Tag Archives: Government

Protect Your Data!

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 1.59.16 AMWe  increasingly hear stories about government agencies falling prey to cyber (or direct) attacks and our data unintentionally getting into the hands of those willing to steal our identity or money for their own benefit.

It is also a prevalent trend in the political sphere that the government wishes to reel in our cyber freedoms. This seems to be mostly based in fear and a sense of being out of control.

I value my cyber freedoms and I believe that I am best suited to ensure them.

However, I would argue that the government shouldn’t even consider expanding the collection of our data or attempt to control our online interactions until they figure out how to protect the data they collect. The role of government ought to be to protect the constituency. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been happening. Rather, politicians have seemed, in recent years, more concerned with holding their seat from election cycle to election cycle.

If you care about this issue you should contact your policy makers to tell them about it.

In Minnesota you can find out who your representatives are by conducting a search on the state’s legislative website.

What do you think?
Tall me in the comment section below.

LGBT Internment Camps in Our Future?

On April 28th, 2016 The Washington Times posted an article on their website entitled “Gay Census a mixed bag for LGBT people”.

First of all, in regard to the title, I take issue with the differentiation between gay people and frankly… people. It is easy to differentiate ourselves based on labels and while fighting for a cause, one can also easily envelop themselves in that differentiation. This is an inherent flaw in our (English) lingual system. This discussion on labels, however, is for another post, on another day.

The first sentence of this post reads: “Lawmakers want the U.S. Census Bureau to start counting gay people — but not all gay people are convinced they want to be counted”.

Why might that be? Perhaps history tells us that this is dangerous territory. Predominantly White led America has historically and continues to segregate Aboriginal Tribes people for their land and other resources; during World War Two America placed over 127 thousand people of Japanese descent into internment camps; after kidnapping them from their homes in Africa, taking them across the world to unknown land, and enslaving them for years, America proceeded to develop a transit infrastructure system that was and is racially segregating America. These are only a few of the blatant segregating acts of the U.S. government.

All this is to say, that these fears of registering as gay, are founded!

What assurances do people have that this won’t happen to them?

I further take issue with current policy of the census. What business does the census bureau have knowing what your genitalia is? I personally don’t think what you have in your pants is any of their business. But, the government wants to take it a step further. They also wish to know what genitalia you prefer. This is an issue of rights to privacy.

On the one hand, I think that America is obsessive in its over sexualization of nudity. On the other hand, it is also each person’s right to choose who knows about their genitals.

This movement is being “touted … as a way to address more effectively the needs of the LGBT community” by proponents. While I can see ways that this could benefit the public, I also recognize that once people give this information up they lose all control over how it is used. In the era we live with widespread concerns over data privacy and constant attack of those systems, anyone with Malevolent intentions could access those data. This poses a concern for all Americans.

Another valid point is that, those who come out as LGB and/or T are a self-selecting group. Many people simply will not come out, even in the face of a government mandate. Expecting them to do so is not only inconsiderate and unfair, it’s flat foolish and ignorant.

This article did mention some possible positive outcomes that could come of this in the forms of legitimization and inclusion. While important, it seems that the overarching issues of government meddling; propensity for inaccuracy in the data; and security risks shadow any potential benefits and do not create a justified foundation for this movement.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 7.47.08 AM

What do you think?
Tell me in the comment section below.

Taking Charge of YOUR Education!

As Students of Metropolitan State University, we share a common interest in our educational goals. MnSCU (Minnesota State Colleges & Universities) is the State organization which assesses and allocates funds to each Minnesota college and university. They also oversee the policy and operations of the public four-year and two-year higher education institutions in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 7.46.53 AMThe good news is that as students we have advocates working on our behalf to encourage policy makers – at both the state and federal level – to improve legislation and funds allocations to benefit students and lower the costs of attendance and associated living expenses. This advocacy influences the operations of MnSCU; therefore, each individual institution of higher learning; and subsequently you!

Students attending one of the twenty-four public two-year colleges in Minnesota are represented by MSCSA – the Minnesota State College Student Association.

At the four-year public Universities in Minnesota, students are represented by MSUSA – the Minnesota State University Student Association.

Both of these groups are non-profits who by law are entitled to collect a fee from all students to fund their advocacy work. MSCSA collects $0.35 per credit hour. MSUSA collects $0.43 per credit hour.

These fees are automatically calculated into our costs of attendance paid to the school. Therefore, it is critical that we utilize the resources that we are paying for.

Now, I know as students we typically hate paying for anything additional that we can imagine doing without. These fees are worth every penny! They are directly related to the tuition freeze that we currently have in Minnesota. As an alumnus of MSCSA, I can speak to the hard work and dedicated effort with which numerous students volunteer and the time and dedication the staff apply to train students in leadership and advocacy. I worked first hand as the elected platform representative of the seven colleges in North Western Minnesota to develop a platform for the association which represented the views and needs of that demographic.

Only you can ensure that you are represented well.

Each college and university sends delegates from each institution through their student government organization, to represent their school. Here at Metro State, we are represented by a diverse group of students who should be working to represent you. You have the right to attend the public meetings and speak to your student representatives about the issues that are important to you and your experience as a student at Metro.

I encourage you to do so!

Here is how:
You can contact Metro State’s Student Senate Here.
You can also find out when to attend Student Senate meetings Here.

 

What do you think?
Tell me in the comment section below.

Neutral Goes With Everything…

You can find just about anything online largely because of Net Neutrality. For now, all data is essentially equal online. This reality affords users the broadest spectrum of choice. There is a lot of discussion about this right now given the recent push by the FCC to change the rules. A recent article from Reuters describes it this way:

 “Consumer advocates worry that “fast lanes” for content companies willing to pay up would leave startups and others behind. They call on the FCC to reclassify Internet providers as utilities, like telephone companies, rather than the less-regulated information services they are now.

More than 100 technology companies including Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. have warned that Wheeler’s [FCC Chair] proposal poses “a grave threat to the Internet.” Democratic lawmakers, venture capitalists and a group of musicians and artists expressed similar worries.”

 You want as many choices as possible in nearly every aspect of life, especially online. Imagine though, that corporations could purchase their way to the head of the line, or even remove their competitors from your equation. Corporations could fundamentally change the experience that you have online as Consumer, Commentator, Contributor, or Content Curator.

I think an interesting comparison might be the recent Supreme Court decision to lift the restrictions on campaign contributions. We cannot fully anticipate the impact of the Supreme Court Decision, and the issue of Net Neutrality poses some similar kinds of questions; once again will large well-funded entities make choices for those with less? Do you trust the regulation of the government, or the goodwill of corporations?

Save the Internet logo

This is an issue to pay close attention to.

Learn more about how a potential threat to Net Neutrality might affect the online communities that you value.