The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents an evolution in which objects are capable of interacting with other objects. Hotels can adjust temperature and lighting according to a guest’s preferences, being able to instantly address factories’ production line issues, activating your car without even having to be near it, to name just a few examples (IBM n.d). In its simplest term, the Internet of things means just an environment that assembles information from multiple devices such as computers, vehicles, smartphones, traffic lights, and almost anything with a sensor and applications which are basically anything from a social app like Twitter to an e-commerce platform (Gruman 2013).

This is when the “Internet” comes into pictures. You don’t need the internet itself or an always-on network connection to be able to access the data. The Internet only means the “backbone” of an Internet of things. From there, you will need a software whether automated, semi-automated or even human controlled to be able to analyze, act and process the information received. The fun part of Internet of things is when users combine information from devices and other systems (Gruman 2013).

An Internet of things doesn’t necessarily have to involve big data. There are small data uses too. Take for example, running an app like Foursquare that monitors users locations takes an existing set of devices (smartphones), their sensors (location data), and their network connectivity to aggregate information to a data center somewhere in the cloud that uses that information for, in this case, ad delivery and market research. It’s an example of how the Internet of things can simply be an application taking advantage of today’s connected environment.

In many ways, the Internet has become a digital world that has gateways into our physical world. The Internet of things takes that concept to the next level, allowing multiple worlds — some connected to others, some not — that mash up physical and digital in all sorts of ways.

 

References:

Gruman, G 2013, “What the ‘internet of things’ really means”, Info World, accessed on 26/10/2014, http://www.infoworld.com/article/2614262/consumerization-of-it/what-the–internet-of-things–really-means.html

IBM n.d, “The Internet of Things”, accessed on 26/10/2014, http://www-01.ibm.com/software/info/internet-of-things/

Cybercrime – Copyright Infringement

In a digital age, where online communication has become the norm, internet users and governments face increased risks of becoming the targets of cyber attacks. Techopedia defines cybercrime as a crime in which a computer is the object of the crime (hacking, phishing, spamming, copyright infringement) or is used as a tool to commit an offence. Some of the offences that are commonly committed are such as theft of personal data, copyright infringement, fraud, child pornography, cyberstalking and bullying.

One of the common offence that we unconsciously commit is copyright infringement of illegal downloading. For every work created, a copyright protection is granted automatically. This is to protect rights and to give control to original authors/creators. We have heard so much about copyright. But what do they really mean?

Copyright is one of the types of intellectual property which refers to creations of the mind for which exclusive rights are recognized. According to University of Reading, copyright is defined as property right which subsists in virtually every kind of work (written, printed, electronic), as well as in the typographical arrangement of published editions, and in sound recordings, films, broadcasts or cable programmes.

As mentioned, copyright helps to protect original materials from being copied by other parties. For example, as students we were taught to write and submit original work. Albeit being in college/university for more than 3 years, your lecturer or professor would not stop emphasizing the important of not plagiarizing works from others. If fail to do so, you would be graded under academic dishonesty. Students are also reminded to not photocopy or bring any form of photocopied textbook in campus as it is also a form of copyright infringement.

In recent years, the music and film industry had deteriorate and both faced the common problem; piracy. The world as we see it now, technology plays a big part in our lives. I am very sure that almost everyone in the modern era is influenced by technology in their work and leisure doing. This had influenced people in good and bad ways. Producers and artists making a lot lesser money hence resulting in some who left the industry.

Many are not aware of how copyright works. Did you know? Fans who make fan videos to share it worldwide on YouTube just to show their love and support for their favorite artists, are in fact misusing copyrighted materials. Sharing image and videos that you found online and not giving at least the courtesy of credits to the original creators, is a form of copyrighting others’ materials.

People download music, videos and images online for many reasons. It is free, widely accessible and can be kept in their computer for a long period of time. It is a lot more convenient and saves up a lot of money; from time, car petrol and purchase item.

What is your take in this piece?

 

References:

Noel, W & Snel, J 2012, ‘Copyright Matters! Some Key Questions & Answers for Teachers’ Canadian Teacher’s Federation, accessed on 15/10/2014 http://cmec.ca/Publications/Lists/Publications/Attachments/291/Copyright_Matters.pdf

Techopedia 2014, ‘Cybercrime’, accessed on 15/10/2014, http://www.techopedia.com/definition/2387/cybercrime

Wikileaks – Ethical or Not?

In 1982, the movie, War Games lead a popular culture, hacking was then introduced to the world. Immediately, after, many movies of similar plot were then initiated. The word hacktivism is a combination of the word hack and activism. It is the use of computers and computer networks to promote political ends, free speech and human rights. Under the use of technology, hacktivism produces similar results to conventional acts of protests and activism. One of a good example of hacktivism is Wikileaks.

Wikileaks is a non-profit media organisation dedicated to bringing important news and information to the public, managed by editor, Julian Assange. Wikileaks publishes materials of ethical, political and historical significance while keeping the identity of sources, anonymous. (Wikileaks 2011) They managed to hack their way into many secure systems and released confidential information from the US government’s database. Since then, the US government have been on the hunt for Julian Assange. To no avail, Assange got away from the grasp of America by holding himself up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in England. In 25th July 2010, when Wikileaks first released its first document, a 75,000 pages of internal U.S military documents from the war in Afghanistan, it immediately became the center of an international storm (Coddington 2012).

Now here comes the infamous debate. Is it ethical to do so? In the immediate aftermath of the disclosures released, government and NGO officials claimed that it would harm national security and diplomacy, including possibly putting individuals at risk. (Wells 2012) The leak of confidential information not only affects a certain country to lose its name but also loses its credibility and putting it at risk. Should the credibility of these anonymous that gives out these confidential information be questioned? Wikileaks can be a hit or miss to many. Personally, its a miss for me. Wikileaks brings about controversy – it shapes and changes our perceptions. Somethings are better left unsaid and if the truth would bring potential danger, one should not know about it either.

 

References:

Coddington, M 2012, ‘Defending a Paradigm by Patrolling a Boundary: Two Global Newspapers’ Approach to WikiLeaks’, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 2012, pp382-383, accessed 9/10/2014,https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/195077/mod_resource/content/1/Week2_Coddington2012-AssangeBoundary.pdf

Wells, C 2012, ‘Contextualizing Disclosure’s Effects: WikiLeaks, Balancing, and the First Amendment’ accessed 9/10/2014, http://www.uiowa.edu/~ilr/bulletin/ILRB_97_Wells.pdf

Wikileaks 2011, ‘About’, accessed on 9/10/2014, https://wikileaks.org/About.html

Social Media Revolutions

The many technological advancements and innovations that have revolutionized how individuals communicate, how abundance of information becomes available to everyone on the internet. It is no doubt that the role of social media is embedded into our daily lives. There is really no reason why one would not succumb to social media. It has no in-built filter, no cost of entry, ubiquitous connectivity, high participation and immediacy. As a result, unconsciously, you realize that your participation in social media becomes addictive and that you want your voice to be heard.

Public information supplied by social networking websites has played an important role during modern-day activism, especially to Arab Spring. Many activists communicates and disseminate information via social networks, utilizing it as a key tool in expressing their thoughts in related to the injustice acts committed by the government.

Arab Spring is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests, riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on 18th December 2010 and spread throughout the countries of the Arab League and its surroundings. Facebook was used to organize protests and spread awareness. On the other hand, Twitter and Youtube was used as a tool to inform to the world the current happenings of Arab Spring.

Through the power of social media, it allowed Arab Spring activists to gain powerful dictatorship and confidence. Being capable of sharing a boundless amount of uncensored and accurate information throughout social media brings the biggest contribution to the success of Arab Spring. Arab civilians also becomes attentive of the underground communities that exist and are aware of people out there who are willing to listen to their stories.

Arab Spring wasn’t caused by the new platforms of social media but instead played an important role of communication that aids the revolution in the long run (Kassim 2012).

 

References:

Kassim, S 2012, “Twitter Revolution: How the Arab Spring Was Helped By Social Media”, accessed on 8/10/2014, http://mic.com/articles/10642/twitter-revolution-how-the-arab-spring-was-helped-by-social-media

Social Media & Citizen Journalism

In less than a decade ago, social media has made its way to play an important role in our daily lives, changing our culture, changing the way we communicate with one another and changing the way we share and obtain information. The intervention of social media became a daily routine. Unconsciously, people spend more than three hours a day on social media platforms, browsing for just about everything imaginable. From breaking news, finding new jobs, to who we vote and how we shop, social media is changing the world as we know it.

Technology today had truly affected the way news is disseminated. Before the social media, people rely on newspaper and the television to receive news and latest happenings in the country and around the world. One of the common issue journalists of today faces is citizen journalism. ‘Citizen journalism’ refers to a range of web-based practices whereby
‘ordinary’ users engage in journalistic practices such as current affairs-based blogging, photo and video sharing, and posting eyewitness commentary on current events (Goode 2009). The content of traditional news were pretty much controlled by traditional media via gatekeepers.

With social media, there were no gatekeepers nor gatekeeping needed. It is free for all with no accountability. Malaysiakini.com is one of Malaysia’s famous citizen journalism. Launched in 20th November 1999, offering daily news and views in English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil with an analytic of 40 million page views and 1 million hours of reading time to over 2 million absolute unique vistors (Google Analytics, Jan 2012).

Malaysiakini aims to provide fast, accurate, independent, well informed and diverse news to the public with no hidden truth and absolute honesty about the country by selected citizen journalists. The downside of citizen journalism is that untrained writers may write from their own experiences rather than seeing themselves as conduits of information in the public interest. Citizen journalists may not be able to have a firm stand on a neutral perspective and report the facts objectively, leaving many readers, listeners or viewers to come to their own conclusion.

In my honest opinion, the credibility and news source obtained from citizen journalists remains unclear. Traditional journalists are trained professionals to disseminated information and news to the public with complete truth, fairness and accuracy. Social media may act as a news platform but sources that were obtained is unidentified and not credible. As Barnes (2012) argues, that when it comes to issues of ethics, those who are untrained are unable to understand that there must be certain guidelines to which news dissemination must adhere and certain principles that must not be compromised.

“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth,” – Pablo Picasso.

 

References:

Barnes, C 2012, ‘Citizen Journalism vs. Traditional Journalism: A Case for Collaboration’,Carribean Quarterly, vol.58, no.2, pp16-27, accessed 5/10/2014, ProQuest Central database.

Goode, L 2009, ‘Social news, citizen journalism and democracy’, New Media Society, vol.8, no.11, pp1287-1305, accessed 5/10/2014,  Sage Publications.

Malaysiakini, 2014, accessed 5/10/2014, http://www.malaysiakini.com/

The Battle Between Two: Apple vs. Android

I’ve been an Apple user for precisely 3 years, 7 months and 4 days now! The Apple iPhone is also the first phone that I saved all my money for. I’m sure it’s obvious by now that I am a loyal Apple user. I love the iPhone for many reasons. It’s sleek, professional look, easy navigation, offers vibrant graphic colour and absolutely love how thin it is.

Up till date, there are easily more than 80 Android phones across the globe. There is a wide array of Android phones available in the market for consumer to choose and pretty sure there should be a right one for you. The exclusivity of iPhone is what made it special. The iPhone is the only iOS smartphone produced by Apple and no other companies is able to make the exact same iOS like how Apple Inc. does. No matter how many imitations of iPhone there are out there, you won’t be able to find the same one.

As discussed in last week’s post, the iOS is a closed platform. Apple’s iPhone comes as a pre-programmed phone and the functionality of an iPhone is locked which means users are not able to make changes to it unless Apple releases a new software update. This is to ensure that hackers would not be able to make its way to access the operating system hence protecting the users. Apple products are well known for its amazing capability of not easily being attacked by virus or trojans. I guess this was one of the reason why many users are also converting their laptop from Windows to Apple.

Although Android enables users customization to be done to the user’s liking, I certainly do not think there is a need. I personally prefer how everything is already done and restricted so I do not need to figure out how I should customize my phone.

I’m certainly an Apple girl!

Feudalism: Walled Garden

As Mitew (2014) explains, feudalism is a vague and widely contested term that describes a patchwork of practices over centuries the relationship between lord and vassal, organized around property and allegiance. The Internet today is occupied by many media corporation that undertakes to construct their own limited base which requires users to pay to acquire access to their information.

Known as the ‘Walled Gardens’, a software system where the carrier or service provider possess control over applications, content and media and restricts convenient access to non-approved applications or content. The concept of walled garden can further be illustrated with the example of Apple as the carrier.

Apple’s iPhone comes as a pre-programmed phone and the functionality of an iPhone is locked which means users are not able to make changes to it unless Apple releases a new software update. This being said, users are trapped in Apple’s walled garden. However, to escape, users can always jailbreak their iPhone’s and this would not limit users to only download applications from App Store but from other databases as well such as Installous (which was one of the leading place for jailbreakers to download paid apps from but it was then shut down since 2012) or App Cake.

Apple is restricted to running pre-approving applications from a digital distribution service. Jailbreaking may be fun as it allows users to customize everything to their needs and wants. As I’ve personally own a jailbroken phone before, it is very inevitably very laggy to an extent, the iPhone hang even when you are not using it. I guess to own a customizable phone of your own may be fun but the price to pay comes a very lagged phone. Thus, resulting many to restore their phone back to original. This is where Apple is a smart business. You can escape Apple’s walled garden but at the end of the day, you will still be back in it.

 

References:

Hanacek, J 2014, “Beyond Network Feudalism”, Huffington Post, accessed on 13/9/2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-hanacek/beyond-network-feudalism_b_5173249.html

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