Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Governments and Google's data

Yesterday, Google launched an interesting tool: Government requests (see official Google blog post about this: Official Google Blog: Greater transparency around government requests).

This is good news, because it reveals to ordinary citizens the extent at which governments request content to be removed and (even scarier) personal user data to be revealed.

This tool will empower citizens to ask questions, and inquire with their representatives as to why such a large number of requests are made towards Google.

Obviously, the reason for Google's launch of this tool is to cover it's own back: with all the negative noise that was triggered by the botched launch of Buzz, Google is trying to regain some ground by showing it is more transparent as its actions while being protective of this same personal data.

What I don't like about this tool is that it is not clear which request made to Google had solid legal grounds (like removing hate or inappropriate material) and which request was censorship or border-line censorship.

Then again, who is to decide this and how are we to draw the line. Blocking a pornography site might be censorship to some and appropriate action to others.

Tough grounds to walk.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time to Pretend

It was a piece of magazine paper, a page torn out from Wired Magazine, from the November 2009 issue, that is, torn off 7 months ago.

I liked the picture, the black girl in the fore-front, out of focus, stylishly wearing a short jean-fabric one piece, with long nails on a pink blackberry, and a pink drink in her hand. I also liked the design of the magazine's page, with a large pink band surrounding the article.

I was also interested in the subject of the article: it contained the names of music video and short movies on youtube, from some director called Ray Tintori.

The paper stayed on my coffe table in the living room for months, it's video content not visited.

Then the paper moved to my bag and eventually onto my work cubicle's table, where it stayed again for a month or two, not explored.

Finally today I grabbed it, highlighted the names of the videos and looked them up on youtube. My first discovery was this:

I knew the song, I loved the song. I didn't know the name of it, not the name of the band, nor had I ever seen the video. It is a beautiful video, perfectly fits a beautiful song.

It's Monday morning, I am stuck at my work, at my office, same place for the last 2 1/2 years. The video starts with a sunrise on a virgin beach. Made me think of Irakli, made me think of last summer, of my vacation, of the freedom of the days spent around my tent on the beach. Made me cry too.

Then I watched the other music video, for Electric Feel. It is OK, but not as amazingly beautifull as Time to Pretend's video.

And then I watched the 2 short movies. The first, Jettison Your Loved Ones is a sweet 5 minutes of black and white thought on those who can't stand still on one place (like me) and those who can stand still (maybe because of love) and end up better-off:

Finally, the second short movie, Death to the Tinman, is a truly beautiful love story, more so than Jettison Your Loved Ones, making me doubt my own path in life and what is important and what not:

One thing is sure: I need to get out, get on the beach, go somewhere.

Or maybe I don't. Maybe I'm better off here. But definitely not at this same old desk.

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