Prof Shows How Your Internet Activity Is Being Watched

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.

SCHULMAN | China’s Internet Dilemma

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.

O’BRIEN | The Internet’s Appetite for Confessional Writing

By KATIE O’BRIEN

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.

Diagnosing Cornell's Security Breach

At the present moment, Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) is slightly embarrassed to be dealing with a leak involving the personal records of 45,000 members of the Cornell community. Just slightly. Sadly, the pattern of how this breach happened is a common one seen in similar leaks. Some employee downloads highly sensitive data to an unsecured […]