Privacy in the Age of the Internet

On the Internet, do we make sure that our passwords contain at least 8 case-sensitive characters and include at least one special character because we believe that our information is safe from prying eyes?

No.

Are we judicious about our privacy settings and visibility of our online profiles because we believe that our online reputations are not without consequence?

Of course not.
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Wrong-Sperm Suit Is Really About the Burden of Being Black

Jennifer Cramblett is interviewed at her attorney's home in Waite Hill, Ohio, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Cramblett has sued a Chicago-area sperm bank after she became pregnant with sperm donated by a black man instead of a white man as she'd intended.

Jennifer Cramblett is interviewed at her attorney’s home in Waite Hill, Ohio, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Cramblett has sued a Chicago-area sperm bank after she became pregnant with sperm donated by a black man instead of a white man as she’d intended.

A same-sex couple in Ohio is suing a Chicago-area sperm bank for wrongful birth and breach of warranty after receiving the wrong sperm, resulting in the birth of a mixed-race baby girl, Payton.

Payton’s mother, Jennifer Cramblett, has said that she and her partner will now have to relocate from their Uniontown, Ohio, farm town to a more diverse area in order to ensure that Payton is comfortable. Cramblett cites that their current community is mostly white and conservative, and notes racial intolerance in her own family.

Baby Payton is two years old. While it is admirable that her parents have noted their own shortcomings in their ability to care for a child of color (cultural understandings, or even more basic needs like hair care) the lawsuit is about a little more than negligence. And let us be clear, Midwest Sperm Bank certainly seems grossly negligent.

Payton’s parents want compensation for the inconvenience of living a black life. Read more »

Ban the “Redskins”

Can you start making these helmets after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled Washington's trademark?

Time for a new mascot?

“Redskin” is a slur.

Got it?

This is not up for debate. It is a slur, despite any arguments made about intent. Curiously, it is one that can be put in respectable print publications without censorship. It doesn’t get abbreviated like “the f-word” or “the n-word” and despite its vulgarity it doesn’t make people wince like the word “cunt.”

But it is a slur. A racist one.
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Need a Cuddle Buddy?

Screen grabs from the Cuddlr app.

Screen grabs from the Cuddlr app.

Need a cuddle buddy? There’s an app for that, too.

How sad.

If there’s ever a moment where you might feel especially in need of a human touch, head over to the App Store and download Cuddlr, a new lifestyle app designed to allow complete strangers to find time to cuddle in a place of their choosing.

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Rihanna Was Right to Tell Off CBS Over Thursday Night Football Decision

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There is nothing that is — or perhaps can be — written about Rihanna without talking about the events that transpired on Grammy night in 2009. Similarly, there is rarely mention of Tina Turner without an acknowledgment of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband Ike. Domestic violence leaves a mark long after the bruises fade — and usually on the reputation of the abused.

The NFL’s reputation is taking its own beating, first with the release of the video capturing Ray Rice’s violent physical assault against his then-fiancée, next the child abuse allegations against Adrian Peterson. In efforts to demonstrate some long-absent self-awareness, CBS opted out of the network’s planned opening sequence, which included a song by Rihanna. It can be argued that the network opted to refit the opener with a more appropriately somber tone, though CBS executive Sean McManus did point to the singer’s previous bouts as a domestic violence victim as part of the deciding factor to pull the song last week.

True to form, Rihanna took to Twitter to express her displeasure:

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Apple (Yawn) Launched a New iPhone and a Watch Yesterday

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I find it difficult to get excited about new consumer technology these days. It may be a sign that I’m getting older or cheaper, or perhaps a bit more jaded about how much easier things need to be. I already blame my iPhone for my waning ability to remember things, and I hold Netflix responsible for how much time I spend sitting in one place on weekends: Binge sessions of House of Cards have become a priority in my home.

I also find it difficult to get excited about big Apple releases (like yesterday’s) because I’m not quite sure that Apple is at the forefront anymore.

When I heard about the iPhone 6 release, I wasn’t all that excited. In truth, I haven’t really been excited about Apple since Steve Jobs died in 2011. I’ve had the 4s for as long as its been out and it suits me just fine. I watched the release announcement yesterday, not because I wanted the phone, but because everyone else was — I thought perhaps I missed something.

What was missed yesterday was an opportunity, at least from a branding perspective.

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Have We Entered the Era of Crowdsourced Hate-Funding?

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Lynching rose to prominence in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most notably in the Deep South during the dawn of Reconstruction. Lynching was extra-judicial, vigilante action used to intimidate African Americans — and sometimes sympathetic whites — to enforce racist Jim Crow law. Individuals who participated in lynch mobs were seldom convicted in a court of law, even if properly identified, meaning perpetrators were safe, generally anonymous, and rarely held accountable for their actions.

Perhaps more disgustingly, lynching was a public spectacle, often treated as a family-friendly community event. It was not uncommon for children to be brought to the sight of lynchings, as a victim’s body hung lifelessly from a tree. So agreeable were whites to the racial violence of lynching, many took photos gathered around the victim, united as one for the cause of a dead black man.

While lynching has occurred less frequently since the Civil Rights Movement, its legacy remains present in the modern era; the noose remains symbolic, and makes regular appearances at many universities. The mob mentality persists as well, now in the form of the digital campaign, where individual donors unite as one.

In the wake of the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, and allegations of first-degree rape and sexual battery of eight black women, lucrative crowdsourcing fundraisers were established for George Zimmerman, officer Darren Wilson and officer Daniel Holtzclaw, respectively.

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Brigitte Daniel’s Got a Plan to Get Young Women of Color Into Technology

Photo | Twitter

Brigitte Daniel |  photo via  Twitter

Like the Trayvon Martin story before it, what happened in Ferguson two weeks ago has had a continued news presence in part because of social media. In the moments that followed the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown, users took to Twitter to report on and discuss what happened. They have started and maintained a nationwide online conversation.

Much has been written about the democratizing power of Twitter and the influential power of so-called Black Twitter; according to a Pew study, 22 percent of African Americans who are online are on Twitter despite representing a dismal 2 percent of its workforce, as indicated by a diversity report released by Twitter last month.

This imbalance does not go unnoticed by those in the field.

“If we are the highest consumers [of these technologies], why aren’t we creating them?” asks Brigitte Daniel, executive vice president of Fort Washington-based Wilco Electronic Systems, Inc., a minority-owned, family-based cable operator serving the greater Philadelphia area for over 30 years.

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10 Ferguson Twitter Accounts You Need to Follow

People protest Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. As night fell Sunday in Ferguson, another peaceful protest quickly deteriorated after marchers pushed toward one end of a street. Police attempted to push them back by firing tear gas and shouting over a bullhorn that the protest was no longer peaceful.

People protest Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. As night fell Sunday in Ferguson, another peaceful protest quickly deteriorated after marchers pushed toward one end of a street. Police attempted to push them back by firing tear gas and shouting over a bullhorn that the protest was no longer peaceful.

Since the death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown last Saturday, residents of Ferguson, Missouri, have taken to the streets to protest. Long before major media were on the ground, Twitter provided to-the-minute updates of events, and continues to be the most reliable reporting resource. Below is a list of 10 individuals you should follow on Twitter if you want to know what’s really happening on the streets of Ferguson, because the likes of CNN can’t be trusted to even report what’s happening outside of its own doors:

1. Antonio French (@AntonioFrench), St. Louis Alderman of the 21st Ward.

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Black Girls Are Magic: Why We’re Fascinated With Mo’Ne Davis

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The saying, as it goes in some circles, is that “Black girls are magic.” And there is an ever more prevalent movement to celebrate The Carefree Black Girl, a new archetype and representation of the fullness of black women and girls and their interests and their happiness. Enter Mo’Nae Davis, 13, the breakout star of her Taney Youth Baseball Association of Philadelphia little league team, the Anderson Monarchs.

With long braids that dance on her back, what makes Davis a star is her talent as a pitcher — she has a 70 mph fastball — and, as described by her coach in interviews, her role as a leader on her all-boys team. What makes Davis a source of media intrigue, though, is her gender, and perhaps even her race.

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