All posts by Symone

Possibilities- Nugget #2




First article I read was Escalating US Police Surveillance after 9/11 Examination of Causes and Effects, written by William Bloss in 2007. Basically, he wrote about how historically law enforcement agencies use crime control on issues such as drug and terrorism to expand their powers while invading our civil liberties. He also questioned if this pattern continued, how would this effect our quality of civil life.

This is the by far the most interesting source I found. (Not saying that my other sources are not interesting, this piece is just more interesting) Basically, it made me question changing my topic a little. I would love to continue to research the balance of national security and civil liberties, and also investigate on how it will effect the public if we continue to lose our  civil liberties.

This is the nugget I chose from my first articles:

“As noted, post-9/11 expansion of police surveillance powers is, in part, a result of an official reaction to the perception of terrorism threats. This response contributes to the second effect of police conspicuous surveillance which is to disrupt lives and alter the public perception of risk through visible preventive measures and public safety rhetoric. As Parenti (2003: 200) explains “[9/11] radically accelerated momentum toward the soft cage of a surveillance society, just as it gave the culture of fear a rejuvenating jolt.”

The desire by extremists to cause disruption and promote public anxiety is among the bedrock principles of terrorism (Crenshaw, 2003). Additionally, terrorists strive to provoke an official response, which changes the stability of everyday life, through the use of symbolic political violence (See generally White, 2006). As Stohl (2003: 85) commented “[Osama] bin Laden’s interviews in May 2001 with the Arab journalists also indicated that he was hoping for an unrestrained U.S. government response that would clamp down on the domestic public and limit civil liberties and “normal” American life [after the 9/11 attacks].” In this sense, both the intentional actions of terrorists, and subsequent official reactions, have led to greater public anxiety and suspicion”.

In the U.S. there is considerable debate about the merits of surrendering privacy rights and civil liberties for greater public safety (Chang, 2003; Whitaker, 2003; Bailey, 2004; O’Harrow, 2005; Sykes, 1999). To what extent, though, do these perceived threats promote the level of public panic desired by extremists? In addressing the new terrorism, Laqueur (1999: 272) suggested that public panic responses to threats of terrorism have profound effects on public life. He stated “True panic is contagious, a crowd phenomenon, not an individual one. The consequences of mass panic in both material and human terms can be huge; they can lead to a paralysis of normal life, epidemics, post-traumatic stress, and tremendous anxiety, especially if the nature and extent of the danger remains unknown.”

Scary, huh? After 9/11, we didnt mind giving up our privacy in order to be protected but, as Bloss pointed out, the increase surveillance disrupted some peoples lives and altered the public perception of risk. Terrorists goals is to incite fear in the public and to undermine the governments legitimacy, and that exactly what al Qaeda did. He continues to discuss how relinquishing our civil liberties can led to paralysis of normal life and mass panic. Also, it will change how the Government is operated. If we keep giving up civil liberties, like we have been doing since WWII, and thirty years, how will United States policies look like?

Well, this is just one possibility.

In the next article, we look at not implementing anti-privacy legislation. In The Threat of Cyberterrorism to Critical Infrusture, Sam Power wrote:

What is worrisome, however, is that over the past 10 years in particular, trends have emerged that illustrate that al-Qaeda and other terrorists have taken an interest in directing their cyber capabilities towards directly hitting US infrastructure and causing mass damage. We have also learned, and have seen from example, that attacks can be orchestrated without massive funding, by single actors, who are not even affiliated with a terrorist group.[28]

In her book Computer Forensics: Cybercriminals, Laws and Evidence, Marie-Helen Maras provides various examples of such instances where “lone wolves” were able to break into SCADA systems, and if they so desired, could have created massive damage. For example, in 2000, a Russian man hacked into an ICS that ran a natural gas pipeline and was able to control the flow of LNG. “Hypothetically, this hacker could have easily increased the gas pressure until the valves broke, causing an explosion to occur.”[29] Although many of these actors have been “lone wolves,” terrorist organizations have not sat on the sidelines idly. Rather, since the new millennium, terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, and groups supported by Iran like Hamas and Hezbollah, have been actively working towards developing a capacity to strike at the heart of the industrialized world’s critical infrastructure to cause terror and havoc. [30] Former Presidential Adviser for Cyberspace Security, Richard Clarke expresses his concern on the terrorist entrée into the world of cyberwar in a PBS Frontline special. Clarke comments:

We also found indications that members of al-Qaeda were from outside of the Unites States doing reconnaissance in the United States on our critical infrastructure. Where were railroad crossings? Where were the big natural gas depositories? Where were the bridges over rivers that also carried the fiber for the backbone on the Internet? It’s possible now to do that kind of targeting, which would have, in the past, required lots of people and running around the country. It is possible to sit in the cyber café in Peshawar and do that kind of reconnaissance.

Wow. Another scary possibility.


I know no one can tell the future, but these scenarios are supported by facts and events. But again, privacy vs. security. Possibility one vs. Possibility two. This just emphasizes even more how we need to find the right balance between civil liberties and national security. We need to find some way to protect ourselves , while not relinquishing any more privacy.

Now I need to hit the kitchen to find recipes on what policies can be used effectively to create, the needed, balance between civil liberties and strength in nation security.

Fears- Research Nugget 1

Today, for my post, I will be comparing the government and public sense of fear regarding implementing new legislation that may require citizens to give away some of their entitled civil liberties for national security. Again for my inquiry project I am questioning

 Why should the US government reform the privacy laws implemented now, and should American citizens support them?`

The two articles below will present forms of legislation and programs being implemented in the United States to promote national security and the response of the Government and public. I know it may seem obvious that the government will be for and public will be against these legislation and programs, but I found it interesting to learn the reason behind it. Also, I want to clarify that not ALL individuals in the government are for and not ALL of the public are against the new laws and programs.

My first nugget comes from an article, Cybersecurity Executive Order Gaining Momentum, written by Rodney Petersen:

President Obama signaled the importance of this action during his State of the Union address where he said:

America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks. We know hackers steal people’s identities and infiltrate private e-mail. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.  That’s why, earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy.

The information sharing provisions remain the most controversial parts of the proposal, with privacy and civil liberties concerns a key consideration as private sector companies exchange information with the government.  The Executive Order, however, must operate within the confines of existing law and regulatory authority so there is probably little that the government can do to develop incentives or provide for liability protections as a result of the Order.  The government has emphasized that even if an Executive Order is issued that it will continue to pursue comprehensive cybersecurity legislation through the Congress.

First of all, the Cybersecurity Executive Order is a policy that main is goal is to strengthen the security and resilience of its critical infrastructure against both physical and cyber threats through funding for research and information sharing through private entities.

In this nugget, you can read why Obama and his administration feel that it is necessary to create legislation to help law enforcement prevent cyberattcks. One of these reasons is due to fact that United States enemies now have the resources and technology to “sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems”. This scares me. Not only if this happens and the United States is ill- equipped to deal with such a disaster, would some or all parts of the United States have no electricity or ways to communicate, but the condition of the United States economy will be worsen.

Congress is holding back this legislation due to the concern with the possible violation of citizen’s civil liberties, even though the Order must operate with the existing law and the promise to comprise new cybersecurity laws to avoid such incident.

 My second nugget is from Rights to Privacy vs. National Security. An articles written by Barbara Walker and Greg Raschke.

The asked themselves: What role does the information age play in terrorist activities and prevention.

Another example, this one international, is ECHELON. The ACLU’s echelonwatch describes ECHELON as “the most powerful intelligence gathering organization in the world.” It “is the term used for an automated global interception and relay system operated by the intelligence agencies in five nations: the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is believed that ECHELON is the code name for the portion of the system that intercepts satellite-based communications. The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) takes the lead in working with other intelligence agencies of the other nations.” (2) ECHELON serves as an example of the tenuous balance between civil liberties and the government’s efforts to protect its assets and citizens. A powerful intelligence-gathering tool such as ECHELON can provide key information to help the government stop terrorism, cybercrime, and security breaches. On the other hand, it can also be used to violate the privacy rights and civil liberties of individual citizens. Are we comfortable with a secret intelligence-gathering tool that intercepts information communications and is controlled and monitored by the government?

How much personal information do these eavesdropping initiatives acquire from innocent citizens? Is the information used merely to protect against terrorist attack? How much is our privacy invaded and who can get access to the information? There have been numerous reports of attempts to access federal computer systems. If the US government keeps a central repository of information about each citizen, would that information be especially attractive (and vulnerable) to hackers? Would the information the US government has gathered on its citizens be open to inspection by the public due to the Freedom of Information Act? Would the government under any circumstances sell information it acquires to interested parties? For example, marketers of various products and services may pay a great deal to learn the habits of potential consumers. Would the information be used in place of voluntary polls to gauge citizen reaction to potential policies and legislation, thus influencing the course of government itself?

Here we hear the public’s voice and opinion on program that the government created to promote national security . They asked themselves the same question Congress did in the previous nugget, can the government abuse their power by selling the information or using it against non-terrorist individuals . They, also, proposed another great question, that I never really considered. They asked themselves if the government collects citizens personal information in the database, how would they be sure to protect the database from threats.

But I have to say, we, as consumers, put our faith in stores such as Target and practice Online Banking to keep our information safe, and have they. You hear about the Target scam and people becoming victims of credit card fraud, but at the end of the day, we still put our faith in them.

Personally, I would rather put my faith in my government, who is backed by the military and numerous law enforcement agencies, to keep myself and my information safe.

But overall, I understand why people are scared to lose their civil liberties. The questions asked in the second article really had me debating my position of the issue. But, it literally comes down to privacy vs. security.

Computer Lib/Dream Machines Nugget

In Computer Lib/Dream Machines, Ted Nelson wrote

“It seems to me certain that we are moving toward a generalized and universal Fantic system; people can and should demand it. Perhaps there will be several; but if so, being able to tie them together for smooth transmission is essential. (Think of what it would be like if there were two kinds of telephone?) This then is a great search and crusade; to put together truly general media for the future, systems at which we can read, write, learn and visualize, year after year after year. The initiatives are not likely to come from the more conventional computer people; some of them are part of the problem. (Be prepared for every possible form of aggressive defensiveness from programmers, especially: “Why would you want that?” The correct answer is BECAUSE, damnit!)

But all this means that interior computer technicalities have to be SUBSERVIENT, and the programmers cannot be allowed to dictate how it is to behave on the basis of the under level structures that are convenient to them. Quite the contrary: from the fullest consideration of the richest upper-level structures we wanted, we the users-to-be must dictate what lower-level structures are to be prepared within.

But this means you, dear reader, must develop the fantic imagination. Yo must learn to visualize possible uses of computer screens, so you can get on down to the deeper level of how we are going to tie things together.”

Ted Nelson promoted computer literacy. He stated throughout his book that computers would be the new media of tomorrow. They will communicate inspired creativity, innovative ideas, and instructive information. He stresses that we need not depend on computer programmers to teach us the structure of computers because they make it seem unappealing. He knew for individuals to want to read information the format on which it is provided on has to be entertaining to the audience, like in his book.

To relate to our inquiry project, the nugget above reminds me of our upcoming assignment. We have to find an inspired platform where we can present our information to audience. The more interesting we make our projects, the more appealing it will be to our readers for years and years.



Inquiry Project Week 3 Reflection

I am studying cyber crime and cyber warfare…

because I want to find out why the US government wants to reform privacy laws…

in order to help my readers understand the delicate balance between civil liberties and national security and to ultimately, support the government’s decision.

Why should the US government reform the privacy laws implemented now, and should American citizens support them?`

The need for online security.  We all learned from an early age that the internet is not always safe place. Well indeed, the open-structure of cyberspace has made us vulnerable to outside threats. In May 2009, Obama stated that these threats are “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation. It’s also clear that we’re not as prepared as we should be, as a government or as a country.” In Suzanne C. Nielsen’s article, Pursuing Security in Cyberspace: Strategic and Organizational Challenges, she argues that cyber space vulnerabilities affect public safety, economic prosperity, and national security.

Cyberspace is growing rapidly and gains new users globally everyday. Nielsen shared that “estimates suggest that the number of Internet users has gone from 16 million in 1995 to almost 2.3 billion by the end of 2011″. These figures increase the attractiveness cyber crime and warfare to criminals and organizations. Cyberspace has no jurisdiction, people from any country can access it, which allows users to face an array of threats. Also, the internet has very low barriers to entry. If you have a cell phone or access to a public library, you have entry way to the internet. Committing crimes on the internet has its own benefit of  being low risk and high rewards. For start, you can gain anonymity, target a higher amount of people, and conduct the crime instantly from the comfort of your house or a public cafe hub.

Due to low barrier there are variety of malicious actors, such as hackers, spies, organized crime groups, terrorist, and foreign states. They may conduct actions of espionage, financial data compromise, theft of intellectual property, or even inflict physical destruction.

Like I stated before, for my project, I will be studying cyber crime and cyber warfare to learn more about this new age threat. I would like to find more articles that compare figures and statistics of the short and long term effects of these crimes.  In my criminal justice classes, I have learn that overall crime is decreasing, while cyber crimes committed are increasing and becoming more popular. This means that people are turning to the internet to commit crimes. Many individuals who are victims of crimes would like for swift justice for their perpetrator but with many obstacles , like privacy laws, law enforcement run into roadblocks. I was a victim of credit card fraud a month, the criminal has yet to be caught. Hopefully, added security on the internet will deter criminals from committing cyber crime.

The call for action. On January17, 2014, President Barack Obama addressed the nation with his speech “Security and Privacy: In Search of a Balance“. This speech is one of many made by a public figure trying to explain to the public the need for a reform on privacy laws. Obama discussed how technology has changed quickly, while our laws have not. And in order for the government to correctly protect the public, we must be open to government intervention and programs on the internet.

One thing that President Obama said touched me. He argued that “I make the observations to underscore that the basic values of most American when it comes to questions of surveillance and privacy converge far more than the crude characterizations that have emerged over the last several month. Those who are troubled by our existing programs are not interested in a repeat of 9/11, and those who defend these programs are not dismissive of civil liberties”. Basically he stated that we cant have the best of both worlds. Time is changing, and though the government is working to created a balance between civil liberties and  national security, the public must be willing to sacrifice the norm and ready to accept the reform.

This makes question how much is too much? How much privacy is a citizen willing to give up for security or for our country best interest? You know how they say history repeats itself, has America citizens ever forced to give up privacy before in matters of national security? I guess I have more research to do.

The response. I happen across this article titled, “Will You Accept the Government’s Friend Request“, today. This article is a 2013 study conducted by David A. Siegel, who sought out to prove his hypothesis that due to the increase in social media users, America would more willing to accept government actions that may invade privacy if told the reason was for national security. Basically, he thought that social media has created a new norm where people are more willing to sacrifice their right to privacy, since that is what individuals do on platforms such as, facebook, twitter, and instagram.

Unfortunately for Siegel and myself, his theory was incorrect. His results shows that even though growth in social networks had occurred, a “trend signals greater resistance to government policies designed to trade decreased privacy for increased security, implying a significant future roadblock to the passage of anti-privacy policies”.

I found this article so, so, so interesting. Even though it is not totally related to my topic, and shows Americans response to Governments intent on reforming privacy laws. I would like to find more research on polls of how many Americans are against or advocates for anti-privacy laws and increase national security.

Call for Responses.

Do you believe my topic is too broad? If not, how can I make it more specific?

Should I only focus on cyber warfare (terrorist and foreign state threats), instead of cyber crime (fraud, embezzlement,. etc)?

Do you think that the government and the public can reach an understanding on the balance between national security and civil liberties?

If don’t mind answering, what is your position? Are you against or  an advocate for anti-privacy laws and increase national security?

Just for kicks, do you think social media has caused the public to become less private? If so, why do you think Siegel’s study results still concluded to the public still having resistance against governments new policies?

I am open to any and all ideas!

And I know, I know… I wrote a lot. Why cant I be more like Kevin? :) Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Food for thought?- Concept Experience #3

Yes, today I will be talking about food, most specifically creating recipes. I mean who can’t relate to making a nice home cook meal… even us college students have experimented once or twice with roman noodles (using the microwave instead of the stove) or peanut butter and jelly (using hamburger bun, instead of two loaves of bread). Sometimes you have to use the ingredients and tools that you can find in the kitchen, get creative and rely on your palate. And if you do it right, you will end up with this awesome well-done meal and fed for the night.

Warning: I am making this metaphor up as I go.. so this post might be a little bit raw.

Oh, how I am having so much fun with this post!

Anyways, lets start off by talking about the kitchen! Our kitchen is our workplace where we create all our brilliant and innovative meals. Our kitchen holds the many tools that we use, such as recipe books, blender, pot, or a spoon.

In my metaphor, my kitchen relates to my computer because my handy computer holds all of the tools that Im using to complete my inquiry project. My computer helps me navigate to my sources which I find using google scholarly search or databases of VCU library website. My computer also connects me to my notes which I write in google docs (since I like switching kitchens a lot), to our awesome thought-vectors site so I can complete assignments and, now, to Diigo where I can share my sources with my fellow peers, while viewing articles they bookmarked.

Diigo, is one of those DIY recipe books where me and my friends collect and share our favorite recipes. Diigo allows me and my peers the opportunity to store and view all of the sources that we have found useful for our project in a convenient location. We also can contribute notes and highlight useful tidbits, just like people normally do in recipe books. Today, I wasnt thrilled about the sources I found, so after bookmarking a few on Diigo, I went through the group page to see if any of my classmates who were pursuing the same topic as me, which is civil liberties vs national security, found any more interesting sources. I saw that gerrellmalazarte’s sources were on internet privacy, but mainly discussing social media role. I kept searching and found one article that I would be interested in reading, Controversy rages over Internet Privacy Rights, so I bookmarked it to read later. When you use a recipe book, you usually already have in mind what you would like to eat or if you are still unsure, you can flip through the pages and try to find something that looks appealing and appetizing. Honestly, I feel like this metaphor is beautifully comparable to Diigo.


Engelbart noted “when I digest the writings of another person, I find generally anyway that I have extracted from his structure and integrated into my own a specific selection of facts, considerations, ideas, etc.” He compared his extractions to kernels that he can easily place on a note cards to annotate or add corrections and then set aside for future use.  Diigo has the same filing system structure to what Engelbart was referring to with his notecards. As we are finding and reading sources, we contemplate if they are useful or not for our project. If they are, we can use Diigo to highlight, annotate, and bookmark for future reference.

Morganabritt stated in her blog post, Highlighter Versus File Folders, that when she conducts research on her inquiry project she views herself as taking a trip to the library. She gathers and reviews all of the relevant information, and sets aside the useful information, while discarding the useless. Though, vaguely comparable to my metaphor, this is exactly how conduct my research. If we dive further in my metaphor, recipes are made out of numerous ingredients. You may not always like all the ingredients found in a certain recipe or find them useful to what you are baking but you can make additions or corrections to the recipe and eventually you will have your own. For example, while making a new recipe for a homemade pie, you may consult ten different pie recipes, but based on your palate, you will only use the recipe/ ingredients you feel will develop into the most delicious pie.



Infinity and Beyond- Nugget 3

Douglas C. Engelbart wrote,

“The process of developing this conceptual framework brought out a number of significant realizations: that the intellectual effectiveness exercised today by a given human has little likelihood of being intelligence limited–that there are dozens of disciplines in engineering, mathematics, and the social, life, and physical sciences that can contribute improvements to the system of intellect-augmentation means; that any one such improvement can be expected to trigger a chain of coordinating improvements; that until every one of these disciplines comes to a standstill and we have exhausted all the improvement possibilities we could glean from it, we can expect to continue to develop improvements in this human-intellect system; that there is no particular reason not to expect gains in personal intellectual effectiveness from a concerted system oriented approach that compare to those made in personal geographic mobility since horseback and sailboat days.”

In his paper Augmenting Human Intellect: A Concept Framework, Engelbart proposes a conceptual framework that will improve mans problem solving capabilities; increasing mans basic capabilities to approach a complex situation.

I found this nugget extremely interesting because he focus on how intellectual improvement is endless and will continuously expand until all disciplines come to a standstill and we have learned all that we can from them. I know this philosophy may seem apparent, that we, human beings, will keep learning until we cant learn any more, but have you really thought consider it. That one day all knowledge could be obtainable.  Is this feasible?

I contemplated the idea for a brief moment and concluded that as long as we are open to our innovativeness and imagination, we will allow our brain to reach theories into infinity and beyond.

For example, Engelbart describes an architect working with his computer to aide him in his design process.

Let us consider an augmented architect at work. He sits at a working station that has a visual display screen some three feet on a side; this is his working surface, and is controlled by a computer (his “clerk” ) with which he can communicate by means of a small keyboard and various other devices.

He is designing a building. He has already dreamed up several basic layouts and structural forms, and is trying them out on the screen. The surveying data for the layout he is working on now have already been entered, and he has just coaxed the clerk to show him a perspective view of the steep hillside building site with the roadway above, symbolic representations of the various trees that are to remain on the lot, and the service tie points for the different utilities. The view occupies the left two-thirds of the screen. With a “pointer,” he indicates two points of interest, moves his left hand rapidly over the keyboard, and the distance and elevation between the points indicated appear on the right- hand third of the screen.

Now he enters a reference line with his pointer, and the keyboard. Gradually the screen begins to show the work he is doing–a neat excavation appears in the hillside) revises itself slightly, and revises itself again. After a moment, the architect changes the scene on the screen to an overhead plan view of the site, still showing the excavation. A few minutes of study, and he enters on the keyboard a list of items, checking each one as it appears on the screen, to be studied later.

Now I am no engineer student but the program Engelbart is describing sounds like CAD, computer aid design, a software that architects and interior designers use to assist them in building/designing houses. If I never used the software in home economics in middle school and it had not made a long-lasting impression has the coolest thing ever, Engelbart’s example would have probably went right over my head. But I wonder, did Engelbart know that he was describing a program that would be developed twenty years later and still used today? Engelbart thought outside of the box. He allowed his mind to wonder. He asked all the right questions and did not fear his own curiosity. Without innovators like Engelbart, we wouldn’t have the drive through window, the cell phone, or the DVR! Without innovators, I wouldn’t have to question the possibility of myself struggling with technology (like my parents do.. which is hilarious to me) when my son gets older. Without innovators, I would then change my position and believe of the possibility of us gaining all knowledge for all disciplines,  but we don’t have to worry that, because even Spongebob Squarepants uses his imagination.

Like my classmate, Just an average guy, pointed out, Engelbart also discusses how one creation will then lead to another advancement, to another advancement and will continue until we come to a “standstill”. In the nugget I chose, Engelbart uses the advances of transportation via horseback and sailboat. I believe that technological advances will keep developing until we replace air-polluting fuels with solar or electricity energy, and then who knows? With all the innovators in the world (and in this class), we may one day invent the hover craft.

(we came a long way from horses pushing buggies!)

My Collaborative Interest Inventory Process

As an collective, I feel that #tv008 came up with a great  number of potential inquiry topics. Looking at the Group Think google doc you can tell that our class is made up a broad range of students. Though some of the more popular general ideas were repeated, there were some topics that I thought were original and would never consider writing about without this process.

To name a few:

- The cost and benefits of individualism in America

- Overused of technology “dumb downs” America

- Internet and sexual explicitness and use of foul language in mainstream pop

- Internet and the American Dream

I feel that our group took experiences or maybe ideas that we always questioned into consideration as we created new potential inquiry topics. I know I did. For some umbrella topics, I even had to really think or research (with the help from my computer) a idea. For example, the umbrella topics Horror Movies and Gender gave me the hardest time when thinking of possible topics. I know I had a hard time with the category Horror Movies mainly because I despise them. As for the umbrella topic Gender, I believe I found it more difficult to produce a topic because I never really associated internet/technology with gender.

Umbrella topics that generated the most interesting streams to me were Trends, Controversies, and Fears. Mainly because those three umbrella topics were so broad that a person could easily think of an original idea so you hardly saw one repeated. I also feel like these umbrellas had the most topics written under them.

To reflect on this process, I kind of thought the format was going to look a little different. I wish we bounced ideas off of each other more but other than that I feel that we have an array of topics to research for our inquiry project.

Woman- Computer Symbiosis

formulative thinking


A potential inquiry topic that intrigues me is Cyber Crime and Cyber Security. Individuals have recently been questioning if government intervention in cyber space necessary. Or the effect of the patriot act on internet privacy. And the need of new formation of policy and regulation on cyber crime or cyber security.

So to start my formulative thinking process with my partner in crime, Acer Aspire 5515, I searched Cyber Security on Wikipedia.

I reached the main article Computer Security. This page defined computer vulnerabilities and protection strategies. As a student studying criminal justice who took a class in computer application and concepts, I was familiar with the type of attacks and vulnerable areas on computers.  On the side of the page, it list articles related to security challenges. One of the challenges listed was cyber-security and counter measures, which is what I really wanted to research. *CLICK*

Wikipedia: Cyber Security & Counter Measures

Read the page twice. Thought I had already came to a dead end. No links I found were very interesting or something I wanted to pursue. Don’t get me wrong I found the article, itself, engaging. The page describe threats, the need for new policy, and US government agencies and their counter measures against cyber security. The main section that caught my attention was the one on the need for policy. They discussed that cyber crimes are costing the public, business, and the government million of dollars each year. The government has tasked organizations to protect their own systems, but it seems like they can no longer rely on that method. Cyber Space is defined as a virtual space with little government regulation but the need of increased cyber security has force people to question if government regulation is needed. Cyber crime includes fraud and identify theft, cyber theft , cyber stalking, cyber bullying, espionage, and cyber terrorism and others not mention. All crimes that can really hurt our society and culture. In all other aspects of crime, law enforcement are  moving to preventative measures. We need to do the same with Cyber crimes. Focusing on the problem after the crime is committed is no longer working. Regulations, law, and policies need to put in place to protect us.

Again, looking over the page for an intriguing link, I found a term cyber attack. I believed that cyber attack page may contain more information on policy and regulations on cyber crimes. *CLICK*

Wikipedia: Cyber Attack

Nothing new information on policy or regulation was found.

Cyber attack is any offensive maneuver that targets information systems, networks, infrastructures, and personal computer devices by malicious acts. This page focused on cyber warfare and cyber terrorism and why cyber attacks happen.

Never heard of the phrase cyber campaign before. *CLICK*

Wikipedia: Cyber Campaign

Cyber Campaign, is just like military campaign. Cyber Campaign is when a cyber force conducts a series of planned and coordinated cyber attacks.

This page was very shortcoming with information. I notice the section “See Also” at the button of the page.  The term Cyber Warfare was listed.  *CLICK*

Wikipedia: Cyber Warfare

Once again, I found another page which noted and defined all the possible forms of cyber warfare attacks. Yesterday, in Criminology class we discussed cyber crime and terrorism, so I was familiar with all of the terms. They also talked about motivations for the attacks and examples of cyber warfare attacks on different countries.

One thing that struck out as interesting to me was the section “Controversy over Terms.” Many believe that the term Cyber Warfare is inaccurate. Many state that cyber war will never take place due to the fact one single event cannot constitute a war on its on and if in the case of many offenses between two or more countries, there will be no winner.

To get more specific information, I decided to click on Cyber Warfare in the United States, the main article. *CLICK*

Wikipedia: Cyber Warfare (main article)

In this article, I found out that it was announced, in September 2012, that cyber attacks may constitute as a use of force and are subject to rules of war. In 2013, DOD stated that nuclear weapons could be used in response to a cyber attack. So I concluded from the last article I read, the Cyber Warfare is a term that is accurate.

I also read about the US Cyber Command sections and I wanted to find out more about the whole operation. So *CLICK*

Wikipedia: United States Cyber Command

My Professor had emailed my class an article on US Cyber Command earlier this week. I found wikipedia page very interesting.

Cyber command mission statement states “USCYBERCOM plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.””

Since US Cyber Command is a new operation lifted in 2010, there are many concerns and criticism. Cyber Command has many service components in other military branches (Army, Marines, etc) that will provide joint services to Cyber Command. Individuals believe that Army, Navy, and Airforce have very different existing culture that can cause tension with Cyber Command. Recommendations conclude that Cyber Command should be made into a creation of new Military branch entirely.

Also, someone listed on concern has the balance of privacy vs. protection. They didn’t go until much detail but that is a subject matter that I would love to write about. Like I stated above, is government intervention absolutely necessary for the protection of its citizens.

*Dead End*

Yes, I reached a dead end. No links had peaked interest or were on anything I wanted to discuss. It was mainly on the formation of US Cyber Command.


So my computer directed me to the previous page and thought a page on Cyber Crime would be a good place to start over.

Wikipedia: Cyber Crime

This page was basically everything I knew and everything I had just read, wrapped in one. So I decided to pursue another subject. *CLICK*

Wikipedia: Cyberterrorist

What interested me on this page was the concerns of cyber-terrorist. I read that dependence on the internet and technology in general is creating a platform for cyber terror. Computers are being assigned more responsibility while become more and more complex and interdependent systems. Cyber terrorist are a  threat to economy and could lead to similar times like The Great Depression. Why cyber terrorism has become so popular? The same as cyber crime. You gain anonymity and target a wide range of people.

Some of the concerns of cyber terrorist reminded me of some of mine and my peers post. Its funny how dependence of the internet and giving computer the ability to become more interdependent can create us to vulnerable to be victimize whether domestically or internationally. The internet has really cause the world to become smaller.

I didn’t have a lot of options for a new to link click. So I decided to research how the internet created a new form of terrorism. *CLICK*

Wikipedia: Internet & Terrorism

Of course, internet has led to new creation of new form of crimes. In this article they summarize the new possibility of cyber terrorism. They cover a little bit about the formation of the USA Patriot Act which I originally wanted to write about. Then they go on to discuss other ways terrorist takes advantage of the internet (many are obvious). Terrorists uses the interest to publicize, find information fund-raise, to recruit and network, to gain supporters, and to incite fear.

This page literally had no links. so…
*Dead End*

That was the conclusion of my women-computer symbiosis experience (for now). To reflect, I thought this process would narrow the subject matter, I wanted to write my inquiry project on. But I feel like it expanded it to include things I never consider writing about. I went from a specific topic of on the necessarily government intervention, laws and policies being  place on the internet due to increase laws to me wondering about how the creation and dependence of the internet led us to be more vulnerable. I am now wondering if every invention itself has led to more crime or the creation of new criminal acts. The vehicle led to accidents and pollution, also auto theft.  Cell phones, lead to more car accident (text while driving), possibly the increase amount of patients with brain tumors or breast cancer(I know this is not a crime, but its linked and still bad). Basically, what I am trying to compute is that the internet has led to a number of creation of new crimes, cyber crimes and our dependence has increase our risk of being victimized through these new cyber crimes.

Despite the new ideas and curiosity flowing through my head, I feel like I experience a great women-computer symbiosis. Through the help of my computer, I guided myself through different articles, gaining new information. Though my computer is kind of old, and I had to wait a few moments for pages to load, I believe that we worked well together. The main reason we worked well together, I feel, is because I was in charge of this exploration. If the computer were the one to pick the articles I read, I may not have enjoyed it to much. But I guided us from article to article, the computer just responded to each click I made.


A Mans World?- Nugget #2

J. C. R. Licklider wrote,

“Throughout the period I examined, in short, my “thinking” time was devoted mainly to activities that were essentially clerical or mechanical: searching, calculating, plotting, transforming, determining the logical or dynamic consequences of a set of assumptions or hypotheses, preparing the way for a decision or an insight. Moreover, my choices of what to attempt and what not to attempt were determined to an embarrassingly great extent by considerations of clerical feasibility, not intellectual capability.

The main suggestion conveyed by the findings just described is that the operations that fill most of the time allegedly devoted to technical thinking are operations that can be performed more effectively by machines than by men. Severe problems are posed by the fact that these operations have to be performed upon diverse variables and in unforeseen and continually changing sequences. If those problems can be solved in such a way as to create a symbiotic relation between a man and a fast information-retrieval and data-processing machine, however, it seems evident that the cooperative interaction would greatly improve the thinking process.”

Licklider argued that if man and machine were to form a mutual symbiosis relationship to decision making, by utilizing man’s flexibility and machine’s speed and accuracy, it would limit said “thinking” time and generate great value to the advancement of society. He believed that man and machine should work together versus machine only being used as an extension of man.

In 2012, Shyam Sankar, an data intelligence agent, discussed his thoughts on Licklider’s human-computer cooperation theory on TED. He agreed that human cooperation is only possible if we do not view machines as replacement of man.

data cooperation

Sankar commented that if man and machine wish to maintain a viable relationship, all friction between the two must be eliminated.

My question is, is this possible? Is Licklider theory of man and machine working together, making decisions harmoniously even remotely practical. Like my peer Jeremy, I know we all have been brainwashed by movies such as iRobert and The Terminator. They warn us about giving computers the ability of free will and the ability to make decisions. We can all argue that it is feasible that a super computer could one day rule the world… I know I find it likely.

In this post I am arguing that Man has a hard enough time now cooperating with Man, animals, and even the environment we live in. Should we bring highly logical computers in the mix?

Yes, I see the possibility of us working together, curing cancer, ending world homelessness and hunger, and eliminating the world’s ever increasing debt. All things which are universally wanted. But what about the issues that are controversial?

Can man and machine agree on abortion policies, the politically correct definition of terrorism, or even solve the income tax debacle?

Elisey believes, “computers don’t think, they just do (sorta like instinct), and while that can come in handy, it sometimes it is also a flaw of the computers. So essentially machines will be able to calculate and compute the most logical answer to the questions above, but as emotional humans will we be able to bite our tongue and go along.. I mean their answers are correct, fair, and backed by principle but we as humans are driven by our morals and what we believe to be right.

Katie stated that “by having a computer be able to think through every possible outcome so it can choose the best one defeats the purpose of dealing with your actions”. From the beginning on mankind, we have practice free will and democracy. And I understand that I am getting ahead of myself. Having computers capable of making decision, capable of understanding all situations does not mean that we will lose our ability to chose. But until Man is able to use more than 10% of their brain, computers and machines will be superior (no matter who created them).  

Below is a picture that Justin found which compares the human brain to a super computer created three years ago.

Justin believes, “that allowing computers to aid us in making more calculated and rational decisions could be a very good thing”. And I agree that can be very good thing. But he goes on to say that being less emotional and more logical could be a very good humankind. And I have to disagree. Humans are human because we are emotional creatures. Yes, emotions may prevent communication at times, but it also drives our creativity and passion and allows us to experience joy and happiness.

It will boil down to the rule of balance: the logical mind vs. the emotional heart. Would we accept the rational answer or ignore it? Do we want a better world or our world?

Morgan stated that she “struggle to think of a single example of human/machine symbiosis in fiction that doesn’t end badly”. As a warning, I will add my cliche movie of choice, Eagle Eye.  We all know what happens when the Department of Defense ignored ARIIA’s  advice! I’m just saying, if Licklider saw the movie, he might have hesitated on complaining about an extra hour or two of “thinking” time.

Inquiry Project Week 1: My Instagram Journey

2013 could be defined as the year I went a little bit overboard with social media, particularly instagram.

It started with a break up (rolls eyes). A bad break up… This breakup happen to fall on VCU homecoming weekend, which basically means “Party, Party, lets get drunk, Party”. I was planning on skipping the whole overrated event but instead of sulking in misery, I made the drive back to Richmond. That night I decided to go out with my friends, who were already in the “Party, Party, lets get drunk” mood, but before we made our way to the cab, I took a picture. A very nice picture, I have to say, which showed my freshly pressed out hair, carefully applied makeup, and my hardly worn little black dress. I looked awesome.

I guess now looking back I wanted to prove to the world I was having a great time (the opposite of hurting) so I post the picture on instagram, an account I hardly used at the time.  A minute later, I received about 30 likes, mind you 12 likes after a period a day was a lot to me then. Friend commented on my dress and told me how pretty I looked. People wanted to know where I was heading out to. Instagram, itself, and my followers had made me feel special and made me forget about the pain I felt only earlier that day.

By the end of the night, my phone displayed a great amount of notifications containing likes, comments, and friend requests. I know it sound kind of shallow but I was ecstatic. In this is how I began my journey of going from 200 IG followers to 10,000.

Instagram had become my escape button. It allowed me to avoid my emotions that I should have dealt with right then and there. Some may say the path I chose for the next year was unhealthy, but at the instant, I wasn’t thinking about what was good for me. I was living in the moment. And in that moment I wanted to be happy.

2013 I became obsessed with instagram. I would go on every day. Post annoying good morning and good afternoon pictures. Constantly worrying about if I have more number of followers, then I was following (like the celebrities had). I started going out every weekend, so I would have pictures to post. Spent money I didn’t have, to look like I had money. Strangers were becoming fans. I made my life seem so glamorous that my friends started to follow my trend. Though they didn’t suspected the Symone on instagram was just a gimmick.

The charade itself was getting tiring that I started to pretend to go out. I would just slip on a dress, get pretty, and snap a picture. Before classes, I would ask my roommates to take a pictures of me that gave the appearance I was going to the gym which in reality I hardly worked out. Sarah, a peer of mine, has had some-what similar instagram experiences as me. She wrote in her blog post,”I am an Instagrammer and I am Proud“, more detailed, elaborate, time-consuming stunts that individuals like us go through to maintain an illusion of happy, sometime non-exisiting events on instagram to receive likes.

Now I could go into more detail of the whole year of experiences that instagram gladly provided me . . And trust me it would be a interesting, lesson filled story and could seriously be considered for a  lifetime movie, but I will skip the drama and head to moral of the story.

Is there is no moral to my story? Not really. Before I deleted my instagram account, I never received an epiphany telling me that I need to deal with my overlooked feelings and move on with my life. Recently, instagram has become boring to me. I find myself not having the time to take pictures or even the time to look at other people accounts.

I guess, after 6 months of going cold turkey, I could say I no longer need instagram as my crutch. I feel complete without it. I no longer yearn for the assurance of others. I could say that instagram silently has made me confident. Comfortable in my skin… Which is all true, but I don’t think that’s why I am totally disconnected from instagram. I never loved instagram like other individuals. One of classmates explains why she enjoys instagram in her post. I never felt like that with any type of social media. Another reason why I no longer use instagram is like some of my other peers, I feel that I have outgrown most social networks. I guess a year of taking “good morning” pictures and selfies will do that to you.