The Internet of Things: A Work in Progress

Over the last 12 weeks we have jumped into the digital world head first uncovering the deep truths of the Internet and what it hides. But today we uncover the last link of the Internet and that is…

THE INTERNET OF THINGS.

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. (Rouse, 2016)

This week’s lecture focused on how the development of the Internet of things has changed over time, thereby ‘transforming it [the Internet] from being a mostly intangible collection of data to encompass ‘things’ that people can touch’ (McDonald, 2012)

Meaning everyday objects can become active participants within our daily lives. I decide to dabble in this with the only connection I have. Siri. I talked to Siri as if she were an object with a mind of it’s own, which in a sense she is.

I believe that though technology is changing and we are moving towards objects that have the ability to communicate with us, and one that I have communication with is Siri. The barrier that was once blocking effective communication with our devices changed when Siri was introduced and was able to understand our commands and talk back to us. Though it’s not always effective and Siri does have trouble understanding what you want, she is the start of the new movement.

Dark Fibre

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I think it’s safe to say, we all hold false hope when it comes to being online in this day and age. Our parents constantly fear for us being online as frequently as we are, but it is as if we have been whitewashed into believing that the Internet is somewhat of a safe place where we can place all our details and our darkest secrets in a weird hope that no one will ever think to hack and take the information to use against us. Believing there is no dark side to the Internet.

But that’s were we are wrong, this weeks topic showcases the other side of the Internet, dark fibre referred to as the unused or ‘dark’ network infrastructure. The ‘dark fibre’ movement looks at the worst of the Internet, a movement involving hackers, botnets and cyberwar.

This does sound like it couldn’t be real, but the reality of it is, as the world has changed and the digital world has grown we’ve witnessed the rise in hacktivism take over. We’ve seen Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and the group Anonymous take over as they do their bit to help protect the public by releasing classified documents.

However, it is not just people who are linked closely to the government who can take this power into their own. People using botnets and other tools for hacking, which can be purchased are able to use it on everyday people, gaining personal information and using it against them without permission. Buying these products are not expensive at all and can be obtained with ease.

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Much like anything else, the Internet is a scary place and must be used with caution. So the next time you place your personal details on the net, think twice about whether it is really necessary.

Hacktivism – Good or Bad?

Hacktivism is the act of hacking, breaking into a computer system, for a politically or socially motivated purpose. The individual who performs an act of hacktivism is said to be a hacktivist. (Rouse, 2007)

Hackitism has been around for decades, starting with Marian Rejewski (Polish Mathematician) and Alan Turing during the Second World War with iterations of the enigma. This has created the foundation to what we know as hacktivism today, much like hackers, hacktivists use the same techniques to gain information by disrupting services and bring attention to social and political issues.

There are many cases where people have used hacktivism as a way to bring to light information that is being hidden to the public, the most known case would be that regarding Wikileaks and Edward Snowden. Former CIA employee Edward Snowden, leaked private government documents to the public, this case much like many others have sparked the debate over whether hacktivism is a criminal offence or not.

The debate on the topic takes two sides, one of which is against hacktivism, relaying it as an act that is damaging to the public as well as having the ability to cause harm. On the other side of the debate hacktivism is seen as a form of free speech, allowing those to use it as a form of protest against an organisation or government to spark change.

Anonymous has now become the face of hackivism has the icon has been used in various protest regarding different political and social situations. Hacktivism if done correctly and taken the precautions were needed can be effective and cause minimal harm, however, if done without care can cause serious backlash from other parties involved.

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#HashtagRevolution

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Social media has been used as a tool to create change on many occasions, however the most successful attempts have been for activism campaigns. Social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram have all been used to grab the attention of a wider audience and display a message of concern and need for help and change. The cross broader impact that such social media campaigns have on the situation at hand are enormous, allowing companies and people from all parts of the world to have their part.

The #mena #arabsrping and #maidan are just a few of the campaigns that were mentioned in this weeks topic of social network revolutions, however there have been many more such as the Peter Greste case, of the Australian journalist being jailed in Egypt. A social media campaign was launched for his freedom, attracting the eye of many famous celebrities as well as the Australian public and the rest of the world.

Though there are many social media campaigns that don’t have the greatest impact, much like the Yemen campaign there are many more that do their create a direct impact and call for the help of others as well as a widespread change.

Pebbles of a Bridge

 

I created this video last year in response to citizen journalism and I feel that it is fitting as to recap citizen journalism as a whole but then use as an expansion on the notion of gatewatching and social media. Identifying how these have effected and changed what we have come to know citizen journalism and traditional journalism as.

Over the years the increase of citizens posting about news events on social media has taken the traditional media by storm.

[Twitter] was built entirely out 140 character messages but sum total of those tweets added up to something truly substantive, like a suspension bridge made of pebbles.

– Steven Johnson

With the expansion of such media platforms like Twitter, Reddit and Facebook the speed at which news and updates can be received is higher. Therefore allowing the explosion of information and the speed at which its accessed becomes more valuable. The example of social media coming into play by citizen journalists can be best seen through the Boston Bombings back in 2013. For obvious reasons the speed at which The New York Times could capture the fact and figures of the situation lacked tremendously and often portrayed inaccurate information. Whereas the coverage seen on Reddit was accurate and fast. However, there has been some backlash on the situation stated by The New York Times.

Although, in the light of more social media being used to convey news stories and any other form of information, big news corporations have taken to creating their own social media accounts as to keep up with changing times.

Oranges or Pears. Apples or Androids.

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That’s the question…?

There is a common misconception when talk about the “battle” of iPhone vs. Android, often it is thought as which one looks better, have better functionalities and so forth. However, the main debate over the two products is not about the products themselves but more to do with the software each of them possesses. This is better known as a close or open system.  Therefore the angle has shifted to the preference of comfort or freedom.

Now if you are an Apple user, you’re living in the constructs of a walled garden. Apple’s software works on a closed platform whereby no one is able to copy or reconstruct their operating system, meaning Apple maintains control over the platform, and it’s content and the user.

This is a direct contrast to the Android operating systems as they work on an open platform, whereby the use has the freedom to change and modify its operating system. Google have expanded this open system by introducing Google Play and other unofficial app markets where users can create their own apps and place them on these services. This allows for Google to have virtually no control over the platform, it’s content and the users.

I for one am an Apple user and like the comfort of it’s services, it allows for efficiency and connectivity among my other Apple devices, which makes my life a whole lot easier. Now I’m not disputing Android’s capabilities, perhaps if I knew how to work the system then I would prefer the freedom to create and produce content, but for my purposes this is not needed.

Therefore the questions remains do you prefer the comfort of Apple and it’s walled garden or the freedom on Google Android systems?

Let me know you thoughts below!