Monday, April 27, 2015

In the Jungle with Friedlander

I had the happy fortune to spend a week taking pictures with Lee Friedlander. It was the mid-1990s. I was living in Hanoi, Vietnam and was asked by a mutual friend to guide Friedlander through the country’s distant northwest corner, 350 miles up a rutted mountain road to the former French hill station of SaPa.

I elected to take the back way, a track that winds close to the border with Laos and passes through remote provinces peopled by ethnic tribes. That’s what Lee wants to photograph, I thought.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Your Right to Record: Protected by Law, Disrespected by Law Enforcement

Originally published at PBS MediaShift

While Feidin Santana and Ramsey Orta are hardly household names, these men played pivotal roles in one of the most important civil rights stories of our time.

They made news by using their cellphone cameras to record the police killings of two unarmed black men: Walter Scott and Eric Garner. And though they may not have realized it at the time, such recording is constitutionally protected.

But that may be little comfort to people who record tense encounters between police and the public. After filming the April 4 shooting of Walter Scott, Santana told NBC News, “I felt that my life, with this information, might be in danger. I thought about erasing the video and just getting out of the community, you know Charleston, and living some place else.”

Thursday, April 09, 2015

For Telco Industry Hacks, Progress Is Just Another Word for Crony Capitalism

Published at

The Internet’s politically engaged public is here to stay. Millions of people have begun to use online tools to engage in policy fights and protect our online rights — most recently to secure historic Net Neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission.

Net Neutrality supporters at a 2014 rally
in front of City Hall, NYC.
That’s a good thing. But it’s rattled the cages of those on the losing side of these battles. Many of their responses don’t deserve to be taken seriously. But every so often something emerges from Washington that is so reckless and repugnant that it cannot be ignored.

On April 1, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), an industry-funded think tank, convened a panel of industry-funded “experts.” ITIF held the D.C. event to blast what it calls “tech populism” — embodied, speakers said, by groups like Free Press, the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In its place panelists touted “tech progressivism” — for which industry-funded think tanks like ITIF and the Progressive Policy Institute are the supposed standard-bearers.