The Internet of Things

Ah, the last post of the semester. Let’s talk about the Internet of Things (IoT). Should I make the Game of Thrones reference now, or save it for later? As suggested by it’s name, the IoT is not just one little thing. It’s made up of all the devices that connect the world around us- appliances, materials and personal technologies. Our IoT world is growing at a crazy rate- from 2 billion objects in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 2020. Thats almost 26 smart objects for every human on the planet!

Most IoT aren’t just found around the home or in your phone. They build up a lot of what we know in the world. These smart objects are giving major industries the vital information they need. The business and manufacturing industry utilises robotic machinery, where health care has moved onto electronic record keeping. Retail has things like inventory tracking and smart phone purchasing, where security have remote sensors. The transportation are able to use GPS locators and performance tracking. These smart objects are making life easier for people.

The meme I’ve made below showcases this, in a way. Yes, it’s just a movie but bits show the truth of today’s time. Charlie’s dad lost his job to a machine, that could do his previous job at a much faster rate. Not all hope was lost though. New technologies aren’t perfect and this machine showed that by breaking down, which made demand for a new type of job. They needed someone to fix it… charlie

Metadata and Cyber-Surveillance

Surveillance in cyberspace isn’t necessarily a new thing, we’re just becoming more aware of who is housing all of this information. Every move we’ve ever made in the internet has been tracked and stored somewhere. Only then, we didn’t know who had that information. The difference now is that we do, for the most part. Just remember though, just because information is being collected and stored, it doesn’t mean anything is really happening to it. No matter what the data is, it’s proved much cheaper to gather and store it than filter through it (Mitew, 2014).

This surveillance is making people more wary though. Are people beginning to feel unsafe when they access cyberspace? Early in the year, the Australian government passed a highly controversial data retention law that permits phone and internet providers to store up to two years worth of the users metadata. The laws permit a large number of security and policing agencies to access this metadata to thwart acts of terrorism and prevent serious crime.

Do you think it will work?

Reference:

Mitew, T 2014, Dark Fiber: Hackers, Botnets, Cyberwar [Part 1], Online Video, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNRjkVVYOzE&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j&index=39

Digital Resistance

The world went crazy a few months back when a group of faceless hackers revealed all the private details of a highly controversial dating site. The Ashley Madison hack may not be the biggest hack, but it has been one with some of the most consequences. Sure, you might have been worried when Sony was hacked, or people could see you iCloud photos, but this hack was next level. This team of hackers shared around 300gigabytes worth of files, which included account and log in details for some 32 million users. 7 years worth of credit card/ other payments details were also apart of this data dump. Some say this isn’t just an act of hacktivism, but an act of criminality as well.

Untitled InfographicReference:

Davis, Dai. ‘Hacktivism: Good Or Evil?’. ComputerWeekly. N.p., 2015. <http://www.computerweekly.com/opinion/Hacktivism-Good-or-Evil&gt;

Zetter, Kim. ‘Hackers Finally Post Stolen Ashley Madison Data’. WIRED. N.p., 2015. <http://www.wired.com/2015/08/happened-hackers-posted-stolen-ashley-madison-data/&gt;

McHugh, Molly. ‘The Dangers Of Looking At Ashley Madison Hack Infographics’. WIRED. N.p., 2015. <http://www.wired.com/2015/09/dangers-looking-ashley-madison-hack-infographics/&gt;

Social Network Revolutions

Digital activism is where digital tools are used to bring about social or political change and citizens of all nations are more inspired now than they have been before. The ease of social media and the instantaneous nature of sharing posts and videos is allowing for things to go viral, and fast. Online activism is quickly becoming popular thanks to things like fast mobilisation, mass involvement and scalable openness, and anyone who has access to the internet can get involved. The little infographic below just details some popular social media campaigns.

Untitled Infographic (1)

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, I first heard about the #BlackLivesMatter campaign through Tumblr, and that was solely because of mass involvement. So many people were reblogging and sharing these posts, at such a fast rate, that it was hard to ignore what was happening on the other side of the world. It took a little while, but traditional media sources eventually started reporting on the issues, while still utilising the already developed tag.

I will admit that I was really skeptical of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge when I saw it all over my Facebook feed. I think it’s safe to say it was a success though. The videos were still being made months after the campaign was being introduced and I even still occasionally see a video or two being shared around.

The Facebook profile filter was a fairly recent campaign, but the stats shown above show it was quite a success. Over 26 million Facebook users joined in to show their support to the LGQBT+ community. While some only had this as their profile picture for a day or two, the message was still spread out to the wider community.

Tumblr as a Gatewatcher

I will admit that I’m still a huge lover of Tumblr. I probably would have been in Year 9 when I made my first ever Tumblr account. I don’t even remember what I would have done on there at that time… I do remember my friends at school never knowing what it really was whenever I spoke about it though, but it was always so hard to explain. Back then it was more of a place to share around nice photos and random memes, but now-a-days it’s so much more.

Sure, there’s still the blogs that only post memes and gifs, but there’s also blogs on there hoping to make a difference. I first became aware of the trend #BlackLivesMatter through the people I follow on Tumblr. There was almost no coverage of it in Australian news, and I liked the personal touch that came with it. We were no longer receiving the cold, hard facts. We were experiencing different people’s stories and they were sharing their experiences of what was happening half a world away. These users are acting as gatewatchers, and as Axel Bruns explains, we are “relying less on first-hand investigative research and the ability to compose succinct news stories, and more on information search and retrieval skills especially in online environments

Untitled Infographic

Reference:

Mitew, T., 2014, ‘Bridges Made of Pebbles — Social Media and the Rise of Gatewatchers’, Lecture /YouTube Video, DIGC202, University of Wollongong, 15 September 2014, via <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1wlVOQA8y8&index=28&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j>

Miller, Julie. ’12 Interesting And Business-Leveraging Facts About Tumblr’. LevelTen Dallas, TX. N.p., 2015. <http://getlevelten.com/blog/julie-miller/12-interesting-and-business-leveraging-facts-about-tumblr> 

The Battle Continues…

Ah, the age old debate. Apple vs Android? Will it ever end? Probably not…

In the video above, my brother (Android Fanboy) and I (Apple Addict) had a little friendly competition over whose device was better*. We thought we would see which phone had the best shortcuts (unlocking device and opening camera) before the LG G4 put my iPhone 6 to shame. The open nature of android devices lets users do things such as have animated backgrounds (this is now available on iPhone 6S’), change the font and even have multiple active screens open.

While Apple does have some redeeming qualities (easy to use and navigate, good quality camera, and seamlessly (debatable) syncing to other Apple devices), you have to wonder if the closed nature of iOS is driving users away. For more information about locked devices and generative platforms, take a look at this post from last semester.

*not accurate results.

The Keeper of Keys

As society picked up on the existence and potential of cyberspace around the 90’s, it turned from a niche attraction that was only accessed by some to an extremely mainstream place. It would actually probably be difficult to find someone who doesn’t use the internet for one thing or another these days. As cyberspace became more competitive and commercialised, the Walled Garden was introduced. Companies began to think it might be wise to control the content they were creating.

Apple, just one of many companies, did it by limiting who can ultimately access particular apps, content and media on their smartphone and other devices. They even took control of the software that, for the most part, stops these devices from getting viruses. You can read more about that here and here. These walled gardens are in place for the user and creates a safe and protected environment in a place that is actually full of free-flowing information. They’re there to help you too, though. “Oh, you want to view this web page? How about you download our free app from the App Store and take a look at it on there…” Not a day goes by where I’m not asked to be redirected to an app that will take up much needed storage space.