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September-October 2017

Google is finally adding thousands of Indigenous territories to its maps with the help of community members

The project will literally put Canada's Indigenous communities on the map

Amy van den Berg

Until now, most Indigneous territories in Canada have been omitted from Google Maps, but a new initiative from the company has begun to change that. More than 3,000 Indigenous lands and territories have been added to Google Maps and Earth. Over the past seven years Google Earth Outreach has partnered with Indigenous communities, government-sourced data repositories, […] More »
November-December 2014

Terms of service

Tyler Hellard@poploser

Are we too apathetic when it comes to social media user experiments? A few months ago, Facebook got into trouble for experimenting with some of their users. In the name of “science,” the company decided to start tweaking people’s newsfeeds with an excess of either positive or negative status updates from friends. The study showed […] More »
January-February 2012

Online freedom will depend on deeper forms of web literacy

Navneet Alang

Recently, Google ruined my life. I may be exaggerating slightly, given that all they did was redesign and tweak Google Reader, one of their many services that I use daily and for which I pay nothing. But Reader, an admittedly niche product that lets you read articles from many websites in one place, has become […] More »
March-April 2011

On the internet, you’re not a citizen—you’re a consumer

Graham F. Scott@navalang

The United States’ decision to invade Afghanistan soon after 9/11 was misguided for many reasons, but one was purely practical: Al Qaeda is a stateless, decentralized network scattered across the globe. The spectral, international scope of the problem was no secret—so why wage a conventional war on one country? It was as if an outmoded […] More »
July-August 2010

In Google’s spat with China, the legacy of colonialism still echoes

Navneet AlangWebsite

When Google, citing concerns over security and censorship, pulled their operations out of China in March this year, they were widely praised for taking a stand for democracy. But Google’s move wasn’t the first time a Western entity had taken the moral high road in regard to China. In fact, almost 200 years ago, the […] More »
March-April 2010

Six visionary designers who are planning for our post-oil future

Alison Garwood-JonesWebsite

A new generation of designers propose products and buildings that are energy efficient and elegant Rick Mercer’s quip during the Copenhagen climate conference last December summed it up best: “So [Stephen] Harper flew to Copenhagen to have a club sandwich and hide in his room?” The post-Copenhagen doldrums were still bringing us down when Thomas […] More »
March-April 2010

From a Toronto basement, Citizen Lab fights tyranny online

Aaron BrovermanWebsite

As the internet becomes a global battlefield, a clutch of Canadian programmers are subverting oppressive regimes, aiding online dissidents, and mapping the murky new world of digital geopolitics The Dalai Lama is charged with watching over Buddhist tradition, but on March 29, 2009 The New York Times revealed a shadowy presence was secretly watching him, […] More »

Wednesday WTF: We watched the PM on YouTube so you don't have to

Graham F. Scott

Most videos on YouTube are total fiascos, but at least they’re entertaining fiascos. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s debut on YouTube—in which he responded with carefully prepared talking points to carefully screened video questions in a carefully pre-taped appearance—was dull because there was nothing at stake. It was like watching a man walk a tightrope across his […] More »

"Bloom Box" promises cheap, clean energy. Too good to be true?

Graham F. Scott

60 Minutes aired this report last night on Bloom Energy, a California company officially launching this week that says it has perfected a fuel-cell technology that is capable of making the conventional energy grid obsolete and producing clean(er), cheap(er) power. I get the strong whiff of bullshit off this whole story, and yet there’s something […] More »

An open source project to map one of the world's biggest slums

Siena AnstisWebsite

Kibera, one of the world’s biggest slums, is a “glaring omission” on Google Maps, says Erica Hagen, member of the Map Kibera team. Indeed, Kibera remains a blank spot in relatively well-mapped and densely populated Nairobi, the economic hub of East Africa. When I first heard of this project, my first thought was of the […] More »

TIFF review: Indian wombs-for-hire in Google Baby

kim hart macneill

I saw the future of outsourcing at TIFF this week, and it’s not pretty. The award-winning documentary Google Baby follows Doron, who sees the need for affordable, outsourced babies after he and his partner spent $140 thousand having a baby in the United States. He forms a team of like-minded entrepreneurs across the globe and […] More »