New Media

While reading the article on the Guardian, I was mostly interested in the text, so I was quite annoyed when videos started playing automatically; I am not one of those people who can read words and listen to different words at the same time. So I stopped those and didn’t bother starting them again. It also struck me as more than slightly ironic that there was a “connect to Facebook” button next to the graphic about the “three hop” connections. Did they not just mention that your Facebook activity is tracked? It’s been roughly two years since this article was published, so none of the information is new; we all know that the government does things they probably shouldn’t regarding tracking individuals through their use of connected technology. But seriously, what is up with them naming their secret operations really dumb names? Lithium? Do they have an agreement with Duracell or something? Of course there are those that argue if you just encrypt everything, it will be fine. But that tends to take up more space and doesn’t stop the Penelope Garcias of the world anyway. I find the whole thing to be completely ridiculous, but have also come to terms with the fact that if the government wants information, they’re going to get it. Average people just don’t have the resources to put into hiding all of their stuff anyway; and according to the NSA, if you do that, you’re probably a terrorist. We all also know that one person who is contemplating hiding in the woods with a shotgun and a bunch of buckshot to get “completely off the grid.” There are also those who are convinced some other country is going to completely take over our web of technological connections and use it to kill us all. Both are, in my opinion, quite extreme. I do not particularly like the idea of being spied on, and if it were possible to stop it, I would probably be all for it. But I also know that the head honchos don’t much care if what they are doing is legal or not if it is “in the name of national security,” cue Watergate 2.0 discussion. But I digress. New media has made it much easier for the NSA to do the things they so badly want to do, because of the current desire to stay connected to everyone, everywhere at all times, but it has also made it much easier for the people to know what is going on. Leaked information can spread like wildfire, and once it’s out there, it isn’t coming back. Digital technologies make it much easier for people to be watched, as well as do the watching. It’s something of a two way street, only one side is much more congested and less efficient than the other.


Kyra is a graduate of Bradley University's undergraduate class of 2015, with a B.S. in History with minors in Women's Studies and Anthropology. She is currently a first year M.A. student at Northeastern University, studying Public History.

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