A few other Ferguson perspectives

A tech thought on Ferguson … Ferguson is also a net neutrality issue:

Ferguson is about many things, starting first with race and policing in America.

But it’s also about internet, net neutrality and algorithmic filtering.

It’s a clear example of why “saving the Internet”, as it often phrased, is not an abstract issue of concern only to nerds, Silicon Valley bosses, and few NGOs. It’s why “algorithmic filtering” is not a vague concern.

It’s a clear example why net neutrality is a human rights issue; a free speech issue; and an issue of the voiceless being heard, on their own terms.

That’s the beginning of a good read that impacts us all. If you’d like to think of it theoretically, you have an interesting computational (algorithmic) vs humanistic (agenda setting) conversation. In reality, the author’s point is Facebook is lacking and self-limited, Twitter shouldn’t go down that path — they’re discussing it, to their ultimate detriment — and that “trending” function is limited.

I suppose you could see this as a hammer-nail issue. We should also note that, in all things, what is happening in and because of the most recent events in Ferguson, Missouri shouldn’t be a Rorschach test for everything, but there are some good points in that piece.

Speaking of Ferguson, if you’re suddenly stunned by the militarization of the nation’s police forces, you haven’t been paying much attention at all in recent years, have you? That isn’t happening here, right now. AL law enforcement suspended from military equipment allocation program:

Alabama officials said the federal government suspended the program after “accountability issues” and “paperwork issues” with multiple Alabama law enforcement agencies were discovered.

Shane Bailey took over as the Alabama 1033 program state coordinator on May 5. He said a good number of departments across the state didn’t file or keep up with paperwork. Bailey said his office is now handling audits, but said no equipment is missing. Bailey said federal officials were in the state during the first week of August conducting an investigation. Bailey has not received a final report from that investigation.

So we would be, but folks have struggled with the responsibility of paperwork. When that gets under control, one supposes, the up-armoring will continue.

Courtesy of a great infographic from the New York Times, you can see what is going on with the procurement of military-grade equipment on a county-by-county basis across the nation.

Extra credit to anyone that can explain why the police force in Montgomery County, Alabama, has nine grenade launchers.


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