Post Ten: Don’t be a rookie

My draft design proposal, discussed in ‘The Proposal’ was mainly based on online fraud, the type that comes from scam emails. Since researching this topic further and discussing it with my colleagues, I have decided to keep my proposal still on the topic of online fraud but explore the part cookies have in it. This way, my proposal is very much related to the 18-25 year old audience and has room to really make use of emergent practices, as the varying uses of cookies are being increasingly discussed in the media. While explaining this revised proposal to my tutor, who gave very helpful feedback, we decided that rather than designing a complete website for someone to use, it would be more beneficial to create a plugin similar that the user can simply click on while browsing to see the desired change appear. I was shown a relevant example of a pre-existing plugin for Gmail, ‘Just Not Sorry’. This plugin highlights ‘problem’ words/phrases in emails and prompts the user to swap them with a similar but more confident word. The plugin is free to download and automatically does its ‘job’ without the user having to very much at all. The outline below explains my proposition in greater depth.

Project title: Don’t be a rookie

Practice type: generative system

The issue: Cookies. Cookies are files stored by a website on a users online device and are mainly designed to hold onto amounts of data for the particular website. These can either help improve the site for the user or do the complete opposite (as is the case with airline sites and hotel sites). All one person has to do is visit an airline site, view ticket prices for a trip and close the window. The next time this user enters that site to have another look at those prices, they will have increased, all because of cookies.

The possible change: Many internet users are not aware of the dangers or even inconveniences of websites that use cookies. There are also many internet users that are aware of these cookies but forget to delete them. Creating a system or plugin to remind users is a simple way to create a change in this area as it will raise awareness and prevent online fraud.

The design action to support change: To limit online scamming through cookies, I propose to create a plugin that warns users of the inconveniences and dangers of websites saving cookies whilst also educating them on what cookies are and how to prevent being scammed in the future.The plugin, ‘Don’t be a rookie’,  will incorporate a five minute timer and a cookie that blows up the price of something the user is looking at into cookie crumbs. This price, once turned into crumbs, will re-emerge at a significantly higher value. A drop down box will appear saying ‘Don’t be a rookie, delete that cookie. Or go incognito’. A ‘read more’ link will also be available, allowing the user to read more about cookies and be informed on how to delete cookies from a website or how to use an incognito tab in their browser. This plugin will most benefit users on airline and hotel sites but will work on all sites, reminding the user to watch out for cookies, and can be turned on/off at the users disposal as can be done with a regular plugin.

Header image
Giphy 2016, Hungry Cookie Monster, viewed 24 September 2016, <https://giphy.com/gifs/hungry-cookie-monster-EKUvB9uFnm2Xe&gt;.

By Chloe Schumacher

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Post Nine: Another day, another map

Following on from The Proposal (post eight), this blog post explores the possible ways design can make a difference or contribute to change within an audience of 18-25 year olds. I chose to narrow down the topic of online surveillance and data privacy to scam emails and online fraud, and the mindmap below displays possible design options in regards to this area.

scamemails
Mindmap of design ideas to create change in the online privacy world for 18-25 year olds

The mindmap was created using IDEO’s brainstorming tips/methods after writing down a problem statement; un-educated online users are getting scammed daily through emails and fake advertisements leading to avoidable fraud and identity theft

The ideas explored in the map came about through first discussing the problem statement in a small group, and then creating a discussion that enabled us to pump out ideas quickly (go for quantity) and most importantly, without judgement. By simply stating any relevant idea (encouraging wild ideas) that came to mind, we were able to delve deeper into the focus area, building on the ideas of our peers in order to generate the best design possibilities.

However, as discussed in The Proposal, I realised when reviewing my mindmap that the design ideas displayed above do not have the immediate capacity to benefit a group of 18-25 year olds, and therefore do not fit the design brief. I have since amended this problem statement to attempt to fix or change online fraud affecting users through cookies. This new problem area not only has a place within the target audience but has more room to explore emergent practices through design.

References
Design Kit 2016, Brainstorm Rules, IDEO, viewed 20 September 2016, <http://www.designkit.org/methods/28&gt;.

Header image
Buzzfeed 2013, 25 moments when Joey and Chandler won at friendship, viewed 20 September 2016, <https://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/joey-and-chandler?utm_term=.fdA6rP1x1#.ws5RelGWG&gt;.

By Chloe Schumacher

Post Eight: The Proposal

Online privacy and data surveillance is such broad topic but almost all aspects of it intertwine with the lives of 18-25 year olds on a daily basis be it positively or negatively. The issue that stands out the most for me is online privacy in terms of scam emails and online fraud. To investigate this issue further, I made use of one of IDEO’s brainstorming methods and broke the issue down into the following categories: who, what, when, where and why. This process enabled me to compose a relevant proposition/statement that succinctly summarised the issue.

Who: the elderly, users with less computing knowledge and users that aren’t aware of the consequences

What: the boundaries are lack of awareness, wishful thinking, well-designed emails that look legitimate. If fixed there would be significantly less online fraud, less identity theft. If the issue is left unsolved more and more internet users will continue to be scammed, many unaware that they are the victim.

When: online scamming and email scamming occurs all the time with these emails becoming more and more believable with new technologies. Therefore the issue needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

Where: occurs all over the world to people with email accounts and adequate internet access (and in this technological age, there are a lot of email users). In terms of where physically, it occurs on laptops, computers, iPads/tablets and smartphones.

Why: the issue is important to fix to ensure people stop getting scammed. For regular home users, it would save them money and diminish fear. For corporate companies that have been mimicked in these scams it would help them regain the trust of their client base especially for those that were successfully scammed in the past. For hackers or the people that create the scams, it would put an end to their ‘business’ for the good of the community.

Proposition
Un-educated online users are getting scammed daily through emails and fake advertisements leading to avoidable fraud and identity theft.

Five point summary of possiblities

  1. Email preview before clicking on the actual email. This would allow users to preview the email and determine whether or not a scam is present without getting a virus.
  2. Website that shows the recent scams circulating so you know not to click on a certain email. Although this idea does currently exist, the layout and design of it is not clear or cohesive. It is also not updated as regularly as it should be.
  3. Creating a site or you send the email to, it will then confirm its ‘scam status’. This will give users peace of mind, as they do not have to open the email themselves, but simply forward it on and await a response from a secure site as to whether or not they should open it or follow the links included in the email.
  4. Generating an automatic email warning/sound for the account to play when you receive an email from an unknown sender. Although this would definitely alert the user when they receive an unknown email, it could prove to be quite annoying, especially for those who receive high numbers of emails per day.
  5. Creating a site that displays all the warning signs to a scam email. This idea seems like it has the most potential. Should be made easy to navigate with minimalist icons and symbols while also explaining in-depth the warning signs of a scam email. 

The purpose of this task is to identify possible ways that I could make a difference or contribute to change through my issue for 18-25 year olds. However, it was only after completing this brainstorming session and the mapping exercise (refer to post nine) that I realised the audience for my proposition does not match the target 18-25 year old group we are designing for. Upon realising this, I have decided to still focus on online users but lean towards the increasing cases of online fraud caused by websites (mainly airline and hotels) storing cookies.

I have altered my design proposition to the following:
Un-educated young adults are increasingly getting scammed online as they are unaware of web cookies and how they work to store information alongside their browsing history which continually pumps up prices especially on airline and hotel websites.

Header image:
Amazon 2016, Stills from The Proposal, viewed 20 September 2016, <https://www.amazon.com/Proposal-Two-Disc-Deluxe-Digital-Copy/dp/B002K0WBY6&gt;.

By Chloe Schumacher

Post Seven: Mapping to create change

Working in pairs groups in the week 5 tutorial workshop, many maps were generated that not only showcased different aspects of the data security/online privacy issue but also looked at the issue in greater depth. Drawing on the maps created in earlier tutorials, these new issue maps were able to incorporate new pieces of information as well as tackle new problems that had arisen.

Task 1 – map A

a-stakeholders
Data stakeholders map incorporating human and non-human actors

The first map revisited work completed in an earlier tutorial when we mapped out the stakeholders for our overall topics e.g data stakeholders. This updated map however was much more specific and included the human and non-human actors in each sector as well as the beginnings of how these sectors relate to one another. We found that a lot of the stakeholders intertwined with each other and shared many of the same points or human/non-human actors. For example, personal users, hackers, and government agencies made use of the technologies available in the cloud and government agencies often worked alongside hackers to better the online lives of personal users.

Task 2 – map B

b-terms
Polemics map discussing the controversies surrounding terms and conditions

This polemics map discussed the controversies, debates and disagreements while incorporating the main stakeholders involved. The map highlighted the main actors/stakeholders, where the tensions occurred as well as the emotions and motivations of these main actors. Initially this mapping task appeared relatively simple, but once we began to break down the actors/stakeholders and find the relationships between each one the map became extremely busy. However, we were able to use this map to understand that in the real online world, the actors/stakeholders are always intertwining, merging and changing, so we understood that we were getting more informed on topic as a whole.

Task 3 – map C

c-actor
Data privacy map discussed through an actor template

This map was created in a group of four and used an actor template to categorise a chosen area of data privacy/online security. The information was categories into the following groups: causes, people, objects, emotions, behaviours, identity, laws/regulations, assistance, networks, representations, politics, emotional climate and barriers. Looking at the issue in this way we were able to really seperate the issue and focus on one small aspect at a time – thus, breaking down the issue further created space for an important academic conversation.

Task 4 – map D

d-intelligence
Intelligence agencies mapped against categories to determine their actions in society

The final map followed on from the information explored in map C above but focused on just one actor and mapped that actor against hierarchies, issues/challenges, capacities, associates, politics and value alignments. Choosing intelligence agencies as the main actor, we were able to put ourselves ‘in the mind of an intelligence agency’ as such and understand the purpose of this actor in the data security/online privacy world. Similar to map C, this brought up a new conversation and we discussed the purpose of intelligence agencies and the benefits they have on society.

Reflection

Working in groups can often prove challenging (be it in the initial stages or throughout the process) but it is only in a group setting that the conversation can develop and ideas begin to be thrown around leading to relevant design ideas. As I had only been really focusing on my research idea alone, it was important to go ‘back to the drawing board’ and listen to the ideas of others. Each member in my group was also researching the same topic but the discussion came from very different perspectives, relative to each person’s individual research idea or area. In this scenario I found it critical to actively listen to each member and ask open ended questions to keep the conversation flowing.

On the surface, all the maps created in this class relate to my project as they all fit directly into the category of data surveillance and online privacy. Delving deeper into my refined idea of spam/scam emails and how users interact with these emails, there is still a relationship between the two but it is not as strongly defined as I would have liked. This is possibly due to the fact that the maps were created in a group setting; not everyone had the same research idea and therefore the conversation was not on one idea alone. The techniques and methods used to create these maps however, can be re-used again on my research idea to investigate the topic in greater depth.

By creating these maps the huge benefit in mapping ideas with the techniques used became clear. They create thought-provoking avenues of conversation within a group setting and by doing this, change can occur through any direction or topic discussed. The maps become the starting point as a regular  mind map does and each map created becomes more and more detailed until design problems and solutions are highlighted and the research aspect of the design process can begin.

References

Rogers, R., Sánchez-Querubín, N. & Kil, A. 2015, Issue Mapping for an Ageing Europe, OAPEN, Amsterdam.

Header image
Google 2016, Google Maps, viewed 5 September 2016, <https://www.google.com.au/maps&gt;.

By Chloe Schumacher

Post Six: #NigerianPrinceScam

This post will explore the use of Twitter as a web scraper. Twitter was founded in 2006 by a small team of people (Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass) and is an online social media platform for built for users to create messages of 140 characters or less as well as read them from other users on a timeline; this makes Twitter a great platform for news highlights. Twitter has been made into a very responsive website and app which can be viewed and used on all technological platforms; computers, iPads/tablets, smartphones and the Apple watch. Twitter users can only interact with other twitter users but the platform works well for images shared seamlessly from Instagram to Twitter. The main features of a tweet are outlined below.

display
[Sydney Morning Herald 2016] Example of a tweet incorporating a news headline and link to external article

Twitter’s re-tweet function, whereby users are able to share another users’ tweet on their own timeline, is one of the main functions available aside from actually tweeting. Similar to many other popular social media sites, Twitter incorporates a like or favourite button as well as a trending sidebar which lists the hashtags or topics that are being tweeted about the most. Direct messaging is another function on Twitter whereby instead of tweeting publicly, one can send a tweet or message privately to another user. In terms of unique qualities, Twitter was the first social media platform to incorporate the use of the now incredibly popular hashtags; by way of searching for topics and interacting with other users tweeting about that same topic. Another unique quality is Twitter’s Moments panel which provides the latest or most shared information in categories such as ‘today’, ‘news’, ‘sports’, ‘entertainment’ and ‘fun’. After a while, these moment’s articles become tailored to the individual user and the topics they interact with the most. Although Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters or less, many users live tweet or create a tweet thread with their thoughts by replying to one tweet over again to create a thread of messages.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 5.32.40 PM
[Twitter 2016] Twitter’s Moments page displaying the latest in daily news

Twitter has a very wide audience, mainly younger generations who are more frequent on social media sites, and can be accessed by anyone who can reach the site through mobile or online technology. As mentioned above, due to the character limit per tweet, many news platforms have taken to Twitter to share stories as the tweet length is perfect for news headlines for those without time to read the full story. These headlines entice people in to continue to read the rest of the story through the provided link. It is through these news stories that hashtags are generated and users continue to discuss the events often providing their own opinion. Tweets can range from news headlines to personal thoughts and inspirational quotes to including imagery such as memes, selfies, general photography and fashion – thus, almost everything can be tweeted about by almost everyone.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 7.41.31 PM
[Common White Girl 2016] Example of a tweet incorporating an image or meme
Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 7.38.42 PM
[Kinsella 2016] Example of a tweet using a trending hashtag
Other than the main purpose of tweeting, Twitter can also be used to generate large amounts of information on particular topics. By a simple word search the archiver can pull hundreds to thousands of tweets from Twitter and categorise them in a spreadsheet. Using this web scraper, I decided to inquire about the common Nigerian Prince email scam that many people receive. I firstly did a broad search on Twitter using the general search button and received the results below.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 6.11.30 PM
[Twitter 2016] Initial Twitter search of ‘nigerian prince scam’

Although the initial Twitter search of the phrase ‘nigerian prince scam’ did generate many tweets on the topic, I decided to investigate further using the Twitter Archiver to ascertain if the results would be starkly different. A flow chart of the main steps is pictured below.

flowchart

The search dialogue box is pictured below and the main phrase was used as well as additional words (‘email’, ‘fake’ and ‘money’) to further refine the search results. I also decided for the results to only include tweets in English as I would be unable to make sense of them in any other language.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 6.14.02 PM
Creating a search rule through the Twitter Archiver using additional terms of ‘email’, ‘fake’ and ‘money’

After creating the search rule, the Twitter Archiver began to generate the results and plot them in the spreadsheet opened. Although the actual tweets in the spreadsheet were the same as those I found in the initial Twitter search, the layout of the information was majorly different. Information such as each users’ screen name, full name, tweet, the app they tweeted on were displayed as well as that users’ Twitter bio, location of the tweet and basic statistics (number of followers/follows, retweets, favourites) as shown below.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 6.15.38 PM
Twitter Archiver’s search results displaying in a spreadsheet with added information about the tweet and Twitter user

The most recent (and the majority of) tweets using this Twitter Archiver appeared to show tweets from the USA in response to a news article regarding Donald Trump and due to these in-depth results, it was then interesting to look at the Twitter bios of these people to possibly determine why they are tweeting about the topic (e.g is it a topic they are involved in in some way as many of these users were) and this led me to pinpoint two of these tweeters, and investigate their initial tweets – one of the great features of the Twitter Archiver.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 8.24.44 PM
[(((AG))) 2016] Tweet referencing the ‘nigerian prince scam’ but in relation to the recent USA Presidential campaign
Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 8.23.20 PM
[¡Ay, yi No me gusta! 2016] Tweet using the ‘nigerian prince scam’ but in relation to online fraud through dating websites

Other than visualising this information in a spreadsheet, it would be very interesting to see how these tweets look on a world map. This would display where in the world each user tweeted from and in doing this one could then determine why some countries appear to discuss the issue more or less than others. Another visualisation is to display the dates of each tweet on an actual timeline as there could be many months where no-one would tweet about the topic, and some with an influx of tweets. This could be a result of government activity (as seen with the Trump tweets above) or even if there is a large amount of online email fraud occurring at one particular time.

Summary

  1. The Twitter archiver displays the same search results as using the basic Twitter search but the layout of the information is much more in-depth (displays users’ screen name, full name, tweet, the app they tweeted on were displayed as well as that users’ Twitter bio, location of the tweet and basic statistics).
  2. There are a variety of different ways to display the search results from the Twitter archiver including in a basic spreadsheet, on a world map (pin-pointing the location of each tweet), and displaying the tweets on a timeline (showing the when the topic was most discussed). 
  3. It was interesting to see that the majority of the tweets mentioning ‘Nigerian prince scam’ did not use the phrase in a hashtag.
  4. Many of the tweets displayed in the results were sent as a reply to a main tweet, creating and continuing the conversation which meant the tweets were mostly in response to the same single topic. Easy to see different points of view and watch the conversation move in different directions to gauge a common public opinion.
  5. The Twitter archiver does not enable the user to easily see and click on images/links. After completing the same search on Twitter itself, I found that the majority of tweets using this phrase did not actually include images but for the few that did, it would have been great to see them incorporated into the spreadsheet to easily map the results.

References

(((AG))) 2016, ‘Trumpkins are the people who send money to a Nigerian Prince, then get mad at you for pointing out it’s a scam.’, Twitter post, 30 August, viewed 5 September 2016, <https://twitter.com/AG_Conservative/status/770304527056658433?lang=en>.

¡Ay, yi No me gusta! 2016, ‘Nigerian prince scam IRL: fraudsters are infiltrating dating sites to fleece people out of their savings’, Twitter post, 1 September, viewed 5 September 2016, <https://twitter.com/rajesh_v/status/771282670722711552>.

Common White Girl 2016, ‘I already lost the headphones just by lookin at the pic’, Twitter post, 3 September, viewed 5 September 2016, <https://twitter.com/CommonWhiteGrls/status/771862274856411136>.

Kinsella, C. 2016, ‘#HowToConfuseAMillennial Destroy the housing market, Replace grad jobs with unpaid internships, Tell them to buy a house’, Twitter post, 4 September, viewed 5 September 2016, <https://twitter.com/TVsCarlKinsella/status/772422941715890176>.

Sydney Morning Herald 2016, ‘‘Significant breach’: ANZ to return $28.8m to customers’, Twitter post, 5 September, viewed 5 September 2016, <https://twitter.com/smh/status/772683227177820160>.

Twitter 2016, Twitter, viewed 5 September 2016, <https://twitter.com/?lang=en>.

Header image
Business Insider 2016, Donald Trump cast a gigantic shadow over the Fox News debate, viewed 5 September 2016, <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/donald-trump-fox-news-debate-veterans-event-megyn-kelly-2016-1?r=US&IR=T&gt;.

By Chloe Schumacher

Post Five: Are junk emails trustworthy?

To appeal to a target group of 18-28 year olds, a set of five questions were devised in order to determine how much knowledge a member of this said target audience has on the topic of data surveillance and online privacy. These questions, acting more as conversation starters than direct questions, provided a much more personal insight into the data world in relation to the secondary research carried out previously.

Interview Questions:

  1. Have you ever received a scam email? Describe its contents.
  2. How did you know this was a scam or a legitimate email? What features gave this away?
  3. Do you think people should have the same level of privacy for their belongings and assets online as they do with belongings and assets in real life? 
  4. Who should be at fault if someone falls for a scam email or similar? The person who clicks the links, or the person who creates the links?
  5. Do you go to any lengths to ensure your privacy/safety online? (e.g using separate emails, not using location services, covering webcams/microphone).

The interview questions were asked to a peer not currently researching data surveillance and online privacy and therefore the answers were somewhat cautious and guarded as they could only relate to personal experience or what they had seen recently in current affairs rather than in-depth secondary research on the topic. This garnered a much more ‘real life’ response to the questions and issues presented which is extremely useful to understand and consider when investigating the topic of data surveillance and online privacy as a whole.

Interview Responses:

  1. Haven’t received any to my direct inbox, only to my junk mail inbox. They usually say “you’ve won money” etc.
  2. I didn’t recognise the sender of the email and I hadn’t entered my details into anything that related to the email. It’s all about reliability.
  3. Facebook and Google are all about tailored advertising which is creepy and an invasion of privacy – people should be asked if something is going to be seen elsewhere on the internet. However, the same people are usually those who illegally download so I guess it works both ways.
  4. If it is something recognisably fake or something that looks explicitly like a scam then it’s your fault as you should be more aware. But if the scam looks real then it isn’t so much your fault but there should be more privacy awareness around the issue – just depends on the situation.
  5. I have an AdBlocker on my laptop which prevents a lot of things like tailored advertising etc. Always have social media accounts on private. I try not to use geotagging on images on Instagram or Facebook. I don’t visit untrustworthy sites.

From these responses, I decided to investigate the scam email issue further by attempting to discover if people actually trusted any junk emails they were sent. I conducted a probe kit to be filled out over a week and garnered the response shown below.

probe 1
Instructions provided for the scam email probe kit
probe
Response from the scam email probe kit after one week

After receiving the probe kit back, I realised my instructions could have been more detailed and should have included a section to write why the particular email was deemed trustworthy or not. This would have provided a better insight into the aesthetic features of emails that some are so quickly to write off as scams. Despite this minor failure, I was able to understand that people do have the ability to determine whether or not they trust an email or not and this opens up a whole new argument of why some users are so well-informed in this area and why some users are not informed at all; an area which I will be researching further.

Five Point Summary:

  1. People definitely have the ability to determine the trustworthiness of an email.
  2. The emails the user marked as trustworthy were from well-known senders which obviously influenced this tick of approval.
  3. Junk/scam emails are definitely more common to receive in the junk email folder than ‘trustworthy’ emails (as suspected). I’m interested to know if there is an algorithm that determines this.
  4. Junk emails aren’t always scam emails – the probe kit should have asked the user to actually determine if the email was a scam email (fraudulent etc) not just a junk or spam email.
  5. The probe kit should have specified to include a reason behind why they listed an email as trustworthy or not – this would have then been great to test on other groups to see if the reasons were similar.

Header Image
Email sourced from a personal account

By Chloe Schumacher

Post Three: A world of hackers

After an initial brainstorm session and then in-depth research surrounding data surveillance and online privacy, it can be seen that the main stakeholders appear to be government agencies, personal users, online/cloud, social media users, businesses, hackers and law enforcement groups.

Although there is a much larger audience for such a topic, these stakeholders appear to cover the main groups and provide an overview of the data privacy/surveillance topic. By mapping these stakeholders, it becomes easier to gain an understanding of the topic as a whole with each stakeholder critically influences the next, especially the ‘hackers’, who definitely hold the strongest ties to each group mapped below.

stakeholdermap_blog
Data surveillance/online privacy stakeholders map

The following ten images relate to or represent an aspect of data surveillance and/or online privacy in some way or another. Through researching and archiving these images a different aspect of the topic is showcased which leads to a much more in-depth knowledge of the issue overall.

Image One

privacy cartoon2
[Slane n.d.] The Privacy Trainwreck
A political cartoon, this image portrays two government officials (or so they seem by their formal work attire) ‘stealing’ both online and paper form documents as well as wire-tapping calls without cause. Many law enforcement and government agencies monitor public and personal online activity without informing the individual user and without any real reason to do so in the hope they find something of any importance – a clear invasion of privacy. Current news articles do explore this issue but without blatantly placing blame on any party and always ensuring there is a reason behind the online surveillance search, whereas this cartoon displays the opposite.

Image Two

emailscam2
[Screenshot of personal email] No lies, no scams.
This image was sourced from a personal email account in the junk mail folder. Clearly a scam email, the content explains how to receive ‘earnings of $498,651 per month’ by clicking on certain links to complete online surveys. This email is the most detailed representation of a scam email as it includes all the warning signs that many newspaper or journal articles explore; multiple links, details about large sums of money, rhetorical questions, words such as ‘fake’, ‘profits’, ‘scams’, ‘millionaire’. Even at first glance this email appears extremely fraudulent; the sender ‘Become a Millionaire’ and the subject line alone ‘no lies, no scams’ are enough to determine this.

Image Three

the_data-protection_paradox_553326
[Big Data Partnership 2016] Data protection and privacy
This image is possible one of the first images to appear on a Google search of ‘online privacy’ or ‘data surveillance’ and therefore is the most stereotypically common thing to think of when imagining these topics. However, nothing about this image directly relates to data privacy. The hooded figure, supposedly a hacker, appears behind lines of ‘code’, which is actually binary numbers mixed with the word ‘password’ in red. The purpose of the image is to create an aura of fear with password protection. Although this image is not a reliable source at all in terms of data surveillance or online privacy, it does provide a commercial or public overview of the topics as something to be feared which hopefully leads to people being more cautious online.

Image Four

AAEAAQAAAAAAAARiAAAAJDgzMzA5YTkwLTUwZWItNDVhZi05YTFlLTExZDgwNmUwMGE0OQ-1
[Breen n.d.] Data Mining
This cartoon uses modern day technology ‘necessities’ to show that the more devices one owns, the less privacy you have. These days it is almost a form of high status or class to be in ownership of the latest technological device.The man in the cartoon appears to be so involved in obtaining this high status that he is very ironically unaware of his surroundings, more specifically the ‘data mining’ headline on the newsstand. Devices such as smartphones, smartwatches and Google Glass, as pictured in the cartoon, do have their personal benefits (allowing the user to work better, organise their life, keep in touch with friends and family, etc). But in terms of privacy and data surveillance it is quite easy to say that people who own these items have very little (if any) online privacy.

Image Five

anonymous-data
[Maheshwari 2008] Anonymous Data

Anonymous Data makes light of contracts to emphasise how many online contracts almost force the user to accept the contract otherwise they will not be able to make use of the website or service. It also touches on, in some way, how clueless many users are when it comes to submitting personal information online. The cartoon portrays an online user reaching a privacy policy but instead of the usual ‘I agree’ or ‘I disagree’ options, both state the former. It provides a ‘dumbed down’ version of an everyday online privacy policy, one the user is forced to accept or they cannot make use of the online service.

Image Six

6a0115709c6f9d970b01538e472c37970b
[Slane n.d.] Three Bears
This cartoon uses the age-old children’s tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears to represent online privacy in a more relatable fashion and in a very modern context. In this cartoon, ‘Goldilocks’ has trawled through the bears’ computers terminating their online privacy, rather than making use of their bed, porridge or chairs as is told in the original story. ‘Goldilocks’ in this cartoon could be pinned as government officials, law enforcement agencies or hackers but this is left to the viewers’ own imagination.

Image Seven

130812wiretap
[Nimmo 2013] Federal judge rules NSA surveillance legal
An almost direct play on Shepard Fairey’s 2008 ‘HOPE’ poster designed for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, this image almost reverses the positive influences of Obama and makes very public claims of the governments’ relentless and unnecessary wiretapping. As the original image was so iconic and well-known, this poster becomes incredibly eye-catching and therefore is a much stronger and instant representation of a somewhat corrupt government than is portrayed in news articles.

Image Eight

facebook-online-privacy
[Stahler 2010] Online Privacy
This cartoon focuses on online privacy in a social media sense. Using the iconic ‘Facebook’ webpage, the image portrays a regular user on the website but in a fish bowl. The purpose of the fishbowl is to represent the fact that there is no privacy when it comes to social media, much like there is no privacy for a fish in a glass fish bowl; every move is being watched and monitored. The views presented in this image do not differ much from what is being represented in current news articles but in an image form, the moral or message becomes a lot clearer in this visual form as shown above.

Image Nine

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[Golden Frog 2016] Internet privacy concerns affecting online shopping, banking habits
This vector image of a shadowed hand reaching for a credit card through a tablet represents the increasingly common issue of online fraud. Those who shop online or who willingly add their bank details online are at risk of online fraud as many do not take the required precautions to ensure their privacy, and even those that do are still not safe as hackers are almost always smarter than the system in place to stop them. Although in a vector format which usually takes away a lot of emotion, the image is still powerful and therefore is a better representation of this online fraud than a text article. This is because looking at an image to gain information over an article is often a much quicker process.

Image Ten

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[Skipper 2013] Declassified FBI files detail secret surveillance team
This photograph, similar to image three is a very visual representation of a hackers’ world. Much more reliable than image three, this image portrays what can be assumed as an FBI employee trawling through the online world through multiple screens and devices. The image as a whole has a very threatening appeal and therefore does differ from a lot of current news or text articles available on the topic of online privacy and data surveillance. Often articles fail to bring across the element of fear when the content requires it but in an image form it becomes easier.

References

Big Data Partnership 2016, Data protection and privacy in big data: how to healthcare and banking handle sensitive customer information, viewed 28 September 2016, <https://www.bigdatapartnership.com/2016/03/15/data-protection-privacy-big-data-healthcare-banking-handle-sensitive-customer-information/>.

Breen, S. n.d. Data Mining, viewed 28 September 2016, Creators, <https://www.creators.com/features/steve-breen>.

Golden Frog 2016, Internet privacy concerns affecting online shopping, banking habits, viewed 28 September 2016, <https://www.goldenfrog.com/blog/internet-privacy-concerns-affecting-online-shopping-banking-habits-us>.

Maheshwari, A. 2008, Anonymous Data, Brainstuck, viewed 28 September 2016, <https://brainstuck.com/2008/06/24/anonymous-data/>.

Nimmo, K. 2013, Federal judge rules NSA surveillance legal, Prison Planet, viewed 28 September 2016, <http://www.prisonplanet.com/federal-judge-rules-nsa-surveillance-legal.html>.

Slane, C. n.d., Three bears, Slane Cartoons, viewed 28 September 2016,  <http://www.slane.co.nz/slane_privacy_sampler1.html>.

Slane, C. n.d., The Privacy Trainwreck, Slane Cartoons, viewed 28 September 2016, <http://www.slane.co.nz/privacy_cartoons.html>.

Skipper, J. 2013, Declassified FBI files detail secret surveillance team, RT News, viewed 28 September 2016, <https://www.rt.com/usa/fbi-epic-stingray-cell-942/>.

Stahler, J. 2010, Online Privacy, TechPP, viewed 28 September 2016, <http://techpp.com/2012/02/23/white-house-unveils-plan-to-protect-online-privacy/>.

 

Post Four: Branger Briz’s Probe Kit

Branger Briz, an interactive design studio based in Miami, created Probe Kit in 2015 in collaboration with fellow software designer Brannon Dorsey. A satirical prototype, Probe Kit is able to show all the recent wifi connections from any digital device and displays data including pin pointing where the wifi hotspot was located on a map.

[Branger Briz 2015]

Each device shows up on the interface of anyone who has the Probe Kit software as a coloured butterfly – so as the more devices in the area, the more coloured butterflies appear on screen. The user is then able to use this data to understand the daily routine and frequented locations of each individual they are tracking including their favourite coffee shops, their work place, nearby shopping centres and even their home address. It collects device information, vendor information and local networks and migration patterns as explored above and shown below.

installation_screenshot
Probe Kit interface displaying vendor information, local networks and migration patterns [Branger Briz 2015]

The purpose of the piece is to inform users of any digital device of how easy it can be for a hacker to access personal information; “aimed at illustrating how simple it is to collect personal network data and how much can be inferred from that data” (Branger Briz 2015). Although designed only to show ease of access to networks, the piece can also be used to investigate suspicious activities of friends or family as seen below through these frequented or even random wifi logins.

“If a wife were suspicious about her husband, she could check the queries his cell phone was making and see if his past logins square with places she’d expect him to visit (around work and home). Does he have a lot of inexplicable logins in Greenpoint, for example? Because everyone knows there’s only one reason to go to Greenpoint.”
[Dale 2015]

Looking at Branger Briz’s Probe Kit briefly it is easy say that a laptop and some form of code that incorporates GPS tracking are the main materials or technologies utilised which isn’t completely incorrect, but there is much more involved. Probe Kit can be broken down into three main functions in the code. The first being ‘probe requests’ and this comes from each device already broadcasting the network names they have connected to (for example the wifi network list on a mobile phone). The second function is ‘monitor mode’ in which Probe Kit sets your device to automatically decode the probe requests within a certain distance around your device; so it can automatically access information from devices within this distance. The final function of the code is the ‘data inference’ which utilises geotagging and a MAC or Media Access Control address (very similar to a serial number and represents a single device). These are able to accumulate extreme pieces of information about devices and their respective owners in a nearby radius. Each single device is then represented on the users’ screen as a single coloured butterfly as shown in the gif below. The larger the butterfly, the more network connections it has; meaning more data can be scraped and investigated.

butterflies
Probe Kit interface displaying nearby devices represented as coloured butterflies [Branger Briz 2015]

Through this code, the user is then able to save devices they have inquired about, filter their search and then cross-reference their data collection with collated data from other cities or areas. Although the idea for Probe Kit was original and innovative, the code itself was built using script from a range of pre-existing projects or script libraries such as Wireshark, Node.js, NW.js, WiGLE.net and MapBox. This adds to the emergent practice nature of the design as it is able to use new and existing technologies to create something extremely innovative.

Initially designed, as mentioned above, to illustrate the simplicity of collecting personal network data, Branger Briz has made Probe Kit available to the general public to download and use for personal use and to further emphasise this very idea of how easily data can be accessed. The code is available on Github (a site for online hosting and discussion) and provides a step-by-step tutorial of how to go about downloading the data tracking software onto a personal device.

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Code for installation of Probe Kit available on GitHub [GitHub 2015]

Probe Kit emphasises and dramatises just how easy it is for hackers to access large amounts of rather personal information. But although this has been carried out in a less threatening fashion, these vulnerabilities should not be ignored and users should be cautiously aware of just how much personal data can be accessed so seamlessly.

References:

Branger Briz 2015, Probe Kit, viewed 20 August 2016, <http://probekit.brangerbriz.com/>.

Branger_Briz 2015, Probe Kit, videorecording, Vimeo, viewed 20 August 2016, <https://vimeo.com/131566939>.

Dale, B. 2015, ‘Hackers Map the Travels of Passers-By in Eye-Catching Art Installation’, Observer, 9 March, viewed 19 August 2016, <http://observer.com/2015/09/privacy-art-installation-probe-kit-branger-briz-brannon-dorsey/>.

Dorsey, B. 2015, ProbeKit, GitHub, viewed 20 August 2016, <https://github.com/brannondorsey/ProbeKit>.

Gosling, E. 2015, Online privacy, oversharing and tech that’s beautiful: Frequency brings us them all, It’s Nice That, viewed 20 August 2016, <http://www.itsnicethat.com/features/frequency-festival>.

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Branger Briz 2016, Branger Briz, viewed 20 August 2016, <http://brangerbriz.com/>.

By Chloe Schumacher

Post One: The end of online privacy

The computing age is well and truly upon us and although it has brought a multitude of opportunities and experiences of all types, the heavy downside is the shocking loss of online privacy. Users are falling for traps and getting scammed, with every move being watched, but where should the line be drawn? The authors of the following five articles have explored these ideas further.

Source 1

Data retention and the end of Australians’ digital privacy’ was written in August, 2015 by author Quentin Dempster, a contributing editor for the Sydney Morning Herald. Due to the author belonging to a professional body, and recent date of the text, this can be deemed trustworthy. Although previous articles written by Dempster appear to showcase a negative feeling towards the ‘metadata age’ this particular article appears objective, just holding an extremely thought-provoking subject matter.

Dempster’s article explores the end of digital privacy of Australians, explaining that from October 13 2015, all digital and electronic information will be logged by companies, thus ending said privacy of Australians. The text further outlines that specific agencies will have unlimited access to these records. Over time, this data will slowly accumulate, showcasing ‘patterns of communication’ for each individual.

An interactive feature is included at the end of the article allowing the reader to understand what data the government, and other agencies, will have access to allowing the reader to see that it is a factual and well-researched topic. Due to the very limited bias present, and the nature of the article, it is difficult to agree or disagree with the author, as the purpose of this text is to raise awareness and inform readers of this new privacy change.

Source 2

US government data surveillance under a cloud as Microsoft launches legal challenge’ is an interview hosted by Nick Grimm from an ABC Radio segment ‘The World Today’. The interview was carried out in April 2016 and therefore can be seen as a trustworthy source in terms of belonging to a professional body with a very recent reporting date.

The interview focuses primarily on the influential technology company Microsoft, and their recent lawsuit in which they are fighting to win the right to inform users of when their online activity is being followed/monitored by authorities or the government. Grimm interviews industry professionals to gain insight into this situation and to see how this issue stands with society and to understand where technology and online privacy should sit with the law; should people get the same level of privacy online as they do in real life.

Due to the nature of this report, an interview, it is difficult to ascertain the factual nature of what is being said, but it is clear that this is an opinion based report with bias present from each party interviewed. Although Grimm, the reporter, attempts to refrain from bias, it can be seen that he is pro-privacy laws, which is the same stance of all interviewees in this report, and therefore the common position in society.

Source 3

The author, Simon Benson, has written‘Cyber security package will boost Australia’s spy agency resources’, for the news outlet The Daily Telegraph. Benson does appear to be a regular contributor to this outlet but not on this topic of cyber/data security. Although The Daily Telegraph may be seen as a ‘professional body’, due to personal differences and very biased articles in the past, I find it difficult to pin this particular article as trustworthy.

The article, published in April 2016 explores the recent budget allowance from the Turnbull government to ‘boost spy agency resources’ in order to ensure the safety of Australian industries including banking, transport, communications and defence. The purpose of the budget boost is to help fight the ‘enemy’ that is cyber terrorism.

Although the article does feature minor biased comments “the most spectacular recent cyber intrusions have originated from China” (Benson, 2016), the majority of the text seems factual and well-researched incorporating financial figures throughout. The author’s bias stems from a common position in society portraying Australia  as the victim in this cyber battle; something I do not agree with completely.

Source 4

The article ‘Marc Zuckerberg covers his laptop and you should too’ was written by Katie Rogers for The New York Times; a respected international news outlet, and then published in the Australian Financial Review, another highly regarded outlet. Using quotes from experts throughout, this article is well-researched and the news outlet and recent publishing date (June 2016) further push this text to be seen as trustworthy.

The article introduces Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and his experience with life online, sharing many aspects with the billions of Facebook users worldwide. The article primarily focuses on the fact that Zuckerberg, despite his large online presence, still feels a need to tape over his camera and microphone ports on his laptop.

The author, Rogers, explains this could be to prevent hackers gaining access to his device, but then goes on to mention this ‘concern’ or ‘paranoia’ which is becoming an increasingly popular feeling in society. The incorporated interviews with experts in the technology field as well as the fact this was initially published in the NYT allow this text to be seen as primarily factual and the author seems to be leaning towards the societal norm, that cyber hacking is not only very real but that it can happen to anyone.

Source 5

As surveillance gets smart, hackers get smarter’ was written by Monique Mann and Michael Wilson, both law graduates and esteemed professionals or experts in the industry as indicated in their ‘about’ sections alongside the article. Both authors have written about the topic previously and hence, both can be seen as highly motivated to not only write this article but to ensure it is well-researched. Published very recently in July 2016 for The Conversation, this text can definitely be seen as a trustworthy source.

The title of the article itself is instantly thought-provoking and draws the reader to the text especially with the featured tagline “It’s a cat and mouse game that could put our online privacy and security at risk” (Mann & Wilson 2016). The text explores themes of privacy law in the digital age, government agencies being granted unlimited access to data online, and continues on discussing security and the enemy of cyber hackers.

Both authors appear to have the same stance on the topic of data surveillance, once again seeing society as the victim against hackers. This view is very common in society today and is one that I agree with somewhat but not completely as I believe individuals do have a certain level of personal security they can opt into but often choose to overlook.

Further investigation

Having immersed myself in the current affairs of the online privacy world I have found that the online scams vs. victims field is one I think is worth investigating in depth as well as online privacy and online data collection. Looking at how individuals respond to these issues, especially online scams, are rather intriguing areas in terms of research as there are many factors to be taken into account prior to placing blame on one particular party.

References

Benson, S. 2016, ‘Cyber security package will boost Australia’s spy agency resources’, The Daily Telegraph, 21 April, viewed 27 July 2016,<http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/cyber-security-package-will-boost-australias-spy-agency-resources/news-story/96aa189b3f66955cee875e8f9a59f881>.

Dempster, Q. 2015, ‘Data retention and the end of Australians’ digital privacy’, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 August, viewed 28 July 2016, <http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/data-retention-and-the-end-of-australians-digital-privacy-20150827-gj96kq.html>.

Grimm, N. 2016, US government data surveillance under a cloud as Microsoft launches legal challenge, The World Today, ABC Radio, Sydney, 15 April, viewed 28 July 2016, <http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2016/s4443961.htm>.

Mann, M & Wilson M. 2016, ‘As surveillance gets smart, hackers get smarter’, The Conversation, 28 July, accessed 27 July 2016, <http://theconversation.com/as-surveillance-gets-smart-hackers-get-smarter-62773>.

Rogers, K. 2016, ‘Mark Zuckerberg covers his laptop camera and you should too’, Australian Financial Review, 23 June, viewed 26 August 2016, <http://www.afr.com/technology/web/security/mark-zuckerberg-covers-his-laptop-camera-and-you-should-too-20160623-gppvwy>.

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Giphy 2016, Keeping Up With The Kardashians Kris Jenner Classic, viewed 28 July 2016, <http://giphy.com/gifs/keeping-up-with-the-kardashians-kris-jenner-classic-qE1Vxd7SHLFaU>.

By Chloe Schumacher

Post Two: When it comes to scams, you’re at fault.

Online fraud, email scams and phishing are becoming increasingly common in the computing world today but although the hackers are creating the problem, it is the victim who is at fault for falling for the trap.

Written by psychology and computing academics from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, Jones, Towse and Race, ’Susceptibility to email fraud: a review of psychological perspectives, data-collection methods, and ethical considerations’ provides an insight into the psychological perspectives that should be considered when analysing online fraud, particularly scam emails. The authors in this particular article believe that the decision to respond/ignore scam emails comes down to persuasive techniques (familiarity), human interaction (trust), and the cognitive makeup (memory, self-control) of each user (Jones, Towse & Race 2015). This therefore links those able to identify email fraud and phishing to people with greater knowledge or experience in the computing and online world.

[TED 2016]

Similarly, Mansfield-Devine in ‘Mobile security: it’s all about behaviour’ discusses mobile security hacking and it’s link to users in the workforce. Mansfield-Devine proposes that although mobile phone software does have its issues, it is the individual most likely at fault in the event of mobile fraud; “the average user, in most cases, isn’t educated enough to really understand what it means” (Mansfield-Devine 2014). The article goes on to explain that the two biggest user mistakes that lead to this fraud are firstly downloading unofficial apps from unofficial app stores and secondly not paying close attention to warnings when updating software or apps. Hence, mobile fraud shares a clear link with patterns of human behaviour as we saw mentioned in the first article.

Furthermore, Cole, Datar and Rogers in ‘Awareness of Scam E-Mails: An Exploratory Research Study – Part 2’ once again argue that human behaviour and computing knowledge are huge factors in whether or not an individual is able to recognise email/online fraud. These authors agree, as Jones, Towse and Race do, that familiarity is crucial; “some of the common practices to identify email scams are verifying the sender, checking email headers, checking hyperlinks within the email without clicking them” (Cole, Datar & Rogers 2015).

It can be seen that victims of email scams, online fraud and phishing share a clear link to people with a ‘lesser’ knowledge of the online world. Although the scams may appear to pose only a minor problem, it is these same people that can be further linked with victims of identity theft, a major, often overlooked issue in society.

References

Cole, K.A., Datar, T.D., & Rogers, M.K. 2015, ‘Awareness of Scam E-Mails: An Exploratory Research Study – Part 2’, in J.I. James & F. Breitinger (eds), Data forensics and cyber crime, Springer International Publishing, IN, USA, pp. 115-125.

Jones, H., Towse, J., & Race, N. 2015, ‘Susceptibility to email fraud: a review of psychological perspectives, data-collection methods, and ethical considerations’, International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 13-29.

Mansfield-Devine, S. 2014, ‘Mobile security: it’s all about behaviour’, Network Security, vol. 2014, no. 11, pp. 16-20.

TED 2016, This is what happens when you reply to spam email | James Veitch, videorecording, YouTube, viewed 9 August 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QdPW8JrYzQ>.

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Email sourced from a personal account

By Chloe Schumacher