Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jasoene Bentil's Blog Post

Digital cities can lead to people becoming more interconnected and lessen the materialistic genes of most Americans that are more about the “me” and not the “we.” Allowing people to voice their concerns quickly and efficiently about what’s going on in their community whether it’s stopping a big box store from moving in, the construction of a housing project, or concerns about local government is spending your money. The internet is supposed to be an open forum where people are allowed to express the ideas freely and as often as possible. This will allow for new and more efficient way of living and that could be accomplished by implementing a car sharing or smart- car program into someone’s everyday life. This can be accomplished through the internet and start as a grassroots operation because obviously something as progressive as this will not appeal to many people in the beginning that’s why it will take a small group of loyal followers to keep the movement going because in order for an operation like this to be truly successful it has to help to change the mentality of the majority who will otherwise let a wonderful opportunity pass them by.

The areas in which communal cars are springing up tend be more progressive thinking cities more intent on doing their part to slow down climate change. In order for the idea of sharing cars to appeal to the masses we have to show them the monetary values of sharing cars because let’s face people are sad about the environment but they care about money a little bit more. The mentality of most Americans is the give men mentality not the give back mentality. So in order for the greater good to prevail we have to succumb in to the give me and show them by using this option for transportation your get back money to spend on something else and not the maintenance of a vehicle. People need to use the internet more proactively and get involved whether it’s championing car sharing or something else. The internet is here for the benefit of all and it’s time to start utilizing it to its maximum capabilities. One day people will be allowed to vote online instead of going to an actual polling place so now is the time for people to maximize the internet to get their views out there so that they are not ignored. Be more active post your comments to, blog but just increase your participation since the internet is meant to be a place where opinions can be voiced and taken seriously.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too Much Information? How ICTs affect law enforcement, civil liberties, and terrorism

by Ryan Kushigemachi

Information and communication technologies (ICTs), as the name suggests, enhance our capacity to access and communicate information. How does this affect security? 'Security' means protecting against threats such as terrorism as well as enforcing laws. A government's security powers are often limited by competing interests such as civil liberties. This tension and balancing becomes a security-liberty debate. ICTs change the playing field, creating new challenges for policing, counter-terrorism, and civil liberties.

Simply put, knowledge is power. Both state actors and terrorists gather intelligence which will help further their goals. Terrorists can use technological tools such as mobile phones and href="">Google Earth
to reconnoiter targets. Agencies such as the NSA monitor ICTs to locate and identify potential terrorists. Civilians use Twitter to rapidly communicate relevant information during crises.

Each example poses security

  • How should government treat these new technologies?
  • What is the role of ICT providers in all this?
  • Is it appropriate or effective to mine ICT traffic to find possible terrorists?
  • What can or should we do about terrorist use of technology?

ICTs are shrinking the globe. They increasingly transcend spatial and temporal boundaries, making communication and information exchange more efficient. Yet historically, the scope of state jurisdiction and enforcement has been tied to spatial concepts: 'national borders,' 'privacy of the home' and 'sovereign territory.' Joel Reidenberg argues
that state jurisdiction and enforcement can and should be exercised online
through various means. Enterprising criminals should not be able to href="">use ICTs to href="">escape
state jurisdiction. States have both technological and policy tools to combat criminal use of ICTs. However, it is difficult to effectively implement enforcement tools in an ICT context. Doing so frequently yields unintended consequences.

Filters are often overbroad, restricting legitimate access.

Demands that providers such as eBay or Yahoo prevent access to content (Nazi
memorabilia, e.g.) where prohibited by law are difficult to enforce just for that locality. This frequently results in blanket action by providers which prevents href="">all users
(not just the affected locality) from accessing such content. Using intermediaries such as internet and search providers for enforcement is problematic in more ways than one. The third party doctrine reduces privacy and Fourth Amendment protections for data relinquished to a third party. In an era when so much of our lives are online, Google and our ISPs probably know more about us than we do. href="">Cloud computing will
only exacerbate this trend.

How do you identify potential terrorists before they strike? 'Data mining' is a frequent answer. Daniel Solove defines data mining as "creating profiles by collecting and combining personal data, and analyzing it for particular patterns of behavior deemed to be suspicious. Solove argues that the security-liberty debate is not always a zero-sum game. Currently, though, while data mining has
potential, it is difficult to assess its effectiveness, excessiveness, or exercise meaningful oversight. This tilts the balance against many liberty and privacy concerns. Data mining may implicate interests such as equal protection, due process, or free speech and association (via a ‘chilling effect’). One of the idiosyncrasies of ICT development is that newer technologies such as e-mail are often less constitutionally-protected than older ones such as postal mail. ICTs not only make it easier to speak, but easier to listen in.

After the Mumbai terror attacks, cities such as New York, London, and Washington D.C. considered disrupting ICT services in the event of a terrorist attack. If terrorists plan to use ICTs as tools, why not take their tools away? The problem is essentially utilitarian. The larger number and greater resources of non-terrorists versus terrorists generally suggests that it is better not to disrupt ICTs during a terrorist attack. That is, non-terrorists derive greater utility from ICTs than do terrorists. Terrorists already have the advantage of planning. During an emergency, ICTs allow the public to communicate with each other and authorities. This accelerate the flow of information, allowing for a quicker and more informed response. Finally, although ICTs pose novel challenges, let's not lose our sense of perspective.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Political Economy of the Internet and Hyperpolitics

By Yeraldy Torres

The internet developed in the U.S. so the policies it goes by today were tailored to American standards although not all countries abide by the liberty encompassed in the ways of the internet. Libertarians opposed the government having the power to regulate content on the internet. This would break the rights to freedom of speech and expression. “Because the TCP/IP protocol was designed to allow communication to flow around blockages in the network, many believed it was effectively invulnerable to censorship,” (Farrell 5) leading libertarians to believe the internet was within impossible reach of the government’s control. Because the government does not have control, it is all in the hands of firms and the people to regulate. So is this a better option? Will the people make the internet the best that it can be without federal intrusion and regulation or should we expect the government to intervene when the unrealistic expectations of the internet have been created?

Bad things will still happen, such as widespread pirating and child pornography among others, but does to good outweigh the bad? I believe so. The internet is truly American (with its defects and all). Anything and everything can be available online and the government cannot regulate, except for under certain circumstances. This may be best because as with the internet, the government only steps into the market when the economic well-being of society is in danger so they break down monopolies and install price ceilings and floors. The U.S experiences very little of this regulation but countries such as China set up huge firewalls to block inappropriate sites while France and Germany attack eBay and Yahoo! for selling neo-Nazi paraphernalia. The sites removed this material because they stood to lose more if blocked by an entire nation for selling one product. So are the demands of a society going to influence what is available online? Or will another smaller site begin selling this and be altogether blocked by the select nations?

Everyone online is connected. Mark Pesce proposes the idea that “hyperconnectivity begets hypermimesis begets hyperempowerment.” The threat to society and democracy is sharing. The world is connecting at faster rates than ever before with easier and simpler methods. With these resources you’re connected to the world, informed, therefore part of a society driven to be connected. The technologies used have been readily available but it has taken time to discover the full potential of things such as texts, wikis, and the internet. These tools keep us all connected and through hypermimesis we mimic and learn how to use the resources available in order to stay connected. So is it becoming instinct to stay connected and informed? Is it a social norm to follow these standards because through just mimicking, no deep brain-racking methods, we learn how to keep up with the technology. It has become so easy to learn the methods of staying connected so is it a good or bad thing that everyone is wired and seeking their piece of the pie of power? Pesce offers that we are redefining the rules and creating a new set of mob rules. These new set of rules require for everyone to be connected, so now all these people have voices and are seeking power, hyperempowerment. So is this a threat to democracy? On a side-note, the 2008 Obama campaign led an internet-based campaign that was hyperconnected. So since hyperconnectivity begets hypermimesis begets hyperempowerment, people seek power in the campaign and as in the internet there is no central power. Obama is not the center, and everyone seeks power. So is this effective? What happens to all the people of the mob seeking power when the campaign is over? The truth is all this power does not exist. People online want power and they want it fast; our democracy cannot permit that because government is meant to work slowly. The internet and its new rules is creating unrealistic expectations for the government especially.

Mark Pesce,

Henry Farrell,

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Information and Communication Technology

by Michael Young

The digital revolution is upon us. Alberto Masetti-Zannini talks about the roles and issues he has with Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) throughout his article. His article touches on some main points about the issues that are upon us in bridging that gap between developed and non-developed countries. We are all a part of this revolution that puts endless knowledge and information at our finger tips and only a click away. But how do we aid those who are not able to keep up with this revolution for any number of reasons: cost, infrastructure, or literacy. Zannini elaborates his issues with NGOs and weather they are really exploiting the full potential of the technology, or using it as a campaigning or marketing device. Are these the only issues with the aid form NGOs, or are there more that isn’t really talked about?

This information and communication technology revolution is here. Web 2.0 is the new generation of tools that allow us to do so many things, in particular the two way interactions that it is built for. The open source technology and information is there for everyone with the ability to have access to that internet. No other tool in the world allows for an individual to have the access to any and all information in front of them. But what good is all this information if they have no access to it? Is technology the answer to helping these countries and are NGOs that answer?

NGOs have the ability to fund, bring in technology, or infrastructure to these rural areas that have no such thing. This technology can bring endless opportunities for these communities that have had no such technology before. These opportunities, as sited in the article, a fisherman in India is now able to check market prices for their goods using a mobile phone that would not otherwise be available to him. Such projects as the $100 laptop that have already begin where they can bring this technology into their homes. This technology can do so much for a child by just allowing them to have access to information that they never had the ability to access before. Other NGO projects such as the Intel billion dollar project have already been implemented. This project is bringing computers and infrastructure to the corners of the world that have never had this technology before. This allows for an endless of opportunities for these villages and their kids that have had no such formal education. While all this is seems to be perfect there are always underlining issues.

Zannini’s main issue with NGOs is that he believes they are not using this ability to bring this technology and internet to these communities to their full potential. Also claiming that they are using or approaching this situation or responsibilities as a campaign or marketing deceive. Do NGOs see this as an opportunity to get their product out there and not really thinking about helping these countries? Maybe, but there are many other underlining issues are present and aren’t talked about. Such issues can be the limitations that the state government puts on these NGOs and what they can do. Some concern is made to this technology being a negative impact on their culture.

There is no one correct answer to solving the problems of the undeveloped country. NGOs do have the ability and responsibility to help with this. Weather they are promoting their product or helping these communities they are still providing them with something they have never had access to before. The information and communication technology seems to be the quick and best fit to giving them the tools to be more productive, better education, and possibly lead to a better life.