WeeklyTech #98

How do we navigate conflicting values in the public square? Understanding the public nature of faith in a secular society

Beneath many—if not all—of the pressing social and cultural questions that our nation faces today sits a fundamental question about the nature and role of religion in the public square. From the often-fraught debates over abortion and sexuality issues like transgenderism to the increased discussions over online governance and the role of the technology industry in moderating public discourse, there lies a deep tension among ethical worldviews and disparate visions for the pursuit of the common good. 

Although it was published in 1984, The Naked Public Square by Richard John Neuhaus offers a deep critique of these contrasting visions and models an understanding of the public square that reveals the constant interplay of religion and politics. Ultimately, they cannot be kept separate, regardless of what some proponents of a “naked” or purely secular public square want to claim. Neuhaus defines the vision of a naked public square as the desire to “exclude religion and religiously grounded values from the conduct of public business” (ix).

The Rundown

International coalition joins the call to ban ‘surveillance advertising’ – Natasha Lomas | Tech Crunch

The objection is to a form of digital advertising that relies upon a massive apparatus of background data processing that sucks in information about individuals as they browse and use services to create profiles, which are then used to determine which ads to serve (via multiparticipant processes like the high-speed auctions known as real-time bidding).

Social Media, Identity, and the Church – Tim Keller | Life in the Gospel

People who regularly listened to the opposite opinions did not adjust their views and become more balanced or moderate because for many people social media has become a place where they are curating a self.

LAPD launches investigation into officers’ relationship with Ring – Johana Bhuiyan | LA Times

The Los Angeles Police Department has launched an internal investigation into its officers’ communications with the Amazon-owned security company Ring, after a Times report revealed the camera maker provided at least 100 officers free devices or discounts and encouraged them to promote the products to colleagues and members of the community.

How YouTube’s rules are used to silence human rights activists – Eileen Guo | MIT Technology Review

On June 15, the YouTube channel Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights went dark, its feed of videos replaced by a vague statement that the channel had been “terminated for violating YouTube’s community guidelines.” A few days later, it was reinstated without public explanation. Then, several days after that, 12 of the channel’s earliest videos disappeared from its public feed. 

Differences in How Democrats and Republicans Behave on Twitter – Pew Research Center

A new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. adults’ Twitter behaviors finds that Democrats and Republicans have notable differences in how they use the site – from how often they tweet to the accounts they follow or mention in their own posts.

Can Our Culture Escape the Twitter Doom Loop? – David French – The Dispatch

But offline—just like online—ruling party excess also generates minority-party extremism and fury. The sheer hopelessness of opposition in many ways relieves activists of responsibility. They’re going to lose anyway, so what’s the point of compromise? 

Xi’s Gamble: The Race to Consolidate Power and Stave Off Disaster – Jude Blanchette | Foreign Affairs

In the name of protecting China’s “core interests,” Xi has picked fights with many of his neighbors and antagonized countries farther away—especially the United States. Whereas his immediate predecessors believed China must continue to bide its time by overseeing rapid economic growth and the steady expansion of China’s influence through tactical integration into the existing global order, Xi is impatient with the status quo, possesses a high tolerance for risk, and seems to feel a pronounced sense of urgency in challenging the international order.