Lets start with some basics, as I assume the focal point of this post is somewhat unknown to most of you. BeatBoxing. I am talking about new school beatboxing, I’m not looking at A Capella beatboxers (of which I am one) instead I am looking at the guys who make beatboxing the entirety of what they do. One such machine goes by the name of Reeps One and is out of England. He was the UK Champion in 2009 and 2010 and a world finalist in 2010. Reeps One is known as the “Godfather of Dubstep Beatbox,” and many of the techniques he has developed have been integral in changing the art for everyone else who participates.
I have never seen someone in a state of flow as I have with him. He enters almost a trancelike state while he beatboxes and allows himself to be set free.
As an important note: all of the footage in these videos is shot live with 0 editing to the sound. All of the sounds that you hear are being done by Reeps One even the ones being done simultaneously as other sounds. Just to restate this, the entire thing is shot in 1 take with 0 sound editing.
I hope that you decided to watch the entire video. Based off of the thought that you did, I’ll continue. If you look specifically at the last minute or so of the video Reeps has his eyes closed. You may be saying to yourself that it doesn’t take sight to beatbox, and for the most part you’d be right, however the amazing part of him closing his eyes is that it is done out of relaxation. You can see it in every bit of the expression he is wearing, there are no nerves, no hesitation, no worries. He simply relaxes and allows himself to put forth a show. At the end after he has finished you can see almost a look of confusion on his face that he seems shocked to be done, and almost as though he has to bring himself back to reality.
Reeps One is a master of utilizing fixed and variable rhythmic patterns as we discussed earlier in the semester in the Olly Wilson article on the Heterogeneous sound ideal. His throat bass and snare keep the constant rhythm of his beats while he lets his mouth explode into a cacophony of rhythm and noise. For anyone with an interest in beatboxing and for anyone who has ever tried to do some of these things, the success he has is completely captivating. And while watching Reeps One perform can be entertaining, the moments where he loses himself in what he does and becomes a part of his music are the moments where his flow and zen are completely visible.
If we look at habitus as Bourdeiu does, “systems of durable transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures,” or as a sort of socially imposed dictation of interactions, then the matrix becomes even more interesting than it already was. For under the lens of habitus, we can see that the matrix itself truly is habitus. In the scene with the boy and the spoon, the boy discusses the fact that if you try to bend the spoon you will fail, instead you must realize the truth, that there is no spoon.
The spoon in this instance in the habitus. If you try to change your habitus you will fail. It is a part of you and naturally morphs along with you and trying to change it implies that you can first identify it enough to do so. Instead, in order to bend the spoon you must realize that there is no spoon. You must realize that there is nothing to bend or change. You must realize that the spoon is there, but not there, real but not real.
We understand and see habitus not through direct interaction, but by how it functions and interacts with other habitus. It is a guideline weighing in on our every decision to the point that our own intentions are often less ordained from free will than me might want. We look at decisions in terms of right and wrong, good and bad, righteousness and evil, but these things themselves are socially constructed concepts. They have been imposed upon us through every interaction we have every had and are part of what makes up our habitus. This in itself is like the matrix, every decision we make is based off of something we can’t see or intentionally interact with but which interacts with us on a regular basis. The matrix from the movie, is the habitus of culture.
In comparing the Clint Eastwood and Eminem superbowl commercials there are a few easy comparisons to make. First is the difference between the two commercials. In the 2011 commercial you see an America portrayed by slim shady, the sort of “trailer park” boy from Detroit. The idea of him storming Radio City Music Hall is a throwback to the old slim shady video. In the end of the second video when you see the chorus singing and chanting as he enters the building displays sort of the arrival of the second coming of “The Motor City.” When Eminem enters there is a great crescendo of the signers and a firm resolution to the chord progression all demonstrating that Detroit is on its way in recovery and that car makers such as Chrysler are pushing it forward. At the beginning of the commercial we are asked the question “what does this town know about luxury” which is interesting because when people think of luxury, Chrysler is not normally the brand that comes to mind, especially not when thinking of Detroit and how run down and down trodden it has become with the collapse of the car industry.
As far as the second commercial goes, Clint Eastwood is used in such a way as to portray the audience as the subject. “Its halftime America,” people are out of work and hurting.
There is a huge demonstration of the negativity that has been associated with the economic crisis. It is then shown that Detroit is the reason that we should all push forwardbecause if the
campaigning by a company now roughly 10% government owned.y can do it we all can. Beyond this, there seems to be a general agreement with President Obama’s auto industry bailout and the ad ends up feeling largely politically based as a way of promoting the president for some pre election season
While both commercials seem to reflect the resilience of the American people and our ability to overcome any obstacle. To me, the Clint Eastwood commercial feels far more politically based.
Google- How can it be bad when it feels so natural?
NATURAL IS GOOD
Google’s deceptive tracking of users’ browsing habits would normally outrage any population of customers, but Google’s customers seem to have accepted the situation with peculiar equanimity. This leads one to ask why. One of the reasons seems to be the huge dependence that Google has inculcated among the majority of computer users. Google’s structure sets the parameters within which users must function. This creates an artificial habitus that users must accept if they want to avail themselves of the search engine. Google sets the rules and, if one does not wish to accommodate these rules, he is free to go elsewhere. The problem is that, because we depend on Google for so many of our searches, we are unlikely to go elsewhere, and are more likely to acquiesce to Google’s conditions.
Google has become indispensible for many internet users. So has Wikipedia. A few months ago, both Google and Wikipedia decided to suspend their services for one day, in protest of certain restrictive laws concerning copyright infringements. The reactions across the country, including within universities, was startling. People were counting down the hours until the two internet giants would once again provide their services. The sense that these services are indispensible combines with the fact that they are free and available to all. This combination of factors at least partially explains why there was not much outrage when Google’s infringement of users’ privacy was uncovered. People have a natural expectation of reciprocity. Google is used frequently and it’s free. We naturally have the sense that Google has “done us a favor”. Never mind the fact that we are so cleverly inundated with advertisements when using their search engine that we are usually not consciously aware of them. We still feel as though Google has done something for us. Google’s privacy infringements could be interpreted, at least to some degree, as establishing a kind of equilibrium, or re-establishing balanced reciprocity. The blasé attitude expressed by some web users when they found out about Google’s infractions would not have been nearly as calm if Google had been charging people for their services. If that had been the case, the appearance and sense of reciprocity would have already been established, and Google’s infraction would have been a clear violation of this norm.
In the article by the Wall Street Journal that describes Google’s privacy violations, the Journal mentions that specialists in information technology had already been aware of the “loophole” in privacy settings and that they were fully exploitable. Google must have been aware that other people were cognizant of these techniques and that it was only a matter of time before they got caught. It doesn’t seem like they particularly cared about this eventuality. This may be because of the huge amount of revenue generated by advertisements and the sale of information concerning the personal preferences of customers to third parties. A similar situation existed when major chemical companies were threatened with fines for dumping their waste products in improper locations. It was worth it for these companies to engage in illegal dumping anyway because the profits from this practice were far greater than the fines. A similar situation may exist with Google. The length of time that Google employed its illicit practices before being discovered must have generated huge amounts of revenue from targeted advertisements and the sale of this information to third parties. Even though the fines they incurred may have been significant (once they got caught), the accumulation of this revenue up to that point probably made the overall venture extremely profitable.
Google’s response, even after getting caught, was a further example of their marketing genius. Instead of apologizing, which would only have alerted their customers to the reality that Google had done something wrong, Google arranged to purchase the relevant information from their customers. The customers that received a token payment for access into their most personal internet browsing felt that they were receiving a benefit. The fact that most of these beneficiaries were only receiving something worth five or ten dollars did not impact their feelings of good fortune. It was indeed the only focal point of their attention. Little or no attention was given to the consideration of what they were giving up, or the fact that their privacy was probably worth much more than five or ten dollars. Google skillfully marketed this exchange in a way that focused only on what the customer received and diverted attention away from any potentially negative consequences that may result from exposing elements of their private life to commercial scrutiny.
Google has access to another mechanism that may prove extremely helpful in their attempts to purchase peoples’ personal information. We are all familiar with the lengthy elaborations used on internet forms that are employed to get our voluntary approval. Unless we click the “accept” button, the process will halt and we will be unable to proceed. This usually takes place within a process that we are highly motivated to continue. We are invited to read the information before clicking, but the information is extremely lengthy and in legal-ese, so we usually just click the “accept” button without really knowing what we have agreed to. Clicking the “agree” button without reading the information has become a meme unto itself. We do it ourselves and we expect others to do it. And so does Google. By taking advantage of this meme, they can get people to “click away” their privacy rights for a pittance. It seems natural and “OK”. In fact we are so used to clicking the “I agree” button that the vast majority of us would press it just out of habit, even without the five or ten dollar incentive.
Google has become part of our daily browsing experience to such a great extent that we consider it a “natural” part of our world, rather than a piece of our world that is completely “man-made” and synthetic. As a result, anything that it does also seems like part of the natural world, instead of something that has been artificially and intentionally constructed. Their infringements on our privacy rights come to resemble a natural function, and, as such, becomes more palatable.
It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy. ~George Horace Lorimer
Does money lead to happiness? That question has been debated since the establishment of societies in which the exchange of goods has been based upon financial transactions. Money can uplift a family out of poverty and into the stable middle class which the majority of us can agree is a fantastic thing and only those who live for schadenfreude would argue that fact. Money also has its hidden evils. Money has the power to destroy family ties, destroy relationships, and sever friendships. Why do 2.61 inches wide by 6.14 inch long sheets of cotton-fiber paper have such a power to cause us to ignore our morals in order to pursuit wealth and financial gain? This idea was discussed in Georg Simmel’s The Metropolis and Mental Life, in which he uses the analogy of rural life compared to life in an more urban, “big city” environment to talk about relationships between humans and how money or financial gains dictate the types of relationships one establishes. In a rural type of environment there are more personal relationships among people. This is a situation where people give out of the goodness of their hearts and where people form bonds with others based a sense of kindness. The metropolis is a complete 180 degree turn from those of the rural environment. In the metropolis one is far less likely to form personal relationships, but the formed relationships are impersonal all moves and decisions made by the individual are calculated (subconsciously) to determine the potential loss and gains for all decisions. Where in a rural town giving your neighbor a homemade apple pie may be used to say” Hey I’m glad to have you and my life”, in a metropolis taking your neighbor to the local pub may be a way of saying “Hey knowing you may benefit my wallet far more than me buying your drinks on my tabs effects my pocket negatively.
Google has utilized this financial calculus in order to gain information on the internet usage of those using Google owned services such as Google Chrome and Safari. Google had been previously caught using a unique Google code in order to bypass the blocking ability of Safari on computers and mobile devices. Bypassing the tracking protection resulted in Google gaining access to information on a users internet usage and basic information on the user themselves. Now that Google can no longer do this without the approval of users they have devised a plan. Due to the fact that money speaks and can cause people to behave and make decisions differently than they would if money were not involved, Google has decided to offer rewards to users who allow Google to “simply” track their web usage. What’s in it for Google you ask? M-O-N-E-Y!!! Google can sell the information they find from the data collected to advertisers and companies so they know who to target with their online ads and where to put those ads to increase the likelihood of a potential consumer seeing it. What’s in it for those daring enough to let Google track their web usage? M-O-N-E-Y!!! The only remaining question is how much would it cost for someone to sale their own soul?
Individuality is another subject found in Simmel’s “The Metropolis and Mental Life”. In the Metropolis, an individual is constantly being bombarded with the ideals of the majority thus an individual moving from the rural community into the metropolis the need and struggle to maintain individuality becomes evident. Everyone wants to feel that they are an individual and not just another cookie-cutter person. Google uses this idea of individuality in order to convince users that the study of web usage is only done to benefit them. In their pitch to uses Google states:
As a Screenwise Trends panelist, you’ll add a browser extension that will share with Google the sites you visit and how you use them. What we learn from you, and others like you, will help us improve Google products and services and make a better online experience for everyone
In the past few years, individuals have begun to realize a ploy made by google to track all of their internet usage. Their “MO” is through the use of little black box conveniently placed on your desktop. This little black box connects to your router and tracks all information that comes through it from almost any device that is linked to it.
Google has found a way to make this blatant invasion of privacy seemingly okay to users. This corporation virtually utilizes the “carrot and stick” method through the use of a little money. And, by little I mean approximately $16.00 a year. Realistically speaking, no one, using this ploy is getting any richer, or “ballin” any bigger. While I don’t know how successful this method is, I do know that this ploy relates to Zimmel’s Metropolis and Mental Life. Well, first in a Metropolis money means less than it does in the country because it has less of a value. In the metropolis there is a heavier exchange with money than it is anywhere else. And google, is playing on a filter that we are equipped with but, a filter that can be easily fooled. In order to engage audiences, a presenter normally presents this game to see how smart the audience is. Long problem short, the game is supposed to add up to 5,100 when most think it’s 6000. Because the problems are given to them in such a fast paced manner, it’s difficult for this math filter to keep up with the pace. In that same way, we often find it difficult to pass up money, because it’s in a sense, easy money. Without thinking about the consequences, or possible legality of the situation, oftentimes we jump. Especially because if there is a striking giftcard on the site, we are more apt to claiming it. For instance, girls might be really interested in sephora and after 6 months that piece of makeup that they buy is virtually free, due to the accumulation of these giftcards. Thus, because it is so easy and seemingly looks as though it is all personal gain, it’s easier to get this little black box.
This brings me to my next point. Like in Metropolis, distinction is everything. Only a “small selection” of people are getting this box on their computer. Google’s ploy was primarily into fooling people that this black box was something to show off. For example, in The Big Bang Theory the main character is on ebay and witnesses a time machine from one of his favorite movies. He sees that no one has bid on it, and doesn’t want to let this get away from him because it is a “classic” and on the spot purchases it for $800 dollars without realizing that he would win the bid, have to find a place for this time machine, and without looking at the fine print. In this same way Google is trying to pin their users without them even knowing it. Like fashion, we want to be the center of attention, the person who has a great sense of style. This little black box is a bit of a “bragging” piece, because Google not only makes people feel like they are taking place in some really important research but they also give you a little black box that not everyone has. Thus, google gives their users- those who have installed this black box- a sense of distinction, like they have something others do not. Because users are so excited about the free money – they are less likely to not read the fine print (a.k.a the most important parts). This, in turn brings me to my final portion of analysis.
In googles contract there is really no guarantee involved. Basically, they are going to “try” to keep your personal information private and not give third parties access to it, but there is no guarantee that they will in fact keep your personal information private. Also, this money that they originally waved in your face is also not guarannteed. The contract says that these giftcards can be given up to a year ( as long as the program is still running). Certain questions have to be asked about this development. For instance, if the program “closes” down will my cookies disappear as well? Where will this little black box go? Will you notify me of this “shutdown”. None of these questions are in the FAQ’s. A question that is in their FAQ’s is regarding if there is a way to turn the little black box off to which they reply that you can go “incognito” and none of your personal information is saved which relaistically doesn’t make a whole lotta sense in and of itself.
Google is attempting to go above and beyond what the law tells them that they can do. Websites such as safari have a reason why they have disabled this type of tracking. But, Google finds it necessary so that they can make more profit off of advertisers. Let’s think about the only practical reason Google would go through all this hassle to implement this idea. The more sites they find visitors from the more money they can charge those advertisers. Also, your personal information that they are going to “try” to keep on the low, is really just a way for them to sell you to other companies. In a sense, this entire operation is about the mulaa. While this panel is optional for users to join, it is only another route that google can use to infringe upon others information. I feel as though, if they didn’t first use this, they’ll go back to their original plan and create multiple new cookies, because that seems to be the easiest for them to do, until they get caught and then recieve a slap on the wrist.
The only remedy I see for the issue is actual consequences. The public only really believes what the media tells them, thus, if the media doesn’t alert them about this issue, nothing is going to be done about it.
Most people will notice the many advertisements on the side of whatever webpage that is currently inhabiting their web browser. For many people, these ads will be fairly interesting, potentially even helpful, and the web surfer may be so inclined to click one or two. So, are these ads just conveniently interesting, or is there some kind of internet wizardry afoot?
Sorry Google, that ain't me.
The answer became more clear to me when I let my fiancé use my computer. My ads, instead of being for Zelda and funny t-shirts, was soon about wedding dresses and, most worrisome, baby products. She had searched enough on webpages with Google links and advertisements that Google had begun to think that I wanted wedding dresses. Tracking of cookies is nothing new for large companies and advertisers, but, with the increase in Google prominence, they are able to track activity across all of the wide internet.
It makes sense that some people would not wish to be tracked, and, thankfully, web browsers are happy to help. Security options work great, acting as a filter for human interactions, unless…..Google bypasses it.
Yep. Recently, Google was discovered to be bypassing the iPhone’s security options by sending the phones code through its very common online advertisements (Don’t worry, they said they removed it). The security options found on mobile devices and computers normally acts as a filter for cookies and online tracking. This security filter also acts as a filter for interactions, both between people and companies. Online security allows people to define and limit their interaction online. People can choose not to be tracked or to allow cookies for log on convenience.
That is why Google’s secret iPhone tracking is so worrisome. They found a loophole past security and began to track iPhone user’s online activity without consent. The reason that Google would allow this to happen is not because of a happy mistake (for them), but rather how Google, and other companies, view people. Social interaction in the physical world has defined rules depending on the location in the world. In general, there is the consensus to treat people, at least somewhat, with respect. Even in business, where monetary gain is the bottom line, people must still be treated kindly face-to-face. In the Brave new online world, this kindness is not necessarily afforded. For Google, one of the most successful businesses in the world, profit is still the bottom line. But online, Google can boil human interaction down to a money calculus. A person can be labeled as having a monetary worth and that worth can be used. If Google makes more money by knowing a person’s online activity in detail, then they will find ways to do so. Well, people didn’t like their personal privacy being ignored, at least without compensation, and now the jig is up for Google’s iPhone tracking. Or is it?
Google’s latest initiative is called Screenwise Trends and it will pay you to send them the information they were taking for free (so much for a good thing, right Google?). By installing a browser extension, the person’s activity will be sent to Google in return for a $5 gift card every three months. This is their way of saying “Thank you.” You should also get that warm fuzzy feeling for making “the internet smarter.”
Want even more money and less privacy? If you choose, and are lucky enough to get Google’s golden ticket, they will pay you more to see all activity on your modem. Panelists receive $100 dollars immediately and $20 each month. Now we are talking some good money, Google. Of course, the other side of the coin is that Google will see literally all activity used on your modem (even the neighbor who uses your non-password protected WiFi.) To place this deal even more firmly into the gray area of online interaction, Google also gets to share your activity information with select third party groups.
So, why is this in a social gray area? Because the internet is new and filled with people, who we interact with in brand new ways. The social norms guarding interaction around the world don’t necessarily apply to online interaction. Much as people reacted to the new, more dense city centers of the Industrial Revolution, we are now reacting to the new online cities. Online participants expect the same social interaction from their day-to-day, while companies have an even easier way of monetizing a person’s activity. There is a disconnect between what the web citizens expect, bringing with them their old knowledge, and what the companies can get away with.
iPhones and computers are no longer safe from the eye of the United States’ new “Big Brother”, Google, and it’s newly found privacy infringements both known and unknown. In some cases, Google’s use of privacy setting loopholes and ‘cookies’ applied to Safari, Apple Inc.’s web browser, and other browsing agents has allowed Google to provide information to advertisers about user’s browsing tendencies without their knowledge. In fact, many individuals have specifically attempted to block this sort of tracking but through the use of special code and a loophole in privacy settings Google has been able to track information regardless. Though most web pages and providers have denied having any knowledge of, or tendency toward condoning, such tracking, it is stated in Wall Street Journal that the knowledge of lack of privacy for Safari users has been publicly available for years. Still, many users and providers have found the entire ordeal a complete surprise.
However, other Google users have begun knowingly allowing Google to track their internet exploration. And for monetary retribution! This is the point at which we must analyze why users would essentially prostitute themselves to George Orwell’s infamous illusion of the “Big Brother” (who is always watching…). When it all boils down, what is left? The cultural drive to acquire and spend money by whatever means possible. Money, whether we like to admit it or not, drives our everyday lives, from the candy bar we buy at the gas station to the relationships that we make with the people around us.
According to Simmel’s Metropolis and Mental Life, money has forced us away from personal, intimate relationships (like those of the individuals in a small, rural town) and into impersonal, surface relationships in the context of a ‘metropolis’, or city. This metropolis context forces us to create filters to block out all frivolous information so that we have enough space to react to the important stimuli around us. In today’s technological age, we are bombarded with information every time that we turn on an electronic device. To cope, our brains automatically block out those things that it deems unimportant to the task at hand. The purpose of Google’s ‘surveying’ is to determine what information is generally deemed important enough to follow up on and what is not.
Again, it all comes down to cash. Why is Google interested in determining what information we don’t filter out as frivolous? Because it helps Google to inform advertisers how and what to advertise to attract the most attention and turn the most profit. By doing this, Google is also gaining the trust and business of even more ads and advertisements, hence bringing in money for Google. And what is an easy way to track this sort of information without being looked down upon for the use of sneaky tools such as cookies and loopholes? Pay people to agree to be tracked for the purpose of Google’s experiment.
The individuals most likely to fall prey to Google’s bargains are those that are a) driven by money, no matter how minuscule the amount, and b) those who are probably already at a loss for close-knit relationships with their fellow citizens. Most of their time is most likely spent on the computer (which Google is tracking) trying to make or spend money in the most efficient ways that the internet can offer. As this immense amount of filtering, calculating and counting further hinders the ability to socialize intimately, individuals begin feeling anxious to somehow distinguish themselves from everyone else while still feeling connected to a larger group. This is where Google’s assistance to advertisers comes in. The goods and services needed to help individuals distinguish and/or connect themselves can be bought by money, through the help of customized and perfectly placed adds.
Money, distinction, connection, money. The neverending cycle is what runs our daily lives, even when we are not entirely aware of it. In fact, being aware of all of the stimuli presented to us throughout our busy, stimuli-infested days would be impossible. By nature we use our ability to filter those unimportant items to maintain our sanity. But if we are really left to sit and ponder the privacy infringement that Google has violated us with, we have to ask ourselves how else we may be being tracked. Of course, there are then others who have volunteered to give themselves up to Google’s experimentation and tracking, giving so many companies the ability to have control over our day to day interactions with technology. And so we’re left to wonder: how many other “Big Brothers” are out there watching our every move on the web?
A few weeks ago, when the lottery jackpot was around $500 million dollars, and everyone and their grandmother were buying lotto tickets, I had a conversation with a friend about what we would do if we won. The conversation started just as any sort of “what would I do with a million dollars” starts, we talked about buying boats and houses, taking trips with friends. As we continued our conversation though, we realized that it would not be all fun and games. Why, with $500 million dollars could you not be free to do whatever you want? Because money not only changes the people who possess it, but it also changes the people around you. Suddenly you altruistic gesture of paying for all of your cousins college wouldn’t be enough, your extended family might see it as a petty act, because you have much more money to spend then a measly 400-500 thousand. Why shouldn’t you help them out as well as their kids? Suddenly security seems to be at the forefront of your mind, because if your own family can turn on you, then who else is willing to go to extremes for your cash. Suddenly you are not seen as the person, and individual you were, but rather a cash cow, and someone with a price tag.
This is what Google saw in it’s consumers. They weren’t people, they were doors in which Google could profit. By essentially spying on their consumers, they were able to gain market research data, and gear advertisements to their users. By bypassing the privacy rights, Google showed that they were willing to stoop under ethical methods to make a dollar.
The question I would like to pose is why is this unethical? It’s not like if Google caught porn viewers, they would send an email, saying things like “Rex Ryan, we know about your weird foot fetish and would ask that you stop visiting those gross sites.” There is no awkward confrontation, there is no reporting websites to the police, they are just getting insight into what you like. Computers have had the “history” feature on web browsers for ever. Is that spying? As a personal example, lets say I want a new water bottle. I would go to Google and type in “water bottle,” or “best water bottles,” or even “I need a good solid water bottle.” Let’s say that search yields massive results and I come across a Nalgene water bottle that looks great (and BPA free!). I end up buying that water bottle, and then later in my day I am watching a youtube video, and as it plays it gets to the dreaded yellow line on the video player and an ad pops up, “get a Nalgene splash guard to go along with your new water bottle.” While at first, I would think it was weird that such a “coincidence” might occur, I would also have the opportunity to buy a splash guard, which I personally think is a must-have with Nalgene wide-mouthed water bottles.
By looking at websites I use, Google is making it easier for me, and gearing internet consumerism toward a totally personal level. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this, but Hulu offers “ad-swapping” where you can replace that “Venus Razor: Reveal The Goddess in You” commercial, for a “Halo 4” commercial. The only difference is that Google doesn’t offer you the conscious choice to gear your ad campaign to your likes and dislikes. Which brings us to Google’s solution to their “privacy hacking.”
At first Google tried to implement the +1(similar to the Facebook “Like” button) ad campaign, to use the Google Plus social network to access to what people like and don’t like. However, because of Safari’s blocking methods Google switched to their “invasive” method. After getting caught however, they switched to offering people the choice of being tracked. By offering $5 dollar gift cards every three months, Google is giving incentives to people willing to be tracked by using Google Chrome. They also are offering the deal to those who are 13 years or older, a nice clever trick that gives them access to a whole family’s household through the terms agreed upon by a 13 year old.
The Internet has become Simmel’s metropolis. There are billions upon billions of people connected around the world. Facebook has become a virtual city center, where millions of people are connected, and you can have virtual, yet intimate relationships with thousands of your friends. Interestingly there seems to be a generation by generation shift to those who have more affinity with technology.
When I grew up we had a Macintosh in our household, I would play computer games, and and draw pictures on it. As I matured so to did internet and technology. At 13 years old I was teaching my grandparents how to respond to emails. At 19 I was telling my Mom how to use Facebook, and at 22 I let my grandma know that LOL, didn’t mean “lots of love,” and made her comment to my uncle where she said, “I heard that hurricane is going to hit Florida pretty hard, lol, be safe,” sound really mean. As my generation and the generations that have come after mine have matured, so too have our technology filters. I routinely perform actions on the internet without even thinking about them anymore. I will block pop-up windows before they load, move my mouse on the ready to the exit out of Youtube ads. I will have Twitter open with Hulu, so I don’t have to watch the advertisements. The need for internet filters is substantial, however it would appear that as the internet adapts, so to do humans. We create our own filters so that we don’t go insane, and don’t overload our senses with everything that is bombarding us from the web. We are enter into a metropolis every time we open our web browsers, however because of our personal filters, we are able to find, or even create a more rural setting on the web, in which we can calmly navigate the world wide web.
My mind, as usual, wandered while doing the reading for this blog. It went back to Buffy, which I have been re-watching recently and I realized that much of what people are afraid of with the things Google was doing without saying are things that Joss Whedon blew completely out of proportion fourteen, almost fifteen, years ago.
In an episode tilted “I Robot…You Jane,” Willow unwittingly release a demon into the internet while scanning books into the library’s new electronic database.
The demon, Moloch the corrupter, seeks followers which he bewitches in to loving him and often kills when they are no longer necessary.In this episode he pretends to be a boy who interacts with Willow through a online chat room. Once in the internet, Moloch has access to everything.
The demon, flesh and all
He can see through the cameras that are linked to networks. He can talk with potential followers. He can grow in his power, all the while safe from Buffy. She tends to be more of a punch and stab sort of player, so the non-corporeal have never really been her strong suit.
The episode seems to be a commentary on the battle between old and new. Giles and the books are the old.
Giles: A society in which human interaction is all but obsolete? In which people can be completely manipulated by technology, well, well…Thank you, I’ll pass.
(From I Robot… You Jane).
This is what Internet Demons build to house their disembodied spirits upon release from the web.
Jenny Calendar and the computer are the new. Giles does not understand the purpose of the computer, though in later seasons he often has Willow working on the computer for anything from breaking into the Mayor’s personal files to finding maps. Even Giles has to admit that the computer can have it’s uses, but the first time we see him interact with it he calls it the “idiot box” and worries that. However the question isn’t whether or not it is good, it’s what can it be used for.
Giles: This is very bad.
Xander: Are we overreacting? He’s in a computer! What can he do?
Buffy: You mean besides convince a perfectly nice kid to try and kill
me? I don’t know. How about mess up all the medical equipment in the world?
Giles: Randomize traffic signals.
Buffy: Access launch codes for our nuclear missiles.
Giles: Destroy the world’s economy.
Buffy: I think I pretty much capped it with that nuclear missile thing.
Giles: Right, yours was best
(From “I Robot… You Jane”)
Google has the ability to track what you do, not unlike many other internet companies, like Facebook, and possibly some people are shocked by this.
Maybe it was more of a secret that I thought, but then again I watch/read a lot of Sci Fi, so maybe my distrust of the computer and other machines, that can hide their true intent or purpose behind a pretty exterior, is a little off from what others would be worried about. I always figured it was only a matter of time before everything we do is tracked and used for something, marketing and sales seems like a good reason. Does my privacy being invaded bother me? Sure, but at the same time I have chosen to engage in this world of social media. I have a Facebook page, a Twitter, and an email address all of which tie me to this new world.
Of course, now that it has become “public knowledge” that Google can do this, they have put together an incentive program. You let them do this, watch you, possibly take a survey and you will get a reward. This was done by invitation only. Google sent out emails and asked people to join in on the fun. I don’t know anyone who was asked to join, Do you? Perhaps Mulder had it right, and we should all join him in living off the grid. Free of cell phones, computers, and anything else that might allow someone to search for and find us in the masses of this world.
Google is not the only company doing this, but they have received the attention because of it. Had it not been publicized would anyone have even noticed that this was going on? Does their incentive program make up for the fact that they are tracking the things you look at online? If this is upsetting to you, what is it that you don’t want them to be seeing while you are online and does this fear mean that perhaps you shouldn’t be looking at that.
If you are anything like me, then you just check off the box that says “I Agree” next to the terms and conditions and don’t think about it again, but recently I started to feel like maybe I should actually look into this privacy stuff. This was brought on by a friend of mine posting on my Facebook wall to let me know that when she has no idea what to watch on Hulu she just looks at whatever I had just watched and does that. Apparently it makes her happy and she was writing to let me know I have good taste in TV shows. This unnerved me, but not because she was watching the things I liked, but because I had no idea how she could tell what I had recently watched. I realized that most of the TV I have seen, and some of the movies, have lead me to think that possibly technology is not the best thing. I mean look at the history; Thinking Machines, Borgs, Cylons, and Demons on the internet. These are not things you want to mess with and they are certainly not things you should trust. However, while they are things that are not trustworthy, they are also things that had the shows been without them then they would not have been as good as they are. So maybe technology is a thing that should be used with caution and care to know your rights.