Legal shorts for September 29, 2015: Techies battle ISIS, and the social costs of unhealthy work environments
Techies join forces to combat ISIS propaganda
The immoral, unethical criminal gang that goes by “Islamic State” are the biggest bunch of hypocrites in the long, sordid history of hypocrites. They claim to want to return humanity to the Dark Ages – or even to bring about the end of human history entirely. Yet they rely on technology to spread their hateful, inhuman lies.
And they’re good at it, as Mark Mazzetti and Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times describe in a June 12, 2015, article. At the same time, the enemies of ISIS have not done a very good job of “counter-messaging” the effective recruitment disinformation being spread far and wide by the terrorist group.
Arizona State University’s CyberSocio Intelligent-Systems Laboratory, or CySIS, hopes to turn the tide in favor of the propaganda countermeasures. TechCrunch’s John Holden writes in a September 28, 2015, article that CySIS is developing tools that will identify and block online recruiting efforts by ISIS and other international criminal networks. CySIS hopes to point out the incongruities and contradictions in the Islamic State’s message.
CySIS will focus initially on Twitter use in such countries as Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom. The group’s approach differs from but complements efforts by hacktivists such as the group Anonymous to shut down their sites and communications channels. For example, Anonymous identifies Twitter feeds used by ISIS and other terrorists and then floods them with unrelated images in an attempt to prevent the feeds from appearing in search results.
Let’s hope that the truth will ultimately conquer their lies, just as love will ultimately conquer hate.
Now if we can just conquer over our unhealthy office work environments
I’m not the only person in the world who hates working in an office, but I am among the few (but growing) number of people who believe office work environments are a hazard to our physical and mental health, not to mention our careers.
Work-related stress has reached epidemic proportions, according to the experts cited by Anne-Marie Slaughter in a September 18, 2015, article in the New York Times Sunday Review. (I know – September 18 was a Friday, not a Sunday, but hey, it’s the New York Times.) It has gotten to the point where the only people able to thrive in the modern work environment are healthy young people who are rich enough not to have to care for children or other family members.
Employers don’t make room for care-giving, according to Slaughter. This causes women in particular to be forced out of the work world, or to be limited to entry and mid-level positions because they can’t make the time commitment required by senior-management jobs. That’s a lot of talent that never gets realized.
Slaughter states that the people who decide how we work are still living in the 1960s world glorified by the television show “Mad Men.” Researchers she cites claim the problem isn’t limited to women, though they appear to be affected by it to a greater extent than men. The real source of the stress epidemic is the culture of overwork. And there’s no way that culture will change from the inside because some companies will always choose profit over the health and well-being of their employees – and some employees will always choose to take the money and live with the negative consequences for them and their families.
According to Slaughter, the only cure for the stress epidemic is to change our culture so that care-giving is valued as it should be. She says we need to “stand up for care,” and for men and women alike to “claim an equal right to care.”
Sorry, but I just don’t see the boards and executives that run the large corporations that currently rule the world as having a “care” in the world about the need for their employees to care for their families. There’s just no profit in it, and as we all know, for them, profit is all that matters.