Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Facecrime: The New Social Networking

Two minor news stories have caught my eye this week, which is tragic, I suppose. I should care more about this whole CRTC wifi access debate, but I can not bring myself to slog through the information. 

In B.C. a judge has formally rewritten a woman's will to give more money and property to her daughter, in a case noted for its unusual size. Despite being ordered to repay some loans the daughter had borrowed from her mother, she was awarded an additional $5.5 million, added to an undisclosed sum that was likely somewhere between $1 and $20 million (the entirety of the state). The remainder of the estate apparently went to the woman's 35-year husband.
I am annoyed that recently there seems to be a trend where a typically Liberal right is enacted or enforced and about a week later we regret having it. The last one was concerning a court who had rewritten a man's will because he had deliberately left nothing for his four daughters, for no reason other than simple misogynistic stupidity. The will was rewritten to allow a share for the daughters. Now, however, we are frivolously changing people's dying wishes to accommodate people who have already been given plenty. I do not agree with the wealth that any of the individuals possessed, but I hate more the notion that our final words can be warped on the whims of survivors.

The other article was involving the Calgary airport and their free wireless internet. Apparently they require users to log in through their Facebook pages, which enables the airport to gather statistics, demographics and credit card numbers.
Hey, that's not funny.
It is true, Dear Reader. The company that is helping gather and interpret the data is STREETworks, a company that can collect data about credit card transactions, but the airport insists it totally isn't using the information for bad stuff. They promise. They PINKY swear!
I am torn over this issue. It is the case that they can gain precisely no information if you a) do not use their network or b) use a fake Facebook account, but I also feel this is setting a bad precedent for similar matters. From this, we could conceivably find ourselves in a situation where simply entering a location with a network-capable item is reason enough to have information pulled off the system.
How are the alarmist pants fitting today?
They feel great, DR.
But seriously; few people may remember the article a while ago where a student conducting research in the middle east was detained while American customs agents opened his laptop and explored whatever they found on there, including personal files and pictures. The case was only brought to the forefront because the student was concerned his research would be compromised if people knew officials had access to their confidential statements. Combine these two precedents, add in the notion of "Visitors to these premises may be subject to search including persons and personal effects", and we have a delightfully Orwellian situation brewing.

The more I write this blog, the closer I get to living in the woods, eating bark stew, and staying so far off the grid I forget what the internet sounds like. (FYI; it sounds like puce) 

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