SOPA/PIPA & GOOGLE–Tracy Durham

1.  The first video for this week is that of Clark Shirky who explains the meaning of SOPA & PIPA and how they were created to put checks and balances on the way information is shared.  The second video is a presentation of a Google employee who gives information on how searching the internet has evolved over the course of time and what impact internet searches have on the way we learn, think and even shop, which is one of my favorite things to do.

2/3 Both of these videos contained some information of which I was not previously aware and therefore have enhanced my knowledge a great deal about the subject of censorship and internet searching.  Shirky states that the problem with SOPA and PIPA is that its efforts become the problem. “The policing layer around the problem becomes the real threat”.  The ways in which individuals share information is constantly growing.  There is always a new form of technology that allows people to share music, photos and information which seems to directly threaten the media.  According to the video, previous laws passed in the 90’s attempted to stop people from copying material and selling it on a large scale.  These laws were passed but they still did not satisfy the media’s need to censor shared material.  Along came this new form of censorship, SOPA & PIPA, which according to Shirky meant that individuals where no longer given a chance to prove their innocence, they were seen as “guilty until proven innocent, meaning you can’t share anything until you show what you are sharing”.  As Shirky states, individuals are “treated like thieves at the very moment they create and share information”.

For this reason Shirky says that websites are in the business of policing the individuals who use them.  I can totally related to this, since the jury is still out as to who deleted my son’s birthday video off of Facebook.  If it was in fact “Policed” by the powers that be at Facebook, or whether the birthday boy had something to do with the video demise, I probably will never know.

I also thought that the point that Shirky made about the DMCA laws of the 90’s was very interesting, he said they were “Surgical” meaning “they go into the TV, game machine, and computer and prevent them from physically doing what they said they would do at the store”.  As opposed to SOPA & PIPA laws of today which are “Nuclear” meaning “they can go anywhere in the world and sensor content”.  Anyone pointing to a particular search engine can be censored and stopped from producing specific material.

The last thing I found really interesting about the first video was what Shirky said about the producers of the content on the internet.  “The biggest producers of content on the internet are not Google and Yahoo, it is the general public, this is who is getting policed.  The real threat to the enactment of SOPA & PIPA is the public’s ability to share things with one another”.

As I said in the beginning of my post, I gained some knowledgeable information from watching this week’s videos, and this was one of those things I gained.  Being a person who is not particularly technology savvy, beyond my use of Facebook, I always thought that the information on the internet was created by bigger than life power rather than by someone like myself.

I realize now especially after watching the video on Google and how internet searching has evolved that the average person is responsible for what is found on the world wide web.  “Searches work because a lot of other people ask the same questions.  The query becomes part of the content”.  This means the information we find is constantly changing and being added everyday.

The second video talks about how searching is a critical skill.  “People who search well do better in school, they buy the right appliances, etc.”  I find this statement to be so true because the better search you do, they better the information you get back.  Whether it be for educational, professional, or recreational purposes.  The better you search the better your understanding of the world in which you are inquiring.  This video stresses the need for good searching skills because it gives us the power to see more than others before us.  “We have the ability to touch much more information as a grad student that our parents did”.  We can ask any question and get an answer in Google even though according to the video, there are still some questions that are difficult to get answers to and there are still some limits to searching.

4.  I found the most difficult concept about the second video to be the idea that the items that we notice during searches make it easier or more complex.  Like the 2 very tiny widgets he talked about and showed clips of in his presentation.  They would make our searches more detailed and more precise if we noticed them and used them.  I have to wonder why then are they so small if they are supposed to be noticed and used?(my first question)

Things are constantly changing and are in real time on the internet which makes it sometimes difficult to determine what is real and what is not.  I like the quote used in the second video by Ernest Hemingway “Every man should have a built in crap detector”. It is very important for individuals to be able to discern what is real and what is not on the internet.  Which would in my opinion give some creditability to SOPA & PIPA if they their functions was to primarily sort out the real from the fake. In this sense they would make the life of the internet searcher much easier if they focused their attention on policing things on the internet that were not authentic.

5. This point leads me to my second question…If SOPA & PIPA were solely in the business of policing the internet for authenticity, instead of censoring the average person’s shared information,  then would the media be their target?

6. This weeks videos gave me lots of insight on the subject of internet censorship and searching.  They will be very useful when I am doing my storytelling project because I will be careful to search for information to use in my project with more detail and clarity.  I will also be more aware of the images I may use off the internet as not to violate any copyrite laws.

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About durhamtrider

I am a Child of the Most High God, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Friend & Breast Cancer Survivor! ...I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. ---Psalms 139:14
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