All posts by Ariana Lao

More on Anon..

Was the BBC’s documentary on  Anonymous from my last post too long for you? Well, fret no longer!

I will post comprehensive links and videos to give you a better picture of what Anonymous is, and their history (without having to watch an hour long film).

HABBO Hotel: First major hack from Anonymous

Let’s start off with a simple timeline from Wikipedia (I know, it’s not the most credible source, but hey it’s not like we’re writing a research paper or anything).

If you’re looking for something a little more credible then you can look here (the timeline stops at 2012).

You might have noticed the involvement of the FBI in some of their activities, which have lead to the arrest of some Anonymous members. From the documentary, it seems that those who were arrested don’t regret their decision, just the way they went about it. To help their community members Anonymous has a legal handbook that details what charges they could face for their activities. Take a look at it because I think you would find it interesting.

Next, let’s go onto some current events:

Anonymous and Israel

Anonymous is targeting the Israeli government for “bombing, killing and kidnapping of the Palestinian people.” They plan to create an “electronic Holocaust” by erasing the government from the cyberspace (this means taking down servers, government sites, banks, etc). While their cause has good intentions, what do you think about their approach? If Anonymous was somehow tracking my blog, what advice would you give them (or how would you proceed)?

Tell me in the comments below, and I’ll see you next time!

Changing the World, One Hack at a Time

This week’s lesson went a little differently, instead of reading multiple articles we got to also watch a video! Yayy!

The BBC documentary goes over the origins of hacking, and the hacker group Anonymous.

I’m sure you’ve heard of them, but how well do you really know them?

Anonymous originated from a website known as 4chan. If you go on this website it looks like we did a #tbt to the 90’s. Anyway, back to the main point, Anonymous is famous throughout the world for their hacking. The video describes the history of Anonymous, and also interviews current members.

From the video I found a couple of things shocking. One of them was the Internet’s ability to bring people together. This was shown through their protests, not through their computers, but in real life.

Again, the Internet is a powerful tool.

It showed that the group was not only comprised of immature teenage boys, but of all kinds of people.

Another thing that I found surprising Anonymous’s ability in general. In Egypt they were able to bypass the overpowering regime and provide means of communication for the people. Not only that, they were educating people on how to do it themselves, and even added medical information on tear gas, and how to make tear gas masks in the pdfs they sent out.

So far they don’t sound too bad right?

Well, there are some actions by Anonymous that are praiseworthy, there are also others that make me question the values and ethics of the group.

For example this recent article regarding the possible release of a sex tape demonstrates an invasion of privacy. The film also gives more examples of things the group has done the is questionable, so go take a look at the video.

Now that you’ve watched the video, what’s your take on Anonymous? Tell me in the comments, and I’ll see you next time!

The Art of Trolling

See what I did there?

So, you want to learn more about trolling? Then let’s get started!

Feeling scholarly?


Then take a look at this article examining the psychological effects of Internet trolling.


Trolling is a art

Wait… Don’t you mean *an art? Nope, it’s supposed to be that way, read about why it’s like that here.

Video time!

Introducing Troll Science…. If someone explained some complex physics problem online would you know if it was correct or not?

So guys, know your meme, and know when you’re being trolled.

That’s it for this post, let me know what you guys thought about it, and anything else I forgot to include.

Phreaking, Hacking, and Trolling

So this week we are reading Gabriella Coleman’s article “Phreaks, Hackers, and Trolls: The Politics of Transgression and Spectacle.”

Most of us have never heard of phreaks before (I had no clue what it was when I began reading the article). They’re basically the early versions of hackers. Wayyy back in the 1960s (I know that’s a long time) they modified phone frequencies to do not only make phone calls free, but to also gain information (they pretended to be scary information collecting companies and tricked people into giving out their social security numbers, credit card numbers, you know, the good stuff.)

I know what you’re thinking, those kind of phones actually existed before? Yes, they did.


More computer enthusiasts joined the phreaking movement, which later lead to hacking. Hackers are people who manipulate and modify computer networks to gain unauthorized access to data. In current news we see hacker groups take on governments and corporations. Sometimes they do this to highlight the security holes in a software, other times they do it to prove a point. Hacking can include a variety of things, such as simply stealing a password, or something as complex as taking control over a computer network.

This picture makes it seem as if hackers are criminals, but are they really? Well, it all depends on the context I think. If a hackers is able to get take control of a terrorist group’s social media accounts I think it’s a good thing. However, if a hacker decides to release nude pictures (like what happened recently with many celebrities, such as Jennifer Lawrence) then I think it is an invasion of privacy, and is totally wrong.

Here is a totally stereotypical idea of an Internet troll

Next, the article goes on about trolling. I believe that griefing is related to trolling (we’ve already covered this before, hopefully you still remember it). It is the intentional disturbance caused to get a reaction/response. You see this everywhere on the Internet, online games, Youtube, Twitter, etc. Most of the time I it doesn’t bothers me, however, others can take it more personally than I do. So do they really cause harm, or are they mere tricksters? Coleman ends the article by asking a similar question. Again, I  believe that it depends on the context.

So what do you think? Are trollers just tricksters? What are your thoughts on hackers, and phreakers (although there might not be anymore phreakers today)?

Let me know in your comments, and I’ll see you in my next post!

Freedom for all.. Or not

This is a continuation of my last post about the way the Internet democratizes the media, social activism, and politics.

This would happen if ISPs had it their way.


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I am all for saving the internet, so look at this site to see how you can stop mergers (this prevents the development of a monopolistic Internet) and create real neutrality on the net.


Feeling a little scholarly? Take a look at this article arguing over whether the Internet is a an open market, or a monopolistic competition.

Additionally, we see social media becoming increasingly important in politics. This effect is similar to the introduction of the television and the beginning of televised presidential elections (not only did you have to be qualified for the position, but the way you held yourself, and your appearance also affected your chance at winning the position). If you want to learn more about the effects of the Internet on politics take a look at this video (note: the video is a little long):


Internet Democracy

Looks like a fun game, I would play it


For lesson 10 we are also reading Astra Taylor’s chapter “Unequal Uptake,” which focuses on whether the Internet has a democratic nature, and whether it is an equal space or not.

Shouldn’t governments be all for democracy?

Let’s begin with whether the Internet democratizes the media, activism, and politics. I believe that the Internet does democratize the media, activism, and politics to some extent, however, there are always exceptions.

Every user online has the ability to create, post, and share what they believe is important, or will make a difference. By doing so, they are able to become a part of the media, and have the ability to make a difference. I believe that this the democratic part of the Internet.

The Internet can be a powerful tool.

Some examples would include the success of the infamous Ice Bucket Challenge. After countless videos, and celebrities spreading awareness, the organization was able to raise close to a billion dollars towards finding a cure for ALS. The ability for people to share their opinions with like-minded people towards a greater cause makes the Internet a powerful tool. Another example where this occurred was when social media was credited for overthrowing the Tunisian government. By look at these examples we can see that the Internet gives users the ability to make a choice, and by doing so they can have power to change the course of the media, activism, and politics.

This is what money can do.

However, there are times when we see this go the opposite way. A prime example of this is BP’s oil spill. They bought out search terms from Google that promoted sites with positive views on BP and the actions they were taking to clean up the spill. By doing so, BP’s sites could’ve pushed down other sites that might’ve provided a more unbiased view on the matter.

Save the baby!


In addition to this, we see the Internet leading more towards a monopoly. If you’re familiar with the debates on net neutrality then you know what I’m talking about. If ISPs have the ability to control the speeds of different websites it could put smaller websites at a disadvantage. This could even affect large corporations whose site have huge amounts of traffic and as a result would get regulated by ISPs more.


So what are your thoughts on this? Do you believe that the Internet is a democratic space that provides every user with free and equal access to information? Are monopolies taking over the Internet, and is it a good or bad thing?

Let me know your thoughts, and I’ll get back to ya’ll soon with another post!

A Deeper Look: Prejudices and Inequalities

Interested in technology’s relationship with prejudice and widening the gap between races? Well look no further! This post will give you more information continuing from my last post!

baby-and-computerFeeling a little scholarly? Check this article out, it’s about how race relations changed after the introduction of the Internet

Interested in the Internet’s relationship with other social matters other than race, then take a look at this conference on race, gender, feminism, and the internet (it’s a little long, so make sure you have enough time to watch it):


Sometimes internet activism tries to narrow the bridges between race, and break prejudices, however there is some debate on it’s effectiveness.

Take a look at these sites, and tell me what you think.

If internet activism doesn’t help mend the gaps and prejudices that are created online, then what are some solutions you think will work?

Let me know your responses in the comments below!

Is Equality Possible on the Web?

This week we are still reading boyd’s It’s Complicated. The chapter we read, “Inequality,” discusses the networked lives of young people and how technology can widen the division between races, and social classes. Let’s connect the boyd reading with some current events.

The points that boyd makes in her chapter, “Inequality,” are very relevant, and can be applied in many situations online, and in real life. The talk about race has been prominent in the news lately with the Ferguson trials, and the shooting of Trayvon Martin.  During these events, and other similar cases, there have been comments on social media that range from the extremes on both sides of the spectrum (supporting the officer, and supporting Michael Brown) and a variety of dialogue occurred on social media, both positive and negative.

**Disclaimer: this article does not represent my opinion on the matters discussed. It is merely an example used for analyzing how the Internet can cause increased levels of inequalities and prejudices in the youth’s networked lives.**

After the shooting an infamous tag was born #blacklivesmatter. Positive, peaceful protests have occurred using the hashtag.

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A very powerful photo.


Even photos that tugged your heartstrings appeared:

Much feels.


However, violent riots, and support for these violent acts also emerged:

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Does this make sense?


In response to this others have called for increased hostility towards them, and in turn, it incites a new kind of hate. (This point is made in boyd’s example of Alexandra Wallace and threats she faced after posting her video)

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Be careful about what you post on Twitter.


These type of tweets continue to reinforce structural divides, and encourages racial segregation. This cycle continues as the web allows for freedom of speech and thoughts to be heard:

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Otherwise, responses like this are surely going to follow.



However, it doesn’t stop there. I’m not saying that either side has a justifiable reason for their actions, however, the girl’s personal information was released, she received death threats, and was suspended from school. Is this type of response acceptable? Sure she said some hateful things, however, was her action so bad that it in turn requires death threats? This type of interactions online show that each side is doing what the other condemns, and a growing divide in social and racial classes.

But how can we fix social divide caused by the Internet? Racism has had a long history in our country, and it doesn’t just disappear overnight. Similarly with real life, it is hard to get rid of all prejudices as these are beliefs engrained into the minds of some people since they were young. As a result, I believe that the only way really combat this issue is through openness and awareness of other people from different backgrounds.

Sorry for such a heavy post this time, however, I feel that this is a very important topic that needs to be addressed. I hope ya’ll enjoyed it, and let me know what you think!

Griefing Continued

Have a deeper look into what is griefing, and the effects it has on people.


Having a problem with griefing? Then check out this guide to dealing with griefing.



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The topic of regulation often comes up when talking about griefing. CS GO Overwatch is a self regulated community that allows qualified and experienced members of the community (‘investigators‘) to review reports of disruptive behavior, determine whether those reports are valid, and apply temporary bans if appropriate. Do you think this type of system is effective? What are the complications of this (such as time, and financing it)?


Griefing Online:

Here, youtuber JustDavid discusses many aspects and instances of griefing. What are your thoughts about griefing? Should servers regulate griefers, or will it impede on the user’s freedom of speech?


Feeling studious:


Griefing: Is it Cyberbullying?

According to the gamepedia, griefing is “the act of irritating and angering people in video games through the use of destruction, construction, or social engineering. ” It has often been popularized by Minecraft, and if you search “griefing”  on youtube there’s thousands of videos that highlight griefing. Many have wondered if this is a type of cyberbullying, and if it should be regulated on game servers.

In my comp 380’s reading by Ronald Wojak, the author uses philosophy to describe the world of griefing. He goes over three main points: Kantian deontology, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics.

Trying to be all philosophical and stuff…


Some background information:

Kantian deontology is basically what we’ve been hearing since we were little kids, “treat others the way you want to be treated.”

Virtue ethics is have a virtuous character, and let your virtues lead your life. This will create habits that will be like a  moral compass to tell you when something you’re doing is wrong.

Utilitarianism is maximizing utility for the general public. In economics we learned that utility is the benefit you gain from a something.


Wojak uses Kantian deontology to describe why a person griefes online. He states that these people “are not treating them as an end in themselves but as a mere means for their own enjoyment,” and are totally going against Kantian deontology.

Wojak uses  virtue ethics as a way to describe the growing unvirtuous nature of the virtual world.

Wojak uses utilitarianism to describe how griefing is the opposite of maximizing utility, as it causes harm to others. This is because reading posts about griefing can cause negative feelings (this is a negative consequence), and only benefits the griefer.


I agree with Wojak’s views on Kantian deontology and virtue ethics. We see it everyday online, and I think that this is because we feel disconnected in the virtual world. This is due to the fact that we often feel protected by our computer screen, and the anonymity  can cause amplify behaviors. However, I don’t fully agree with his view on utilitarianism. This is because I feel that most people want to work towards a goal when playing a multi-player game. As a result, they would rather not act based on themselves, but for the greater good of the group.

I believe that griefing can be a type of cyberbullying.

Take a look at the video below, and I think you will see what I mean.

The griefer is clearly intentionally irritating the other players. Even after the others tell him to stop he continues. Others would say that it’s not bullying because there was no physical harm, or evidence of long term emotional harm. However, I believe that these continuous acts of angering people will have long term effects on other users who frequently play the game.

However, there are others who believe otherwise. My brother is a gamer, and when I asked him about the topic he said that many people online believe that “it’s just a game.” As a result, they don’t make the connection between the virtual world, and reality. They think that actions online don’t have an influence on people after the game, and that griefing is not a type of cyberbullying.

So what is your take on griefing? Do you agree with Wojak, or with my responses?

Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll see you in my next post!