The Internet of Things

I still remember growing up watching the Back To the Future trilogy, and just being so excited for the noughties because I could finally get a hoverboard and a house with intelligent devices like keyless doors, phones with video calls and automated curtains. (Oh, and let’s not forget that awesome microwave that turns a tiny palm-sized packet into a fresh pizza in a matter of seconds.)

Great Scott! Some of this is sounding a lot like The Internet of Things! Could we already be there?

The term ‘Internet of Things’ was coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton (Duncan, 2014). It refers to the idea of objects being connected to the Internet and becoming tangibly social so that they can do things that previously only humans could have done with an Internet connection (Mitew, 2014).

Duncan (2014) details the possibilities of the Internet of Things, explaining that devices would be able to sense aspects of the real world such as temperature, lighting, presence of people and objects as well as be able to report that real-world data. He concludes this would result in a lot more information being consumed and produced by machines that would communicate between themselves to improve the quality of our lives- or so we hope.

People are either thrilled at the idea of the Internet of Things, or absolutely terrified. Many are quick to recount The Terminator films, while others, like me, are still anticipating owning a house just like Marty McFly’s from BTTF part II.

Bleeker (2006) describes the Internet of Things as “a network in which socially meaningful exchanges take place, where culture is made, experiences circulated through media sharing- only with objects and human agents.”

From this, we can see that human civilisation has certainly already entered the era of the Internet of Things, and it is definitely not something in the far future we see in cyber-utopian (or dystopian, for that matter) films. It is, in fact, hear and now and already making positive advances.

Earlier this week I came across an article on Daily Life that detailed a story about how woman’s autistic son considers Apple’s voice command, Siri, his best friend. The article wonderfully highlighted the benefits of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and above all, it incredibly corroborates Bleeker’s statement of ‘socially meaningful exchanges’ taking place.

The Internet of Things still has a long way to go; we are still waiting on bathroom cabinets to tell us when our toilet paper is running low, a fridge to tell us when we need to update the groceries and a whole house-full of devices that can detect when we have woken up so they can start the coffee machine, switch on the TV, get the shower running and draw the blinds (Duncan, 2014). But do not fear, the Internet of Things is already here.

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Dark fiber and new concerns

Earlier this week, I learnt some quite terrifying things about the Internet and it how it’s being used. I’ll have to admit, I am quick to dismiss anything regarding hackers, theft and fraud impeding my Internet use or devices, and I have often only just glossed over the idea of government censorship on the Internet. So while I felt like a huge failure of a communications and media student for not knowing these things earlier, I soon found out a lot of peers and friends alike were also hearing of them for the first time.

There is no ‘delete button’ in cyberspace

Ironic, right? Nope. While I was previously aware that whatever we put on the Internet is there forever, I was pretty concerned when I found out that whatever we are actually doing on the Internet is also always being recorded without our control (Mitew, 2014). Apparently, it is easier to record everything than to delete unwanted bits of information. This makes me kind of feel bad for taking up so much of the Internet’s space with hundreds of photos of my breakfasts and my beagle, but then I also feel like saying something witty and philosophical about revenge and karma and privacy as well.

Hackers can’t all be like Snowden

Okay, well this I knew already, but learning about LulzSec just made it seem all the more real that hackers may just be ordinary people looking for the next hack adrenaline rush (such disappoint, much sad). In one of their attacks, they targeted Sony’s PlayStation network by compromising users’ personal and confidential details such as birth dates, email address and bank details. Why? Just for the lols, apparently. And to prove how insecure their system is. Makes sense… kind of. Good one.

The government is a bunch of trolls

The biggest bombshell of the week for me was learning about the US government’s creation of fake online identities as a means to subvert public discourse. WHAT?! Okay, I could be naïve or my interests just never got me that deep into Google, but learning that governments have created a “fake virtual army of people” (Mitew, 2014) shocked me. Lee (2012) detailed that these false personas were fully equipped with all social media accounts and email addresses to pull off the act, and were designed to subvert public discourse by ‘countering misinformation’ and to create a ‘semblance of consensus’. This could be the most concerning of all things happening in cyberspace right now, and in accordance with Mitew, it is possibly even more pernicious than all other cyber attacks.

To hack, or not to hack? That is the question

In an unnecessary film sequel, the infamous Anchor Man Ron Burgundy finally started making some sense towards the end when he said:You see, folks, I’ve read a lot of news in my day, but it’s…it’s taken me until now to realise what real news is. Real news is supposed to let people know what the powerful are up to, so that that power doesn’t become corrupt. But what happens when the powerful own the news?”

*

In 2006, Julian Assange’s first act of hacktivism for his site Wikileaks was with the release of their video ‘Collateral Murder’, with the intention of exposing the unjust realities of modern warfare (Khatchadourian, 2010).

The term ‘hacktivism’ refers to using computers and networks to ‘debate and sustain a political issue, promote free speech, and support human rights’ (Paganini, n.d.).

The origins of hacking lay within the realm of military action. During the Second World War, hackers were breaking into other countries’ computer systems to gain access to secret information codes (Mitew, 2014). Although in more recent times, with ever-advancing technologies, we have seen a huge rise in the hacking phenomenon but not necessarily to gain information to report back to one’s own country, but instead as medium for activism. There has been a shift; with a large focus now not on gaining information about ‘the other’, but instead hackers are breaking into and exposing computer systems of their own communities and countries, too. Hackers, like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, are leaking information to media outlets and onto the Internet to expose the unjust and exploitative nature of those in power to the public, making them hacktivists.

Assange summed this shift up perfectly in an article with Raffi Khatchadourian in 2010 for The New Yorker, when he defined the human struggle “not as left verus right, or faith versus reason, but as individual versus institution.”

Similarly in another instance of an individual versus institution, we have whistleblower Edward Snowden’s case; a systems administrator and computer professional working for the NSA who leaked details of classified US government surveillance programs (Mitew, 2014).

Hacktivists like Assange and whistleblowers like Snowden share the mission to expose injustice served by those in power, with the belief that everyone should have access to everything in order to build an independent online public sphere (Mitew, 2014).

Some may call this technological determinism at its finest, and others may not see the use in hacktivism at all. But when Assange stated Wikileaks’ primary targets were the oppressive regimes in China and Russia (Khatchadourian, 2010), it’s certainly not hard to see reason with Wikileaks.

Unfortuantely, not all hackers become hacktivists, and a lot of information that is stolen is not useful nor ethical. Hacking has been used for far less ambitious things, such as 4chan’s releasing of over 200,000 snapchats and the nude celebrity leaks (Grey, 2014), perpetuating the stigma associated with hackers.

On that note- do you feel that all information should be free and flowing with accessibility to everyone? Do you believe that Assange and Snowden were right in their hacktivism?

“If you want to liberate a country, give them the Internet”

‘Wael Ghonim, the young Google executive who has became a symbol of Egypt’s pro-democracy uprising after he launched the original Facebook page credited with sparking the initial protest, called the Egyptian upheaval, “Revolution 2.0.”

“If you want to liberate a country, give them the internet,” Ghonim said.’ (Gustin, 2011)

Screen shot 2014-10-14 at 5.04.34 PM

Up until very recently, I believed that social media was the root cause of the Arab Spring revolutions. Quite obliviously, I considered the terms ‘Twitter revolution’ and ‘Arab Spring’ to be interchangeable. However, Morosov’s 2011 Guardian article ‘Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go’ raised a number of points to prove why my prior opinions on the matter are problematic.

Rather than being the root cause of revolution, Morosov describes social media as mere communication tools. He says the importance of Facebook and Twitter in recent revolutions are overstated, resulting in the role of real-life workshops, organisations and street-activism engagement to be overlooked or entirely dismissed.

Another important point Morosov makes is that these ‘social media revolutions’ emphasise the role of tools and downplay human agency, which works in favour of Americans as it gives them something to feel proud of and feel as though they contributed to events in the Middle east. The West has widely perceived these uprisings as ‘spontaneous’ and not possible without Facebook, allowing the U.S. to feel somewhat responsible and deserving of credit to the Arab Spring. This is a troubled line of thinking, because as Morosov states, “if, of course, the uprising was not spontaneous and its leaders chose Facebook simply because that’s where everybody is, it’s a far less glamorous story.”

Evidently, communication is the point of social media, so it irks me to so blatantly obviously call Facebook and Twitter ‘just’ communication tools in the context of these revolutions. Agreeing with Popova (2010), I’d say that if something is creating awareness, it is the starting point of activism, which she defines as “any action or set of actions, be it organised, grassroots or self-initiated, that aims to resolve a problem that diminishes the quality of life of individuals, communities or society.”

There are a number of interpretations of social media’s role in revolutions, and I identify best with the ‘Idealist 2.0’. I believe that the revolutions were enabled by social media but this is not some cyber-utopian idealism, but because it is simply the result of new media allowing a new message to be spread. This is because as Mitew (2014) observes, the internet, and social media especially, works effectively for political change due it’s speed, scalable openness and ability to reach out to the masses.

While the web can breed a culture of ‘slacktivism’, I feel any attempts of activism online is an important starting point for any movement. Similarly, Popova says “we have ample evidence that the social web not only brings critical awareness to issues of humanitarian and ecological importance, but also incites action around them.”

Gustin’s (2011) response to the question “Did social media cause the revolution?” is a perfect way to sum up the debate. “No. But these tools did speed up the process by helping to organize the revolutionaries, transmit their message to the world and galvanize international support… It acts like an accelerant to conditions which already exist in the country. Twitter and YouTube serve as amplification for what’s happening on the ground.”

Social media and the transformation of Journalism

Social media and the transformation of journalism

The rise of social media has seen a rise in the prominence of citizen journalism. Not only is Twitter and Instagram a great starting point for businesses and celebrities to promote their projects/goods/services, but it has also provided users a platform with opportunity to become a journalist. By blogging, reviewing, photographing, sharing links and commenting on global issues, consumers become prosumers; where participation is its own reward (Mitew, 2014), resulting in a cyber-culture where citizen journalism is quite often merely standard behaviour and use of the Internet but also becoming a growing, deliberate practice online.

To look at the concept of citizen journalism we first must acknowledge the status and workings of traditional journalism. Axel Bruns (2009) stated mainstream journalism “offers news-as-product; a collection of easily digestible reports based on research, ready for consumption,” while citizen journalism “provides news-as-process” which entails a continuation and unfinished coverage of events and topics that encourages user participation.

Furthermore, Goode (2009) defines citizen journalism as a “range of web-based practices whereby ‘ordinary’ users engage in journalistic practices”, but also the term is used loosely and covers activities such as re-posting, linking and commenting on news information provided by professionals or news companies.

Thanks to social media sites such as Twitter, citizen journalism has been given a chance to fully develop and flourish. Johnson (2009) said with social networks, live searching and link-sharing that “Twitter has amounted to the most interesting alternative to Google’s near monopoly in searching.”

To compare Twitter to Google is actually mind-blowing, when you really consider that more often people are getting their news faster from Twitter and choose this as their news source and search engine for current issues. This information is important, because if enough people are tweeting about the same thing, it becomes ‘news’. Johnson sums this up perfectly when he says “Tweets become valuable when aggregated,” drawing a connection of individual contributions to the metaphor “a bridge of pebbles”. One tweet may seem worthless but if every person from a city writes one tweet on the same subject, it becomes a fortified bridge and a link from the cyber world to real-life issues.

Perfect examples of single tweets, or pebbles, forming news, or a bridge, are the use of social media, particularly Twitter, during the Arab Spring, and more recently the Ferguson protests.

Apple deems U2 ‘the sweetest thing’ and a reflection on operating systems

Apple deems U2 ‘the sweetest thing’ and a reflection on operating systems

This week the Internet kind of exploded –again-, with social media commentary expressing a range of emotions in response to Apple ‘gifting’ every iTunes user (aka millions of people) a copy of Irish rock band U2’s latest album ‘Songs of Innocence’.

On a scale of “Yay, free music!” to “How do I delete this virus called U2 off my device?”, how did you react to the news?

My brother went something along the lines of “What the frak?! They got me too! Damn you, U2!”

Just when he thought he’d escaped the wrath of the almighty iCloud, Apple was there to remind him that he had a choice when he was buying a new phone, and he will damn-well use it and he will damn-well like it!

Which brings forth this week’s topic of the operating systems Android and Apple’s iOS and what they really mean for users and mobile net.

An exemplary text on the topic is Eric Raymond’s book The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Published in 1999, Raymond described a closed operating system like iOS as being like a cathedral; stable, hierarchical and only made public at the end of the building process. On the contrary, an open operating system like Android is like the open architecture of a bazaar; an open marketplace with users creating, contributing and taking simultaneously as they wish.

android_vs_apple-1920x1080

These open and closed operating systems such as iOS and Android have become a hot topic of discussion particularly in recent years as mobile net is ever-expanding and rising, becoming more important as newer devices are being created each year. As these devices are an extension of what we see on our computer screens (Mitew, 2014), they become a mini computer. The issue then is, depending on which operating system you choose; this mini-computer device like your mobile phone or tablet is accessible in different ways.

Apple’s closed, exclusive system, iOS, doesn’t allow external codes, programs or applications outside of Apple or Apple’s approval to enter, enabling complete control of the systems and Apple devices (Worstall, 2012). This explains the forceful gifting of U2’s album to your iCloud account. The pros being security and simplicity throughout all your devices, and cons are the limitations and restricted usage of devices and a less personal experience.

Android, on the other hand, as an open operating system, is trying to say the mobile web should be open and provide the same experience to users regardless of the device (Holland, 2014). Andy Rubin, creator of Android, described his OS as having “the spirit of Linux and the reach of Windows… It would be a global, open operating system for the wireless future” (Roth, 2008).

Still not sure what’s right for you? For further information on iOS and Android features, see the links below.

http://lifehacker.com/5801862/top-10-awesome-android-features-that-the-iphone-doesnt-have

http://www.valuewalk.com/2014/09/iphone-6-plays-catchup-to-android/

http://www.okcupid.com/tests/the-best-operating-system-for-you-test

References

Roth, D. (2008) ‘Google’s Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web’. Wired

Raymond, E. (2001) The Cathedral and the Bazaar [pp.1-31]

Worstall, T. (2012) ‘The Problem with Apple’s Closed Apps Universe’. Forbes

The biggest lie you tell every day

…Is “Yes, I have read the terms and conditions.” This is because, well, in the famous words of Sweet Brown,

But perhaps people are going to reconsider that one. The recent iCloud hacking scandal resulting in celebrities having private photos sprawled across the web has caused global chaos.

The leaking of nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence in particular has people asking two questions. The first question is irrelevant and unnecessary and goes something along the lines of “why would you even have nude pictures of yourself saved?” And the second, more important question is “what do you mean Google/YouTube/Facebook is already spying on us all the time anyway?”

Yes, while the hacking is not only intrusive, violating and a crime, it is also a rude awakening for many to hear that these big data companies also have access to everything you search, share and even own the pictures you upload.

Screen shot 2014-09-04 at 2.38.33 PM
Max Schrems’ 1,222 files. (Mitew, 2014)

“Okay, yeah, but so what? They’ll never really do anything with your information though,” I hear people say all the time. But if you look at Max Schrems’ case in 2011 where he requested Facebook send him every piece of personal information they had on him, he received 1,222 pages of content. From personal messages, to pages liked, to search history to GPS tracking, it was all there. Or in slightly more extreme cases, you could look at Pedro Bravo, who allegedly murdered his roommate in 2012 and then proceeded to asked his iPhone assistant Siri where to hide the body. Needless to say, this information was tracked and used against him. So, if information about you was ever needed, it’s all tucked away for future references. Our Internet and mobile phone use have become a human tracking system.

Discussing this further with peers and tutor alike, we concluded that as users of Google or Facebook, we are the product. The information extracted from our Internet use is packaged and sold as content to whoever will pay for it as needed. This is evident by just looking at Google’s terms and services which state:

“Some of our Services allow you to upload, submit, store, send or receive content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

So… basically we own our content but really Google does too. Looking at Mitew’s (2014) feudalism analogy, Google is the lord who owns the land, or space, on the Internet and as users, we are the vassals who may have our own space, but ultimately we work in allegiance to the lords. What is interesting is that while we work for our own survival and wealth in allegiance to the data lords, they simultaneously live off our labour.

After taking a closer look at the concept of iFeudal and terms and agreements of data companies such as Google, are you inclined to alter the content you upload and share on the Internet? Why or why not? 

Social media is turning us into goldfish

 

Social media is turning us into goldfish

This week’s topic of the attention economy and the long tail effect brought ‘produsers’ to the forefront of the network society once again. As Mitew (2014) stated in this week’s lecture, “we are in a paradigm where the former consumers are now also the biggest producers of content”.

Looking specifically at Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet, his article “Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing” (2002) analysed the use of blogs and the possible moneymaking from them.

He stated that “weblogs are becoming a vast and diffuse cocktail party, where most address not ‘the masses’ but a small circle of readers, usually friends and colleagues.” Shirky makes an interesting analogy that may have rung true in 2002, but I wonder how the dynamics of this cocktail party have changed 12 years on?

Chang & Yang (2012) said that original weblogs (now shortened to just ‘blogs’) were used for webpages with links to other sites of interest, “providing commentary for added value”, and many of them took the form of a personal diary after mid-1999 when blogging became accessible, easier and free. Evidently, the blogsites that are this ‘cocktail party’ at this point are still quite intimate, with a small circle of friends and colleagues as the targeted audience.

Fast-forward to 2014 and the blogging landscape has had a seemingly total revamp. The utility of blogs has evolved from a mere personal diary, to channels of information; focusing on journalism, education, marketing and even entertainment.

Forget partying like it’s 1999! Now, the cocktail party has become an open-house party, with bloggers reaching out to ‘the masses’ and looking beyond their small circle of friends and colleagues to share information with.

Now with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+, the blogging landscape has changed dramatically, making blogging via social media an important marketing tool for businesses. Tech writer and author Kerry Butters (2013) also highlighted the interesting fact that social media has now gone from a luxury to a necessity.

With that said, it is worth noting that a lot of blogs have reverted to their old ways. Or, did they ever really change at all? With the introduction of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, so too came the return of journal entry-style blogging and a new notion of ‘micro-blogging’. Facebook asks “what’s on your mind?” and Twitter used to ask “what’s happening?” (although I’ve just noticed they’ve dropped their prompt all together, what’s up with that?).

Shut the open-house party down, while a lot of our social media and blogging is open to anyone and everyone, a whole other lot of our presence online is to engage with our friends and colleagues in cyberspace, whether it is to maintain the personal, physical relationships, or it’s simply a requirement through university, work, or upcoming events.

Going off on another tangent related to micro-blogging, it is interesting to note that while Google is the world’s largest search engine, many are surprised to read that YouTube is the second largest (Rubenstein, 2014). This is saying a lot about how the blogging landscape has changed due to social media.

Evidently, attention spans are getting smaller, and we are only permitting ourselves a small amount of concentration to absorb information each time. This is evident in that blogging has been reduced to 140 characters or less on Twitter, seven seconds in Vines, and one single picture on Instagram. Rubenstein observed that 2013 saw the rise in visuals as seen by the huge increase of numbers on Instagram and Pinterest, saying images have changed the way we digest information on social media; “they’re becoming a necessity and driving force of engagement.”

What do you think? Do you blog for friends and colleagues or are you aiming for ‘the masses’, i.e. anyone and everyone?

References

Butters, K 2013, “The Changing Social Media Landscape”, XEN, accessed August 28, 2014. 

Chang, Y. S, Yang, C 2013, “Why do we blog?”, Behaviour and information technology, vol. 32, issue 4, pp. 371-386. Accessed August 28, 2014. 

Mitew, T 2014, “The Attention Economy and the Long Tail Effect”, Global Networks, University of Wollongong. Accessed August 28, 2014.

Rubenstein, B 2014, “The Changing Social Media Landscape in 2014”, Imagine That, accessed on August 28, 2014. 

Shirky, C 2002, “Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing” in Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet, accessed August 28, 2014.  

“I find you offensive for finding me offensive”- Eminem

“I find you offensive for finding me offensive”- Eminem

Yes, I just quoted lyrics of the great rapper Eminem in relation to “liquid labour”. Here’s why…

It always seems so absurd to me when older people criticise Gen Y for “being on the computer too much” or get offended at the sight of people “glued to their phones”. I could be biased, I could be ignorant, but I could also be a product of the “liquid modern society”.

 Deuze (2006) defined a liquid modern society as “one where uncertainty, flux, change, conflict, and revolution are the permanent conditions of everyday life” due to the convergence of production of consumption. Put simply, our work and social lives have become intertwined and now merged; borders have been obliterated resulting in the invasion of personal spaces (Mitew, 2014).

What this means is that it is almost impossible for Gen Y, and other people studying/entering the workforce to stay off their screens. Deuze also observed that a liquid modern society is evidenced through our “constant and concurrent immersion in media”. We can no longer simply “switch off” from our work lives when we get home.

The concept of transitioning from industrial production to knowledge production that Mitew (2014) spoke of in this week’s lecture was expanded on in Bradwell & Reeves’ (2008) article, where they stated the new labour market and technologies have put social networks “at the heart of organisational thinking.” For Gen Y, not only is social networking a way of the future in both work and leisure, but it is also a prerequisite and skillset required for obtaining and sustaining employment in many industries now and in the future.

Just as Kelly predicted in 1999, the new economy is all communication-based. “Communication is the foundation of society, of our culture, of our humanity, of our own individual identity, and of all economic systems.” Similarly, Deuze alluded to Hardt & Negri (2001) who discovered that “the anthrolopology of cyberspace is really a recognition of the new human condition.”

So, there you have it. The convergence of social life and work has resulted in a new human condition where it is –almost- only natural that we are on our screens 25/8. For work, uni or leisure, communicating is essential. Communicating via the Internet also means there are no restrictions with time and space- so it is actually totally normal for us to get a text message at midnight from our manager asking us to work the next morning. Or to receive a Facebook message from your boss enquiring about work-related topics while you’re out on a date. And naturally, we will reply. Always. Why? Well why not? Not only is it easy and efficient, but it is expected. We are expected to have an Internet connection on us at all times, and it’s netiquette to reply ASAP. Sorry people, but social networking waits for nobody. The instantaneity and ease granted with social networking makes this all possible.

This may be difficult for some people to grasp (read: older generations), because the idea of working outside of work, or being paid to tweet/Facebook/social network in general, is just absurd, right? Wrong. Producing immaterial ‘things’ in labour does not necessarily mean that they are not ‘real’, because after all, information is power (Mitew, 2014). So please, mind your own business while we’re trying to mind ours. Yes, on a screen. Yes, at 8pm while we are at the gym/shopping/working/in class/with friends.

References

Bradwell, P., and Reeves, R. (2008) Economies. In Networked Citizens (pp. 25-31)

Deuze, M. (2006) ‘Liquid Life, Convergence Culture, and Media Work’

Kelly, K. (1999) ‘This new economy’. In New Rules for the new Economy

Why We Are Not Always Entitled To Our Opinion

“No, you’re not entitled to your opinion”- thank you, Patrick Stokes

Dyson et al. (1994) coined cyberspace “the land of knowledge”. This is because finally, in this parallel reality, humans now have scale and speed at their fingertips, allowing them control and coordination of information via digital networks (Mitew, 2014).

Information on anything and everything can be found on the Internet, and while this is usually a huge advantage of being connected to the network society, as cyberspace continues to grow and spread information quicker than ever, things are controllably getting out of control. I say controllably because that is just what digital networks and citizens of this society have; control. Well, to a certain extent.

In more recent times, large companies and governments have implemented measures in order to control what information they can from becoming accessible to Internet users. Control of information has always been highly contested especially on the Internet, but there are both negatives and positives to demanding absolute freedom or liberty in cyberspace.

Barlow’s 1996 ‘Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace’ declared, “You (the government) have no moral right to rule us… we are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity”. While Barlow’s declaration sounds ideal, it is also extremely utopian and slightly ignorant.

What if, hypothetically, someone’s expression, belief, or opinion is that they have the right to access/produce/share child pornography or abusive material on the Internet? Following Barlow’s Declaration model, everyone and anyone would have the right to participate in the harmful and morally indecent exploitation of children who do not have a say for themselves.

Patrick Stokes, Philosophy lecturer at Deakin University wrote a wonderfully accurate article on the topic of people being ‘entitled’ to their opinion and freedom of expression. He put it down to “you are not entitled to your opinion, you are only entitled to what you can argue for,” noting that people need to recognise when a ‘belief’ has become indefensible.

What do you think? Is Barlow’s Declaration correct or should we base our beliefs on Stokes’ notion?

__________________________________________________

References

Barlow, J.P. 1996, ‘A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’

Dyson, E., Gilder, G., Keyworth, G., Toffler, A. 1994, ‘Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age’

Mitew, T 2014, “Understanding the Network Society Paradigm”, <http://youtu.be/BY2YR1hkGzA?list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j&gt;

Stokes, P 2012, “No, you’re not entitled to your opinion”, The Conversation, 5 October. <http://theconversation.com/no-youre-not-entitled-to-your-opinion-9978&gt;