Archives for posts with tag: power

QR (short for quick response) codes are 2D bar-codes that can be read by smart phones which then process information – either taking you to a website, making a phonecall, sending a v-card and more.

QR Note is a website that makes creating a QR code and website really easy. Visit the website, design your webpage and print a QR code.

QR codes are used in marketing to create an interactive and fun way to get people through doors. Scavenger hunts using QR codes have proven successful – companies can provide clues that lead to real locations where QR codes can give points or discounts.

Other uses for QR codes include business cards (one barcode instead of all your social network addresses), labels that provide further information (art galleries, wine lists etc) and discount promotions. They can even be personalised (like the BBC QR code above).

Outside of marketing they can be used for more subversive ends. For example:

  • QR codes can be stuck on adverts of unethical companies, redirecting people to a protest website.
  • QR Note enables you to password protect QR codes, meaning your message can be protected against unwanted attention.
  • Networking during protests can be improved via the business card usage outlined above.
  • Also, a QR code card can be handed out at events, directing attendees to the events website.
  • A QR code can link to a location on Google Maps.

‘The struggle for control of the internet is just beginning’ – that is what Nikko Hyppönen, chief research officer for F-Secure, a Finnish-based computer security company believes.

At the start of October US Cybercom, the division of the pentagon created to battle enemies in cyberspace, went operational.

The Pentagon computer network is probed up to six million times a day by groups including 140 different foreign spy networks, according to General Keith Alexander, the commander of US Cybercom.

To defend against this increasing threat to national security US Cybercom needs to do all it can to lift the United States from the vulnerable position it now finds itself in. A cyber-attack on the critical infrastructure of an American city would probably succeed in taking out power, communications and financial services.

However, as Richard Clarke points out, the creation of this military division has been done without a “public debate, media discussion, serious congressional oversight, academic analysis or international dialogue”

As the Financial Times have commented.

‘These moves will lead to a much deeper apparatus of control and monitoring of internet activity by the US.’

It is not just the military that are having to defend against cyber-enemies. Banks are losing out on millions as a result of cyber-crime. One of the responses of  financial organisations is that people need to become more responsible.

HSBC are already refusing to reimburse victims of cyber crime unless they have the correct level of internet security on their computer. In China, the next generation of internet users will have to pass a ‘internet test’ to prove their proficiency before surfing the web.

The Battle of Cyberspace is one that can never really be won and will roll on indefinitely. As criminals up their game with new technologies, the response from the American military (and the military of other countries) will be to increase their power in cyber-space.

What the effects will be can only be imagined.

With Facebook announcing a major new messaging system (codenamed Project Titan) and Google snapping up acquisitions all over the place (83 so far) – what is the fundamental difference between these two giants of cyberspace?

The answer lies in the kind of data that they both deal in.

Facebook lets you tell the world all about you – what you ‘like’ about culture, companies and people. It is data that you want to give away so that you can show other people just how much of an individual you are.

Google, on the other hand, is a lot more personal than that. It is about what you really get up to when it is just you and the computer. It stores data about everything from your embarrassing rash to your sexual desires.

As Sebastian Anthony puts it:

‘Facebook knows who we want to be, while Google knows who we actually are.’

We could see this as Facebook being all about your public self, whilst Google is all about your private self.

Of course, the bottom line for the companies involved is all about how this fundamental difference affects revenue. Facebook advertises to your public self, and Google advertises to your private self.

The question now is whether Project Titan will change this fundamental difference by reading your Facebook emails and targeting adverts (something which Google already do).

This would be an advertising model based on both your private and public identities. Priceless to marketers, but something that I find unsettling.