oh beezy

miscellaneous cultural commentary from two urban twenty-somethings. on this here interweb, we go by "bee" and "zy."

link away (while you can)

The past week or so has seen a few interweb privacy and access issues blow up.  So here’s the deal:

1. Facebook is being sketchy about the ownership of your personal information. When Facebook changed its terms of use last week, it took out the clause that stated users could delete their profiles without fear of Facebook retaining that information. (Well, that was never entirely true; unless you erased the information in the profile before deleting the profile itself, it would stay in Facebook’s servers, just in case you came back–and then discovered that your old profile had never died.)  Anyhew, Facebook users noticed the deletion of the privacy clause, Zuckerberg waffled about who owns personal info, outrage continued, the board decided to meet about it, and the old terms of service were reinstated.  But don’t let your guard down, as we haven’t seen the last of Zuckerberg’s vaguely sinister ambiguity:

Going forward, we’ve decided to take a new approach towards developing our terms. We concluded that returning to our previous terms was the right thing for now. As I said yesterday, we think that a lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective so we don’t plan to leave it there for long.

Check ’em if they change ’em.

2. New Zealand’s recent copyright decision could be a model for access debates to come. That country’s Parliament has ruled that Internet Service Providers, including citizen-run websites, can be punished for copyright infringement by having their internet access cut off. Though the UK and EU have rejected these kinds of measures, they set a precedent for putting corporate copyright interests above the needs of creative artists.  Join the New Zealand blackout (Stephen Fry has–see his Twitter page) if this concerns you.

3. The BlockShopper-Jones Day debacle could affect your right to link. Jones Day, a law firm, sued BlockShopper for posting links to its employees’ pages.  The reason? The firm was angry that the real estate site was publicizing the houses its lawyers bought. The claim? That, even if they are publicly accessible pages, linking to them would confuse BlockShopper readers, who might think the firm endorsed it.  And the firm won for trademark infringement, setting the stage for restrictions on links to public sites. So watch your court.

Phew. Stressful.  Debate the weird Gatorade G spots (ooh, that sounds bad) for comic relief.  Or befuddlement.


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living for virtual reality

Do you ever wonder how many people are getting to the point where their lives and actions are motivated to some sizable degree by social media?

For example, how many people are browsing online magazines more because they want a witty article to share on Twitter than because they crave a good read? How many out there are planning social events largely in anticipation of showing off how crazy or pretty or popular they are via the resulting pictures they post on Facebook? Are there people making their plans for tonight based on how awesome the activity will sound laconically described in their Gchat, Facebook, and IM status messages?

It’s unclear.

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