While news of data leaks and malware attacks seem to be on the upswing, there are forms of web surveillance that reveal just as much data, only they are completely legal and receive much less publicity. On Sept. 5, Cornell’s Department of Computing and Information Science kicked off the first of a series of talks that aims to discuss the importance of technological advancements and the law in exploring surveillance, privacy and bias. Prof. Arvind Narayanan, computer science, Princeton University, was the first speaker of the series and presented his research with a talk entitled “Uncovering Commercial Surveillance on the Web.”
Commercial surveillance involves techniques used by companies to discreetly and legally trace the internet activity of users. Such surveillance is so widespread that it affects anyone who uses the internet, even for basic browsing.
The other week, I found a Facebook picture that was fascinating. I know what you’re thinking — and no, the photo didn’t involve anyone’s crazy weekend. I’m sure there were some crazy photos of some crazy weekends, but this photo was definitely crazier. It was a picture of Facebook — specifically a graph of all the cities connected by Facebook. Tiny dots with lines drawn between them represented the connections between each city.
When browsing through my favorite online publications, I often end up reading stories told in the first person. The Internet is a hotbed for first person writing, be it on social media or through personal essays. This type of writing is often confessional in nature, discussing traumatic experiences or social taboos. I didn’t think much about the implications of this phenomenon, until a Slate article about confessional writing recently went viral, starting a discussion among publications and on social media about whether the nature of confessional writing on the Internet is a positive thing, and about the effect of making these confessions can have on the confessor. In the article, entitled “The First Person Industrial Complex,” Laura Bennett argues that in a digital media landscape where a claim to originality is hard to come by, “first person essays have become the easiest way for editors to stake out some small corner of a news story and assert and on-the-ground primacy … and [they] have also become the easiest way to jolt an increasingly jaded Internet to attention, as the bar for provocation has risen higher and higher.” So while confessional writing has become an important part of Internet culture, Bennett argues that their publication is often reckless and self-serving.
Do you remember when you were filling out forms on the internet and reached the last page, only to see at the bottom that you need to spell out a random, arbitrary word hidden by weird type face and an ungodly amount of scribbles on a small image?
Do you remember the frustration you felt when you pressed submit and you mistyped one letter and the ENTIRE PAGE reset?
Do you remember the rage you felt when you went back to the image, only to have a new one pop up?
As students find themselves in the midst of pre-enroll season, a new competitor to the popular course-scheduling website Schedulizer.com has cropped up.
This past fall, two undergraduates at Cornell, T.P. Wong ’10 and Yoni Medoff ’11, met to discuss the possibility of creating a new, user-friendly interface to help students prepare course schedules more easily. Just a few months later, on March 30th, Chequerd.com was launched to the public and is already creating buzz on campus.
The seeds of Chequerd.com were planted as the University struggled to keep its relationship friendly with the most popular course scheduling website on campus, Schedulizer.com.
Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox. Ring any bells? Well, they should. Odds are, you’re probably using one right now. That’s right, these are web browsers, designed so we can exploit the Internet for whatever it may offer us; be it scientific articles for research or pterodactyl porn for… something.
Without question, every Internet user has felt the frustration that arises when searching among thousands of websites for specific information. Online social bookmarking, which looks to ameliorate this fact-finding process, has now decided to venture into the field of higher education.
While customary online bookmarking is the process of saving to your computer addresses of websites one would like to revisit in the future, social bookmarking allows one to save the links to web pages on a social bookmarking website. The website then organizes the links chronologically and places them under specific categories with tags that describe it. In addition, the bookmarks can either be open to the public, shared with groups of the user’s choice or saved for the user’s personal viewing.