Online all the Time
“Technology catalyses changes not only in what we do but in how we think.” (1) This quote from the week’s reading really emphasises how humans, especially the younger, digital native types, are beginning to change their views and habits around the internet, the topic of discussion in this weeks lecture given by Dr Keir Winesmith from SBS Online.
The internet is something that has always existed in the lives of someone born in the 1990s, as many undertaking this subject are. Even if it has not always been accessible to us, it has in that time been mainstream and well-known amongst the general populace. It was in the early 90s that the internet took off over the world and created a sort of revolution in how we think, act and protect our privacy.
Today the internet is used by billions of people globally. It is taking over the world and it is taking over people. While the internet is beneficial in many ways, it can also be a negative in many ways. Many students may bemoan the amount of time they spend procrastinating on the ‘addictive’ facebook, although this just scratches the surface. There are some serious issues of privacy which are brought about by the internet. One of the more serious examples brought up by Dr Winesmith was ChoicePoint, a company that sells information about people collated from the internet to clients. (2) Of these clients, the American government makes up a very sizable portion, using loopholes to gather information they can’t gather themselves.
Another prominent example was our relationship with social media and how it compromised our information. This included Google, however Facebook was particularly prominent. Recently, some internet pranksters took it upon themselves to show the problems with Facebook and privacy. Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico created a website which scraped Facebook for public profiles and details and sorted people based on their facial expressions. (2) (3) This is really alarming as it shows just how easily people can now be searched and categorised, creating preconceived notions about people and how their information is compromised. The authors insist it is art.
1. Turkle, Sherry, The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, London: Granada, 1984
2. Wired, Feb 3 2011, Dating Site Imports 250,000 Facebook Profiles, Without Their Permission, http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/02/facebook-dating/ accessed 06/04/1