Archive | January 2014

Facebook Graph Search: Privacy issues….

We’ve recently discussed how Google is chasing our online steps. Here you can see that they are not the only one. Question remains what becomes more important for us: privacy or social media? Let’s discuss…

Paul Bernal's Blog

thumbs-downI wrote yesterday about Facebook’s new ‘Graph Search’ system – in particular, about the way in which it is intended to convince people to put more and better data onto the system, and to lock them and businesses further into the Facebook system. What I didn’t talk about much was privacy…. not because there aren’t privacy issues with the new system, but more because there are so many privacy issues that it’s hard to know where to start.

One of the most interesting things is that as a part of the launch, Mark Zuckerberg has been very keen to stress that privacy is built into the system, even releasing information suggesting that the reason he went with Bing rather than Google for the web-search part of the service is that Google weren’t ‘privacy-friendly enough’ for him – see this piece in the Guardian. Why did he do that? Well…

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Doping in professional sport – Ethical issue

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Sport is a part of everyone’s life. Walking, cycling and everyday moving makes us all a bit healthier every day. Some like sport less, some more, but some are very passionate about sport and its impact on our society. Sport makes people energised and happier many times. In professional sport, the individuals or the whole teams can also become our heroes. Each country has the sport they are the best at. My country, Slovakia, is famous for its ice-hockey team which almost every year brings a medal back home from the world championship. The year 2002 meant a bit of fame for the country as we became champions of the world. Each Slovakian feels pride for this achievement and surely it brought the nation a bit closer together. England prides with great football teams, Bulgaria with volleyball team, etc. There is no better feeling than the feeling of pride when we hear the national hymn playing in order to honour the winning team. Shivers, tears, happiness…

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We can only imagine how much pressure professional sportsmen feel when competing for their country. Therefore they sometimes succumb to the drugs or other illegal doping which puts their lives in danger.  In such cases the presence of a coach becomes crucial. Coach is a person who should motivate the team/individual to become better every day, to achieve amazing results and make the country honoured. Also, they need to make sure that the team/individuals are aware that the game is not just about wins and loses but also about the whole institution and how they engage with their colleagues and that they understand the values of the sport itself. Using different modifications to improve one’s performance is a real issue nowadays. One can’t be a hero if he achieved the great result while cheating. Many, however, still argue the legality of the doping. Some say that sportsmen should not be tested.

How about Paralympians? Should they be tested? The world of Paralympics was scandal-free until the year 2000 when Spanish basketball team was disqualified after winning gold for cheating-most of the player were completely healthy with no learning difficulties. Many Paralympians and disability-rights speakers reacted with an argument that it proves that disabled people can achieve same results as the healthy ones, including cheating. They argue that people can find a role model in a person who made mistakes better.

Who is to blame when a doping is proven in the lives of the professional sportsmen? 

It’s not just the porn that will be over-blocked….

One more ethical issue served to us by the omniscient (!) politicians

Paul Bernal's Blog

Newsnight last night included a feature on how the recently introduced internet ‘porn-filters’ were actually blocking more than just porn. Specifically, they noted that sex-education websites, sexual health websites and so forth were being blocked by the filters. This comes as no surprise to anyone working in the area – indeed, my own blog post asking questions about porn-filters was itself blocked – but it is still good to see that the mainstream media is now taking it on board, albeit very late in the day.

It wasn’t a bad feature, but it only began to scratch the surface of the issue. It left a lot of questions unanswered and a lot of crucial issues untouched. The first of these was the suggestion, insufficiently challenged, that this over-blocking was just some sort of ‘teething trouble’. Once the systems get properly up and running, the problems will be ironed out, and…

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Child Trafficking in the UK

We learn bad things everyday, including trades in children and sex tourism, happening in the UK as well… Sometimes issues are closer than what we would think

Modern Day Slavery

I remember hearing Lisa Bevere say, during an anti-trafficking campaign in the US, that what people used to travel for, they now are comfortable with doing at home. She was talking about people travelling for sex: sex tourism. It is from this that stems our belief that trafficking only happens in developing countries…or even just, in countries other than our own. This is so, so untrue. Human trafficking happens everywhere. Men, women and children are trafficked for labour, for sex in their own countries and in all other countries.

We often think of the horrors of human trafficking, especially child trafficking, happening somewhere far away from us. The harsh reality is that child trafficking is rife in the UK, and unless we become aware of this fact and join the fight against it, this monster will continue to grow in size and in reach.

Over the weekend marking the 224th…

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Slavery Work Conditions in ARGENTINA – ZARA case

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We often talk about unfair work conditions based in China, Taiwan, Brazil, and many others. Zara, the company managed by the group Inditex, has to face the accusation of dealing with suppliers that do not respect safe and fair work conditions. But first things first: in 2011, 52 accusations were made against the group Inditex by the Brazilian government. Zara’s parent company Inditex manages several famous fashion brands (including Bershka, Massimo Dutti). Zara’s major Brazilian supplier employed minors, working 12hours a day in unhealthy and dangerous conditions. Read More…