Politics and Technology of Control: Introduction

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January 29

The Internet at its core is simply an expression of a technological protocol that allows for a particular way of sharing information. But from its humble beginnings the Internet has always felt like more than this. The Net has great potential for “good” (e.g. innovation, economic growth, education, and access to information), and likewise is a great platform for the bawdy, tawdry and illegal. So is this platform about fundamental social, political and economic change, or about access to solipsistic blogging, pornography, cheap pharmaceuticals, free music, and poker at home? This question leads us to a host of interesting issues that weave their way through the course related to openness, access, regulatory control, free speech, anonymity, intellectual property rights, democracy, transparency, norms and values, economic and cultural change, and cyber-terrorism, as well as scamsters and thieves.

Preparation (Assignment "Zero")

  • Reflect on what you believe are the most significant social, cultural, political or economic changes associated with the spread of digital technologies. In a few sentences, please offer 2-3 examples in the Class Discussion section below and be prepared to discuss them during class.


Optional Readings

Videos Watched in Class

The Internet As It Was In 1996

John Perry Barlow

Class Discussion

Welcome to Internet and Society: Technologies and Politics of Control! This is the section of the page where you should add your comments to complete "assignment zero." Once you have registered an account, just click the "[edit]" button at the upper right hand corner of this section to add text! Jeff Hermes 10:00, 28 January 2013 (EST)

Please remember to sign your postings by adding four tildes (~~~~) to the end of your contribution. This will automatically add your username and the date/time of your post, like so: Asellars 15:29, 21 January 2013 (EST)

1. There has been several significant economic changes associated with internet and digital technologies which has created both new opportunities and new challenges.

Change: Access to information has impacted the way news is distributed, causing the world investment markets to move faster and become more volatile off of news.

New Opportunity: A greater understanding of how the internet works with distribution can allow for algorithms to be developed through digital technologies to counter act the news as its distributed.

New Challenge: With greater technology being created at the speed of light, it has become difficult to study trends for the investment markets, which are in some respects locked into a web based portal that can control the fate of public companies, instead of fundamentals.

2. There has been several significant political changes associated with internet and digital technologies which has created both new opportunities and new challenges.

Change: Access to information online about freedoms in the democracies around the world

New Opportunity: In the Middle East this was a major contributing factor in the Arab Spring, to bring and implement change.

New Challenge: With this new access to freedoms, the challenge of countries restricting information or access is now more than ever present. As in the article about Yahoo, France was able to restrict information making the access less free for the citizens in that country, compared to other parts of the world.

3. There has been several significant social changes associated with internet and digital technologies which has created both new opportunities and new challenges.

Change: Access to social media sites has fundamentally changed the way people interact with each other

New Opportunity: By establishing specific structures in place, access to a significant amount more potential people to do business with is available using these social media sites.

New Challenge: With greater access to more people, the amount of noise is constant. So standing out with your message is critical to stand out amongst the crowd.

4. There has been several significant cultural changes associated with internet and digital technologies which has created both new opportunities and new challenges.

Change: Access to education online or education in general for both genders

New Opportunity: More people are educated now than any part of the history of the world. In recent years with the Millenium Development Goals an emphasis of educating our youth and specifically woman as a priority has taken some real strives forward.

New Challenge: With this material change in focussing in educating women, groups like the Taliban has fired back with scare tactics to keep them out of schools. Interestingcomments 13:21, 28 January 2013 (EST)

One of the greatest economic changes to occur will be the ratification of the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) which will allow private companies to solicit unaccredited investors to participate in their startups. Opportunities will be created for entrepreneurs and investors, but the innovation will also account for great investor losses due to the erosion of necessary barriers to fundraising. Additionally, it will create opportunities for fraud.

Another huge change brought about is the access to online education and training. At a time when unemployment is high, online education and training allows for additional specialization and creates opportunities for a large group of people who don't have the flexibility of schedule for traditional learning. A challenge is that quality has not kept up with the technology, so you are seeing a proliferation of sub-par learning experiences offering students degrees that leave them in massive amounts of debt, but don't necessarily make them more attractive of a candidate when it comes time to find a job. Phildade 15:21, 28 January 2013 (EST)

This whole section of Introduction I found very compelling. The language of the assignment was at first a bit unusual but now I am getting used to such communication. To duscuss the problems I have noticed with the internet, most noteably the discussion about Chinese, I found very compelling. Being different languages cave different means of speech production, the understanding that internet lauguage, like a fax machine, is actually the English I learned made me flip!Johnathan Merkwan 15:48, 28 January 2013 (EST)

A cultural change associated with digital technologies is how we share things that we create, whether it is music, photographs, videos/movies, etc and how the "ownership" of these items is decided. Between SOPA and PIPA and other copyright legislation, as well as the whole idea of open access, as much as we are able to share things with each other so much easier through technology, it opens a whole set of challenges as to how and if we monitor and control the sharing.

Another change is the reliance we have on search engines like Yahoo and Google in how we find information. While we use these gateways to comb the Internet for us and to make the process seemingly simpler, we also, at times, have a false sense of comfort that we are getting all of the information available through these search engines when that’s not always the case. As we have fewer and fewer search engines available, the monopoly that a search engine has on our ability to find information and relevant information online grows. And as this happens, we also tend to settle for the initial results rather than taking the time to dig deeper. We put a lot of faith in our search engines.

The Internet has given us numerous new ways to interact and communicate with each other. One way in particular that I think has really changed how we communicate is the anonymity that the Internet provides. There are challenges and opportunities that arise from this. While people often will say things online anonymously that they may not say to a person in real life there are often times where being able to be anonymous on the Internet, allows people a sense of comfort and place that may be lacking in their everyday life. Nfonsh 16:05, 28 January 2013 (EST)

I believe that the revolution in cloud computing offers the greatest potential to reshape the landscapes of various sectors and institutions. Take online media for example; In the past 15 years, we have seen the eradication of media giants like Blockbusters and Borders due to the increase in accessibility of online media. Hubs like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and other online institutions offer a wider selection and more accessible means of acquiring movies, music, and books. Another positive benefit as a result of the growth in the cloud is greater ease of accessibility over a wider range of devices to digital content. Institutions like Harvard, MIT, and TED have made it possible to access educational information and series on devices like the iPad and iPhone. I believe that this kind of freedom of information will very shortly become the new standard for information access so that the entire world may consume digital media with the ease of accessing it through a personal smart device. While there is great upside with the revolution in speed and efficiency of online access and cloud computing, the greatest risk is security. Because a greater concentration of more valuable information will be stored on networks vulnerable to hackers, I believe that online security will be one of the most important focal points of the next 10 years. As sectors and institutions make the transition to the online world, they will necessitate a more reliable solution to safeguarding highly sensitive information like social security numbers, credit card information, and personal privacy. The Gizmodo story here highlights some of the potential personal privacy issues that will need to be addressed in the near future: http://gizmodo.com/5880593/the-apple-bug-that-let-us-spy-on-a-total-strangers-iphone AaronEttl 17:34, 28 January 2013 (EST)

Historically, humans innovate for the purpose of communication, so the most significant change associated with digital technologies is how communication has become easier. The possibility of faster communication influences in all aspects of people's life. Easy communication also implies more access to information, and that is exactly what runs the world today. Those who are able to take advantage of all this available information to make fair commercial relations without invading other's privacy will succeed. However, the biggest challenge is related to privacy, too. Is it possible to regulate internet without censorship? Internet is currently the arena where a big conflict between freedom of expression and safety is playing out.Milenagrado 20:13, 28 January 2013 (EST)

There are two technologies, or classes of technologies, which I believe have had a significant social, cultural, political and economic effect on the world. The first are called web 2.0 technologies, which imply a new version of something but really is just an evolution of the way people used the world wide web. The web first came into existence in 1994 when web browsers and the language of the web - HTML - became prevalent. Static web pages were built by the millions and the three letters www and the phrase "dot com" became part of many people's lexicon. However, starting in the late 1990's and into the early 2000's, people were learning to use the same world wide web in different ways. Collaboration was becoming common with wikis (like this page) and content/document sharing application such as Microsoft Sharepoint. Social networking sites, most notably MySpace and Facebook, in addition to video sharing sites like YouTube allowed user-driven content to drive a good chunk of Internet activity. This mini-revolution allowed the Internet to go from being a place where your average person went to be a consumer of information to a place where the same average person would create and generate information as much as consume it. These technologies also made the Internet much more friendly to the young, old and people of all ages who were not overly tech savvy.

The second class of technologies that have revolutionized the world to a large extent are wireless technologies. This includes satellite, cellular, WiFi (802.11) and Bluetooth which all have had a profound effect on connecting the average person up to the global network of digital information more easily and frequently. Fifteen years ago, only a small fragment of the population owned cellular phones. In 2013, a large majority of the population owns cellular phones, many of which are smart phones with touch screens, access to hundreds of thousands of applications and other features such as cameras and Internet access. Wireless technologies have also brought the ability to communicate with much of the world to places where wired infrastructure does not currently exist. Wireless communications have opened up the online world to people across the globe who wouldn't otherwise have access to such a place.

CyberRalph 23:44, 28 January 2013 (EST)

I think what's striking is how digital technologies have empowered both decentralized grassroots movements as well as centralized corporate and political institutions. Using the Internet, businesses can profit from enormous amounts of consumer data, broaden markets, and globalize their workforce, while governments are afforded new platforms for engaging with citizens (We the People petitioning system) or censoring and monitoring them. At the same time, citizens gain amazing new tools for media production and self-expression, collective organization, and knowledge access. Sometimes top-down centralization and bottom-up decentralization interact together to make everyone better off (New York City's 311 program for example) other times they fundamentally clash (BitTorrent and the recording industries). So to me, digital tech intensifies the struggle between bottom up and top down powers and increases the complexity in the relationship, as both forces struggle to understand what the Internet is, what it can do, and what it should be.

Look forward to exploring this theme in class. Asmith 00:40, 29 January 2013 (EST)

Assignment 0

I think the top three challenges of the Internet are:

1. Network neutrality - telco's dictating to me what traffic is good / bad, and given that, what I'd have to pay more for to use the 'bad' apps

2. Governments tapping and spying on the internets users

3. Government's using the internet as a battlefield (cyberwar).

Saridder 21:51, 28 January 2013 (EST)

The spread of digital technology has impacted and changed the way the global society communicates and operates. It seems the increased speed, frequency, access, and reach of digital communicates has had the most significant impact economically, socially, culturally, and politically. These positive impacts have come with many unintended consequences left to be managed or navigated.--Jspain 10:14, 29 January 2013 (EST)

During my recent travels in Southeast Asia, I observed a great many people using internet accessible smart phones, including new iphones, in both the urban and rural areas of Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore. How will this proliferating access to the world wide web affect those societies that reputedly limit free speech, especially in the area of political dissent? Nleblanc 10:30, 29 January 2013 (EST)

Top three challenges of the internet are:

1. Government seeking more control, through laws and taxes 2. Piracy and anti-piracy activities 3. The changing nature of privacy

Jennga 12:00, 29 January 2013 (EST)

Good afternoon, the must big changes in the society, since internet have been created are:

1. There´s a new concept of the right of freedom expressión.

2. Therés a new concept of what is the best way to protect intellectual property.

3. Finally one of the must sensitive changes, is that we all can know what is happening around the world in just one second. ´´´´ natalia.

A list of the most significant changes associated with the spread of digital technologies would certainly include: the complexity of financial instruments and the difficulty governments and central banks are having understanding and regulating them; the issues regarding government surveillance of not only its citizens, but of citizens of other countries both within and outside its borders, what governments are choosing to do with this information, and the relative slowness of the courts and laws to react; and the facilitation of communication among geographically disparate groups: for example the use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube during the Arab Spring to create a sense of common cause, as well as to distribute images that built a large base of support globally for governments to respond, making it difficult, for example, for the U.S. to continue to support governments that were less than democratic, but perhaps, more than useful. It would be hard to ignore the changes digital technologies have had on our daily lives - who carries a map when traveling, when we can create and e-mail a url with the day’s locations to our phones and open this map to get directions from where we are to where we want to go next, how wonderful to carry not one, but many books and magazines in a device smaller than a deck of cards and be able to use that device to purchase more, anytime, anywhere, and finally, what bliss to be able skim a long list of voice mail rather than replaying each one over and over again to get to that all-important name and phone number.Raven 13:28, 29 January 2013 (EST)

Between the several changes that internet and digital technologies brought, I would like to mention:

1) The widespread of information and knowledge. Nowadays you don't have to go to India to know how Indian's think, you can just get into a forum and speak with an Indian yourself; you can study and get a degree or do an investigation for a thesis from your own house and a service for a person in Europe can be given by someone in Asia, just to mention some examples. Knowledge is at the distance of a click, but still there are lots of people having difficulties to access it. Thus, one of the main challenges I think we are facing nowadays is to find the way to actually empower people for them to be able to make the most of what internet and digital technologies offer us.

2) The possibility of everyone to have a voice in a discussion, and to build support towards that voice. It has been mentioned before the role 2.0 technologies had in unifying people during the arab spring, or the "Indignados" movement that started in Spain.

3) The possibility to crowdsource and co create. Before social media, content was created by one person and read by another one but nowadays everyone has the opportunity to create content, and that content can easily be improved by lots of people willing to. The power of crowdsourcing and co creating is changing the way governments, business, universities or NGOs work in order to became more open and collaborative. Open Data is playing a key role in giving people the tool to create new products and services as well as improving the existing ones. Maria 14:41, 29 January 2013 (EST)

While the Internet has been a boon in many areas, it is clear that society didn't have a chance to really think through the long term consequences of this technology. Like all major overlays to how a society functions, a newness offers the opportunity for change and growth. As mentioned in the class material, while the original plan was to have a base line of equal access, the users of the technology became more powerful than the technology itself. Governments forged beachheads in the form of firewalls and spyware and societies shook out into the clusters that were familiar and comforting. Even with the access, the multitudes of messaging slow most of us down from engaging the other side in the argument mostly out of sheer exhaustion. "The world at our finger tips" has us using the Internet in all hardware forms for everything from the world events to what is happening on your street. Has our reliance on Internet cloud based services made us complacent or curious to know more about things that would have taken weeks - perhaps months - to be aware of in prior times (those times not being that long ago) With all this digital nakedness, the pendulum has started to swing in the other direction. As the EU presented the legal argument for the "right to be forgotten" in the digital world, it will be interesting to see if global access will further compartmentalize. A ruling of that nature of the next couple of years in and of itself would have massive ramifications on social, economic and political frameworks.Caroline 14:55, 29 January 2013 (EST) Caroline

I'm not too great at naming superlatives, but here are some interesting social phenomena I believe have emerged from cyber-social culture. Online communities and social media have created an opportunity to construct an online identity, to carefully curate one's own portrayal. People suffering offline from prejudice or persecution may seek shelter in their cyber personas and communities, as they offer a safe space for them to form real relationships and be their truest selves. However, on the other hand, the process of picking and choosing certain parts of a persona to reveal and others to hide may have psychological and social consequences. For instance, "liking" items on Facebook or writing an "About Me" on OkCupid facilitates a segmented rather fluid sense of self. While Internet communities have offered shelter to many lost, confused stragglers, it also makes us prone to labeling, categorizing, and sub-sub-sub categorizing ourselves in order to "belong."

Social media has also made comparison to others unavoidable, but also against much more unrealistic standards. Nobody uploads pictures while alone, watching Forrest Gump, tears splattering into their tub of Phish Food ice cream. Unless you do, and then you're keeping it real. Nobody posts what they don't want others to see or know. Basically, social media exposes us to a very choppy, glossy image of how people live. Based on my own personal experience, nothing makes me more depressed then going on Facebook when I'm depressed.

Lastly, open-source cyber environments such as Wikipedia and Ebay have granted more faith in direct democracy. The success of an EBay store, for instance, relies almost entirely on the experiences of each previous customer. There are no representatives or filtration systems, every user's experience counts fully and equally. However, it is not just the use of the direct democracy that makes these online environments remarkable, but how such systems have proven themselves reliable and prosperous.

Jax 15:54, 29 January 2013 (EST)

1. With such a massive amount of information readily available on the internet and through other digital media (how to tend a garden, how to change your brakes, proper etiquette at a Japanese wedding, etc.) there is no longer a large need for the cultural passing of information through the generations which has been the norm for tens of thousands of years. Instead we now need only to learn the building blocks of HOW to learn and WHEN/WHERE to apply this information which is a radical shift from memorization to computation. This also allows us to spend the preponderance of our time focusing on skill specialization and leisure activities.

2. Social media is having many impacts on our culture which are simultaneously abstracting us from the real-world relationships we would have without digital technology as well as connecting us with those far-flung friends/family we would otherwise completely lose touch with.

3. The internet causes a very interesting effect with it's ability to create heavily polarized groups based on issues they might not have understood prior to the digital age. Mass media (Newspapers, Radio & TV News) dominated the information available to the public for the 20th century and now people are able to access information from other countries (BBC, Al Jazeera, etc.) With so many different viewpoints not being controlled by large corporations and/or the government shows many different vectors into the same "stories". Mattyh 16:01, 29 January 2013 (EST)

The internet is beyond fascinating in its potential to redefine politics of global control. As this week's readings suggest, the internet is not governable in the way that most governments work to control their citizens. It offers an alternative space for those whose voices are often shut down in the public sphere. Anonymity and global reach provides comfort in individuals sharing their viewpoints, and as seen in the recent uprisings in the Middle East, can pave the way for mass movements to arise in bringing forth change and connect with likeminded individuals who may not have been given the opportunity to meet otherwise. What's more, the rise in digital technologies offers immense opportunities for redefining local economies in lesser developed regions. Today, you see the rise in mobile phones changing the way farmers in East Africa determine which crops to bring to market and the price at which they plan to sell. The communications barriers have consequently relaxed and made way for innovation and experimentation. Yet another example of change as a result of digital technologies' spread is the perceived cultural blending worldwide. Globalisation's effects have meshed languages, cultural norms, consumer likes and dislikes, etc. Some even fear the convergence of culture in response to technology's spread threatens the legacies of indigenous cultural groups and erodes at their continuity. Kaley Sweeney 16:26, 29 January 2013 (EST)

I believe that one of the most significant changes associated with the Internet is the way people can buy and sell services and products. E-commerce made a complete revolution in the way people do business without any precedence in our history. According to Forrester Research in http://www.wwwmetrics.com/shopping.htm the use of the Internet for shopping has been exponentially increasing. Only in the United States, $248.7 billion online sales are expected by 2014 and 10% more is forecast for the next five years. In Western Europe, online sales are expected to reach approximately 14 billion euros ($155.7 billion) and a growth of 11% percent annually. Another change that is related to e-commerce is the fact that it gives people so many tools in doing their own business that it could trigger the extinction of some markets. For example, travel companies might disappear in the near future because it will be impossible to compete with virtual companies like "Booking.com" or “Expedia”, which have very competitive prices, a wide variety of options and can be quickly and easily operated by anyone without the inconvenience of having to go to a travel agency. In summary, e-commerce is not just a revolution in the way people can buy and sell services and products, but it will be yet a cause of extinction for some traditional markets for which the impacts are still unknown. (Free speech 16:27, 29 January 2013 (EST))

1) Many digital users believe that all content on the Internet is (or should be) free. What are the costs of a seemingly "free" Internet? Who funds or pays for the Internet? 2) As digital technologies become increasingly significant in daily life, should we work to lessen the digital divide domestically? Internationally?JW 16:39, 29 January 2013 (EST)

We stand at the precipice of a new world. We hold an opportunity to connect with each other and share information like never before possible in human history. Now the question is what do we do with it?

How do we bridge the gap between the new hive mind of the internet and the preexisting societies that surround us?

•“This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different” John Perry Barlow (A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace).

•“ Information wants to be free” (Jack Goldsmith + Tim Wu: Digital Borders (legal affairs))

•Ability to organize, discover, exclude and deliver information ( Tim Berners- Lee )

•“ If you want to liberate a society just give them the internet” – Wael Ghonim ( MacKinnon)

How do we protect this opportunity and prevent a “race to the bottom"?

•“I don’t like the outcome of what happens with these things… but we have to follow the law.” Yang ( Yahoo Founder from Jack Goldsmith + Tim Wu: Digital Borders (legal affairs))

•We need a broader more sustained internet freedom movement and a culture of sustained activism (Rebecca MacKinnon: Let’s take back the internet!)

•Citizen-centric evolution of the internet (Mackinnon)

How do we ensure that all people have access to information and prevent “those in advantageous position” from reaping the benefits of the internet?

•We need to create a society of computer literate people

•Encourage innovation and exploration

•Will language connect or separate us ? On learning English “Because, father, the computer speaks English.” ( Al Gore repeating anecdote from President Akayev of Kyrgyzstan from Jack Goldsmith + Tim Wu: Digital Borders (legal affairs))

By Alybarbour

Doug Forbes Assignment Zero 1 29 13

From the 50’s thought the 60’s there was a communications theorist named Marshal McLuhan. He devoted a lot of thought and writing around the invention of Television, noting that the existence of the medium itself had impact beyond any specific content coming across it. He coined a phrase, “The medium is the massage.” He felt that the ability to bring images of experiences in real time across vast distances would bring an awareness of each others circumstance in an unprecedented way and that cold lead to deeper understanding of one another as people and as countries. He referred to this as a “Global Village” and wrote a book in 1968 that included that phrase in the title. However, by 1964, he had already written in his book “Understanding Media” that the networks of the day were “timid giants,” there position was so important and so visible that they had become very weary of promoting non-mainstream positions because they could so readily create chaotic responses.

Looking at the class readings so far, I’d say that the advent of the Internet made for very similar expectations in, promoting unrestricted speech, moving it across borders and across economic boundaries as well. Barlow’s Declaration of Independence in Cyberspace makes it clear that people felt they had an area of total free speech but unlike our founding fathers, he forgot to shoot the opposition. The most notable change that around the Internet in the readings is that those expectations which seemed almost inevitable to begin with have, to a very large extent not come to fruition. So to me the most important challenges that presents are in achieving some kind of balance in the areas of accessibility, governmental censorship as well as economic censorship.

Taking these in order, Hargittai’s writings on the Digital Divide make it pretty clear that Barlow’s “World that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth,” was wildly optimistic. With third world countries lagging behind, and minorities and the elderly behind as well, those things could be improved on a bit but some of the statistical information has probably been improved on in some areas since his latest stats which are around 2004. In particular India seems to have made very good use of the Internet and related telecommunications technologies to improve their economic status, just call Dell for tech support and you’ll get a good idea. Hargittai also points out that user skill level is crucial to making use of Internet access. Her suggestion that education is around this is perhaps the most important one as we only have so much control over what happens in other countries. The NYC school system has done quite a bit of experimenting with this with very favorable results, as a videographer, I did several video’s that demonstrated very good results when students had access to laptops and also one teacher in particular was big on having younger students use small, relatively affordable tablets, noting that third graders became enthusiastic to do rewrites of papers for the first time. Zickuhr and Smith point out that “Both African Americans and English-speaking Latinos are as likely as whites to own any sort of mobile phone, and are more likely to use their phones for a wider range of activities.” Which may make for an opportunity to flatten the digital divide a bit so that may take care of some of the access point issues in the U.S. but it still remains important to teach our youth to be good searches and Internet savvy, which may not be as easy to accomplish using cell phones.

Regarding Government censorship and control, Goldsmith and Wu point out that while countries such as China may go way to far in their blocking of Internet, countries like Frances’ opposition to a Nazi auction site may be perfectly reasonable given their history and culture and a one size fits all set of laws would not be desirable. The challenge here is very similar to all other media, holding governments to their standards where we can. I must say I thought Google and Yahoo missed on opportunity. Goldsmith and Wu quote Yang of Yahoo as saying, "To be doing business in China, or anywhere else in the world, we have to comply with local law." As proponents of free speech, just deciding that one must operate within the laws of a country like China and at least in Google’s case hoping that they would loosen up a bit by themselves, missed the fact that to be a major world power as the Chinese are clearly achieving, they would have to have a search technology and I think our search engine people could have demanded some reform. Instead they wimped out or got greedy and got hacked in the process. That was part of the challenge the Internet posed and they did not meet that part which is a human as well as political great loss as we might have benefited greatly from some loosening of controls on there part. It’s interesting to note that the ability to censor sites was not even discovered until it was brought into light in the Yahoo/France case. The technology had a built in capability that was discovered by a commercially developed technology.

This leads to the last and greatest challenge of the set, the role commercial censorship of Internet information. This is most challenging in part because our corporations are so pervasive, partly we don’t have a say in their goings on much and partly because as one reading points out, companies are beholden to their share holders and not to the general citizenry and sometimes these appear to conflict, at least in a short term view. MacKinnon has a great example of this in the Julian Assange happenings. Here we have someone very much in the business of providing otherwise hard to obtain information and with no conviction or even start of due process, his provider and I believe also his credit card processors pull out on him. We seem to have the most difficult time coming up with answers to this area of problems, it’s the one way in which the Internet is living up to it’s promise of eluding solutions to control. What would “taking back the Internet” look like? More Government intrusion? That is not always such a good idea and the antithesis of what it’s earlier proponents hoped for. Can you imagine that a company would be required to keep an account with someone who has just published national security secrets? Even if someone discarded the Assange case as an outlier, one is still left with the troubling mechanics of censorship of information by companies and corporations some of whom may be very savvy at Internet manipulation. Hargittai states that censorship or gatekeeping [in this country] is now occurring at the level of information exposure. MacKinnon calls for vigilant activism in keeping the Internet as free as possible, but it is very hard to regulate or in any way control gatekeeping at the level of information exposure. We used to have a fairness in reporting doctrine for the televised press, that was based on running an opposing view to any story, but with billions of pages, this type of legislation provides only a partial solution.

In conclusion, while the Internet may not have lived up to the expectations of proponents such as Barlow, it may still be the closets thing we have to what he envisioned. Of the three challenges discussed, the digital divide may suffer from some Mathew effect, but my sense is that as time goes on, this will lesson, especially here in the U.S. for the reasons discussed above.

Balance in Government regulation will continue to be an issue that we must be aware of and influence where possible as the situation warrants. While we should keep as much freedom as possible, should we really be able to skirt existing laws about background checks and buy six thousand rounds of ammunition in hundred round belts?

Corporate Censorship which mostly takes place at the level of information exposure is very problematic and perhaps can only be combated with counter information exposure. I would say that the Internet does provide a counterbalancing force. Lots of news items and discourse emerge from it, such as those of Matt Drudge, Jullian Assange just to name a couple of the most notable ones. If one really feels strongly about an issue that is buried in reams of digital masking, posting to your social media site, posting to blogs, calling and discussing with friends and colleagues, or, by whatever means is available. As the recent internet and telecommunications involvement in the Arab Spring Uprisings suggest, I believe that the Internet still provides the closest means possible to achieving it’s touted mandate of getting muffled voices heard across as many borders and obstacles as possible and as we think about legislation and control, preservation of that freedom should be paramount. Douglas Forbes 17:03, 29 January 2013 (EST)

Looking forward I think that there are a few problems that we can foresee for the rapidly growing and developing, global internet. I think that there are issues which we cannot now foresee, since innovation can surprise us with new unintended consequences. Among the problems that can be foreseen: 1. Expansion of infrastructure while keeping traffic moving free of charge (net neutrality). 2. Security threats and mal-ware. 3. There will continue to arise new social issues that are only present because of the available technology. Tessa May 17:14, 29 January 2013 (EST)

1) Prior the internet, people were judged on their outward physical appearance, resume and their reactions or attitudes in terms of their likes or dislikes. However, with the increasing consumption of media and technology, people have become inclined to disclose detailed information about themselves, and others, that are virtually permanent and displayed for the whole world to see. People are now represented in new ways, from news articles to their online memberships, all of which could be accessed within seconds. In recent years, the proliferation of popular social networking websites only added to the internet profiling phenomenon. For the first time, people are willingly joining the websites and disclosing easily categorized demographic information, as well as personal preferences and ideas publicly. Arguably, the move towards globalization has never been shown as transparently as in these social networking websites, with members from all over the world. However, the goldmine of information collected in these websites, pose serious privacy issues and implications of a third-party controlling our representations of self. Websites are now essentially "owning representations" of users around the world. What is private to us, is much harder to distinguish. This is an issue, because the courts and legal rights within a country may not be aligned with the ever-changing aspects of the internet.

2) Although there are many negative aspects to the internet world, it is also innovative and "helpful" in terms of gathering data from all the world. What I mean by this is that, programs now have the innovation of millions of users around the world, and can be accessed within seconds. It saves costs, and time: E-commerce, E-mail. The exposure to information is limitless. - An exponent of what I think is most innovative about the rise of the internet is the idea of communication and how it has evolved dramatically. News and information are able to travel across the globe to anyone, and in the matter of seconds. APhan 17:29, 29 January 2013 (EST)

The internet has changed and will continue to change our morals in many regards. On the one hand the proliferation of pornography has made exposure to previously heavily regulated acts much more commonplace for young men, this changes their views of women and relationships. On the other hand, the internet has exposed many in society to ideas and beliefs that they could never have encountered previously (i.e. individuals raised in a strict religious community can now easily gain exposure to those with differing beliefs). It has also increased international trade and broken down economic barriers (ebay now allows you to purchase direct from chinese manufacturers). I am excited to undertake an academic study of the internet with all of you. Joshywonder 17:35, 29 January 2013 (EST)

The Internet has allowed information to flow much more quickly and cheaply between various points on the globe.

Marketing and shopping have been significantly changed by the advents of secure remote transactions and targeted advertising. Potential customers no longer have to be local. In the case of software and media companies, distributing products is especially easy.

Countries are more intertwined than they were previously, thanks to quick informational access to distant places. Borders pose less of a limit on the exchange of cultural information between geographic locations (although things like the Great Firewall of China may curtail this benefit in many cases). Cheap, accessible long-distance communication between friends and family allows social lives to continue despite often being dislocated due to modern nuclear family lifestyles.

Content is often pooled together and ranked preferentially, allowing large quantities of relatively optimized (in the sense of meeting the users expectations more than older means of seeking information) to be rapidly found. Examples include Google indexing and the Reddit karma system. The creation of search engines like Google has allowed people to rapidly find new sources of information, permitting people to be more dynamic in their decision-making. It is no longer as necessary to anticipate every problem you will encounter, or rely on an uninformed solution. On the flip side, motivated cognition may limit or even invert this advantage by causing people to only seek evidence confirming their beliefs. The larger a pool of information, the easier it is to find evidence for any arbitrary viewpoint. Thus, one probable effect of the Internet (albeit difficult to quantify) is that people are now more confident of their beliefs, sometimes even if they’re not true. Julian 21:43, 29 January 2013 (EST)

To understand the present and future of the Internet, one must first understand its past.

The Internet protocols were developed by the Advanced Research Projects Administration (ARPA) as part of an effort to design a robust communications network. The ARPAnet, which linked together a number of high tech research institutions, was deployed both to demonstrate the workability of the protocols and to facilitate communication among research communities. I would also present the argument that as the internet goes, so does the need for more social responsibility regarding uses. Hunter

I believe one of the most significant changes in this digital world is the upheaval of the intellectual property world, and i don't see the issue coming to an end any time soon.

The other major change that we are going through now is the different groups and countries around the world fighting digitally for control over the World Wide Web. Fighting for control over it's users, its economic value, and over the content that should and should not be allowed on the current "wild west web".

It will be interesting to see how these world wide issues could/will be solved with so many competing groups around the globe. DanielReissHarris 10:30, 30 January 2013 (EST)

1) Online education has changed the way students learn, interact, and absorb new information. Harvard has offered extension classes for more than a century, but online classes are relatively new, altering the educational landscape for students worldwide. The notion of online education has opened new doors for many who would otherwise be excluded from diverse learning institutions, i.e., Harvard. Many students have yet to discover the benefits of online education: recorded lectures, interactive chat sessions with classmates worldwide, skype-like discussions, etc. From my perspective, as a 4th year Extension student, online education represents the future. Children, adolescents, and adults will soon enter the online academic universe, learning from others with unique cultural backgrounds, languages, and global outlooks...it is only the beginning.

2) Online fundraising has allowed non-profit organizations to blossom and flourish worldwide. For example, in 2004, I founded an NGO in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, dedicated to education and personal development. As the founder, I have been tasked with raising tens of thousands of dollars to keep the organization alive for the past nine years. Online fundraising/giving campaigns have enabled me to reach hundreds of donors quickly, many of whom I have never met. Payment sources such as Paypal and Firstgiving have allowed me to raise funds through a secure streamlined approach. Donors do not need to put a check in the mail; they simple need to enter their credit card information and the funds are routed to an underserved population in the favelas (shanty towns) of Rio de Janeiro. This method of giving--helping underserved communities obtain a better lifestyle--is monumental in the world of NGOs. It has not only changed how people support causes, but it has also brought transparency to so many grassroots movements around the globe. Zak Paster 16:42, 30 January 2013 (EST)

1. One of the most significant changes to me seems to be the greater access to education for people who might not have the opportunity to access it in a traditional way. Since the internet is available all of the time if a course or training is available via the web then someone can access the information at any time. 2. A significant social change that has cropped up I believe is associated with children’s use of the internet, and how that has affected them and our society. Most children do not understanding the ramification of their actions or laws that pertain to them when they make threats or show provocative pictures of each other on the internet.Jaronica 18:35, 30 January 2013 (EST)

I think there are many significant changes associated with the internet and digital technologies, but I'm stating the obvious. I will list a few below:

1) It has opened up global markets for both legal and black market goods to much of the developed world

2) It has allowed communications on an unprecedented scale.

3) It is allowing for almost unchecked observation or spying by companies and governments on people on businesses. Michaelekeane 14:31, 31 January 2013 (EST)

By way of significant changes associated with the internet and digital technologies:

1) It has exposed the glaring fallacy of so-called American exceptionalism by providing access, both legal and illegal, to American institutions like universities and banks.

2) It has altered the neuroplasticity of an entire generation by removing the resilience protective factors afforded by direct human to human verbal and physical contact.

3) In conjunction with recent legislation, it has opened the flood gates to foreign financial influence on U.S. politics.Getmike 16:10, 31 January 2013 (EST)

Digital technologies, mostly through the Internet has exponentially expanded the amount and scope of information available as well as equally expanding access to it by those who have heretofore been restricted if not completely shut out from it because of their geographical, social, cultural and political environment. This is the latest advancement in mankind’s knowledge and ability to advance, much as in the past there have been other almost sudden in times of our evolution changes such as the printing press, electricity, advancements in transportation, the telephone and radio and television. The ability to read and contribute to scientific and other advancements was restricted before the printing press to the privileged elite. The Internet has made economic ability almost insignificant; Electricity removed the obstacle of light and expanded every day precipitously. Advances in telecommunication end much isolation. Digital technological breakthroughs advanced in one fell swoop what it had previously taken centuries to do in all of these other genres. Rich 09:16, 1 February 2013 (EST)

To keep it balanced, I’m introducing one positive example of digital technologies and one negative.

1. The negative. I know about sexting and cyberbulling, but this week I was appalled learn about online Sexual Shaming. The NPR talk show On Point with Tom Ashbrook had a segment on Cyberbullying and Sexual Shaming (http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/01/28/cyberbullying) which originally aired on Jan. 28, 2013 at 11:00 A.M. It featured an interview with Temitayo Fagbenle, a teenager who has been reporting on this issue for Radio Rookies, on WNYC, New York Public Radio. Apparently, it is very common for boys to post pictures and videos of of girls they’ve had sex with on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. More often than not, the girls didn’t know that these images had been taken. The boys reward each other for doing this by clicking “like” and within minutes the images are spread around the world to hundreds or even thousands of onlookers. But, even worse, boys and especially girls then “shame” the victim by posting scathing remarks about her. Temitayo, the teenage reporter, told about her experiences of trying to get Facebook to take down an image of a naked teenage girl. When she reported the picture to Facebook as harassment, she got a response back that the picture didn’t violate the community standard. But, Facebook community standards say you can’t have explicitly sexual content when minors are involved. She then reported the image again, this time as being pornographic and received a similar message from Facebook. Often there are no repercussions for posting these pictures and videos. School administrators often feel there is nothing they can do if the posting didn’t take place on school grounds. But sometimes schools take the position that it is a criminal matter and if they hear about it, they report it to the authorities.

2. The positive. MOOCS-Massive Open Online Courses. There is plenty of buzz about MOOCS these days. Some people view them as a huge threat to our colleges and universities because they’re giving away knowledge for free when most people are spending thousands of dollars for this knowledge. Others see it as providing educational opportunities to people around the globe who just a couple of years ago could never even dream of taking a course from Stanford, MIT, Harvard, etc. I recently completed a Stanford Online MOOC, Designing a New Learning Environment (http://venture-lab.org/education). In this course I worked with a team to solve a real-world problem: helping Doctors Without Borders to design a better way to train their staff who were working in the field. Our team brought together instructional designers, educational entrepreneurs, a medical business owner and staff from Doctors without Borders. We were located in California, Massachusetts, England and Spain. While it may have been possible for a team like this to have accomplished the same things if we had been paying $2000 to take a similar online course through Harvard Extension School, the fact that there were thousands of students in the course made it possible for people with similar interests and diverse talents to find each other. But, I think the most compelling aspects of MOOCS is illustrated by the story of Battushig, the Mongolian student who took the MITX class, Circuits and Electronics with a group of his peers when he was 15. He not only received an A in the course, but also got 100% on the final. I heard Anant Agarwal, director of MITx talk about this course and how proud he was of Battushig, especially since the final exam had been designed so that most MIT students would not be able to get 100%. Without this MOOC, students like Battushig would have very little if any opportunity to take, and excel in, a course like this. I’m very excited about the new edX initiative, which is bringing together courses from Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, and the University of Texas. I’ll be watching closely to see how this, and other MOOCS develop. Susan Goldstein 23:39, 1 February 2013 (EST)

I think that the ongoing conversation in the education world over what it means to be "digitally literate" contains embedded within it evidence of many significant changes associated with digital technologies. While an initial basic definition of "digital literacy" might have encompassed only the surface-level processes required to work various technologies (i.e. the button-pushing, the menu-scrolling, the basic how-to), the conversation has quickly evolved into a discussion of what broader skills are necessary for individuals to interact "well" with technology. That is, what different ways of thinking do we need to take advantage of our tools, how do we adapt and how has technology already changed us? Some examples might be 1.) the skill of information synthesis 2.) the skill of working across mediums, both to digest content and to produce it 3.) the skill of replication and remixing 4.) the skill of constant curation, 3.) the skill of time-sensitive analysis and snap recommendation. All of these skills might be behaviors that existed prior to the proliferation of digital technologies for consumer use, but the digital explosion has nevertheless made them explicit, made them ubiquitous, and, arguably, made them necessary, thus changing not only our thinking about education, but also about the skills that we ourselves broadly value, in informal social settings, in the workplace, or elsewhere. --Rebekahjudson 12:49, 2 February 2013 (EST)

1: Democracy within Internet, I believe it is a significant characteristic within social arena- the freedom of any information. 2 Regulatory issues based on culture; I think it plays an important role within social and political criteria that brings ample diversifications within cultural policy and policymaking criteria. 3 Copyright; as Internet has affected everyone in many areas of their life, it also allows to build resistance of use, regulations and rights between diverse audiences.

user777 17:01, 2 February 2013 (EST)

user777 09:51, 3 February 2013 (EST)

Internet has changed human interactions with each other. Through smartphone , laptop etc... the way of the communication has shifted in a different direction. That also provided freedom of speech , people started to express their feelings , thoughts or ideas more than face to face communication. I still question is it a good thing or bad but sure there are some pros and cons. Internet also changed our shopping habits, people start to purchase more online and it became more reliable , after black Friday there is a Cyber Monday, suppliers need to create another shopping era for online shopper and they won't feel left out anymore. Another thing is education, a year ago Harvard and MIT had create a new platform that called EDx , internet has changed the way how we learn. There are very serious free online learning platforms and open universities and it became very popular in recent years. Online learning have started to recognize by companies as well as society. After internet I believe this things will never go back how they were. Aydan 17:00, 4 February 2013 (EST)

Books can be filled just trying to describe the effects of digital technologies on human civilization. But I think one of the most important effects, if not revolutions, caused by the spread of digital technologies is giving people an alternative platform of speech, and consequently, an alternative way of spreading information. It has become infinitely easier for anyone to express their opinions, thoughts, and/or artistic expressions to a broad public. Significantly, by being able to access the internet, those who would otherwise have been too timid to speak out in physical life have been able to express themselves, even through different personas or anonymously. These people consist not only of activists who have been repressed, but also of children who may have not found their niche in school.

In a way, the speech rights of people have been greatly empowered and democratized - in the sense that not just the elites, but the masses have been given easy access to "publish" their thoughts. Criticisms (deserved or not) are also easily voiced and leaked and spread like wildfires. Consequently, governments have been forced to be more receptive, or at least appear to be (which is still an improvement), to the common person.

I am currently writing from within the Great Firewall of China. While it's true that the internet controls the government has implemented have been very detrimental to internet browsing freedom, people haven been able to affect change thanks to digital technologies. The Central Government has been persuaded to bring to justice several corrupt officials thanks to online fury. These may not be significant in the big picture of politics, but the fact that the common people have a chance to affect change besides physically risking their lives through rallies is a gigantic improvement. --Muromi 15:59, 5 February 2013 (EST)

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I know it is a little late now, but I just thought I would add to the discussion of using facebook postings in court. I occasionally do insurance defence work and it is standard practice that for every single personal injury law suit that I defend, I ask for the plaintiffs facebook account to verify if their complaints match up with their facebook photographs and postings. Often it is the facebook profile that kill the claim, because their claims of whiplash are not verified by their photographs of partying. Joshywonder Feb 9 ````

This is Laurence Girard. Here are the most significant changes that have developed with the Internet:

1. In the past, we had to speak to our local doctor to get information about health, but now we have access to top medical journals from the comfort of our own home. There are even services that allow us to consult with a physician via video chat such as Teladoc. I believe that around 80% of Americans have searched for health information online in the past year.

2. Unlike 10 or 20 years ago, we can now purchase almost every imaginable product and a global market place has developed online. Sites like Alibaba allow us to even connect with farmers in the developing world. This was not possible 10 or 20 years ago. I have even Skyped with Brazil nut farmers in Peru via such services.

All in all, I think the Internet is going to transform healthcare while creating a global market place for goods that did not exist several decades ago. Laurencengirard 00:23, 11 February 2013 (EST)

Joshywonder, thanks for your late post since I had no idea the role that Facebook postings can play in courts.

Laurence Girard, if we think about it, the internet probably can affect every part of lives these days, depending on how connected we are (my grandparents are not connected at all). Your comment on the ease of access to medical info online reminded me of a book written by a doctor just a few years ago in which he pointed out that patients may even bring up recent research knowledge that doctors themselves haven't read up on. On the other hand, the author wrote that the problem was that patients think they understand their medical problems after reading a few articles, leading them to be less accepting of the doctor's advice. HIs main critique was that there is a reason why doctors spend years in medical school, because problems are usually much more complex as they are interrelated with the different systems of the body.

I agree with you though, the ability to connect with people all over the world so easily and key: speedily, must be the greatest achievement of the internet.

--Muromi 09:20, 11 February 2013 (EST)