Issues in Cyberspace

A blog for JASS 403 @ UM-D!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Privacy Issues in a Digital World

The internet impacts privacy, the New York Times says, "If a stranger came up to you on the street, would you give him your name, Social Security number and email address. Probably not. Yet people often dole out all kinds of personal information on the Internet that allows such identifying data to be deduced. Services like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr are oceans of personal minutiae -- birthday greetings sent and received, school and work gossip, photos of family vacations, and movies watched."Italy's prosecution of Google was not fair, in that while Google may have made a profit off of the video being posted, it brought significant awareness to the issue at hand within the video and got people to see what was really going on. The line between protecting privacy and promoting free exchange of information can be drawn on whether or not the issue at hand has awareness brought to it. It people are seeing something happen for the first time, then it should be considered fair for them to post it without punishment. The same applies for censorship as it does for privacy and free exchange.Facebook and Twitter are examples of companies that are trying to get information from people. They want they information so that they can "help you to network" but in reality it helps them broadcast your information to other companies. You can stop them from getting your information by typing in incorrect information or changing your privacy settings on your accounts. Future employers can learn a lot about you from your facebook account by looking at your photos, your wall, your updates, and your friends.

Google gives you the choice of looking into Google Dashboard which slows information that is connected to Google accounts and lets you change your options and privacy settings.
I think that many of the people that are growing up today don't think that privacy is really an issue. The younger and younger children that get on the internet and using social networking sites, the more and more information they are giving out because they don't seem to know any different.

These privacy issues relate to the Long Tail and the internet as a democratizing tool because it opens the internet up to more people and more people become involved within it, but, it does hurt people to not realize the effects of privacy on the internet.

For more information, please visit The New York Times, articles one and two, Forbes and Business Week.

The Future of Television

The internet changes the current network model of television by offering up shows on demand, online, all the time. The New York Times wrote an article called "Web-TV Divide is Back in Focus with NBC Sale" which says, "For 60 years, TV could be watched only one way: through the television set. Now, though, millions watch shows like 'Grey's Anatomy' on demand and online on network Web sites like Ms. Sweeney's and on the Internet's most popular streaming hub,"
NBC, Fox, CBS, and ABC (through their parent companies) control everything that is being watched on TV, however, with the shows now being on the internet, it challenges the control that the companies have. It no longer has control of when and where someone can watch their television program.

An independent producer could produce and distribute their program nationwide through YouTube and ignore the networks as long as they do not violate any of the copyrights on the program being distributed. YouTube says, "The YouTube website makes it easy to watch and share your favorite YouTube videos with the whole family."

The "5 C's of the Post-Network Era" are choice, control, convenience, customization and community; all of the 5 C's relate to the future of television. Choice; the future of television is full of choice, television being on the internet gives one a huge choice in when they want to watch something and what they want to watch. Control; the future of television gives people the opportunity to control what they want to watch and sometimes control the types or amount of commercials they want to see. Convenience; the future of television gives people the opportunity to watch their favorite television show when they want, where they want, and at whatever time they want to. Customization; the future of television gives people an opportunity to customize what they want to watch or the order they want to watch them in. Community; the future of television gives people an opportunity to form communities and write in forums that connect them with other fans of their favorite shows.

Broadband TV relates to the issues in the Long Tail, the internet as a democratizing tool, and Creative Commons because it allows people to explore more into the internet and which keeps the Long Tail of the internet going, it allows people to look more into the internet and watch things that help it to become a democratizing tool, and it allows people to utilize the Creative Commons by posting things to YouTube.

In ten years, I think that TV will be more focused on the internet. I think that not only will people be allowed to watch things on their computer after it airs, but people will be able to watch streaming shows on their laptop, computer, and phone.

For more information please visit, these three articles on the New York Times; One, Two, Three and YouTube.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Journalism, Blogging & New Media

Citizen Journalism is "the concept of members of the public 'playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information.'"

Consumers, news organizations, corporations, non-profits and others are adapting to the change of digital media by creating a sort of guideline book or manual of sorts. Reuters has created a handbook that states, "We are committed to aggressive journalism in all its forms, including in the field of computer-assisted reporting, but we draw the line at illegal behavior. Internet reporting is nothing more than applying the principles of sound journalism to the sometimes unusual situations thrown up in the virtual world. The same standards of sourcing, identification and verification apply. Apply the same precautions online that you would use in other forms of news-gathering and do not use anything from the internet that is not sourced in such a way that you can verify where it came from."

New forms of TV news and newspapers that are appearing on the internet are the ways that newspapers and TV news are seen on the internet. The newspaper that has become completely digital and has more options on it than sections of a regular newspaper. You can also see video clips on TV news sites or clips of reporters on newspaper sites.

Above: A traditional Detroit Free Press paper.
Below: A screen shot of an online Detroit Free Press Paper.

The shift away from TV news and toward the internet is changing journalism for better and worse, according to different critics. The Atlantic says, "In a poll of prominent members of the national news media, nearly two-thirds say the internet is hurting journalism more than it is helping. The poll, conducted by The Atlantic and National Journal, asked 43 media insiders whether, on balance, journalism has been helped more or hurt more by the rise of news consumption online. Sixty-five percent said journalism has been hurt more, while 34 percent said it has been helped more." The Atlantic continues by saying, "Those who say that news consumption on the internet is, on balance, hurting journalism note the way the online experience is changing reader habits. The 'hurt more' group also says that while the Internet offers benefits, the cost to traditional media and news-gathering is too high."

However, Reuters begs to differ with The Atlantic stating, "First, journalism is not synonymous with newspapers and today the discussion has focused too much on newspapers alone. Second, journalism will do more than survive the Internet Age, it will thrive. It will thrive as creators and publishers embrace the collaborative power of new technologies, retool production and distribution strategies and we stop trying to do everything ourselves."

The issues of the Long Tail, Creative Commons and the internet as a democratizing tool relate to the issue of journalism, blogging, and new media because it shows us that the internet is really taking over. There are so many newspapers that are going out of business and downsizing their staff and company as a whole because not many people want to buy and old fashioned newspaper any more when they can just pull up a web page and get their news and information updated to the minute.

I think that the future of journalism as a whole will be a complete down turn from where we are now. It may be because of the crappy economy that we have right now being the cause of so many newspapers collapsing, but it is not entirely based on the economy, many people just do not purchase hard copies of newspapers anymore. I hope that in the next ten years, this will change, other wise many of the online sites will start to charge people to log in when they want they online news fix. I hope that the next ten years will change journalism and newspapers for the better, and if it doesn't, then I think that we will have more and more pop up ad's on our news websites, charges being initiated for using the sites, and less actual newspapers still standing.

For more information, please visit: The Atlantic, Rueters, J-Learning, The Future of Journalism, and the Detroit Free Press.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Digital Convergence

"Digital convergence refers to the convergence of four industries into one conglomerate, ITTCE (Information Technologies, Telecommunication, Comsumer Electronics, and Entertainment."
In other words, digital convergence is the mashing up of traditional media that is normally separate, into a mixed media that includes all aspects; such as, video, music, television, books, magazines, games, and internet all in one handy device.

Consumers, news organizations, corporations, non-profits, and others are all jumping onto the digital convergence bandwagon. For example, the New York Times is jumping into the mix:
News organizations such as the New York Times are on the verge of digital convergence and creating a bigger and better newspaper through digital journalism. Guardian states, "After remaking the business of the music industry and re-inventing the mobile phone, Steve Jobs obviously is up for something new, and journalism has got his attention." The article continued, "We're incredibly psyched to pioneer the next generation of digital journalism. We want to create the best of print and best of digital, all rolled into one."

Consumers are also stocking up on things like the iPad, the iPhone and iTouch, the Nook, the Kindle, and all other sorts of entrtainment devices, even PS3's, XBOX's and Wii's! The iPad seems to be the most advanced, however like the iPad, both the Nook and the Kindle are designed as digital books, where you can store an entire library on a little pad that can fit in your purse.

While things such as the iTouch, iPhone, iPods, and SmartPhones are all connecting the internet, music, games and much much more all on one small hand held device.

These tools relate to issues we learned about on the Long Tail, the internet as a democratizing tool, and Creative Commons because it through digital convergence we get a sense that the internet will be around for a very very long time. We see that the Long Tail will just keep getting longer and longer with the more and more technology that is created and the more convergence of digital media is done. It seems that every other day someone creates a new device that can hold more memory or do one more thing than the last. It is insane all of the technology that the public knows about at the time, but to just think about all of the technology that is being created as we speak and the technology that is soon to come, it just boggles my mind and I'm sure the minds of others.

In ten years, I honestly have no idea what technology will look like. I know that the iPhone and iTouch are smaller versions of the iPad, but I think that as time goes on, we'll have some sort of solar powered iPad in a smaller form. Something that is good for the environment and affordable for all people. Something that will help people stay connected and something to help kids learn, while saving the planet. I don't think we're that far away from this sort of technology and I think it will change the world (good or bad, who knows?!) if it is every created.

More information can be found at Guardian, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Amazon, and, Wikipedia.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Social Networking: Twitter & Facebook

Twitter & Facebook are social networking sites that allow users to create accounts in order to reconnect with old friends, make new friends, and to stay in contact with friends and family members around the world. Twitter lets you update statues or "tweet" in 140 characters or less and Facebook allows users to update status, write on friend's wall's, create events, join groups, play games, become fans, and much much more.

There are many individuals, news organizations, corporations, and non-profits using Facebook today. I, alone, am a fan of nine non-profit organizations on Facebook and follow three non-profits and two new organizations on Twitter.

According to Facebook to Nonprofits: More Pages, Fewer Apps, "Nonprofit organizations seeking to harness Facebook can get the most bang for their buck by using fan pages in addition to groups, streamlining their app usage and livening things up..." In addition, How to Market Your Business With Facebook says, "For most businesses, Facebook Pages (distinct from individual profiles and Facebook groups) are the best place to start. Pages allow businesses to collect "fans" the way celebrities, sports teams, musicians, and politicians do. There are now 1.4 million Facebook Pages and they collect more than 10 million fans everyday,according to the site."

Twitter is also being used as a tool. It is now being used as a job search site, according to Twitter Could Become the Unemployed's Best Friend, "One of Twitter's advantages is that unlike e-mail messages or Facebook updates, tweets can reach an unknown audience --- a benefit that recruiters, human resources departments and job-seekers are fast discovering. In the last month, 340, 000 jobs have been listed on Twitter said William Fischer, co-founder of WorkDigital which created TwitJobSearch, a site that searches Twitter for jobs.

Some personal examples of non-profits using Twitter and Facebook to their advantage included the United Way for Southeastern Michigan. Within the last week, these are two of their "tweets" that really stood out to me:

- Metro #Detroit: Your United Way wants to input on our work in the areas of education, income, & basic needs: [Please RT]
- We've had over 1,300 metroDetroiters give us their opinion in the last 3 days. What say the other 3,902,077 of you? http: //

An example of using Facebook comes from a friend who was participating in the Polar Plunge event for Special Olympics Michigan and needed to collect donations, her status read:

- Kimberly Avey Please help me raise money for the Special Olympics. I am plunging tomorrow morning!!

She was able to raise $50 by just putting up a status!

These tools, such as Facebook and Twitter help to get peoples names, businesses, non-profit, goal, work, out there. It helps them to become know to a different sort of audience. It gets their product out to the social media network as opposed to just their email group or just their website or just their ad in the paper or just their television commercial. It gets them to be more well known and it gets them out there. I think it has created great opportunity for users of both sites to become more aware of their surroundings. Most of my friends check their Facebooks and/or Twitter accounts more than five times a day, and if that is how they are able to get their news and information, then I suppose it really is working for businesses and non-profits today.

For more information please visit,, and these articles, Twitter Could Become the Unemployed's Best Friend, Facebook to Nonprofits: More Pages, Fewer Apps, and How to Market Your Business With Facebook.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is "a nonprofit organization that increases sharing and improves collaboration." Their organization works to increase creativity throughout the common public, to increase free and legal sharing. They provide tools to give everyone the opportunity to stick to a standardized way of copyrighting their work. Creative Commons creates a less strict environment by giving people an option of copyright terms from "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved."

More about Creative Commons can be learned through this video:

Creative Commons is different from the traditional copyright because it allows artists to chose the conditions of the license they would like to give to their work. There are six different licenses available through Creative Commons. The first type of license is Attribution; this allows others to "distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work as long as they credit you." This allows people the most access to your work. The next type of license is the Attribution Share Alike; this allows people all of the rights of the Attribution license but they must "credit you and license their work under identical terms." The third type is Attribution No Derivatives; allowing "redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you." Another type is Attribution Non-Commercial; allowing "others to remix, tweak, and build uponyour work non-commercially," but they dont need to license it the same way. Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike; lets others "remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit and license under identical terms. Others can download and redistribute your work, and translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on it, but all new work will carry the same license, so anything else created will be non-commercial in nature. The last type of license is the Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives; being "the most restrictive of the six but allowing redistribution. It is also called 'free advertising' because it allows others to download and share as long as they mention and link it to you but not change or use commercially."

Artists like Josh Woodward are taking advantage of Creative Commons and still protecting the rights to their work because he is able to produce his work quickly and efficiently and get it posted on his website quickly by using a Creative Commons license as opposed to waiting for a copyright on his work. This helps Josh Woodward and artists like him to get their work out there quickly and allows other artists, depending on the type of license, to use other work to enhance their own or to remake and tweak the work by giving credit to the original creator.

I think that Creative Commons is a great way for people to put their work out there and also have it protected in some way. A good way to find different types of Creative Commons work is to check out this site it helps you to locate work like this:

This photo was found on calmenda's photostream on Flickr and is protected under the Creative Commons Attribution License. From the mashable site you can also find audio, general searches, images, texts, visuals. I think that Creative Commons is a great way for artists of music, writing, journalism, video, photography, cartoons, and any other creative outlet to protect their work and get it out to the public.

More information can be found at Josh Woodwards website, blip tv, Creative Commons, and Mashable.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Google vs China

It has been about two weeks since Google announced that they would pull out of China if they did not relax their censorship laws. Google made this decision based upon a secuirty breach in December. Since the announcement, has reported five main things have occured;

"1) China Stands Firm: stating, 'there was little room to compromise in the area of internet security.'

2) Google Boss Schmidt replies Google would like to stay: saying, 'Google would like to stay if China relaxes its censorship policies.'

3) Fake Google appears in China: 'a site called, Goojje has appeared'

4) Twitter may be blocked in China, too: 'Co-Founder Evan Willams announced twitter was partially blocked in China...however there are ways around the firewalls.'

5) China reports it won't limit use of Android: "China will not be limiting the use of Google's Android operating system.' "

China is one of the world's top internet markets. The graph below shows that in October of 2007, China was just under the United States in terms of most internet users by country. However, since 2007, the tables may have turned and China may now be in the lead of internet users per country.
Graph found at:

The announcement that Google would pull out of China was seen by many human rights advocates aroumd the world as a step in the right direction. In the NYTimes forum on Google vs. China, we learn that, "Since China isn't likely to allow unfiltered results, which would bring banned topics, Google would have to quit operating, it's Chinese search engine."

However, there are many ways around such issues. As mentioned previously, when Twitter co-founder Evan Willams announced that Twitter was partially banned in China, he also added that there are ways around the firewalls. From the NYTimes forum we see, "The very tech savvy are starting to work around the government filters."

There are many ways to avoid and bypass firewalls in China. An article from the NYTimes helps to outline some, "They are using a variety of tools to evade government filters to reach the wide-open Web that the Chinese government deems dangerous - sites like YouTube, Facebook and, if Google makes good on its threat to withdraw from China,"
Image found at:

The article continues by saying, "It's difficult to say precisely how many people in China engage in acts of digital disobedience. But college students in China and activists around the world say the number has been growing ever since the government stepped up efforts to 'cleanse' the Web during the Beijing Olympics and the Communist regime's 60th anniversary last year."

The Washington Post reports, "The company's (Google's) decision to stop censoring it's Chinese search engine is more likely to mean the end of China-based service than a breakdown of Beijing's political firewall. But more important than the question of whether survives is the larger issue that Google has now raised for other Western companies and democratic governments -- which is whether China's gross and growing abuse of the Internet should be quietly tolerated or actively resisted."

Personally, I think that China has succeeded thus far in their censorship of the internet, but since so many of their citizens are able to break through "The Great Firewall" of China, that the government needs to give up their fight and make it easier for everyone and stop censoring the world wide web from their citizens.
On a personal note, in Feb. 2008, I took a trip to China and I was there for about two weeks. I went with my aunt, uncle, and cousin. They adopted a baby girl, and asked me to come along. Our plan was to create a blog and document our trip so that our friends and family back home could read and watch along. The blog is: It was through the same blog website we are using for class. We had heard from numerous other families that this was the best blog to use over there because of all the censorship laws.
As we arrived in China and began to blog about our adventures, we were unable to view them. It was the most annoying thing to not know if the content had actually been posted or not. We knew that we hit the "Publish Post" button, but we had no idea if what we wanted posted actually posted or not. We also realized that we were allowed to submit photos to be posted on the blog, but it would not allow us to post videos; we just hoped that people back home could see them, since we couldn't. Come to find out, when we arrived back home, we had numerous comments from family and friends about how cute and amazing all of the photos were and how much they enjoyed watching and reading about our trip through the blog.
In the end, we wished that censorship had not played a role in our trip, as we would have loved to read all of the comments from the friends and family that we had missed back home, but it was unavoidable for us.
Photo of my uncle, cousin, aunt and I on the Great Wall of China.

Sites I used and for more information, please visit:

My Family's Blog from China: