Thursday, October 21, 2010

Comm Tech Final Essay: 'FaceFraud'

FaceFraud: Social Network Privacy Issues

Q: Why is privacy such a contentious issue for Internet users? Discuss with reference to at least ONE social network service (or other web2.0 service).

Seeing that little red notification flag pop up on your Internet Browser stating that one of your ‘friends’ has commented on a photo, written on your wall or invited you to an event is a feeling of inconceivable joy for some. It is this use or arguably ‘overuse’ of social networking in the 21st century that has somewhat defined Generation Y as the technology-dependant generation that it is, obsessed with the approval of others and a “narcissist fascination with self-display”.

Since the beginning of the century, the world has seen the establishment and rapid incline of Social Networking sites otherwise known as ‘Virtual Communities’ such as Myspace, Friendster, Facebook and more recently, Twitter. It is through these Social Networking Sites that Internet junkies, averaging between the ages of 18 and 30, have sought out a cyber world in which they can communicate with others and maintain relationships by sharing photos, archiving events, getting updates on activities and posting public testimonials.

When entering a virtual community, one must understand that this is a world much different to that of an ‘offline’ world, where relationships are developed face to face in a ‘what you see is what you get’ circumstance. When it comes to social networking, although users consider themselves ‘friends’ with the people that they meet online, they can never really be certain of the authenticity of that person and their true identity.

It is for this reason that Social Network Sites have implemented Trust and Privacy policies to protect Internet users so that any information that they do not want revealed to the public can be hidden from particular groups of people. Through these policies and data protection mechanisms, Internet users can be offered yet not guaranteed the same privacy found offline in the physical world. The number one problem evident with such privacy policies is that even though these policies exist and are in fact very effective, a large number of Social Network users are unaware and uneducated about how to apply such privacy settings to ensure their online profiles are being protected. 

One Social Network in particular that demonstrates this lack of Privacy Policy knowledge is in fact the world’s most popular Social Networking Site, Facebook. With an enormous user rate of 550,000,000, more than six times the amount of the second ranking Social Network Site, Facebook has proven to be the most popular and effective website used for online communication. Created in 2004 by Harvard Student, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook was initially constructed to target University students. It was designed to provide a network through which these University students could communicate with one another and form online groups. Six years later, Facebook has become a worldwide cyber phenomenon and now attracts users of all ages and ethnicities while still being a prime source for University and organisation promotion and advertisement.

Although its success has been enormous, Facebook in fact has a poor reputation in terms of trust and privacy. Statistics show that 25% of all Facebook users have public profiles, most of who are unaware of it. This means that all information displayed on their profile including photos, date of birth, current destination and email address are viewable by not only anyone with a Facebook account , but anyone who has access to the internet. If someone’s Facebook profile is not protected, internet hackers otherwise known as “cyber criminals” can break into a user’s account, get credit card information, steal their identity and trick them into revealing their online password using Malware which is “software designed to secretly access a computer system without the owner's informed content.”

An example of a case which demonstrates such an outcome of this lack of privacy protection comes from a Los Angeles woman named Diane Solomon who was out shopping when she received a message from a friend stating that someone was on her account claiming that they were in London and needed to be transferred an undisclosed amount money. Supposedly, this ‘cyber criminal’ was asking hundreds of Solomon’s Facebook friends for the money and some had in fact transferred it to the hacker.  Unfortunately, this is only one case of many and far too many Facebook and other social network users have experienced the same identity fraud.

So why is it that after six years, Facebook still has not found a more effective way to help users maintain privacy? Is it simply that online users are narcissistic and like to be on display to all online users? Or is it that they are uneducated about such a simple procedure to ensure their online privacy? Either way, the facts remain that without online Trust and Privacy Procedures, Social Network users stand at risk.

In the Cyber World, we have seen society advance in yet another incredible way. Through Social Networks such as Facebook, companies have had the opportunity to promote their products and services, old friends have been able to re-connect and in some cases, love has been found simply from a single Facebook ‘poke’. With simple changes to such Social Networks as Facebook, Internet users can become better educated on how to maintain online Privacy and more importantly, the risks that stand if they choose to ignore it. By taking these small steps, we can ensure a better, safer, online community for generations to come.   



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Online Journals:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

WEEK 9- Chosen essay Question

For my essay I have chosen the following topic:

Why is privacy such a contentious issue for internet users? Discuss with reference to at least ONE social network service (or other web2.0 service).

Why did I choose this topic to write on?...
Because I believe this is the most relevant topic to not only myself as an individual but our generation of social-networking dependant people as a whole. In particular, it is evident that our generation is strongly dependant on the use of social networking service FACEBOOK. Our generation has grown a dependance on facebook for communication and a simply and FREE way to express ourselves, advertise events and track down people that we may have lost contact with. One big problem that I believe is left unnoticed with Facebook is privacy. It is apparent through my own personal facebook investigation that many people are not aware of the ways in which we can protect the content we post on our facebook profiles. Many people I know in particular, have profiles which are unknowingly able to be viewed by anyone, anywhere! I felt the desire to touch on this topic for this essay as I believe it is an issue which is swept under the rug, and the youth of our society is far too uninformed of the consequences which can come with such ignorance.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Week 8 Tutorial Task- CyberPunk

Negative Impact of technology on humanity: In a cyberpunked near-future, technology runs rampant, and usually manipulates most societal interactions. Dystopian near futures are very common, but so are futures where the impacts of specific technologies are played out in a world only slightly different from the present. Sacred societal boundaries are often crossed with regularity. Often the earth is severely damaged. Crime and drug use are often key supporting the

A recent new story from discusses the way in which "Computer use has 'persistent negative impact' on child's maths, reading test scores". It presents the theory that technology is diminishing the reading and maths results of young students. It is also suggesting that recent technology is in fact counter-productive in improving student achievement. 

The following is my attempt to reconstruct this story:

Computer Technology: Is it doing harm to your children's academic results?

Recent studies have shown that modern-day online learning may in fact be hurting your child's academic results rather than helping improving them. Although it is clear that with the internet, in today's society we are able to access information much quicker and in a much more simple way than previous decades. Many people would view this is a postive advance on society with much more accessible resources, but what it may really be doing is causing the academic downfall of your children.

A study conducted by the US National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that
a program of broadening home computer access would be counterproductive for students as they tend to get easily distracted by social networking sites, computer games and any other computer program that is likely to be a lot more enjoyable than any school homework that they may have.

So how is the continuation of this at-home computer use going to impact not only the youth of society in years to come but also the way in which the planet develops?

In the worst case scenario, if the youth of our society continues this dependance on computers and academic downfalls continue to decline, we could eventually see a world that is led by the non-practical. Although through advanced technology, it would seem that we are learning more and accessing information quicker, dependance on technology enourages us to be lazy. And our world cannot advance to it's full potential if our generation and future generations are too busy updating their facebook status and playing world of warcraft to develop a better and ever-advancing world for us to live in. news story)

http://. (basic research)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Week 7- TuteSpark- Free Software.

For this task, I chose to download the following Free Software: Gimp Photo Editing Software, Mozilla Firefox and Limewire.

I found Gimp a lot of fun. Being someone who is frequently editing photos, this is a very helpful program to help me do no expense. It's straight forward, has all the necessary tools to do simple editing taks and best of all, it's free!

Mozilla Firefox was another story. Being someone who has always used either Internet Explorer or Safari, I didn't like trying to adapt to a new internet browser, even thought they're all very straight forward. 

And last of all, Limewire is obviously an incredibly popular music downloading source for music lovers, myself included. Although it's software that is very much frowned upon in the music industry and on an even more serious note, it encourages the illegal downloading of music, there's no denying that it's a great source to download music for free. Who could say no to that?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Week 7 Tutorial- Creative Commons

1. What is creative commons and how could this licensing framework be relevant to your own experience at university?
Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting reasonable copyright. This licensing framework is relevant to our University Work in the sense that if were to write a story/essay/report or take our own photos/videos, we need to know that we are safe from other students trying to steal our work without us receiving the credit that we deserve.

2. Find 3 examples of works created by creative commons and embed them in your blog.

3. Find an academic article which discusses creative commons using a database or online journal. Provide a link to and a summary of the article.
Through the griffith online Library, I found a jounrnal written by Junko Yoshida on Creative Commons and it's contribution to the computer and consumer electronics industry and it's clash with record and movie companies. It discusses the way in which Creative Commons has replicated the success of the free-software and open-source movements.

4. Have a look at Portable Apps (a pc based application) – provide a brief description of what it is and how you think this is useful.
Portable Applications are applications that can be downloaded from the web and stored onto portable devices such as a USB stick, iPOD or Hardrive so that you are able to transfer the apps that you use regularly from one computer to another. For instance, as a Uni student, I always use my Laptop when working on assignments at home, but if I am in a tutorial, I tend to use the Uni desktop computers. In such an istance, if I were in a Photography class, I could transfer the GIMP photo editing app from my Laptop to the Uni desktop computer. This is very useful for people like myself who are constantly swapping computers and tend to lose data very easily as it's often hard to keep track of what program is available on what computer.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WEEK 6 TUTESPARK- Privacy and Social Networking

Who owns the content you put on the internet on various sites? (This includes pictures, video, text, etc)
Majority of the content that I post on the internet is owned by many different sources from all over the internet. For instance, the photographs and videos that I have previously used for this weblog all belong to people who have posted them on such websites such as google image, photobucket, youtube, etc.

Think about all the content you upload onto social networking sites - Do you own it?
When i think of myself and my own personal use of social networks such as Facebook, majority of the content that I publish is in fact, not my own. I am someone who is always posting Youtube videos of filmclips, short-films, funny home-made videos etc which all belong to somebody else. In terms of photos, majority of the time I only use my own photos but there have definitely been times where i have posted images from the internet that are not my own. Coming hand-in-hand with these videos and photos, I also have incorporated quotes on my website that are not my own. So it is apparent that while it seems like my Facebook is my OWN, majority of the content is in fact not mine at all.

Who has the right to use your creations?
If we're not careful with work we create/photos we take etc, anyone could steal the content that we post on the internet. For example, if i were to post a weblog on here and anyone was able to access it, they would be able to copy and use it as their own. An example for how we would avoid this is if we were to post photographs which we have taken and edited on our own, we could protect them by giving them a watermark, so that if people try to claim is as their own, our name would be on it.

Monday, September 13, 2010


For our Culture Jam, Bec, Desma, Louise and myself manipulated a flyer for Sin City Nightclub's second birthday to convince the public that Jay-Z was appearing at the nightclub. To achieve this, we used several different marketing strategies to lure the youth into believing this media lie. Our main source of marketing was the manipulation and distribution of the Sin City flyers which we posted all over the Griffith University Gold Coast campus. This tactic proved to be successful as only moments after we posted them, we were all already getting messages from friends letting us know about this exciting event. We also received a lot of response on the Facebook and Twitter accounts that we created. These were established to promote the event, post updates and hints as to who the celebrity guest was and receive feedback from the public to see if our Culture Jam was successful enough. With the time limit we were given, I believe that we were very successful in achieving a Culture Jam that did in fact create an impact upon the youth of the Gold Coast.