A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

Daily Prompt: Freedom of Facebook

Facebook has recently come under attack for failing to enforce its own guidelines on hate speech and violent imagery. Is it a website’s job to moderate the content users post, or should users have freedom to say what they want? Is there a happy medium? If so, how would you structure it?

Before we can discuss this, have you read the terms, conditions and policies of Facebook, or did you click through the accepts as most of us are prone to do. Facebook has a page that allows you to find out all about these at https://www.facebook.com/policies although there are many links, some of which you really should read, for this topic, click on Facebook Community Standards.

Under Facebook Community Standards, you will find the following topics, Violence and Threats, Self-Harm, Bullying and Harassment, Hate Speech, Graphic Content, Nudity and Pornography, Identity and Privacy, Intellectual Property, Phishing and Spam, and Security. After describing all these Facebook covers all of these with:

“Reporting Abuse

If you see something on Facebook that you believe violates our terms, you should report it to us. Please keep in mind that reporting a piece of content does not guarantee that it will be removed from the site. 

Because of the diversity of our community, it’s possible that something could be disagreeable or disturbing to you without meeting the criteria for being removed or blocked. For this reason, we also offer personal controls over what you see, such as the ability to hide or quietly cut ties with people, Pages, or applications that offend you.”

Now that you know whats acceptable, and  what’s not allowed this should be a quick discussion. Well it pains to say your wrong, it won’t be an easy discussion, and in fact it will be a topic for many years to come. Yet it’s a discussion that needs to take place. For if we are to have a true social media platform, there will never be total agreement on content. For what you would spend a lifetime advocating against, someone else would spend a live time rallying for. Different cultures and religions have different views. which do you set the standard by, the most permissive or the most restrictive? In some cultures a string bikini is acceptable, although risky others allow women to go topless, as long as there is no commercial intent to the partial nudity. Yet others it is considered a crime to show parts of their body, that are part of the every day view in many cultures.
Lets use an example that doesn’t involve Facebook, the consumption of alcohol. I use this, as there just happens to be a handy chart on Wikipedia.
Minimum Drinking age by country. After looking at this, which involves only alcohol, how do you draw up a standard that applies to such a diverse topic as Freedom of speech or expression. Yet it is a discussion that not only needs to happen, but must happen, and soon. Because the internet is the new arbiter of standards in this digital age. Various countries are already restricting what anyone within their borders may access.

So now that we have established that this is an issue that is worldwide in scope, and impact beyond just Facebook. Google has made deals that vary country by country, with China being the most notable, The Huffington Post has an excellent timeline on Google in China. So lets look at the company policies level. Above I gave links and some information as to what Facebook says are it’s policies, should we expect a company to live up to it’s stated polices, in one word YES. Companies today have mission statements, which proclaim loudly their values and objectives. They will spend large sums of money of defending their image, in court and using any available media source. Facebook among others, has been investigated for privacy issues in Canada, and Europe.

So yes Facebook and other social media sites, allow us freedoms that where unthinkable even a generation ago. Yet at the same time these freedoms can be used for good or for evil, it is time that we the users, posters and beneficiaries of these freedoms came together and drafted a policy that respects the dignity, equality and access of all individuals in this world, or we may wake up to a world where we are all told what to think, say and do on the one hand, and on the other a world in which the truth is out there, but where.



More Freedom through here.


I survived Sunday

2013  49th Calgary Marathon

49th Calgary Marathon

As many of you know Sunday I ran in the 49th annual Scotiabank Calgary Marathon. I haven’t run anything like this since the 70’s so my body was loudly asking “What in the world where you thinking of when you agreed to this?” I survived, and feel great at accomplishing this small goal. I was asked by Jorge to run, and as I was working on getting back into shape, thought it was a win/win situation. The 5k medal isn’t my indicative of my finishing position in the race, rather the distance I ran. No I am not ready for a marathon, but have 2 races of  10k scheduled for this summer. If your interested in getting back into shape, you don’t have to take up running as I did. Perhaps something less strenuous, such as cycling, walking, or playing Frisbee with your children or grandchildren. All those aches and pains we are feeling as we get older, while if you exercise they will get better.

So you have decided to get back into shape, see your family doctor for a check up, and tell them your plans. Make sure you follow any advice they give, such as taking it slower to start, building gradually and concentrate on any areas they recommend. So here’s a small challenge for each one of you, put down the remote, and get off that comfy chair, grab your significant other’s or children’s hands or call a friend, and go for a 30 minute once  walk this week. Be it along the beach, the river or along one of the commercial streets in your town, through the back fourty on the farm, but just go for a stroll.

For some great tips on running check out the following websites:

The No Meat Athlete Powered by Vegetables

The Running Room North America’s largest Running store, great advice, great place for gear.

Booster Juice Ditch the soda and chips and try the IC Carrots, my favorite.

Back to a more regular blogging as of tomorrow. Have a great day.

Daily Prompt: The Next Big Thing

What will the next must-have technological innovation be? Jetpacks? Hoverboards? Wind-powered calculators?

The next big tech innovation will be in the area of privacy related technologies. Today our information is on platforms from our phone, the pc or mac, tablets, social media sites, in the cloud, and on removable media just to name a few.

Have you ever lost a usb drive? Wouldn’t it be comforting to know the data on it would destruct if an unauthorized user tried to access it. Perhaps this would come from an OS that extends the concept of trusted devices to include portable drive authentication.

Ever lose your cell phone? These days with smartphones, it’s not just your contact list that is out there. From pictures or videos you took, hopefully none are too embarrassing, to mobile payment apps that are just arriving. Some venue operators now have apps that allow virtual tickets, instead of having to carry a paper ticket. So the next time you lose your smart phone, who are you going to call besides you cell company?

If you follow the technews, you may have read about cloud storage providers and the security holes that have been found. One of the companies, had a flaw that allowed anyone with a link to a file, to have access to your cloud, by simply shortening the link that you sent them. Thankfully that one is no longer an issue.

Now some of you use Apple products such as the IPad, and are saying that’s only applicable to pc’s, well, want to see how a fridge magnet will gain access to your documents, under the right circumstances? Check this video out: Ipad Pin code Dana is an IT professional who pulls no punches, and his crack the cred series will help you learn a little more about security.

So the next big thing should be ways to secure our information, pictures etc. So leave a comment about your view on the topic, and who knows we might actually get someone working on it a little faster.

More next great things can be found here!

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