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Full text of "The Gateway (2011-03-31)"

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THE GATEWAY • volume Cl number 44 


U of A study examined reading of privacy 
policies on smartphones and desktops 


4 Convenient Locations to Serve You 


IPHONE • CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 

Privacy policies are often problem¬ 
atic in llieir construction to liegin 
with. According lo jakob Nielsen, 
a researcher in web usability, as of 
March 2011. Facebook’s privacy policy 
is rated at a 13th grade reading level, 
meaning that people with less than a 
year of university experience already 
find it difficult to understand. 

“As far we can tell, privacy policies 
are. as a protection mechanism for 
people who are using the internet on 
smartphones [...] basically completely 
useless. They are completely unread¬ 
able,” Miller said. "In reality, the user 
will be getting no real information 
when they enter details. They will 
have no idea what's really going to 
happen to them." 

These results, combined with the 
rapid increase in popularity of smart¬ 
phones, suggested to Miller and his 
team that a complete revolution in 
writing styles is needed to balance 
deficits in understanding. However, 
this is a slow process. According to 
Miller, we are only just starting to see 
the emergence of a unique “online" 
style of writing that is recogniz¬ 
ably different from writing for print 
documents. 


"All of the internal ional newspapers 
are there now, but if you look at many 
sites on the internet, people are still 
just copying paper” he said. “That's 
not going to work on a web browser, 
and it's certainly not going to work on 
a smartphone." 

What this new style would look like 
is not entirely clear, but it is some¬ 
thing that Miller and his team hope to 
discover through further research. 

"What we've been doing recently 
is trying to characterize what the 


PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: DANMCKKHNIE 

differences are between the text that 
you see on your printed version of 
a newspaper and the text that you 
would see on a version of a newspaper 
viewed in a browser," he said. 

“We're trying to look at and char¬ 
acterize how the writing style in the 
newspaper changes between the two 
media, and whether there is dien some 
way to extrapolate further down onto 
smaller dev ices or whether in reality 
it needs a complete shift in thought to 
accommodate them." 


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Council tackles low attendance 


SIMON YACKUUC 

Deputy News Editor _ 

Students' Council moved to deal 
with absenteeism among councillors, 
tackling what Board of Governors 
Representative Craig Turner called “a 
serious attendance problem at council.” 

In a year when multiple council¬ 
lors have neglected to attend even half 
of council meetings, council passed a 
motion amending standing orders to 
indicate that, should a councillor be 
absent for more than three meetings a 
semester, their faculty or campus asso¬ 
ciation will be notified. Law council¬ 
lor Leslie Stitt introduced the motion, 
explaining that he hoped it would 
increase attendance. 

“What would most likely take place 
under this is Students’ Council would 
inform the faculty association, and the 
faculty association would use good 
old-fashioned methods of shame to 
make people come to council.” Stilt 
said. “Ii is worded In such a way that 
we would not be able to remove coun¬ 
cillors. as I do not think that we have a 
right to do that,” 

According to Stitt, council lias been 
throwing around the idea of address¬ 
ing apathy for a few years, though 
nothing had come of it until now. 


He argued that tliis might not tie the 
best solution, but it’s better than the 
past approach, which Stitt described as 
"doing absolutely nothing." 

"It's good to send a message to stu¬ 
dents that we aaually are doing some¬ 
thing about this, and we're not just 
ignoring an issue. We shouldn't lie 
accountable to a faculty association, 
but we should be accountable to stu¬ 
dents within that faculty." Stitt said. 

“This is something that will mostly 
benefit smaller faculty associations that 
have one representative, such as medi¬ 
cine. law. for] native studies. Medicine 
hasn’t had any representation here for 
four months. Native studies has had 
very spotty representation. This is 
something that should be addressed. 
These faculties deserve to be repre¬ 
sented on this council and [students] 
should know when they aren't." 

Tlie Gateway t ried to reach the coun¬ 
cillors for medicine and native studies 
but were unable to get comment by 
press time. 

While most councillors present at 
the meeting seemed to agree that poor 
attendance was a problem, there was 
disagreement on what method was 
best to combat it. Some members of 
the executive opposed to the motion. 

Vice President (Operations and 


Finance) Zach Fentiman noted that 
there are some faculty associations that 
are chaired by their faculty's council¬ 
lor. which he noted could be the same 
undergraduate that is missing council 
meetings. Vice President (Student Life) 
Rory Tighe said tliat he understood the 
“shaming" point of the motion, but 
felt that there were other, more effec¬ 
tive ways of addressing the issue. 

Vice President (Academic) James 
East ham deals with faculty associa¬ 
tions as part of the Academic portfo¬ 
lio. and said that he was apprehensive 
about die motion because of how 
“functional" some faculty associations 
are. Instead, he suggested making it 
easier for undergraduates to find out 
what their representatives are doing. 

"Some faculty associations are 
perhaps less functional than even 
Students' Council, so it is perhaps 
not necessarily going to accomplish 
the goals that the councillor wants,” 
Eastham explained. 

"Perhaps there'd be a different way 
to post attendance instead of having it 
buried in minutes, like having it more 
prominently displayed on the Students’ 
Union website or something else." 

Despite some expressed opposition, 
the motion still passed with most of 
council in favour. 


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