Friday, February 25, 2011

Technology, Law, and the Workplace: Week in Review

The news of the last week has been a particularly interesting illustration of the promise and perils of technology, particularly related to social media. On the one hand, Facebook and other social media outlets continue to be used as tools to organize protests and spur on the cause of revolution in countries where citizens have long been oppressed and felt powerless. On the other hand, there are several stories from the last week about employees sharing confidential information (including pictures of medical patients), complaining about workplace conditions, or even Tweeting about labor disputes.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to present with my colleague, Abigail Crouse, at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ annual technology and communications conference. The conference was packed with great sessions about the nuts and bolts of using social media and other technology effectively, which made me a little scared that the audience might not be interested in hearing us talk about risks and how to manage those risks. Much to my surprise, the audience was not only receptive but excited to hear about ways that they could address the risks that they knew lay beneath the surface of the exciting developments in technology.

The ability to disseminate information rapidly and with little cost is certainly a two-sided coin. But as a baseball fan, I can’t help but think of the quote attributed to Frederick B. Wilcox: “Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.”

Technology in the Workplace
Technology and the Law More Generally
Technology News
  • Libya, YouTube, and the Internet (Fast Company)
  • China Blocks Access to LinkedIn (Fast Company)
  • Robot Skin Can Feel Touch, Sense Chemicals, and Soak Up Solar Power (Fast Company)
  • Social Media Lure Academics Frustrated by Journals (Chronicle of Higher Education)
  • Twitter Co-Founder Pushes New Effort to Use Technology for Social Good (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
  • Cellphone Use Tied to Changes in Brain Activity (Well)
  • What Did Watson the Computer Do? (NY Times Op-Ed by Stanley Fish)
  • Friends’ Without a Personal Touch (NY Times review of “Alone Together: Why we Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other”)
  • Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter (NY Times)
  • Internet is next battle front, retired general says (Star Tribune)
  • Cellphones Become the World’s Eyes and Ears on Protests (NY Times)
  • My Puny Human Brain: Jeopardy! genius Ken Jennings on what it’s like to play against a supercomputer (Slate)
  • China Assails New U.S. Policy on Internet Freedom (NY Times)
  • Internet Use in Bahrain Restricted, Data Shows (NY Times)
  • Canada Hit by Cyberattack from China (NY Times)

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