Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Daily Archives: February 9, 2022

The Kid Surveillance Complex Locks Parents in a Trap

Wired: “…From smartphones to schools to entertainment, parents can track the near totality of their children’s lives with ease. Share Location features come out of the box with any smartphone, and extremely popular apps like Life360 or Bark offer “enhanced” features such as driving monitoring and camera roll scanning for a small price. Unsurprisingly, the companies behind these apps collect an enormous amount of data about millions of teenagers and children; Life360 recently came under fire for selling it to data brokers that, as the Markup reported, have in turn sold info on children’s whereabouts “to virtually anyone who wants to buy it.” Family accounts on services from Netflix to Microsoft notify parents about kid activity by default. (Some, like Amazon, make it impossible to turn off parent notifications.) Schools increasingly offer daily tracking of kids’ grades and assignment completion as well, via learning management systems with parent web interfaces. (The ClassDojo behavior monitoring system claims to be in use in 95 percent of US elementary schools.) Not only are these systems burdensome to teachers, they also create an expectation that parents will intensively monitor classroom performance. Responses to the harms of social media often suggest greater parental monitoring as a fix for algorithmic amplification of dangerous content to minors, as Senator Richard Blumenthal did this past fall when he asked Facebook (now Meta) to “end Finsta,” slang for a “fake Instagram” that parents don’t know about, by allowing more parental monitoring. If your child plays multiplayer games, you’re basically their main line of defense against online bullying and contact with problem adults on shared servers. Some parents also use in-home cameras to check on kids who are home alone, and many families set up their home to be able to efficiently monitor online activity. If you’re checking your child’s location multiple times a day, getting notifications when they turn in a school assignment or rent a movie, ghost-following their social media or game chats, and reading their texts, you’re more or less acting like the DHS goons in Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother. (But since you’re just one or two people, it’s probably costing you a vast portion of your daily life.)…”

Librarian’s lament: Digital books are not fireproof

ZDNet – Chris Freeland is a librarian and Director of the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program: “The disturbing trend of school boards and lawmakers banning books from libraries and public schools is accelerating across the country. In response, Jason Perlow made a strong case last week for what he calls a “Freedom Archive,” a digital repository of… Continue Reading

Can a Congressional Committee Subpoena Members of Congress?

LawFare: “As part of its investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, the Jan. 6 committee has requested information and testimony from several sitting members of the House of Representatives.  The committee has also requested that telecommunications companies preserve the phone records of… Continue Reading

Holocaust Survivor Lists Digitized for the First Time

UMass Amherst: “Hundreds of pages with the names of Holocaust survivors relocated to Displaced Persons Camps in Austria and Germany have now been reprinted and digitized. The extensive lists have never been available together, and the original volumes exist in only a few libraries worldwide. Thanks to a collaboration of the Robert S. Cox Special… Continue Reading

New search functions now available

“We’ve just updated the search function on the main map page to make finding the flights you’re looking for even easier. These updates bring the features that have been available in the app to the web and improve the speed and responsiveness of search as well. In this post we walk through some of… Continue Reading

TikTok shares your data more than any other social media app — and it’s unclear where it goes, study says

CNBC: “Two of your social media apps could be collecting a lot of data on you — and you might not like what one of them is doing with it. That’s according to a recent study, published last month by mobile marketing company URL Genius, which found that YouTube and TikTok track users’ personal data… Continue Reading

Archives Found Possible Classified Material in Boxes Returned by Trump

The New York Times: “The National Archives consulted with the Justice Department about the discovery after the former president sent back documents that he had improperly taken from the White House when he left office… The National Archives and Records Administration discovered what it believed was classified information in documents Donald J. Trump had taken… Continue Reading