Posts tagged web

Online Privacy vs Freedom


In line with last year lift 09 conference about Sociogeek results (survey about level of privacy for web user), Olivier Glassey and gave speeches on privacy on the web at Lift 10.

Here are a few notes taken during theses two presentations :

Olivier Glassey (UNIL – Lausanne): social network… is it the end of privacy ?

There are a lot of false assumptions about digital natives :

  • they don’t know about privacy
  • they don’t care about privacy issues
  • they do little/nothing in order to protect their privacy

People are playing with their identities online… social networks are playgrounds and that raise questions :

-> Is my online ID for real ? What are the connections between Social network ID and my real life?
-> how to translate social relations into the management of social network « friendship »

However, « Facebook profiles reflect actual personality, not self-idealization » (Back, Stopfer et alii – Psychological science XX (X) p. 1-3)

Long term memory of privacy :
– What kind of technical tools, legal rules and social norms will allow the needed social memory AND amnesia?
« Privacy is not a fundamental right among others, it is the required condition in order to be able exercise other fundamental rights and liberties » (adapted from Antoinette Rouvroy)

Christian Heller (independent futurist) : « I think privacy is gone for good »

Often privacy is assimilated as freedom… it is a flawed idea…
A few hundred years ago, notion of privacy would be impossible to understand.
For example in a village… everybody knew each other and everyone’s private life was judged by the other (social regulation). Life of kings was of public interest (present star system?). There was no intimacy in sleeping rooms except for very wealthy families. Functional rooms (eating, sleeping, meeting) were not made for privacy…
Female privacy vs Male publicity : Women were dealing with the private sphere raising kids and men were dealing with public life.
When women claimed for public presence is was meant as more freedom, and less privacy… Privacy was assimilated to isolation
Relating to sex life, in the 19th and 20th century, privacy would be related to shame…  things that cannot be exposed or dealt with publicly.
The gay movement went against that, being isolated, and claimed for more public recognition and tolerance.

In the internet world, there is a need for self-assertion through openness. It notably creates connectiveness (Ex. connect people with same interest in fetish practices).
This openness also create a lot of knowledge. (Ex. health problematics).
However, information about me can be used to have power over me (related to old village and social regulation… see above… with what I know about you, I have power to control or threat you…). Consequently, it is important to have data protection, control over my own data so no one can use them against me.
Real democracy would be when everyone can see everyone else… (no privacy…)

>> Follow up by reading the article in L’Hebdo about dealing with identity on the web

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Vie privée et protection des données

Plusieurs articles consacrés plus ou moins à la même thématique ont croisé mon horizon numérique dernièrement, ce qui contribue à me convaincre que le web permet de développer une réelle intelligence collective… instantanée!

Tout d’abord, Stephanie Booth évoque la problématique de la publication de données personnelles sur Facebook et le paramétrage des réglages de la confidentialité pour ses utilisateurs. Cela n’a pas échappé à plusieurs utilisateurs assidus de cette plateforme, les changements récents induisent une visibilité plus grandes de nos infos persos pour autant que nous ayons suivi les recommandations de Facebook en la matière. Enfin, comme l’écrit Stéphanie, ça a le mérite de clarifier les choses : quand on publie qqch sur internet… c’est inévitablement plus ou moins publique!

Jean-Jacques Manach développe cette idée en y ajoutant un aspect générationnel. Pour lui, la gestion de ses données privées (je fais court…) tient plutôt de la crispation (chez les « vieux cons ») ou de la mise en scène en fonction des publics auxquels on souhaite communiquer (chez les « petits/jeunes cons »). Je trouve cette comparaison magnifiquement développée et illustrée de manière extrêmement intéressante dans la mesure où elle fait la part belle à la capacité des « millenials », nés avec les réseaux sociaux, à adapter leur communication à leurs auditoires/lecteurs et à pratiquer une mise en scène finalement assez consciente, malgré ce que veulent croire les « vieux cons » qui cherchent à protéger notre jeunesse. Cette mise en scène utilise tous les moyens à disposition offerts par le web, comme le montre le « Social Radar top 50 Social Brands of 2009 » qui mesure les marques dont la présence sur le web fait l’objet de plus de volume de conversations online.

Seul bémols, quand les « petits cons » en auront marre que les « vieux cons » viennent chasser sur leur terre (Facebook note une augmentation significative de ses membres de plus de 55 ans!), ils trouveront d’autres territoires à explorer :-)

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Web is mobile

December is usually good for predictions… Every specialist on the web will try to make up, or at least relay, trends for the next decade and they usually agree on most of the points!

On ReadWriteWeb, Sarah Perez comments recent predictions made by analyst firm IDC about the future of web usage… Well, these predictions are just in line with what has been written last two or three years… Web is going to be essentially mobile (more than 1 billion users by 2010)! That means more and more content producers will have to manage information on a smaller screen and stick to the point (KISS principle… if you forgot about it). I guess the 140 characters twitter format is not dead :-).

While IDC may not predicting the death of the PC, it does believe that in 2010 mobile devices will eclipse PCs in several areas – or at least come very close. For example, the firm claims we’ll see more than a billion mobile devices connected to the web by year-end. That’s almost as many mobile devices as internet-connected PCs, the latter which will total 1.3 billion. Also, the growth rate of mobile devices is 2.5 times that of PCs.

Then, trends towards mobile web already strongly observed in Asia and developping countries will probably generalize as they are « surfing » on Apple-like smartphones… and waiting for the next generation of iPad…

So is it the end of the web as web know it? Are we going to surf through multiple iPhone or Android applications instead of classical html/php/javacript… pages? How many devices will be able to connect to the web that way? Who will win the smartphone OS war to impose new standards?

I’m looking forward to seeing all this happen… Maybe this is web 3.0 happening on smaller screens!?

>> more about this :

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AdaLovelaceDay – a great woman blogger

Given the opportunity to blog about a woman in technology whom I admire for AdaLovelaceDay, I will try to write a few lines about Stephanie Booth, a now quite renown blogger in Switzerland and beyond…

stephI first met the enthusiastic idealistic pink-haired Stephanie when I was working in a school near Morges in Switzerland. I was teaching English, History and Geography and, as a recruter for my high-school, I was looking for another English teacher. She sent her atypical CV and we decided to meet her with the headmaster. That was a great meeting with her passionate style of answering questions :-). Then, she taught teenagers for two years and that went quite all right… even if some of her students gave her a hard time…

She was the first to introduce a real reflection about the use of blogs in French class in a time when students were starting blogging and teachers didn’t even know what she was talking about… Eventually, she did convinced some of us teachers to have a look at the new media phenomenon… and I started blogging in Feb. 2008 after having attended a workshop on blogs given by Stephanie at Lift !

Now, she’s one of the few professional bloggers in French-speaking Switzerland and is also famous in the blogosphere with her blog – (since 1999!).

Read more about Stephanie’s work on the web :

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The future of the Internet

liftThere are some moments in life where you have a chance to flirt with history… This is what happened when I was listening to Vinton Cerf, one of the creator of the Internet at lift conference.

The talking dinosaur (as he called himself with a smile) captured the audience and everyone listened carefully to this hyperactive man still re-inventing the web on a daily basis.

He gave us a glimse of what the future of the Internet might be through the description of some of his projects.  First, he took time to surf on the WWW timeline to remind us of where we come from… Nothing new but when told by Vinton Cerf, it makes even more sense… I tell you… especially when the man can make you laugh so much about technology vint_cerfand his projects… Here are some quotes I wanted to share with you :

  • There’s no central power or authority that causes Internet to work – one great thing about the web…
  • Internet showed that people are willing to cooperate and willing to share information freely with others on the web
  • There’s an increasing number of mobile devices connected to the internet. And for millions of users, their first experience of the web is done through mobile phones…
  • Asia is leading the number of actual users on the web with only 15,3% penetration (vs 73% in US and 48% in Europe)

According to Vinton Cerf, here are some of the near term changes he (and others) are working on :

  • IPv4 -> IPv6 – 128 bit addresses (3,4 X 10p38)
  • DNSSEC (.se, .pr, .bg, .br, others?)
  • Internationalized Domain Names: Non Latin Unicode characters, …
  • Increasing need to segregate, compartment, protect data (privacy, legal protections, corporate trade secrets, …)
  • Huge data collections (sensor networks, WWW, digitized everything)
  • Bit-Rot problem (it’s 3000, can you interpret 1997 PPT?) – interpreting older files
  • Crowd / Cloud computing: inter-cloud data exchange (formats? Meta data?), inter-cloud protocols (TCP/IP? Other)
  • Legal Framework: Privacy and Law enforcement in a global system, Domestic/international support for e-commerce, legal value of digital signature, dispute resolution in interneational settings
  • Intellectual property protection (what new models can we invent?): existing copyright framework, new ideas (creative commons, copyleft, …), automatic detection of abuse (e.g. YouTube fingerprinting)
  • Digital libraries (Vint is working for Google at the moment :-): prospective acquisition, retrospective digitization, – user, author, publisher, library rights and responsibilities, Books that talk to each other through the web

And then, the next step Vinton Cerf is working on… :

  • creating another protocol that make interplanetary Internet possible (delay and disruption tolerant protocols) – Space Station testing planned in 2009 (so far very successful…)

This guy embodies the history of the web…. and still he’s about to create its future! Amazing isn’t it?!

… And take some time to watch the video of his presentation at Lift!

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Suite à la lecture assidue d’un article de Time magazine consacré à l’analyse des prochains leaders sur le web, j’ai été interpelé par la dernière phrase du texte… que j’avais déjà d’ailleurs découvert dans d’autres articles consacrés plus ou moins au même thème :

But for now? Great technology, today as always, renders us as gods.

Ainsi donc, la technologie du présent… et du futur ferait de nous des (demi-)dieux? Je dois dire que cela m’interroge…
Il est vrai que plus on avance et plus nous en prenons les caractéristiques… Ce dont d’ubiquité, cette faculté d’être partout et nulle-part en même temps, cette (presque) omniscience (quoi, vous n’avez pas vu les nouvelles? Il vient de se produire un tremblement de terre en Mongolie intérieure…) grâce à son téléphone portable en phase directe avec les grands évènements de ce monde, cette capacité à prévoir le futur proche (il fera beau demain entre 11h00 et 15h00 au bord du lac… je devrais donc pouvoir faire mes grillades) et j’en passe…

Malgré tout, je continue à être perplexe… Avons-nous le discernement suffisant pour assumer cette nouvelle position d’hommes-dieux? Il ne faut pas oublier les nombreuses responsabilités qui vont avec ce genre de pouvoir. Je pense par exemple à celle de devoir justifier à chaque instant de notre capacité de savoir ce qui se passe, de répondre quand on nous appelle, de répondre immédiatement à un mail ou un SMS, d’être partout à la fois (virtuellement en tout cas)…

En sommes-nous capables? A titre personnel, en ce qui me concerne, j’en doute… et ça me va comme ça! Ce pouvoir finira par nous empêcher de vivre notre vie d’humain à force de vouloir être des dieux de la technologie… Et comme dit ma BD favorite, « Dieu n’a pas réponse à tout, mais il est bien entouré« . Ce qui tend à prouver que même LUI a choisi de privilégier ses relations par rapport à la toute connaissance et la toute puissance.
Me voilà rassuré !
Allez, je vous laisse, on m’appelle…

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