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New amendment to protect Google Glass

New amendment to protect Google Glass

A well regulated Internet, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear smart glasses, shall not be infringed.
(Sign the Pass the Glass Amendment Petition)

This amendment is being proposed in response to the persecution of our rights as individuals to bear mobile devices. The anti-Google Glass movement Stop The Cyborgs was founded in response and has already published a list of demands including that Google never allow face recognition apps and that the company creates a do not track system. West Virginia state representative Gary Howell, a Republican, has proposed a law to outlaw the devices for drivers in his state: “I would like to invite Google to provide a demonstration,” said Howell. Google has also been warned by Las Vegas casinos and a Seattle bar that their product is banned at their establishments. “We will not allow people to wear Glass while gambling or attending our shows,” warned one spokesman for Caesars Entertainment.

Inspiring the recent hardware witch hunt, of course, is the commercial introduction of Google Glass, evolutionary mobile technology showcased in their new video demonstrating the multitude of  ways our life will be improved by its convenient wearability and interface.google-glass-ban

The Argument Against Glass
While the United States constitution protects access to Internet tools, many are debating what happens when technology is used irresponsibly. The Boston bombing suspects used their laptops to access bomb-making information that aided them in  acts of terror. Some say it’s time to put a stop to Internet threats compromising our national security. European Union leadership has long advocated for blocking Internet searches using dangerous words like bomb, kill, genocide or terrorism. In January, a Paris court ordered Twitter to identify and hold accountable  users posting “hateful” tweets.

Constitutional Right to Bear Arms
There is an obvious parallel between the right to bear mobile devices (e.g., Google Glass) and the right to bear arms (e.g., 38 Special). Gallup polls indicate that while the gun debate simmers, a majority of Americans still support private gun ownership. They also believe the country has an active role in regulating how technology is deployed. Few of us would contend, for instance, that bazookas should fall under the Second Amendment protection laws for private ownership. Likewise, there are no viable movements to ban hunting with guns.

Philosophy Behind the Amendment
Alex Roland is a professor of history at Duke University known for speaking out about the need for society to accept responsibility for how technology shapes warfare. He reminds students that the accelerated pace of technological change in the modern world, however, has little to do with harmful conditions in the world. War is timeless and universal, he says, so there is no imperative for new technology to be used for ill means, by either government agencies or individuals. Roland believes that we, as responsible citizens, have it within our powers to shape technology into mechanisms for good.

An Amendment to Bear Mobile Devices
With these points in mind, we propose the amendment to the United States Constitution, necessary for the purpose of protecting our right to bear mobile computers. We’re sure congress will be forced to take up the issue and eventually ratify a version of our new amendment as it becomes increasingly obvious that our mobile computer devices have the ability to radically improve the way we live our lives.  We anticipate both Democrats and Republicans will rally behind our rights to own and operate mobile devices.

Blotter.com's Google Glass Gun
How critics see Google Glass (high res)

Why Syrian hackers aren’t called terrorists

Why Syrian hackers aren’t called terrorists

There are two reasons we stopped short of calling The Syrian Electronic Army actions organized “terrorist” acts:

  • The acts were propogandic, not violent.
  • Legitimizing the incident would admit our modern economy’s vulnerability to a new type of warfare we are ill-prepared to fight.

The April 23rd Twitter hack blamed on the pro-Assad Syrian group did nearly as much to destabilize the U.S. economic system as did the Boston Bombers (i.e., the DOW Jones Industrial Average gave up 150 points after the Twitter hack and 180 points after the Boston Bombing). Here’s what caused the chaos following the hijacking of the AP News twitter account last Tuesday:

“Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”

In the days following, traditional media outlets considered the incident “below the fold” news despite the $136 billion market collapse. This, following an earlier attack on Saturday by the same group aiming to subvert United States government policy:

“The US government is sponsoring a coup in Venezuela and a terrorist war in Syria.”
@60 Minutes

The CBS News television magazine “60 Minutes” was victim to assorted phony tweets impacting their 320,000 followers on April 20th resulting in a lot of embarrassment. But the U.S. economy should be thankful that the Syrian group’s less-than-strategic execution on the CBS News hack was immediately perceived as phony; more alarming is that they learnt their lesson from that attack and were both emboldened and more strategic and convincing than before when they chose their next target and composition. The AP attack was brutally successful, albeit short lived.

Alert readers wonder why popular news purveyors aren’t more disturbed by the foreshadowing of cyber attacks to come. The soft headlines in the two days following the AP hack had no mention of “terrorists” or “army”, and seemed almost casual in putting the burden on the private sector. Here’s a sampling from April 23rd:

Terrorism is an ill-defined word that is generally agreed to mean “a systematic means of coercion” practiced by “a broad array of political organizations.” Now we have the term “cyber-terrorism” making its rounds. And while most of our popular media will continue to avoid using “terrorism” to describe cyber attacks, a simple web search demonstrates that nearly 13 million bloggers believe the time is now to be concerned and talking about terrorism’s impact on the road ahead.

eBay’s shift toward The Tea Party

A young eBay, Inc. led by the young liberal CEO John Donahoe donated loads to the Democratic Party, specifically to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York. Now, Gillibrand's support of the bill known as the Marketplace Fairness Act, legislation that would ultimately allow states to collect sales tax from online merchants, whether they have operations in that state or not, has put John Donahoe in opposition to the Democratic Party. Donahoe is having that predictable "rich man realization" that comes with making millions. eBay's sudden political shift to the Right is no coincidence considering their CEO saw his compensation nearly doubled to $29.7 million in 2012 while the company grew 2012 first quarter performance with revenue increasing 18%. Nevertheless, it was a surprise to most of the 84 million eBay members...

JC Penny CEO bad boss departure

"When assholes succeed," Bob Sutton argues, "they usually do so despite their negative traits not because of them." Sutton's Good Boss, Bad Boss begs the question whether it's worth any company's bottom line to tolerate jerks. Steve Jobs was a well known bully tolerated for his genius and bottom line results returned for Apple, but let's not forget Jobs was fired from Apple for being "famously combative". The company lost millions because of him before making billions despite his antics. After his own combative 17 months portraying himself as an all-knowing savior of the department store, JC Penny CEO Ron Johnson was fired on April 9th. Business Insider saw this coming long before the board of directors did, calling him the wrong man for the wrong job back in October 2012:
Make no...

Don’t Over Engineer It!

Don’t Over Engineer It!

The recent batch of April Fools Day pranks reflects our culture’s obsessions and fears with overbearing technology and the creeping featurism threatening to distract us from the truly important things in life. But why do these jabs and hi-jinxes make us laugh so hard, yet a little uncomfortable? Well, for technologists there is that constant battle to both improve on existing technology and to avoid the over complication creeping in with the addition of each new feature. April fools day technology pranks should come as some relief.

The famous aeronautical innovator Kelly Johnson is credited with coining the term KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) in the 1970s, but society finds it necessary to reintroduce the same concept with terms like mission creep, scope creep or the highly contagious second-system syndrome referring to the tendency of small, elegant, and successful systems to have elephantine, feature-laden monstrosities as their successors.

Google received the most attention this year for parodying itself, their software bloat manifesting Google Nose, based on a ridiculous supposition that their users have been suffering from a lack of olfactory search technology.

Google Nose

Within the premium service industry, Virgin Airlines takes the award for their announcement of a glass-bottom airplane. “We are continuing this uplifting spirit by developing an experience that will enable Little Red passengers to appreciate the beauty of the British landscape,” a spokesman said.

Picture 152

Fancy Feast brand cat food managed to remind us, once again, that the anthropomorphizing of the common house cat is putting our pets above ourselves.

Not to be outdone, Twitter gave a shock of their own by suggesting that users are not fully taking advantage of their ability to abbreviate their communications using the service.

Twitter announces Twttr

And finally, with Kayak.com’s sudden rise to the top of the travel search industry, why not apply those same ingenious algorithms to searching for your perfect soul mate? Here, efficiency in dating seems less of a joke and more of a test case. Don’t be surprised to see this feature introduced, for real, in a future iteration of their gold standard search services.

Kayak releases a dating feature

Here’s a few more of the best 2013 online antics, April Fools stunts and events.

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