Freedom of Speech

Due to innovative technology, the first amendment is seemingly beginning to evolve as Emerging Media has created several issues with what people are allowed to say on the Internet. In 1996, the Supreme Court case Reno Vs. ALCU dealt with two provisions within the Decency Act of 1996. The objective of this Act was to protect minors from harmful content over the Internet, but when this Act was passed the Court felt it was limiting, “Freedom of Speech”. This was the first incident where freedom of speech and the Internet collided and created a large amount of confusion for what is allowed to be posted over the Internet. The Internet has allowed for individuals to have a voice and express themselves though the web. Sadly, when you look at the bigger picture behind the Internet, millions of people are being bullied and threatened which has caused several platforms of social media to censor and restrict people from posting what they want. Technology is wonderful thing, but when users take advantage of its main purpose, to harm another individual the first amendment isn’t necessarily on your side anymore.

Several of us are victims of social media harassment and have experienced or witnessed users take advantage of others behind a computer screen and lash out about an individual’s religion, race, and sexual preference. Social media has caused so much internal trauma to individuals that people are taking their lives due to overly aggressive users on various social media outlets who are bullying other users. In 2011, Jamey Rodemeyer a 14-year-old freshman from Buffalo, N.Y., was a victim of online bullying and received death threats about his sexual preferences and resulted in him to commit suicide. The Amherst Police Department’s Special Victim Unit opened the case to find punishments for the students who harassed Jamey. One of anonymous students on Twitter went as far to say, “JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!” while another read, “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!” Since this incident occurred Twitter has implemented a strict abuse policy which states, “Engaging in targeted abuse or harassment on Twitter is a violation of the Terms of Service”

jeff chase

These tweets are disturbing, and to be honest bullying on the Internet has become increasingly more serious. According to, The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey finds that 15% of high school students (grades9-12) were electronically bullied in the past year. Unfortunately, due to the increase use of technology in kids’, they’re growing up in a world with technology that is constantly evolving. Kids are growing up in a world that is centered on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and these social media outlets give them access to so much hurtful things such as Pornography, Cyber Bullying, and overall insecurities.

Social media platforms as mentioned above have begun to take actions in censoring what people are able to publish on the Internet. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are three social media platforms that regularly censors users and work toward a safe interactive experience. Instagram for example has begun to censor what users are able to publish on their site. Recently, Chrissy Teigan and Rhianna posted semi-nude images that revealed too much and it caused Instagram to take down their post. They were outraged by the incident for they felt it was unfair and violated their right. Facebook, another example of censorship has recently allowed for users to report content or even block content that is perceived as harmful or threatening. Although these various social media outlets have tried to limit what users are able to post they most times are unsuccessful due to users not caring and posting anyway.

When it comes to the Internet and its interaction with various social media outlets, is it possible for the Internet to regulate and censor what users are allowed to publish?

Jeffery Chase

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University

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#EM360Chat – Periscope, is it awesome or scary?

#EM360Chat Facebook

Interested in emerging media technologies? Check out the program’s first #EM360Chat on Twitter held this Friday, October 30th.  Starting at 11 am we will be discussing the new Periscope application, is it awesome or scary? Dr. Elliot King (@ElliotKingPhD) will be leading the discussion. Please reply using the hashtag #EM360Chat using your personal Twitter accounts to the participating Tweets. To follow or find the discussion, the @GoAheadGetAhead Twitter account will be retweeting participants responses or simply search for the hashtag.

Let’s get our Tweet on!

All are welcome.



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How Safe Is Your Information?


Have you ever wondered how safe your information is when using networks that are not your own? Well, the state of Maryland has got your back. Maryland law signed a bill in the summer of 2015 that makes it illegal for colleges and universities in Maryland to demand or require any kind of access to a student’s social media account.

So what does this mean for you? Bradley Shear, a social media lawyer for the student press law center says “This bill is not intended to protect people from saying or doing dumb things online,” Shear said. “It’s designed to ensure that they have the same privacy protections that they have in the physical space but in the digital space.” Many have reacted on this new bill that passed in senate for a win for online digital privacy.

Students feel their online profiles are private spheres, but many don’t know that this information can be easily requested or uncovered if it is private. Students were surprised to learn that their information on their social profiles was not protected if using University networks or computers. Should Universities have a right to your information if you are using their networks or computers? Many students use social sites to do group work and to communicate with each other about school related work. The University system of Maryland is concerned primarily about one issue still. How is this new bill going to affect student misconduct including sexual cases and academic integrity?

On the flip side, how does this effect cyber attacks, bullying, and misbehavior on the social realm. “Cyber misconduct is a huge issue…and when the social media accounts of students depict harassment, depression, illegal or unethical acts, universities have the right and responsibility to intervene,” Brennan says. “In order for universities to protect their students, it is helpful that they have access to their students’ profiles.”

The Emerging Media Law and Regulation course brings to light the current social privacy issues we are experiencing in the digital age. We see that privacy is something we value as social beings but it is always something we freely give up. As online social networks are integrated in our lives, we often share too many details about our personal self. It is important to note that, yes, Maryland State is battling for your for social media rights and recognizes that your privacy is important digitally as it is physically. But remember, you are what you post and the Internet knows no privacy. What you are thoughts on Maryland’s new bill?

Justin McDonald

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University

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Lost Between Ignorance and Paranoia

There are some irrefutable facts. We are watched, all the time and in a thousand different ways.   We are cataloged and labeled, our personal data sliced, read, sold and stored.  That data comes back at us in the form of marketing to us, decisions made about us, and determinations about whether we are law-abiding citizens or threats to the country.

It is also a fact that there is very little that we can do about it.

Privacy is dead and buried. The question is, do we care?

The answer, it seems, is that most of us don’t, until we do.

Today, there is a scale that exists against which we can all be measured.  On one side of the scale is Ignorance – and according to, it is by far the location on the scale where most people are.  These are the folks that live in complete ignorance, utterly unaware of how their data is mined throughout the day with everything they do.  They have no idea of the invisible complexity that surrounds them, and fail to see, for instance, the odd coincidence in how ads on and Facebook seem to match perfectly with what they want.  They are blissfully unaware of just how much the government and giant companies know about them.

On the complete opposite side of this scale is Paranoia – effectively demonstrated in this recent article in The Atlantic.   Those that live on this end of the scale see a hidden malevolence in every click on the keyboard, every website visited, every phone call made, every purchase completed.  They are convinced that not only does the government and big business know everything about them, but that all of that information is used to manipulate every aspect of our lives. They see no benefit in data sharing and data mining and they go to great lengths to cover their trails whenever possible.

But between these two extremes however, lies a range of attitudes including awareness, ambivalence, acceptance, resignation, wariness, concern and fear.   When it comes to privacy, we all reside somewhere on this scale, and the data seems to suggest that the vast majority of us lie somewhere between ignorance and ambivalence.

Earlier this year, John Oliver, on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” presented a scathing commentary on the state of privacy – and as often happens, sometimes the greatest truths are told through comedy.   One fact that Oliver quoted was that a Pew Research study showed that 46% of Americans were not concerned about government surveillance.   This is completely unsurprising.  In fact, I was actually surprised that figure wasn’t higher.  The study points out that while nearly nine in ten polled had heard about the government surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden, only 34% of those who were aware of those surveillance programs have taken at least one step to hide or shield their information from the government.  The study points out that “17% changed their privacy settings on social media; 15% use social media less often; 15% have avoided certain apps and 13% have uninstalled apps; 14% say they speak more in person instead of communicating online or on the phone; and 13% have avoided using certain terms in online communications.”

Those percentages leave the vast majority of people who were aware of government surveillance in the camp of those who did nothing about it – took no action to shield themselves.  On the scale between ignorant and paranoid – they are decidedly ambivalent.   And ambivalence seems to be the attitude most people adopt – whether it is towards government surveillance or big business data mining.   They are aware that they are being tracked, their behavior used as data to market to them, but they tend to view it either as an unavoidable part of modern life, or in many cases, welcome the “customization” that it provides to their lives.

And yet, there does seem to be a threshold.   John Oliver calls it a line in the sand – and that line, humorously in his piece, is when the government has access to personal pictures of our most intimate parts.  Suddenly, when the invasion of privacy becomes intensely personal, people finally seem to move past ambivalence.

It’s a line that I’ve only recently become aware of (and no, I’m not talking about “private” pictures…).   Until recently, I have been decidedly in the ambivalent camp.  My attitude has been that I have nothing to hide from the government, and if data mining allows companies to know more about me and push me products and experiences that I might enjoy, then so much the better.  I have actively embraced new technologies that learn about me with every word, touch and keystroke, and liberally bought from online sites, well aware of how I was being tracked.  In any case, I’ve always felt that even if I was concerned, there was little that I could do about it.

Today however, circumstance began to push me further up the scale.   With an 81 year-old father suffering from a host of ailments including Alzheimer’s, I was doing some research on the Internet about some of the medicines he is on.   With each search I made, I began to notice changes in the ads and links I was presented on Google, Amazon and Facebook.  Suddenly, I was seeing ads for assisted living, for wills and estate planning, for geriatric supplies.   Without thinking, I had exposed what was a deeply personal and difficult part of my life and now, the internet knew about it and was using this information to predict who I was, what I wanted and how I should be treated.  It was eye opening – and it made me start to think more about what I was sharing.  I felt myself being nudged towards “wary” on the scale.

That wariness led me dig a little deeper into just how much “they” know about me. I heard about one of the leading data aggregation companies – Acxiom, and how they allow you to view the profile that have built about you. After an extensive (free) sign-up process that probably collects even more data about you, you can see exactly what data they have collected about you. You can see for yourself here.

I did it and was surprised to see the data points they had on me – and how accurate some were and yet how inaccurate others were.

When you complete the login process you are presented with a dashboard that looks like this:


As I clicked through each category, I found that it was a combination of clearly public data (how much I paid for my house, yearly taxes, etc), data compiled from my credit report (how many credit cards I have, how many bank accounts) and finally, data garnered from my online activity. It is this last one that interested me the most.   Tracked were things like how many purchases I had made online in the last 7 years, in what categories were the purchases, how old my children were – based on the kinds of things I looked up about them, where I’ve traveled and much more.   As I said – some of it was inaccurate.   According to Acxiom, I’m interested in golf – which I am not in the least tiny bit, but because at some point in the past, I have purchased Golf Gift Certificates for my nephews who do play, Acxiom now thinks I’m a golfer.   There are other inconsistencies and inaccuracies – which demonstrates that data aggregation is not an exact science.

Still I was stunned at the depth of knowledge Acxiom had about me, and shame on me for being stunned. I’m technically literate, well aware of how I am tracked and how my privacy is an illusion, but somehow seeing it all lumped together into a profile was off-putting.

Apparently, I’m not alone.   A recent New York Times article pointed out that “privacy researchers said they are starting to see signs of a backlash. People are beginning to exercise a bit more reserve online or are otherwise engaging in subversive tactics to thwart data miners. Such small acts of defiance might include setting up multiple fake identities, using a virtual private network to shield their browsing behavior and not “liking” anything on Facebook or following anyone on Twitter, making their social networks and preferences harder to track.”

In other words, people don’t care, until they do.  Privacy is a nebulous concept – it’s something we say we value but rarely seem to take the steps to protect it, even when we know it’s being violated.  But when things become personal – when it hits home through a private picture gone public or a personal detail that you’d rather not be marked, marketed and monetized – things begin to change.

Ultimately, the place we all need to be on the scale between Ignorance and Paranoia is a place of awareness.  If we are aware of not only who knows what about us, but also how they know what they know, we can make better decisions about just how much privacy we’re willing to give up.

Bill Margol

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University

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Do you feel like someone is watching? They probably are…

How would you feel if you were relaxing, gardening or sunbathing in your back yard and you looked up to see a flying camera watching you? Would you be startled? Would you feel like your privacy is being comprised? I know I would. Unfortunately, there have been instances of drones being piloted to spy.

Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are devices that can be used for leisure, journalism and even military use. There’s no secret they’ve had a presence in the media, quite a controversial one at that. The backlash drones, or UAV’s, received to some that was similar to the reaction the computer received when it was invented. Some people are confused with things they don’t understand fully. Image 1

There are many ethical considerations that deal with both small drones, which the FAA deems anything under 55 pounds, and large drones that are used for warfare and surveillance. The prices of some drones have declined, consequently making them more accessible. I think we should focus on regulation before our sky is covered with small little white flying cameras.
According to The Economist the FAA has began brainstorming ways to regulate the small drones. On February 15th, 2015 the FAA announced its new rules for small drones and simultaneously President Obama called on government agencies to study this issue. The President directly asked the Commerce Department to examine the “privacy implications” of drones that are used by both individuals and corporations.

“The Professional Society of Drone Journalists” shared an article that stated, “small drone rules will give hope for drone Journalism in the United States.” The rules that are proposed by the Society do not require a license instead a certificate will be required after they have taken and passed a test. In order to keep your certification up to date, the test will need to be retaken every 24 months.

Maybe a Code of Ethics should be followed similarly to Journalists. There needs to be a greater sense of regulation and enforcement since the general public has access to these UAV’s. While some want to use them to catch footage of their own home, there are many other questionable uses that people have already began to explore.
An article on How to Geek notes how Mexican Cartels have begun to attempt at moving product over borders with drones. Certain events will ban drones, for instance, the Superbowl XLIX banned drones within 30-miles of the event. It’s unclear as to where this happened but someone who had access to a drone and a handgun decided to put the two together. Business Insider documented the instance and linked to the video that showcases a drone successfully firing four shots without a hand to pull the trigger. The comments on the video were overwhelming. Half claimed they couldn’t decide if it was “bad ass” or “just bad.” This is something that we need to create laws and regulations for before people deem these actions trend-worthy.

The issue of regulating drones was a non-existent one a few years back, as things keep emerging we’ll have to adapt and monitor. It seems like our discernment of ethics is fading and although how you should conduct yourself in terms of drones and what you post online may seem obvious to some of us, it isn’t always that way to everyone. We need to make sure that we’re highlighting the good in products and utilities while minimizing the bad.

Tess Lowth & Bobby Sydnor

Master of Arts in Emerging Media

Loyola University of Maryland

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Media Piracy Could be the end of Hollywood and the Music Industry

Most have done it, whether it is downloading a movie to watch with your friends and family or if it is downloading the top song on the radio to blast in room, we all partake in piracy. I always hear the line “I only downloaded one song. How bad can that actually be?” The answer is simple, very bad. If every person in the country just downloaded “one song” that is over 300 million songs illegally downloaded and the company or the artist would bring in no money, which is a big lose that could put a company out of business. Also, once you have downloaded one song without paying a dime and at the convenience of your couch you are more likely to do it again when you find your new favorite song. Since the explosion of the Internet it has sparked a booming business called piracy, which I’ll simply define as illegally downloading, reproducing, and selling copyrighted works. Both the music industry and Hollywood have taken significant hits since the beginning of piracy. Now anyone with a camera, computer, and Internet connection have the ability to act as pirates. This issue is something that law enforcement attempts to control but it is difficult when anyone and everyone have the opportunity to be a pirate.


Hollywood has provided individuals and families with entertainment for a long time but could be forced to pull back based on the financial hit they take from piracy. 60-Minutes sat down with Steven Soderbergh regarding piracy and he stated, “Piracy is costing Hollywood $6 billion a year at the box office”, resulting in “fewer projects get made, which means fewer people go to work”. In this interview he talks about if piracy continues to increase and cost Hollywood billions that it could be the end of Hollywood, as we know it. I personally cannot imagine life without Hollywood. No movies, no actors, no entertainment. The video did talk about what law enforcement is doing to ensure Hollywood exists for years to come. They have increased the number of checkpoints before entering a movie theater where bags, pockets, and your person are searched for camera or other devices prior to entering the theater. Also, they perform weekly raids on people they suspect are reproducing and selling pirated movies. I know it is much easier to click a few buttons, wait for it to load, and watch the movie but please just go to the theater and pay the fee so Hollywood can continue to produce more movies for our entertainment!

The music industry has experienced a similar impact as Hollywood. The New York Times article “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t” sat down with lead singer of Metallica, Lars Ulrich about the effects artists and record labels have witnessed from illegally downloaded music. The topic of music piracy was really brought to light with the company, Napster, which allowed people to download any song at their convenience for no charge. Napster was eventually shut down but music piracy continued. Although some people argue that these artists and companies pull in large profits regardless of piracy they are wrong. In order to produce a song you must pay for space, crews, producers, equipment, editing, filming, and promoting, which are a lot of checks that must be cut. Ulrich states, “Our record releases are

supported by hundreds of record companies’ employees and provide programming for numerous radio and television stations. … It’s clear, then, that if music is free for downloading, the music industry is not viable.” As consumers it is difficult to see the economic impacts that go along with simply clicking “download” and having unlimited access to all music but there are many economic implications associated with a click of the mouse. Ulrich and many other artists are willing to pull back and not release music if piracy continues at the rate it is going, which would mean the end of music as a form of entertainment.

So as you read this you know there are two-entertainment industry that could crumble from piracy. But now I will touch on a different issue, “fair use” according the to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998. A case that was recently put to rest after 7 years in court is what the world has come to know as the “Dancing Baby” case. In this case the issue was Stephanie Lenz posting a video of her kids dancing to Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy”. Prince’s publisher attempted to sue using the “notice and takedown” section of the DMCA and requested that YouTube and Lenz takedown the video. However the court deemed this as ‘fair use’ according to the DMCA and Lenz won the case. This caused an up roar within the music industry and could result in more ‘fair use’ defenses moving forward with these issues. In the New York Times article “YouTube Dancing Baby Copyright Ruling Sets Fair Use Guidelines” Jonathon Lamy, a spokesperson for the Recording Industry Association of America stated “We respectfully disagree with the court’s conclusion about the D.M.C.A. and the burden the court places upon copyright holders before sending takedown notices”. There is a clear divide between users and the music industry and this adds fuel to the fire. Although I do not necessarily disagree with the decision from the court it is still a pressing issue that needs to be dealt with immediately. This case not only causes problems for companies but also journalists. It is a “double-edged sword” with journalists because they will be able to use more copyright work but not their personal copyrighted works are subject to the same problems.

The issue of media piracy is something that is growing as technology and innovation continue to grow. The articles and videos I discussed show the on-going struggle between entertainment industries, pirates, and consumers. This topic demands an answer to two very important questions: What would we do if music and movies suddenly stopped? Is downloading these copyrighted works worth losing the entertainment they provide for us?

Mike Kutzer

Master of Arts in Emerging Media

Loyola University of Maryland

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How can media not only bring awareness but also change?

Nonprofit organizations have realized that social media is a major influential platform to bring about awareness to important causes and issues. This push to make people aware through using digital images, videos, writing, etc. has been a necessary step to bring about change.

New media has come so far as to allow people to virtually see what it is like in other’s lives. For example, here is a video by daily vlogger FunForLouis where he created a 360 degree video

from Sierra Leon, Africa during their time of rehabilitation post an Ebola crisis. This video provides audiences with more than one perspective, and serves as an example of bringing awareness to other’s struggles in attempt to bring those struggling help.

Some nonprofits and organizations put their efforts solely into making people aware of important causes in hopes that change would automatically ensue. The truth is, there actually has to be an action to bring about change.

An example, from a social issue, would be educating the public on twelve signs of depression in an online article. Alone, this article, that brings awareness, would not assist the reader in seeking help. Yet, if this awareness article included links to resources for relief from depression, it would then be much more effective in bringing about change.

Creating awareness is the first and necessary step to bring change and help to others. The second step is actually doing something. So, how can media be a vehicle of relief and action for those in need?

For many, this change and relief comes through financial support and donations. Multiple fundraising platforms are emerging in support of bringing financial assistance to organizations and causes helping those in need. This coupled with the fact that the FCC has no regulation on those that can and cannot create social media platforms and websites has allowed for growth. This freedom works in favor of non-profit organizations that must address immediate crises through emerging media quickly.

Fundraising on media based platforms has broken down time and geographical barriers that stood in the way of bringing direct financial assistance, prior to this digital media age. These fundraising platforms are growing exponentially and many are taking notice. TheNonProfitTimes, released an article titled, Classy Gets $18 Million In Class B Funding, written by Mark Hrywna. This article highlights a platform called Classy that provides a service to non-profits with the necessary tools to create an online presence and build a campaign. In Classy’s case, those taking notice of the impact their online platform is having is, Mithril Capital Management, a technology growth capital firm. According to this article, Mithril Capital Management is made up of investors like Salesforce Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Venture51, Galileo Partners and Rethink Impact.

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Classy’s reputation is direct reflection of why it was a candidate for investment. Since it’s foundation in 2006 and product launch in 2011, Classy has developed a client base of over 1,500, raised hundreds of millions of dollars, and runs over 300 thousand fundraising campaigns. Coupled with these numbers, Classy has a positive and principled mission statement that puts purpose, integrity, action, community, and perseverance first.

Platforms like, Classy, are assisting in eliminating some of the bureaucracy that has always came with fundraising for non-profit organizations. The focus that had always been put into the printing, mailing, and calling aspect of fundraising is shifting to media. Emerging media has allowed for nonprofits to be much more efficient and effective in relieving suffering in people’s lives. The results of this are that more people are being able to put their efforts into actually helping others rather than completely focusing on the paperwork stresses of fundraising. Thus proving that bringing attention to a crisis, as well as providing a vehicle, to raise funds, to bring a rapid relief to those going through crises is a very important step.

With Classy serving as an example of how emerging media is positively bringing about change, a result non-profit strive for, those creating public policy and emerging media thought leaders should take notice. Public policy in media should ensure the safety that these platforms are freely available to access, but not hinder those that are using modern media for good. Maintaining this balance in media will allow for awareness and positive change for important causes and issues.

Kierston Matheson

Master of Arts in Emerging Media

Loyola University of Maryland

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