I don't like places that are starting to ban Glass. My Glass is permanently attached to my face, I don't think I could remove it if I was told to ;-)
More importantly, I think this is just plain wrong, and feels like a violation of my rights on a number of levels. First off, since I'm a journalist (among other things) this seems like a clear violation of the First Amendment, yes the very first, that protects freedom of speech and freedom of the the press.
Only if I ALWAYS wear Glass can I be assured of using Glass to capture and share media events as they happen. And also perform real-time research using the powerful "OK, Glass, Google" feature. Preventing that clearly seems like a restriction on the media (press).
But not everyone's a media person... or are they? You are the new media brand when you post to social networks. Does that count in this new socially mediated world where the consumer is now a content creator and distributor (publisher)?
OK, screw the First Amendment and it's freedom of speech and of the press. What about my rights as an individual? In this not-so-brave new world personal data capture seems like a basic right.
I think there should be no issue about me capturing my life for myself in any manner that I feel helps make my life better. I think there is a very important distinction between capturing and sharing that has become lost in the debate... I think for most people the issues are about sharing that content without the subject's permission. I'm concerned about that, too!
But guess what? There are already laws to prevent publication of people's images without their permission... I would need a release for from you before I would be able to publish it. I don't see why those same laws wouldn't apply to personal publishing as well. I know posting/publishing without releases has become rampant, but maybe a combination of lawsuits and respect for other people will help stem that.
What's mine is mine, and I should be able to experience life with whatever technological enhancements I decide are helpful to more fully experience the world and the people around me. This is my life, and I'll digitize it if I want to!
I guess this makes me a total glasshole, but I think we should fight for our right to wear Glass!
Here's the audio track of a great conversation I had back in 2012 with my good friend Robert Scoble at his home in Half Moon Bay, CA. We talked a lot about context, since this was right before he announced the Age of Context book he is doing with Shel Israel. In this conversation Robert and I talked about the contextual web, Google Glass (long before we had it), privacy, personas, contextual content, contextual marketing, and why we need to start building some open standards regarding how context is discovered, communicated, and permissioned. Even though this discussion was over a year ago, I think a lot of what we talked about is still quite relevant.
Note: To hear the audio just click on the play button or links in Robert's post... his post is embedded as a live object.
I'm still trying to post some of the highlights from my old blog, and thought you might be interested in seeing this episode of the TV show "The Silicon Valley Entrepreneur" where I'm interviewed by Chris Gill, CEO of SVForum. The show originally aired on May 2, 2012
It’s hammer time! And you’ll need a really big hammer to pound the latest giant nail into the coffin of traditional phone companies. The new big nail on campus is the arrival of aggressively priced “Phone In” and “Phone Out” services from the major portal and VoIP players. Phone In service allows users of regular phones to call VoIP users, and Phone Out allows the VoIP users to call regular phones.
These services create a bridge between computer-based VoIP and regular telephones that will allow the VoIP forces to mount a major invasion. Skype was the first to offer this type of service, but Yahoo announced Yahoo Messenger with Voice in November, and Microsoft chimed in last month saying that its Windows Live Messenger would offer Phone In and Phone Out capabilities as well.
The biggest threat to the existing phone companies is the aggressive pricing offered by Yahoo and Microsoft that looks like the beginning of a brutal price war. PC-to-PC calls using VoIP have always been free, but that limited you to calling people who were at their computer, and who had the necessary VoIP software and hardware.
Although you have to pay for Phone In and Phone Out services that let you place PC-to-phone and phone-to-PC calls, the price is much cheaper than traditional phone services. Yahoo and Microsoft are offering domestic and international calls for around 2 cents per minute. And, remember that’s the price at the beginning of the price war – penny-a-minute cqalls can’t be far behind.
Another cool feature of these services is the ability to have low-cost virtual local phone numbers in far-away places. For example, you could have a local phone number in London, Paris, or wherever, and people in those cities could place local calls to your number, which would then be forwarded to your VoIP phone, at a cost of only pennies a minute. Viola! A very inexpensive virtual office in another country. The world just got a lot smaller.
But wait! Don’t put your hammer away just yet! Here’s another telco coffin nail: the WiFi phone. To take advantage of most of these free and low-cost VoIP sevices you need to be at your computer using Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Microsoft Live Messenger, Google, talk, or whatever. But what would really accelerate adoption of these services is being able to use them when you’re not at your computer.
The first major player to liberate VoIP users from their computer was Vonage which lets you use a regular telephone to place VoIP calls. Vonage was one of the early nails to get pounded into the telco coffin. But Vonage has lots of limitations compared with the computer-based VoIP services from Skype, Yahoo, Microsoft, et al, and their pricing is more in line with traditional phone companies, which may make it difficult for them to compete in the portal VoIP price war.
So, I’ll give props to Vonage for being a pioneer. And for igniting a bunch of copy-cats and wanna-be’s. AT&T has a similar offering, but it’s not catching on as well as Vonage. And at CES this month, there were several notable VoIP phone products, most notable among them was the Uniden Win1200 wireless phone that is designed to work with Windows Live Messenger.
Ay, and there’s the rub. The Uniden phone (and a similar model introduced by Phillips) are designed to ONLY work with Windows Live Messenger. Nope, you can’t use it to call Skype users for free, or users of any other VoIP service. What we’re looking at here is another messenger mess akin to the IM format wars which have prevented users of one instant messaging service from sending messages to users of another service.
The idea of building proprietary hardware specific to your VoIP service must surely appeal to some greed-besotted Microsoft marketing mucky-muck, but it’s not very customer-friendly. And since customers make markets, not marketers, these early attempts at locking customers into your service are bound to fail.
What will eventually win the VoIP war, and what may ultimately play the ring-tone version of taps for the telcos is the WiFi phone. A few of these were also announced at CES – there was a Skype WiFi phone from NetGear, a Skype box from D-Link that lets you connect regular phones via WiFi, and a Vonage WiFi phone that you can use to place calls from WiFi hot spots.
But all of those are just bumps along the road to the real WiFi phone future. The furthest product along that road announced at CES was UTStarcom's GF200 cell phone which combines a standard GSM cell phone with WiFi VoIP. This little sucker looks just like a cell phone, in fact it IS a cell phone… but when you’re near a WiFi network, it saves your cell minutes by switching to VoIP. So you get the best of both worlds.
I’m sure this is just the first hybrid cell/VoIP phone we’ll be seeing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns into a standard feature for almost all cell phones before too long. And when and if it does, and if the interoperability problem is resolved, it will be time to start writing a eulogy for the telcos.
Once WiFi is everywhere (Google is working on that one, along with a lot of other companies), and once WiFi becomes a standard feature of both cell phones and portable home phones, placing calss will be so close to free there won’t be much profit left for the old guard telco balance sheet.
Signs of the telcos senescence are everywhere. The market is in a late-stage consolidation phase, as evidenced by SBC’s absorption of AT&T and Verizon’s purchase of MCI. Although both of those companies now have market caps of around $80B, the erosion of profits from the VoIP price wars may send them into free-fall at some point. And then, the big market caps of Google, Microsoft, and the like may lead to those companies buying what’s left of the telcos to help bolster their VoIP offerings.
No, the telcos didn’t eat their young. Their young ate them.
Sony’s attempt to spy on its customers and limit their fair use of the music they buy is outrageous. It speaks to the worst in corporate greed and contempt for the customer – not to mention outright stupidity.
Sony’s bad behavior isn’t just irresponsible and contemptible – it’s also illegal. At least that’s the opinion of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and the State of Texas Attorney General’s office – both groups filed lawsuits against Sony last week. A half a dozen other class action suits against Sony are also rumored to be in the works. And Sony’s current legal woes may just be the beginning of a maelstrom of lawsuits, PR nightmares, and consumer alienation.
Here’s what the brouhaha is all about: Sony secretly placed the extremely hazardous XCP software on an estimated 2 to 3 million music CDs and a less dangerous but still problematic MediaMax software on over 20 million CDs. Both of these programs install themselves on your computer without your knowledge when you play one of the infected audio CDs in your computer’s CD drive and they both violate your privacy rights by collecting information about you and sending it back to Sony without your permission.
The XCP program is a type of spyware called a “rootkit” that hides itself on your computer. Not only does it let Sony secretly spy on you, it opens up a gaping security hole that can be exploited by almost any clever hacker to open up your system for nefarious purposes such as vandalism, destruction of data, or stealing your personal information to use for identity theft.
Even the Department of Homeland Security’s US-CERT division, in its self-proclaimed role of “protecting the nation's Internet infrastructure” and coordinating “defense against and responses to cyber attacks across the nation” slams Sony’s XCP spyware saying that it can pose a significant security threat.
XCP also slows down your system, robbing you of performance in addition to your data. To make matters worse, when Sony provided customers with a program to uninstall the dangerous XCP software the uninstaller opened even more security holes in the systems it was run on. Because rootkit spyware is designed to hide itself from the system it can be almost impossible to fully uninstall – in some cases you have to reformat your hard drive and re-install all your software and data to completely get rid of it. And to top it off, the XCP spyware program illegally stole some of its code from another program called LAME.
The other spyware program Sony snuck onto customers’ systems is MediaMax. This software lets you know that it is being installed, but claims that it will not send any personal information back to Sony – even though it does exactly that. And, like the XCP spyware, if you try and uninstall it using the program provided by Sony you open up your system to hackers and crooks.
In the Texas case, Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a civil lawsuit seeking penalties of $100,000 per violation under the state's recently-enacted Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act. "Sony has engaged in a technological version of cloak and dagger deceit against consumers by hiding secret files on their computers," said Abbott when announcing the lawsuit.
The EFF lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of California residents, claims that Sony broke several California laws, engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices, violated the stated terms of its own licensing agreements with its customers, and as a remedy demands that the Sony repair the damage done by the XCP and MediaMax.
If you’re in Sony’s legal, marketing, or PR departments you’re already overwhelmed. But wait! There’s more! The Texas and EFF lawsuits are based on state law, but Sony may have also violated federal and international laws as well.
If Sony’s malware made it on to any computers owned by the government, which seems likely, it is in violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act which prohibits: “fraud and related activity in connection with computers knowingly causes the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage without authorization, to a protected computer.” This law has some real teeth, with penalties of up to 10 years in jail for a first offense and 20 years for a second offense.
And across the Atlantic ocean, in jolly old England, customers are also outraged, claiming Sony has violated the U.K.’s Computer Misuse Act of 1990 which states that is an offense to make either an an “unauthorised access” or an "unauthorised modification” to a computer – and Sony is guilty of both.
It’s doubtful that any Sony exec’s will find themselves facing jail time, unlike some hackers and spammers who have been charged under similar laws. We all know that O.J., Michael Jackson, and Robert Blake have shown us the legal benefits of Hollywood connections. But guess what? This isn’t Sony’s first trip to the courthouse. In fact, it almost seems like they are working on becoming corporate career criminals.
Just this past July, Sony reached a settlement with the State of New York where it agreed to end the widespread and corrupt practice of bribing radio stations to play their music, a practice given the well-known nickname “payola.” As Sony knows, payola violates both state and federal laws.
As New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer said in announcing the settlement: "Our investigation shows that, contrary to listener expectations that songs are selected for airplay based on artistic merit and popularity, air time is often determined by undisclosed payoffs to radio stations and their employees. This agreement is a model for breaking the pervasive influence of bribes in the industry."
And three years ago Sony settled with the State of California, which had accused it of participating in an illegal price-fixing scheme. Here’s what California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said back in 2002 when he announced the settlement with Sony: "Our antitrust investigation found illegal sales agreements being used to stifle competition and fix the prices of music CDs. Instead of benefiting from a competitive marketplace, consumers looking for music entertainment had their pocketbooks squeezed by these secret deals to artificially inflate prices."
The supreme irony in all of this is that Sony put the spyware on its music CDs to help stop illegal copying and distribution of its music, and stole some code from another program in the process. But it seems like the ultimate hypocrisy – Sony seems to have a history of breaking serious federal and state laws, and then goes and breaks more laws to go after a bunch of petty theft. It’s almost like the Mafia putting out a hit on someone for stealing office supplies.
Sony has plenty of lawyers and PR people to help it stomp out the current wildfire, but it may take a while to win back the trust of its customers. I’m already hearing disquieting things from Sony customers – most troubling of all are some who now feel that downloading music from an unauthorized file-sharing service is actually safer than buying the CD. Hey Sony, how’s that for backfiring?