There can be no doubt of the whirlwind speed in which new technologies have shaped and changed our lives on both as individuals and as a society, the question remains: are our governing bodies in the physical realm capable of governing our virtual selves?
According to Hua Chen and Lirn Duh, “Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) allows a large number of players to cooperate, compete and interact meaningfully in the online environment” (2011,p145), but when virtual interactions shift into less lawful behaviours, do the same laws that govern us “IRL” apply? As grace-kcb206 states, “a governing and law policy is yet to be established” (2012), which leaves the individual victims of virtual rape and assault in a somewhat powerless position.
There are two very different schools of thought on cyberrape, one being that the act of virtual rape is harmless, as no physical contact is made (Barry, 2009.p20), the second stating the virtual event can have real world ramifications. Sander asserts that “more often than not the experience can potentially serve to alienate victims, driving them out of their virtual communities” (2009,p1). It is the author’s assertion that this debate will continue to rage until there are regulations in place which stem acts of virtual violence.
“Humans, through culture, are the creators of their own destiny, and law and technology are equal partners in this self-creation” (Tranter.2010, p20) and it is this idea of autonomy partnered with issues of legality which need to be addressed. Jordan believes that “The power and paradox of cyberspace is its ability to liberate and dominate simultaneously.” (1999,p2), and until we discern the difference between online freedom and virtual crimes, cyberspace will continue to be a domain dogged by sordid stories and misinformation.
Barry, Maggie. 2009. “Fury over cyber site rape hell”, The Daily Mirror, pp. 20. Accessed 6th May 2012 http://search.proquest.com/docview/340506296?accountid=13380
Dibbell, J. 1998. “A Rape in Cyberspace”, My Tiny Life. Accessed 5th May 2012 http://www.juliandibbell.com/articles/a-rape-in-cyberspace/
Grace-kcb206. 2012. “New Media Law, Policy & Regulation”,KCB206 Learning Blog. Accessed 7th May 2012 http://grace-kcb206.tumblr.com/
Hua Chen, V. H., & Lirn Duh, H. B. 2011. Socializing in the Online Gaming Community: Social Interaction in World of Warcraft. In I. Management Association, USA (Ed.), Virtual Communities: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications (pp. 145-160). doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch111
Jordan, Tim. 1999. Cyberpower : The Culture and Politics of Cyberspace and the Internet. London: Routledge. E book Accessed 5th May 2012 http://site.ebrary.com/lib/qut/Doc?id=10054868&ppg=13
Sander, Melissa. 2009. Questions about accountability and illegality of virtual rape, Master of Science Thesis, Iowa State University, Accessed 7th May 2012 http://search.proquest.com/docview/304907840?accountid=13380
Tranter, Keiran. 2010. “Stories of Human Autonomy, Law, and Technology”, Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, pp18-21, Accessed 5th May 2012 http://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_81726_1%26url%3D
Image courtesy of www.funnyjunk.com
New Media has undeniably opened up new pathways for communication and technology that, on the surface, prove to make our lives not only easier, but promote a sense of community inter-connectedness (Amelio,2008), but do these modes of sending and receiving communication open up a new, disturbing can of worms?
Thompson states that “the emergence of new media of communication, from print to radio, television and the internet, has altered the very nature of the public, the private and the relations between them” (2011,p49). In this brave new world, have ethics dropped by the wayside in favour of salacious gossip and a blatant disregard for the right to personal privacy?
One of the most condemning arguments that ratify the aforementioned statement is the recent News of the World scandal, where employees of the British tabloid owned by News Corp hacked into thousands of mobile phones to access private information with the primary goal of selling more newspapers. As James Murdoch, chairman of British Sky Broadcasting, the parent company of News of the World, stated “The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account but it failed when it came to itself” (Murdoch in Underhill, 2011). It is this lack of accountability and ethics which is currently under scrutiny from the Leveson Inquiry, whose primary aim is to “make recommendations on the future of press regulation and governance consistent with maintaining freedom of the press and ensuring the highest ethical and professional standards” (Leveson Inquiry,2012).
It is this blurring of ethics, morality and boundaries between the public and the private that make this an imperative issue to discuss, not only for the future of the press, but for the future of politics, the public and the private.
Amelio, W. J. 2008. “Interconnected we prosper global 2.0.”, International Herald Tribune, pp. 8. June 26. Accessed 28 April, 2012 http://search.proquest.com/docview/318917490?accountid=13380
Levenson Inquiry. 2012. “Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press”, Accessed 29 April, 2012 http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/
Thompson, J B. 2011. “Shifting boundaries of public and private life”, Theory Culture Society, Vol 28, Issue 4. Pp 49-70. Accessed 20 April, 2012 https://qutvirtual2.qut.edu.au/portal/pls/portal/olt_material_search_p?p_unit_code=KCB206
Underhill, W. 2011. “News scandals next victims?”, Newsweek Web Exclusives, , June 2009. Accessed 29 April, 2012 http://search.proquest.com/docview/877854804?accountid=13380
“The Network Society Office?”
The digitized aged provides workers and employers with astonishing opportunities to create a more dynamic workforce irrespective of space and time (Castells,M.1999,p405) and introduces the idea of the “flexi-worker” (Castells,M.1999,p401), but how does networked enterprise reshape the workforce, and where does this leave the worker?
Castells believes that this new networked society, inclusive of the individualization of the workforce does have tangible, negative ramifications and goes on to state “The processes of globalization, business networking, and individualization of labour weaken social organizations and institutions that represented protected workers” (1999,p403). With this layer of protection somewhat absent, the average worker is left without the tools to negotiate his or her way through the networked workforce minefield and could be considered alone and unarmed. New Media technology can be seen as partially to blame for this phenomenon, but can governments and corporations be held responsible for the uncertainty of the networked economy?
Resnyansky is of the opinion that information technology generators, for example companies like Google , IBM, and Apple, should in fact hold some responsibility “ for technologies’ sociocultural effects and implications” (2009,p41). One of the most compelling arguments is that government regulations should protect the worker regardless of the current nature of the workforce, and the Fair Work Act of 2009 goes part of the way to adapt to the networked era. One thing is for certain, the workforce is evolving; let’s just hope we can all keep up with the changes.
Castells,M. 1999. “Chapter 21: An Introduction to the Information Age.” In The Media Reader: Continuity & Transformation, Mackay,H & Sullivan,T. 398-410, London : Sage Publications. Accessed April 19,2012. https://cmd.library.qut.edu.au/KCB201/KCB201_BK_272673.pdf
Fair Work Australia. Last modified 29 July 2011. “Fair Work Act 2009.” Accessed 21 April, 2012 http://www.fwa.gov.au/index.cfm?pagename=legislationfwact
Image accessed 22 April 2012, courtesy of http://www.onlinesecurity-guide.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/man-running-with-a-computer-242x300.jpg
Resnyansky, L. 2009, “The internet and the changing nature of intelligence,” Technology and Society Magazine, IEEE , vol.28,p.41-47, doi: 10.1109/MTS.2009.931879. Accessed 20 April 2012 http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=4799407&isnumber=4799392
Our society is encouraged to take a holistic approach towards medicine, health and self-help and make enquiries online into our own health and wellbeing, but to what extent does self determination override professional medical opinion? Lewis asserts that today, “citizens are encouraged to direct and shape their own health biographies as they would any other aspect of their lives.” (Lewis,T. 2006,2) In this era where self-diagnostic websites likeFamilyDoctor.org, yourdiagnosis.com and myelectronicmd.com are at plague proportions and information, whether it is medically accurate or not, is available to anyone with an internet connection, does online self-diagnosis hold any merit?
Dr. Srini Pillay, Associate Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School states that “When you self-diagnose, you are essentially assuming that you know the subtleties that diagnosis constitutes. This can be very dangerous, as people who assume that they can surmise what is going on with themselves may miss the nuances of diagnosis” (Pillay,S. (2010) para 2) The Victorian government has gone so far as to endorse a website which facilitates the internet user to accredited information, a section of which is designed to inform the user about the perils of online self-diagnosis. The website warns: “Some online health information is useful, well researched and provided by reputable websites. However, medical misinformation or ‘cyberquackery’ is rife on the Internet. Be aware of the risks of online health information or medicines purchased over the Internet. Always seek diagnosis and treatment advice from your doctor.” (Better Health. (n.d.) para 1)
As a country of prolific new media users, it is paramount that we become discerning in the way in which we consume online information. Although the web offers a new line of knowledge acquisition, it is imperative to remember that the source is as important as the information it provides.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (30th March, 2012) Internet Activity, Australia, Dec 2011 Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/EF45933A9D7087D6CA2579D0000C0821?opendocument Accessed 1st April 2012
Better Health. (n.d.) Health information on the Internet Retrieved from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Health_information_on_the_internet?open Accessed 1st April 2012
Lewis, T. (2006). Seeking health information on the internet: lifestyle choice or bad attack of cyberchondria?Media, Culture and Society, 28 (4), 521-539.
Pillay,S. (3rd May,2010). The Dangers of Self Diagnosis. [Web log post] Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/debunking-myths-the-mind/201005/the-dangers-self-diagnosis Accessed 1st April 2012
Photo courtesy of lillyanna-lilaclanecottage.blogspot.com
In this era of mobile technologies & internet saturation, where anyone can be a director, journalist, or writer, are the corporatized forms of news media now outdated and biased in their approach? In KCB206 “Ramblings”, a fellow student states “the power of new media can be good one, but it also can be destructive… is it really worth pulling a community or country apart?”(kayseebeetwoosix,2012)
In response to this, it is arguable that new media does not have the power to create civil unrest where there was none to begin with. Shirky asserts that “the Internet spreads not just media consumption but media production as well — it allows people to privately and publicly articulate and debate a welter of conflicting views.” (Shirky,C.2011) It is these conflicting views that potentially allow for the evolution of democracy. During the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the former government severed new media communication in an attempt to not only control information circulating amongst the protestors, but to remove the revolution from the world’s stage.
If “journalists are not the liars themselves, but they offer-often too generously and uncritically-a vast stage for the world’s great liars in politics and business”. (Hamelink, C.J. 2006, p 116) and international leaders of politics & business have the advantage of surrounding themselves with specialists whose sole purpose it is to monitor public opinion and adjust their images accordingly, then how is the advent of internet and mobile technologies as a facilitator for conflicting views a destructive one?
Gustin,S. ( 11th February, 2011) Social Media Sparked, Accelerated Egypt’s Revolutionary Fire [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/02/egypts-revolutionary-fire/
Hamelink, C. J. (2006). Chapter 7 : The Ethics of the Internet : Can We Cope With Lies and Deceit on The Net? in Sarikakis, Katharine and Thussu, Daya K, Ideologies of the internet, New Jersey: Hampton Press Inc, pp.115-130.
Shabaan,T.( 27th January 2011). The Most AMAZING Video on the Internet #Egypt #jan25 [YouTube video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThvBJMzmSZI
Shirky, C. (2011). The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, the Public Sphere, and Political ChangeForeign Affairs, 90 (1),
Identity. We’ve all got one, but why, during this age of new media convergence do we wish to attain “Edge Cred” (Levy,S. 2006, p23) - the desire to be one step ahead technologically, culturally and socially? As new media technologies are evolving and dynamic in their very essence, it could be said that popular culture and social exchanges are following suit.
Chopra states our interactions with media texts are directly related to the formation of cultural identity (Chopra, R. & Gajjala,R. 2011,p8), therefore, the same theory could be applicable to something as innocuous as an iPod playlist. Flew introduces Collective Intelligence , an aspect of which is the ability of new media technologies to access data and social information by concurrently increasing communication to share ideas, thoughts & artistic endeavours (Flew,T.2008,p22). It is perhaps this ease of accessibility to knowledge, culture and connectedness that has created the need to redefine identity via new media applications.
The Washington Post online proved the premise that we can be identified by our playlist, when a lost iPod was returned to its owner by divulging songs, and artists via an online article. The journalist theorized “The personal nature of a playlist also means that each iPod should be unique. But is this musical fingerprint unique enough to identify this iPod’s owner?” (Kellet,R.2011 ) Yes, the iPod owner was identified, but the question remains, were they embarrassed or proud of their playlists made public?
Chopra, R. & Gajjala, R. (2011). Global Media, Culture , and Identity Theory, Cases and Approaches. New York, NY : Routledge.
Flew,T. (2008). New Media An Introduction (3rd ed). South Melbourne, VIC : Oxford University Press.
Kellet,R. (2011, December 15). Lost iPod: Can you identify the owner solely by the playlist? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/arts-post/post/lost-ipod-can-you-identify-the-owner-solely-by-the-playlist/2011/12/15/gIQAiPNfwO_blog.htm
Leong, S. (2012). KCB206 New Media: Internet, Self & Beyond. Week 3 Lecture Notes. Accessed March 16, 2012. http://blackboard.qut.edu.au/
Levy, S. (2006) The Perfect Thing: How the IPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.