SVP Technology at First Data Corp; large scale system architecture, infrastructure, tech geek, reading, learning, hiking, GeoCaching, ham radio, married, kids
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Cisco Beefs Up Network Automation, Shifting Further Away from Hardware Focus

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Slew of new software-defined products and services aimed at networks and security Read More
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JayM
1 day ago
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Will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Atlanta, GA
darkspaten
19 hours ago
It's playing out well so far. The Firepower 4100-series are strong and the promise-theory implementation of spine-leaf ACI offers a truly pragmatic, automated whitelist fabric. I'll keep requesting Tetration Analytics in the budget...
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Birth Strategy

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
I'm just saying, from an evolutionary perspective, this is the best move.

New comic!
Today's News:

Big announcement Monday! Stay tuned...




Red Button mashing provided by SMBC RSS Plus. If you consume this comic through RSS, you may want to support Zach's Patreon for like a $1 or something at least especially since this is scraping the site deeper than provided.
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JayM
1 day ago
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Heh.
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Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to have more power in our lives, and we should resist

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Facebook seems unlikely to police itself, so it’s up to its users and other organizations to start to exert pressure for it to do so.

A version of this essay was originally published at Tech.pinions, a website dedicated to informed opinions, insight and perspective on the tech industry.


Last week, Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook a combination of a personal and company manifesto. He also spoke to a number of reporters regarding it. The manifesto is long, and it covers a ton of ground, some of it about the state of the world, but much of it, at least indirectly and directly, about Facebook and its role in such a world. The manifesto is notable for its concession that Facebook has enormous power and has, in some ways, contributed to some big problems plaguing the world. But, more worryingly, it seems to think the solution is more Facebook.

There has been rising concern about Facebook’s power over many facets of our lives for years now, and the concern is especially strong when it comes to news and media consumption, where Facebook is becoming an ever more important channel. Because Facebook’s algorithms determine which things users could be shown, Facebook bears a primary responsibility for making decisions about the media world its users live in.

Facebook’s incentives are to show people the things they’re most likely to enjoy, engage with and share with their friends. But the assumption is that this means showing them things that fit with their existing views, rather than challenging them. It means it often ends up creating so-called “filter bubbles” in which people are only ever exposed to media that confirms their existing views, and only rarely to contradictory views.

Zuckerberg’s manifesto acknowledges all of this, but proposes solutions that are focused on Facebook itself, rather than on weaning people off their reliance on Facebook. That’s understandable — his job is to get people to use Facebook more rather than less but, of course, this approach merely reinforces Facebook’s power and potentially even increases it as it takes a more active role in showing people a range of content. This is a theme that flows throughout the post, talking about all the things Facebook can do to take an even bigger and stronger role in the lives of its users.

Nowhere is this more striking than when he starts talking about participation in the democratic process:

The second is establishing a new process for citizens worldwide to participate in collective decision-making. Our world is more connected than ever, and we face global problems that span national boundaries. As the largest global community, Facebook can explore examples of how community governance might work at scale.

That, to me, sounds like Zuckerberg envisions a world in which Facebook itself becomes the medium through which communities (i.e., cities, states, countries) would govern themselves. Given existing concerns about Facebook’s power to shape media consumption, the idea that it would take a direct role in governance (rather than merely allowing people to vote or connect with their elected representatives as it has done in the past) should be terrifying.

It’s arguable that even Facebook’s “Get Out the Vote” efforts have potential to distort the democratic process, given that usage skews younger than the overall population. But at least it doesn’t give Facebook a direct role in the democratic process itself. If I were a local government, I’d be extremely wary of allowing Facebook a deeper role in any of these processes — I think it’s time for both individuals and organizations to push back against Facebook’s enormous power rather than embracing an expansion of it.

But this concern should go beyond just the democratic process and institutions — we should all be thinking about how much power we want Facebook to have over our lives. A line that was removed from the manifesto between when a draft was sent out to reporters and when the final version was published on Facebook hints at some other dangers. That line concerned the use of AI to detect terrorism:

The long term promise of AI is that in addition to identifying risks more quickly and accurately than would have already happened, it may also identify risks that nobody would have flagged at all — including terrorists planning attacks using private channels, people bullying someone too afraid to report it themselves, and other issues both local and global. It will take many years to develop these systems.

On the face of it, this seems great — Facebook would be helping to identify those who would hurt others while they’re still in the planning stages. But it refers to terrorists using private channels, which implies Facebook looking into the contents of private messages shared between users on Facebook’s various platforms. This is yet another area where Facebook’s power is already considerable — not only does it control much of our media consumption, but it also hosts and carries much of our communication via four huge platforms: Facebook itself, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.

Facebook’s instincts here are understandable, but also worrying. It finally recognizes its power and the ways in which that power has caused problems in the world, but its instinct is to wield that power even more, rather than back off. Given that Facebook seems unlikely to police itself, it’s up to its users and other organizations to start to exert pressure for it to do so.


Jan Dawson is founder and chief analyst at Jackdaw, a technology research and consulting firm focused on the confluence of consumer devices, software, services and connectivity. During his 13 years as a technology analyst, Dawson has covered everything from DSL to LTE, and from policy and regulation to smartphones and tablets. Prior to founding Jackdaw, Dawson worked at Ovum for a number of years, most recently as chief telecoms analyst, responsible for Ovum’s telecoms research agenda globally. Reach him @jandawson.


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JayM
1 day ago
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Atlanta, GA
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How This Hedge Fund Billionaire Turned Activist Plans To Take On Trump

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One of Tom Steyer's acts of dissent: Copying the entire EPA website and making it available to the public.

One of Tom Steyer's acts of dissent: Copying the entire EPA website and making it available to the public.

Capital & Main is an award-winning publication that reports from California on economic, political, and social issues.

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JayM
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Republican States Rights Doctrine

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Spicer really laid out Republican states rights doctrine today in about 3 seconds. First, he was asked about transgender people and bathrooms.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that the White House had rescinded guidance to public schools on transgender students’ access to facilities that match their gender identity because it ought to be a “states’ rights” issue.

Spicer also pointed to a federal judge in Texas who blocked implementation of the Obama administration’s guidance last August. Obama had instructed the Department of Education to instruct public schools not to discriminate against transgender students.

“It’s a states’ right issue. And that’s entirely what he believes,” Spicer said, referring to President Donald Trump, “that if a state wants to pass a law or rule or an organization wants to do something in compliance with the state law, that’s their right, but it shouldn’t be the federal government getting in the way of this.”

A mere few minutes later, he was asked about states that had legalized marijuana.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday suggested the Trump administration will step up enforcement of federal laws against recreational marijuana.

“I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” Spicer said, while adding the exact policy is “a question for the Department of Justice.”

It’s the latest sign President Trump is poised to take a tougher approach than the Obama Justice Department did in states that have legalized the use of recreational marijuana.

And there you have it. States’ rights for policies that President Bannon and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III when states do something they like, full-throated federal repression when states do something they don’t like. Why, it’s almost as if “states’ rights” is not a principle!

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JayM
1 day ago
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*sigh*

Transgender school restrooms... "states rights!!!"

Recreational marijuana use... "states DON'T have rights!!!"

Ummm. I do not think these words mean what you think they mean.
Atlanta, GA
skittone
1 day ago
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The New Yorker's Next Cover Says Everything You Need to Know About Trump and Russia

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While Republicans continue to duck calls to investigate President Donald Trump's ties to Russia, the New Yorker is putting the issue front and center of its next cover with a brilliant illustration:

The scathing cover will accompany an investigation featured in the next issue that explores Russian President Vladimir Putin's influence on the presidential election, and the frightening return of a Cold War the United States is at risk of losing. The issue comes in the wake of a bombshell report on Thursday that cited White House officials requesting the FBI dispute evidence Trump aides communicated with Russian officials during the election. According to CNN, the FBI rejected that request.

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JayM
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