The internet of things

Today, internet have become embedded in our everyday life and almost nothing gets done without it nowadays. Although one may simply say that he or she can live without internet but do you think they can really live without the use of internet in today’s world?  To be frank, I think it is almost impossible especially to those who live in urban area. In the opposite way, we need internet to survive in this technological era instead.

But looking at this week’s topic: the internet of things, do you know what exactly is it? According to Mitew (2014), the term Internet of Things was coined in 1999 at the MIT Media Lab and the definition of iot is simple. It basically means physical objects connecting to the internet which take account of everything from cell phones, headphones, washing machines and many other objects. The iot is known to be driven by a combination of connectivity, sensors and actuators. Studies have proven that the interactions between these entities are able to create new types of smart applications and services.

An example of iot related object is the Samsung Smart TV. Do you know what makes this TV to become smart? For normal TV, we are required to use remote control to turn the TV on and off, to change the TV channel and to adjust the sound volume. But with this Smart TV, we can take control of it with just a simple voice command because the new smart remote has a built-in microphone and it could also work like a mouse where user can simply point and click to make selections. Besides that, a smart TV also allow gesture control. We may control the TV with a simple swipe of our hand to navigate the new Smart TV, zoom in on images and even select which channels to watch or apps to launch. With this Smart TV, we can simply speak into the new smart remote’s built in microphone or by using our hand gesture to control the TV.

 “In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin. It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations.” –Neil Gross 1999

The emergence of internet has given us many good opportunities to do many things that we couldn’t do without internet in the past. It is gradually changing the world and making the impossible possible. I personally believe the cool smart home video presented by Ericsson is going to be real someday in the future.

References:

Mitew, T 2014, ‘DIGC202 – The internet of things’, lecture notes, accessed 26/10/2014, http://prezi.com/1lgxfron1kj0/digc202-the-internet-of-things/

Samsung 2014, ‘Samsung Smart TV – TV Has Never Been This Smart’, accessed 26/10/2014, http://www.samsung.com/us/experience/smart-tv/

Cybercrime

In this digital era, although there are variety of advantages offered by computer technology bringing a huge impact towards the society but with the use of computer technology it has also brought in disadvantage like several type of cybercrimes to the society as well. Cybercrime is known to be a crime committed or facilitate through computer via the Internet that can be either attacks against computer hardware and software, financial crimes or the abuse of young people in the form of ‘sexploitation’ (Interpol 2014).

Online fraud, phishing sites, cyberstalking and identity theft, hacking, piracy as well as transmission of child-porn are all kinds of cybercrimes that we may encounter while surfing the internet today. One of the common cybercrimes that we would encounter is online fraud where victims will receive phishing scam like spam emails that entice them to update their security details.

For example, recently I have received few phishing emails in the name of a local bank that has detected an error in my online banking account. I was told to update my security details on the link given to unlock my access to the online banking otherwise I will not be able to access into my account permanently. Although the email was sent out in the name of the local bank with a similar email address but I was aware that it is a scam because online fraud has become a common crime since many victims have encountered before and all the involved authorities has taken this issue seriously by trying to improve their banking securities and fraud-fighting effort in order to help their customers from getting tricked. However, there are still many internet users are not aware of this issue and have fallen into this scam unconsciously.

Other than the online fraud as discussed above, piracy on internet is another cybercrime that most of the internet users would encounter while surfing on the internet. The piracy issue is increasing drastically in worldwide as the growth of technology. Although the word “copyright” can be seen everywhere over the internet but people would still intentionally ignore the word and choose to go against the copyright law. Today, there are many platforms on the internet that offer online services such as free download of music, films and images as well as converting videos from the popular video sharing platform an audio file. All these platforms are actually going against intellectual property rights because it provides all these improper services for the public to do illegal downloading that affects the sales of music and film industry.

With the emergence of internet, there are many other types of cybercrime are threatening the internet users today. What are the types of cyber crime prevention do you think we can do to help to combat the increasing number of cyber crimes?

References:

Interpol 2014, ‘Cybercrime’, accessed 17/10/2014, http://www.interpol.int/Crime-areas/Cybercrime/Cybercrime

U.S. Copyright Office 2012, ‘Copyright Basics’, accessed 17/10/2014, http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

Hacktivism

In recent years, hacktivism is no longer a new phenomenon since there are many discussion over the news articles and studies are concerning about the topic of hacktivism. Hacktivism is a fusion of hacking and activism. Wolchover (2011) had defined it as ‘a modern form of protest in which savvy programmers use their hacking skills to fight back against social and political injustice’. Hacktivism generally take place when many people feel that justice is not equal for all and that is when hacktivist begin to use digital tools to pursuit political ends. There are several unique tools and type of attacks would be used by hacktivists to convey their messages or to cause harm (Chan n.d.).

One of the examples of hacktivism is Wikileaks, a non-profit media organization founded by Julian Assange with the aim to disseminate important news and information that the government has been keeping from the public (Wikileaks 2011). Wikileaks has gained international attention by publishing private and confidential documents of a few prominent public figures and governments of United States, Africa and Western Europe (Fenster 2011). For instance, in 2010 Wikileaks released almost 400,000 secret US military logs detailing its operations in Iraq (Fildes 2010) and also a classified U.S. military footage from an attack in 2007 in Baghdad by a U.S. helicopter that killed a dozen people including two journalists (Radford 2010).

Wikileaks is working towards the goal of ‘everyone has the right to voice out their opinion and to know the truth’ by publishing original and trustworthy news stories because Assange believe that such action can improve transparency which in a way it helps to create a better society. But is it ethical for Wikileaks to hack into the government and companies secure system to disclose all the private and confidential news to the public?

Some may view these hacktivists like Assange as a hero that willing to take the risk to reveal the secret documents that the government has been trying to hide away from the public but in fact all these acts of hacktivism are illegal even if it is nonviolent. As written in the journal by Fester (2011), Wikileaks creates a dangerous and illegal disruption to state security and operations because they simply disclose and disseminate important news and information.  Moreover, Wikileaks had been criticized as lacking of journalistic ethics in terms of the published material where it can put individual informants as well as military operations at risk (Vaulasvirta 2012).

In my opinion, even though Wikileaks is exposing important news stories to the society for the reason that they believe the public deserve to have the right to know the truth but I personally believe that there must be reason for the government or a particular organization to hide the real story from the society. On top of that, even Wikileaks were to be eliminated today, I personally think that a new site would emerge to replace it and the act of hacktivism would be continued by a new group of hacktivist. It is never an easy job to stop hacktivism especially in this technological era.

References

Chan, T n.d., ‘Hacktivism’, accessed 11/10/2014, http://uwcisa.uwaterloo.ca/Biblio2/Topic/Terence_Chan_Hacktivism.pdf

Fenster, M 2011, ‘Disclosure’s Effects: WikiLeaks and Transparency’, vol.97, pp753-807, accessed 11/10/2014, http://www.uiowa.edu/~ilr/issues/ILR_97-3_Fenster.pdf

Fildes, J 2010, ‘What is Wikileaks?’, accessed 11/10/2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-10757263

Radford, B 2010, ‘Wikileaks: The Ethics of Revealing Secrets’, accessed 11/10/2014, http://news.discovery.com/human/wikileaks-the-ethics-of-revealing-secrets.htm

Vaulasvirta, M 2012, ‘WikiLeaks: A New Media Facilitating Democracy & Democratization?’, pp1-12, accessed 11/10/2014, http://www.defactual.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Wikileaks.pdf

WikiLeaks 2011, accessed 11/10/2014, https://wikileaks.org/About.html

Wolchover, N 2011, ‘Best Hacks by the Hacktivist Group’, accessed 11/10/2014, http://www.livescience.com/33599-best-hacks-anonymous-hacktivism.html

The transformation of journalism

In this Golden Age of technology, the fast growth of Internet has started a new medium for journalism where everyone can become a journalist with the use of internet. The introduction of Web 2.0 platform such as Blogger and WordPress is a great platform for internet user to publish and disseminate news causing an increasing number of citizen journalists.

Citizen journalism is becoming increasingly popular today is because of its immediacy in disseminating news to the society (Massey & Levy 1999). There are many social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter which allow users to update instantly and also to obtain the latest information fast and easy. In recent years, most of the mainstream newspaper agencies also begin to publish news online and some of the agencies have even designed an application exclusively for mobile devices to access to the news and information.

The transformation of journalism from traditional media to new media has not only changed the traditional journalist norms and practices but it also help to enhance the freedom of the press as most of the mainstream media is controlled by the government (Salman et.al.2011). It is a common practice for professional traditional journalist to use the famous gatekeeping concept to edit and filter the information that they have gathered before being publish to the society to fit the censorship rules set by the government. Hence, the application of gatekeeping in news setting is important for mainstream media for the reason that the gatekeepers would be able to control the gates through which content is released to the public without violating the laws.

On the contrary, most of the citizen journalist do not practice the same concept on the internet since they are not the professional journalist but they practice gatewatching instead.  The explosion of news and information on the internet has caused citizen journalist as well as online readers to only focus on the most reported news on the internet because the news that has got most shared or discussed on these platforms will become valuable when aggregated. Hence, internet users will only look for the most trending tweet on Twitter or the most shared post on Facebook.

Although the emergence of citizen journalism make possible the coverage of events that the mainstream media might otherwise miss but the credibility of citizen journalism cannot be guaranteed. Jurrat 2011 have studied that not all contributions from citizen journalists are able to follow the ethical standards of professional journalists because they have no formal training in reporting. Thus, the news reported by citizen journalist might be inaccurate and at the end of the day we would still need to refer back to the traditional journalism – mainstream newspaper to verify the credibility of the news.

References:

Lewis, S, Kaufhold, K & Lasorsa, D 2010, ‘Thinking about citizen journalism ‘, Journalism Practice, vol.4, no.2, pp163-179, accessed 9/10/2014, http://sethlewis.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/915813980.pdf

Massey Brian L & Levy Mark R, 1999, ’Interactive online journalism at English-language web newspaper in Asia’, A dependency theory analysis, vol.61, no.6, pp523-538

Salman, A, Ibrahim, F, Hj.Abdullah, M.Y, Musttaffa, N, Mahbob, M.H 2011, ‘The Impact of New Media on Traditional Mainstream Mass Media’ The Innovation Journal, vol.16, no.3, pp1-11, accessed 9/10/2014, http://www.innovation.cc/scholarly-style/ali_samman_new+media_impac116v3i7a.pdf

Social Network Revolutions

In this age of social media, there are millions of social networking sites for people to communicate all over the Internet. Among the millions of platforms provided, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are known as the most popular social networking sites in the world. As of today, there are approximately 1.4 billion of Facebook users while both Twitter and Instagram has more than 200 million of monthly active users.

The development of these social networking sites were originally created to provide a platform for internet users to communicate with one another across the world but today all these social media are being used as a platform for people to disseminate information, mobilize the demonstrators and also to organize the protest.

“Our evidence suggests that social media carried a cascade of messages about freedom and democracy across North Africa and the Middle East, and helped raise expectations for the success of political uprising,” said Philip Howard.

Based on the article written by O’Donnell, social media played an important role in shaping political debates when the Arab Spring erupted in 2010. During Arab Spring, many activists had used social networks such as Facebook and Twitter as a key tool in expressing their thoughts in relation to the issue. While people from other part of the world have used these social networking sites to keep themselves updated with the latest news of Arab Spring.

Besides Arab Spring, there are many other protest groups have been using social media to disseminate information. For instance, FEMEN – the Ukrainian women’s protest group, the Bersih 3.0 rally and also the most recent pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong. During the recent protest movement in Hong Kong, there are at least 100,000 people in Hong Kong have downloaded an application called FireChat that enable users to communicate without requiring a central network connection because they suspect authorities may shut down some cell networks in the city.

By looking at how influential are all these social platforms since it has been playing a role of communication that helps the revolutions in recent years, I feel that we have totally underestimated the power of these social networks as it could be more powerful that what we can imagine.

References:

Daileda, C 2014, ‘How People in Hong Kong Can Communicate if Cell Networks Go Down’, accessed 6/10/2014, http://mashable.com/2014/09/29/hong-kong-cell-network-chat/#_

O’Donnell, C 2011, ‘New study quantifies use of social media in Arab Spring’, University of Washington, accessed 6/10/2014, http://www.washington.edu/news/2011/09/12/new-study-quantifies-use-of-social-media-in-arab-spring/

Smith, T n.d., ‘The Social Media Revolution’, International Journal of Market Research, vol.51, issue 4, pp559-561, accessed 6/10/2014, http://web.efzg.hr/dok/MAR/vskare/kolegiji/im/materijali/The_social_media_revolution.pdf

Apple iOS vs Google Android

The number of smartphone users around the globe has increased to 1.76 billion users as of 2014. Since 2010, smartphones have officially become an irreplaceable everyday necessity. It is very common to see people queuing up for the latest smartphone a day before the launch these days as most of the mobile users begin to pick up smartphones in recent years because it is more affordable and useful with the range of functions provided. Research have studied that the number of smartphone users will continue to grow up to more than a third of the world population by 2017 (Goldstein 2014).

Apple and Android phones are known as most top leading mobile phone in the market today but android has took over the global smartphone market when it comes to mobile operating systems. Based on study, Android has over 1 billion of users which accounts for 85% of global smartphone market. Android is known as an operating system that works as an open and free platform which controls all Android powered devices using Java libraries. The developers were given an unrestricted customization rights and users are allowed to load software from any developer onto a device. Hence, there are a wide range of free applications can be downloaded from Google Play for Android users. As a result, there are more Android user than Apple user in the market since Android does not control over platform, content and user.

On a contrary, Apple is using the walled garden concept whereby it has total control of the iOS operating system, app market and user. Hence, only Apple users are entitled to enjoy the unique technological benefits designed by Apple. But because Apple has total control of its products, iOS seems to function better than Android. Other than that, despite the recent iCloud photo leak but I as an Apple user still choose to believe that Apple devices are more secure as compared to Androids.  For the reason that Apple has combined software, hardware, and services designed to work together for maximum security that does not only protect the device or data but the entire ecosystem (Apple Inc. 2014). For instance, Apple devices does not require security software because third-party programs are prohibited which could reduce the risk of infection from malicious software (Jindal & Jain 2012).

To sum up this post, I would say that even though these two operating system has its pros and cons but one thing I can assure is it has been developed to satisfy its targeted customer needs. Although I myself personally prefer Apple devices more than Android phones but there are people out there who could be a loyalty customer of Android phones. After all, it is all depends on a user’s preference.

References:

Goldstein, P 2014, ‘Report: Global smartphone penetration to jump 25% in 2014, led by Asia-Pacific’, accessed 24/9/2014, http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/report-global-smartphone-penetration-jump-25-2014-led-asia-pacific/2014-06-11

Apple Inc. 2014, ‘iOS Security’, accessed 24/9/2014, https://www.apple.com/iphone/business/docs/iOS_Security_Feb14.pdf

Jindal, G & Jain, M 2012, ‘A Comparative Study of Mobile Phone’s Operating Systems’, International Journal of Computer Applications & Information Technology, vol.1, issue 3, pp10-15, accessed 24/9/2015, http://gauravjindal.yolasite.com/resources/A%20Comparative%20Study%20of%20Mobile%20Phone%E2%80%99s%20Operating%20Systems.pdf

Mitew, T 2014, ‘DIGC202 Apple iOS vs Google Android’, accessed 24/9/2014, http://prezi.com/nbpulyal3pvo/digc202-apple-ios-vs-google-android/

The Rise of Digital Feudalism

According to Mitew (2014), feudalism is a vague and widely debated term that often described as the relationships between lord and vassal organized around property and allegiance which can be referred to ‘the privatization of public powers’ as stated in Feudalism (2005). Based on the example given by Mitew (2014), he explained that although there are a lot of farmworkers working in the manor that are nominally free to plant on the land but in fact the feudal lord controls all aspects of land use. This is because the feudal lord owns the land therefore he has the authority to control over people.

Same goes to the internet that we are using today. Even though internet was set up as a free system where everyone has free access to it but it does not mean that we own the internet but on the contrary we are controlled by the internet with several threats that are slowly taking the open network to a more centralized and feudal state. For instance, the copyright laws, censorship, surveillance, issues of privacy and the regulations and control over content.

The common feudal lords of the internet are such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and more. All these website on the internet are developing walled garden, a term that has presented the idea of freedom within a confined space. Even though users are given a space to interact on an open online network but in fact all users are actually controlled by a centralized organization. For instance, Facebook may be seem that it has provided a variety of functions for users to interact and share their personal information but then again it is still subjected to certain regulations and control. As an example, Facebook will start blocking friend requests when users have too many friends on their friend list. Moreover, Facebook will remove videos with copyright content such as background music. These examples explained that there are regulations and control over content that is being uploaded onto Facebook by user.

In my opinion, the feudalization of the internet has both sides of coin to it. But, it is diminishing its original purpose of providing a free network for sharing of information and ideas at no barriers to entry, no limits on supply and no economies of scale. What do you think?

References:

Feudalism 2005, ‘A brief history of the idea’, Dictionary of the History of Idea, accessed 13/9/2014, https://www3.amherst.edu/~flcheyette/Publications/Feudalism%20DHI.pdf

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