How Google works

When we talk about Google, we mainly think of its powerful capacity at giving answers to research questions. Without Google’s search engine, it would be practically impossible to find the information that we need when we browse the web. Google uses its private programming code to generate search results. The only thing it shares are general facts about its programming or algorithm. But the specifics of Google Company are secrets. This helps Google at remaining competitive with other search engines on the web and reduces the chance of someone finding out how to abuse the system

Google like most search engines, uses automated programs called Spiders or Crawlers. Google also has a large index of keywords where words can be found. What sets Google apart is how it ranks search results, which in turn determines the order in which Google displays results on its results’ pages. Google also uses a trademarked algorithm called PageRank, which assigns each Web page a relevancy score because people create new Web pages every day, and not all of them stick around for long. Then, Google places more value on pages with an established history. Google looks at how many Web pages link to a particular site to determine its relevance. Also, if the keyword only appears once within the body of a page, it will receive a low score for that keyword.

Source: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/basics/google1.htm

The importance of a Digital Identity

Each of us has a file describing our physical identity. These files contain information on our ID cards, Driver’s licenses, Passport, Green Card, Social Security card and so on. Then, what about our digital identity and its importance? Digital identity is our online identity. In other words, digital identity is a set of attributes or credential that allow a third party to assess and verify the authenticity of our online identity.

So that we can be allowed, for example, to make an online payment, enter or visit a certain website. There are many ways in which we can have a digital identity such as by creating an email account, Facebook account, Google account and other social media logins.

In government as in business, knowing who you’re dealing with is essential when using any form of electronic communications. Many Businesses companies need our identity assurance for commercial enterprises such as online banking and trading, e-Commerce, or digital form signing. Those who have a strong identity online are more visible in the search engines. This will tell consumers what kind of business they have and would help the business man at being more successful. At the same time,

the government role is to protect our nation, protect its people by using digital encryption to protect documents from getting opened by anyone.

Digital identity has become important mainly because of rising online criminal activity. That is why Companies’ owners want to know about consumers in order to minimize the risk of fraud. Also because they want to be in a position to sell more relevant goods and services. On the other side, consumers want to be assured that the seller they’re working with is legitimate and reliable and not someone fishing for data to exploit.

 

 

http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/digital-identity-what-it-is-why-it-matters-and-the-impact-it-will-have/

An expansion of social networks

I still remember that, between the year of 2004 and 2011, in Cameroon, the country I grew up in, many people owned a cell phone. Not to be on social media, but just to exchange by calling each other, to check on each other, and to share information concerning family and friends. It is true that Internet at that period wasn’t that important and didn’t attract people’s attention like it does now. Consequently, social media didn’t have a huge impact in Cameroon. Only a few people were interested in knowing what new technologies were about? What was going on in the rest of the world? It seemed like people were only satisfied with the televised news from their locality.

 

For those who wanted to be more informed about what was happening in the rest of the world, or for students with homework requiring researches, they had to go in the Internet public store called ‘’Cyber Café ’’ to learn about news, culture, politics, technology, society, lifestyle, fashion, science…

 

When Facebook started being popular for Cameroonians in 2012, especially for teenagers and young adults, the number of people using the Internet each day started to grow quickly. Facebook had been adopted rapidly because it fulfills a basic human desire that is to connect with family and friends. Also, on Facebook, news can spread easily. Thus, more vulnerable people to popular beliefs can be greatly affected by whatever information they see online. Facebook has become the first social media judged as reliable by many to get information. In one generation, we went from barely knowing what social media is 3/4 of population being connected every day.

Inspire: from Twitter and Tear Gas, Chapter 1, A Networked Public

Media Consumption

I spent one day noting down anytime I checked any of my social media accounts. Then, I figure out that I switched from one device to another one until night time. I notice that I relied on social media way more than I thought I did. I also figured out that the second thing I did every morning after praying was to check my phone and verified if I received any message or missed calls during the night. I would then check my school email, take my breakfast in front of the TV. I spent most of my time watching TV and not enough time reading. Social media is supposed to help us get informed, stay in touch with others and be entertained. However, the only advice that I can give to others is controlled their social media consumption and to not let it control them.

Social Media Creation

WhatsApp is the social media I use the most to exchange with others. I usually share pictures (my personal pictures, family, and friends’ pictures), messages and video (for fun, or to encourage people to be strong in their faith). For the past two days, I didn’t message anyone on WhatsApp and I wrote down anything I wanted to post. Now, when I look back, some of the messages were meaningless and didn’t need to be shared.  On the other side, I still wanted to post one of the preaching videos because it was still very important for me. The fact that I wrote them down didn’t change the nature of my post. This activity revealed to me that it is important to take some days off to examine what we are planning to post before posting in the future.

Representation

After researching the terms: teacher, professor, doctor, nurse, baby, teenager

and criminal on Google image; I made a striking but yet not shocking

discovery. Surprisingly enough, the images that I found for each term tied back

to the common “definition” of each term. The definition, in this case, refers to

the assumptions widely made in regard of each term. For example, the results

that I got for the word doctor mostly represented male figures when, however,

the word nurse seemed to be mostly associated to women. The sexist

tendencies, that have been going on for centuries and considering men as

better fitted for higher paying jobs, lead me to considered those results as

somewhat biased and not that surprising at all. Alongside to sexism, it seems

like most of the results found for each term lacked in people of minorities. Are

those beautiful white babies with hazel/blue eyes supposed to represent all a

term as broad as baby could refer too? According to Google image, maybe…

Also, it amazed me how most of the results seemed chosen to only show a

dreamy side of the term rather than reality. Sure, teachers smiling with thumbs

up are great! On the other side, seeing them in an actual classroom would be

even greater. It makes the results less meaningful since they only seem to

show ideal situations. It would probably require the research terms to be more

precise than just teacher, professor, doctor, nurse, baby, teenager or criminal.

I researched other terms like engineer and pilot and the results confirmed my

predictions. The image were predominantly filled with white male character.

Those two profession require great intelligence and strength; something that

for a long time women were denied to be able to own.

Epilogue and Afterword

According to the author Cory Doctorow on his book Institute Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, historically, the Arts have been on the side of free speech and privacy. However, we see some laws that compromise these freedoms by threaten art itself. In the arts, people says “ I hate what you’ve created, but I will defend to the death your right to create it ”. So, artists and audiences as community pulled together to defend free expression, even for works they didn’t like very much, or even for the works they detested. That is why Creators and investors have long fought against book- banning, censorship, surveillance, the restrictions on creative and intellectual expression.

Edward Snowden taught us that the Internet could be harnessed and turned into an intrusive and terrifying surveillance mechanism. So, we all have a duty to stop arguing about whether the Internet is good or bad for us and our particular corner of the world, to figure out how to make the Internet into a force for helping people work and live together, with the privacy, self-determination, and freedom from interference and control that are the hallmarks of a just society. Whatever challenges the Internet raises for our commercial fortunes, we must not sacrifice our free speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of association in order to improve our own bottom lines. Doctorow models what he preaches, and by the way, according to him, offering his books for free on his website actually increases sales. He’s creating quality products and hustling, and he’s not just a writer, but a speaker and a performer. Cory Doctorow says that Computers and networks have closer to solving our coordination problems than nearly any technology before them. Because of today, we get all that coordinative effort gratis. It’s so easy that we don’t even notice it. All technology to coordinate people for positive change has gone from the rolling log to the supercharged. The fear is that we are social and sociable creatures, and our networked devices keep our friends and loved ones at our fingertips all the time. Because those devices accumulate a record of all our thoughts, deeds, journeys, and relationships. But it is also a hope for people who want the world with more self-determination, more freedom, more accomplishment, and less crushing boredom and control. And also because those without power have always lacked the ability to cheaply organize themselves.

Finally, Cory Doctorow has given us a tool for evaluating all those offers like:  if you’re a creator, don’t let your publishers use your copyright as an excuse for rules that let it corner the market on delivering your art to your audience. And no matter who you are, remember that this internet thing is bigger than the arts, bigger than the entertainment business. It’s the nervous system of the twenty-first century, and, depending on how we use it, it can set us free, or it can slave us.

Source: Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, Laws for the internet Age, EPILOGUE

Internet Protocol

The Internet Protocol also call an IP, is one of the system protocol by which

data is sent from one computer to another computer on the Internet. As the

Internet and technology evolve, there has been an increasing demand for IP

addresses. Each computer is known as a host on the Internet. And each

computer has at least one IP address (example: 129.41.38.1 which is an

example of an IPv4 address, commonly use) that uniquely identifies it from all

other computers on the Internet. The good news is that we don’t have to know

anything about what our computer IP means in order to use network devices.

For example, our laptop and phone use IP addresses, but we don’t have to deal

with the technical side in order to make them work.

 

However, it is also good to learn how the technical side of our computer work,

how for example two devices (Laptop, Cell Phone, Desktop, TV, Radio…) can

communicate through a networking system(cabling, hub, bridge, switch,

router, WiFi).

              The main purpose and task of IP is the delivery of datagrams from the

source host to the destination host based on their addresses. To achieve this,

IP includes methods and structures for putting tags within datagrams. To

better understand this, let us think of an analogue with the postal system. IP is

similar to the U.S. Postal System in that it allows a package (a datagram) to be

addressed (encapsulation) and put into the system (the Internet) by the sender

(source host). However, there is no direct link between sender and receiver.

Routing is one of the main functions of the IP protocol. And it consists of

forwarding IP packets from source to destination machines over a network,

based on their IP addresses.

 

An IP is just one type of protocols the Internet and networks use to

communicate. There are dozens of other protocols that are also used for

communication between other programs and devices (SMTP, HTTP, Telnet,

NetBEUI, FTP, SSH, TCP, UDP, IMAP, Apple Talk, ICMP…). For example, SMTP

(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is a protocol used to send e-mail from one

computer to another computer. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) provides a

method for copying files over a network from one computer to another. It is an

old protocol and is used less than it was before the World Wide Web came

along. Today, it is primary use is uploading files to a Web site.

References:

https://www.techopedia.com/definition/5366/internet-protocol-ip

http://vlaurie.com/computers2/Articles/protocol.htm

 

Social Media and its impacts on our society

The fast development of mobile technology has played a key role in shaping the impact of social media, particularly due to the speed and scale at which it’s used to interact and share information. According to the 2015 KPCB Internet Trends report, the use of mobile phones for accessing digital media is higher than the use of computers and laptops. The statistic shows that North America has the highest social network penetration rate in the world. In the United States, 81 percent of the population had a social media profile. This means that there were around 207 million social network users in the country in 2016. Young adults were among the earliest social media adopters and continue to use these social media at high levels, but usage by older adults has also increased.
Facebook is the most widely used one amongst the major social media platforms, and its user base is most broadly representative of the population as a whole. Smaller shares of Americans use sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.
There are so many reasons why people use social media: to seek out information and interact with others; to learn about new products; to increase teacher-student communication; to the increase in long-distance online learning ; to support a cause or issues they feel strongly about; to participate and feel involved in things happening in the world; to interact, grow, get a sense of fulfillment, nurture relationships and stay in touch with others; uses social sharing to build image and demonstrate who they are and what they stand for. Teenagers constantly use platforms social media to spread rumors, share videos aimed at destroying a reputation and to blackmail others. Without social media; social, ethical, environmental and political ills would have minimal visibility. Increased visibility of issues has shifted the balance of power from the hands of a few to the masses. For example, professional social networks such as LinkedIn are important platforms for anyone looking for a way to stand out and get noticed in any profession.
However, Antagonists of social media activism argue that social sharing has encouraged people to use computers and mobile phones to express their concerns on societal issues without actually having to engage actively with campaigns in real life. Stalking, identity theft, personal attacks, misuse of information are some of the threats social media users face. Most of the times, the users themselves are to blame as they end up sharing content that should not be put in the public eye. There’s also an element of ignorance involved arising from a lack of understanding of what private and public profiles are supposed to do. Unfortunately, by the time private content is deleted, it’s usually a little too late and can cause problems in people’s personal and professional lives.

Source: Survey conducted March 7-April 4, 2016.

https://www.simplilearn.com/real-impact-social-media-article

Identification and Disinformation on social media

Disinformation is false information that is intended to make people believe something that is not true.  There are computers programs, which are set up by a human user, that works automatically everywhere. They are also called Bots. And they can especially find information for people on the internet. Social media make people believe that this information that came from those computers programs are real people, and then participate in the spread of disinformation. However, anyone can detect the signs of those computers programs, and resist the spread of disinformation online. It also has two others categories of high-volume accounts: Sockpuppets and trolls.

A Sockpuppets account is created by one individual in order to appear like the account is controlled by a second, distinct individual. The second individual may be a real person or an invented persona that simply masks the identity of the account creator. The difference between a sockpuppet from a bot is that Sockpuppets are at least partially controlled by a human who tweets different content from each one, or more often, retweets the same content from all of them. Where bots are fully automated via code. On the other hand, Trolls accounts are more vulnerable than Sockpuppets.  Most of the disinformation account are traits, which are most dangerous.

One of the primary ways to determine that an account is not manually controlled by a human is that it never sleeps. Such an account could be partially automated. The retweet Bot is one of the most common types of Bots. Retweet bots account is programmed to automatically retweet content that comes from a certain particular account or content that contains certain keywords. Retweet bots can function to amplify, normalize, and mainstream disinformation. Many bots and Sockpuppets are examples of what we call catfishing, they use of a false, often stolen, persona for dishonorable purposes. Many of the disinformation accounts had a picture of a real person as their profile image. Some of the bots and Sockpuppets have been created recently for a recent campaign. Those news accounts are very common in disinformation and harassment campaigns.

Bots and Sockpuppets often work in coordination with other bots and Sockpuppets. For example, the same content can be shared by multiple accounts, simultaneously or over a period of time. Some analysts prove that in the lead up to the French election, they noticed a more subtle form of coordination, one that is more readily seen on the large scale via statistical analysis. The accounts that had the highest overall volume of tweets related to the French election had a significantly different timing profile than Twitter as a whole.

Twitter like another platform, facilitates the spread of disinformation, coordinates of online  harassment and abuse campaign. Twitter collect a range of information about people automatically. Like people username, password, phone number, and an email address for every account. Twitter also know the IP address that somebody used to create the account, the basic information used to create the account, the time the account was created.