Monthly Archives: June 2014

Security or Privacy? Can we have both?

Standard
640px-Einstein1921_by_F_Schmutzer_2

Albert Einstein

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

– Albert Einstein

 

What’s surprising to me, after watching the videos and reading the articles for this week, is how surprised people were that our government was doing this. We have read books and watched movies about this very thing for decades. The imagination that these writers have shared on paper and film are probably only the tip of the iceberg to what actually occurs.

 

It took me some contemplating, after this week’s material, to come up with an opinion. And, I’m sorry to say I’m just as two-faced, walking the line, as I was before. This is such a sensitive subject, with many angles to pursue. I can see President Obama’s dilemma with this when he was briefed on what the Program actually did. Unfortunately, the American people are not happy about the results, regardless of intentions.

 

First, I must say that if someone were to spy on my calls or messages, they would use them for a bedtime story. If there happens to be someone out there spying on me, they have the absolute worst, most boring job on the planet. I have nothing to say, write or take a picture of that the NSA would be interested in. Unless they love Food Network too. 🙂

 

With that said, if running my messages through a filtering program will allow an organization to prevent another 9/11 attack, so be it. If it will allow a pedophile to be apprehended, before committing a horrible crime, I’m all for it. Sign me up.

 

I know this is a silly, abstract suggestion but, how about an “opt-in” option for people who don’t mind being watched? The organization would get a far better idea of who might be up to no good, based on who doesn’t “opt-in”. Or, they will discover very quickly that some of these people just aren’t willing to give up their Constitutional Rights.

 

Googles’ use of personal information to market products was their core business plan. People have now realized that there was a price to use Googles’ services, even if it wasn’t monetary. That saying, “Nothing in life is free”, comes to mind. They made no disguise that they were targeting you with personalized advertising. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence that the day after searching online for outdoor cushions, I was bombarded with advertisements for outdoor furniture and decorative items. Something I wonder is whether Google’s Incognito mode also keeps information private from Google.

 

So, to the question “Do you view your position from the short-term gain or long-term, unintended consequences perspective?, I have to say both. I see both sides and feel like we’re between a rock and a hard place. If I were presented with an option between my own privacy and saving a life, I would give up my privacy willingly. However, I wasn’t asked. I really don’t know how my personal information is being used. Are bored analysts using our lives like reality TV shows or soap operas? Stalking their exes? If it were simply a computer scanning for suspicious behavior, that would be one thing. But there are human beings that are reading our private messages, listening to our conversations, looking at our pictures. That is disturbing.

 

640px-Nagasakibomb

Atomic bombing at Nagasaki, Japan

It also saddens me that, somehow, anything can be turned into a weapon. Unfortunately, once invented, it can’t be taken back. It reminds me of the Manhattan Project and the thoughts that the scientists had running through their heads after the initial deployment of the atomic bomb at a testing sight in New Mexico. These men immediately realized what they had done, inventing this bomb. But, the damage was done.

 

Technology, in the right hands, has been wonderful for education and sharing knowledge. Unfortunately, in the wrong hands, in causes destruction. I think this is true for any discovery though, whether that be computer science, physics, medicine, etc. Discovering the secrets of a virus, initially to create an antidote and save life, becomes a quest for creating a super virus that destroys our opponent. We, as intelligent beings, are constantly battling to find that balance, where the discovery remains pure and unadulterated by wants and agendas. But, the wants and agendas pay for the research.

 

Advertisements

Amateur Publishers

Standard

My post is a little late this week. I apologize to everyone. Although, I doubt anyone was waiting on pins and needles for me. 🙂

 

Once upon a time, I had a Facebook page, like everyone else under the age of 80. I deleted it because I was tired of hearing what people ate for breakfast or bought at Walmart. I found the big issue was the content on my own page was determined by what other people found interesting. The people I was interested in keeping up with already text messaged me new information about their lives.

 

Also, I just wasn’t comfortable posting my personal life online for people I wasn’t really friends with. That has shown, on many occasions, to come back to haunt someone. I can remember another manager, at a previous job I had, being fired for posting negative comments about the company. I wonder how many careers have been ruined because of careless social media comments?

 

The sample postings, at the beginning of the chapter Publish, Then Filter, are perfect examples of why I deleted my account. I often wondered why people did not utilize the private message function more. Based on my experience, I found Facebook to be juvenile and useful only to spread your personal business places it shouldn’t go. 🙂Stop-airing-your-dirty-laundry-on-facebook

 

Once, during my short Facebook experience, an acquaintance had a public Facebook conversation with her friend, wishing her good luck and that her prayers were with her. This started a swarm of people responding, concerned and asking if everything was ok. My acquaintance’s response? “It’s kind of personal and not my place to tell anyone”. Really? Wow! I remember rolling my eyes and thinking “why the heck (or a similar word) did you post that on Facebook then?”. Attention seeking behavior from amateur publishers?

 

This story reminds me of the portion of Publish, Then Filter that discusses the invention of the telephone, not for an audience but for personal, face to face, conversations. It seems to me that people have combined their personal conversations with their audience conversations. I live by the rule of “don’t air your dirty laundry”.

 

I don’t remember there being an enormous amount of advertisements on my friends’ pages, at that time, other than for family run businesses in the little town I lived in. Had there been a huge amount, it would have been yet another reason to delete my profile.

 

The only account I currently have, other than the Twitter account for this course, is Linked In. I prefer to portray a more professional presence on the Internet and to keep my personal information, and photos, private. I can easily share photos, with the people who actually want to see them, using my iPhone.

 

networking-3

Networking is easier because you recognize people you have never met in person before

I’m also not sure I would put a photo of myself on my Linked In account. For professional networking, I would hope my appearance would be irrelevant. However, in some situations, I can see the need to be able to recognize the people in a network at events and conferences.

 

For researching, I am from the “don’t believe everything you read” club. I prefer to go to the websites of major news providers for my facts. It is just too easy for someone to create “news” based on gossip. Reputation for providing facts, not simply hearsay, is an extremely important attribute for sources during my information searches.

 

However, I also know the major players make mistakes too. Just look at the presidential race of 2000. I can’t remember which organizations mistakenly called the election for Gore, then retracted it, then called the election for Bush. To say it was a fiasco is an understatement.

 

With that said, if I read something that interests me on my internet home page, even from a reputable source, I typically research the topic further. “Did Amy Winehouse really die?” for example. (Not that I was particularly surprised; she wasn’t exactly the poster child for healthy living). When multiple sources confirm the first story, I start to believe it. There are just too many web companies that are like online versions of Star magazine.

 

Until information has been reconfirmed by numerous, reputable sources, I assume it is gossip 🙂

 

 

Knowledge is Everything

Standard

Wow, I must say that I have jumped into social media head first this semester! Along with this course, I have Internet and American Life, which approaches social media from a research perspective, based on research conducted by Pew Research. As a marketing major, I think I made a great decision taking both courses. I would not have sought out all of this information on my own, however, I find it more interesting everyday (too much sucking up?) 🙂

One topic, or concept, that I found existed in each case has to do with increased innovation in a knowledge sharing environment. In all the cases we read, or heard, technology growth quickened as collaboration, and the sharing of information, became easier.

Michael_Polanyi

Michael Polanyi, economist and author

The material reminded me of  The Republic of Science, by the economist Michael Polanyi, which I read in the course Business and Society. The portion that popped in my head follows:

“A group of women shelling peas work at the same task, but their individual efforts are not co-ordinated. The same is true of a team of chess players. This is shown by the fact that the total amount of peas shelled and the total number of games won will not be affected if the members of the group are isolated from each other.

Consider by contrast the effect which a complete isolation of scientists would have on the progress of science. Each scientist would go on for a while developing problems derived from the information initially available to all. But these problems would soon be exhausted, and in the absence of further information about the results achieved by others, new problems of any value would cease to arise, and scientific progress would come to a standstill.”

Polanyi states that information should be shared, openly. He encourages the scientific and academic professionals to network with one another because, otherwise, they will all be “discovering” the same thing, at the same time. No great innovations will occur.

The inventors discussed in “Internet Underground” began their projects to improve collaboration for the sake of sharing information and advancing innovations in computer science and academia. Each saw a flaw in the current method or protocol that was stunting further growth and knowledge.

Tim Berners-Lee found that information was unable to be shared, due to all makes of computers speaking different languages. This sparked the idea that created our current protocol language. This was a huge milestone towards the Internet we all know because it opened the door for communication and, therefore, the exchange of knowledge.

Linus Torvalds began his project when Andrew Tanenbaum, creator of MINIX, refused to share his knowledge. With collaborating partners, Torvalds created Linux, which ended up being superior to MINIX. An extra kick in Tanenbaum’s face was when Torvalds decided to make Linux open source, meaning it was free to all. This innovation allowed everyone to enjoy their own internet server, pushing the Internet Revolution over the edge.

A second thought that came to mind is that each invention would not have been as impressive had it not been for others participating and spreading the innovation. These inventions, or situation in the case of the stolen phone, needed people to succeed. The telegraph, for example, was not the technological advancement of the century until more and more lines were added.

Some of you may remember when text messaging first appeared. If you were the only one of your friends with text message capabilities on your phone, how valuable was the service? How would you even use the service if no one you knew had it? It wasn’t until more and more friends jumped on the text train that it became the popular mode of communication that it is today.tin-can-telephone

In the reading It Takes A Village, Evan, in his pursuit for justice, needed his personal network to pass information to their network, who passed the information to their network, and so on. This is what started the movement that, eventually, returned Ivana’s phone and punished the wrong doers. What began as a single person, easily became millions because they all joined in something they believed in.

A third thought that kept popping into my head is that knowledge is power. In several management courses I’ve taken, we discuss the concept of power. Who has it, how did they get it, etc.? An example that is always given is that the IT department, in any company, has an enormous amount of power. This is because they control information and information is always a company’s greatest asset.

Starting with the telegraph, as soon as the technology was obviously taking off, the railroad company wanted to make sure they would be entitled to some of the power. Linux was invented because someone else refused to relinquish power. The NSA fought Whitfield Diffie because they would lose power. Ivana’s phone was returned because the power, from the massive number of people involved, forced the police to take action.

I learned quite a bit about the history of the telegraph and the Internet this week. Thanks to all of the innovators we learned about, I was able to complete this assignment from the comfort of my home, in my pajamas. 🙂

Forced To Adopt

Standard

Hello Everyone,

My name is Jennifer Quertermous and I am a Business Administration major (marketing) here at UIS. This is my last semester as an undergraduate and I will begin the MBA program this fall. I’m hoping to continue on to a PhD program after that and begin a career in academia.

I am a returning student, having spent over a decade at home raising my children and trying my luck in various industries. In the midst of my domestic goddess period, I dabbled in real estate sales until the housing market crumbled. From there, I thought selling PRINT advertising for a newspaper group in Southern Illinois would be a successful venture. Obviously, that wasn’t my best move. 🙂

The first thing I realized when I returned to school last June is how very different the academic environment is now, compared to 2002. EVERYTHING is online now! I knew immediately I needed to improve my technology skills to have any kind of differential advantage in the job market. For this reason, I have added a few courses from the Computer Science department and, then, this course.

Many of the theories discussed in the reading assignment for this week are very similar, if not the exact same, theories and concepts I have studied in the marketing courses I’ve taken so far. Adoption also plays a very critical role in a product’s marketing strategy. Likewise, we considered the decision-making process in the Consumer Behavior course I took last semester.

So, identifying my own adoption category is quite easy: I am the most lagging laggard that ever lagged along. As much as I absolutely love MY technology, I hate moving forward. I don’t have the time, energy or desire to keep up with the latest and greatest. And, as someone else in class pointed out, it’s really expensive to buy new toys.

For example, I was perfectly content with my old Blackberry; the one that had a piece of tape across the front so the scroll ball (not technical term) didn’t fall out in my purse. After many pleas from my husband to upgrade to something new, which fell on my deaf ears, he finally presented me with an iPhone and told me, “I shut the Crackberry off so it doesn’t work anymore”. So, that was the death of the last working Blackberry. 🙂

My Favorite Thai dish to make: Penang Chicken

My Favorite Thai dish to make: Penang Chicken

That being said, I have been wanting to learn how to blog for ages. I visit blogs constantly, most often in search of new recipes for international or exotic cuisine. I love trying new food and think Anthony Bourdain has the most amazing job in the world (except when he eats bugs, rodents and fermented funk. Ok…maybe I just want to go to the places he does and be a little pickier about what I eat). 🙂

I hope we all have a great semester and I can’t wait to see what we can all accomplish at the end!