25 July 2009

Books, bells and kindles

I don't have a Kindle. Some do and like it, but it seems that the acquisition and use of the device can be problematic in Ireland. Amazon uk sell a Sony reader for those without a US credit card and address. Of course, the idea of bringing a lot of books on holidays without hurting your back or paying for overweight luggage is engaging, but I like to write on my books. I even - horror of horrors - tend to print articles from eJournals so that I can highlight, underline, and write in the margins.   Also, I don't think I would like to wake up one morning and find the book that I'm reading has disappeared from my desk. As others noted, it is also somewhat ironic that, among the books deleted, were Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm. The most startling fact though, is how unaware we are of powers outside our control, even over objects which we feel belong to us:

The worst thing about this story isn't Amazon's conduct; it's the company's technical capabilities. Now we know that Amazon can delete anything it wants from your electronic reader. That's an awesome power, and Amazon's justification in this instance is beside the point. As our media libraries get converted to 1's and 0's, we are at risk of losing what we take for granted today: full ownership of our book and music and movie collections. (Farhad Manjoo in Slate)

04 July 2009

Cyberbullying, cyberharassment and the Megan Meier case

Lori Drew was acquitted last week of charges against her in the cyberbullying case referring to the suicide of Megan Meier. Drew had created a fake account, pretended to be a young boy on MySpace,  befriending Megan Meier and subsequently attacked her online. The government argument it seems, was that Drew has violated the terms of service of MySpace, and that this was equivalent to hacking, which the judge refuted, arguing that this was tantamount to letting MySpace or other service providers decide on what was a crime.

More interestingly, as reported by NetFamily News, the Progress and Freedom Foundation blog makes reference to a report which differentiates between issues which are generally covered by the all-encompassing term of "cyberbullying":

They dfiiferentiate between cyberbullying, defined  as kid-on-kid abuse online, Cyberharassment , defined as people of all ages using the internet for abusive purposes, and Adult-on-kid cyberharassment, which would refer to the Megan Meier case more particularly.