Thursday, December 7, 2017

Who Controls the Network? Not-so-Neutral Net.

This week’s question is the “Internet: Who controls the network?” My case study focused on the importance of Net Neutrality in terms of Internet control and how it regulates large Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, and prevents them from discriminating against any and all types of data that are currently open and free to any user with Internet access.

I explored the newest proposed reform that would dismiss Net Neutrality, transferring control over the Internet from the government to ISPs. This was done by comparing the current Net Neutrality reform to the proposed reform, “Restoring Internet Freedom,” and looking into three claims of FCC chairman Ajit Pai. I also gave an example of how ISPs currently violate Net Neutrality by looking into a recent incident involving Verizon’s data capping of Netflix and several other applications.

Taking a deeper look into this issue has made me aware of the importance of keeping the Internet a free and open space. I posed the question of “How will video streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu?” to my classmates in order understand others’ thoughts on Net Neutrality. I found that although most people advocate for Net Neutrality, some were willing to pay more than what they currently were for services they use often if it meant faster speeds. After looking into the new reform and several case studies of how ISPs have violated net neutrality, I do not want to take the chance of net neutrality going away!


Brandom, R. (2017, July 21). Verizon admits to throttling video in apparent violation of net neutrality.

Kang, C. (2017, November 21). F.C.C. Announces Plan to Repeal Net Neutrality.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Who Controls the Network? Privacy and the Internet.

This week’s discussion question asked who controls the network. In my presentation, I claimed that while a great many people control the network, users actually have a large part in controlling what kind of information is out there in cyberspace.

The latter half of my presentation focused more on the government side of the network, particularly the NSA and their interests in collecting information from both domestic and foreign sources. As a result of this data collection, citizens have begun to be more careful about their internet habits and information that they release. This, in a way, is how the NSA controls the network. This was made known to the world by a political whistleblower by the name of Edward Snowden, who exposed the looming powers of the NSA as well as openly declares doctrines like the Patriot Act to be harmful the American common good.

My final point of my presentation was that since we, as internet users, dictate what sort of information about ourselves is “out there” on the internet, we possess the capability to control the network as well as the information that agencies like the NSA have access to. So be careful what you put on the internet, because once it’s out there, it’s ALWAYS out there.

These are the sources I used in my presentation, and I would encourage everyone to check them out:

Silverman, J. (2017). Privacy under Surveillance Capitalism. Social Research, 84(1), 147.

Minkkinen, M., Auffermann, B., & Heinonen, S. (2017). Framing the future of privacy: citizens' metaphors for privacy in the coming digital society. European Journal Of Futures Research, 5(1), 1-13. doi:10.1007/s40309-017-0115-7

Nolan, C. (2017). The Edward Snowden Case and the Morality of Secrecy. Catholic Social Science Review, 22291-310.

Who Controls the Network? Google and the Issue of Privacy

Being one of the top three companies in the world according to Interbrand's Annual Report, Google is   one of the internet organizations who "controls" the network so to speak. Google has faced heavy scrutiny for not protecting user's privacy as they should. That being said, it is possible for users to take an active part in protecting their privacy by changing privacy settings on their accounts, especially if they feel that they do not want to share information with anyone besides themselves. The case study presented in class looked into a specific case known as "United States vs. Google", a case in which the FTC filed against Google for violating user privacy on Google's social network Buzz as well as on Apple's Safari. The FTC eventually won the case which is said to be the largest they've won in history. Google has also been under fire for suspected ties with the NSA and allegedly spying using student apps (Google Apps for Education), but so far no lawsuits have been brought up on either issue.
Google is a for-profit organization, and while it is important for them to ensure user privacy, taking extra steps where necessary, they are also a company who focuses on profits and a lot of those profits comes from advertisers with tailored ads directed towards specific subgroups that Google finds for them.
The important takeaway from this message is that there is a way to ensure your individual privacy by changing personal privacy settings available through Google, but also to enjoy the many quality services Google has worked hard to provide their users, keeping them in top-tier status and thus one of the many "controllers" of the network.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Socialization of the iPhone and App Store

In a society that requires “On-Demand” technology, it is crucial to have access to content immediately. On-Demand technology is anything created to have ease of access while also having and providing content as close as possible to the event or topic it is covering or fulfilling. The App store along with the the development of the iPhone a mobile Smartphone created a whole new On-Demand economy. The App store allowed for the development of mobile banking apps, social media apps, gaming apps, music streaming apps, as well as apps for viewing real-time stocks. This development has had huge implications for the business world, forcing banks and business to develop apps in-order to compete with the rest of their market. This includes banks like Chase all the way down to smaller competitors like Texas Bank & Trust. This on demand system has created a system in which consumers expect companies to provide a means of access to some sort of Application. This has also created an independent economy where in 2016 app developments made a astounding $50 Billion. The App store also conveniently places these applications in 24 different categories based on what the app developers believe the niche their app fulfills. These categories include but are limited to gaming, entertainment, and news. In conclusion, the socialization and popularity of the iPhone along with its partnership with the App Store has created a entirely new industry, that is entirely rooted in On-Demand technology.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Android's War Against Society's Preference: What social/economic forces shape communication infrastructure?

What social/economic forces shape communication infrastructure?

In my case study, I wanted to look at the now well-known divide between Android products and the ever-so popular Apple platform. In my research I was able to look at how the opinions are driven on which product has the best camera, or the newest feature update and so on. It was interesting to look back and see the progress of cell phones since they have been available to the public, and even the major changes that have taken place in my lifetime. The ongoing battle of who is in charge of the industry has a lot to do with the community that has supported the two for years. Apple has what feels like a massive lead here in the United States because it was a trend that stuck with people over time, but overall Android OS (Operating Systems) are massively popular since there is much more accessibility through that OS compared to Apple's iOS. To me there is no way that I can say one type of phone is superior over the other since I have never had an Android, but from the resources I found and feedback that I got, there are plenty of Android users that have stuck to what they find comfortable and what they want to stay loyal to. The fact that this industry is even relevant is a huge factor in the question of the week. Everyone can have an opinion on this topic. Even if they don't have the proper means to call one out over the other, they can still give their opinion on the device they have.