Friday, March 18, 2011
This week we are looking at ways that the Internet is impacting traditional media outlets like newspapers and TV, and how journalism has been affected by the rise of Internet and blogging. These include what some see as a negative impact that is killing journalism, TV, and papers, and what others say are innovations in sharing news and information with new and broader audiences.
For your next prompt, I'm going to leave this one open. You may comment on any aspect of the readings, though keep your topic focused (perhaps to just one type of media outlet, like newspapers OR TV) and, as always, take a position on your topic with solid evidence and reasoning.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Once again, I have not followed too much of this Wikileaks stuff, so I feel a bit out of the loop. But if I could compare what I do know to Wikileaks, I'd say it's similar to those cop dramas - NCIS in particular - when they go looking for a mole in their midst.
"Top managers need to have the mindset that information security is important and work collaboratively across internal divisions to preemptively plug sources of potential leaks."So, is Wikileaks valuable to democracy? I think not. In fact it is quite dangerous - not only in a business sense, as the above quote would suggest, but also when considering national security. Take, for example, the reconnaissance plane that went down in China. US Troops were unable to physically destroy the hardware, and the Chinese were able to successfully restore some, if not all, of the information on the hard drive. While the plane crash was an unfortunate accident, it goes to show what the right information could do in the wrong hands. It forced us to create new strategy and a new operating system, built better than the one before it.
While premeditated leaks and other types of unauthorized disclosures are nothing new, he adds, digital technology makes it much easier for "one disgruntled individual" to unleash massive troves of information almost instantaneously.Like the above quote suggests, all it takes is one ticked off employee for your most precious information to be posted on the internet for all to see - and that doesn't just mean your strategy, but also your private, internal emails. I don't think that person is entirely to blame though. In The WikiLeaks Battle: Should Information Be Shared or Censored?, it's mentioned that Julian Assange isn't the one responsible for posting all the information he had - it is instead the fault of the people who gave it all to him. I agree with this 100%, and feel that leaks need to be prevented at the source to better protect our democracy. There are things we don't know, and it's for a good reason. I agree with some of the posts before mine, meaning that we want those secrets kept for our own safety!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I believe the answer is yes. It creates a dangerous atmosphere for the American society and for the government as well. It allows our nation to become susceptible to attacks, and the safety of the people becomes jeopardized. WikiLeaks create issues of trust and communication between officials, and with other countries as well. As a nation, we should be confident that our privacy of certain resources will not be shared. Our nation is seen as strong and by having WikiLeaks, it makes us loose that strength and become vulnerable to threats, leaving our trust in our defense tactics broken.
This information that is being supplied to everyone is the cause of careless flaws inside the government itself. Yes, some information does need to be displayed for the people to see, but not everything. It shouldn’t have to be leaked into cyberspace from anonymous sources. It wasn’t told for a reason, and possibly because of protection reasons.
Although WikiLeaks are not the only thing that is creating a tense atmosphere in society, I believe that it can add to what’s already being done. WikiLeaks can have a greater effect toward the war in the Middle East and can even backfire on us. Security is a big issue already; do we really need to add more fuel to the fire with WikiLeaks?
Hacktivisim, as the word implies, is a contemporary form of protest utilizing modern technology and techniques to "fight back" against contemporary societal problems. In parallel with its lo-fi ancestor the sit-in, hacktivist actions haven't been as successful as planned at their outset. Sure, Anonymous was able to cripple the sites of Visa and Mastercard and eBay and the Swiss Government to show support for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. What was the effect? The companies' sites were down for a few hours (the credit card companies were still able to process transactions) and the mainstream media had its headlines for the evening news. Have average Americans across the country started shredding their Visa cards or stopped bidding on eBay in support of Assange and his quest for free information? Not likely. And I doubt many ever will.
The Economist article "The rights and wrongs of hacktivisim" argues that "protestors in cyberspace are usually anonymous and untraceable ... disqualifying them from protection". The argument of your protection or "rightness" is irrelevant when the effect of your actions is almost nonexistent. The lunch counter sit-ins were not successful solely because of their size or their duration. They were successful because people from thousands of miles away saw enough of themselves in the protesters and their blight that they were driven to take up the protest themselves. Without that human connection anonymous hacktivists will remain the shadowy figure in the darkness failing to build the support a protest requires, failing to change the norm.
"While companies can adopt best practices for information management, such as limits on the amount of material an individual can download, there is no technology to guard against a determined rogue individual. In the end, it comes down to the trust of your employees. Their loyalty is what [counts]."
Trust. Do we believe everything we read? Do we believe everything that people tell us? Of course not, we chose to believe things depending on the source and how reliable we may think it is. WikiLeaks provides us with information that we should or should not know. Is this information always 100 percent true, or is it just weak information?
When Turow says that you need to trust your employees, he couldn't be more right. With pretty much everyone having access to the Internet, and then the smart ones who can get other information that the rest of us might not be able to obtain, and make it available to all of us, that can cause some major trust issues.
I think that there is information that is posted all over the Internet that isn't true, and its basically put up there to get a reaction. I believe that there is information out there that can be beneficial and useful to all of us, but the choice is what we chose to believe. If society believes everything that is posted on the Internet, it can cause some major problems. I think that if society has a good grasp on what to believe and what not to believe, then it should be OK for them to see the information from these sites, but they also need to know that they might not always like what they are about to read.
My mom always said, somethings are just not your business. But once you cross that line and choose to make it your business, then its up to you on how to figure out how to handle it.
"Computer bugs bring down military e-mail systems; oil refineries and pipelines explode; air-traffic-control systems collapse; freight and metro trains derail; financial data are scrambled; the electrical grid goes down in the eastern United States; orbiting satellites spin out of control."
^^This is what a cyberwar would look like. =/
This sounds more out of control than the wars that we have read about in our history books. The scariest part about all this destruction is at the end, the identity of the hacker/attacker may remain anonymous. After reading this article on cyberwar: war in the 5th domain, the future of our country, and the rest of the world, basically can be destroyed through hacking, spam, and viruses, all simply through the World Wide Web.
Cyberwars are not anything to joke about I don’t think. I mean, one government hacking into another government, trying to get dirt and whatever else they can get, it seems right out of the movies. The world today is almost completely run off technology and the limits of hacking and spamming are nonexistent.
“Mr. Obama has quoted a figure of $1 trillion lost last year to cybercrime—a bigger underworld than the drugs trade, though such figures are disputed.”
^^^THAT IS INSANE!!! I had no idea and i'm sure majority of the people are not aware of this statistic either. I guess our debts don’t only come from huge corporate world budgeting.
Another thing I found interesting in this article is that before hacking was about “making noise” or marking your territory. NOW it is more silent, meaning on the sly, muzzling secret information, espionage, etc.
Cyberwar really does ultimately take a toll on all of us people. The government holds all our information, and we trust in them to keep our records safe, but with this issue of cyberwar at hand, it really scares the hell out of me. We are concerned about facebook tracking, but what about another government or country taking our identity? and who knows what else.
Considering this world to be a digital and technological arena, I say that a glitch in the system is far scarier than an actual war. Think about it, with online government virus/hacking, those hackers are hitting the CORE, America can lose face to some extent, right? Violators can get away, it can be harder to prove who did what. Don’t get me wrong, bloody traditional war is disgusting and definetly more devastating and tragic. But simply thinking about a digital universe, if that’s all we know, a glitch can ruin us and wipe out everything our country has ever recorded. (I know, a bit dramatic, but anything is possible these days.)
|Julian Assange "Merry Christmas Big Brother!"|
Wikileaks, as we all should know by now, is a whistleblower website dedicated to airing the dirty laundry of governments, ours in particular. The problem, and the ensuing chaos that resulted, lies in the kind of material that Wikileaks has "leaked" or claimed will leak into the public domain; very very damaging things that could potential harm US diplomatic relations with other countires to the point of no return. As Kristine Schachinger pointed out in her blog The Revolution will be Streamed Operation Payback: Protest or War?, the "posion pill [of information would be] so damning that it will be unrecoverable by the United States." No big deal right? Information is information and everyone in cyberspace should be made aware of the "naughty" political things that the US has been involved in. Afterall, cyberspace is a land of no (or little restrictions) and many people agree that it should continue to be a censor-free arena. Governments, however, tend to think otherwise, especially when they are being blackmailed by hackers with too much time on their hands. I think, and most governments will agree, that some information, due to a matter of national security, should not be made available to the public simply because it can be released, which is essentially what Wikileaks was doing. 2600-The Hacker Quarterly magazine cautions against this practice as it is a way of "enflaming their (the public's) fears and assumptions [about government censorship]" which only escaltes an already volatile situation and is ultimately counterproductive to the hacktivist cause. The website http://www.thehacktivist.com/ notes that:
However, in a manner that contradicts the above "abhoration of censorship" that hackers hold dear, the "cyberwar" antics of so-called hactivist groups such as ANONYMOUS who believe they are doing "the right thing" and protecting free speech online by shutting down Credit Card websites, might just be giving more ammunition to those who seek to impose restrictions and monitor cyberspace. Seymour Hersh in his article, The Online Threat: Should We Be Worried About a Cyber War?, notes that the military and the Department of Homeland Security are two agencies that would love to be given expanded control and censorship powers for the internet as a way of monitoring for any foreign or domestic threats to the US (or spying on the average Joe, whichever). Hersh also notes that, like many hacktivists groups such as ANONYMOUS, the public fears that an"over-reliance on the military will have adverse consequences for privacy and civil liberties." But by turning themselves into a threat to national security on the guise of protecting the freedom of speech online, Julian Assange and ANONYMOUS "shoot themselves in the foot" by providing more evidence into why there should be more government regulation of the internet instead of less. Cyber war tactics such as DDOS's only increase the likelihood that more restrictions will be put into place in the future, giving Big Brother more control over cyberspace, a consequence that I'm sure Assange and ANONYMOUS would like to avoid. Let's face it, if a country can't use Paypal to buy overpriced electronics from Amazon.com, people get upset.
Wikileaks really has me split down the middle. On the one hand I do take exception to military documents being leaked, if those document contain information that could directly endanger individuals in our military or others who have helped us. I’m not talking about the generic docs about our strength in numbers, how many planes, or bombs we have – they may be classified, but they aren’t likely to be used against us. I’m talking about the documents that actually name people specifically like: contractors, translators, guides, and sympathizers. Certain people need anonymity for their sake and the sake of their families. According to Wikileaks there have been no tragedies yet, and I sincerely hope it stays that way.
Now, from a consumer standpoint, I believe that we have fundamental rights for our own protection against corporations who are out to use their power and influence to take advantage of people. Our economic model is very good at bringing producers and consumers together, what it isn’t good at is policing some of the fallout of these transactions as the stronger party starts to act in bad faith. We need an element of transparency, and Wikileaks is going to be bringing us a whole lot of it in the coming weeks. The paragraph below has just one example of a scheme by Bank of America that a whistleblower has sent to Wikileaks.
Bank of America, one of the most trusted, and largest, lenders in the country was engaged in a scheme to cheat some of their mortgage holders. You read the whole scheme here, but the basics are simple. Bank of America would stop paying a mortgage holder’s homeowners insurance, they would get cancelled, then B of A would use a subsidiary that they owned and place insurance on the property. The homeowner would be without insurance and B of A would still be collecting a premium monthly from that homeowner on a policy that would only protect B of A’s interest, and not the homeowner’s. Oops! Your house burned down, sorry you aren’t covered. However, Bank of America can make a claim for your mortgage amount to pay themselves the full balance, while you are stuck homeless, no money and still liable for the balance, even though B of A covered their loss already with the money you paid them!
Summing up Wikileaks, I have no problem with leaks that make businesses more transparent and accountable to consumers, as a matter of fact I welcome it. When it comes to military information, and I do believe we certainly need a level of transparency there as well, I think we are safer if Wikileaks didn’t publish that type of information.
Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.
This individualism is what gives something like Anonymous its power. There's no overarching goal or central authority that can be exploited or abused. A good thing that comes of this is if people branding themselves as Anonymous start doing things that other people who also call themselves Anonymous don't like then a sort of policing starts going on. Still, this kind of hacktivism is hard for me to like in all but theory because how do you police a group of individuals? Their only concern for each other is most likely that they aren't hindered by the others and without a central authority or some kind of regulation how is it determined when things have gone too far? I do not believe that hacktivism like what Anonymous performs is a good thing for our world, and that hacktivism is nine out of ten times something we could do without.
Democracy is equal footing in the collective exercise of decision-making through town hall meeting, referendums, or by voting on all laws. To enable this equality to remain a characteristic of a democratic government, the collective should be completely informed and be able to exercise their opinions or demands, in decision-making situations. In the U.S., voters exercise their decision-making right through voting of representatives that will, in turn, legislate in their names. This is a form of republicanism, not democracy. Yet, the U.S. is called a "democracy." Democracy in the context of the U.S. federal government (the body that makes the most important political and economic decisions) means that it derives power from voters and is accountable to them, not that it will engage people in referendums or ballot initiatives, thus reflecting its republican basis. Nonetheless, the U.S. engages in democratic political behavior such as at the state level where referendums and ballot initiatives are undertaken. These bodies are not individually in charge of lawmaking at the federal level, though. Further, the U.S. bestows on its citizens protection of their civil liberties and human rights, which for many are considered democratic practices.
The constant use of "democracy" rhetoric (especially in the context of war and protecting freedoms and liberties) at the federal policy-making forum has led many to believe that the U.S. is a democratic form of government where people are given an active role in decision-making. The U.S. government that we voted for has systematically lied to us about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in other issues. Therefore, since the republican from of government enables us to hold politicians accountable, we should be able to know what they have lied to us about and how they are doing the job we elected them for. Moreover, since the wide-spread perception of the government being "democratic", and open for people to play an active role in it, has led many people to want to actively engage in it by uncovering its faults and wanting to change them. Thus, groups such as Anonymous have taken it upon themselves the active role of salvaging their, and our, right to free flow of information vital to democratic public participation (and republicanism's accountability discourse).
In the context of an informed and politically active democratic government (as made to be perceived in the U.S.), political and decision-making transparency is imperative. Hence, whistleblowers such as Wikileaks are a valuable tool to keep us informed with legitimate information about our government and those chosen to represent us (even in the republicanist basis the government is actually built upon). These types of projects enable us to stay informed but, moreover, to begin playing an active role in the political game of democracies. Sharing important information that our government has distorted or kept from the public informs us about the agendas of the people we have chosen to make governmental and political decisions. Additionally, it helps us assess the quality of the government elected to govern us and potentially
lead us to initiate change in it.
Governmental secrecy undermines democracy. It leads to lies and makes us perceive that political actors are hiding information from us for fear of disapproval. Thus, this fear of disapproval is what legitimizes the transparency rhetoric. In the democratic sense, the public should be aware of political motivations and moves made by the people we elect. If we may disapprove of something, we have legitimate reasons to raise our voice and actively change the course of the political game. By the government keeping information secret it is undermining the democratic values of informed opinions and active political participation.
However, in the U.S. the lack of transparency from the government has led the public to take matters into their own hands. Hacktivism has allowed us to find the lies with which the government has made us approve of a war that has turned out to be more of a take over of the Middle East's political and economic realms than a legitimate fight against terrorism threats (as well as many other lies we have been fed).
Nonetheless, there are several issues raised in hackivist behavior. For one, the non-identity status problematizes the legitimate political cry for more transparency since hacktivists are not transparent in their behavior themselves. However, the legal ramifications against the hacktivists forces them to avoid this type of transparency. Regardless, in the realm of political activism it is unacceptable. However, hacktivism is not protests in the classical sense. It is a characteristic of the new internet connected world. Another issue it raises is the potential ramifications of the right to free flow of information. Governments, as in the case of the U.S., may take retaliatory and protecting measures against those who dare pull this again. Thus, the public in general may lose more than gain from it.
In spite of that, the lack of transparency coupled with the repressive measures taken by the federal government against those who protest in the classic sense (remember the anti war activists who had their houses raided and where subpoenaed to a Grand Jury?!!!) has lead activism to take a new arena. That is the internet; where by the virtue of its openness and freedom has developed a new type of offensive against the established order. Despite the negative connotations that hacktivism may have, it is a legitimate form of protest where others have been exhausted or outlawed.
Lastly, we are not advocating for a free for all cyberspace in which rights and liberties are violated. Rather, it is a legitimate arena in which we seek to uncover the undemocractic practices the governments we have elected use. Since we don't have the capital to wage media campaigns to divert public opinion nor do we have the man power (military) to force anything to change, we have the legitimate right to seek alternatives. Good or bad, hacktivism has proven to be an effective way of raising awareness about issues people ignore because governments opaque or distort them. Moreover, a "cyberwar" through hacktivism does not have the civilian casualties that traditional warfare has. Nobody is killed! Yet, it is more dangerous to those who seek to control the disempowered due to the anonymity of the net as well as the effectiveness of having actual facts available to a larger group of people for free. In all, cyberwarfare is the new form of activism of the internet age!
When I think of the term Cyber War I think of a couple of scenarios. Like in Terminator 3 when they decide to put SKYNET in control everything just fails. From super computers to cell phones would be taken down not by a computer program but the person at the other end. They could choose what to take out, what would hurt the “enemy” the most.
Another scenario that comes to mind when I hear this subject is the movie “Live Free or Die Hard” starring Bruce Willis. The movie is about a hacker who used to work for the US and told them that the security for systems weren’t good enough. To prove his point the hacker takes down traffic lights, gains control of telecommunication systems and eventually turns it all off. The point of the movie is the real scare of what would happen if such and event happened. We would be put back into the Stone Age.
We as the United States of America have basically handed our controls over. The computers and network hardware we use are all assembled in foreign countries. I watched a video on the Internet that shows that the builder of the chipset can put a code a processor that would change its directives. For example if the chipset is installed into a missile, the chip could prevent if from being launched once the sequence has been detected by the chip. However, in that same video they state that we are now making our own chips for our equipment because the threat has been found to be true in tested cases.
Here is a website I found to be interesting. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cyberwar/
This is the world we are headed to, it seems, since people are unable to resist becoming organized according to the digital architectures that connect us. The only way out is to change the architecture. - Jaron Lainer
I use this quote to start this blog and this picture of Hackers next to it because of what I read this statement is correct. Hackers was a movie that made it seem so cool about hacking into computers to get what was needed and they ran around with backpacks making hacking cool and hip. Well, not really.
Another great quote from Lainer that spoke volumes to me and I see this as truth was "this is that a lot of information made available over the internet encourages players to think as if they had a God's eye view, looking down on the whole system.
What hacking has done in some ways, has created many different types of problems. 1. Hackers are viewed as threats and responsible for everything that is going to happen now. The 2600 News piece makes a great point that the uneducated and the mass media will continue to stereotype these attacks on all hackers. 2. The God argument that Lainer makes. We feel that the internet has given us information to educate us and has also empower us. Too much. We continue to believe that everyone needs to change and governments need to as well. Granted, yes some governments we dont all agree with but why is it anyone's business to tell everyone to change? Cause someone on Twitter disagrees with you? Some of the empowered have become drunk with power. 3. The growing number of groups on the rise. This will be a issue as time goes on. The rule of " Monkey see, Monkey do" will come into play and fast. One group will try to out duel another for the best hack.
I believe hacking has a place. To inform people and to assist in helping the authorities catch the bad guy. But soon hackers will try too hard to push the man out and then the cyber world will change. We need to be more responsible with our actions and how we use the net. We cant be careless.
For one, US government classified information should remain as that, classified. Even though WikiLeaks can be essential in exposing massive illegal activity done by the U.S. government, I feel that it threatens national security and could possibly cause panic by the U.S. people, and other nations.
Every piece of information is not meant to be revealed to the public. For example, what if WikiLeaks posted classified information that revealed North Korea was planning to bomb the United States in 2012? The result would be nation-wide panic as people prepared for the alleged disastrous day, ignoring the fact that this bombing could be completely fictional. My point is that WikiLeaks can be a detriment to the U.S. regarding classified information that may or may not be completely true, but because people tend to believe everything they read, this could create severe backlash.
Read this: Pros and Cons of WikiLeaks (http://russiamil.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/the-pros-and-cons-of-wikileaks-disclosures/)
Now, when discussing the topic of distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, there is no doubt that cyberwar is a different ball game than traditional war. Traditional war was always predicated on knowing who your enemy was and DDOS is the complete opposite. DDOS floods a computer system with messages to the target, forcing it to essentially shut down, and thereby denying service to the system to legitimate users, and that's unethical and unjust. To me, that makes the fight unfair, especially when hackers can use this process to put you at a significant disadvantage when it comes to computer systems working fast and effectively. According to a recent report, organizations were hit by more distributed denial-of-service attacks in the second half of 2010, and their applications were knocked offline according to a Web hacking report.
All in all, while WikiLeaks 'may' be helpful in some ways, it is definitely not valuable to democracy. It can only hurt it. Likewise, DDOS attacks are not valuable to cyber 'justice' and is definitely not an equivalent of war. People need to stop with all their cyber antics thinking they can bring peace and order by revealing classified documents that can cause panic and DDOS that can shut down computer systems that companies need running to be effective.
The world is surrounded by competition, but soon the games will stop.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Having thought I knew the Wikileaks story well, I was at first planning on reading redundant facts that have been all over the mainstream media sites for months. Wikileaks seemed like a good thing to me when I first heard about it (last summer). Giving the American public a good look in the mirror at what their own country has been up to overseas in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.