index2019-02-25

week 4: page tracking and brin article

I found the page tracking code to be distractingly fun. I think there is a lot to unpack when it comes to mouse tracking. The way that our mouses move across the screen, where they pause, where they speed up…its all essentially invisible to us. We are only concerned with where our mouse is in the moment we need it to do something for us but it is the movement itself that gets capitalized on. I think I need to spend more time with webrtc. There is something about giving a website access to your camera that I haven’t quite uncovered - I have this feeling that when you say yes allow this website to access my camera you are also saying yes I understand that you might be capturing this video but that I think is a problematic assumption. Just because we allow a website to access our camera doesn’t mean that the content should be trackable or downloadable by another server right?

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For this assignment, I leaned heavily on Sean’s code and instantiated webrtc on one page and then mouse tracking on another page. The final app, code here, allows you to trace whatever you see in the video in real time and have it display on the watching.html page ( open in another browser window).

When Brin writes “And what did you expect?” in his opinion piece for the NY Times I thought about almost every other discussion about privacy I’ve ever had in regards to our participation in networked communication. It’s kind of a common response but its also kind of a knee-jerk one. I don’t think people expected this kind of privacy invasion at this scale and to assume that when we use a piece of technology, like writing a letter and sending it in the mail, that we have no privacy is having no expectations at all.

I’m not totally convinced by Brin’s argument which I understand to be telling us to adapt instead of resist. I think sousveillance is a form of subversion and potential resistance, not adaptation. This article was written in 2013 which feels like a really different time from now, 2019. I think that the ubiquity of surveillance technology is much harder to grasp than it was in 2013. I do think adaptation with resilience works in some cases however some of the tools used by the powers that be are not necessarily accessible to everyday civilians. How can adaptation with resilience be effective if we can’t even adapt to the things that are controlling and possibly hurting us as a society?