Uneasy about Google’s new privacy policy?

NYT, 2/28: France Says Google Privacy Plan Likely Violates European Law

The headline is a bit bland for the digital privacy issue.  What the French are saying is that Google’s “proposed policy [is] murky in the details of how the company would use private data.”   Should I be concerned about “murky in the details”?

I have to admit, I’m one of the 88 % of Google users who has not read the new policy that takes effect tomorrow.

From the letter sent by the French privacy agency, “Rather than promoting transparency, the terms of the new policy and the fact that Google claims publicly that it will combine data across services raises fears about Google’s actual practices. Our preliminary investigation shows that it is extremely difficult to know exactly which data is combined between which services for which purposes, even for trained privacy professionals.”

Okay … combining data from my Google searches, YouTube searches and my Android smartphone.  “Don’t do evil”  … right?

France has asked Google to delay the new privacy policy for a few weeks, so they can “assess its compatibility with European Union law.”  Google said “no” – “we are confident that our new simple, clear and transparent privacy policy respects all European data protection laws and principles.”  Also – they’re too big and too rich to care?

Somehow “don’t do evil” doesn’t make me feel any better.  And yet, I’ll probably Google something else today.  Maybe it’s time to check out Yahoo.

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Alien invasions or pandemics? How much do we need radio?

Found this piece in On The Media radio archives, called “Covering the Apocalypse” – about the role of journalists during the apocalypse if the Mayan prophesy of the world ending 12/21/2012 happens … or the world ends on any random Tuesday for that matter.  Started off as a whiteboard discussion at  conference I didn’t catch the name of.  Here’s a link to the piece :

Covering the Apocalypse – On The Media.

One of the things Andrew Fitzgerald says in this radio piece is that the first thing to fail will likely be the communications network we depend on for news. Ironically ham radios might become the most reliable place to get news.  Which is why I may have to play this in my Radio & the Internet course later in the semester … the history of early radio starts, not with Amos ‘n’ Andy or jazz music, but with hobbyists – ham radio operators.

Hmm… so Brooke Gladstone and Andrew Fitzgerald are having lots of fun with this, but I’m still going to think about this again.  How dependent on streaming have I become?  Could I get news another way if I had to?

On seeing the forest …

I’ve been in a job search frenzy for the past week or so.  Starting to lose sight of why I enrolled in an alternative, interdisciplinary PhD program in Media, Art, and Text.  Starting to think that dragging my family all over the US in search of that tenure-track faculty position is what I did this for. That was never my intention.  Never.

Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast, summer 2011

Like the picture?  I took it this summer on our family trip – inserted here simply because I like it.  Okay, and because it has trees.  So … I never intended to chase after that elusive tenure-track position.  I’m a teacher by trade, a good one.  I’ve been working on my Teaching Portfolio this morning – adding a few things, modifying a few things.

Because I’m working on an application to teach core communications classes, I pulled up the Core Curriculum Course I designed to take another look at it.  I call the course: Obsession & Outliers, Insiders & Outsiders: Whose Story Is It?   The idea is that I use interesting course material from media studies as a Trojan horse to provide students a place to practice and improve core academic skills:  presentation skills, writing, information fluency (we used to call it research), critical thinking.

Here’s the syllabus: Obsession & Outliers, Insiders & Outsiders: Whose Story Is It?

So what was my intention in pursuing the Media, Art & Text PhD? I do want to teach at the University level – I do it well and I needed the paper credential to have a shot at earning a living wage.  I wanted to continue to improve as a writer. I’ve done that. I’m also gaining skills as an audio documentary producer. And an oral historian. I designed my own website and know enough about coding to clean up the posts on my blogs.

Oregon Coast

The forest? I’m kinda deep in the trees right now.

Applying for jobs that sound interesting and that I’m qualified to do. In places we might consider living. ‘Cause it’s the next right thing to do, sort of like getting this degree was the next right thing to do.

“Way will open” – that’s what Quakers say. Kinda like what you see in this picture, also from our summer trip.

At the start of this trail, I smelled something strong, with a twinge of ammonia. I thought it was urine.  My assumption was drunks partying and peeing in the woods, but the park rangers said that a mountain lion had been there, that the scent was hers.

There’s much I don’t know.  I do know, because I walked it, that the end of this sandy trail through the woods opened onto the vista I posted in the other photograph.  Sand dunes and small stands of trees and the Pacific Ocean stretching out beyond everything.  I was with people I love on a beautiful day, in a beautiful place.

When I looked back, I could see the forest.

what is it about writing? … a leap across a gap?

I was updating my links and found this incredible post from Jonathan Harris – August 21, 2010.  “What is it about writing?”   Worth reading all the way through.

This post was part of his Today project, where he posted a photograph and usually a story a day, starting when he turned thirty. He kept it up for longer than a year … here’s a film about the project:

His work is an interesting mix – the word innovative doesn’t quite cover what is neat about what he does. Wish there were more web artists like him – or maybe I just haven’t found them yet.  Too many web artists are caught up in the newness of the medium … I don’t think we’ve seen what this is going to become yet.

Jonathan Harris website