Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Eyes of Chicago are on YOU

Mayor Daley of Chicago and Ray Orozco, executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, announced that he would like to see CCTV cover the city.

What might come as a surprise, is my support of this plan. However, I have grave concerns over who has access to the system and retention of video.

As of now it appears only 911 dispatch operators have access to the network currently in place. As the system grows to cover the city, my concern is that other divisions will be granted access to the system and abuses will follow without strict legislation defining limits.

My next concern, peeked by a Facebook posting between Dr. Zimmer and Dr. Walker, both of UW-Milwaukee, relates to saved video. Will video of the system be archived or recorded. I am sure there is already in place an option to record video feeds to assist as evidence in court and review for further clues, if need be. However, will all video feeds be recorded? If so how long will the video remain archived?

In addition will the video be made available through Freedom of Information Act requests, it is after all a publicly created 'document' and as Illinois law says, "…it is declared to be the public policy of the State of Illinois that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government […] Such access is necessary to enable the people to fulfill their duties of discussing public issues fully and freely, making informed political judgments and monitoring government to ensure that it is being conducted in the public interest." (5 ILCS 140/1)

It has been many years since Katz v. United States where the "reasonable expectation" of privacy was born. But it is my opinion that an individual, even in public, has an expectation to not be monitored and recorded for their time in public spaces. Simply, I can agree that an expectation of privacy in public is non-existent. This is based partially on the thought that no one would follow all the actions of an individual, but the ability for the State to record the actions of anyone in public from the time they enter the public space until they leave amounts to nothing more than stalking.

Perhaps video surveillance, open to the public, covering all governmental offices is in order. (Slight joke)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Moving forward

Several times on this blog I have stated that I wanted to investigate DMCA take-down notices. The idea originated with Dr. Tomas Lipinski during various conversations and lectures. Today, with Dr. Lipinski's support, my colleague Su-Yu Lin has agreed to collaborate on the research. The initial stage is development and design of a research methodology.

The initial stage will be done in a few months. Followed, hopefully, by the investigation of the topic. If there is a particular point of data that people would like to be included in the methodology, we are more than welcome to entertain suggestions.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Further legislation for a US Broadband map

After reading through and hearing some reports that the stimulus plan was including a broadband provision I was, of course, curious to see what that provision contained. Unfortunately the reports that I had heard were only saying that the broadband provision was to spread broadband service to unserved areas of America (not very helpful reports). Which I completely support. However how are 'they' to know who is unserved? Several states have taken upon themselves to conduct a broadband service map. Yet the federal government had not until late last year decided a map was important (see P.L. 110-385 Broadband Data Improvement Act).

In the latest version of the stimulus package available to me, February 10, 2009, there is a provision that again calls for the creation of a US Broadband Map (Title II-Section 201(l)(9 and 10)). This is in conjunction with the Broadband Data Improvement Act passed last year (P.L. 110-385). Granted P.L. 110-385 has not had enough time to full implements. I am rather happy that there is a definite timetable within the stimulus package for release of a broadband map of the United States. Except the time tables do not really match up for funding broadband expansion and release of the map. The stimulus plans says that all funds for the Broadband Technology Opportunities provision are to be dispensed by 2010. However the map has to be release no later than 2 years after the passage of the stimulus plan.

Maybe we are putting the cart before the horse on this one. Perhaps it would be better, or would have been better if the language is not changed, to complete the map first.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Intellectual Property and the American Individual

So much of my studies this semester have centered on copyright and, in a sense, the American individual. To simplify, which may pose issues later, copyright is a property right held by an individual or a single entity to control their creative works. It is more or less a concept that individuals have control over those works. However, the explosion of creative works based on existing works, YouTube etc..., endless copyright battles, and the issue of 'pirating' have made me wonder if a new generation of Americans has begun to change the notion that intellectual property is owned by society and not the individual.

I cannot say for certain, but I very much doubt many cases of copyright infringement are done out of hate for copyright, the idea that intellectual property is overvalued (I don't want to pay for the latest hit song), completely misunderstanding or lack of education on the subject of intellectual property (colleges are stressing copyright at orientations for first years), or the simple rebellious nature of youth. (Those are certainly possibilities on my mind.)

Instead, I am interested to know if there is a fundamental shift that the newest American individual is treating intellectual property as a common good/commodity freely available for use. This would constitute a very marked shift in the American individual which has historically valued their private property and acted to protect said property by instituting such legal protections as copyright.

*Just a loose idea that struck me after being up for almost 36 hours. Also please ignore spelling, grammatical errors. Thank you! *