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Politics Exercises

Politics & Government

Standard and Higher Level

After this chapter you should be able to:

  • Explain how Internet content can be filtered, along with the social and ethical impacts of such practice.
  • Describe technology uses for electronic and online voting along with the social issues of each.
  • Explain how the government can use the Internet to provide services.
  • Describe how Information Technology can be used by the military.
  • Evaluate the use of information technology for military purposes
  • Internet Filtering

    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?

  • How could we possibly know if our Internet access was filtered? Could it alter our perception of the world around us?
  • Why is cyber-terrorism such a tempting option for terrorists?
  • To help filter the Internet the following techniques can be employed:

  • Black lists - Creating a list of websites that are NOT accessible
  • White lists - Creating a list of websites that can ONLY be accessed.
  • Keyword filters (resulting in false positives and false negatives) - scanning pages for banned keywords. As the words are not seen in context, this can sometimes lead to false positives (banning acceptable content), and false negatives (missing content that should be blocked)
  • Search engine filtering - Asking search engines to stop certain content from appearing in search results. For example, in China, searches about the Tiananmen protests will not appear in the search results. Google did not agree to be filtered and therefore do not operate their business in China anymore.
  • DNS poisoning - Altering of DNS records to send users to the wrong IP address and therefore the wrong website. This has been used in the past to display political messages in the place of regular websites. DNS-Based Attack Brings Down New Victim: WhatsApp

    E-Passports

    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.

    Political Campaigning

    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.

    E-Voting

    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:

    1. Secrecy/security
    2. Authenticity of the voter
    3. Integrity of the result

    Online Government

    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.

    Government Databases

    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.

  • Other Resources

    Paper 1

    Slightly different examinations for SL and HL, based on answering 20 mark questions on a selection of the course topics.

    Paper 3

    For HL students only, answering questions on the pre-seen case study. This year is 'On the road to driverless cars'.

    Extended Essay

    Details and recommendations for students considering writing their Extended Essay in ITGS.

    Command Terms

    How to approach examination questions that use each of the prescribed command terms for ITGS.