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Cast-off Gadgets Spy on Owners (on Purpose for a Change)

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-see-what-you-did-there dept.

News 73

Eric Smalley writes "For the project, dubbed Backtalk, researchers sent refurbished Netbooks to developing countries via nonprofit organizations. They set up the computers to record location and pictures, and send the data home to MIT--with their new owners' consent... The MIT team used the data to build visual narratives about the computers' new lives."

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Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36871456)

What a bunch of african jungle bunny coon porch-monkey yard-ape primitive spear-chuckin NIGGERS!

Niggers are naturally stupid and violent. That's why WE discovered THEM and WE had TECHNOLOGY while THEY (the nigs) had ROCKS. Fuck it is all so simple.

Re:Wow (1)

eedwardsjr (1327857) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872178)

At least you are not biased.

Did facebook/google help fund this??? (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 3 years ago | (#36871506)

Heheh, it's as if google and/or facebook helped fund this research project....

I hope they didn't catch them doin the nasty.... *shudders*

Re:Did facebook/google help fund this??? (3, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872014)

I hope they didn't catch them doin the nasty.... *shudders*

Wait... what? I'm missing something. Is there another use for a webcam I'm not familiar with?

Re:Did facebook/google help fund this??? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872092)

I hope they didn't catch them doin the nasty.... *shudders*

Dear madhatter256

Yes We Did. Please Stop Using The Laptop On The John.

Yours
The Pan-Googtlicon

Re:Did facebook/google help fund this??? (2)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872488)

They fund the project by "catching" these people "doin the nasty" and selling the resulting videos. This is why they require potential recipients of these Netbooks to submit 3 photographs of themselves and their partner, at least one of which must be nude.

Typical (2)

Marvin_Runyon (513878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36871612)

Typical Massachusetts, exploit the poor to create "visual narratives". The whole state is deranged by some kind of progressive-ism mind virus. Consent is easy to get when there are no alternatives in the 3rd world hell holes they ship these too, this is just disgusting.

Re:Typical (2)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36871720)

Nice logic there. It *could* be a Hobson's Choice therefore it *must* be a Hobson's Choice.

Which coincidentally is also an excellent movie directed by Sir David Lean.

Re:Typical (4, Insightful)

SockPuppetOfTheWeek (1910282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36871814)

exploit the poor to create "visual narratives". ... Consent is easy to get when there are no alternatives in the 3rd world hell holes they ship these too

This is exactly right; granted, the rest of your post was inflammatory and mostly unnecessary. It doesn't matter whether it's Massachusetts or anywhere else; it's not like this sort of thing is limited to one state.

In effect - "Sell your privacy for a netbook."

How many Slashdot readers would let someone spy on them in exchange for getting a cheap laptop? Not many, because we can afford not to... this is exploiting the poor, no different than letting rental companies install spying software on their rental laptops [slashdot.org] (which happened in Pennsylvania).

Re:Typical (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872098)

How many Slashdot readers would let someone spy on them in exchange for getting a cheap laptop?

How many would let someone spy on them if they were given a piece of technology that they realistically could NEVER afford in their life, EVER. I'd suggest that all of us would.

Re:Typical (2)

SockPuppetOfTheWeek (1910282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872218)

How many would let someone spy on them if they were given a piece of technology that they realistically could NEVER afford in their life, EVER. I'd suggest that all of us would.

And that's exactly what's wrong with it. If someone wouldn't sell their privacy in exchange for a "cheap netbook", they shouldn't be required to sell their privacy in exchange for "a piece of technology that they realistically could never afford". Their privacy shouldn't be negotiable.

Re:Typical (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872264)

How many would let someone spy on them if they were given a piece of technology that they realistically could NEVER afford in their life, EVER. I'd suggest that all of us would.

And that's exactly what's wrong with it. If someone wouldn't sell their privacy in exchange for a "cheap netbook", they shouldn't be required to sell their privacy in exchange for "a piece of technology that they realistically could never afford". Their privacy shouldn't be negotiable.

I'd sell my privacy for a cheap social networking platform I could use to organize my social events and keep track of old friends, a network that realistically I could never develop or build.

Just because *YOU* wouldn't trade your privacy doesn't mean others can't/won't. You're not protecting those "poor africans" from themselves, you're protecting your ideology from new ideas.

Re:Typical (2, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872336)

Their privacy shouldn't be negotiable.

Ipse dixit, eh? Who exactly died and made you king? If their privacy is, for whatever reason, worth more than their labor, who are you to say that they should not able to use this value about themselves?

This is just like the people who argue against legal prostitution. They assume that it is somehow intrinsically harmful and debasing and that nobody actually wants to do it, or if they do it must be because they have problems, because these people who lobby against it and generally have little to no first hand knowledge of the practice or its practitioners know better than they do what they should want and why.

People should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to do. Get out of their business and stop telling people what they should and shouldn't want just because you think you're more morally sophisticated and developed than they are. If you are really advocating for respect than start with respecting people's decisions about their own lives.

Re:Typical (1)

SockPuppetOfTheWeek (1910282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872394)

This is just like the people who argue against legal prostitution. ... People should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to do. Get out of their business and stop telling people what they should and shouldn't want

So it's okay for people to sell their children as prostitutes? That happens in some countries. But I suppose I'm just an arrogant American if I think there's anything wrong with that.

Re:Typical (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872496)

That is obviously not a voluntary arrangement for all parties so it makes for a pretty poor strawman argument. I don't see anybody advocating for arrangements which are involuntary either on their face or by way of age of consent laws.

Re:Typical (1)

SockPuppetOfTheWeek (1910282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872830)

I don't see anybody advocating for arrangements which are involuntary either on their face

If somebody in a third-world country would sell their kidney for an electronic device that they could never afford otherwise, yeah, that seems pretty much like it's "involuntary on its face".

or by way of age of consent laws

I get that we Americans feel it necessary to tell our kids how old they must be before they can have sex, smoke, or drink booze, but where do we get the right to tell the rest of the world that?

Re:Typical (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873096)

It is not involuntary just because it is not achievable by other means. By your logic I *must* pull off an enormous robbery so that I can afford a new Lambourghini. It isn't voluntary for me because I have no other way of doing it. Nonsense, I can just not do it. That jackass who sold a kidney for ipad could have just realized he didn't really need the ipad. That's the whole point 'voluntary'.

I also find it highly amusing that while trying to spin my comment as US-centric you completely ignore the fact that almost every nation has some form of age of consent legislation. That the ages involved are different from ours is immaterial, and I for one largely respect the autonomy and sovereignty of other societies to make those decisions for themselves. In the end it doesn't change the fact that we are still talking about scenarios in which all parties can and do consent.

Re:Typical (1)

SockPuppetOfTheWeek (1910282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873292)

So maybe I'm just a little bit weird, but I don't feel completely okay with it. Sort of like I don't feel completely okay with the fact that Manhattan island was bought in exchange for some pretty shells. Not that I think there's anything we can or should do about that. Just that yeah, I'd say it was probably unethical and I don't think it was right. Just because we can doesn't mean we should, and just because they'll pay it doesn't mean we should take it.

almost every nation has some form of age of consent legislation

So in some cases you agree that somebody needs to get in people's business and tell them what they should and shouldn't do? Yeah, I figured you did. It just took a ridiculous analogy to make you admit it.

Re:Typical (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873862)

If you think that the trade with Native Americans wasn't coerced or anything other than the product of ignorance, I have a bridge to sell you. To oversimplify, I will quote from Corky and the Juice Pigs' "Americans":

Hey you, Indian, here's a bunch of glass beads, gimme all your land!

No.

I got a great big gun here...

Nice beads!

And as for age of consent, in the first place implicit in the concept is that there are persons who by nature of immaturity are unable to act wisely as agents for themselves. As a parent I know this is true of children, and as an adult who like all adults was once a child I know that for almost everybody this phase comes to an end. Treating people like children who are not is the very definition of paternalization. I do not want a society that treats everybody like children to be condescended to.

In the second place, there are exceptions in both directions in these systems. For children there is the status of emancipated minor, though the sort of hardships that must be endured before such status is granted is not to be envied. For adults who are mentally children, they frequently have legal guardians their entire lives if they are not institutionalized.

So yes, I admit that some persons are by age or by disability unable to make decisions for themselves. I do not agree that this should be true of more people just so somebody can have the power trip of deciding for others what will make them happy.

Re:Typical (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36874100)

So maybe I'm just a little bit weird, but I don't feel completely okay with it.

You are thinking about as if legailsation equals endorsement. It does not. In a free society everything is permitted except that which is explicitly forbidden. But just because something is permitted does not necessarily mean that anybody thinks it is good idea. It is just that it is not a bad enough thing to make it forbidden.

So being uncomfortable with something is perfectly fine. Don't participate. If that isn't enough, go and donate time to a community program designed to give people alternatives.

Re:Typical (1)

SockPuppetOfTheWeek (1910282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36874160)

You are thinking about as if legailsation equals endorsement. It does not. ... just because something is permitted does not necessarily mean that anybody thinks it is good idea. It is just that it is not a bad enough thing to make it forbidden.

I agree. I don't think this should be illegal. But I still think it's wrong.

Let's just say it's at the soap-box level of "wrong". Not quite to the ballot-box or jury-box, and certainly nowhere near the ammo-box. I'm on my soap-box. I think I've made my point, so I'll get off now.

Re:Typical (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36875704)

So maybe I'm just a little bit weird, but I don't feel completely okay with it. Sort of like I don't feel completely okay with the fact that Manhattan island was bought in exchange for some pretty shells.

The two aren't even remotely similar, and you havn't made any effort to prove that they are. You simply assume that they're the same situation, and argue from that point of view. That makes it very hard to explain anything to you - your ideas aren't even internally consistent, so adding an external voice is more likely to confuse you even further ... and in response to that confusion, you'll just ignore any evidence (or logic) contrary to your opinion and keep on talking.

Re:Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36887310)

Shut up, "PC and Sony Fanboy".

Re:Typical (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872806)

Hmm, you go from legal prostitution to child prostitution, mind if I ask what level you're registered as?

Re:Typical (1)

SockPuppetOfTheWeek (1910282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873020)

Um, you can't say:

"People should be allowed to decide for themselves what they want to do. Get out of their business and stop telling people what they should and shouldn't want".

Then follow it up with,

"but THAT'S illegal, you shouldn't do THAT".

Either you're in favor of telling people what they should and shouldn't do, within reasonable limitations, or you're not. Make up your mind.

Of course nobody really believes that everybody should be free to just do absolutely anything they want. But plenty of people talk like they believe it until you bring up something that THEY think is horrible. Then it's "oh no, you shouldn't do THAT because ____".

Re:Typical (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873694)

It may surprise and shock you, but you can be against American style anti-sodomy laws, which outlaw consenting oral and anal sex between two heterosexual adult partners, but still support laws against sodomizing little boys. I know you find that strange, but it's true. Similarly, you can oppose a law that would restrict my freedom to participate in the Nielsen surveys and sell my viewing habits for cash, but not oppose a law that restricts my freedom to shoot people in the face. You see?

Re:Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36873824)

My point was that it was already established that he DOES want to "get in people's business and tell them what they should and shouldn't do", despite his claim to the contrary.

He just has a slightly different opinion of how much of that is reasonable.

I'm well aware that there are many different places at which you can draw the line, but let's not pretend that the line doesn't exist.

And heck, it's not like I'm saying it should be illegal for them to do this. I'm just saying it's unethical, and I don't think they should be doing it. But I'll be damned if I want every single one of my ethics codified in law for everyone else to follow. As far as that goes, I really only care about the important ones, like people not being allowed to kill me, take my stuff, etc.

Re:Typical (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 3 years ago | (#36875740)

It may surprise and shock you, but you can be against American style anti-sodomy laws, which outlaw consenting oral and anal sex between two heterosexual adult partners, but still support laws against sodomizing little boys. I know you find that strange, but it's true. Similarly, you can oppose a law that would restrict my freedom to participate in the Nielsen surveys and sell my viewing habits for cash, but not oppose a law that restricts my freedom to shoot people in the face. You see?

I see! So, just because you can, doesn't make it logically consistent. I *can* be anti-abortion but pro-womens rights ... just not at the exact same time. I get it! I'm allowed to hold contradictory viewpoints, and I'm allowed to hold opinions that aren't based in fact... I just can't be right at the same time!

Re:Typical (1)

socz (1057222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873304)

While I do agree with you in that the privacy of a person should not be negotiable, people do it all the time! They're known as stars, primarily out of Hollywood, CA. Once a person makes it big on TV, film or in music, they have effectively 0% privacy. They know this going in - and some actually enjoy that and get famous because if their publicity. So, maybe for those accepting the ToS, it might be worthwhile to them. But for me? Not at all.

Re:Typical (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872246)

How many would let someone spy on them if they were given a piece of technology that they realistically could NEVER afford in their life, EVER. I'd suggest that all of us would.

How many of us already choose to use tech products that spy on us because we are too cheap to pay even a trivial sum for the product or for a similar, non-free version? Pandora*, I'm looking at you.

*I don't know if Pandora's paid version is less intrusive than the free version -- I suspect not, but that's just a guess.

Re:Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36871836)

Sorry for AC but don't want to undo the underrated modding of this guy. Even though I do not agree with him does not make his opinion wrong and moderating him as such is purely a form of opinionated censorship. Oh how people at /. cry out about censorship yet its perfectly find when it happens here.

Re:Typical (1)

ManTaboo (2027174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872716)

Sorry for AC but don't want to undo the underrated modding of this guy. Even though I do not agree with him does not make his opinion wrong and moderating him as such is purely a form of opinionated censorship. Oh how people at /. cry out about censorship yet its perfectly find when it happens here.

Your theory is severely flawed. Giving a negative rating of such ignorance is also an opinion and not allowing a counter opinion would also be consorship. Where do you draw your lines? Read the FAQ's, there is very good reason why /. has a moderating system in place and that comment falls head first into that category. I absolutely love how people like that and people who complain about /. do so anonymously. Grow a pair and stand up for what you believe. Now, I apologize for going off topic as per the original post but I felt the need to respond.

Re:Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36873248)

Sorry for AC but don't want to undo the underrated modding of this guy.

Too late, even though you checked the Post Anonymously box, slashdot still removes your mods (only this time without warning). Rumor has it that completely logging out will allow you to post AC after modding, but I think you'd have to get a new IP.

Re:Typical (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872042)

The whole state is deranged by some kind of progressive-ism mind virus.

I think you're probably exaggerating. Either about what constitutes "progressive," about how much of the state is affected, or about it being due to a "mind virus."

Re:Typical (1)

Marvin_Runyon (513878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872224)

Clearly you haven't spent any significant time in MA.

Re:Typical (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873160)

If there really is a mind virus going around, I definitely won't be now...

Re:Typical (3, Insightful)

Yakasha (42321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872442)

Typical Massachusetts, exploit the poor to create "visual narratives". The whole state is deranged by some kind of progressive-ism mind virus. Consent is easy to get when there are no alternatives in the 3rd world hell holes they ship these too, this is just disgusting.

I fail to see how they're being exploited. I understand some people think taking their picture will steal their soul, but I kind of assumed the desire to use modern electronics meant these people weren't of that type. So, what do they lose?

I actually wondered about the "refurbished electronics to 3rd world countries" business as i heard it was just big business attempt to avoid e-recycling/e-waste costs while skirting international law. Since it is illegal to dump used electronics in 3rd world countries, they "donate" them as refurbished so the other country then has to deal with disposing of them. This shows the programs, at least some of them, are benefiting real people. It puts a human face on the programs.

As the immortal Martha would say, It's a good thing.

It's ok we have "permisison" (2)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36871764)

I don't really buy the legitimacy claimed in the summary. Facebook, for example, has your permission to track everything you do. Lawyers love inserting clauses into every contract once they're aware of them.

We live in a society of a million de-facto laws created by contracts that we have no real alternatives to signing if we want to maintain a modern existance. Home Owner Associations, forced arbitration agreements, "we can terminate the contract at any time for free, but you must bay $X00 to do so".

Just because you've gotten someone to agree to something unethical, does not mean that ethical questions evaporate.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36871798)

We live in a society of a million de-facto laws created by contracts that we have no real alternatives to signing if we want to maintain a modern existance.

So therefore you feel entitled to get what you want?

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872004)

Here's how they went about it:

http://senseable.mit.edu/backtalk/ [mit.edu]

Now you can provide a deeper explanation about how it was unethical, rather than accusatory hand-waving.

There's no law against joining the Amish (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872022)

It might be heresy to say this on a tech site, but if you disagree with waiving the rights that a modern existence demands, there's no law against joining the plain people. (Yet.)

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (3, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872066)

I get so sick of this whiny, hypersensitive attitude that voluntary agreements aren't really voluntary if you need it. The circumstances of need are not de facto coercion, no matter how badly your entitlement mindset wants them to be.

"Negative" aspects of agreements are essentially part of the cost weighed by actors within a market. If a person wants to choose to be part of this project instead of paying a higher upfront cost, it is to the mutual benefit of both parties. I don't see how it is unethical to give somebody an economic advantage in exchange for consent to some random images. The only argument against it that would still benefit the participants in this project is that they could afford to dispose of the equipment without the condition, which while true would offer less motivation to do so, which reduces if not eliminates supply, and so the poor get nothing.

In the end the Hobson's Choice still provides the willing with a service they otherwise could not have. If it is really a system wherein one must accept a small negative effect to receive a larger positive effect, is it really fair for you or anybody other than the interested parties to determine that it should be nothing instead? Isn't it presumptuous to assume that just because you might not act under the same conditions, that those conditions should not be offered at all?

In the end it's a damn better use of the devices than junking them and letting them end up in a toxic heap in the same countries to be picked over by urchins who will get lead poisoning melting them down.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872226)

A much shorter car analogy: I need a car. But nowhere will give me one for free, they all demand "money". And so technically I "agree" to give them my money, but I was coerced, I had no choice other than to not have a car, and so am forced against my will into giving them money. Monstrous.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873268)

Except the car still belongs to them because they gave you a false but guinine looking title in the first place, and that's good because you fell for it, and caveat emptor is the highest law of the land..

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36876996)

You don't understand contract law at all or the principle of caveat emptor. Fraud invalidates contracts. Period. Aside from puffery (subjective nonsense like 'ours is the best most wonderful widget since time began'), any material quantifiable misrepresentation of a good or service invalidates obligations set forth in a contract.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872824)

entitlement mindset

Got it. The desire to not be abused by large corporations or via contracts (acceptance of which is not always optional) is now an "entitlement mindset." I suppose it's an "entitlement mindset" to not want our elections to be unduly influenced by corporate money.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (2)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873280)

Acceptance is always optional, or the contract is invalid on its face. If somebody is aiming a gun at a person and says 'sign this contract or I will kill you' then the contract is not legally binding. But of course when you say 'not optional' you mean 'because they need it!' Need is not coercion. So yes, you are not entitled to terms that are perfect for you in every way. If you want something from somebody, you play by their rules, except where otherwise prohibited by law (discrimination against protected classes, etc.).

And yes, it is an entitlement mindset to think that corporations who have interests in the political and economic climate that they must operate in should be censored by the government. Money is speech, that is more than just a principle, it is a precedent established by more than one Supreme Court decision. The way that lobbying works could use some reform, but nothing is worth censorship. Businesses should be as free to have political say as any other person or organization. In the end everybody still has one vote, regardless of who they work for.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36876260)

of course when you say 'not optional' you mean 'because they need it!' Need is not coercion.

I need electricity. I do have to agree to a contract, in exchange for service. By your own logic, they are free to stick whatever terms in there they want and I am bound to them. Otherwise I can fight them in court (and they can just outspend me) or just "do without" because I don't need electricity.

If you want something from somebody, you play by their rules

I see. So all power to the provider, none to the consumer. No negotiation, no fairness. Which is pretty much how we operate these days.

Money is speech, that is more than just a principle, it is a precedent established by more than one Supreme Court decision

Well, I think this clearly outlines your thought process. Perhaps you would be happy if we gave up any illusion of being a Republic "for the people, of the people, and by the people," since it seems that would suit you much better.

Businesses should be as free to have political say as any other person

Businesses are not people. They are absolutely not citizens. But you already don't care about that.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36877238)

Except this is wrong. You don't *need* electricity from the power company. You *can* do without - Light and heat can be generated by other methods(burning wood, gas, etc), refrigeration as well.
And if you *do* need electricity for some specific thing, you can always setup a couple of batteries, inverter and charge them with your choice of method: Solar, wind, gas generator, or even using your vehicle to charge them on the way to work.
So, yes. It may be a Hobson's Choice... But you *do* have the choice to just "leave it" and do without.
If the company was providing something like air - something that, without which, you couldn't live and there was no other alternative to, you might have a point. But your example isn't that way.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36877306)

If it was worth it to me to spend the money, I could buy the material necessary to generate my own power. (Some people do this so effectively that the utility company pays them for the power they are putting into the grid.) Ditto for food and water, any number of things. Just because ordering off the shelf is more convenient and more common doesn't mean there is no choice. Further, it might surprise you to learn that electricity is not actually required for you to live, and that a lot of people had healthy and full lives without it. Some still do.

It is also ridiculous to characterize a free market as one where sellers have all the power and buyers have none. If a seller's terms are truly unreasonable he won't be able to find a buyer.

Businesses are not people, but people own them and work in them. You cannot censor a business owner or employee from advocating their business's political interests without violating their rights. You want to pretend that as soon as somebody incorporates a business they surrender their right to speech as citizens, and then try to wrap yourself in the cloak of a crusader for people's rights, what bald hypocrisy. I'm sorry, but I don't support disenfranchising anybody , much less the people who are the foundation for employment and economic growth. Their interests are just as valid as anybody's in a free society, and if they want to buy airtime, they should be free to do so. That's the whole fucking point of "freedom" in the first place, that some douchebag(s) can't abuse the state's monopoly on force to silence whatever speech they happen not to like.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873230)

I normally don't engage in sensitive angry posting on the Internet because I feel it violates the ethos of a reasonable society. I feel compelled to make an exception in this case because you have personally insulted me because of my political opinion. Your beliefs in this case make you a terrible person.

I state the following without any intention of hyperbole: You are the kind of person that would allow slavery and the selling of ones children into slavery. That's the rational end-point of "contracts-as-god" philosophy you idiot libertarians engage in. You may think you're not. You may have some moderately clever justification for why not.

I don't care that you make an exception for that one case, because that means that you don't really hold to the markets-are-always-right belief you espouse. There is no real justification for banning resolving disputes in a court of law, other than fear of being judged guity for crimes and infringements you engage in. Not every choice should be an informed choice, and no contract should be infinite liability, as many of these are.

I think you and your philosophy is trerrible and do not take kindly to your insults. I do not engage in contracts I find unconscionable. That doesn't mean I don't think people aren't defrauded into a situation where they pay unreasonably to supply another person's greed.

While I'm almost certain that there's no way I can convince you that your "freedom is the only thing we need to protect" attitude grossly ignores the myriad of complex and dangerous people can interact, and the extremely cynical and manipulative behaviors sociopathic actors are willing to engage in, I can at least remain confident that you don't know a damn thing about me, personally, and are a terrible judge of character.

If you want to have a reasonable dialog about this subject, please respond, and I assure you I will not inpugn you character again. For now, I feel I must let you know you are a terrible human being and actively advocate pointless suffering.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (2)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873650)

This is the second time somebody has said that this necessarily leads to selling children into slavery. Its so distorted and disingenuous I can't imagine where you get off calling me a terrible person. Selling children into slavery implies involuntary actors, whether they be de facto or de jure, and so are excluded from possible scenarios of voluntary acts as a class. It's quite ludicrous, but you are so desperate to defend your mindset that there is no emotional appeal you won't sink to using, even if it is demonstrably inapplicable. You just hope people will be so blinded by a 'think of the children' argument that they won't realize you are using this specter to try to deprive people of choices just because you personally think the choices are bad.

In a way you are correct, I 'advocate pointless suffering' where people choose pointless suffering. For example I think being a monk is 'pointless suffering', but I don't think that my opinion of somebody else's lifestyle should be forced on them. If somebody wants to be a monk, it's not my right to stop them, nor is it society's right just because a lot of people might agree that it's a stupid lifestyle. Each person's life choices should not be at the whim of another's tyranny, whether that be the tyranny of a dictator or of the majority.

Each individual needs to be the final arbiter of their own happiness. You have no authority to decide for others what constitutes suffering for them against their own wishes. That will ultimately lead to far more individual suffering than it will prevent.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36874614)

Contracts establish involountary actors. That's the point of a contract in your system. You must do what the contract says as long as it's legally signed.

What I get now is you are saying you exclude parents the right to sign contracts on their behalf. This is the usual justification those arguing from your point go to. I wasn't unaware of this justification. Who then can make choices on behalf of children? Themselves? How much leeway do they get? What are the limitations? The point of my jab is not that you personally advocate that position, but that libertarian philosophy is not as self-sufficient and perfect as they make it out to be. If you want to be consistent, someone can either sell themselves into perptual slavery, or you don't really believe the point about the market being able to handle negative aspects of agreements. It was never intended as a "think of the children argument." It was intended as an abstract reductio on the subject of contracts holding indefinetly. Children are a special case because you(libertarians as a group, not you specifically) don't endorse their ability to enter contracts for themselves, therefor that power rests with their parents in some abstract "parental responsibility". I consider the whole maneuver a dodge on the idea of absolute individual authority,

The point is that contracts are enforced. You're free to make your choice about living as a monk because its limited only be your own freedom of choice. If you were compelled when you joined a monastic order to sign an agreement that stated you'd never get to leave that life, it would be an unconscionable infringement of those very same freedoms you endorse, even if it didn't seem that way at the time. People and circumstances change, and freedom should persist through those changes.

What part of an eternal contract retains the concept of essential liberty? Contracts are important to a free market, but their should be limitations on what one can restrict. Your point of view sacrifices it's own goal of individual freedom in order to preserve the anachronistic failed idea of laissez faire capitalism.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36874744)

Ok, sure. Let's withhold something you need, let's say air, and see what you're willing to agree to. Are you going to argue that such an agreement was reached voluntarily?

I suspect you are not. If you allow that such an agreement is not voluntary, all that's left to decide is where we draw the line. Or in other words, what really constitutes a "need".

In the end, it's not even philosophically coherent to speak about voluntary agreements and coercion. Such arguments rely on fictional concepts like free will. Not that I have an alternative, just figured it was worth mentioning in this context.

Re:It's ok we have "permisison" (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#36877480)

Irrational. A monopoly on air is impossible, as is water (it comes from the sky, lol), and so, effectively, is food (unless you can dig up a historical monopoly thereof, for which I would be quite impressed).

So if impossible conditions suddenly came to pass whereby things which were necessary conditions for life were attached to unreasonable terms, then yes, that could be construed as coercion. When this hypothetical ever becomes true let me know, then we can figure out how to apply ethics therein.

And as for things being philosophically coherent, and whether free will is truly a fiction, are very, very much dependent on both assumptions and definitions.

Seems overly complicated... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36871830)

Why not just ask the new owners to send photos of their lives? Then you could see more than random guy staring at the computer and 2 feet around him.

So is it spying or not? (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36871954)

The Slashdot title implies some breach of privacy but the article says it was with the owners consent. Is there any evidence that it is actually spying? Was it hidden in some clause in the small print or was it an optional opt-in? Or is it just another sensationalist Slashdot headline?

Re:So is it spying or not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36872010)

Not to mention that I am pretty sure that ALL spying is done on purpose by the spies. You don't 'accidentally' activate a web cam and record the photos remotely.

Re:So is it spying or not? (2)

Flipao (903929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872034)

New owner: Wait, you were spying on me?
MIT voyeur: Hey you agreed to this, it's in the EULA!

Re:So is it spying or not? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872070)

They attached stickers with text explaining the project (in the local languages).

Re:So is it spying or not? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872186)

Still doesn't make it ethical and it's questionably legal depending on local laws. Some terrorist organizations offer to pay the families of suicide bombers a fair amount of cash if they blow themselves up. These people agree. Does that make it legal and ethical?

Re:So is it spying or not? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872408)

Yeah, but it sort of hollows out the whole argument with the user claiming they were unaware.

And I'd be a lot more interested in what aspects you find unethical and what laws you think were broken than I am in an analogy that isn't quite related to the situation.

Re:So is it spying or not? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872674)

One of the pictures for example shows a classroom. In many countries it is illegal to publish or broadcast pictures of minors without the explicit consent of the parents. Not civil illegal. Criminal illegal. That's just one possibility. Not to mention that this software takes pictures randomly or at 20 minute intervals. I am sure the owner of the machine has not obtained permission from anyone who happens to be in the background or explained the whole process to them. Nor are any of those people obtaining any benefit from having their picture involuntarily published on the internet. Nor are all these pictures in a public place where it has been argued ONLY in the US that they have "no reasonable expectation of privacy".

Finally if you need legislation in order to distinguish between right and wrong, then you are a highly unethical person by nature.

Re:So is it spying or not? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872862)

You is flailing around a bit. I pushed back on your comment because it was general and reactionary.

You've explained why you think there might be something illegal about the pictures. You apparently don't have a concrete example of something that is illegal about the pictures (this isn't a terrible thing, but it speaks to why I find your comment reactionary).

You still haven't explained what you think is unethical about the project.

I never said that I needed legislation in order to distinguish between right and wrong and I don't see anything in my comments that implies it, so I don't really see any reason to address that statement further.

Re:So is it spying or not? (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872782)

So they weren't spying.

spying (Verb)
1. Work for an organization by secretly collecting information about enemies or competitors.
2. Observe (someone) furtively. (Furtive: 1. Attempting to avoid notice or attention; secretive.)

As it wasn't done secretly and the users were made aware of this then maybe "monitoring" would be a better word.

I'm going to abstain from Slashdot's knee-jerk "OMFG SPIES!" reaction for now until there's some evidence either way. I stopped reading Slashdot about a year ago because most of the interesting headlines were just downright misleading. Seems like nothings changed. See you again in another year.

Re:So is it spying or not? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872260)

What about all the other people in the photos. Did they agree to be spied on too, or can the owner of the machine waive their rights for them too? This is a highly unethical project and MIT should be ashamed of having their name associated with it.

Re:So is it spying or not? (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36877268)

At least, in the US, if they're in a public place they waive that right.
Until you know what laws apply in the country in question, don't make assumptions.

Re:So is it spying or not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36872102)

The next time an iTunes update comes along, read the license agreement.

A no reason to hoard? (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872398)

http://www.aetv.com/hoarders/digital-room/ [aetv.com] Just think if all our junk could just tell us where they were and how much they like there new homes we would never need to hoard anything. I know my feelings of "what happened to (so and so)" would appease my feelings and I would feel much better. And I guess also if the equipment is being treated badly I could go and get it back and just keep it. Kind of like the Island of Misfit toys, until someone really wanted them. I can just see it - 1 calculator to a good home, requirement, it must report back to me periodic and if I find out you have been abusing I'll find out and I can take it back. That's the rule.

Finally (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872502)

I'll get a look at that Nigerian who is sending me all those e-mails.

Privacy shouldn't be just for the rich (1)

cOldhandle (1555485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36872504)

What a disgusting, exploitative project. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves. I can't even imagine the mindset of these people - do something nice like sending the refurbished netbooks to less privileged people, but then ruin it by recording the users like zoo animals and publishing pictures of them. The rich, privileged, snotty kids responsible should learn some compassion and respect for those less fortunate than them! If this is some attempt to demonstrate how great recycling/refurbishing is, it's EXTREMELY misguided.

F**ing Spyware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36872766)

How is this ANY different than spyware and tracking apps installed by Rent-to-own companies or Schools?

The initial purpose is benign, but those with the data have way too much temptation to misuse the data. As Luscious (Batman: Dark Knight) states - it is too dangerous... No one can be trusted with that much information.

Between Facebook and tracking cookies, we (as a whole) are already at that point.

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