All posts by bwallerson

My Digital Shadow

The digital shadow website shows people through their Facebook how much people can potentially find out about them due to their online activities.  This game associates with the problem of online security. A simple game can generate possible passwords, estimate your net worth or even get your location due to geotagging. Information can be gathered just based on pictures/ posts that you put up and interactions with friends online. This information can even help determine your weaknesses and tell people how to get to you. The existence of this game suggests that there may be software like this on a larger scale used to keep tabs on people. This technology could be useful for companies and stalkers alike.  It makes us aware that everything we put online can be used later on down the line. Even the safest person on the internet could be putting valuable information out there without even knowing it.



Security is a huge topic in an age where privacy is becoming more and more public. What you do on the internet can actually contribute to your rapidly diminishing sense of privacy. However, people could find out information about you, without you even knowing. The term sousveillance, refers to surveillance equipment worn on the body.  With inventions such as camera necklaces, people can  watch you right under your nose.  Technology is great, but where does the line get drawn? The fairly new invention of Google glass, raises this question. This device allow the person wearing them to use this mini computer in many ways. One thing people can do is record others without their knowledge. I foresee devices such as this one causing a problem in security and privacy. I could see people using it to do image searches and finding information about people. These type of devices could be useful for the government and police force, but released to the general public, I only see it ending in disaster. 

Although we have no control of what others do to invade our privacy, we can protect ourselves as much as we can. When we post pictures online often they are geotagged unless we specify otherwise. This gives people the opportunity to see exactly where we are. This is dangerous because it almost encourages stalking. Also images are often linked together. With things such as Google image search, people can find all pictures of us on the internet. Although this is helpful to avoid getting ‘Catfished’, we might just be putting out way to much information.  This not only puts us at risk but also those associated with us. 

Should the World Really be Flat?

The concept of globalization especially in the book “The World is Flat”, is to level or to make flat the plane of commerce. To some this is a great idea because it gives more opportunity to participate in the buying and selling of products. Globalization could indeed solve the problem of poverty being that it offers equal opportunities to produce revenue. Mike Collins says, “The proponents of global free trade say that it promotes global economic growth, creates jobs, makes companies more competitive, and lowers prices for consumers” (Collins). Another positive thing about globalization is that it promotes social and cultural awareness. The interaction with other countries allows them to amalgamate, causing a deeper understand of other peoples and cultures. Finally, globalization creates a better market so that you can literally get almost anything from any where. 

Even though there are benefits to globalization, there are also disadvantages. For example, it is said that globalization only helps rich people. Investors, entrepreneurs, benefit immensely but it is not beneficial for those that work for them. In addition to this, globalization has led to unfair working conditions such as child labor, over worked employees etc. Also, globalization does not even seem to be a good thing for most of the world. Collins states, “The UN Development Program reports that the richest 20 percent of the world’s population consume 86 percent of the world’s resources, while the poorest 80 percent consume just 14 percent.” Also globalization is thought to contribute to environmental issues. 



Collins, M. (2010, June 10). The Pros And Cons Of Globalization. Manufacturing . net. Retrieved April 24, 2014, from

The Globalization Website – Issues. (n.d.). The Globalization Website – Issues. Retrieved April 24, 2014, from

Cyber Security

Since we now live in a virtually paperless society, transactions happen mostly over the internet. People make payments, send personal information and more over the internet. Since many companies take information of the web, the need for security has increased to prevent identity theft. However, despite their efforts, sometimes there are security breeches. I think it should be immediately reported to the users of these organizations so that they are aware of it.  No one wants to find out after the fact that their personal information has been compromised.

Many people are concerned about the use of online purchasing.  I used to think that it was just a case of paranoia, but after learning a bit more about it, it can be disconcerting . I think it would discourage me from shopping online because it isn’t that safe to do so. Someone could just take my information and I wouldn’t know. Some companies don’t even tell you when the personal information they have obtained is stolen.

Although shopping online can be dangerous, so can shopping in person. When using a debit or credit card, the machine can store your information and your financial information can be stolen that way. Also when taking money from the ATM, since ATM’s use electronic wiring, people can obtain your information that way as well. The fact that everything basically uses the internet in general makes it hard to stay secure. You should just try to secure things with passwords that no one would know and not use websites that have a lack of security.

Homeland Security. (n.d.). Cybersecurity and Privacy. Retrieved , from

Jennifer, M. (n.d.). Six New Rules for Online Shopping. Norton. Retrieved April 17, 2014, from

Illegal Downloading

Illegal downloading is such a common crime. Some people don’t even know that it is a legitimate crime. Others say it’s harmless because, we don’t really see the effect that it has on others. Although the illegal download sites benefit from this, the people who actually produce these services (movies, music, software, etc. ) suffer. This is the livelihood of these people and the profit from the sales of these things. If everyone downloads it for free, they lose a significant amount of money. Amy Adkins says, “The availability of free music has cost the music industry $12.5 billion in economic losses” (Small Business). This discourages people from making these products especially if they spend more money making these things than they make from the sales. Also the significant decrease of money coming into these industries has caused a lot of people to lose their jobs.


Many don’t consider illegal downloading to be stealing. This is a feeling mostly achieved because the theft is faceless. We don’t see who we are affecting and those that are affected don’t know exactly who is taking their money. Nevertheless, it is still stealing. Just like any other crime if you are caught there are severe consequences. “Those that are found to have illegally downloaded or shared copyrighted music and/or movies are subject to criminal and civil Penalties ranging from $750 per work infringed to over $150,000.00” (Student Legal Rights).The fact that you are taking a product without permission or compensation of the person that produced it is stealing. It’s no better than walking into a music store and lifting a CD.

Adkins, Amy. “How Does Illegally Downloading Music Impact the Music Industry?.” Small Business. Hearst Newspapers, n.d. Web. 10 Apr 2014. <;.

Mackenzie, Ashley. “Facts About Downloading Music Illegally.” . Save the Music America, 12 Mar 2014. Web. 10 Apr 2014. <;.


MOOCs which stands for “Massive Open Online Courses” is a somewhat new way for people to learn various subjects. Although it is all taught online and facilitates discussion amongst the people that enroll, I believe it can work.  I think this simply because there are many different ways of learning, people learn in different ways. For example, I learn well using online tools, it allows me to do things on own time and since I sometimes have trouble organizing it allows me to keep information in one place as opposed to having a bunch of papers and notebooks. Even though this may work for some people, others might find it difficult if they are not self-motivated to do work.  With less teacher/student face time, it can become easy to get lost within the work.  I feel like MOOCs is a good option for people that have a great desire to learn something, find it easier to use technology and can keep on top of their work.

MOOCs, although intended to make it easier for people to learn that couldn’t afford it, didn’t have a high success rate with students completing the courses. The founder of Udacity Sebastian Thrun had high expectations for his specific MOOC. However, Lewin says, “Despite access to the Udacity mentors, the online students last spring — including many from a charter high school in Oakland — did worse than those who took the classes on campus” (Lewin, 2013). In addition, only a small percentage of the students actually passed. Based on these occurrences, Sebastian Thrun was forced to take a good look at his company and admit that it was not as good as he had anticipated and in a lot of ways failed. Although his plans were revolutionary, they were indeed not met.

Lewin, T. (2013, Dec 10). After setbacks, online courses are rethought. New york times. Retrieved from

Usher, A. (2013, Nov 18). Udacity has left the building. Retrieved from

Aaron Swartz

When the government is accused of killing someone, the issue has to be serious. This is what Aaron Swartz’s father says the Government did to his son. Aaron Swartz was the co-founder of the popular website Reddit. Aaron committed suicide in January of 2013. Before his suicide he could have possibly faced years in jail because of his violation of MIT’s open network.  Aaron believed that citing every little thing is not necessary because there should be internet freedom.  The idea that all ideas originate from others and you shouldn’t always have to give credit unless you directly and blatantly copy someone. 

This view point suggest that Intellectual property should be revisited. The American Intellectual Property Law Association says”Our legal system provides certain rights and protections for owners of property” (AIPLA). This law provides little allowance for internet freedom, thus causing a problem for bloggers and others that write pieces of work using others work on the internet.

AIPLA. (2012). An overview of intellectual property. Retrieved from

Wihbey, J. (2014, Jan 08). Aaron swartz and the cause of openness. The Boston Globe. Retrieved from

Privacy: Where Do You Draw the Line?

With so much information on social media these days, it’s compelling to ask, “What should be kept private?” That’s hard to answer but I’ll tell you what I think.  I believe that where you live should be private simply because of safety issues.There are too many creepy people out there to give home addresses out at free will. It should be a person’s choice whether they want to provide their address to people or not. I also think that any sort of financial information or paperwork concerning you (birth certificate, social security card etc.) should be private.  This sort of information being provided could lead to identity theft. Finally phone numbers should be private information.  It is extremely irritating to get phone calls at all kinds of times from different companies trying to sell you items and what not. 

Social media however makes some things that are considered private available to people.  I personally do not believe there is a problem with company or the government obtaining information that you provided.  On all social media websites there is an option of settings where you can adjust what you do and don’t want people to see. I think if you put it up there then people should be able to see it. If you don’t want that information up there, change your settings, turn of GPS tracking or delete your account.