Skip to content

Terms and Conditions aka why I left Facebook

Terms and Conditions aka why I left Facebook published on No Comments on Terms and Conditions aka why I left Facebook

Hello!  How are you?  Me, I’m keepin’ on and experiencing yet another bleed from my professional life into my personal one.  This semester has sent me quite a few more requests for copyright guidance than last semester.  Sometimes the answers to these questions actually involve contract law, which is a different beast entirely – as any electronic resources librarian can tell you.  What companies put in their contracts can make allowances for more or less use than copyright law allows.

And, I hear you saying, yeah, so what.  How is this a personal issue?  Our memberships, customer accounts, use of software and apps are all regulated by terms and conditions or EULAs (End User License Agreements) that are meant to govern our uses and interactions (beyond just copyright).  Some companies are putting crazy things in their EULAs now a days.  Example one:   Palmer vs. Kleargear, where-in Company A declares that they can hold you financially liable and take various actions against you, like ruining your credit, if you tell your friend they suck.  That was an extremely simplistic summary but the truth is no less scary.  Example two:  EULAs that explain that your download of a free media player means your agreement that their constituent will take over all your browser programs and change the settings for your search and home pages (you know who you are!).

Given these happenings, I have been trying to be more mindful of what I am actually agreeing to by using websites and services.  I had a read of Facebook’s terms and conditions (that were supposedly updated over the holidays), and decided that what they said was not for me.  I couldn’t agree, and since using the service equated agreement, I have deleted myself from Facebook.  I’ll miss all the friend creeping, but bye.

The Annual Clean Out aka Backup and Control Your Data

The Annual Clean Out aka Backup and Control Your Data published on 1 Comment on The Annual Clean Out aka Backup and Control Your Data

I have one of those jobs that naturally winds down towards the winter holidays and new year.  For some time now, I have taken advantage of this time at work to sort through files and clean out anything that probably should have been recycled before making it in a drawer.

Part of this clean-out includes sorting, organizing, and backing up the countless digital files on my computer.  Sure, we have an IT department that maintains a storage drive for our personal files, but that won’t help me if it fails one day and I am one of hundreds of employees begging to have some data restored.

This tradition is starting to bleed into my personal life as well.  I create a lot of digital files and store them in a lot of places, from web site hosts, and social networks, to document hosting sites.  I’ve also had a recent experience with cleaning and tying up someone else’s digital life.  The information you put out there is important, it might not be clear how now, but you, or someone you love, will probably need it sometime later.  If I safeguard myself at work from being one of hundreds should something go wrong, why wouldn’t I safeguard myself at home from being one of millions that a distant and faceless ‘IT’ may or may not be willing to deal with should something go wrong?

How would you do this?  Never thought to ask?  Well, Hotmail, if you have Microsoft Office on your computer, can be connected to Outlook and archived from there.  Google offers a select data to download option under ‘Data Tools’ in your account profile.  In Facebook, you can download a copy of your Facebook data under ‘General Settings.’ Tech Streak has a post about how to back up your Tumblr, though I have not tried it yet.  And, of course, you can download a full copy of any website you own with an ftp transfer client.  I like FileZilla.

And once you’ve got copies of everything, what do you do with it?  While storage drives are popular back-ups for home computing, what about something like LibraryBox?  Though created for more lofty purposes than home storage, LibraryBox would be a great way to get your data back-up off the grid, though still allow you to link into it via WiFi with any of your devices.

I’m not even going to mention privacy issues, but this is also the time of year when I close out customer and social networking accounts of places that I just don’t maintain anymore.   While I’m at it, I think I should spend some time removing my personal data from places all over the web because I want to consciously control what’s sold to me.

Your email privacy

Your email privacy published on No Comments on Your email privacy

I am the kind of person who organizes the emails they want to keep into folders and saves them indefinitely.  It’s nice to be able to search back through them when I’ve forgotten something.  Are you that kind of person too?

If you are, I bet you’ve been functioning, as I have, with the delusion that this was a safe place to put your emails.  That emails, like the post, are protected from data harvesting and warrantless snooping.  The reality is that there are a lot of holes to email privacy.  EFF explains:   Deep Dive: Updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The Transpacific Partnership| Economix Comix

The Transpacific Partnership| Economix Comix published on No Comments on The Transpacific Partnership| Economix Comix

So, I’ve mentioned TPP before, and I’m sure I’ve advertized my love of educational comics.  Of course I love Economix:  How our economy works (and doesn’t work) in words and pictures.  And economics is important because it has a lot to do with trade and intellectual property laws, laws that often include strange little bits about internet monitoring, whether people own what they buy, and how much the government and other organizations can snoop on the casual consumer through what they buy. Included in the book is a nifty segment on TPP:


Where you cannot disappear and you have no privacy

Where you cannot disappear and you have no privacy published on No Comments on Where you cannot disappear and you have no privacy
Necessary & Proportionate

I just finished watching The Last Enemy.  It took me back to the days when I would troll the literature section for stories about dystopian futures.  Most of those stories were commenting on issues happening in the world already and The Last Enemy is no exception.  It is a fabulous mini-series even if you don’t think Benedict Cumberbatch is as hot as the internet thinks he is.

The Last Enemy turns its microscope on identity tags and surveillance systems.  I think I may have only imagined that it was set in the future, but in reality, many of the privacy infringements brought up in the series have roots today.  Even an amateur sleuth with a Google search can turn up a surprising amount of information on a person.  Governments with access to phone location, call frequency, internet activity records would have no problem painting a complete picture of any individual’s movements, associations, and beliefs.

There are smart and aware people out there fighting on behalf of us all to make sure balance is maintained between our rights to privacy and the ability of our leaders and protectors to guarantee that right, among others, and our safety.  EFF has great news on Increasing Anti-Surveillance Momentum and the Necessary and Proportionate Principles.  They are part of a group that has created  International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, a document that can help our leaders evaluate whether or not a surveillance law is infringing on our rights.  Of course, we shouldn’t ignorantly stumble on expecting someone else to take care of us, should we?  So, there are also plenty of resources at the two links above to teach you how you can take action.

Stop Watching Us

Stop Watching Us published on No Comments on Stop Watching Us


Kill ACTA published on No Comments on Kill ACTA
Over at Boing Boing Cory Doctorow has issued a call to arms:   Today is the day to Kill Acta.

“Today is the day of global protest against ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a copyright treaty negotiated in secret (even parliaments and other legislatures weren’t allowed to see the the working drafts), and which many governments (include the American government) are planning to adopt without legislative approval or debate.”

Learn about it and decide.

Stop ACTA & TPP:Tell your country’s officials: NEVER use secretive trade agreements to meddle with the Internet. Our freedoms depend on it!

For European users, this form will email every MEP with a known email address.
Fight For The Future may contact you about future campaigns. We will never share your email with anyone. Privacy Policy

You can embed this form in your own website, too.

Global Chokepoints | Global Censorship Chokepoints

Global Chokepoints | Global Censorship Chokepoints published on No Comments on Global Chokepoints | Global Censorship Chokepoints

Did you know that one of the original purpose for copyright was to safeguard the users right to use material in order to encourage creativity and scholarship?  I think a lot of people are forgetting this now a days.  So we have and need organizations like this:  Global Chokepoints | Global Censorship Chokepoints.

PIPA, SOPA and OPEN Act Quick Reference Guide | District Dispatch

PIPA, SOPA and OPEN Act Quick Reference Guide | District Dispatch published on No Comments on PIPA, SOPA and OPEN Act Quick Reference Guide | District Dispatch

PIPA, SOPA and OPEN Act Quick Reference Guide | District Dispatch.

Here is a handy guide to the above acts made librarian style.  I wish I had more time to keep track of rights and privacy movements, but I think it might just stress me out.  I encourage knowledge though!  Knowledge encouraged!

Primary Sidebar