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