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Social Media's Double Standard Quandry

Social media proved to be a vital part of the Arab Spring, helping protesters to organize, rally, post video of happenings on the ground in places journalists could no longer access.

Social media also proved to be a vital part of the London Riots, enabling scofflaws to organize, rally, and post videos of happenings on the ground, like guys stealing out of the backpacks of injured Malaysian students under the guise of helping him up.

Now social media sites are facing quite the quandry: how much rope do you allow governments to have? BlackBerry gets demands from countries in the Middle East and Africa to allow access to their network so the governments can spy on citizens. If it's Libya or Syria, it's easy to say no. But what do you do if David Cameron from the UK asks for the same thing? This is what Facebook, Twitter and RIM are facing right now as London tries to arrest as many people as they can. Cameron even threatened yesterday to shut off people's access to social media if they're convicted.


While Facebook et al may not have a response just yet, Anonymous appears to have a response for them. Facebook is being targeted - well, maybe - by Anonymous on Guy Fawkes Day, Nov. 5. Or maybe not - an Anonymous spokesperson says it's not real, and if it is whoever's behind it shouldn't be doing it anyway. A fight's broken out on Twitter over it.

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Privacy Doesn't Apply When You're Driving A Bus At The Time, Says Ont. Privacy Commish


I can't believe someone had to actually say it out loud, but apparently they did. If you drive a city bus and fill out paperwork while in the middle of traffic and someone films you and puts you on YouTube and your video goes viral....you didn't have any right to expect that to be private, and you can't protest about your privacy being invaded.

This probably has something to do with, oh, I don't know...the fact that you're sitting on a city bus at the time!

If you can't successfully sue Girls Gone Wild if you flash your tatas in a bar because a bar is a public space, your argument that your driving and writing (or playing Angry Birds, or napping, or whatever else that bus drivers all over North America have gotten caught doing while driving) should be private is going to fall flat.

The driver was in Gatineau, but Ontario's privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian just wanted to underline that if you're driving a bus and engaging in behaviour that endangers public safety there's no privacy attaching there.
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Go Back Over Douglas File, LAC Told By Fed Court


The Federal Court has given Library and Archives Canada 90 days to reconsider the Tommy Douglas file from the RCMP and release more information. While Justice Simon Noel doesn't dismiss security concerns, he figures enough time has gone by to blunt any impact on national security.

I still figure there must be people mentioned in the file that CSIS is still following. Heck, it could be Shirley Douglas, who supported the Freedom of Information request brought by journalist Jim Bronskill.
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Dumba$$es Burn Down Sony Warehouse, Endanger Indie Music and Film


Are you an Arctic Monkeys fan, or maybe just a fan of owning incredibly rare items that will be worth a buttload of money? Then line up now for Monday's release date, because Arctic Monkeys' new single, The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala, is one of the first releases that will be impacted in the giant fire that burned up Sony Enfield's Pias warehouse, disastrously impacting pretty much every tiny indie label all over the world. There will now be a very limited quantity of 7in available for the single.

Thanks, moron rioters!


Similarly gut-punched by the fire is film distributors, some quite small, like Dogwoof, and some quite massive, like BFI. The warehouse was the physical distribution point for BFI's classic film sales on DVD, and this is a debilitating business loss even to a giant company like BFI. Some distributors say this will set back their cinematic releases, because if DVD stock isn't ready to roll they won't want to roll out the cinematic releases yet either.

In both cases, Sony is kicking its contingency plans into place. On the music side of things, fans have also set up a benefit fund for the indie labels that lost so much.

I feel sorry for the firefighters who had to spray that down as well. That's some toxic chemicals on the lungs right there. Eesh.

European Privacy Update

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've undoubtedly heard about the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. The 169-year old paper was folded on the weekend by its owner Rupert Murdoch in what can only be described as the world's most blatant attempt to suck up and curry favour so that his TV deal for Sky Television would go through.


So that's Christopher Hitchens's take on it. Now, Hitch is a polarizing figure, I know, but he's also a guy who worked in this exact atmosphere, so that's something to keep in mind before chucking rocks at me.


Former British PM Gordon Brown is rightly pi$$ed off that his kid's medical condition was hacked during the scandal and is going to make Murdoch's life as hard as he possibly can because of it. Good for him.


Of course News of the World was also implicated in hacking the account of murdered teen Milly Dowler after she was first reported missing - and deleting messages. Hopefully whoever did that will go to jail for interfering with a police investigation.


And now for something completely different, as they say...Julian Assange of WikiLeaks infamy is again fighting his extradition to Sweden.


Finally, Lord Black will be able to write a book about "How I Spent My Non-Prison Summer Vacation", because he doesn't have to report back to jail until September 6. (I know it's American jail, but Lord Black is still British.)

Privacy Commish Takes On Staples


This is a couple days old by now, but Jennifer Stoddart announced an audit of Staples that showed that it was still selling electronics that had been returned without wiping the devices first. This means if you returned that laptop to Staples they probably resold it with your personal info still on it. The privacy commissioner says this is unacceptable. Moral of the story: make sure you wipe your old electronics yourself.

Pottermore Explained


JK Rowling is finally getting online.

Last week, to much speculation, the website Pottermore announced its imminent arrival. This week, we learn that it's not a new series of books about everyone's fave boy wizard but a website to sell the books, with added gaming and community elements. It's partnered with Sony.

Rowling had been an infamous digital publishing holdout, the literary equivalent to the Beatles. Her e-books will bypass Amazon and other e-reader services, though they will be compatible with all formats, say her partners.