Flick Harrison on Sat, 20 Feb 2010 00:24:32 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Google Buzz and the Surveillance Economy

Especially with reference to the power of privacy on the internet,
disposable identities, etc:

Nice article by Chantal Hebert, one of Canada's leading political
commentators, about the online furore over the lack of French in
the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Not cutting-edge by nettime
standards, but an interesting analysis.

Certainly, there are contexts in which anonymity is dangerous to




The language issue was a lead story in Canada after the Heritage
Minister, ultra-conservative James Moore, complained that French was
lacking in the ceremonies.

Hebert worriedly compares the types of anonymous, bigoted commentariat
that rules the message boards of the MSM's web versus the centrally-
vetted Letters to Editors sections, and even the more widely-rooted
political movements / parties in general.

Her conclusion is that in the crawl to financial solvency in the new
media era, mainstream media are allowing the worst of the worst to
erode the standards of their online content.

Whatever we think of corporate media standards, we all know they
can get worse. And the anonymous campaigns of hate-mongers or fear-
stirrers or rumour-spreaders can have an effect.

We can all picture the plant at the political meeting, the guy who
shows up to shout down discussion, pretending to be a "concerned
citizen" when in fact he's a provocateur or saboteur. Or the guy who
walks around the fairgrounds, holding a giant stuffed toy, making it
seem as if it's possible to actually win the rigged games.

Anonymity and privacy are entirely different issues, of course - one
can have one or the other or both.


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