‘Internet of Things’

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Before you ask, no, couldn’t find an appropriate facial expression from Ted to wiggle into this masterpiece.

‘IoT’ is predicted to encompass 6.4 billion devices by the end of 2016, and so there is a need for ‘investment in…bandwidth to cope with the information’ that each of these devices trades with. Maybe there’s not quite a necessity for such fervor as ‘The Internet of Things: it’s arrived and it’s eyeing your job‘ but it does pose the question: is Australia’s infrastructure up to the challenge?

The Australian‘s article on the topic suggests that while ‘Singapore, Barcelona and London’ are successfully ensuring they’re ready for the future of the internet, petty political squabbles and hindrances from both major parties have resulted in a lackluster NBN scheme. I guess only time, and the speed of NBN roll-out, will tell how able we will be to embrace the current ‘internet of things’ evolution. Personally, from my experience, my NBN connection is crippled most of the evening and the advertised speeds are rarely approached due to congestion, so the more people being connected isn’t going to be a boon for us existing NBN customers.

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TRUST NO-ONE

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Okay I’ll admit, I’m kinda proud of this one.

Despite reading like the plot to a terrible spy movie, the trope of “it goes all the way to the TOP!” conspiracy theory is more real and disconcerting than many are comfortable thinking about. Not just confined to a country, nae, the world’s governments, there’s of course other threats to personal privacy and information in the form of hackers. Utilizing their skills plus discretely advertised botnet services, these individuals can potential pose a risk to the liberties of all internet denizens.

The ‘sock puppet’ is another technique reportedly employed by government agents to steer discourse as desired. Others, such as Tom MacMaster from University of Edinburgh, set up fake accounts to send strong political messages. His alias ‘Amina Arraf’ was created to ‘give his ideas credibility’. While not nefarious, his deceit calls into question many online personas and makes me question how ‘real’ some actually are.

 

The HackerMen

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As an Australian, I do feel a certain pride in fellow countryman Julian Assange’s  exploits. Obviously with the Australian government playing lackey to the United States, there was no hope for him ever facing trial here. With the playing field of hacktivism spanning the globe, the distributed networks truly knows no borders and so neither does the information contained on it. As a result, the actions of individuals in this network can have far-reaching consequences. If one node goes AWOL, it’s unlikely to result in the collapse of the network, but it can carry with it magnitude of data from its access point.

What I find interesting is that Assange and other whistle-blowers such as Manning and Snowden each differ in their backgrounds, ages, and motivations yet are all united by the banner of ‘whistle-blower’, a fiercely scrutinized label that governments fear and despise, but which aims to selflessly serves the average person. Like a government should.

I Purposefully The Internet

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Having already written lengthily about the Arab Spring, along with I assume any and every Media & Comms student worldwide, I’ll spare you that rundown (UPDATE: 18/10/16 No I won’t, here’s a link to said piece). What is perhaps more interesting, is what the social media landscape in, say, Egypt is like today. According to this article, things aren’t all peachy yet.

The current government  hasn’t  kept ‘the promise of the uprising’ sincerely, as dissident reporters and commentators are kept under a watchful eye. They have managed to strong-arm service providers into killing their connections, or even disclosing personal information about that individual. The BBC corroborates this fear, stating that media freedom campaigners make it clear that the ‘successive governments have been intent on controlling the media and have not hesitated to clamp down on journalists.’

 

 

The Journalistic Transformation

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With the value of information increasing as more sources corroborate it and verify it, the internet as an infrastructure and platform is uniquely positioned to challenge traditional media channels for dominance. This ‘news-as-process’ paradigm shift allows information to evolve and spread with previously unheard of vigor. Another way to think of this, as Ted so eloquently put it, is journalism as a ‘bridge of pebbles’. Individually, they’re worthless, but aggregated the snippets of information build a narrative much quicker than traditional media could hope.

The ‘gatewatcher’ is a construct used to picture the approval process for user-driven news. These gatewatchers are normal users, mostly, who constructively sort information and add it to the pile. Sure, there are administrators but they mostly weed out blatantly undesirable content. NeoGAF, for example, has admins that for all intents keep the peace and make sure discussion is respectful. A ‘gatekeeper’ has higher standards and is selective, then publishes that information.