After this chapter you should be able to:
Internet filtering or 'blocking' is when access to a certain resource or service on the Internet is prevented. This can be done on a scale of an individual machine, a group (E.g. a school LAN), or even an entire country. China, North Korea, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are all known for their extensive control over the flow of information in their respective countries. Usually, information on political opposition or democracy websites or places where information moves freely such as social media websites like Facebook or Twitter.
DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)
Internet Filtering is usually done to prevent 'harmful content' being accessed by users. What types of material would you consider so harmful that users should not be allowed to create it or view it online?
To help filter the Internet the following techniques can be employed:
E-Passports use RFID technology to reduce the chance of passport forgery. A microchip in the passport holds all of the user data, including their picture and biometric information. When scanned, the data is sent to the border control staff wirelessly and hecked for authenticity. E-Passports have faced criticism from some due to the fact that all of the user data might be accessed unlawfully if someone has an RFID reader nearby to capture the data in order to produce a clone of the passport.
During the last US Presidential election, the use of social media was prevalent. Donald Trump, who was already a presence on Twitter, made us of the platform to push his messages out to the mass population, and the globe. Even now in office, Trump uses Twitter to keep people informed of what he is doing and what opinions he currntly has on various topics.
These technologies in Politics bring numerous advantages for candidates and the electorate too: Direct connections can be made with the voters. Friendships, follows, likes and groups allow campaigners a bigger 'reach'. Voters can access content on RSS feeds or through shared content. Information on the campaigns is up-to-date and can even be created automatically. The cost of the campaign can be much more reduced compared to older time as social media is free. Social media can help harness the support of younger voters who are regular users of the various social media platforms.
Two main methods of E-Voting are Electronic Voting and Online Voting (Internet Voting Systems). Electronic voting is where voters travel to a voting station as usual but their votes are counted by a computerised system. In optical scanning voting systems, voters authenticate themselves as usual with ID, then cast their vote on a piece of paper that is then passed into an OMR system to count their vote. Direct Recording Electronic systems have a display where they can choose their option by pressing it on screen.
Online voting is done via a Public Network Direct Recording Electronic System (PNDRE). Voters visit a website to authenticate themselves either by smart card or using a registered email address. Votes cast via this method are sent to a central location and automatically counted.
Regardless of which method is used, the following issues always apply:
- Authenticity of the voter
- Integrity of the result
Govenrment websites and social media accounts can help provide a country with advice, services and information about government operations. They can include crime statistics or travel advice information. Government services can allow applications for important documents such as passports or driving licenses, as well as hosting e-petitions that allow citizens to give their opinion on relevant issues and have it requested to be reviewed in Parliament. The UK site GOV.UK has all of the services and is affiliated with CHANGE.ORG which allows users to submit e-petitions.
Keeping track of citizens in order to monitor and improve government services is something that appeals to governments. They can track medical records in order to know which areas that funding is required. They can keep transport databases to control payments using smart devices. This then allows them to track the flow of traffic across transport systems in cities and across the country. Police databases are used to hold data on crimes, criminals, convictions and stolen property in order to produce meangful reports to help manage the justice system in a country.
Military Use of IT
The military uses a range of technologies to help train personel. Virtual and mixed reality systems allow users to be fully immersed in an environment but without the dangers of being injured. Battlefield technology has the potential to give soldiers an advantage over their enemies such as using augmented reality to overlay data on a soldier's vision about the environment they are in - it could also highlight friendly vs enemy soldiers in real time. Smart Weapons - UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or drones can have cameras mounted on them for tracking, as well as having weaponary attached to deliver bombs without incurring any human casualities - the drone can be piloted by someone safely from a room at a military base. Technology can also make weapons smarter in terms of accuracy, by using GPS, the missisles can hit remote targets with a high degree of accuracy. Military robots are being used for functions such as bomb disposal, and for carrying heavy equipment. The SWORD robot is a high speed robot equipped with weapons that can be remotely controlled by soldiers from up to several hundred meters away.
Cyber Terrorism + Cyber Warfare
Cyber warfare is the use of attacks on computer infrastructure and networks in order to spy on systems or destroy enemy morale and confidence. Targeting power grids or water supplies to disable a countries ability to defend itself are possible approaches. Viruses can be used to infect enemy computers to delete or steal data from their machines. Denial of service (DOS) attacks could be used to bring enemy networks down. Autonomous drones could be created using artificial intelligence to help determine whether targets are enemy or friendly. Many people have worries about such technology because of it's unproven reliability.