Safer Internet Day: sending an anti-bullying message

February 9, 2016 was labelled “Safer Internet Day. The event took place at Universal Studios Hollywood in California after it being held in Europe for the past 13 years.

Online bullying is a relevant topic today as a number of teenagers have committed suicide after being bullied online. As far back as 2003, a 13-year-old boy hanged himself after being tormented by classmates on AOL Instant Messenger. Recently, a 14-year-old in Las Vegas hanged herself after people in school made a fake Facebook page impersonating and mocking her. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that in 2014, nearly 15% of teens were bullied on the Internet. The Internet has such a broad spectrum. On one hand, people can watch “It Gets Better” video and support blogs and on the other people see hate comments and cruel pictures about the victim.

That is why Safer Internet Day was held to bring awareness and actively work toward creating a safe environment in the cyber world. Nearly 300 students attended and more watched the Webcast of a Los Angeles event to hear about the problems caused online. Last Tuesday’s event featured a panel of teen activists called “Rejecting Hate, Building Resilience & Growing the Good Online”. The panelists included Helen Le, a junior at Loara High School in Orange County, California, who campaigns for positivity on social media with the hastag #iCANHELP, and Ruby Rawlinson, a senior at Redwood High School in Marin County, California, who pitched in on a campaign called “Be Kind Online”.

Later this month, the RSA Conference will be held in San Francisco. Shifting the focus to the parents, experts will give parents tips on protecting their children from online harassment and other dilemmas. Sandra Toms, RSA Conference vice president, said talking with kids and setting expectations is the most important thing a parent can do to prevent cyber bullying. Parents are encouraged to stay involved in their child’s life.

“The more open you are and available you are as a parent when they’re young, the better,” Toms said.

Photo: [365] 109 via Corie Howell [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Facebook sets things straight with India

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is trying to set things straight after tweets from board member Marc Andreessen put the company’s image in hot water. Andreessen reacted to the Indian telecom regulator’s ban on Facebook’s Free Basics service by bringing up India and colonialism.

Zuckerberg was quoted as saying, “I found the comments deeply upsetting, and they do not represent the way Facebook or I think at all.”

The comments that he refers to start with Andreessen’s tweet, “Another in a long line of economically suicidal decisions made by the Indian government against its own citizens,” referencing the Free Basics ban. He continues saying, “Denying world’s poorest free partial Internet connectivity when today they have none, for ideological reasons, strikes me as morally wrong.”

Indian entrepreneur Vivek Chachra reportedly tweeted in response that the Free Basics argument that some Internet is better than no Internet sounded like a “justification of Internet colonialism.” To which Andreessen responded, “Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now?”

Zuckerberg wants to bring the Internet to the entire planet by 2020. India would be a major factor in making that goal come true. Andreessen’s comments make it appear as though Facebook may have other motives for expanding into India, and may jeopardize future growth in that market. Some say that Facebook should ask Andreessen to step down, and make an example out of him showing that this kind of behavior would not be tolerated.

In response, Zuckerberg has made statements of his own, via Facebook, to combat the controversy. India “has been personally important to me and Facebook….I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the need to understand India’s history and culture” and “I look forward to strengthening my connection to the country.”

Facebook has withdrawn Free Basics from India and continues to weather the storm of this controversy.

Article via TechNewsWorld, 12 February 2016

Photo: facebook global by Global Panorama [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Fight for your right to fix

The Repair Association is fighting the manufacturing industry for your “right to repair everything.”

Today, with big corporations dominating the manufacturing industry, it is typically difficult for consumers to find specific parts to fix any kind of technology. The Repair Association is an organization hoping to help make the parts accessible to everyone.

With groups like iFixit, Fixer’s Collective, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the association is asking manufacturers to sell tech parts along with instructions on how to fix the product without professional help needed.

“A free, independent market for repair and reuse is more efficient, more competitive, and better for consumers,” the association writes on its website. “Repair helps create local jobs, and repair and reuse benefits the environment by reducing end-of-life electron products.”

Apart from the demands for the manufacturing industry, the association also aims to amend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to address the growth of a self-taught consumer base.

Not only does iFixit sells repair parts, but the company also provides online guides for individuals seeking to fix their appliances independently. But due to Section 1201 of the DMCA’s “anti-circumvention” provision, people are not allowed to tamper with technology that has copyrighted software.

“Under U.S. copyright law, you’re not allowed to modify protected software or look at it—even for the purpose of repair,” Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit says. “Manufacturers are using other parts of copyright law to restrict outside access to service manuals, schematics, and repair instructions. They are developing an unfair monopoly over the aftermarket of their goods.”

As unjust as it is, the monopoly is defended by lawyers and lobbyists, says Wiens. The Repair Association is needed to represent repairmen, women, local business, to fight for their right to repair.

“We aren’t just fighting for your right to repair smartphones and computers—we are fighting for your right to repair everything,” Wiens says.

Article via Good, 4 February 2016
Photo: Mobile Butchery by Meena Kadri [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]