Overall I felt the panel was a wonderful debriefing about the world of Internet privacy, “dataveillance” and open-source culture. The speakers were incredibly clear and kept their input interesting and on point.
I think the first speaker really illuminated the extremity to which the businesses and technologies that we employ are being used to gather data. I think visually depicting the tracking of his movements was especially jarring. As a whole, I agree that the current model for businesses on the Internet is extremely exploitative for users. I think making the public aware of how they are being used by these businesses is the first, and most critical step, of changing their practices. The major point I left this section of the panel was the major shift that the Internet and associated technologies have made on the world of business and how it translates to the real world. It explains the changing nature of large cities, I.E. more young tech-savvy worker moving to work for large Internet businesses. As the Internet becomes a more widely utilized tool, so too should the public be aware of what practices are happening online and how to protect themselves from exploitative business tactics.
The second speaker had a much greater focus on the technical aspects of Internet privacy and what methods can be used. In addition to showing various resources such as Tor and Duck Duck Go, she explained the reason for the creation of these tools. In essence, by developing a greater understanding of available tools, users are able to take ownership of their Internet usage and protect their data. As I am currently unfamiliar with the intricacies of these tools, I don’t want to explain them as though I understood them. However, by pointing out the existence of these tools, it makes it possible to educate oneself. I personally plan to invest time into trying Tor and if it has a significant impact on my current feelings about using Google (Google is my primary search engine and I’m quite fond of it)
The final speaker was an advocate for open-source media and culture. As someone who had only minimal exposure and knowledge of open-source media I found I was extremely interested in the culture she had discussed. To summarize, she explained that open-source Internet culture is essentially a non-profit communal effort to promote Internet literacy and computer skills for the benefit of the online community as a whole. Her content also lead to discussion about philosophies of Internet applications, the highlight of which (in my opinion): Pay for the labor, not for the program. She also explained about the existence of TA3M, open meetings that are located in many cities around the world that are resources for people to enter the open-source world. If at all possible, I plan to attend one of these meetings to better educate myself on Internet usage and perhaps develop some skills.
In summary, the panel was fantastic and will hopefully lead to a real change in how the attendees use the Internet and associated technologies. I know I plan to at the very least, further educate myself on the topic.