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IPT: Issues in Communications

posted Mar 23, 2009, 2:34 AM by Eddie Woo and ethical issues, that is (of course!). Here is the complete list of issues that we discussed in class. It's not exhaustive, but it gives you an idea of the breadth of topics that can be discussed under this heading.
  1. Control / censorship of communications
    We experience this on a daily basis with regard to the intranet, particularly through things like DET web filtering. Some countries, such as China, are infamous for the pervasive web filtering laws that they impose on their citizens. Other forms of communication control are more subtle, such as the push against net neutrality.

  2. Impersonal communications
    If you can't remember what this is about, go and listen to the debate again. 8-)

  3. Privacy
    Is any electronic data really private, given the fact that it passes through, is temporarily stored by and examined by a myriad of servers on the way to its destination?

  4. Accessibility of overwhelming data levels
    Our (brief) case study was Google News. There's literally more data than we could ever know what to do with.

  5. Internet trading
    Employment, banking and commercial fraud have all been massively changed due to the spread of electronic communications. If there was ever an issue that went both ways (positive and negative, benefits and drawbacks), it's the combination of money and electronic communication.

  6. Formation of new communities around non-physical loci
    People can now easily communicate and identify with groups of people that they have never met in person. Technologies like affordable public transport and personal automobiles enabled people to build communities outside the borders of their local neighbourhood; but electronic communications allow real-time and substantive interaction with people across the other side of the globe.

  7. Convergence of communications technologies
    Communications technologies are becoming integrated with everyday life and personal identity - a reality made possible by their (a) affordability and (b) ubiquity (I honestly only use this word so much because it is highly relevant to the course and its synonym, pervasive, sounds too much like perverse). The line between different technologies is also blurring; what kind of communications technology are you using when you watch a video of So You Think You Can Dance on YouTube, and then send a text message to vote for one of the contestants? (Perhaps a better question is, "what technology aren't you using?" You get the point.)