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  1. 1. Y490 Politics of the Internet November 15, 2011
  2. 2. Some of our original concerns: <ul><li>Does the Internet make it possible for there to be more diversity in the political views expressed in the public sphere? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we compare the media on the Internet to the media that were previously available? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the greater amount of user-generated content in blogs and social networks result in stronger democracies? </li></ul>
  3. 3. User-Generated Content and Applications <ul><li>Blogs and Vlogs </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 applications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other social networking sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>eBay </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Amazon reviews </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>IMDB reviews and other content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Craigslist </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wikipedia </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Flickr </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Long Tail Hypothesis Pareto Distribution (aka Power Law)
  5. 5. Another Way to Look at the Long Tail
  6. 6. Questions <ul><li>Will the people on the left side of the long curve be hurt by the people on the right side? If so, what is gained and lost? </li></ul><ul><li>Does bad behavior by the little guys ruin it for everybody? </li></ul><ul><li>How can people protect themselves against network mischief? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Zittrain Contrasts PCs with iPhones PC iPhone Type of Technology Generative Appliancized/ Tethered Type of Software Open Proprietary Type of Network Anarchic Controlled
  8. 8. Definition of Generativity <ul><li>“… a system’s capacity to produce unanticipated change through unfiltered contributions from broad and varied audiences…” (p. 70) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Features of a Generative System (pp. 71-73) <ul><li>Leverage </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptability </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of mastery </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibiity </li></ul><ul><li>Transferabiity </li></ul>
  10. 10. Basic Propositions (Zittrain, p. 64) <ul><li>The IT ecosystem functions best with generative technology at its core. </li></ul><ul><li>Generativity instigates a pattern both within and beyond the technological layers of the IT ecosystem. </li></ul><ul><li>Proponents of generative IT systems ignore the drawbacks attendant to generativity’s success at their peril. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Layer Model <ul><li>Highest: Content </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediate High: applications </li></ul><ul><li>Intermediate Low: operating systems </li></ul><ul><li>Lowest: physical </li></ul>
  12. 12. Advantages of Layers <ul><li>Engineers can tinker with one layer without necessarily affecting the other layers. </li></ul><ul><li>The hourglass shape means that there is lots of room for innovation above and below the operating systems and protocols levels. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Problems with Generative Technologies and Anarchic Networks <ul><li>Malware: worms, viruses, trojan horses </li></ul><ul><li>Incompatibilities in hardware and software which create difficulties for beginners (steep learning curves) </li></ul><ul><li>Use by criminals, political extremists, hate mongers, pornographers, child molesters, cyberstalkers </li></ul><ul><li>Vulnerability to cyber attacks of various kinds that go beyond malware (e.g. denial of service attacks, identity theft) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Identity Theft <ul><li>The blanket term for any type of crime wherein the offender uses another individual’s legitimate personal information to commit acts of fraud or deception, typically for illicit financial gain </li></ul><ul><li>Where a person’s identification details are obtained through various covert methods, from rifling through the contents of household dustbins to “phishing.’ </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Phishing is a form of fraud where the criminal pretends to be a reputable organization that needs information about some business you may have done with them </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Identity Theft and Fraud <ul><li>Identity theft is not really a specific kind of fraud, but an act that leads a person to be able to commit fraud </li></ul><ul><li>Fraud generally is the attempt to convince for any reason that you are someone other then yourself. </li></ul>FTC video on identity theft
  16. 16. Examples of Hate Speech on the Internet <ul><li>Nazis and Neo-Nazis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sale of Nazi objects (involving EBay) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>French policies (involving Yahoo based sales of Nazi stuff) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hate groups </li></ul><ul><li>Hate Watch </li></ul>
  17. 17. Dangers Inherent in Tethered Systems <ul><li>Network service can reprogram appliances at will (through their periodic updating of appliance software) </li></ul><ul><li>Some appliances can record private information and make it available to those with access to the network (police for example) </li></ul><ul><li>Tethered networks can be used for censorship </li></ul>Controversy over Amazon e-books
  18. 18. Examples of Censorship on Tethered Networks <ul><li>Skype in China is used to censor words like Falun Gong and Dalai Lama </li></ul><ul><li>Google.cn makes searches for Falun Gong and Tibet fail </li></ul><ul><li>FBI can use OnStar for surveillance </li></ul><ul><li>Use of cameras in mobile phones? </li></ul>Flexispy software for cell phones
  19. 19. The News Corporation Scandal <ul><li>News of the World tabloid in UK hacks into cell phones of Prince Harry and others to get sensational stories </li></ul><ul><li>Photo of Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party </li></ul><ul><li>2002 kidnap and murder of a British schoolgirl, Milly Dowler </li></ul><ul><li>Exposure of top level News Corporation approval of illegal phone hacking in 2011 </li></ul>
  20. 20. Should Cell Phones Networks be more like the PC-Based Internet? <ul><li>Cell phone operators clearly are opposed to this </li></ul><ul><li>Should “net neutrality” be extended to cell phone networks? </li></ul><ul><li>Should we personally favor PC-like Google-Android platforms over more tethered platforms like Apple’s iTunes, iPod, iPhone, iPad? </li></ul>