Dude, Where's My Privacy?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Often times Internet users reveal personal data that they don’t intend to share. Whether signing up for an account online or clicking on an advertisement, people you may never meet in person have information about you. Whether it’s a company or search engine, people have demographic data and potential employers may have something on you as well. Is there real privacy on the Internet? Can personal information be protected as they once were before the digital age? These topics will be explored in this blog post.

Some websites seem to know your gender and possibly some products that may interest you. Visiting some websites where I have an account, like Facebook.com, I have noticed that advertisements are geared around media, female fashion, film schools, and student credit cards. The demographic information in my Facebook Profile give companies like Facebook that kind of information. If you are registered with an account on a magazine website, you may notice advertisements tailored to fit your interests. Companies can do this because of cookies, little text files created on your computer that contain information left there by the websites you visit and the advertisements you have clicked on their site in the past (“Internet Use Raises Privacy Concerns”). More information on how the Internet affects privacy concerns can be found here.

There are websites like The Anonymizer that allow a user to conceal personal information when visiting websites that track cookies and demographics. This website can help protect online shopping and protect your privacy even if you are using an iPhone. The Internet impacts privacy on a large scale. There are so many companies looking for user information and there are thieves that are trying to find personal information to steal. With so much activity taking place online, from shopping to socializing, there are so many aspects of protecting privacy to consider.

A case involving an autistic student in Italy will be observed here. The autistic student was bullied at school and a video of the incident was posted online. The video could be found through Google and there was a total of 5,500 hits in two months. There were advertisements on the site, which meant that Google was profiting off of the posting of a video where a student is bullied. Making profits where the video was published was what got Google in trouble with an Italian court. More information on this topic can be found here. In my opinion, Italy's prosecution of Google is fair. There is a line between protecting privacy and promoting the free exchange of information. This video contained information that was embarrassing and harmful to the victim. These kinds of videos where people are harmed or bullied does not need to be shared, not even on  unless it is used as a democratizing tool. Videos on protests and brutal police attacks can be shown on websites because they are showing the truth of what is happening and why it needs to be stopped. This video should have been screened and censored by Google.

Here is a video on Internet privacy and security:

Companies like Yahoo! and Google keep track of user searches in order to help maximize searches and provide niche advertising. Other companies like magazines may mine the internet for user information in order to make better profits and attract people to their sites. They may want to sell something or get more hits to their site for better chances of increased revenue. The only way to stop companies to getting our information is to avoid clicking on advertisements and have firewall software installed on our computers. We should also clear our cookies and our History on our Internet browser every one or two weeks to prevent information from being stolen, even by hackers. People don't have too much control over a Google search and what people obtain about them. As long as people don't allow too much information about them on the web and don't sign up for too much on unsecured websites (ones with "https" links), then their most private information can be protected. From my own personal experience, I have stopped using external links on Facebook, stopped with quizzes and games, and only use my private information on sites like banking.
I don't believe there is absolute privacy on the web. We never know if a clickjacker or a certain virus that logs everything we type has been transmitted to our computers before our AntiVirus software has had a chance to update itself. I never use my card information on the web unless I have heightened my firewall and am using only the https website. Future employers can use sites like LinkedIn and blogs under your name to find out more information about you. When I googled myself and did a search on the web for myself so I could see what a potential employer could find, these are the four links I found:


A few months ago, my Facebook account would appear in a Google search. I revised my privacy settings to avoid that from happening. People growing up in this generation may expect more privacy because almost every aspect of their life could be found on the Internet.  People nowadays use the Internet to store videos, pictures, conduct banking, play games and participate in social networking. With past generations, most activities were physical, and now almost everything can be done in cyberspace. More information on the privacy and the age demographics expectations on protection online can be found here.

All of the privacy issues affect the Long Tail of distribution because people can upload unlimited amounts of data and media on the Internet that can allow others to invade their privacy without permission. The Internet is a democratizing tool but someone's privacy is always invaded in the process. In the case of the autistic student in Italy, the privacy of the student was invaded. In the case of protests in Tehran, the government's privacy is invaded. With so much available online, users should always put their privacy first even when using social networking sites. Companies might use your information to target you with advertising, and search engines may track your searches. Thieves and marketing research companies keep track of your cookies and demographic data. The only way to protect ourselves and retain our privacy is to be careful with what we do online.

Works Cited:
All Images found via Creative Commons (in order of appearance):




All Videos found via Creative Commons.
Cleland, Scott. "Poll: Americans Strongly Oppose." The Precursor Blog. The Associated Press, 30 09 2009. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://precursorblog.com/content/poll-americans-strongly-oppose-publicacy-expect-online-privacy-part-xvi-privacy-publicacy-series

Barry, Colleen. "Italian Judge Says Profit Behind Google Verdict ." Bloomberg Businessweek. The Associated Press, 29 04 2008. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9F1M8UG2.htm

"Internet Use Raises Privacy Concerns." VOA News. voanews/com, 29 04 2008. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/science-technology/a-13-2008-04-29-voa44.html

Lohr, Steve. "How Privacy Vanishes Online." Technology. The New York Times, 03 16 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/technology/17privacy.html

Perez, Sarah. "Three Facebook Settings Every User Should Check Now." Technology. The New York Times, 20 01 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/external/readwriteweb/2010/01/20/20readwriteweb-the-3-facebook-settings-every-user-should-c-29287.html?em

Web TV

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gone are the days of tuning into my television on Monday nights at 8 P.M. to catch an episode of House or Gossip Girl. If I want to watch a television show and can't be stationary in front of a TV set, I can just wait to catch the show online, whether it's through the network's website or sites like hulu.com. Not only does the Internet benefit a viewer when it comes to watching television shows, but the Internet has become a native medium for TV producers who can't successfully air their programs on television channels. Cell phones, computers, iPods, and other types of electronic devices are starting to expand a digital network of television media and free access. I certainly don't have to pay for cable if I want to watch episodes of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central or The Secret Life of the American Teenager on ABC Family.

Internet distribution definitely impacts the control network companies have over their shows. The current network model is affected because channels like NBC, Fox, CBS and ABC, along with their parent companies, can't control what when and by what medium their viewers recieve content. Internet distribution challenges the control network companies have because once a viewer is in cyberspace, they can view shows and related content whenever they want. People can watch TV in a taxi cab, on college campuses, or even while waiting at the dentist's office without even looking straight at a television screen! An independent producer who could not sign a sufficient contract with a network or was let off a network due to low ratings, can take their episodic series online. They can try to sign a contract with hulu.com, provide their shows through YouTube for free, or open up their own .com website and stream the videos for free to viewers. Of course, going the Internet route may not come with the advantage of making higher profits off of advertising and providing a higher chance that the series would go into syndication on other TV networks.

Here is a video on television moving to the Internet:

Fox channel provides some of their content, such as Glee and House on hulu.com Comedy Central used to provide The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on hulu.com before ending their contract to provide the shows on the host's websites. Viewers can search for South Park online and eventually be led to southparkstudios.com. ABC Family provides The Secret Life of the American Teenager on hulu.com the week after new episodes air. More information on television on the Internet can be found here.
In The Television Will Be Revolutionized by Amanda Lotz, the topic of web-integrated TV existing in the Internet space is discussed. Convenience technologies - including the DVR, VOD, DVD, the Internet, and mobile applications such as phones and iPods -  enabled viewers to more easily seek out specific content and view it in individualized patterns (Lotz 59). With so many options available, her description of the "5 C's of the Post-Network Era" are applicable to the scenario of how viewers obtain TV from an Internet signal rather than the traditional TV signal. These are choice, control, convenience, customization, and community.

Choice: Viewers always had the choice of flipping through channels and choosing what show they wanted to watch on what network. Now users can choose which medium to obtain content from and when they want to watch it. They can choose who their provider is, whether it's a cable provider or the Internet.

Control: Viewers can control whether they want to watch what's available on the TV, the Internet, or simply create their own shows and participate as a producer. People can control their access on TiVo's, on-demand features, and visit websites like hulu.com.

Convenience: Watch TV at home, on the road, at the doctor's office on your iPhone, in the library on your laptop... the choices are endless and there is added convenience. Using a DVR or TiVo to record your shows to watch later, coming home late and missing House but being able to access it later on the Internet, are just a few examples of how people much more convenience.

Customization: Now we don't have to sit in front of a TV box and become mere receptors to what is provided for us. If we are dissatisfied, we can search for shows on the TV guide list on the television or just go online. We can watch in normal features, high definition, or possibly 3-D in the future.

Community: People always had the choice to discuss their television shows when they'd see their friends and family after the episode was over. Now people can watch shows together live and discuss it in the comments sections, on social networking sites, or blog about it.

Here is a video on satellite direct offering viewers TV viewing options outside of the traditional offers of watching on a television box set:
All these changes that are impacting network television should not be a surprise to people. The Internet has been impacting all kinds of media, including radio and print. Television is adapating to the Internet's revolutionary changes by providing media content online. As discussed in Stelter's New York Times article which can be found here, larger audiences online are being attracted to the Super Bowl and Olympics at higher numbers because they were watching and surfing the web at the same time. People preferred to watch msot of their media content online. Watching media content and chatting online with other people at the same seemed to be what most people preferred. This water-cooler effect, Stelter describes in his article, are what makes some of these normally TV broadcast shows more attractive to people.

This relates to the Long Tail because now people can access much more media on an unlimited shelf space. This is a democratizing tool as well because now ordinary citizens can upload videos, start webshows, and have much more content available for viewing online when they couldn't afford high-priced cable packages before. This also relates to Creative Commons because people still own the rights to their media content and can use the non-profit organization's licensing options to protect their content.

I highly believe that television in ten years will be streamed more frequently on  web and that cable will be like the Internet. More information can be found here. I think my family's Comcast subscription features will allow for web surfing on the television and viewing your bank statement while watching an episode of CSI. Comcast, AT&T and other companies may provide cable packages for iPhones, computers, and even for cell phones. Companies will try to compete for viewer's attention and if they stop, I think the web and viewers will gain too much control and the companies will therefore make less money.

Works Cited:
All Images Obtained Via Creative Commons:

All Videos Obtained Via Creative Commons blip.tv.
Sources and Links:
"Cable TV Is Doomed." The Atlantic, 18 03 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/03/cable-tv-is-doomed/37675/>.

Lieberman, David. "Could This Finally Be the Season For Web TV?." Money. USA Today , n.d. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/garden/11tv.html?scp=14&sq=web%20television&st=cse

Lotz, Amanda. The Television Will Be Revolutionized. New York City: New York University Press, 2007. Print.

Quenqua, Douglas. "Turning to the Internet to Catch a Favorite TV Show ." Home and Garden . The New York Times , 10 03 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/garden/11tv.html?scp=14&sq=web%20television&st=cse>.

Stelter, Brian. "Water-Cooler Effect: Internet Can Be TV." The New York Times , 23 02 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/business/media/24cooler.html

Stelter, Brian. "Successes and Some Growing Pains at Hulu." Technology . The New York Times , 31 03 2010. Web. 16 April 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/01/technology/01hulu.html?scp=5&sq=internet+television&st=nyt>.

Surviving the Internet Age

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Newspaper and magazine sales may be on the decline, but both of these media outlets are making the shift to cyberspace. Not only is the Internet a cheaper solution in terms of distribution and marketing, but there is an unlimited shelf space and the possibility to increase revenue by allowing companies to advertise on their websites. Digital distribution is changing journalism and bringing the concept of citizen journalism to the forefront. Whether these changes are good or bad depends on how journalism adapts to the advent of new technology. Citizen journalism, a concept some people see as "new media," has surfaced on the Internet and is allowing everyday citizens the opportunity to play an active role in presenting news to the public.

Citizen journalism represents the voice of the people. All though journalistic ethics are often left out, most of the stories and videos provided by ordinary people are unedited and provide worthy information. When Iranians would protest in the city of Tehran, the government wouldn't allow foreign correspondents on the scene to report what they saw. Citizens of the country would videotape the protests and brutal murders on the streets with their video cameras or cell phones. Pictures and videos are raw and unedited. Citizen journalism is certainly not a new concept, though but it is evolving. For years readers could write opinion pieces for newspapers and magazines. There was citizen journalism in the physical space but there weren't many opportunities for everyone to get their opinions heard. However, with the advent of citizen journalism on the Internet, the opportunities for ordinary citizens to share their media relating to current news has increased. People could voice their opinions, attack biased articles by reporters, and share their own personal experiences.

New organizations, companies, and non-profit organizations are already adapting to digital media by having interactive websites, video and picture content. Locals newspapers and national news companies have already come out with websites that include immediate breaking news.A local paper in Tucson, Arizona has converted into a citizen journalism website. They are continuing to recruit citizen journalists and hope to have more than 50 people blogging (Evans).The link to this online paper can be found here. News corporations like CBS have adapted to digital media by having interactive websites with videos and news content, while also providing a citizen journalism site called CBS Eye Mobile.

CNN has a similar website for people to share their media content and report news called CNN has iReport, another website that allows for ordinary people to upload their media content and post their opinions.Blogging cannot be a form of journalism mainly because bloggers don't follow the code of ethics that journalists do. Journalists aim to be objective and have at least one source in their articles. Bloggers can misuse and misrepresent information. They can report their own biased opinions and debate on important issues like religion or abortion without having to provide solid facts to back up what they are saying. Even though blogs and citizen journalism are available to the public, journalism can survive if there are objective news reports delivered by the press on the Internet. The newspapers should still print a papers for subscribers or store shelves because not everyone who has access to a computer wants to read online news. If the newspapers continue to publish online and in paper, they can try to get most of their advertising to happen on the Internet. These newspaper websites need to allow user interaction in order to keep up with blogs and citizen journalism. This is a risk that I believe they should take and they may benefit from it. With user interaction, they can have videos with rating features, comments section for news articles like Yahoo! News does here, and e-mail newsletters.

Journalism will survive in years to come but it is merely adapting to new technology the way older forms of media like television and radio. Citizen journalism may be a new concept but so is digital TV to the old concept of television. Pandora Radio is competing with the traditional radio. The current generation of high school and college students have grown up with the Internet and are accustomed to receiving information fast rather than waiting for a weekly publication, and most of them do receive their news online. More information on that can be found here.  Our society may be shifting away from print and TV news but it's for the best. This relates to the Long Tail because the shift to cyberspace saves time, money and helps enhance distribution. People don't have to wait to hear a full story on an issue during the 6pm evening news or wait until Monday morning for a publication of their local paper.

This new shift of journalism and the concept of citizen journalism allows the Internet to become a democratizing tool. Not only do bloggers fuel debate and share opinions on wrongdoings of others, but citizen journalists can contribute to stories and events by uploading their own media. People now share the equal opportunity to have their voices heard and share content the way journalists would. An example of how the citizens living in Tehran are trying to exercise their rights and have their voices heard can be found here. Creative commons can help citizen journalists obtain licensing on their media. If regular computer users or bloggers see this uploaded content and would like to use it, they may see that it is licensed and take it seriously enough to abide by the creator's wishes. There is no police force online to enforce the licensing through creative commons, but the rise of citizen journalists provides the opportunity for more people to find out what this non-profit organization does and how they distribute licensing. More people can become aware and spread the word.

In 10 years, journalism will still be on the web. I believe there will be media content, videos from new sites, and online newspapers. Journalists will try to follow their code of ethics while bloggers and citizen journalists do whatever they wish. Distribution will change because technology will continue to evolve. Thus, the Internet will play a positive role for journalism. Our society is shifting away from print and regular television but that should be a positive thing because companies can save money on distribution and shelf space.


Works Cited:
Images found via Creative Commons (in order of appearance):

Videos found via Creative Commons (in order of appearance):
First video found via blip.tv on

"Code of Ethics." Society of Professional Journalists. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr 2010. http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp
DeProto, Christen. "What Will Journalism By Like in 10 Years." Conference News. N.p., 29 Dec 2005. Web. 06 Apr 2010. http://conference.journalists.org/2005conference/archives/2005/10/qa_what_will_jo.php
Evans, Mark. "Tucson Citizen." N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr 2010. http://tucsoncitizen.com/mark-evans/archives/37

Gross, Doug. "More Americans Get News From Internet." CNN Tech. N.p., 01 Mar 2010. Web. 08 Apr 2010.http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/03/01/social.network.news/index.html

"How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?." reuters.com. N.p., 11 Dec 2009. Web. 08 Apr 2010. http://blogs.reuters.com/from-reuterscom/2009/12/11/how-will-journalism-survive-the-internet-age/

Master, Cyra. "Media Insiders Say Internet Hurts Journalism." The Atlantic. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr 2010. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/04/media-insiders-say-internet-hurts-journalism/7410/

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