Monday, December 6, 2010

Week 14: The Final Post

Reading Andrejevic's article "Surveillance in the Digital Enclosure" was a really detailed look at how we consumers unwittingly submit our personal and shopping preferences to companies. It reminds me of an old Windows XP guide I was paging through over Thanksgiving break. The guide clearly said to feel free to lie when filling out the online registration form for your Microsoft Passport software; let Microsoft learn about your personal information through mailing lists, like the credit card companies do. Also, while it's really handy for Windows Media Player to find your CD cover album art and song information, it is also reporting what music you're listening to. That guide was written in 2004, this article in 2007, and I still think few internet users really, truly know what information is being shared behind their backs. From Facebook profile content to the data your camera stores on every digital photo you snap, there is information being recorded that you don't even know about.

Andrejevic's article discusses the frightening possibility of Microsoft searching through computer hard drives in order to determine how best to advertise to the computer's user: "The software could conceivably gather information on every file on a user’s hard drive and send it to advertisers, and the application does
little to assuage security and privacy concerns" (Hoover, 2007). Now that it's 2010, I wonder if programs like this are in place. Perhaps they are. And that's unsettling. As we have studied during these 14 weeks, we librarians should advocate for privacy and confidentiality in today's technology. It feels like we need to make a stronger push for change.

This semester, my favorite module is when we learned about sampling in week 4. I really enjoyed the Youtube video about the Amen Break sound clip; I've added it to my Youtube favorites. My favorite blog post was also the one I wrote for week 4. That was quite an inspiring week.

Thanks for a lovely semester. I will miss reading everyone's new posts each week and learning about a new, exciting topic each week.


  1. Indeed, Andrejevic's article was rather frightening. I think Facebook's recent snafoos make this even more relevant. We've gotten to the point where the basic "don't share any personal information such as phone #, address, SS#, credit card information" doesn't cut it. Part of me is beginning to think that my grandma, who refuses to order anything online, has a point.

    Yet the other part of me says that there's not that far of a jump from being careful to being paranoid. Yes, we have to be smart and not be a bright target for identity theives. But we can't let fear control our lives or online actions. Because, as the WikiLeaks issue proves, even if we're as careful as possible, there is some jerk out there that's going to invade our privacy.

    As far as my favorite part of the semester, I think I enjoyed banned books week. Even though this is a topic I've discussed in class before and will probably discuss again, I never cease to be shocked by the ways people attempt to take away others' freedoms away.

  2. It is hard to think that any sort of “useful” information can come out of the millions of people playing Farmville, Mob Wars, or any of those other fancy Flash games on Facebook. But, I guess they do and that’s why there is so many of them (to avoid). Each Facebook Application that one clicks on is a check in a long list of “possible likes” or interest at Facebook Marketing HQ. Its scary, but its true.
    As a ex-science person, I fully understand how data, no matter how trivial at the time, can prove to be significant at a later date. Maybe Facebook won’t care how many cows we raise in our Farmville thing but it may prove useful in the future…for whatever reason. Additionally, because Facebook is owned by Microsoft I don’t think they will be running out of data storage units any time soon…

  3. Just to clarify, RPG and everybody, Facebook actually is not owned by Microsoft, or by anyone else, for that matter, but boy would they love to! Facebook is a privately held (meaning no shareholders or stock, stockholders meetings, etc.) company, with a valuation of many billions of dollars.