The internet of things – Having your house connected to the internet

The term Internet of Things (iot) was coined in 1999 at the MIT Media Lab and it simply means physical objects that are connected to the internet. The more in depth definition of IOT is that it is the network of physical objects that is embedded with electronics or software that enables the object to collect and exchange data. Its aim – to improve efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit. Teodor Mitew in his video series explains the concept of IOT further if you are interested in an in depth look at the concept.

My understanding of the Internet of Things is that due to the ever increasing work done by Apple, Google and even Samsung everyday items are becoming more and more advanced. Take for example your fridge can now come with built in phones so that you can dial your family whilst cooking. Essentially all the appliances in your house can be connected to each other and the internet and you would not have to ‘command’ any of them. Seems like a good idea right?

The downside of having your whole house connected to the internet is the same as having your laptop connected to the internet. Viruses and hackers would now be able to control your whole house and not just your computer.

Is having your whole house connected worth the risk of having it infected?


Reference List:

Bleecker, J 2006, Why Things Matter: A manifesto for networked objects – cohabiting with pigeons, arphids and aibos in the internet of things, accessed 23rd October 2015, –

Mitew, T 2014, Do objects dream of an internet of things?, The Fibreculture Journal, issue 23 2014, accessed 23rd October 2015,…things/


Dark Hacktivism and LulzSec

Continuing on with my previous blog posts about the topic of Hacktivism, in 2011 a dark hacktivist group calling themselves ‘LulzSec’ were formed from private online chat rooms and from the Anonymous forum. The name LulzSec was derived from ‘lulz’ meaning laughs and ‘sec’ meaning security this essentially meant that LulzSec would hack into secure companies, expose their security flaws and share their data. Throughout their short time LulzSec managed to hack major companies including, Nintendo, PBS, Sony PlayStation Network and Bethesda Studios. LulzSec was eventually arrested after front runner ‘Sabu’ acted as an informant for the FBI.

However despite their hacking LulzSec are considered very small sale hackers when compared with hackers such as Michael Calce, Edward SnowdenJonathan James and Kevin Mitnick, LulzSec’s action were relatively harmless and didn’t result in government secrets being leaked or mass credit cards being stolen.

Take a look at this Prezi which delves further into Calce, Snowden, James and Mitnick and their hacking exploits

NB: If you are worried about being attacked online give this article by Jeff Goldman a read.

Reference List:

Arthur C 2013, ‘LulzSec: what they did, who they were and how they were caught,’, accessed 12th October 2015,

Hacktivism and Anonymous

This week follows on from my previous post about Clicktivism, Slacktivism and Activism. Whilst online activism is still a highly debate topic as to whether or not it promotes chance the stigma around it is largely positive. This week I will be looking at the more negatively portrayed Hacktivism.

According to Techopedia (2015) “Hacktivism is the act of hacking a website or computer network in an effort to convey a social or political message”. This act is closely likened to a hacker who intends to steal private information or cause harm however it is on a much larger scale and aims to disruptive activities or highlight political or social causes (Techopedia 2015).

For the purpose of this blog I will be focusing on the largest and most well-known Hacktivist group ‘Anonymous’.  Anonymous are a loosely organised group of young computer experts once focused just on Internet freedom, but have since turned to more menacing attacks, including not only paralysing websites but breaking in to steal data (Bryan-Low 2011). They have divided their efforts into numerous campaigns including; ISIS, the Klu Klux Klan, Sarah Palin and even the United State Government (Occupy Wall Street).

For further information on Anonymous refer to this Prezi:

Reference List:

Brown, M 2013, ‘The Ideology of Hacking’, Computer Weekly, July, accessed 7th October 2015,

Bryan-Low, C. & Gorman, S. 2011, ‘Inside the Anonymous Army of ‘Hacktivist’ Attackers’, Wall Street Journal, New York, accessed 6th October 2015,

Techopedia 2015, Hacktivism, accessed 6th October

Social Network Revolutions – Activism, Clicktivism or Slacktivism?

With social media being so popular especially for raising grass roots campaigns and attracting attention to issues the rise of online activism which can be referred to as clicktivism has divided the public.

According to Janssen (2010) clicktivism is a controversial form of digital activism. Supporters believe that applying advertising principles such as A/B testing increases the impact of a message by leveraging the Internet to further its reach. Opponents believe that clicktivism reduces activism to a mere mouse-click, yielding numbers with little or no real engagement or commitment to the cause (Janssen 2010 pg. 1).

By using social media, clicktivism has turned activism into a highly disseminated nature. Social media allowed activism to access the global market instantly and therefore accelerated support for grassroots campaigns displaying clicktivism’s true power. Opponents of clicktivism have criticised the apparently lack of cohesion, the lack of a clear goal and the legitimacy of online campaigns and have thus dubbed clicktivism as ‘slacktivism’ believing that online activism is “virtual” protesting. Their criticism is met with rebuttal from clicktivism supports that state that online petitioning has allowed for a more connected, global and interactive experience.

The divided opinion cause great debate especially in regards to how effective online activism is. Kony 2012, Bring Back our Girls, Kickstarter campaigns and the Arab Spring are all examples of different cases where online activism is either criticised or praised.

To conclude the question is whether online activism or clicktivism actually causes physical change or does the online nature just raises awareness?

This Prezi goes into further detail about the Activism, Clicktivism and Slacktivism debate.

Reference List:

Janssen C. ‘Technopedia explains Clicktivism’, Technopedia, accessed 2nd June 2015,

Morozov, E 2011, Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go,The Guardian, Posted 8th March, accessed 23rd September 2015,

Popova, M 2010, Malcolm Gladwell Is #Wrong, Change Observer, posted 10th June 2010, accessed 23rd September 2015,

The rise of Gatewatchers

As technology advances and the web 2.0 continues to dominate there has been a change in the journalistic industry. According to Bruns (2009) traditional media entities; print, television and radio are in decline both financially and in terms of audience. Traditional media is being replaced with alternative options such as daily news shows, blogs and social media (Bruns 2009). Whilst there is a negative stigma associated with these alternative media sources they are employing journalists which results in the public being the same if not more informed than traditional print audiences (Bruns 2009).

This shift from traditional media sources towards alternative media is also highlighted as a shift away from Gatekeeping and towards Gatewatching. Gatekeeping is essentially traditional media filtering the news so they only cover important, interesting and relevant sources for their audiences (Bruns 2009).

However! This gatekeeping presents a form of bias as the editor picks and chooses what information is important to them and their company not necessarily the entirety of their audience. This has resulted in a shift to Gatewatching which is where audiences play a more active role in the content and can access their information from a diverse range of sources with different viewpoints. The audiences can also bring useful and relevant sources to the editors and authors attention.

This argument relates back to several cases such as The Arab Spring and the theory of traditional media vs the blogosphere.


Reference List:

Bruns, A 2009, News Blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions for e-Journalism , Queensland University of Technology, accesed 15th September 2015,

Android and Apple

When discussing smart phones it is clear that two brands stand out: Apple and Android. Despite the phone having similar designs and specifics the is a major force that divides the two.

Apple is a closed platform with the iOS operating system keeping everything neat and tidy while allowing Apple to control all aspect of their product. In relation to last week’s lecture Apple is a perfect example of a ‘Walled Garden’ company controlling apps, updates and software changes allowing the user no control. Android is the opposite of Apple as they are an open sourced platform where the only limiting factor is user ability. Android allow any user to modify the software in fact they encourage user modification as it helps the company to smooth out any tweaks. The decision for consumers comes down to preference, budget and technology skills.

The following infograph compares Apple and Android.

Untitled Infographic

Reference List:

Jobs, S 2007, Steve Jobs iPhone 2007 Presentation (Full HD), online video,Apple, accessed 7th September 2015,

Zitrain, J 2010, A fight over freedom at Apple’s core, Financial Times, February 3rd , accessed 7th September 2015,

iFeudalism and Stacks

With major companies controlling the internet today there has been a shift away from cyber libertarian views of the internet to Walled Gardens which is essentially an increase in surveillance, control and censorship. The rise of popular social media sites such as facebook, twitter, myspace and Google+ has allowed a social element to become attached to the Walled Garden approach.

Within these walled garden companies can then create specifically tailored walls called Stacks. Stacks are referred to as vertically integrated walled gardens which need a proprietary operating system to run for example Facebook. Users then interact within facebook whilst they are monitored by the central network. These stacks restrict what you can and can’t do on their system. Apple another major brand uses its stack to control their devices. If you try and change an iPhone without Apple’s permission they shut your phone down and it becomes unusable.

SO! Why does it matter that companies are controlling your online usage? Well companies are taking away your right to freedom online.

facebook y u contorl me - DIGC

Reference List:

Mitew, T, 2014, The Feudalisation of the Internet [part 5], University of Wollongong, 1st September, accessed 30th October 2015,

Tofel, K 2014, Lawyers say iPods deleted songs not purchased from Apple,, accessed 3rd September 2015,

2014, Apple copyright case could cost Samsung $2bn, The Week, 31st March, accessed 3rd September 2015,