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SXSW: Net Neutrality and Netflix

Comcast MergerNet neutrality is something every media maker has to care about, explained Free Press’ Craig Aaron at SXSW 2014. 

Net neutrality means that Internet providers treat equally all the information that they transmit, rather than prioritizing the information they own or favor. The term is a loose one; in a literal sense this doesn’t really happen now, and couldn’t without freezing the Internet. But in general, you don’t want a provider to do a deal with its favorite, say, newspaper or movie service, at the expense of others. That’s why the FCC made it a condition of Comcast’s 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal.  Read more...

SXSW: Privacy, Surveillance and Media

Edward SnowdenThe focus on Internet privacy and surveillance at SXSW 2014 had implications for both techies and media makers.

Edward Snowden’s precise and elegant presentation, delivered via Google Hangout (irony duly noted) and along seven (!) proxies, was well-paired with another beamed-in interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald, who reinforced Snowden’s concern. Read more...

SXSW: Engagement and Action

SXSWAt SXSW, social-issue storytellers—filmmakers, journalists, game designers, and more--could benefit from a range of messages, not all designed for the social-issue space. Consider: Read more...

SXSW Verite: Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

The Great InvisibleAt SXSW 2014, Tilda Swinton told a packed crowd that film was an"amazingly humane opportunity to put yourselves in the shoes of someone else." Verite documentaries exemplified the best in that opportunity.


The grand jury prize winner, "The Great Invisible," was a great example. Margaret Brown’s film invites us to look at the consequences of the BP oil spill on the people most directly affected--the victims of the Deep Water Horizon explosion and their families, the seafood industry workers, and oil industry executives. Read more...

How Shall We Think about Teens Online? danah boyd Explains It All to You

It's ComplicatedWhy are teens burying their faces in their screens? How can we protect young people from online predators? And stop cyberbullying? Oh, and can those digital natives fix our phones?

At a talk at the New America Foundation, communications scholar danah boyd showed why all these questions are the wrong ones to ask. Teens, she explained, are mostly using social media as a way to enable and enhance social life, often because their access to each other has been limited by curfews, suburbanization and school choice, and parental panic, to mention some larger social factors. So don’t blame them for texting, any more than you decried teen phone use or note passing in study hall in the past. Read more...