IOT can it be?

It seems as if the Simpsons (as ironic and far- fetched as it sounds) act as an omniscient purveyor of truth. They have accurately predicted many things, leading people to believe the Simpsons to be the modern day Nostradamus.

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Just another accidental prediction was the IOT or Internet of Things. In Treehouse of Horror XII there is a segment (which parodies 2001: A Space Odyssey) in which the Simpsons family buy a smart house which in turn falls in love with Marge and attempts to murder Homer. Now the Simpsons didn’t realise it at the time but they predicted the digital trajectory of the future.

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In the very near future control over every aspect of our lives will be commonplace. In fact it is already in its infancy. If you are feeling like you may want to improve your sleep, one look at your phone and you can see exactly how long you slept, when you went to bed, when you woke up etc. While you were sleeping your phone was relentlessly gathering and storing data about you.

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Personally I find the IOT to be a very scary concept, especially when it comes to privacy. Mitew (2014 pg.9 ) echoes my own qualms with this new paradigm in stating:

‘while pervasive tracking, logging, and observation are necessary functions of this stratum, they have profoundly disturbing implications for notions of public and private space.’

Is the IOT facilitating just another aspect of the surveillance culture we are already a part of in the digital age? And how is the IOT safeguarded from hackers who could manipulate these objects to gain valuable information? Let me know in the comments below!

-Lizzellbee 🙂

References

Mitew, T 2014,’Do Objects Dream of an Internet of Things?’,The Fibreculture Journal ,vol.1449, no.23, p.9

 

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Tomorrow when the Cyberwar began.

Ignorance was truly bliss for me when it came to understanding our current digital landscape. Knowing what I know now I kind of just want to initiate the foetal position and never touch a digital device again. From phishing, to bot nets, sock puppets and cyber warfare it seems the internet is not the safe-haven I perceived to be.

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For those who don’t know what a sock puppet is, allow me to burst your bubble of blissful internet existence. Sock puppets are whereby fake profiles and personas are created and maintained by governments and corporations to engage with others online and shape public discourse.This is quite a scary thing to wrap your head around as it’s pretty much subliminal propaganda .Only recently this information came to light after Snowden released confidential documents validating sock puppets existence.

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Now combine this with cyber- warfare and it’s clear that a pretty bleak future awaits us on the internet.  Cyber-warfare involves a governments and military attacking other countries via digital methods such as hacking, viruses, malware etc. to drastically alter a country’s industrial infrastructure. This can clearly be seen in the Stuxnet virus of 2010 which infected thousands of machines and interrupted operations at Iran’s nuclear facilities. As Zetter (2011) states:

‘When an infected USB stick was inserted into a computer…the exploit code awakened and surreptitiously dropped a large, partially encrypted file onto the computer, like a military transport plane dropping camouflaged soldiers into target territory.’

This just highlights the worrying potential for what cyber-warfare can achieve. I truely believe that were World War III to happen, it will take place via the internet. What is your opinion? Let me know in the comments below!

-Lizzellbee 🙂

References 

Zetter, K 2011, ‘How Digital Detectives Deciphered Stuxnet, the Most Menacing Malware in History’, Wired, 11 July, viewed 13 October, <https://www.wired.com/2011/07/how-digital-detectives-deciphered-stuxnet/all/&gt;

 

Cracking the Ethos of the Hacker.

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These are the typical images that spring to mind when I think of the word ‘hacker’. It seems that hackers have a bad rep in society with the media calling them everything from cyber-criminals, to sadistic cyber-bullies to everything in between. But have you ever wondered what really lies beneath the guy Fawkes mask? Join me as we crack into the ethos of the hacker.

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First to understand the hacker, we must look into the sub-culture he eventuated from. The hacker originated from Phone Phreaking which allowed unauthorised access into the telecommunications network by mimicking the network router. This established that codes were there for the hacker to break in playful, prankster fashion.

Once the hacker and the internet were united in the 1980’s, the hacker sub-culture truely embodied the McLuhan way of ‘the medium is the message’ (1964).When the hacker found him/herself on a platform void of government control or censorship, where there is a free flow of information, so too did the hacker develop the view that information should be free and absent of the presence of the state. With this cyber-libertarian belief, the hacker found they could hack into network control frames and government servers with little to no repercussions.

If we look at the modern day hacker such as the likes of Julian Assange and Anonymous we can clearly see the mentality of his predecessors in action. Assange himself calls WikiLeaks:

“an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis,” and a government or company that wanted to remove content from WikiLeaks would have to practically dismantle the Internet itself.’ (Khatchadourian, 2010)

This statement alone provides two fundamental insights into the ethos of the hacker;

  1. Information should be free.
  2. Disregard for authority/ censorship

What do you think drives the hacker? Let me know in the comments below! (Oh and if you didn’t realise this blog becomes substantially more humorous  when you read it in the voice of David Attenborough)

-Lizzellbee 🙂

References 

– Khatchadourian, R 2010,’No Secrets: Julian Assange’s mission for total transparency ‘, The New Yorker,7 June, viewed 6 October, <https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/06/07/no-secrets&gt;

-McLuhan, M 1964, Understanding Media: The Extensions of man, McGraw-Hill, New York. 

 

 

Twitter, Facebook and Kim Jong-un.

In some respects, I feel like since I grew up in a democratic country (and know no different)  that it is difficult to put myself into the shoes of a person who does not have these same freedoms. I mean whilst Tony Abbott has pretty much become a living, breathing, onion-eating meme of himself, could  you imagine the memes I’d be confined to were I under Kim Jong-un’s regime.

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Thankfully I am lucky to live in a country where I am free to post whichever Kim Jong-un-esque memes I like, such as this tasteful budgie smugglers edition.

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Additionally since we share our (often unnecessary) opinions on social media every day, I think it is hard then to comprehend the immense empowerment people in countries of oppression feel when given a platform to voice their opinions and actively participate in social dialogue with one another online. The power of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook  can clearly be seen in the Egypt and Tunisia case studies, with mass protests organised and co-ordinated within a number of days.

However as much as it is about the power of social media, I think it is equally about the power of individuals. Individuals such as Mohamed Bouazizi and Khaled Mohamed Saeed provide the humanitarian catalyst that ultimately drives people to these protests. As Morozov (2011) states:

‘The collaborations between Tunisian and Egyptian cyber-activists -were not virtual… In a week , I crashed two workshops in Cairo, where bloggers, techies, and activists from both countries were present in person, sharing tips on how to engage in advocacy and circumvent censorship…One of these events was funded by the US government and the other by George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.’

I’d love to hear your opinion, do you think the power of modern activism lies purely with social media? Or do you acknowledge that protests are the result of the curation of existing political and social constructs that are only aided by social media platforms and by no means exist in a digital vacuum.

Let me know in the comments below!

-Lizzellbee 🙂

References

Morozov, E 2011, ‘Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go’, The Guardian, 8 March, viewed 20 September, <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/07/facebook-twitter-revolutionaries-cyber-utopians&gt;

 

 

 

 

Extra! Extra! Legacy media is dying, read all about it!

 

 

My question to you is do you think that it’s important that we as individuals sort through information to get a bigger picture of what’s going on? Or do you think that we should we have some kind of service that helps us sort useful from useless content? However, perhaps this would just be another form of gatekeeping? Let me know in the comments below!

-Lizzellbee 🙂

References 

Bruns, A 2009,’News blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions for e-Journalism’, viewed 16 September 2017, <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/1083786/mod_resource/content/1/Bruns%2C%20A.%20-%20News%20Blogs%20and%20Citizen%20Journalism.pdf&gt;

 

 

 

 

Apple vs. Android- FIGHT TO THE DEATH!!

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Now I could take the above approach to the topic for this week and we could argue aimlessly over which phone is more aesthetically pleasing, has more features, etc but i’d like to propose a drastically more interesting fight. A fight of philosophies.

In corner number one say hello to apple! Champions of the closed ecology, these guys strongly believe in maintaining complete control over their products and content! before Apple came along… just one charger would suit all your device needs!

In corner number two we have Android! Champions of the open source platform. Android are strong advocates of  the permanent beta, and believe that control and aggregation of content should lie with you the user!

This is a much more valuable fight, addressing the fundamental reason why these companies clash. Ultimately it is the fight of open vs. closed philosophies that underpins the Android vs. Apple war.

Steve Jobs severely underestimated Google in saying that ‘[Android’s] just going to divide them.'(Markoff 2008) In that Android’s entire philosophy from the get go was to be a distributive platform and establish control through utilising the constantly evolving network of open source developers. Roth (2008) accurately captures this:

‘[Android] was just a framework waiting to be filled out by others. Google will supply the starter apps, but Android’s secret weapon is really the network effect’

I like to think that if the two philosophies were to embody themselves in women from the 1960’s, this would be the result.

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Which philosophy do you align yourself with? Do you prefer the safety of Apple’s walled garden, a conservative platform that’s easy to navigate but heavily controlled? Or are you a free-loving Android hippy that values creative freedom and the choice to change and develop aspects of your smartphone to suit your needs? Let me know in the comments below!

-Lizzellbee 🙂

References 

Roth, D 2008, ‘Google’s Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web’,WIRED,23 June, viewed 7 September, <https://www.wired.com/2008/06/ff-android/?currentPage=all&gt;.

Markoff, J 2008,’The Passion of Steve Jobs’, The New York Times, 15 January, viewed 5 September, <http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/15/the-passion-of-steve-jobs/&gt;

 

Naive Blogger | UOW Communications and Media Student |