Some Assembly Required

To demonstrate your knowledge of the material, compose a blog post with at least five sentences indicating the full name of the author(s), the name of the source of reference, the claim you are utilizing from the text in your own words (i.e. paraphrased), and an embedded link in either the source name or author(s) name(s) (wherever it seems to fit best in each case).  Include a block quotation after each sentence to further flesh out the reference, if necessary.

I. In an article by Mark Ambinder from The Week, the extent to which large companies interface with and exchange user data with the federal government is discussed. The article also addresses the notably absent paper trail that clearly defines the relationship between the contributing companies and the NSA, which leaves the details and the limits of their surveillance in a place of poorly monitored legal grayness.

the NSA can collect and store trillions of bytes of electromagnetic detritus shaken off by American citizens. In the government’s eyes, the data is simply moving from one place to another. It does not become, in the government’s eyes, relevant or protected in any way unless and until it is subject to analysis.

II. I’m consulting quite a few pages from nsa.gov1.info, a parody site of the NSA that has created quite a bit of press for itself by fooling many people, and has received the blessings of many other publications such as Forbes for its accuracy of information. I’ve been utilizing the site for specific information about the NSA’s surveillance programs, and useful charts about the internet.

There is no way to predict in advance which crucial piece of data will be the key to revealing a potential plot. The standard operating procedure for the Domestic Surveillance Directorate is to ‘collect all available information from all available sources all the time, every time, always.

III. In Paul Best’s article the mystery of the Deep Web is somewhat diffused, and the image of it as a place for malicious individuals is revealed as a misperception. Best focuses on a doctor that provides answers about the adverse effects of drugs, the mission of the Silk Road as a means of reducing violence, and hacktivists that work to seek and destroy perverts on the internet.

IV. The Tor Project Website provides an extremely comprehensive laundry list of reasons why users gravitate towards Tor. This site is the official home of Tor, so I’ve been consulting it for information from the source directly about the different motivations users have and the different demographics that are attracted to Tor.

V. Julia Angwin’s article for the Wall Street Journal takes an economic stance on the buying, selling, and trading of personal, though largely inconsequential, information available about each internet user. It addresses the incentives and possible influence that companies are at to gain through procuring user data, and how it is a booming business.

The new technologies are transforming the Internet economy. Advertisers once primarily bought ads on specific Web pages—a car ad on a car site. Now, advertisers are paying a premium to follow people around the Internet, wherever they go, with highly specific marketing messages.

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