. You are not required to use any of these articles, but it might help you if you aren’t sure what sorts of articles are relevant: