Archive for August 9th, 2012

Twitter Updates for 2012-08-09

August 9th, 2012 at 09:00pm

Twitter Updates for 2012-08-09

August 9th, 2012 at 09:00pm

Video of Tony Abbott’s speech about freedom of speech

On Monday, as noted on this blog, Tony Abbott addressed the Institute of Public Affairs about the subject of freedom of speech. I consider myself privileged to have been there to see it, and found myself hoping that somebody would post the full video of the speech online for everyone to see as the grabs used by the media in their news reports, while capturing the bare point of the speech, did not seem to capture the full reasoning or argument behind the speech. Various media outlets have clearly noted and understood the reasoning, and echoed it in their own statements since Monday, but I don’t believe that the general public has been given the opportunity to date to hear Tony Abbott’s full thought process on the matter.

Today, I am pleased to be able to say, The Institute of Public Affairs have done just that.

The video runs just under 30 minutes. The IPA’s Chris Berg delivers introductory remarks for the first seven of those minutes, with Tony Abbott’s speech taking up the remaining 23 minutes. It’s well worth watching, or even just listening to. I think even those who disagree with Tony Abbott on this one will find this enlightening, even if it merely gives them a better understanding of where their own arguments fit in to the debate.


1 comment August 9th, 2012 at 10:10am

How much data mining is going on here?

I’ve noticed some odd things with Facebook before where it seems to have known things about me that it should not have been able to know, mainly about people that I have communicated with in the past. On more than one occasion it has suggested a potential friend for me…someone with whom I corresponded via email once, many years ago, and with whom I have no mutual friends on Facebook. About the only way Facebook could know that I ever communicated with this person is if it had access to my Gmail account, or the other person’s email account. I certainly didn’t grant access…maybe the other person did. Either way, it was odd.

Today, something which would have required a little bit more research.


Of late Facebook has become more forthright with its suggestions of pages in which it thinks I might have an interest. For the most part this has been benign and been about something which I recently mentioned on Facebook…but that one there about Bundanoon is odd, very odd.

To the best of my knowledge I have never mentioned Bundanoon on Facebook. I have mentioned the nearby town of Moss Vale, but that was many months ago. I have mentioned Bundanoon on this blog before, but that was years ago in relation to a nutty move in that town to ban bottled water. Until today though, Facebook has never suggested that I “like” Bundanoon’s page, so what’s changed?

Well, I think that’s simple and a tad scary. Last night I wrote a blog post about a dream I had which, among many other things, involved flying to Bundanoon. This blog post, once published, was automatically linked to in a notice about a new blog post on my Twitter account, and that tweet was automatically cross-posted to my Facebook account.

It seems to me that the only way Facebook could have determined that Bundanoon might be something in which I am interested, would be that upon seeing the link to my blog post, a Facebook robot has scoured the blog post for terms which relate to Facebook pages. With this as the case, how many of my other links has Facebook scoured? And how much of a profile has it built up about me? Equally importantly, how accurate is that profile of me? Because it has to be noted that I do not only link to things with which I am in complete agreement.

Beyond Facebook, it makes me wonder who else is building detailed profiles of me, and why they are doing so. I suspect quite strongly that I probably would not like the answer…and many others would feel the same way about the profiles being built about them.

And then (and I don’t want to get all conspiratorial on you, but perhaps it’s too late) there was that story in the news yesterday which was pushing a line that some psychologists think people who aren’t on Facebook are more likely to be psychopaths. Apart from the absurdity of such a claim, the obvious push to make people think they “need” to be involved in something which is clearly performing data-mining for its own purposes, is concerning, and does make me wonder who else might have access to the data, especially seeing as another article on the subject notes that Australian universities are advising students that they must have an active Facebook account if they ever want to be employed.

Maybe I’m over-thinking the situation…but I just can’t help but think that this is exactly the sort of thing which George Orwell was warning us all about.


2 comments August 9th, 2012 at 07:04am


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