Category Archives: Internet Privacy

Social Media Isn’t Real (And That’s Okay).

Two quick reminders: Social media isn’t real and I write this blog from a female feminist perspective. My views may be completely off the wall compared with yours (isn’t that cool?!), and whatever the next few paragraphs say, they are no means an attack on anyone I personally know- I feel we can all relate to this shit, na’mean?

i like you more than the instagram you

This is probably true, unless ur a garbage person in real life but super sweet online.

So recently, a few people have commented on pictures of me and my finance on social media, saying things along the line of “perfect couple” or whatever. And I’m not gonna lie, that attention is kind of a nice feeling, but nonetheless I’ve been really, really taken back by these statements. Because a picture alone cannot tell you much about our relationship. I’m not saying that my relationship with my partner is bad or anything like that, but it’s definitely not “perfect”, and I don’t want people thinking that about us, because, well, it’s not true! Also, just real quick: no one’s relationship is perfect.

I know a lot of people have been feeling less-than lately because of internet culture, and I just want to reiterate that social media is not real, and perceive people’s “realness” based on their social media persona can be super toxic, yo. What we see online of people is just part of their cultivated digital personality. Ok, wait a minute. Let me back up real quick. What we see online is of real shit, but the meaning we infer from it is not real. I like social media. I get to see pictures of my friends kids, of my family that lives far away, and just funny shit that my friends post. However, thinking that these pictures are actually a true, complete representation of these people’s lives is way misleading.

Yo, you wanna know the real kicker is? It’s that our feeling of less-than in comparison to someone else’s social media life actually has everything to do with our own perceived inadequacy. Feeling envious of anything or anyone is totally based in how we feel about ourselves, right? We can’t be envious unless we are comparing ourselves to someone else, and if we feel shitty about ourselves in the first place, than jealousy is gonna come around a lot quicker. It sucks that social media makes people think that their lives have to be a certain way because their “friends” lives look that way. Also, this is a pretty big realization that I had to learn the hard way, through years of being jealous (including being jealous of people online). I totally was in the camp of “I suck at life because my house is always messy, I don’t know how to be super crafty/good at makeup/athletic/rich/someone who travels a lot/insert whatever here, plus I have split ends and acne on my face”. It wasn’t until I learned that it is freaking impossible to compare my true, authentic personality to anyone else’s, that I started to feel better about my less than perfect life. We are all unique, and that’s a freaking wonderful, crazy, amazing thing! If my house was spotless, and super beautifully decorated from shit I made, and if I went surfing every weekend after having a brunch of grass-fed grass, well… I probably wouldn’t be super thrilled because that’s not being authentic to myself! It honestly took me basically my whole life to understand this- that there is no reason to compare myself to anyone else because it’s comparing apples and anti-freeze. We’re all different and that’s dope.

Ok, ok ok, I’m being a little overzealous. I totally still get jealous sometimes. I look at people’s Instagram posts and that thought will come in my head- the “I’m not worthy” thought. The thing is now I have a following thought that is, “oh shit, social media can’t communicate what the real truth is behind this picture, and this person strategically picked this photo to post”. ALSO, I don’t know what your motive was for posting that photo, just like you don’t know what my motive was for posting another picture of my dog (it’s because my dog is the fucking cutest and I want the world to know).

And also- it’s totally okay to post whatever the fuck you want. Who gives a shit. And if you post something like a selfie because you are feeling shitty, and want some superficial attention- dude, that’s okay. Or maybe you’re really feeling yourself and that’s why you post a selfie. Dude, do you. Sometimes, when I’m down, I’ll take a selfie and filter the fuck out of it because it makes me feel better. But here’s the deal- it’s still not real, and once we all start realizing that about social media, I bet you $5 that a lot of people will start to feel better about their lives. I think social media can be a really great thing. We just have to keep in mind that it’s not real before actual, real emotions develop in response.

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Digital Personalites vs Real Life

[Editing this article, I noticed that I generalize a lot. I make assumptions and say things like “I think people think that…” or “a lot of people view others this way…”. I don’t know if these generalizations are true. However, I felt that, if I think like this, that others probably do too. This post, along with all of my blog posts, area based off my own observations in life. I may be completely wrong about everything in this post; perhaps it is all just a reflection of myself… but that’s for another article.]

There are the “Album Lists of Your High School Years” statuses going around on Facebook, and I really enjoy reading them. I like seeing the albums that my friends would define as the most influential during their adolescent years, and I liked posting my own and replying to the comments left by friends. Last night was a snowed in, cozy Saturday night, and I contently spent the night coloring, listening to the albums of my youth, yogaing, and checking in on facebook every hour or so to respond to notifications about these lists. And I had a great night! It was a lot of fun!

digital-personalities

I promise I’m not a dog.

I enjoy using social media, and like most aspects of it. I also kind of think that social media is a new type of art, a genre we don’t yet have a name for, in that it can be used as a way to express ourselves and connect with others, and that’s great! However, I think it’s important to keep in mind that social media is an activity. It’s something to do for fun, its something akin to reading, writing, playing an instrument, painting, playing solitare, whatever.

So here’s where I see the problem: I believe a lot of people forget that social media is an activity. I think a lot of people view other people’s social media presence and internet usage as an extension of those people- That their social media usage isn’t something that they are doing, it is a part of who they are. And it is through our social media usage and internet presence, that our digital personalities are created and live.

Ok. Let me share an example of social media defining people. There is this woman who I am friends with on social media platforms. She posts shit that I like (most of the time, I actually ❤ it). And she likes (and <3s) a lot of my posts. We have a few mutual friends in common, and she always seemed like a cool chick. I recently met her in real life, and she sucked. She was rude to my friend, and was not the person who I expected her to be. I was so surprised! I like her digital personality a lot more than I like her actual personality… so, what are the implications of this?

The biggest problem I see with forgetting that digital personalities are not real, is that we judge people before we even know them in real life. We think because someone likes Feminist Pages and endorse #InsertWhatevereHere organizations, then they probably embody the aspects of those pages and things in real life. And depending on how they use the internet (the statuses say that they write, who they retweeet, what pictures they post), most believe that this person is probably similar to their online personality in real life. And this, like my example above, is not true. All digital personalities and true personalities are two different things, regardless of how similar they may seem.

In fact, how I view someone online is made up in my own mind. How I read a status, the tone of voice that I read in my head of a person, is what forms my opinion of them. And this can easily lead to dangerous miscommunication.

Also, there’s the chance of “transference” happening when interacting with people on the internet. I’m thinking of the social work definition of transference, which is when a client is reminded of someone else in their life by the counselor, and then sees the counselor with a tint of the other person’s personality or likeness- which is not who the counselor is. So, another example. Say that Johnny looks at Kim’s profile online. They don’t know each other personally, but Johnny sees that Kim likes “Save The Everglades” page. Johnny’s friend from high school’s sister, Catherine, also likes this page.  Catherine always rubbed Johnny the same way because she was aggressive about her views on environmentalism. Because of this, Johnny already has an idea about Kim, and associates her with Catherine. In reality, Kim just liked the page because her friend asked her to, so the page would get more likes. Johnny doesn’t know this, and decides to not be friends with her online, or in real life, because he doesn’t like how he perceives her digital personality.

This example might seem extreme, but what about when you get a friend request from someone you don’t know personally and they shared a pro-Trump status on their page. Are you going to not judge this person as being a Trump supporter, and then automatically associate them with how you feel about other people who are diehard pro-Trumpers? I’m honestly asking. I can confess that I am guilty of making such judgments.

How about people who aren’t good at using social media? Their digital personalities are most likely not going to be good representations of their actual personalities. What about the person who might not be the best writer or speller? If they use the wrong grammer, do we think they are stupid? This is an easy example, and I’m sure you can think of many more that carry greater weight.

How about the people who seem like they are really good at using social media? Their endless selfies have kabillions of likes, their statues are well thought out, and their videos charming. Is their life really great? Probably not. But that doesn’t weaken their digital personality’s influence on all that they touch.

I’m not sure exactly how my social media/online digital personality is interpreted by people, and that can make me feel a little weary at times. Because I want people to look at my social media usage and think that this I something that I do, not what I am. I also need to be aware that how people view my digital personality is unique to them. I don’t want people to read my posts in a tone of voice that is sarcastic, condescending, or rude, because that’s not the tone of voice I use to write them. However, someone who doesn’t know me and has an opinion of me based on what they see of me online may believe that I am rude, sarcastic, and condescending. And that sucks, man, because its not real.

So I guess the question is, are you aware of your digital personality? And do you care? I care about mine and hope its as similar to my real personality as possible. But it’s still not actually me, just like how I view you online is not actually you. 

facebook-me-real-me

I hope for my digital personality to be as close to my real personality as possible.

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Short Intro to John McAfee who is Running for President as a Libertarian

I’ve wanted to write about John McAfee for a while, but ironically enough, my computer has been out of commission for the past month because of a corrupt file when downloading McAfee virus protection. This isn’t John McAfee’s fault, he sold the company years ago. He’s the first to criticize the software that bears his name,  calling it garbage since he sold it over 20 years ago. I have to agree with him on this.

John McAfee is running for president

John McAfee displaying how I felt when the company he no longer owns, but created 20 years ago, really fucked up my computer last month.

ANYWAYS, I was first introduced to John McAfee when I was researching the iPhone San Bernardino case. The first interview I watched was this, on RT News-and I totally recommend it as a starter as an introduction to his ideologies and character. He strongly defends Apple, explaining that a “backdoor” that Apple would have to create to unlock the phone would cause a way for hackers to get into phones. McAfee’s definition of hackers isn’t defined as the 15 year old kid who hacked into top secret FBI files in February, or the 16 year old who hacked into the personal email account of the head of the CIA.  When John McAfee talks about hackers, he’s talking about the government.

When John McAfee speaks about cyber security he does so with an air of confidence, truthfulness, and callous. He rivals Trump on outrageousness (watch that link, it’s not anything that you think its going to be… seriously. oh and he may have murdered a man) but has the alternative congeniality that could certainly gain him Bernie supporters. However, anyone who argues that they’re not afraid of the government seeing all of their internet activity (the “why does it matter if I’m not doing anything wrong?” people) may hear McAfee’s rhetoric as Orwellian as he describes the dystopia that giving up privacy for security will cause. He’s pretty persuasive though, and I think if he’s able to get his message out, more people will understand the risk that giving up our right to privacy is.

I agree with McAfee on a lot of issues, which I tend to do so with many libertarian views. I’m wondering how he might mess up the Democratic Party too now that he is finally be recognized as a presidential candidate. The Hill posted this “campaign ad” today… which will definitely start to help gain him attention. He’s certainly an alternative to Trump and Clinton. What I wonder about is how many Sanders’ supporters he will gain (that is, if Sanders’ doesn’t get the dem nomination). The Democratic Party could really be fucked then, with the #StillBernie crew pledging their allegiance in the general election and McAfee possibly persuading even more young dems for his vote.

Who knows. There’s a lot to come. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if McAfee’s name becomes household before November… at least I hope it does.

 

 

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FBI vs. Apple Outcome- Be Afraid, Be Very, Very Afraid

I haven’t written anything for a while, and its not because I haven’t had thoughts, but ive just been really busy to the point where you’re so busy that you all of a sudden become unbusy and you’re not sure how to deal with it, so you figure out a way to become even more busy than before, and then after a few days of just straight up stress you realize, “oh yeah… I forgot that I need balance in my life” .. you know what I mean?  Anyways…

Lets talk about one of my favorite topics: Cyber security. This is a topic near and dear to my heart because it’s fucking intense shit. I want to write a few posts about my feelings on recent cyber security threats from our own country, and decided to start with the most recent, eyebrow raising case, the US vs. Apple.

go tim cook!

Tim Cook- willing to fight for American’s Privacy

So everyone probably has heard about the San Bernardino iPhone Case. The FBI vs. Apple case. February 16th, 2016, the Federal Court ordered Apple to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter to see if the shooter was working directly with ISIS. Specifically, the FBI is asking that Apple make software that would allow people (or really, in this case, super computers that can try multiple combinations quickly until it figures out the passcode) to try passcodes on iPhones as many times as they’d like before all of the information on the phone is deleted. Currently, if you have an iPhone, you can try to unlock the phone up to 10 times in a row with a wrong code before it swipes all the info clean.

The next day, Apple strongly said no, which is a nice, big “fuck you” to the government.

Well, why wouldn’t Apple want to help unlock the phone? Surely, Tim Cook and everyone at Apple would want to find any other terrorists who may be connected to this travesty. And the answer to this, is of course they want justice for the victims families and to help find any additional terrorist ties. But the real reason why Tim Cook doesn’t want to build this software is because he believes in the American values of LIBERTY and PRIVACY.

So can the FBI really not just unlock it anyways? The argument is that the Apple’s software all are signed by an authorized signature from Apple when there are an updates or changes in the software’s encryption. What the FBI apparently can’t do is forge this secret signature and they need Apple’s help. But don’t get it twisted- again, they aren’t trying to just unlock the phone- they are asking for Apple to build SPECIFIC SOFTWARE that the government can use to unlock any iPhone. And that, my friends, is what this whole circus is all about. It’s not about the tragedy in San Bernardino, that is simply the guise the government is using so that they can strengthen the capabilities to spy on its own citizens.

Tim Cook did already give the government everything that they could that was on the phone, btw, before the court order. Plus the government made a mistake- they would have been able to upload information up to the cloud, but fucked up when they changed the user name on the phone, and therefore can no longer backup the phone onto the cloud.

Here’s Tim Cooks words, explaining that this case is not a case about unlocking a phone, but is case about the future of civil liberties:  “We cant have a backdoor that’s only for the good guys [to use]. Any backdoor that is created give the bad guys can exploit anyone’s iPhone”. Cook explains that if Apple makes this software being requested, that it is analogous to creating cancer for technology. 

And if the government has the power to make apple write this software, then what is next? What else will Apple be forced to create in the name of “security”? A few republican debates ago, when I transcribed the whole thing, the candidates were in agreement that we should basically draft computer programmers to work for the FBI. And if they don’t comply then they are breaking the law. So  Silicon Valley folk, I’d consider making sure that your passport is up to date before you get drug into a cyber war.

The government was never meant to be this big in terms of ruling daily life. With a precedent set by Apple if they were to give into the government would basically give the a-ok for the government to strong arm nongovernmental agencies to comply with them. Technically, due to the court order the FBI had, they could have come in with heavily armed SWAT teams and made the employees at Apple work to make this software. They didn’t because they were able to find an Israeli company to unlock the phone (its not clear to me if they just unlocked the phone, of if they created software that can ultimately hack into anyone’s iphone). That’s how out of control this whole thing is.

 

Tim Cook takes pride in his company. He made a wonderful statement with his interveiw with Charlie Rose, in which he said that the people buy apple products are his customers, not the government. This is about civil liberties, if we take encryption away, the only people affected are the good people, not the bad people. If we limit it, it will hurt the good people because anyone can hack into any iPhone. He also explained that there are things that technology should not be allowed to do.

Ok, how about the “Why should I care, I’m not doing anything bad, let the government record all of my daily doings, who gives a shit” argument. Well one, it is the principle. When you are giving up all of your privacy to the government you are giving up your autonomy. The founding fathers decided that the government should not get in peoples way of choosing how they want to live.

HumanCentiPad

Kyle didn’t read the terms of use for the new iTunes update and look where that got him.

You know the terms and conditions that no one reads? Well, most of the apps on your phone ask for permission to due multiple insidious things, such as make calls, record you, to listen to your phone calls, to read your text messages, all without even having the app running. And since you agreed to those terms and conditions- well, you willingly gave permission to be under big brother’s watch.

And what are some examples how this can get out of hand?: say in a custody court, the judge allows the husband to open his wife’s phone and shows a picture of her smoking marijuana. This can get her kids taken away, even if it was a one time thing at a party.

Or what if you get pulled over, and your car gets searched, including your phone. And they open up your phone and see all your naked pictures of you and your husband. This might not be incriminating (unless you live in Mississippi where sodomy is illegal and you’re giving your hubby a bj- because that is considered sodomy), it still is a total invasion of privacy.

So this is why I’m worried about the future of the internet and our civil liberties. They are already being compromised. And when government is already so corrupt, who is to know what else will happen. The FBI’s overstepping of liberties is enough to recognize that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

 

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