Filming the Police — Right or Wrong?

March 27, 2012

Police officers work in a very scrutinized world. A camera mounted on the front windshield of their police vehicles films every move they make. However, with camera phones becoming accessible, it now seems that citizen journalists are watching police, too.

In 1961, Illinois passed a state Eavesdropping Law, which banned citizens from filming police officers conducting official business, without the consent of the officer. People who violated this law were subject to being charged with a Class 1 felony.

However, according to the Huffington Post, different sectors of the legal system differed on what the law was supposed to mean. This meant that there was inconsistency in the law, who was charged with the crime and the punishment they faced when charged.

Recently, State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, proposed a bill – which was just recently passed – that would make the filming of police officers in public places legal. Surprisingly, the Chicago Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy, supported the bill. His reasoning? It was just as bad for the citizens as it would be for the police.

The biggest issue with the ban on filming officers in a public place is that it violated people’s first amendment right.

Last year, in Boston, a court ruled that a man arrested for filming the police while making a drug arrest was not guilty of breaking a state law that bans audio recordings without the consent of both parties. The reason? Because past court rulings, coupled with the first amendment, make it a legal action.

An excerpt from the court ruling read, “Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting ‘the free discussion of governmental affairs.’”

After the Illinois law on Eavesdropping was overturned, there are currently no states who ban the filming of police officers while conducting their duties in a public place.


A Musical Database — Spotify

March 26, 2012

Do you love music, but not enough to pay for each song on iTunes? Well, there’s now a cheaper solution – Spotify.

Launched in 2008, Spotify is an online music database that allows Facebook users the opportunity to download music for free. However, if users want to use the service for music on their phones, then they can use a credit or debit card for a 30-day free trial. If they would like service to continue after the free trial, then it costs $9.99 per month.

Recently, I downloaded three Mat Kearney CD’s – “Young Love”, “City of Black & White” and “Nothing Left to Lose.” To buy those on iTunes, it would have cost me $24.97, not including tax – almost the same price of the first four months using Spotify (including the free trial month).

On Spotify, there are three ways to search for music – by song, artist, or album. Then, after choosing a song, there is an info button the user can hit and Spotify will give you other artists and songs that you may like, based on your previous selection.

Finally, the best part of Spotify is that downloads are always legal. The founder of the company, Daniel Ek, said the reason behind the company’s existence was to find an alternative to illegal piracy.

And, unlike most other legal music databases, Spotify offers millions of songs and has agreements with many of the largest label companies, including, Universal, Sony, and more.

Oh, and seriously, check out Mat Kearney, he’s really good.

Map of My Favorite Stadiums

March 20, 2012

Video Vignette

March 19, 2012

Facebook and Twitter – Powerful Enough To Start A Revolution

March 14, 2012

How powerful are Facebook and Twitter?

Powerful enough to start a revolution.

At least, that’s what people have said when describing the Egyptian revolution in 2011.

After the death of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old Egyptian who was reportedly beat to death by Egyptian police, a Facebook page called “We Are All Khaled Said” was created to call attention to the corruption of the Egyptian government and the wrongful death of Said.

The group called for a mass protest on January 25, 2011 – National Police Day. Little did people know that this would be the beginning of a two-week revolution that would result in the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

But the question remained – who was the person, or people, behind the Facebook group that proved to be so instrumental in this revolution?

That person would be Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian who started the group after seeing a photo of a deceased Said. Ghonim managed to stay anonymous until Jan. 28, when he accidently changed an event time on the group’s page from his personal Facebook account.

“I basically thought that my anonymity was my power, was the reason this page was so powerful,” Ghonim said, in an interview with NPR. “A lot of people believed in what was there.”

After his capture by Egyptian police, Ghonim was held for 11 days and interrogated. He was believed to have been working for a foreign government and was deemed a traitor.

Ghonim’s release on Feb. 8 was seen as a key moment in the Egyptian revolution, according to NPR.

Since his release, Ghonim has written a book, Revolution 2.0, which describes his personal timeline of events and what life has been like since Mubarak’s resignation. He also describes the power of social media and how he used them as “tools” to bring vision to his cause.

Fashion Slideshow: Tattoos

March 14, 2012

Just Link It, Already!

March 5, 2012

Want to get create the next great blog and get rich doing it? “Blogs to Riches” will give you the vital information needed to do just that. But, it will also warn you that getting on the A-list of blogs, and maintaining your position there, is not easy.

The main point established by the blog is that getting your blog to the A-list is not easy and it all relates back to the “power-law distribution.” Those blogs that have already reached the elite status, will continue to stay there – granted their writer(s) continue to blog frequently – due to the amount of times they are linked.

According to Clay Shirky, if you take 1,000 people and have them post links to their favorite blogs, a feedback loop will emerge. Those lucky blogs that are linked by the first few people, will grow rapidly because others will be influenced by the linkage from earlier lists. Shirky says that although the content between the blogs may be equal, it’s all about being one of the chosen few.

The most important information this article tried to stress was the importance of linking for your blog.

But, I wanted to go further, and see the impact that social media had on linking. And, according to Dan Taylor, social media provides a great avenue to link your blog to.

Through social media, according to Taylor, a person can join groups, become an active participant, post their link and gain traffic to their blog. Plus, unlike other avenues that require somebody to follow your blog in order to view it, social media can allow your blog to be viewed by people who didn’t know it existed.

While it is not easy to become a millionaire from blogging, there is a chance. But, don’t forget that “linking” is the key word to success when it comes to that area.