Where will we go with the Internet of Things?

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It has been the dream of many people, for so many years, to have a self thinking house, however knowing that it may be possible very soon, it may not be what we all expect.

If everything is connected, what will happen in the future? People and countries will become vulnerable to cyber attacks. Everything that is being put online is meant to help us in some way but there will no longer be security nor privacy, as everything will be online and open to attack. This idea of everything being online is the basis for The Internet of Things, and that all ‘machines’ will become inter connected for easier use and access.

There are so many uses for the Internet of Things that we haven’t even thought of yet. There are just as many that are already out there and that we don’t know about, for example the pigeon that blogs (Bleecker, J 2006), it sounded pointless to me at first, but when you realise that this flock of birds is providing information about air quality, it becomes a really useful idea. There are so many other possibilities that this phenomenon could create but is it worth losing privacy and security for this to happen? Or is it possible that security measures will be created so that our lives begin to revolve around the Internet of Things.

The reality of cyber attacks

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Cyber attacks are becoming prevalent every day and what is worrying is that there is no way to know who responsible groups will attack next. Many of these ‘cyber attackers’ don’t even know the identities of the other members  within a group, which makes it hard for authorities to stop these hacking groups and prosecute them, as well as the members being based in multiple countries.

LulzSec is one of these groups who made headlines while hacking into websites, planting fake stories as well as much more serious attacks (Arthur, C 2013). Their intentions were to embarrass and show weaknesses in security  features, however they posted private information about people online and caused havoc for many different companies. The actions of this particular group were cyber attacks, as they did not have any noble intentions to ‘release information’, and their attacks created a danger to populations.

Different types of cyber attacks are occurring everyday, whether that is hacking into personal computers, releasing private information of people online or as far as hacking into a different countries websites, and either disabling them, or attacking a country directly through the web. Of course some people may believe these hackers are doing the right thing, but there is a massive difference between hacktivism and cyber attacks. Cyber attacks are putting people in danger and have the possibility to start cyber wars. There are so many different groups out on the web carrying out different cyber attacks for different reasons, and there is currently no way to stop them from happening, which is a scary thought.

What do you think about hacktivism?

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Hacktivism – good or bad? Whenever someone hears this word, they would most likely have a preconceived idea about the topic and whether it is a good or bad thing.

People automatically think about people hacking into their private files when they think about hackers but its not until hacktivism is explained to them that they begin to see a different side.

Khatchadourian, R. (2010)  discusses how WikiLeaks began and that their intentions are to release information that is being hidden from the public, and in most cases affects the public in some way. This is always the main intentions of hacktivists, to release information and the truth.

Many other ‘famous’ hacktivist groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec also have the same intentions when they hack. Their political motivations are evident in the information that is released. Their hacks however have both been called charitable or otherwise illegal depending on a persons views of hacktivism.

Social media use in revolutions

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It is important to note that social media has helped further protests in many countries, it was however not the only tool used in these revolutions as said by Morozov, E (2011).

Social media platforms have helped coordinate mass protests as have been seen in Ukraine with the ‘Euromaiden’ protests Bohdanova, T (2013) as well as many others around the world including ‘Arab Spring’ and ‘Occupy Wall Street’. Using these movements as examples, different platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are used in order to inform and mobilise people interested in and those supporting the movement. They also have the aim to get international attention to help the movement in succeeding.

People living in third world countries may believe that this is an easy way to organise a protest, however it is very important to know that in some other countries freedom of speech is illegal. In other countries where these types of revolutions have occurred such as in Egypt and Tunisia there are severe punishments where censorship is the law. In other parts of the world such as in America, these types of protests are not considered illegal or life threatening.

With the amount of “social media” revolutions occurring in this day and age it is naive to think they will all have positive outcomes. Sure the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ raised millions of dollars for ALS research but what about KONY2012? There was global recognition of the issue, however only for a short amount of time and there was no resolution of the issue. The different types of social media revolutions that have been seen in the past few years show that some have the ability to aid protests however others are only temporary and do not solve anything in the long term.

Who produces the news you see?

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The internet allows us all to be creators which is necessary because what you see on the the evening news has been produced in a way that attracts the masses. Producers make sure that there is enough variety to attract every type of person however this shows just how produced the news really is. Some different pieces of news may not be aired because it isn’t ‘interesting’ enough or wont be popular with the audience. This is where citizen journalism becomes necessary, because it is able to inform  people about what the mainstream media is intentionally leaving out of the news.

It is evident to see that citizen journalism is beginning to take over traditional forms of journalism as is mentioned in the Dr Axl Bruns (2009) article on News Blogs and Citizen Journalism. The aim of citizen journalism is to best inform the population which is also the aim of traditional media however we all have difficulties trusting what is said in traditional media as we know it’s produced to attract viewers. Citizen journalism allows for information to be publicised without the intention of pleasing all viewers, the only intention is to inform people of the truth.

 

Which system works best for you?

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Apple or Android? Each system has its lovers and its haters however both still have millions of users which shows that it is better suited for some than others. Everyone has their own opinion as to whether they prefer Apple or Android and this is because they have such different operating systems.

Apple is a closed system which does not allow users to add or improve the operating system without Apple’s approval or close monitoring. It also does not allow developers to use its technology, as only Apple products are able to use the software.

Android (developed by google) uses an open network which allows users to create for the company, and they also have their code as free software for anyone to improve or use. They also are part of the open handset alliance with over 80 other companies, which means the Android operating system is widely used with different operators.

The creators of each system fully oppose the other system as Apple said that Google had relinquished control of Android systems, while Google says that Apple is a walled garden.

So which operating system is better suited for you?

The Walled Garden

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The Walled Garden may sound like a nice little secret garden but it is actually the complete opposite. It’s used to describe online content which has been curated and is fundamentally no longer part of the internet due to its features. These sites are essentially closed, hierarchical and centralised and are therefore no longer in a distributed network like the rest of the internet. You may think this is some part of the dark web that you never use but it actually refers to pages such as Facebook, Amazon even the App store.

Sites like these keep data about their users, but what happens to this data? It is a scary thought that your private messages are being read and stored by a third party and that one day they may be released into the public. Also what you post is no longer yours as those who run these sites are able to take down content the believe ‘inappropriate’.  Most sites you sign up for online now ask you to link them to your Facebook account, which leads to even more sites having personal data than you may expect. So what personal information do these websites have on you?

The Long Tail Effect

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The long tail effect refers to markets where ‘hits’ are no longer the big money makers, its the niche markets that have more value. This effect has been seen with the popularisation of online stores. Having an online store means there is less to lose if items don’t sell and so gives the possibility of  niche markets to thrive.

Algorithms built into the websites are used to find similar content that may be unknown to some, and sends a user in the direction of new material. However the more users that find this content the more popular it will become, and profits will continue to grow. It may also allow users to find older content that may not be available in shops anymore.

The creation of these online stores has however caused many physical shops to go out of business. Borders bookshop was replaced by Amazon. Blockbuster videos have begun to go out of business due to sites like Netflix. Dick Smith has become a completely online shop because of low profits in physical stores. These changes show the effect the internet has had in the world of commerce and eased the possibility of finding different items online.

 

 

The Future of the Labor Force

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The workforce is not what it used to be, with the evolution of technology labor has also advanced in its own way. The developments of the labor force means there are new jobs which have been created as well as old ones which no longer exist.

Many jobs have either been replace with technology or robotics in order to save money or to save time, other jobs have been found to no longer be necessary. On the other hand future jobs may not even be imaginable because there have not yet been the technological advancements for the job to be needed.

Networks in labor, are now more powerful than ever due to decentralisation, this means that there are lower coordination costs and more efficient controls of a workforce in real time.

 

A New Kind of Network

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Networks have always been a part of society, however the networks we know today are nothing like those of the past. The use of online networks has allowed for the free flow of information. These online networks, or cyberspace, were created as a way of bringing all types of diverse communities together.

The characteristics of networks

Information passed through networks used to be temporary, however with the development of cyberspace, “warehouses of data”(Dyson, Gilder, Keyworth, Toffler, 1994) are beginning to be stored away, meaning information is no longer temporary nor private. The binary computer system is able to store all kinds of information and also make it available to any network.

References

Dyson, E., Gilder, G., Keyworth, G., Toffler, A. (1994) Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age