SOPA and PIPA have come and gone. Protectors of internet freedom rejoiced a major victory when these two fell by the wayside. However, the anti-piracy brigade isn’t done yet: Enter CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, text here). CISPA would be an amendment to the National Security Act of 1947, adding a section that addresses “cyber threats” and “cyber security” measures.
I will start this post by stating that I am NOT an expert in digital public policy. I often rely on outside sources to help me understand the legal jargon that most proposed bills entail. Also, to be fair, I get it. Piracy is bad. Those producing music, tv shows and movies are not getting some of their pieces of the pie because it is being shared for free somewhere online. Advertisers’ money is not being well spent when people aren’t going through the standard legal channels to view their media. My biggest concern is that, in writing these bills and their following amendments, there ALWAYS has to be something put in the wording that allows for things that make the rest of us uncomfortable. There is always some phrase or paragraph that just sounds like those drafting it decided to see how much they could get away with, as long as no one was paying attention.
For CISPA, there is quite a bit of vagueness that has many people unsettled. Although the bill claims to not be targeted at shutting down or censoring websites, the wording is vague and seems as though it could be easily malleable to fit unintended needs. I am also concerned with another part. There is a section which I am interpreting that “As long as the entity reports a cyber threat or cyber security risk, it does not need to be reported to the general public.” I could be misinterpreting the underlined section below:
(C) if shared with the Federal Government—
‘‘(i) shall be exempt from disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code;
‘‘(ii) shall be considered proprietary information and shall not be disclosed to an entity outside of the Federal Government except as authorized by the entity sharing such information; and
‘‘(iii) shall not be used by the Federal Government for regulatory purposes.
It sounds to me that reporting this is up to the discretion of the entity as long as the government knows about it. If a company’s security is breached, and they have sensitive information about their customers, they don’t have to tell us? Is that right?
What is also scary about CISPA is that it actually has support from some key online players, namely Microsoft and Facebook. Scary fact number two is that Anonymous has begun digital attacks on some of the bill’s other supporters, most recently Boeing, among others. Would they have the audacity to hack Microsoft and Facebook? That could lead to some pretty serious repercussions for the rest of us in terms of social media marketing.
What are your thoughts on CISPA? Do you translate the above section differently than I do? Do you think Anonymous will attack Microsoft and Facebook next? Chime in below.
Also, for anyone interested in signing a petition agains CISPA, here is a link to one from FreePress.
I use the Nike + GPS app to record my sad attempts at running. It’s nice to have the occasional, “Hey, you didn’t suck as much as last time” motivational shout-outs that it provides at times. Recently, I went to record one of my runs and the app asked me if I wanted to share my run on Path. I saw the below icon, and thought it would be great because, in my post-run haze, I mistakenly thought the icon looked similar to the Pinterest icon. I actually was thinking, if it was associated with Pinterest and would be posting my runs in an album, that would be awesome! It is NOT associated with Pinterest, by the way.
San Francisco-based Path launched in 2010 and, according to its website, the privately held company has a base of about 2 million users. The website goes on to explain that it allows you to keep a personal journal, “or Path”, of your life and should help you authentically express yourself and share your personal life with loved ones. Path has a healthy following on Facebook and on Twitter, as well as over 300 followers on LinkedIn so their online presence and following is pretty well established. It floats dangerously close to Facebook in certain aesthetic aspects. Most notably, Path allows you a “profile picture” and a “cover picture” with the profile picture showing up in a bubble in the lower left corner of the cover picture (example of mine here) on your profile. They may catch flak for that, if they haven’t already. The feed also resembles Facebook quite a bit, but there isn’t a whole lot of variation available for a feed, I suppose. One area that Path ventures away from Facebook is that is is focused almost exclusively as a mobile interface, rather than on your computer. You can make changes to your profile settings on your Mac or PC, but your feed and your ability to post anything are exclusively on your mobile device. This stems from Path’s focus on being a modern journal for a modern age. It is meant to be with you wherever you go. It has yet to be seen whether a lack of a computer interface will help or hinder Path’s future.My first impression of this app was not a good one. It messed up while registering my account, and reloaded the page, then told me that my email and phone number already existed. I gave up on it until I returned home from my run and saw the email for my registered account. I then decided to give it another go. It got better.
Those facts aside, there are actually some pretty slick features that this app has which make me glad that I moved forward with setting it up.
The creators of Path were smart to allow integration with the other heavy hitters, rather than simply try to compete with them. All of your posts are shareable on Facebook, twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare. This integration is likely a key success factor for Path.
You have the option to share music that you are currently listening to. When you click the button to do this, Path automatically checks your music player to see what your ARE listening to. It then makes suggestions to post so that you don’t have to search for your song and artist. Occasionally though, if you have a more obscure artist or album, Path can’t find it. I’d be interested to know where they pull their music database from. It does an admirable job for most popular artists, however.
As with most social sites, you can post who are you with (once you’ve found friends on Path), where you are (if you have location services turned on), upload pictures and post comments. You won’t feel too lost using Path if you are already using some of the other major social sites.
Another function, albeit a little bit of a strange one, is the ability to tell friends when you’ve gone to bed and when you wake up. I’m not really sure that I see the use of this outside of people knowing that they can’t bother you because you’ve already gone to bed. I’d love to find out if there is a specific point that Path creators were trying to achieve by adding this feature. If there were a first thing to go in a major overhaul, it would likely be this feature.
All of the above options come from a really cool little pop-up menu in the bottom left corner of your screen. It’s a pretty slick, smooth interface with multiple buttons popping up and going back to being hidden with the touch of a little + or x.
As you scroll through the timeline of events, a little clock pops up to show you the time of each item’s posting. It moves along as you scroll and the little hands furiously move to the next “time stamp” of each post. It’s a fun little feature, actually.
Path offers emoticons that you can add to posts of your own or those of friends. You can add a smiley, frown, wink and surprised face. There is also a little heart option. I would liken this to the ‘Like’ button on Facebook.
The way that Path integrates with Nike + GPS is probably one of the most solid functions Path brings to the table for me, and likely where it can gain an even stronger footing. Once you finish a run while using the Nike app, you can post to your social networks via sharing options within the app (Facebook, Twitter and Path). On Path, a map of your run (example of my own here) gets posted showing your route, your mileage and length of time right on the map! I could see this being a good way to get a bunch of your workout/health nut friends together in one social space and be able to share, cheer each other on, and keep motivated while avoiding the inevitable groans from your Facebook friends (if you post your workouts/runs on your Facebook Timeline.) If you see that a friend is on a run, you can actually click their Path and send them a cheer. And who doesn’t like a little encouragement every now and then?
Overall, I think Path has potential for stay power if they keep the momentum up, and I will likely continue to use it just to see where it may go. I’m interested to see in what ways it “learns” from my activity, which the website claims it will do. I am likely going to have to invite friends so that it becomes fun because, out of my numerous email and Facebook contacts, I’ve found ONE person using Path. I think adding a small bio section and the ability to search other users by interest or location would be greatly helpful in allowing users to add worthwhile connections rather than random. I would love to find other people around Austin using Path.
Being still pretty much in its youth, time will tell whether this becomes the next big thing in social, or if Path simply falls by the wayside as so many do. I can’t say I’m not rooting for it to stay around a little longer though.
Have you already heard of Path? Are you using it? If not, do you think having a place to share your exercise goals is worth another social network? Chime in!