Law in the Internet Society

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TWikiGuestFirstEssay 8 - 03 Dec 2017 - Main.LizzethMerchan
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Cuba Disconnected

An island-nation only 90 miles off Florida’s coast, Cuba is among the least connected countries in the world. Attempting to control the minds of its people, the Castro regime has sought to control all flow of information from abroad. Free access to the internet, the world’s largest source of information, is incompatible with the totalitarian model. In 2015, approximately 5 percent of the population had access to the global internet at home, although the Cuban government put that number closer to 35 percent. There is one source of permitted media in Cuba – the State.

Internet access in Cuba has been hampered by poor connectivity, prohibitive internet pricing, censorship, and systematic content blocking. For years, the internet was banned and ownership of most computer software and hardware was prohibited. In 2009, the Obama administration began allowing telecommunications companies to do business in Cuba. In 2013, Venezuela financed and activated a fiber-optic cable between the two countries. These recent developments have created a dual internet system on the island – the global internet, which is inaccessible to most Cubans, and its own intranet, which is cheaper and highly censored. The government’s intranet is more readily available and features restricted content, including the EcuRed? encyclopedia, a Wikipedia-like website that presents the government’s version of the world and history. Until recently, the global internet was only available at state internet parlors and hotels where connecting was slow and prohibitively expensive. In July 2015, however, the state-owned telecom monopoly, ETECSA (Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A.), began implementing WiFi? hot spots. Today, there are more than 240 public WiFi? spots scattered throughout the country. Although the hot spots have improved internet accessibility, service is slow and the price to connect remains unaffordable – $1.50 per hour in a country where the average monthly salary is $25.

Cuban Solutions

Despite the government’s efforts to restrict and control internet access, Cubans haven’t exactly been sitting around, letting the digital revolution pass them by. The Cuban population has responded to the media blockade with innovative solutions that range from hacking to the creation of an underground internet system. One of their most notable innovations is el paquete semanal, the “Weekly Package.” The paquete is a flash drive loaded with a week’s worth of foreign entertainment – including movies, music videos, and Netflix shows – that is distributed throughout the island. The process is coordinated entirely by an informal market of data traffickers, based both in Havana and the United States. Another, perhaps more sophisticated invention, is a bootleg internet system referred to as the “Streetnet.” The system is a home-grown network created and maintained by Cubans on the island – a network of black market computers, routers, nano-modems, and concealed cables. Connecting to the Streetnet gives thousands of Cubans access to one another for online gaming, messaging, and media sharing.

Although it is undeniable that the Cuban people have been creative and resourceful in bypassing their government’s resistance to internet access, their success is meaningfully limited. The content of the weekly paquete, for example, is primarily recreational in nature – the information disseminated is not political or religious in any way. Perhaps this is why the Cuban government has tolerated the circulation of such prohibited content – as long as the distributed material remains free of any ideologically-threatening information, the regime allows Cubans to get a taste of illicit foreign culture. The existence of these bootleg inventions is convenient for the government because it allows the masses to feel empowered while simultaneously silencing and appeasing them. In their quest to consume and share information, Cuba’s digital revolutionists have attained a restricted sense of “freedom,” one granted and controlled by their government.

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TWikiGuestFirstEssay 7 - 02 Dec 2017 - Main.LizzethMerchan
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The Internet and Capitalist Gain: The Cost of Lunch
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Cuba Disconnected
 
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It was fall 1990. I was a freshman at Syracuse and my high school girlfriend was a freshman at Dartmouth. In one of her letters, she described this system called “ELM” that would allow us to write each other through our university personal computers. I was intrigued and slightly skeptical (I had always thought of myself as the more tech-savvy in the relationship). The next day, an assistant from Syracuse’s personal computer (PC) lab demoed the “ELM” system and I sent my girlfriend an email message - my first experience with the Internet.
 
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Columbia Professor Eben Moglen would have us to believe that the Internet’s architects designed it with the altruistic goal of reaching, and then availing education to, every human on earth and that corporations, such as Google and Facebook, have depredated this ideal in pursuit of “capitalist gain.” That might be true. But, it is true also that, without the pursuit of “gain,” the Internet would have never experienced such a colossal expansion in global usage. This “gain” is a quid-pro-quo or cost of corporate contribution to the Internet’s growth.
>
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An island-nation only 90 miles off Florida’s coast, Cuba is among the least connected countries in the world. Attempting to control the minds of its people, the Castro regime has sought to control all flow of information from abroad. Free access to the internet, the world’s largest source of information, is incompatible with the totalitarian model. In 2015, approximately 5 percent of the population had access to the global internet at home, although the Cuban government put that number closer to 35 percent. There is one source of permitted media in Cuba – the State.
 
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The Internet is the world-wide, public network of interconnected computer networks. The modern-day Internet is commonly thought to have descended from the ARPAnet, a network developed by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In February 1958, the U.S. government created DARPA, after being caught off-guard by the Soviet Union’s launch of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and the world's first unmanned satellites, Sputnik 1 and 2. In 1962, amidst fears of what might happen if the Soviet Union attacked the nation’s telephone system, a scientist from M.I.T. proposed, as a solution, a “galactic network” of computers that could talk to each other (later referred to as ARPAnet).
>
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Internet access in Cuba has been hampered by poor connectivity, prohibitive internet pricing, censorship, and systematic content blocking. For years, the internet was banned and ownership of most computer software and hardware was prohibited. In 2009, the Obama administration began allowing telecommunications companies to do business in Cuba. In 2013, Venezuela financed and activated a fiber-optic cable between the two countries. These recent developments have created a dual internet system on the island – the global internet, which is inaccessible to most Cubans, and its own intranet, which is cheaper and highly censored. The government’s intranet is more readily available and features restricted content, including the EcuRed? encyclopedia, a Wikipedia-like website that presents the government’s version of the world and history. Until recently, the global internet was only available at state internet parlors and hotels where connecting was slow and prohibitively expensive. In July 2015, however, the state-owned telecom monopoly, ETECSA (Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A.), began implementing WiFi? hot spots. Today, there are more than 240 public WiFi? spots scattered throughout the country. Although the hot spots have improved internet accessibility, service is slow and the price to connect remains unaffordable – $1.50 per hour in a country where the average monthly salary is $25.
 
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Although a network in name, the Internet is a creature of the computer. During the early computing age, computers were incredibly expensive to produce and operate. An early computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator Analyzer and Computer (ENIAC), cost $500,000 ($6,781,798 in today’s money), weighed 30 tons, covered nearly 2,000 square feet, and had almost 18,000 vacuum tubes. The pursuit of “gain” motivated “for-profit” corporations to produce smaller, faster and more affordable computers, with more memory and user-friendly software.
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Cuban Solutions
 
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In 1948, Bell Laboratories introduced the transistor, an electronic device carrying and amplifying electrical current, but much smaller than the vacuum tube. Ten years later, scientists at Texas Instruments and Fairchild Semiconductor invented the integrated-circuit, incorporating the computer’s electrical parts into a single silicon chip.

In 1971, an Intel engineer developed the microprocessor, one of the most significant advancements in computer technology. Before this invention, computers needed a separate integrated-circuit chip for each function (hence the need for such large machines). Microprocessors were the size of a thumbnail and could run the computer’s programs and manage its data. Intel’s first microprocessor, the 4004, had the same computing power as the massive ENIAC.

These innovations led to the birth of the small, relatively inexpensive “microcomputer” now known as the “personal computer.” In 1974, a corporation called Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) introduced Altair, a mail-order build-it-yourself PC kit. In 1975, MITS hired two young programmers to adapt the BASIC programming language for the Altair. In April 1975, the two young programmers formed Microsoft, responsible for the hugely popular Windows operating systems. By some estimates, Windows runs more than 90% of all PCs.

Over the next two years, two engineers in Silicon Valley built the Apple I and Apple II PCs, with more memory and a cheaper microprocessor than the Altair, a monitor, and a keyboard. Innovations like the “graphical user interface,” allowing users to select icons on a monitor screen instead of writing complicated commands, and the computer mouse made PCs more user-friendly. Bell Laboratories, Texas Instruments, Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, MITS, Microsoft and Apple were all “for-profit” corporations. These corporations and their inventions spearheaded the PC revolution.

Soon, other “for-profit” corporations, like Xerox, Tandy, Commodore and IBM, had entered the PC market. PCs, networked over the global telephony infrastructure, created the Internet we have today. Innovations in personal computing facilitated the Internet’s expansion to 201 countries and to 3.8 billion or 51.7% of the human population. There might have been an Internet without PCs, but it would have been uninteresting, and probably confined to the research community and computer scientists.

In my Syracuse finance classes, professors inculcated the axiom that “for-profit” corporations exist for the sole purpose of maximizing shareholder wealth. According to Columbia alumnus, Milton Friedman, “[t]here is . . . only one social responsibility of business- to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, engages in open and free competition, without deception or fraud."

Moreover, shareholder wealth maximization is the law. For decades, Delaware courts, which dominate U.S. corporate jurisprudence, have espoused the tenet that the maximization of shareholder wealth must be every “for-profit” corporation’s ultimate objective. In essence, a corporation that pursues “capitalist gain” is merely following its legal mandate and complying with contractual obligations to its shareholders. As Senator Franken reminded us, “it is literally malfeasance for a corporation not to do everything it legally can to maximize its profits.”

No doubt, the U.S. government, through DARPA, funded some research and technological developments that made the ARPAnet, and eventually the Internet, possible. However, in many cases, this funding was provided to private “for-profit” corporations, like Xerox. It was the desire for “capitalist gain” that led these corporations to develop the technology products commissioned by DARPA.

Having advanced the Internet architects’ goal of reaching every human on earth, it should not come as a surprise that “for-profit” corporations would then seek to exploit the Internet for “gain.” These corporations are simply following market and legal expectations. The “gain” sought is a cost of the corporations’ facilitation of the Internet’s expansion. As Friedman stated, “[t]here’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

>
>
Despite the government’s efforts to restrict and control internet access, Cubans haven’t exactly been sitting around, letting the digital revolution pass them by. The Cuban population has responded to the media blockade with innovative solutions that range from hacking to the creation of an underground internet system. One of their most notable innovations is el paquete semanal, the “Weekly Package.” The paquete is a flash drive loaded with a week’s worth of foreign entertainment – including movies, music videos, and Netflix shows – that is distributed throughout the island. The process is coordinated entirely by an informal market of data traffickers, based both in Havana and the United States. Another, perhaps more sophisticated invention, is a bootleg internet system referred to as the “Streetnet.” The system is a home-grown network created and maintained by Cubans on the island – a network of black market computers, routers, nano-modems, and concealed cables. Connecting to the Streetnet gives thousands of Cubans access to one another for online gaming, messaging, and media sharing.
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Although it is undeniable that the Cuban people have been creative and resourceful in bypassing their government’s resistance to internet access, their success is meaningfully limited. The content of the weekly paquete, for example, is primarily recreational in nature – the information disseminated is not political or religious in any way. Perhaps this is why the Cuban government has tolerated the circulation of such prohibited content – as long as the distributed material remains free of any ideologically-threatening information, the regime allows Cubans to get a taste of illicit foreign culture. The existence of these bootleg inventions is convenient for the government because it allows the masses to feel empowered while simultaneously silencing and appeasing them. In their quest to consume and share information, Cuba’s digital revolutionists have attained a restricted sense of “freedom,” one granted and controlled by their government.
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TWikiGuestFirstEssay 6 - 11 Nov 2017 - Main.TravisMcMillian
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Maya Uchima What to Learn From the European Union’s Recent Reforms on Data Privacy
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The Internet and Capitalist Gain: The Cost of Lunch
 
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The Privacy Infringement Problem in the US It has become more and more apparent in today’s society that the concept of privacy has been eroded, redefined, and curtailed as the power of corporations have dominated. Consumers must actively and aggressively opt-out from having private information logged and stored by websites. Oftentimes, consumers are not given the option to prevent companies from collecting data from them. For example, EPIC’s lawsuit against Google, alleging that Google has been tracking in-store purchases by gathering information from credit card transactions and using that data to target ads specific to each consumer. Not only can purchases (on and offline) reveal one’s tastes and interests, but searches on the internet or viewing trends logged by a cable box can provide valuable data that can be used in profitable marketing strategies. There is an argument that these targeted ads serve only to make life easier, more convenient, and tailored. Nevertheless, with no choice given to the consumer, the discomfort one feels due to the ruthless invasion of private life far outweighs the possible benefit of finding out about a sale at a preferred shoe store. It feels like the fight for privacy has succumbed to the allure of a blinded trust in these mega corporations.
>
>
It was fall 1990. I was a freshman at Syracuse and my high school girlfriend was a freshman at Dartmouth. In one of her letters, she described this system called “ELM” that would allow us to write each other through our university personal computers. I was intrigued and slightly skeptical (I had always thought of myself as the more tech-savvy in the relationship). The next day, an assistant from Syracuse’s personal computer (PC) lab demoed the “ELM” system and I sent my girlfriend an email message - my first experience with the Internet.
 
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Insufficient Protections The US is not without any protections for the consumer. The Fourth Amendment outlines broadly the right against unreasonable search and seizures. This sets the foundation for arguing for the consumer’s right to protect his data and his online choices. There exist also the Wiretap Laws, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and most importantly, the FTC Act of 1914, which seeks to protect consumers from unfair or unreasonable business practices. The FTC is granted the power to pursue a corporation for questionable behavior, but unless the FTC deems the behavior worthy of an investigation, the private consumer is left with scant recourse. Other regulations tend to be too specific, such as a regulation on just medical data disclosure or just financial data protection. So what can the US do to begin providing more coverage for the consumer?
>
>
Columbia Professor Eben Moglen would have us to believe that the Internet’s architects designed it with the altruistic goal of reaching, and then availing education to, every human on earth and that corporations, such as Google and Facebook, have depredated this ideal in pursuit of “capitalist gain.” That might be true. But, it is true also that, without the pursuit of “gain,” the Internet would have never experienced such a colossal expansion in global usage. This “gain” is a quid-pro-quo or cost of corporate contribution to the Internet’s growth.
 
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Possible Pointers in the EU The EU’s recent policies may shed some light for possible next steps. Regulation 679 (2016), also known as GDPR, will go into effect across the member states of the EU (including the UK) in May 2018. It hopes to strengthen supervision and protection of consumer data. These new policies apply to both “controllers” and “processors” of data who work in conjunction to carry out any activity concerning the usage of personal data. The regulation sets out higher punishments if there is a breach and increased legal compliance regulations, including keeping more strict activity logs. It also defines “personal data” more broadly, now including IP addresses, where before it only recognized personally identifiable information (names, social security, etc.). The EU also issued Directive 680 (2016), the Law Enforcement Directive, last year. Directives, although not treated as immediate and binding legislation as regulations are, act as general guidelines for member states, which in turn create internal policies to fall into compliance with the overarching goal of the directive. It states that data can only be used in the process of preventing or investigating crimes and proceeds to define the limitations and scope of what constitutes a crime more clearly. Administrative agencies will provide independent supervision over law enforcement actions and certain remedies will be made available for the infringement of privacy if it is breached unfairly or disproportionately.
>
>
The Internet is the world-wide, public network of interconnected computer networks. The modern-day Internet is commonly thought to have descended from the ARPAnet, a network developed by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In February 1958, the U.S. government created DARPA, after being caught off-guard by the Soviet Union’s launch of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and the world's first unmanned satellites, Sputnik 1 and 2. In 1962, amidst fears of what might happen if the Soviet Union attacked the nation’s telephone system, a scientist from M.I.T. proposed, as a solution, a “galactic network” of computers that could talk to each other (later referred to as ARPAnet).

Although a network in name, the Internet is a creature of the computer. During the early computing age, computers were incredibly expensive to produce and operate. An early computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator Analyzer and Computer (ENIAC), cost $500,000 ($6,781,798 in today’s money), weighed 30 tons, covered nearly 2,000 square feet, and had almost 18,000 vacuum tubes. The pursuit of “gain” motivated “for-profit” corporations to produce smaller, faster and more affordable computers, with more memory and user-friendly software.

In 1948, Bell Laboratories introduced the transistor, an electronic device carrying and amplifying electrical current, but much smaller than the vacuum tube. Ten years later, scientists at Texas Instruments and Fairchild Semiconductor invented the integrated-circuit, incorporating the computer’s electrical parts into a single silicon chip.

In 1971, an Intel engineer developed the microprocessor, one of the most significant advancements in computer technology. Before this invention, computers needed a separate integrated-circuit chip for each function (hence the need for such large machines). Microprocessors were the size of a thumbnail and could run the computer’s programs and manage its data. Intel’s first microprocessor, the 4004, had the same computing power as the massive ENIAC.

These innovations led to the birth of the small, relatively inexpensive “microcomputer” now known as the “personal computer.” In 1974, a corporation called Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) introduced Altair, a mail-order build-it-yourself PC kit. In 1975, MITS hired two young programmers to adapt the BASIC programming language for the Altair. In April 1975, the two young programmers formed Microsoft, responsible for the hugely popular Windows operating systems. By some estimates, Windows runs more than 90% of all PCs.

Over the next two years, two engineers in Silicon Valley built the Apple I and Apple II PCs, with more memory and a cheaper microprocessor than the Altair, a monitor, and a keyboard. Innovations like the “graphical user interface,” allowing users to select icons on a monitor screen instead of writing complicated commands, and the computer mouse made PCs more user-friendly. Bell Laboratories, Texas Instruments, Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, MITS, Microsoft and Apple were all “for-profit” corporations. These corporations and their inventions spearheaded the PC revolution.

Soon, other “for-profit” corporations, like Xerox, Tandy, Commodore and IBM, had entered the PC market. PCs, networked over the global telephony infrastructure, created the Internet we have today. Innovations in personal computing facilitated the Internet’s expansion to 201 countries and to 3.8 billion or 51.7% of the human population. There might have been an Internet without PCs, but it would have been uninteresting, and probably confined to the research community and computer scientists.

In my Syracuse finance classes, professors inculcated the axiom that “for-profit” corporations exist for the sole purpose of maximizing shareholder wealth. According to Columbia alumnus, Milton Friedman, “[t]here is . . . only one social responsibility of business- to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, engages in open and free competition, without deception or fraud."

Moreover, shareholder wealth maximization is the law. For decades, Delaware courts, which dominate U.S. corporate jurisprudence, have espoused the tenet that the maximization of shareholder wealth must be every “for-profit” corporation’s ultimate objective. In essence, a corporation that pursues “capitalist gain” is merely following its legal mandate and complying with contractual obligations to its shareholders. As Senator Franken reminded us, “it is literally malfeasance for a corporation not to do everything it legally can to maximize its profits.”

No doubt, the U.S. government, through DARPA, funded some research and technological developments that made the ARPAnet, and eventually the Internet, possible. However, in many cases, this funding was provided to private “for-profit” corporations, like Xerox. It was the desire for “capitalist gain” that led these corporations to develop the technology products commissioned by DARPA.

Having advanced the Internet architects’ goal of reaching every human on earth, it should not come as a surprise that “for-profit” corporations would then seek to exploit the Internet for “gain.” These corporations are simply following market and legal expectations. The “gain” sought is a cost of the corporations’ facilitation of the Internet’s expansion. As Friedman stated, “[t]here’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

 
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Not a Perfect System The EU’s continued interest in protecting consumers stems most likely from a stronger belief that privacy is a fundamental human right, a value not quite shared yet in the US. There have been many theories for why Europeans in general tend to want to shield their private lives more so than citizens in the US. One of the most dominant theories states that the trauma from during the Holocaust when Nazi officials would use school and bank records to find the names and addresses of Jewish people in the area has strengthened the necessity of protections for personal information. However, the EU system is not perfect. Their policies work mainly because of a heightened sense of trust among citizens in their individual member states’ governments. The US government has struggled with its citizens to maintain a semblance of respect for privacy and with the reveal in 2013 of PRISM being used by the NSA to monitor and track the data from internet transactions, the people’s distrust of the government has skyrocketed. To call for US citizens to all of the sudden embrace government regulation and surveillance as guardians of their data against corporations would be too large a bridge to gap, and would, in fact, lead to many other problems, as the government and its subsidiaries have proven to be a dubious and mysterious entity when it comes to maintaining boundaries with its citizens. The key takeaway from the EU reforms would be the shift in mentality towards viewing privacy as a fundamental right to be protected at all costs. The EU has instituted independent bodies to oversee the uses of data and has ensured steep remedies for breaches. These steps will not end the problems with private data infringement, but may begin the deterring process.

TWikiGuestFirstEssay 5 - 10 Nov 2017 - Main.MayaUchima
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Hacking as Spectacle

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Maya Uchima What to Learn From the European Union’s Recent Reforms on Data Privacy
 
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The Privacy Infringement Problem in the US It has become more and more apparent in today’s society that the concept of privacy has been eroded, redefined, and curtailed as the power of corporations have dominated. Consumers must actively and aggressively opt-out from having private information logged and stored by websites. Oftentimes, consumers are not given the option to prevent companies from collecting data from them. For example, EPIC’s lawsuit against Google, alleging that Google has been tracking in-store purchases by gathering information from credit card transactions and using that data to target ads specific to each consumer. Not only can purchases (on and offline) reveal one’s tastes and interests, but searches on the internet or viewing trends logged by a cable box can provide valuable data that can be used in profitable marketing strategies. There is an argument that these targeted ads serve only to make life easier, more convenient, and tailored. Nevertheless, with no choice given to the consumer, the discomfort one feels due to the ruthless invasion of private life far outweighs the possible benefit of finding out about a sale at a preferred shoe store. It feels like the fight for privacy has succumbed to the allure of a blinded trust in these mega corporations.
 
Added:
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Insufficient Protections The US is not without any protections for the consumer. The Fourth Amendment outlines broadly the right against unreasonable search and seizures. This sets the foundation for arguing for the consumer’s right to protect his data and his online choices. There exist also the Wiretap Laws, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and most importantly, the FTC Act of 1914, which seeks to protect consumers from unfair or unreasonable business practices. The FTC is granted the power to pursue a corporation for questionable behavior, but unless the FTC deems the behavior worthy of an investigation, the private consumer is left with scant recourse. Other regulations tend to be too specific, such as a regulation on just medical data disclosure or just financial data protection. So what can the US do to begin providing more coverage for the consumer?
 
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Introduction

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Possible Pointers in the EU The EU’s recent policies may shed some light for possible next steps. Regulation 679 (2016), also known as GDPR, will go into effect across the member states of the EU (including the UK) in May 2018. It hopes to strengthen supervision and protection of consumer data. These new policies apply to both “controllers” and “processors” of data who work in conjunction to carry out any activity concerning the usage of personal data. The regulation sets out higher punishments if there is a breach and increased legal compliance regulations, including keeping more strict activity logs. It also defines “personal data” more broadly, now including IP addresses, where before it only recognized personally identifiable information (names, social security, etc.). The EU also issued Directive 680 (2016), the Law Enforcement Directive, last year. Directives, although not treated as immediate and binding legislation as regulations are, act as general guidelines for member states, which in turn create internal policies to fall into compliance with the overarching goal of the directive. It states that data can only be used in the process of preventing or investigating crimes and proceeds to define the limitations and scope of what constitutes a crime more clearly. Administrative agencies will provide independent supervision over law enforcement actions and certain remedies will be made available for the infringement of privacy if it is breached unfairly or disproportionately.
 
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At current, a large portion of consumers are unaware of the extent to which software companies are “selling” or giving away their personal information by accepting user agreements found in most major “free” programs like GoogleMail? or Apple’s iCloud. Therefore, the question we must address is not how to reach sophisticated users of technology, but rather in mobilizing the masses or the casual users. From this perspective, the exposure of software deficiencies as spectacle through hacking may be an effective means of undermining programs structured to take advantage of it’s unwitting users. Despite the fact that the practice of “hacking” means and functions in many different ways for many different people, over the years, the term “hacker” or “hacking” has become increasingly demonized. As discussed in class, hacking can be characterized as the ability to use creative means to make power move or be shifted in directions it was not originally intended. In a more positive light, hacking can also be described as a means of expressing dissatisfaction with a current system or a form of civil disobedience. Applying Henry David Thoreau philosophy from his 1848 essay on Civil Disobedience and applying it to consumer software, users should not permit systems to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable said systems to make them the agents of injustice. Most importantly, hacking as spectacle can provide an effective means of advertising the necessity for greater open-source software to improve the dissemination of information in a more transparent manner. It is not enough to merely undermine the system, but hacking as spectacle should illustrate how unconscionable many programs and systems are to both privacy and autonomy.

The significance of spectacle

Hacking as spectacle has the potential to serve multiple purposes. It can both create national dialogues on questions of surveillance and privacy, but may also provide solutions or reform to remedy the privacy issues identified. Hackers have long played a vital role in improving both software and hardware issues. For instance, as it relates to open source software development, hackers are indispensible for both innovation and their ability to continually improve and repurpose software code. Even developers of proprietary or copyrighted software hire “white hat hackers” to test the security and functionality of web sites or new software.

Moving forward, hackers will play an increasingly important role in bringing to light deficiencies in “privacy” protocols, website surveillance, and other security mechanisms that are purposely hidden from the majority of technology users. Two recent examples have demonstrated how strategic hacking and the use of internet leaks can bring the question of privacy front and center in national and global debate. In the first instance, Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, leaked documents outlining numerous global surveillance programs being run by the NSA with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments. Through these leaks, Snowden not only brought to light the practices of the NSA, but more importantly, his actions sparked an international dialogue on internet security, privacy, and government surveillance. On a smaller scale, the celebrity nude photo leaks from Apple’s iCloud this fall have similarly sparked public concern over privacy and the security of cloud computing, with a particular emphasis on their use to store sensitive or private information. While Apple’s iCloud leak did not have the same National Security implications or backlash as Mr. Snowden’s work, these leaks were an effective means of demonstrating the deficiencies of broad based cloud computing to the general public.

As illustrated in the aforementioned examples, hacking as spectacle can be an efficient means of affecting change because the efforts have low marginal costs. This low marginal costs mean that in theory, the practice cannot be “outspent” by capitalism. Similarly, like open source software, the practice of hacking as spectacle, because of it’s low marginal costs, will be superior to the efforts of capitalism as it will be constantly improved through collaboration. Along with this, the distribution of the information on the practice will also be superior, given the low marginal costs. With this in mind, if attacking sites and programs like iCloud, Gmail, or the Facebook server become pervasive enough, less consumers would use them. If this is to happen, there will likely be changes in these programs that will address the concerns of users, or free/open source alternatives will be created to satisfy the new demand for more secure applications.

Redefining and repossessing rights

Under these circumstances, hacking can help expose the way that privacy has turned from a right that the government must be justified in violating, to one that individuals must affirmatively defend. As stated by Edward Snowden in an interview as a part of the New Yorker Festival, people say they don’t have anything to hide and when that happens, the model of responsibility for how rights work is inverted. “When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights.” Hacking can also introduce costs that have long been unrecognized by mass consumers of so-called “free-applications” and re-introduce questions of how privacy should function in the Internet age. This dialogue will be increasingly important as the “Facebook” generation transitions into positions of influence with a skewed sense of privacy, as a premium is currently being placed on the ability to volunteer your location, activities, relationships, spending habits, job experience, and other personal information to the general public. The movement from the era of the written word to the era of technology is an ongoing trial, which hacking as spectacle may improve down the road, although no one can truly be sure of what social results will come from this hap hazardous experiment with social media and internet surveillance,

-- WyattLittles - 16 Oct 2014

 
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Not a Perfect System The EU’s continued interest in protecting consumers stems most likely from a stronger belief that privacy is a fundamental human right, a value not quite shared yet in the US. There have been many theories for why Europeans in general tend to want to shield their private lives more so than citizens in the US. One of the most dominant theories states that the trauma from during the Holocaust when Nazi officials would use school and bank records to find the names and addresses of Jewish people in the area has strengthened the necessity of protections for personal information. However, the EU system is not perfect. Their policies work mainly because of a heightened sense of trust among citizens in their individual member states’ governments. The US government has struggled with its citizens to maintain a semblance of respect for privacy and with the reveal in 2013 of PRISM being used by the NSA to monitor and track the data from internet transactions, the people’s distrust of the government has skyrocketed. To call for US citizens to all of the sudden embrace government regulation and surveillance as guardians of their data against corporations would be too large a bridge to gap, and would, in fact, lead to many other problems, as the government and its subsidiaries have proven to be a dubious and mysterious entity when it comes to maintaining boundaries with its citizens. The key takeaway from the EU reforms would be the shift in mentality towards viewing privacy as a fundamental right to be protected at all costs. The EU has instituted independent bodies to oversee the uses of data and has ensured steep remedies for breaches. These steps will not end the problems with private data infringement, but may begin the deterring process.

TWikiGuestFirstEssay 4 - 10 Nov 2017 - Main.DylanHunzeker
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Hacking as Spectacle


TWikiGuestFirstEssay 3 - 26 Oct 2015 - Main.LianchenLiu
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Hacking as Spectacle


TWikiGuestFirstEssay 2 - 20 Oct 2014 - Main.WyattLittles
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Hacking as Spectacle


TWikiGuestFirstEssay 1 - 16 Oct 2014 - Main.WyattLittles
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Hacking as Spectacle

Introduction

At current, a large portion of consumers are unaware of the extent to which software companies are “selling” or giving away their personal information by accepting user agreements found in most major “free” programs like GoogleMail? or Apple’s iCloud. Therefore, the question we must address is not how to reach sophisticated users of technology, but rather in mobilizing the masses or the casual users. From this perspective, the exposure of software deficiencies as spectacle through hacking may be an effective means of undermining programs structured to take advantage of it’s unwitting users. Despite the fact that the practice of “hacking” means and functions in many different ways for many different people, over the years, the term “hacker” or “hacking” has become increasingly demonized. As discussed in class, hacking can be characterized as the ability to use creative means to make power move or be shifted in directions it was not originally intended. In a more positive light, hacking can also be described as a means of expressing dissatisfaction with a current system or a form of civil disobedience. Applying Henry David Thoreau philosophy from his 1848 essay on Civil Disobedience and applying it to consumer software, users should not permit systems to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable said systems to make them the agents of injustice. Most importantly, hacking as spectacle can provide an effective means of advertising the necessity for greater open-source software to improve the dissemination of information in a more transparent manner. It is not enough to merely undermine the system, but hacking as spectacle should illustrate how unconscionable many programs and systems are to both privacy and autonomy.

The significance of spectacle

Hacking as spectacle has the potential to serve multiple purposes. It can both create national dialogues on questions of surveillance and privacy, but may also provide solutions or reform to remedy the privacy issues identified. Hackers have long played a vital role in improving both software and hardware issues. For instance, as it relates to open source software development, hackers are indispensible for both innovation and their ability to continually improve and repurpose software code. Even developers of proprietary or copyrighted software hire “white hat hackers” to test the security and functionality of web sites or new software.

Moving forward, hackers will play an increasingly important role in bringing to light deficiencies in “privacy” protocols, website surveillance, and other security mechanisms that are purposely hidden from the majority of technology users. Two recent examples have demonstrated how strategic hacking and the use of internet leaks can bring the question of privacy front and center in national and global debate. In the first instance, Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, leaked documents outlining numerous global surveillance programs being run by the NSA with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments. Through these leaks, Snowden not only brought to light the practices of the NSA, but more importantly, his actions sparked an international dialogue on internet security, privacy, and government surveillance. On a smaller scale, the celebrity nude photo leaks from Apple’s iCloud this fall have similarly sparked public concern over privacy and the security of cloud computing, with a particular emphasis on their use to store sensitive or private information. While Apple’s iCloud leak did not have the same National Security implications or backlash as Mr. Snowden’s work, these leaks were an effective means of demonstrating the deficiencies of broad based cloud computing to the general public.

As illustrated in the aforementioned examples, hacking as spectacle can be an efficient means of affecting change because the efforts have low marginal costs. This low marginal costs mean that in theory, the practice cannot be “outspent” by capitalism. Similarly, like open source software, the practice of hacking as spectacle, because of it’s low marginal costs, will be superior to the efforts of capitalism as it will be constantly improved through collaboration. Along with this, the distribution of the information on the practice will also be superior, given the low marginal costs. With this in mind, if attacking sites and programs like iCloud, Gmail, or the Facebook server become pervasive enough, less consumers would use them. If this is to happen, there will likely be changes in these programs that will address the concerns of users, or free/open source alternatives will be created to satisfy the new demand for more secure applications.

Redefining and repossessing rights

Under these circumstances, hacking can help expose the way that privacy has turned from a right that the government must be justified in violating, to one that individuals must affirmatively defend. As stated by Edward Snowden in an interview as a part of the New Yorker Festival, people say they don’t have anything to hide and when that happens, the model of responsibility for how rights work is inverted. “When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights.” Hacking can also introduce costs that have long been unrecognized by mass consumers of so-called “free-applications” and re-introduce questions of how privacy should function in the Internet age. This dialogue will be increasingly important as the “Facebook” generation transitions into positions of influence with a skewed sense of privacy, as a premium is currently being placed on the ability to volunteer your location, activities, relationships, spending habits, job experience, and other personal information to the general public. The movement from the era of the written word to the era of technology is an ongoing trial, which hacking as spectacle may improve down the road, although no one can truly be sure of what social results will come from this hap hazardous experiment with social media and internet surveillance,

-- WyattLittles - 16 Oct 2014

 
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