Going internet cold turkey at Christmas…

It would be for a week, said Virgin Media – a week before my new modem would be available and meanwhile, long (technical) story, I could not use the old one in the interim period. No bother, I thought. I’m a practising artist. I might even get a lot more work done when I’m not making comments on other peoples’ latest creations; getting sucked into plucking images from Instagram postings onto my Pinterest boards or, reacting to the various Whatsapp …

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Taking back control of our personal data in a post-Brexit world…

Much has been written and debated about the impact of Brexit on the movement of people and goods. But relatively has been written about the flow of data post-Brexit. “Take back control” was a slogan used by the Leave campaign. But this apparently didn’t include taking back control of one’s own data. Remember the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook scandal – and in a separate case – Leave.EU receiving a £45,000 fine in 2019 from the Information Commissioner for unsolicited marketing? And the …

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Has Coronavirus helped us remember what the internet is really for?

Just over a week ago I was in my office at the BBC building at MediaCity in Salford. I was in the traditional end-of-project panic, trying to finish the series of radio documentaries I’ve been making for the BBC World Service. These programmes explore how digital technology and the online world has changed the ways the religious practice their faith – how mobile apps help the busy worship alone, and virtual reality church lets the remote or disabled worship with others. You can hear all four here. …

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The Pope Is Still A Catholic

Lefty atheists from North London to Northern California are in outrage today at the latest shock revelations that Pope Francis is, in fact, a Catholic. “The pope played us for fools, trying to have it both ways”, thundered Michaelangelo Signorile in the Huffington Post, outraged that the Pope had (briefly) met Kim Davis. Ms Davis, you’ll remember, is the rather silly Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on ‘biblical’ grounds while herself being on …

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“Regulation of the internet is not an issue that falls within my responsibility or, indeed, that of any part of our devolved Executive.”

For which, I think, we should be very grateful indeed.  Not that such constitutional technicalities prevented MLAs, of all parties, from enthusiastically debating a Sinn Féin motion last week calling for the Northern Ireland Justice Minister “to explore the introduction of better regulation of [social networking websites]”.  Here’s Newton Emerson’s response in Saturday’s Irish News Worse was to come when Stormont debated social-networking sites, in a session that might as well have been entitled “we support free speech, but”.  One MLA …

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Coming to terms with the Internet will not entail switching it off, but facing and evaluating fears

Gavan Titley has it about right. Moral panic is about the best way to describe the latest outbreak of social media bashing in the Republic. The first political party in the south to take to the business of engaging online was Labour, as this report from Damien Mulley outlines. The first Twitter storm I witnessed was a spectacular one when Fianna Fail used Joe Rospers as blogger bait, and got burned for their efforts. Much of the criticism we’ve seen …

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, It Will Be On The Internet

I walk past the Occupy Belfast protesters opposite St. Anne’s Cathedral nearly every day. It would be easy to sneer at them. They have some rather nice tents out of Decathlon, that well known bastion of anti-capitalism, and they seem to have a lot of fun. Not only are they not occupying anything more than Belfast’s new-but-now-traditional venue of left-wing protest, but they aren’t even properly persecuted. I can’t remember the last time I saw a cop there, let alone …

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Kate Fitzgerald, annonymity and a ‘hacked’ voicemail?

Last Saturday, the Irish Times told the story of a young, brilliantly talented US born Irishwoman. It followed a very powerful piece by the woman herself back in September, just before, as it much later came to light, she had taken her own life. But having first linked the story, John Ryan’s Broadsheet.ie is now at odds with the paper ever since his subsequent identification of Terry Prone’s Communication Clinic as Kate Fitzgerald’s employers. Without getting into the legally complex …

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Egypt: Will it be the secret policeman’s fall?

President Hosni Mubarak’s shuffling of the Egyptian cabinet while Cairo burns, has all the appearance of rearranging deckchairs on a doomed Titanic. Yet, despite the protests, he may still survive. If he were to go, who would replace him? His son, the just as unpopular Gamal?  The Muslim Brotherhood? Mohamed ElBaradei? Or Omar Suleiman, intelligence chief and new vice-President? Whatever the outcome of this week’s events across Egypt, any administration genuinely wishing to bring the country out of chaos must urgently address …

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When the facts change, I’ll stick with my beliefs

Nice piece from the Boston Globe (via Gavin on Google Reader), which may or may not have a relevance to the ongoing saga at Northern Ireland Water (which has ruined many people’s attempts to take a holiday, including my own)… In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist …

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Irish MEP: Facebook makes you mad, so let’s have a law against it…

Of all the political parties in the south, Labour is one of the ones which ‘gets’ t’Internet most. But I wonder if Labour MEP Nessa Childers‘ question seeking a written answer in the European Parliament ever saw the desk of leader Eamon Gilmore? There is certainly no sign of it on her blog. Adds: Clare Minnock seems to be the only member of the MSM (well, the Carlow Nationalist at least) to pick up the story and she treats it an …

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“A funny thing happened to us on the way to the future.”

An eminently sensible article by John Naughton in The Observer setting out nine big ideas, or steps, towards a better understanding of the internet. 1 Take the long view 2 The web isn’t the net 3 Disruption is a feature, not a bug 4 Think ecology, not economics 5 Complexity is the new reality 6 The network is now the computer 7 The web is changing 8 Huxley and Orwell are the bookends of our future 9 Our intellectual property regime is no …

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