Occupy Wall Street: We are the 99 percent

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The day was eventful, and not only because it was our last formal lecture, although it must be noted that I did have a great time in #COMM506, learned a lot, I digress, and will save that for another blog post.

The ideas and concepts covered in the classroom today entailed topics that are a part of mainstream media; at least they have become a part of the mainstream. As the title of this blog suggests, we looked at movements through technology that reinforce resistance, which built upon the theories and themes we discussed and analyzed in the last class.

It is important to note that resistance through technology can take on many different shapes and forms, for example, political issues, health issues or local road construction problems; these resistances can be large or small in nature and cover a wide range of topics. What makes them unique in today’s global society is that they can gain significant backing from countless individuals throughout the world. This is mainly the result of the internet and the ability to use platforms such as Twitter, to mobilize and reach a larger audience, so even a small issue can be significant to those interested.

For this post we will look specifically at Occupy Wall Street movement. We all know what #OccupyWallStreet is, but what did they do, and why?

Let’s begin,

Economic disenfranchisement has led people to questioning current systems and forced them to act through social media, the easiest way to express oneself to a large audience base in our current digital world. These platforms empower people by showing them they are qualified and do not need elected officials to conduct democracy, in order for their voices to be heard. They themselves are able to achieve their own ends. Even if a person does not agree with the results, they will feel that they are a part of the process, which is enough for most people.

It is important to remember, we live in a democracy and yet work in a dictatorship, we may have the democratic impulse, but do not know how to conduct it when we have only known oppression. In essence, these new forms of expression allow us to from dyadic relations; how we treat each other will change our world and cultural views. Occupy Wall Street, was one mechanism that allowed the people to practise these ideologies in the real world, to learn and then act on our ideas.

In the words of Patrick Bruener one of the primary coordinators of Occupy New York iterated, our future has been stolen, he described this movement not as a protest, but a platform to start new discussions, a real shift from the ordinary to get people thinking in a new direction. Social movements, they are no longer copyrights of how groups should function, instead they have become a model to be adapted and remixed to their own particular situation, in this way Occupy became its own Meme.

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Networked Resistance, Fighting Back!!

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When is it time to say, enough is enough, how long can censorship be tolerated by the masses in regards to freedom of information. Many have responded to this challenge by fighting back against mainstream authoritative bodies through the internet.

The fundamental philosophy of these resistance groups is to expedite the right of the citizen to access information, by placing the control back in the hands of the people, and letting them choose their content. Countless individuals through ad-hoc groups or established organizations have responded by saying the statuesque is not acceptable.

One of the biggest proponents of this philosophy has been the Hacktivist group known as Anonymous. This group is comprised of hackers who came together to challenge the right of WikiLeaks to post their acquired information to the world without resistance from oppressive authoritative bodies. In particular, this group believed that information disseminated by WikiLeaks was not a detriment to world safety, as some government agencies declared, but essential information that all people should have, to inform and educate, and not be left in the hands of privileged elites.

Slavoj Žižek a Slovene philosopher is another individual who is challenging the norm of society. He along with Julian Assange are looking at new ways to inform the general public about the way in which we think about information, and who should be in control of this ocean of wealth.

Final Week!!! Home Stretch, The World is Out to Get You.

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In today’s class we evaluated the social network as a whole, and analyzed those who try to expose us to a world outside of our normal networks. These topics were expanded upon my fellow classmates through their class presentations which looked at Kadushins 10 codas and the law breakers.

Some thought provoking points made in today’s class that I found to be interesting can be found below:
-Hack a novel term that was used to describe people who did things outside of the norm, today it is a term synonymous with hackers, the last people who can go against the government without weapons
-What are the rules of engagement, when is it okay to act in a way that may hurt others but is warranted, or justified?
-Bradley Manning, was his punishment worthy of the crime?
-This brings us to the topic of Lawful Access and Metadata
-Metadata (Subscriber Data): Analyzing the aggregates of our whole, looking at our connections formed between people or the formation of links, and using this data against us

Ten Codas: Below is a rough overview of Kadushin’s 10 Coda, but they are critical to understanding our social networks:
-Interaction and Relatedness: Multiplicity and norms
-Sociograms: Higher level analysis required to understand the significance of our network and our place within it
-Homophily: Process as well as an outcome, propinquity; is this a good thing or bad? Like minded people stick together, this can also breed hate and misunderstandings, because of the lack of information, and it is a balancing act
-Triads: The true start of our social system
-Motivations: Density, structural holes, bridges, brokers, wanting or motivating people to connect with other people, we must leave our comfort zone to expand our horizons, and are incentives really needed to promote motivation
-Positions: Power, structure, betweenness
-Organizational Authority: Hierarchical, short circuits
-Small World: Six degrees of separation, single star, elites
-Diffusion: The integration of all things into our networks
-Social Capital: The building of our social wealth, taking it to the next level of interaction, being generous

Final thought of the day, I give today’s presentations two OM’s UP

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Where do we go from Here?

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We are all in this together, so why do we still find ways to hurt and belittle one another?

In today’s class we touched on a subject that invokes considerable debate, gender equality and sexism, more specifically the different standards faced by women in certain working environments.

As this is a technology based graduate program I will focus on the tech industry specifically.

An example shared in class during one of the presentation was the story about Adria Richards, whose goal in life is to make technology accessible to everyone; unfortunately it was also technology that caused her an excessive amount of negative public backlash.

Adria sent a tweet along with a picture of some guys at the PYCON conference that made disparaging remarks behind her back, although these remarks were not directed toward her they still violated the code of conduct, and were derogatory in nature. You can go online and check this out for yourself, if you wish.

When Adria posted these comments online through her Twitter account she received harsh criticism from her peers and the tech community at large, which is mostly male, dominated.

So why do people act like this, essentially trying to keep the statuesque of social order, meaning the all boys club, as it relates to the tech industry, a sad reality.

Since this incident Adria has not posted a comment on her Twitter account since March 23, 2013. If you wish to speak-out about this incident or to learn more, you can Google various news articles and papers on this topic. So where do we go from here, this is the great debate, we have made considerable strides in this area, but it seems we still have a long way to go before we reach the finish-line.

Please find below Adria Richards info from her Twitter account:

Adria Richards
@adriarichards
Empowering People Through Technology.
YouTube partner and creator. Coder. TED 2013 attendee.
Snowboarder. Embrace your inner nerd.
San Francisco, CA • http://butyoureagirl.com

More Questions than Answers, Should we be Worried?

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“Lawful Access” legislation is a potential new player regarding Canada’s privacy internet laws. In essence, this new legislation deals with recent technologies that have emerged as a result of the internet. In a broad overview this legislation is designed to implement laws regarding privacy rights that are not covered by current US internet laws. However, these potential new legislations might go beyond simple protection, by enforcing rules that violate our current civil liberties, the question that needs to be asked is, what is the cost for protection, is it worth surrendering all of our other privacy rights, a form of Draconian law.

The paragraph below was taken from the Government of Canada Department of Justice website http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cons/la-al/sum-res/faq.html

“Communications technology keeps changing. How can the law keep pace?”

“Under the current laws, not all telecommunications service providers are required to design intercept capabilities into their networks. When a new technology or communication service is introduced, law enforcement and national security agencies often have to research and develop new methods to gain lawful access to those networks. The lack of a technical solution, or a delay in the ability to use it, hampers investigations and the prevention of serious crimes or threats to national security.”

Should we be worried about big brother or something else completely?

Who watches the watchers, is there a breaking point between the safety of the citizen and their privacy. This is a question that has been posed by many people throughout history. However, what separates this millennium from the past is that our information is now online. We cannot discount or simply unplug our social profiles from the internet; they are always there, available to the highest bidder or those with the most power.

The internet is merging our online content with our offline world, for example, police officers using TALEN in Alberta, a profiling database for ordinary citizens, for example, nice person or bad person, a profile of you before they even meet you, is this right? The behaviour being exhibited by current police agencies regarding online usage by the citizenry is mimicking the behaviour of Spiderman, and his “spidey sense,” meaning acting on a hunch, or a world full of little brothers.

How can we protect our rights, as per our guest lecturer, Christopher Parsons, PhD candidate, at the University of Victoria, he discussed in his presentation that technological resistance is not the answer. Instead the real solution lies in our political process, make a compliant, follow through, know your rights and stand-up for them.

Chap 9 Networks, Influence, Diffusion and Today’s Presentation All-In-One

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Throughout this chapter and again illustrated in today’s presentation, knowledge within the network society is no longer attached to one central location, or isolated to one group or single individual. Instead brokers are connecting one node to another, think old school telephone switch operators, (see pic above).

In essence, we are weaving together the major components of society through these new networks. One way to describe this paradigm shift is called informationism, trying to move society outside of our normal space and time. Knowledge in this new way of thinking is enhanced by technology, to interconnect together all the major components of society.

It must be noted that regardless of the advantage that these new networks may pose, as with any change comes resistance, in every society we will have some innovators and others as laggards. However, there is always a tipping point where the diffusion of technology into the mainstream society becomes so prolific that it cannot be ignored, or stopped.

One last note, awesome presentation, the cinnamon factory, gotta love it, and my cinnamon bun boy.

Cinnamon Bun Boy