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IST researchers explore technology use in Syrian refugee camp

IST researchers explore technology use in Syrian refugee camp
The Syrian Civil War has caused millions of citizens to flee their homeland, but many refugees have persevered and are seeking to rebuild their lives. Researchers at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) recently traveled to a thriving Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, where they surveyed people as part of a study they are conducting on how the refugees are appropriating technology into their daily lives. “Jordan is an interesting place in that it has been welcoming of refugees, first from Iraq and now from Syria,” said Carleen Maitland, an associate professor at the College of IST. Maitland, along with her graduate student advisee, Ying Xu, visited the Zaatari camp, Jordan’s largest facility for Syrian refugees, in early January. Results of the survey show a high degree of mobile phone and internet use, with 86 percent of youth in their sample owning a mobile handset, and more than half using the internet either once or multiple times per day.

http://news.psu.edu/story/350156/2015/03/26/research/ist-researchers-explore-technology-use-syrian-refugee-camp

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Don’t let WhatsApp nudge you into sharing your data with Facebook When WhatsApp, the messaging app, launched in 2009, it struck me as one of the most interesting innovations I’d seen in ages – for two reasons. The first was that it seemed beautifully designed from the outset: it was clean, minimalist and efficient; and, secondly, it had a business model that did not depend on advertising. Instead, users got a year free, after which they paid a modest annual subscription. Better still, the co-founder Jan Koum, seemed to have a very healthy aversion to the surveillance capitalism that underpins the vast revenues of Google, Facebook and co, in which they extract users’ personal data without paying for it, and then refine and sell it to advertisers. In a blog post headed “Why We Don’t Sell Ads” written in June 2012, for example, Koum quoted approvingly a memorable line uttered by Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt) in the movie Fight Club: “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”

Young Rappers Work to Educate Syria’s Refugee Children  An appeal to world leaders is calling on them to raise $750 million to educate a million Syrian refugee children living in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. A short movie has been produced to highlight the transformational opportunities a place at school can have. ‘With a smile and strength we will shape tomorrow.’ Why you shouldn't buy a new iPhone when the new model is unveiled If you're tempted to upgrade your iPhone next week if, as expected, Apple unveils its new model, Sue Williams has a word of advice. Don't. "I really hope people will think do they need a new device," says Williams, whose documentary Death by Design examines the human and environmental costs of creating our latest tech gadgets and disposing of our old ones. Loaded: 0% Progress: 0%

The For-Profit Refugee Camp To enter the world’s biggest Syrian refugee camp, a place named Zaatari out in the desert of northern Jordan, you need to pass through not one but two checkpoints. The gendarmes at the first casually waved my car through, but their comrades at the second stopped me to inspect my passport and government permission to visit the camp. Just ahead, a pickup truck sagging under the weight of at least 10 people crept through a scrum of foot traffic. Young boys in flip-flops leaned on battered wheelbarrows, hoping to make a dinar or two hauling whatever might be entering the camp.

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