The Internet of things

It used to be a simple fantasy whereby humans are able to communicate with objects directly, as if they had a mind of their own. With recent introduction of Siri in the Iphone, that fantasy became more than just that. The main factor in making Siri’s implementation successful is its connectivity to the Internet. Information and data are constantly moving back and forth through every nerve of the Internet. Chances are, when humans discover something, the first place to share such information would be through the Internet. These people are basically uploading their brain online and with that the Internet starts forming into some sort of separate intellectual identity. Siri is simply a form the Internet when given a voice.

The notion of “Internet of things” explores the possibility of human-object interaction similar to those shown by Siri. Albeit, not every object would be capable of uttering words but as long as they are connected to the Internet, they would be able to interact with other connected objects and humans. This is something I find very exciting considering the fact that by 2020, estimated 50 billion objects would be connected to the Internet and in turn these objects would be referred to as Smart objects (Mitew 2014). Possibilities could be endless from bath tubs that could prepare you a warm bath as soon as you step into the washroom to a talking house.

Yet, the most important bit to look forward to in year 2020, is the efficiency that can be achieved from the collective interactions of all those objects. Though each of the connected objects would be able to serve its respective purpose interactively, these connected objects would truly be able to blossom when they are able to work coherently amongst one another (Kortuem, Fitton & Sundramoorthy 2009). Take for example, a smart home that is capable to interact with every other smart object that resides within its residences. There would only be a need for the human user to interact with the home on its own and the smart home would be able to ensure all the respective objects required proceeds to take the necessary actions to provide the results as per requested.

I believe a smart home is just a few technological advancements away. However, having a collective and vast amount of smart objects has yet to be determined if it would be a positive step for human population.

References

Kortuem, G, Fitton, D, Sundramoorthy, V 2009, ‘Smart objects as building blocks for the internet of things’, IEEE internet computing, vol 14, issue 1, accessed on 22/10/2014, http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5342399

Mitew, T 2014, “The internet of Things”, lecture slides, accessed on 22/10/2014, http://prezi.com/1lgxfron1kj0/digc202-the-internet-of-things/

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Cyberwar

With greater technological and computer programming capacity, the number and depth of cyber-crime would undoubtedly follow suit.  Cyber-crime is defined as a mean of unauthorized interceptions of computer systems and data to obtain information that may be used for any form of unlawful acts. Cyber-crime is represented as a serious international threat considering its capabilities to affect and act beyond national borders (Nuredini 2014). The example that was examined in the lecture was in regards to ZeuS which is a malicious Trojan house computer malware which is renowned for its assistance in stealing banking information. The information stolen are primarily sold to the public and has proven to provide extremely hefty financial returns. Maksym Yastremski has earned more than 11 million dollars from selling stolen credit and debit cards from 2004 and 2006 (Mitew 2014).

Studies have suggested that up to 80% of the cyber-crime cases are a result of some form  of organizational activity (Broadhurst & Grabosky 2014). Interestingly, this may not necessarily mean that there is an uprising in a new form of criminal group that emphasize on the usage of internet and computers for their unlawful acts. Instead, it could be that traditional organized crime groups are starting to take notice upon the possible profitability or a new mean of which they may use to extend their list of activities (Broadhurst & Grabosky 2014). I personally find that interesting as much as I believe cyber-crime is wrong.  One can only imagine the output and production capacity of these crime groups should they be able to place a firm grasp upon cyber-crime tactics. Given that cyber-crime is a form that is capable of targeting its actions past national borders, I believe that international and all respective global parties should all figuring out a counter-measure.

A final food for thought would be; with the world continue to hunger and strive for further technological and computer advancements, the capabilities and extend of cyber-crime is only going to extend. As such, would cyber-crime ever be able to be put to a halt in its progression?

References: 

Mitew, T 2014, ‘Dark fiber: Hackers, botnets, cyber war’, lecturer slides, accessed on 18/10/2014, http://prezi.com/iiied2_aa8tc/digc202-dark-fiber-hackers-botnets-cyberwar/

Nuredini, A 2014, ‘Challenges in combating the cyber crime’, Mediterranean journal of social sciences, vol 5, issue 9, pp 592-599, accessed on 18/10/2014,  http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/1566203719?pq-origsite=summon

Broadhurst, R, Grabosky, P 2014, ‘Organization and cyber crime: An analysis of the nature of groups engaged in cyber crime’, International journal of cyber criminology, vol 8, issue 1, pp 1-20, accessed on 18/10/2014, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/1545341663?pq-origsite=summon

Hacktivism via Wikileaks

Through rapid PC evolution, the immergence of hacktivism is imminent (Mitew 2014). Hacktivism refers to the usage of computers and its networks to achieve the intended political or other ends similar to those intended via protests or activism. Wikileaks would be a primary example of an association practicing hacktivism. Wikileaks was formed by Julian Assange, alongside a group of political activists, who sought to leak classified information globally with the belief that it would do well for the majority of the public (Mitew 2014).

The actions of Wikileak had been questioned in terms of its morality and legalities (Benkler 2011). In my opinion, if one is to evaluate Wikileaks without any prior prejudicial judgements, they would notice the positivity patterns exposed by Wikileaks. For starters, Wikileaks emphasized the importance of transparency in the information being communicated to the peole. It prioritizes the importance of the people’s right to know despite the volatility of the information. It is deemed that publishing leaked materials improve the transparency and eventually leads to the creation of a better society to the people. The act of promoting and preaching transparency can lead to the reduction in corruption and promotion of democracies in all society’s institutions (Fenster 2012). On top of that, Wikileaks has magnified the trend of people shifting away from traditional news media. The internet has evolved to the point where news and other information may be obtained with significant ease and also possessed a bigger scope of reach. Wikileaks currently is arguably a much more efficient means of achieving both in comparison to any traditional news media.

I do understand and stand by the actions taken by Wikileaks for the sake of transparency. Though the process of obtaining that information may not necessarily be legal, but I feel the end would justify the means.

References:

Benkler, Y 2011, ‘A Free Irresponsible Press: Wikileaks and the Battle over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate’,Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, vol46, pp376-379, accessed 10/10/14, http://harvardcrcl.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Benkler.pdf.

Fenster, M 2012, ‘Disclosure’s effect: Wikileaks and transparency’, Iowa Law Review, vol97, pp782-788, accessed 10/10/14, http://www.uiowa.edu/~ilr/issues/ILR_97-3_Fenster.pdf

Mitew, T 2014, “Digital Resistance”, lecturer notes, accessed on 10/10/14, http://prezi.com/hotqlxztvxdb/digc202-digital-resistance/

Social media evolutions & the arab spring

Facebook, along with other major social media, were created to promote connectivity amongst all communities around the globe. Subsequently, the people started joining in the movement for the sole reason of connectivity.  There were not many that could verify then the impact and extensiveness of the term “connectivity” that would soon come to place. In recent times, the connectivity of social media is not only restricted to keeping in touch with peers. There has been increasing number of people who exploited social media as a mean to create a revolution, such as during the events of the Arab Spring (Anonymous 2011).

The Arab Spring is a revolutionary wave in the Arab World which began December 2010.   A good example of social media revolution from the Arab Spring is the Egyptian Revolution in 2011.  In the case of Egypt Revolution, the revolutionary party created a Facebook group “We are all Khaled Said” in the wake of the gruesome images of Khaled’s horribly tortured body which was posted online. The group portrayed Khaled as a symbol for many Egyptians who hoped to see their country free of brutality, torture and ill-treatment. This Facebook group soon moved towards bringing awareness to stories in regards to the similar hardships suffered by those in Egypt to keep aligned with their hope for a more peaceful country. Within the same Egyptian Revolution, vlogger Asmaa Mahfouz utilized Facebook and Youtube to call for mass demonstrations. Asmaa posted a video issuing a rally cry for the general public to join her demonstration crusade on the 25th January which repeatedly calls out those whom still has some honor left in them to stand up. She soon started a Youtube channel to share citizen videos from the protest. An anonymous Cairo protestor shared that they used Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate and Youtube to tell the world. After weeks of repeated protest, President Hosni Mubarak stepped down (Mitew 2014).

The Egyptian Revolution is just a part of the Arab Spring which has utilized the social media during their respective revolutions. In these revolutions, they are more likely to be tweeted, blogged, texted and organized on Facebook than they are to be televised and is most likely to be the pattern for many more terms to come (Anonymous 2011).

References:

Anonymous 2011, ‘University of Washington; New study quantifies use of social media in Arab Spring’, NewsRx health & science, accessed on 8/10/2014, http://ey9ff7jb6l.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=New+study+quantifies+use+of+social+media+in+Arab+Spring&rft.jtitle=NewsRx+Health+%26+Science&rft.date=2011-10-02&rft.issn=1944-2599&rft.eissn=1944-2602&rft.spage=658&rft.externalDocID=NewsRx_Health_Science_2011_10_02_658_University_of_Washington_New_study_quantifies_use_of_social_media_in_Arab_Spring&paramdict=en-US
Mitew, T 2014, “Mena, Arab spring the social network revolutions”, Lecture slide, accessed on 8/10/2014, http://prezi.com/ikufthacaunr/mena-arabspring-the-social-network-revolutions/

Citizen Journalism with the rise of social media

This week, we explored how the uprising of social media has contributed to the increase in sources of citizen journalism. Citizen journalism is a type of journalism whereby the respective person, despite their background, employs the press tools within their accessibility to inform other individuals about pieces of information (Lewis, Kaufhold & Lasorsa 2010). This is not to be confused with the mainstream media whom is run by mostly professional, any person can partake in citizen journalism. So we ask ourselves, “Which media source should we lean towards or rely upon among the two?”

For starters, let us evaluate the citizen journalism from a specific social media, Twitter. In comparison between the two forms of media publication, I would give Twitter feeds the edge over the conventional news media in terms of its timeliness. The information posted online is transmitted fast and wide. As of today, no news broadcast from the mainstream media is able to match the lead time of publishing the relevant news. On the flip side, I believe mainstream media carries more credible contents compared to twitter feeds. Authors that publish at a cost needs to ensure high quality content for them to retain or capture readers. Twitter, on the other hand, has no cost to publishing information which also means that there would be no filter for quality as seen in Mitew (2014).

I am not saying that timeliness and credibility are the only factors that differs social media journalism and mainstream media. These two however are, for me, the top two things readers would look for when assessing which media channel to rely on. If I had to pick between the two, I would choose mainstream media on the basis that citizen journalism does not provide me with the validity of information that I believe is more important than timeliness.

References: 

Lewis, S, Kaufhold, K & Lasorsa, D 2010, ‘Thinking about citizen journalism: The philosophical and pratical challenges of user-generated content for community newspaper’, Journalism practice, pp163-179, accessed on 3/10/2014, http://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/11299/123405/1/Thinking%20About%20Citizen%20Journalism%20preprint.pdf

Mitew, T 2014, “DIGC202 Bridges made of pebbles: social media and the transformation of journalism”, lectures note, accessed on 3/10/2014, http://prezi.com/sh7b7p0osscz/bridges-made-of-pebbles-social-media-and-the-transformation-of-journalism/

Iphone VS Android

In this age of smartphones, nomophobia (the no-mobile-phone-phobia) has been incorporated in the majority of the community. I dare not imagine what life would be if smartphones did not exist. As with every era, there would always be two dividing forces. In this case, it would evidently be between Iphone and Android.

Android is a mobile operating system currently developed by Google. Google, a world-renowned corporation for its search engine, decided that smartphones are increasing in significance in terms of internet accessed in comparison to its original medium, the computer. Thus, it proceeded to acquire Android Inc. in August 2005 to enter into the mobile phone market. Apple, on the other hand, has been famous for its electronic hardware and introduced their line of Iphone on June 2007. It is unclear about how the friction between the two came to be but Apple has always been looking to dominate its competitors. If Nike entered the market, Apple would probably find a way to sue them too.

Both the Iphone and Android are capable of delivering great smartphones but both approach their line of products in two separate manners. The Apple Iphone developed its core business through a vendor controlled system. Everything from the creation of the internal software to the applications being posted on their app-store is developed and largely validated by the Apple team. In comparison, Android works in a relatively user controlled system. Android phones enable much more flexibility and personal customization to its users. Android’s easier access to niche and non-market applications is the contributing factor to successfully providing a smartphone that is more personalized to each individual.

Moving on to the question of which is better ; the answer , in my opinion, lies in the hands of the user themselves. The Iphone’s strict vendor controlled operating system minimalizes the exposure to mobile phone malwares (Sophos n.d.). They also place a firm grip on their original software and in-phone features to provide reassurance to the public as to what to expect when they buy an Iphone. Android phones can be particularly confusing for those starting out as there are tonnes of customization that could be done until the point that it can be overwhelming. However, once they get their heads around it, there truly isn’t a more personalized smartphone than one with Android.

I would opt for a phone that is more adjusted in accordance to my liking rather than just settling for whatever that is pre-set by the corporation that sold me the phone.  I have 85% of the rest of the smartphone users that agrees with me (IDC n.d.).

Reference:

IDC n.d., Smartphone OS market share, Q2 2014, accessed on 20/9/2014, http://www.idc.com/prodserv/smartphone-os-market-share.jsp

Sophos n.d., Why IOS safer than Android, accessed on 20/9/2014, http://www.sophos.com/en-us/security-news-trends/security-trends/malware-goes-mobile/why-ios-is-safer-than-android.aspx

Feudalism : Mickey Mouse Protection Act

This week we evaluated the way digital information is treated similar to a property and the influence of intellectual property control (copyright) over the means of production of content in the networked information economy (Mitew 2014). The one thing that popped up in my head the instant I read those lines was the Copyright Term Extension Act(CTEA), or more commonly known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act. The act is an extension of the Copyright Act of 1975 which extends the duration of the work to the life of the author plus 70 years and 120 years after creation for corporate authorship.

The story behind the Mickey Mouse Protection Act was nothing short of brilliance. Walt Disney is a company founded in 1923. The company is highly regarded for their work on animated films, most of which were actually based on fairytales or Brother Grimm stories. Since the characters and stories from the original pieces were in public domain, Disney took them and soon re-adapted them and claimed them for their own through copyrights. When the Copyright Term Extension Act was first announced, Disney almost extensively lobbied for the act which leads to the act being also known as Mickey Mouse Protection Act.

I would argue that Disney was right the lobby for the CTEA for the benefit that Disney would derive from it is enormous. Take for example, the character of Mickey Mouse which has been altered and re-adapted throughout the years to better suit the changing demographics and social values. Prior to the change, investments had been made through study groups, artists, marketers and so on. All these took place for the sake of maintaining the popularity of the face of Disney. Imagine Disney did not have copyright protection; the results may not have matched the investments made. All other firms would be able to yield benefits from the investment made by Disney causing a classic free-rider problem which often leads to underinvestment (Adilov & Waldman 2012).

Studies have shown that Disney was able to increase their profit margin after tax by 8.76% in the span of 10 years whilst retaining copyright protection (Band & Gerafi 2013). Given the current development and sharing amongst the networked information economy, copyrighting can only go so far as to retain and revert maximum income of the digital information back to its producer. Though profit would most definitely be higher had sharing sites not exist, copyright protection certainly does its part in limiting the profit that is being leaked out of the producer’s bucket. Walt Disney cannot really complain given that they managed to retain 5.6 billion USD with the help of copyright protection.

Reference:

Adilov, N & Waldman, M 2012, ‘Optimal Copyright Length and Ex Post Investment: A Mickey Mouse Approach’, Journal of Economic Inquiry, vol 51, issue 2, pp1101-1120, accessed 13/9/2014, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/10.1111/j.1465-7295.2011.00434.x/pdf

Band , J & Gerafi J 2013, ‘ Profitability of Copyright – Intensive Industries’, pp 2-32, accessed 13/9/2014, http://infojustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Profitability-of-Copyright-Industries.pdf

Mitew, T 2014, “DIGC202 The feudalism of the internet”, lecture notes, accessed 13/9/2014 , http://prezi.com/qopqxh6ktl1j/the-feudalisation-of-the-internet/