What Is Digital Communication?

Digital communication is an electronic transmission of information that has been encoded digitally for storage and processing data by computers. The internet, web sites, virtual meetings and emails are all part of digital communications. This report discusses the role of digital communication in cross-cultural issues such as religion, hierarchy and business ethics.
In this report, cross cultural issues and the access of digital communication is discussed. Digital communication is essential for every business. In this report I have compared Australian and Indian culture and role of digital communication in cross cultural issues of these two countries.
In today’s world, communication plays an integral part to establish the business within the country or among other countries. Establishment of business depends on various aspects like religion, hierarchy and business ethics. Cost -benefit ethics are good for an organisation. Digital communications like internet, virtual meetings, email are beneficial for an organisation.
The Communication is a method of exchanging information with each other. In old times people used to communicate through phone, letters and visiting physically. Nowadays everyone is using technology to communicate locally or overseas. Digital communication plays a vital role in business. Use of Internet, websites, virtual meetings and email, videoconferencing and teleconferencing gives us more freedom to communicate anywhere in the world. But this freedom can create troubles sometimes (Robert,n.d). Studies have shown that access to digital communication may or may not have any influence on cross cultural issues. This report has discussed the Indian culture, the Australian culture and role of digital communication in cross-cultural issues of these countries.
2.1 Indian Culture
India has a rich and colourful culture. According to Grihault ,2003 India has given the world two greatest religions :- Hinduism and Buddhism. The Hinduism is dominant religion in India. There are other religions in India as well: – Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jain. Majority of Indians have strong belief in religion.
Indian society is based on hierarchy. Hierarchy is not only seen in families but also in businesses. Indian culture is male dominant. Although India is a political democracy, in everyday life there is little encouragement to notions of equal opportunity. In India all relationships involve hierarchies. Yousuf et al. 2007 conducted a survey in Kashmir (state of India), to evaluate the perceptions and practises of medical practitioners in matters relating to informed consent in certain hospitals. Results of the survey showed if consent was refused, medical practitioners would still proceed with the intervention without any justification for consent. Doctor’s opinion was considered the most important in clinical decision making. Results also showed that not all information was disclosed to female patients. This study highlights the male dominance, decision making process and hierarchy system in India. Here are some of the business ethics in India.
Indians prefer to do business with those they know better and build relationships upon mutual trust and respect.
Indians conduct meetings either in late mornings or early afternoon. Meeting can be cancelled in short notice or at last minute.
Indians are impressed with punctuality.
In India decision is only made by the authority.
Indian people who do business dress up in traditional garments.
Indians reserve titles; for example Professor, Doctor and Engineer and status is strong-minded by age, qualification, cast and profession. Indians also use titles such as “sir” or “Madam” instead of taking names.
In India business cards are exchanged after initial greetings.
2.2 Australian Culture
Australia is a multicultural society. A recent census showed that approximately 68% of Australian population were Christians, 1.5% were Muslim and 2% Buddhists (Penney 2007). Religion is not taken very seriously by the Australian people. The number of people attending church in Australia is falling day by day.
Australia is hierarchical society in certain aspects; example Australian men earn 10% more than women. Though men and women are considered equal in Australian society, most of the upper level positions in corporate, academic and public sector are occupied by men. Australians favour equality than recognised hierarchy. Australians see hierarchy as a disruption to positive and productive social relations. In Australian workplaces there are bosses and sub-ordinates; bosses must earn the respect of their employees. People at workplaces are called by their names rather than being greeted as “sir” or “madam”. Workplaces in Australia are free of language and behaviours that would degrade any individual. Here are some of the Australian business ethics:
Australians communicate in a straightforward manner and sometimes use very colourful language. They do not need long-standing relationship before doing business.
Punctuality is very important for Australians while doing business. They prefer to arrive a few minutes earlier than to keep someone waiting for you.
Appointments are important and easy to schedule.
Australians are generally relaxed people.
Australians use facts and figures in business presentations as there’s no place for feelings and emotions in Australia’s business atmosphere.
Australians do not need lengthy discussions to do business, negotiations often proceed quickly.
Australians do not like high pressure techniques in business deals. Top level management decisions are made after consulting others and hence this makes the decision making process slow.
People doing business are usually expected to dress up formally.
Australians do exchange their business cards after initial greetings, but not exchanging a business card is not considered insulting.
2.3 Role of digital communication in cross cultural issues of Australia and India
In today’s world the internet, websites, video conferencing and emails have become an important part of our lives. Internet is an important resource from where all sorts of information can be gathered. But use of internet varies from one country to the other.
The difference in use of the internet across various countries is called “digital divide”. Technology, economy, politics and culture contribute to this digital divide. Nath et al 2004 have studied the relationship between the cultural dimensions proposed by Hofstede and the Internet diffusion rate of nations. According to them cultures that avoid uncertainty and risks are resistant to the use of internet, and societies with high masculine culture tend to have lower internet diffusion rate. In such societies the culture does not favour internet use. This study showed that diffusion rate in India was Information on cross cultural differences of India and Australia is very important in doing business across these two countries. The Cultural value set given below shows the differences between Indian and Australian culture.
INDIA
AUSTRALIA
Individualism
Collectivism
Long term Orientation
Short Time Orientation
Single Group
Mixed Group
Event Oriented
Time Oriented
Internet is a useful resource of gaining such information. Kayan et al. 2006 have said that information technologies facilitate cross cultural collaboration but this may be restricted by different styles of IT use in different cultures. Access to digital communication is not only beneficial to large businesses but can also help small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) to grow and participate in global markets of developed as well as developing countries.
Patricia et al. 2007 conducted a study to investigate and evaluate the business environment in India, and identify factors that how small and medium sized businesses can participate in international marketplace. Several factors were identified in this study; one of major factors identified was that internationalization of SMEs in India can be achieved by increased utilization of information technology and better use of online resources.

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Hornby et al. 2002 conducted a study to understand export barriers of Australia and UK’s SMEs (small and medium entrepreneurs). This study also addressed the effect of E-commerce on SMEs, how internet can help to break down export barriers and focus on cultural differences depending on firm’s export market. Results of this study showed that Australian businesses using internet, perceived lower export barriers. But SMEs in Australia did not give consideration to overcome cross cultural issues and need for foreign representation as they used ‘market extension’ approach for their websites.
Merryfield, 2003 conducted a study to understand the role of online technologies while teaching social studies and global education to students. Study was conducted on 92 American teachers and 22 Cultural consultants who interacted with students in graduate programs. Mode of interaction was online discussions. Results of the study showed that online technologies were the perfect tools for teaching social studies and global education to students due the availability of various resources on the internet.
3.0 Conclusion
The role of digital communication varies from one culture to the other. Above studies show that some businesses use technology to have better understanding of cross cultural issues whereas some use it simply as an essential part of business. On the basis of above literature it can be concluded that access to digital communication promotes cross cultural collaboration but it depends on the purpose of its use.
4.0 Annotated references
Armstrong, A & Francis, D.R, n.d, ‘Personal Ethics in a Corporate World’, ‘ Journal of Business Systems, Governance and Ethics’, vol 3, No.1, pp. 27-33 (Online Google).
This article has discussed about relationship between personal morality and ethical corporate behaviour. They also talked about intellectual competence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EIQ), confounding issues such as the stability of moral intelligence.
Grihault, N 2003, Culture Smart India, Kuperard, Great Britain.
In this book Grihault has discussed about Indian land, people, values and attitudes, religion, communication and business briefing such as business attitudes, business culture, business communication, meeting and negotiations.
Hornby, G, Goulding, P & Poon, S 2002, ‘ Percptions of Export Barriers and Cultural Issues: The SME E-commerce Experience’, ‘Journal of Electronic Commerce Research’, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 213-226 (Online Google Scholar).
This article is about small – and – medium – size enterprises (SMEs). This study discussed use of E-commerce in international market. This is a comparison of Australia and UK in regards of E-commerce. They highlight some of cultural issues during the process of marketing internationally across different cultures.
India a country study, viewed on 29th April, 2010.
http://www.country-data.com/frd/cs/intoc.html
This web site is providing information on India such as roots of Indian religion, language, ethnicity, society and culture, hierarchy, cast and class, telecommunication, foreign relations and business ethics in India.
ITIM international, viewed on 29th April, 2010.
http://www.geert-hofstede.com/hofstede_australia.shtml
This website provide information about cultural dimensions such as power distance index (PDI), individualism (IDV), masculinity (MAS), uncertainty avoidance index (UAI) and long-term orientation (LTO).
Kayan, S, Fussell, S.R & Setlock, D.L, 2006, ‘Cultural differences in the use of instant messaging in Asia and North America’ vol. 6, pp. 525-528 (online Google).
This article is all about different styles of Information Technology use in different cultures. They have been conducted on the use of Instant Messaging in North America and Asia. This study reflects the difference between Western individualistic, low-context cultures and Eastern collectivistic, high-context cultures. In this study they found multi-party chat, audio-video chat emotions were very famous in Asia than in North America.
Merryfield, M. 2003, ‘Like a veil: Cross-cultural experiential learning online’,
Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, vol. 3, pp. 146-171 (Online Google Scholar).
This article discussed about places for cross-cultural online interaction, substantive content, cross-cultural engagement, exploration of and risk-taking with sensitive topics, controversial issues and conflicting perspectives, issues of special interests’.
Nath, R & Murthy, N.R.V 2004, ‘ A Study of the Relationship Between Internet Diffusion and Culture’, ‘Relationship Internet Diffusion and Culture Journal of International Technology and Information Management’, vol. 13, no.2, pp. 123-132 (Online Google Scholar).
This article discussed about the adaptation and use of technology innovations. They also talked about “digital divide”. This paper examines the relationship between the cultural dimensions proposed by Hofsted and the Internet adoption rate of nations.
Patrica, R.T, Rajshekhar & Javalgi, G 2007, ‘Internationalization of SMEs in India: Fostering Enterpreneurship by Leveraging Information Technology’, ‘International Journal of Emerging Markets’, vol. 2, issue. 2, pp.166-180 (Online Emerald).
This study is based on small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in India. This study is to investigate and evaluate the business environment. How India is developing in international market? It is planned that the key method for development of entrepreneurship is through the utilization of technology.
Penney, B 2003, Culture Smart Australia, Kuperard, Great Britain.
This book is all about Australian people, values and attitudes, Australian English-speaking “strine”, use of communication methods and business briefing such as the Australian way of business, women in management, work ethics, egalitarianism in the work place, business and socializing.
The Web’s leading resource for International Business Etiquette and Manners, viewed on 29th April, 2010.
http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/india.htm
This website is a leading resource for International business etiquette and manners. This website is providing every countries business ethics such as Appearance, Behavior, Communications, and Resources and also you can get Geert Hofstede Analysis.
Tiffen, R & Gittins, R 2004, How Australia Compares, Ligare Pty Ltd, Australia.
This book is a handy reference that compares Australia with other countries such as Education, Inequality and social welfare, International relations, Telecommunications and computing, religion, values and attitudes.
West, A.B, Murphy, T.F, 2007, G’day Boss! Australian Culture and Workplace, Tribus Lingua, Australia.
This book is all about Australian culture. Such as heart of culture, characteristics, level of cultures, generalise vs. stereotyping, Australian values contrasts, beliefs and behaviours, equality vs. recognised hierarchy, informal vs. formal, connected vs. distant, work vs. leisure, individualism vs. collectivism and dealing with conflicts.
Yousuf R M, Fauzi A R M, How S H, Rasool A G, Rehana K 2007, ‘Singapore Medical Journal’, ‘Awareness, knowledge and attitude towards informed consent among doctors in two different cultures in Asia: a cross-sectional comparative
Study in Malaysia and Kashmir, India’, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 559-565 (Online Google).
This is a Medical journal and in this study they discussed about some cultural issues. This study is about doctor’s attitude and acknowledges the patient’s autonomy. This is all about modern medical ethics across culture. They also talked about the cultural and religious views of the local population.
 

Global strategy of computer manufacturers and the digital divide

Introduction
The computer industry had not existed before the Second World War, but today it will be difficult to imagine an office without a personal computer (Dedrick, 1998, 4). Over the years, the continuing changes in computing and information technology (IT) have confounded expectations and challenged the traditional concept of competition. Improvements in performance and capabilities of computer-related technologies have been dramatic to say the least and prices have declined substantially over the years. Public and private sector research on computer-related technologies is considered as being critical for advancement and multinational corporations from the United States of America have created a massive production network to cater for global demand. However, ongoing competition, changes in the market for computers and computer-related technologies together with changes in technology keep computer manufacturers on their toes. Yet, despite the advances in computer-related technologies, improvements in global standards of living and declining prices of the previously mentioned technologies, exclusion or a lack of access to computers and computer-related technologies continues to present a threat to the establishment of information societies in many countries in the developed and the developing world (Ferro, 2010, Chapter 1).

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Access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is important for effective participation in the twenty-first century (Ferro, 2010, Chapter 1). Without access to the ICT, it is impossible to tap into the knowledge and information available on the World Wide Web and the ability to communicate with others becomes restricted. Computers are not only needed for a wide variety of tasks that are now considered as being a part of life, such as word processing or quantitative manipulation, these tools are also useful for sophisticated modelling and simulation for business and a wide variety of other fields of human endeavour. Skills in computing are essential for employment that is better than the mediocre and without ICT lifelong learning is likely to remain a dream. Thus, those without access to computers lose out and find it difficult to progress materially or intellectually. Communities without access to the ICT find that they are cut off from the world, and that they can do little to improve their lot and that of those who are a part of them. Those who can develop websites to present their business messages find that they do have access to a global market, even if they must compete with their products and ideas.
Although the capacity of an individual or a community to afford ICT, including personal computers and the Internet access hardware and infrastructure that enable computers to communicate is a factor that contributes to digital divide, this is not by any means the only one (Ferro, 2010, 8 – 10) and (Partridge, 2007, iv). In addition, the digital divide is not a phenomenon that only afflicts the underdeveloped world. However, computer manufacturers can play a role in helping individuals and communities have better access to the ICT and their global strategy does make a difference. Clearly, the computer industry and manufacturers together with many millions around the world will benefit if many more pieces of ICT equipment are made available to users. However, global manufacturing, markets, innovation and developments in technology together with a concern for profits influence the global strategy of multinationals and other manufacturers of ICT. Thus, it makes sense to try to understand better perspectives related to digital divide and global manufacturing strategy of computer manufacturers. A literature review for global strategy of computer manufacturers and digital divide will be of interest to anyone who has an interest in technology, computing, multinationals, development and the ICT. It is with the previously mentioned considerations in mind that a literature review for the topic of discussion is attempted.
Literature Review
IBM had played a unique role in the evolution of the computer industry in the United States of America from the 1950s to the 1990s by being both a path definer and a protagonist which integrated electronics technology with its punched-card tabulators to capture most of the world’s computer market in 1954 (Chandler, 2001, 245 – 250). Later, this firm was to develop the System 360 after very substantial investments in research to create formidable barriers to entry into the computer industry which were only challenged by Japan at a later stage. United States of America continued to dominate the computer markets when Intel released its first microprocessor and Microsoft developed an operating system for the first personal computer. Because all personal computers had to use the Intel microprocessor and the Microsoft operating system, a superb competitive advantage was created for the previously mentioned firms and their home country, the United States of America. This competitive advantage was pushed further by other firms including Sun Microsystems, Texas Instruments, Silicon Graphics, Motorola and Compaq, which developed the first laptop computer. Thus, even today, relatively few firms control computer technology and its ongoing development resulting in a situation that is close to being oligopolistic.
According to Johnson (2005, Chapter 2), a need for capturing more income and global markets prompted players in United States computer industry to try to capture overseas markets, but many other nations were only able to purchase readymade or assembled products. The very large investments required to develop computer technology, together with what was required in the form of skills meant that only Japan could present a challenge to the United States computer industry. Constant innovation and improvements in design and technology presented serious problems for those wanting to catch up. Proliferation of new ICT technology was only gradual even in the United States of America, because knowledge of core technology was lacking and licensing, external research contracts, hiring of former skilled employees and alliances or joint ventures only resulted in a gradual transfer of the core technologies (Viardot, 2004, 58 – 64). However, after core technologies had gradually proliferated, further innovation and improvement determined market leadership. Those that were committed to developing state-of-the-art technology and helping customers to apply it to solve their problems were more successful, but when technology evolved and the nature of customers’ problems changed, the firm had to change too (Viardot, 2004, xiii).
Viardot (2004, Chapter 1) goes further to suggest that high-tech products have a short life-cycle and use sophisticated core technologies that are difficult to copy. Moor’s Law for integrated circuits suggests that markedly superior integrated circuits, including microprocessors or memory chips, are likely to become available every eighteen month or so. Thus, after developing a high-tech product, the firm must rapidly bring it out to market and sell it to recoup its research and development expenses and the investments made in manufacturing operations. In addition, uncertainty about the direction of evolution of new technology and a need for upgrading product models requires that funds are made available for further research, development and innovation. Thus, the pricing strategy for a high-tech product requires that the sales margins provide for manufacturing costs, distribution costs, channel costs, innovation costs and costs for bringing out new models and for retooling as well as reserves for a competitor response, etc. This clearly means that, unless markets guarantee that products will sell well, the price will remain high (Jain, 1999, Chapter 15). Economies of scale operates when a high-tech manufacturing firm is assured that it can recoup its costs or when a enough units had been sold to provide for development costs. Clearly, high – tech innovators and manufacturers cannot supply ICT free to everyone because this will not make economic sense (Keyes, 2010, 59 – 73). In addition, fundamental business values and capitalism cannot permit everyone around the world to be taught how to design an integrated circuit and be provided all the sophisticated equipment required for integrated circuit fabrication or research. Wages for those working with high-technology in developed countries are far higher than in other countries, even though the laws of supply and demand do dictate what is possible to be asked for a high-tech ICT product.
Dedrick (1998, 50 – 55) states that it was the invention of the personal computer (PC) which led to the globalisation of the computer industry, with multinationals creating a production network that took advantage of local capabilities to serve markets around the world. Parts used for assembling a PC were outsourced competitively, and it was in Microsoft’s interest to be able to license its operating systems for use by all computer manufacturers because this meant capturing the market. Thus, even today Microsoft operating systems and other software products, such as Microsoft Office, remain the most popular around the world. Because Microsoft had early mover advantage, it could develop its products to present quality that remains unmatched by others even today. By trying to seek the lowest prices for its PC components, IBM encouraged suppliers to enter large volume manufacturing and this meant that prices gradually dropped. By copyrighting the Basic Input Output System (BIOS) for its computers, the program which connects computer hardware to the operating system, IBM had tried to ensure that others could not copy its personal computers. Despite this, Compaq reverse engineered the BIOS by analysing leading software applications to produce its own computer, but others who had directly copied the IBM BIOS were sued. Standardisation provided Microsoft and others in the industry with greater leverage, creating an open architecture that encouraged new players who could build their own PCs provided, they purchased microprocessors from Intel, BIOS from a suitable supplier and operating system from Microsoft.
Dedrick (1998, 58 – 75) goes on to suggest that the evolution of the global PC industry was moulded by intense competition among PC manufacturers who now had an open architecture, but could purchase licensed BIOS and Microsoft operating systems. Thus, the actual manufacturing of PCs was located in regions that presented cheap labour and close to markets in locations that optimised the interests of manufacturers. Massive investments in DRAM memory chip developments by Japanese and South Korean electronic multinationals were to mean that they retain leadership in this technology even today, but actual manufacturing has now shifted to East Asia from where labour costs are low and shipments to Japan, North America, Europe and other markets are possible. Only designing, new technology development and marketing are retained in the United States of America, with a certain shift to cheaper locations, such as Bangalore in India, where skills and expertise in certain technologies are available cheaply. Thus, it is only proper to conclude that computer manufacturers have tried to do that which will reduce prices together with making profits while providing funds for future research. However, despite this many around the world suffer from a lack of access to ICT.
A shift towards horizontal integration rather than vertical integration was the driving force behind the globalisation of the PC industry (Dedrick, 1998, 68 – 75). East Asian countries could develop strong linkages with the global production system for PC coordinated by the United States of America because they possessed national industry infrastructure and had gained an expertise in exporting, they indulged in aggressive outward-oriented national policies to develop national industries, and they had prior experience in electronics manufacturing.
Although, it may appear a casual observer that superior design and technology alone will provide a competitive advantage for the marketing of high-tech products, including the ICT, this is not quite correct. Jager (1997, Chapter 8), which presents the story of Dell Computer Corporation indicates that offering superior service and ease in purchasing quality computers over the phone can help support a superior product. In addition, reducing cost overheads involved with retail could benefit both Dell Computer Corporation and its customers. Thus, Dell Corporation which had revolutionised the idea that customers could purchase direct from the manufacturer over the phone without any retail store being involved provided better deals to its customers. This company was to grow from a $6 million company in 1984 to $69 million in 1987 and $546 million in 1991. Clearly, better pricing made possible by eliminating the retailer, superior service and the high-quality computing machines sold by Dell Corporation satisfied a vast majority of customers to make such spectacular growth possible. Obviously market capture is important, and it is right to do that which will appeal to the market.
It will be right to say that over the years, economic development and consolidation of the global production system for PC has presented established markets and locations. However, the opening up of China not only provided a vast new market in which multinationals could compete, but this also enabled Chinese multinationals to compete more aggressively on international markets (Larcon, 2009, 195 – 205). Lenovo Group has been a unique success story in China’s corporate world and this group recently strengthened its position in global markets by acquiring the PC division of IBM for US$1.25 billion in cash and shares, with US$500 million in debts. IBM was more interested in focusing on service, software development and server technology. In addition, IBM hoped to benefit from the sale of its PC division to Lenovo by targeting Chinese banks, government agencies and manufacturing companies, while Lenovo was to remain a preferred supplier to IBM global services. Lenovo, which had a 27% share of the PC market in China, with an iron grip on government and education markets, and a 12.2% share in the Asia-Pacific region, (excluding Japan), now derives only 2% of its annual global sales from the Chinese markets and can compete with Dell Corporation and Hewlett-Packard. The world is now witnessing a large scale reconfiguration of value chains related to ICT as large Western firms focus their activities on core and more profitable markets in comparison to the mature markets. According to Larcon (2009, 198 – 200), the sources of competitive advantage now exhaust progressively, possibilities for differentiation are now thinner and margins erode as products become commoditised. Innovations in products are difficult to sustain because these innovations are now easily copied and claims of technical superiority are difficult to prove due to product commoditisation. However, locating in cheap labour markets with high automation in production can provide China with opportunities for competing.
The Research & Markets (2004, “Computer Company Strategy & Their New Developments in the Digital Consumer Electronics Market”) states that many computer manufacturing firms were now poaching into each other’s markets and looking for new sources of competitive advantage. According to the previously mentioned report, household penetration of computers in the United States of America had reached 80%, and it was unlikely that any further growth could be sustained even by estimates presented by the computer industry. Subsequently, the prevailing global financial recession of 2008 – 2010 adversely impacted global sales of computers and all computer manufacturers, including Dell Corporation, were trying to find ways for sustaining price declines in an effort to increase sales. Thus, moving to cheaper locations for manufacturing computers and cutting costs proved to be essential for everyone. Computer manufacturers in China continued to adjust their strategies in the face of shrinking demand and Dell Corporation announced the closure of its plant in Ireland to shift production to Poland, which offers cheaper operating cost for manufacturing (Wikipedia, 2009, “Dell”) and (C114, 2008, “Chinese computer manufacturers adjusting strategies for 2009 as market demand shrinks”). Manufacturers in China are now targeting rural markets with the assistance of the government of China, which has decided to include computers among its list of household subsidised goods for its citizens. Clearly, the previously mentioned strategy will work to bring computers into the lives of very many more people to diminish the effects of the digital divide and boost the rural areas of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Examination of news headlines associated with major computer manufacturers, including Dell Corporation and Hewlett-Packard, on Yahoo Finance and Google Finance suggest that efforts are ongoing to bring more innovation into offerings made available by the global computer industry (Yahoo Finance, 2010, “Search Results for Dell and HP”) and (Google Finance, 2010, “Search Results for Dell and HP”). However, it will appear that price competition will intensify in the computer industry because according to Acer CEO, Stan Shih, the trend for low price computers will continue for the coming years, but the high wages of US$20 per hour in the United States of America in comparison to US$1 in PRC make it impossible for United States manufacturers to compete with cheap products (Alberts, 2010, “Asia’s Laptop Ascendance?”). Tech vendors are now developing new products faster and chip sales have improved due to demand for newer chips for new types of computers and high-tech gadgets (Wall Street Journal, 2010, “Search Results for Computers”). Thus, it will appear that the price of the latest computer with the latest technology will fall but the prices of second hand computers, which can still work will fall even more. Thus, it appears that computers are now even more affordable than ever and this trend will continue for the future.
Although today computer manufacturers have to think hard and deep to innovate new products that attract customers, it will appear that further developments and improvements in personal, handheld or notebook computers are still possible. Research in ubiquitous, mobile and context aware computing will suggest that many new innovations are possible to be included into the portable gadget that individuals are likely to carry around with them as their personal computer (Stojanovic, 2009, Chapter 1) and (Symonds, 2009, Chapter 1). It is likely that a personal computing device of the future will contain a number of sensors that will enable it to determine its location and depending on where the device is located and the context that dominates within this location, the personal computing device will interact with its human user to suite the location and the dominant context. Thus, much more can be added to what is available in the form of a laptop, notebook or a mobile computing device. However, it is likely that the computer manufacturers are waiting and saving to get out of the economic downturn to bring new futuristic products when they are likely to sell. Obviously, standardisation and further developments in networks will have to support such mobile context aware devices and this means that the economic climate must right to be able to support implementation of ideas, which have been demonstrated in the laboratory. The technology exists, but it as to be rolled out for commercialisation and mass production. Even those living in developed countries and their communities cannot upgrade their networks, computing hardware and software every day. Although laptop and notebook computers today have built-in cameras and Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) as well as finger print identification, the developed world still waits for ubiquitous grids, ambient intelligence, ubiquitous networking and proliferation of applications for RFID, such as contactless payment systems (Symonds, 2009, Chapter 1). The previously mentioned will only appear when the economy is right.
Gupta (2009, Chapter 7) states that in the relatively near future, organisations will have to change their mindset to thrive and to sustain competitive advantage. It will be necessary for all to rethink their global strategy, rethink innovation, organisation and to develop a global mindset rather than a local or a national mindset. Global strategy must be designed with a view to trying to capture the largest share in the global market. Thus, emerging economies of China and India should be considered for inclusion even though the purchasing power of consumers in these countries is far below that of the developed West. Perhaps if Microsoft had been willing to sell its operating systems and other software in emerging economies at prices that considered local spending power, software piracy would have been much reduced and earnings for Microsoft boosted. Such a strategy would have benefited everyone, but this did not materialise. Customised solutions to suite the local market should be available with global players. It is important to judiciously globalise the corporate resource base and to balance the need for global integration with the need for local responsiveness. It is likely that the end game in globalisation will not be global standardisation, but global customisation to suite local markets, local requirements and local conditions. Obviously, customisation for emerging and low income countries should perhaps tilt towards making products more affordable. Innovation needs to focus on saving resources that have become depleted due to human activity and extravagance. It is important to remember that dwindling reserves of fossil fuels cannot sustain the huge international trade volumes that persist today. Thus, sustainable production for sustaining standards and innovation on all fronts is important.
Gupta (2009, Chapter 7) continues on to state that in the future, manufacturers will have to contend with a constant and rapid evolution of technology that will require that products change to suite. The author presents an example of books that used to be purchased in brick and mortar stores now being downloaded into book readers, PDAs or laptops, with these books changing dynamically as authors add new material. In the future, it will be difficult for a firm to remain secretive about its operations because the Internet will make news, information, balance sheets and other matters transparent to everyone with an interest. New competitors and alliances from emerging countries will have an impact on business and the previously mentioned example of Lenovo presenting a new force in production serves to illustrate this. Innovation directed towards developing new products in a collaborative manner to combine knowledge, resources and technologies will become necessary. Global hubs that coordinate together to operate synergistically for the global and local benefit will be the shape of the organisation of the future. A strong corporate culture will act as a cohesive force and executives will be willing to benefit from and present benefits to the global diversity rather than succumbing to it by building bridges rather than moats.
It can be hoped that when gradually conditions emerge that will enable global multinationals to give and to receive from all, digital divide will diminish more, but it is important to remember that all, including the disadvantaged, will contribute to improve the future (United Nations ESCAP, 2006, 20 – 26) and (United Nations ESCAP, 2005, 1 – 23). Governments, the civil society, the individual and ICT manufacturers must all work together to create sustainable solutions because it is important to remember that products of innovation that benefit humanity are made possible by sharing skills, knowledge, effort and making judicious investments. It costs to acquire skills, learn and to take risks to innovate. Thus, it will be unfair to blame entirely the manufacturers for not trying hard enough. However, ICT manufacturers too must be willing to lean towards customisation to suite market conditions rather than insisting on standardisation that will deliberately the underprivileged at an even greater disadvantage.
Conclusion
It is clear from the discussion presented that although the global economic recession of 2008 – 2010 and saturation in the developed markets has contributed to the downturn in the ICT industry, computer manufacturers are not yet out of ideas for new products and innovations that will benefit humanity and present a demand in the market. However, it is in the interest of ICT manufacturers to take a global view to do more to benefit and to benefit from emerging markets. Standardisation of products and prices has failed to deliver. Customisation for local conditions will result in benefits for all, but all parties including the individual, government, civic society and the non-governmental sector must contribute while trying to understand perspectives.
 

Impact of the Digital Age on Society Today

Discuss the impact of the digital age on the social, economic and political life of society today.
The Information Age (also known as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age) is a period in human history characterized by the shift from traditional industry that the industrial revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on information computerization. The onset of the Information Age is associated with the Digital Revolution, just as the Industrial Revolution marked the onset of the Industrial Age.

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During the information age, the phenomenon is that the digital industry creates a knowledge-based society surrounded by a high-tech global economy that spans over its influence on how the manufacturing throughput and the service sector operate in an efficient and convenient way. In a commercialized society, the information industry is able to allow individuals to explore their personalized needs, therefore simplifying the procedure of making decisions for transactions and significantly lowering costs for both the producers and buyers. This is accepted overwhelmingly by participants throughout the entire economic activities for efficacy purposes, and new economic incentives would then be indigenously encouraged, such as the knowledge economy.[1]
The Information Age formed by capitalizing on the computer microminiaturization advances, with a transition spanning from the advent of the personal computer in the late 1970s, to the Internet’s reaching a critical mass in the early 1990s, and the adoption of such technology by the public in the two decades after 1990. This evolution of technology in daily life, as well as of educational life style, the Information Age has allowed rapid global communications and networking to shape modern society.
The impact of digital age on the social life of the society today is connected with one’s position in the society, his social class and also his social background, nowadays, there are so many changes in the social aspect of our lives. A very good example of this is festival, changes in tradition and also in the mood of dressing, all this became possible because of the impact of digital age we have today. If we look around us today, it’s hard to find a person that has not added anything new to his traditional attires , what I mean here is, for instance, for the Hausa’s and also the Fulani’s, there were not know for wearing jeans and tops, but now it has become a common thing based on socialization. Before, many do not believe in going to school especially the Fulani’s, they only believe in rearing cattle’s while the women among them are to stay at home, but now, everyone wants to be in school, illiteracy is darkness, people don’t believe in staying at home doing nothing anymore, for at least even when they lack the opportunity or don’t have the means of going school or seeking for job opportunity, they will prepare engaging themselves in a small business just for them to earn something for a living. There are so many changes due to the impact digital age on the social life of our societies today.
The digital age as made the means of communication easier for the world because you can send a message to someone in new york from Nigeria.
The digital age as affected the politics of the am economy because you are able to find out the party that as the higher polls making it possibel for the other compeiton to know where they stand at the point of the election.
It as aided the politician to be able to have a wider amount of suppoter or vote in the campaign because they can easily broadcast their speechs on the web making people like them more .
Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen social media galvanize thousands over politics, create as many industries as it has destroyed, and offer an abundance of visual and audio entertainment.But has all this incredible change actually changed us, or just the world we live in?
Below are some areas in which social media has had lasting, and arguably permanent effects on the ways in which we live. The question is, are these changes all for the better?
Child Literacy
It stands to reason that children who read and write more are better at reading and writing. And writing blog posts, status updates, text messages, instant messages, and the like all motivate children to read and write. Last month, The National Literacy Trust released the results of a survey of over 3000 children. Theyobserved a correlation between children’s engagement with social media and their literacy. Simply put, social media has helped children become more literate. Indeed, Eurostat recently published a report drawing a correlation between education and online activity, which found that online activity increased with the level of formal activity (socio-economic factors are, of course, potentially at play here as well).
Ambient Intimacy
Lisa Reichelt, a user experience consultant in Londoncoined the very pleasant term “ambient intimacy.” It describes the way in which social media allows you to “… keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible.”
Consider the many communications technologies through history — the telephone, Morse code, semaphore, carrier pigeons, smoke signals — they are all fairly inconvenient and labor intensive. Lisa has hit on the idea that communication has become so convenient that it’s actually become ambient around us. It surrounds us wherever we want it, not necessarily whenit wants us. We dip into it whenever we like.
Knowledge Was Power
From his Meditationes Sacrae, published in 1597,Francis Bacon was paraphrased as saying “knowledge is power.” Fundamentally, the more you understand about life, the more chance you have at success. But these days, Wikipedia and Google have democratized information to the point where anyone is able toacquirethe knowledge they may want.
As a case in point, I had never even heard of Meditationes Sacrae until I looked up the term “knowledge is power” on Wikipedia.In Bacon’s time, the only people that had access to books and the literacy to unlock the wisdom within were the wealthy with the time and inclination to learn.
Of course, books weren’t the only source of knowledge. Consider blacksmiths, dressmakers, cobblers or sailors who passed their skills and techniques from mother to daughter, from father to son. Back then, the friction that held people back from learning was low literacy, a lack of access to books and very little time. Now, that friction is almost non-existent. That is because of both the ability of computers to replicate information for distribution, and the the way that Google, Wikipedia and blogs have empowered people to share what they know. Now,the only real friction that exists is our own desire for knowledge. It’s there for you — if you want it.
The Reinvention of Politics
A recent report by PEW found signs that social networks may be encouraging younger people to get involved in politics. You only need look at Twitter’s recent impact on the Iran elections, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and even the election of Barack Obama to see that more and more people are getting involved in politics and are feeling they can make a difference.
One of the most popular blogs on the web, The Huffington Post, is mainly political. Politics has a fast pace, and that lends itself well to social media. UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown said in June last year that because of the Internet, “foreign policy can no longer be the province of just a few elites.” Twitter even postponed an upgrade because of the important role it was playing in the Iran elections.
These are all signs of both social media’s growing influence in politics, and the growing interest in politics from users of social media.
The down side for poltic in the digital age is that most information can be gotten from th internet aboout any party making it a disadvantage in the campaign if he or she as a bad record either a fake degree or something a voter would not like about whom he wanted to vote for .Tecchnology has changed the way we live, work, shop and play. We can bank, shop and donate securely from anywhere we can access the Internet. We can to communicate across oceans and continents in seconds. We can work from anywhere, increasing efficiency and productivity. Yet, Nigeria education has yet to embrace the power of technology to customize education and give students the ability to gain knowledge anywhere, anytime.
Digital learning can change that. Digital learning is any type of learning that gives students some element of control over time, place, path and/or pace. It allows students to learn in their own way, on their own timetable, wherever they are, whenever they can.
Students are using digital learning everywhere – except school. They are gaming, texting and posting on the Internet. Imagine if we channel those digital skills into learning? Student achievement would skyrocket.
But still the digital age as a negative effect on the education system,as part of the English class, students wrote and edited their stories on screen and I was amazed how motivated they were and how much time and effort they put into their work.
Since the early to mid 90s I have used computers and the internet on a daily basis and as I sit typing this chapter into my fifth-generation Macintosh (while checking emails, paying some bills, downloading research papers and Skyping friends) I realise the value of the new technologies and how useful they are.
We live in a global village with instant communication via television, computers, the internet, mobile phones and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype. While parents are often described as out-of-date and old-fashioned when it comes to new technology, children are celebrated as digital natives.
Impact on jobs and income distribution
The Information Age has impacted the workforce in several ways. First, it has created a situation in which workers who perform tasks which are easily automated are being forced to find work which involves tasks that are not easily automated. Second, workers are being forced to compete in a global job market. Lastly, workers are being replaced by computers that can do the job more effectively and faster. This poses problems for workers in industrial societies, which are still to be solved. However, solutions that involve lowering the working time usually find high resistance.
Jobs traditionally associated with the middle class (assembly line workers, data processors, foremen and supervisors) are beginning to disappear, either through outsourcing or automation. Individuals who lose their jobs must either move up, joining a group of “mind workers” (engineers, doctors, attorneys, teachers, scientists, professors, executives, journalists, consultants), or settle for low-skill, low-wage service jobs.
The “mind workers” are able to compete successfully in the world market and command high wages. Conversely, production workers and service workers in industrialized nations are unable to compete with workers in developing countries and either lose their jobs through outsourcing or are forced to accept wage cuts.[6] In addition, the internet makes it possible for workers in developing countries to provide in-person services and compete directly with their counterparts in other nations.
This has had several major consequences, including increased opportunity in developing countries and the globalization of the workforce.
Workers in developing countries have a competitive advantage which translates into increased opportunities and higher wages.[7] The full impact on the workforce in developing countries is complex and has downsides. (see discussion in section on globalization).
In the past, the economic fate of workers was tied to the fate of national economies. For example, workers in the United States were once well paid in comparison to the workers in other countries. With the advent of the Information Age and improvements in communication, this is no longer the case. Because workers are forced to compete in a global job market, wages are less dependent on the success or failure of individual economies.[6]
In conclusion, digital age had so much impact on the social, economic and political life of the societies today because it has brought so much changes in our daily aspects of life and also helps us to improve and reshape our environment with the aid of practical, experimental and scientific knowledge or technology.
Impact on social life
The digital age as made communication easier and faster for indivdual and firm of all countries but this the social network in the world as made it harder for indivdual to have face to face conversations
eferences
Amichai-Hamburger, Y., & Barak, A. (2009). Internet and well-being. In Y.Amichai-Hamburger (Ed.), Technology and psychological well-being.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Anderson, C. A. (2002). Violent video games and aggressive thought, feelingsand behaviors. In S. Calvert, A. Jordan, & R. Cocking (Eds.),
Children in thedigital age
(pp. 101–120). Westport, CT.: Praeger.Anderson, C.A., & Bushman, B.J. (2002). The effects of media violence onsociety.
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, 2377-2378.Antoci, A., Sabatini, F., & Sodini, M. (2009).
Will growth and technology destroysocial interaction?
The inverted U-shape hypothesis
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January 2010.Bandura, A. (1977).
Social learning theory.
Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.Barylick, C. (n.d.). Technology and social isolation. Retrieved fromhttp://irchelp.org/irchelp/misc/tech.htmlAccessed 12th January 2010.Bauerlein, M. (2008).
The dumbest generation: How the digital age stupefiesyoung Americans and jeopardizes our future
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Online networking ‘harms health’.
London: BBC News Website.http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7898510.stmAccessed 12th January 2010.
 

Impact of the Digital Environment on Copyright

Critically assess the blurring of the boundaries between the expression of an idea in a material form (which is protected by copyright) and an idea itself (which is not). In your response, you will need to examine the impact of the digital environment on copyright and initiatives like open access and Creative Commons.
Discuss whether protecting original works is becoming obsolete, considering the effect of a copyright-free world on individual creators, producers and distributors. Be explicit about how you respond to and extend the examples presented in the topic’s podcast and town meeting.
‘Copyright can be defined as the ownership of the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves’ (Bourne 2008). The issue of copyright is perhaps facing its greatest challenge. The line between the expression of ideas in a material form (which is protected by copyright) and an idea itself (which is not) is being increasingly blurred due to the increasing prevalence and penetration of digital technologies in the national (Australian) and international (global) communication environment.
With the proliferation of copyright violations as digital technologies offer file sharing capacities, the development of author favouring initiatives approximating to Open Access and Creative Commons eroding the corporate power of copyright corporations, the existence of legally protected copyright protections a creator craves, corporations pursue and government’s protect, is under serious threat.
Traditionally the free market economy has envisioned a hierarchy from producer to consumer in the development and dissemination of cultural information. Conventionally, the mode of production had envisioned a role for creator, manufacturer, distributor and consumer. This was a centralised system. Copyright pervaded and that which was protected by copyright was difficult if not impossible to illegally obtain without paying the royalties to the creator or copyright holder.

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Yochai Benkler believes there has been a decentralisation of the process due to the onset of the digital revolution, particularly with Internet technologies, while technology simultaneously sustains the centralisation of cultural information. ‘I will suggest that we call the combination of these two trends – the radical decentralization of intelligence in our communications network and the centrality of information, knowledge, culture, and ideas to advanced economic activity – the networked information economy’ (Benkler 2003, p.1252).
The strength of Benkler’s argument is that it’s a fresh idea that argues somewhat from a political economy perspective, the production process. The production process has been decentralised due to digital technologies and therefore individuals who previously held no part can create their own ideas by either mimicking, disseminating, copying, plagiarising without consequence.
This networked information economy (or decentralisation of production) has led to a blurring of the lines between the expression of ideas in a material form (which is protected by copyright) and an idea itself (which is not) due to the increasing mobility and creativity individuals can utilise as a result of the onset of digital technologies. Benkler believes ‘ubiquitously available cheap processors have radically reduced the necessary capital input costs. What can be done now with a desktop computer would once have required a professional studio’ (Benkler 2003, p.1254).
According to Benkler, a primary contributor to cultural production is pre-existing information, a publicly accessible good while others include ‘human creativity and the physical capital necessary to generate, fix, and communicate transmissible units of information and culture – like a recording studio or a television network’ (Benkler 2003, p.1254). The Internet and digital technologies have to an extent decimated the dominance of the capital generators, those owners and proprietors of copyright such as the television networks and publishers, and allowed consumers to edit pre-existing copyrighted material, or create their own, to the detriment of copyright holders.
‘This leaves individual human beings closer to the economic centre of our information production system than they have been for over a century and a half’ (Benkler 2003, p.1254). The failing of Benkler’s argument is that it views digital technologies as offering endless opportunities for individual production. While this may be true, usually the product produced is usually distributed for free and those who attempt to make economic gain are wiped out by the competition that produce free and higher quality software and programs.
The impact of the digital environment has led to the proliferation of copyright violations and use of materials by consumers in their own productions and ideas without regard for the intended royalties. This has been seen no better than in the rising prevalence of file sharing software on the Internet, its popularity, dominance, and targeting by corporations for law suits. ‘The most radically new and unfamiliar element in this category is commons-based peer production of information, knowledge, and culture, whose most visible instance has been free software’ (Benkler 2003, p.1254).
An example of these ‘peer network’ systems Benkler speaks of includes ‘file sharing’ systems such as Limewire, BitTorent, eMule and Gnutella. ‘Based on peer-to-peer technology (Fattah 2002; Oram 2001), so-called ‘filesharing’ systems offer the possibility to exchange any sort of digital data for free and without restriction’ (Quiring 2008, p.435). Considerable losses in revenues have resulted in the film, gaming and particularly communications industries due to the illegal copying and sharing of their products. ‘According to the communications industry, it misses out on considerable revenues each year due to the illegal exchange of communications data’ (Quiring, von Walter & Atterer 2008, p.435).
Similarly there has been propagation in the amount of quality free programmes on the Internet that supplant those supplied by corporations and have no copyright protections of their own. ‘The networked information economy… opens for radically decentralized collaborative production… “peer production”… a process by which many individuals, whose actions are coordinated neither by managers nor by price signals, contribute to a joint effort that effectively produces a unit of information or culture’ (Benkler 2003, p.1254). ‘Free software has become the quintessential instance of peer production in the past few years.
Over 85 percent of emails are routed using the sendmail software that was produced and updated in this way ‘(Benkler 2003, p.1254). Over 60% of Australians use msn, yahoo, Google or other free E-mail providers as their primary E-Mail account and the development of free virus scanning software such as AVG, free communications composing and artistic programs have gradually eroded communications corporation’s copyright power and grip on the consumer market.
However here, within these filesharing and producing communities the lines between the expression of ideas in a material form and an idea itself are more deeply blurred as the providers of free programmes and those who illegally copy and distribute software, programmes and cultural files (such as communications), known as ‘warez’ have developed their own codes of production and consumption. An academic of Southern California University, D. Thomas alludes to this in his article ‘Innovation, Piracy and the Ethos of New Media’ identifies three key fundamentals in the ‘warez ethos’ (Thomas 2002, p.87).
Firstly, ‘keeping information free and open in the face of corporate control’, an act which they see as embodying ‘the spirit of the Internet’; communications or game lovers ‘right to redistribute’ goods they have purchased ‘providing they do not profit financially.’ Secondly the sense of an ‘entitlement to digital content’, as after buying a computer and internet access they see the content as already paid for’ (Thomas 2002, p.87). It can therefore be seen that the digital environment erodes copyright protection and the benefits copyright brings to its owners and distributors.
Due to the erosion of copyright protections, debate has arisen as to whether the erosion of copyright is desirable. According to Spinello, while they are evermore protected by government legislation, property rights ‘are often dismissed or disparaged in academic circles. Post-modern critics, for example, find it hard, to accept that creative works have a single author, so the assignment of a property right loses intelligibility’ (Spinello 2003, p.2).
It has therefore been argued by many academics, including Lessig that ‘innovation and creativity depend upon free, uncontrolled resources’ and more precisely, ‘according to Lessig the Internet forms an “innovation commons,” that is, a space where innovation and creative expression can flourish’ (Spinello 2003, p.3).
In an effort to protect themselves from the increasing breaches of copyright brought about by these kind of principles and digital technologies that facilitate these breaches of copyright, copyright owners have lobbied governments to extend copyright protection to lifetime plus seventy years and are attempting to override exceptions granted to institutions such as universities and parliaments along with removing the copyright ownership from creators to themselves. This has facilitated the rise of movements against this trend known as ‘Open Access’ and ‘Creative Commons’ in order to protect creators and consumers.
‘Open Access’ and ‘Creative Commons’ are two organisations that espouse opposing, yet fundamentally similar goals to deal with the blurring of the boundaries between the expression of ideas in a material form and ideas themselves. On the one hand ‘Creative Commons’ argues for the protection of creators through the benefits of minimal copyright protections known as ‘moral rights’ by issuing their own legally recognised copyright licenses.
The moral rights extend the rights of creators to the basic entitlements of ‘attribution’ and ‘integrity’ that have adopted in the developed world, including Europe and Australia (excluding USA). While ‘attribution’ is the right of the creator to have his work recognised by attribution, ‘integrity’ is the right of the creator not to have his work falsely portrayed or misused.’ ‘Creative Commons aims to promote better identification, negotiation and reutilization of content for the purposes of creativity and innovation.
It aims to make copyright content more “active” by ensuring that content can be reutilized with a minimum of transactional effort’ (Fitzgerald & Oi 2004, p.1). Alternately, ‘Open Access’ seeks to minimize copyright in its entirety. ‘”Open Access” means access to the full text of a scientific publication on the internet, with no other limitations than possibly a requirement to register, for statistical or other purposes’ (Björk, Roos, Lauri 2008, p.1). The purpose of this initiative is to accredit creators with their copyright and offer access to materials at minimum or no cost so as not to stifle creativity due to excessive copyright protections under the law.
However one must consider the implications of the erosion of copyright as discussed above and whether protecting old works is becoming obsolete. Some scholars and economists believe that copyright is crucial to the development of society and its advancement due to the protections of copyright and their benefits owners of copyright aspire to. A particular point raised in the town meeting was the relevance of copyright if individuals can merely download audio, visual and software files from file sharing programs on the Internet for no-charge.
However a report commissioned by the Australian government in 1998 raised the interesting point that copyright is crucial to the capitalist system of innovation and development. ‘These industries form a significant and, to date, growing part of the Australian economy – in 1992-93, the net contribution of copyright based industries to the total economy was an estimated $11 billion in constant prices, or 2.9% of the total GDP’ and the report concluded ‘Copyright is the glue in the various transactions between creators and investors – the legal mechanism which ensures that the value of creative effort or investment is not undermined and devalued by others taking a free ride on that effort or investment’ (McDonald 1999, p.2).
It can be affirmed then, that a system of copyright, limited even, is desirable, if not to protect creators, then to at least achieve a balance between the rights of creators and copyright producers and distributors for revenue and moral accreditation, while allowing access to the public for consumption. ‘A system of limited intellectual property protection is justified both as an inducement for future creative activity and as a reward for the intellectual labor associated with that socially valuable activity’ (Spinello 2003, p.2).
It has been argued by many academics that the complete erosion of copyright protections may dislodge the profitability of many industries such as the gaming, communications and film, to the detriment of future production as creators see no purpose in creation without economic gain (McDonald 1999; Lee 2005). For example ‘Illegal file sharing on the internet leads to considerable financial losses for artists and copyright owners as well as producers and sellers of communications’ (Quiring, von Walter & Atterer 2008, p.434).
It can therefore be strongly stated that while at times, when applied without distinction, copyright can be an encumbrance if argued from n Open Access perspective. However one must consider copyright as the ‘glue’ that McDonald describes it as when considering the incentive effect copyright has in relation to the development and dissemination of cultural information (McDonald 1999, p.2).
In conclusion it can be seen that the blurring of the boundaries between the expression of ideas in a material form (which is protected by copyright) and an idea itself (which is not) has led to the development of what Benkler has named the ‘networked information economy’ (Benkler 2003, p.1245). The networked information economy ‘makes it possible for nonmarket and decentralized models of production to increase their presence alongside the more traditional models, causing some displacement, but increasing the diversity of ways of organizing production rather than replacing one with the other’ (Benkler 2003, p.1247).
This has led to the decentralisation of the process of cultural production files (mp3’s, film, communications, etc) and is what has ultimately led to the blurring between idea’s in material form and idea’s themselves as seen with the development of filesharing and peer-to-peer production networks against the backdrop of the digital environment.
This has gradually led to the erosion of copyright and the strengthening of legislation in reponse, in turn leading to the development of movements such as Creative Commons and Open Access. The ensuing debate over whether copyright is desirable to retain in the digital environment has led me to conclude that while copyright can act as encumbrance to creativity and learning, by removing its protection the incentive it generates for innovation and cultural production, have necessitated the need for a balance of the two.
References:
Thomas, D. (2002) ‘Innovation, Piracy and the Ethos of New Media’, pp. 82-91 in D. Harries (ed.) The New Media Book. London: British Film Institute.
 

A History of Digital Dignatures

History of Digital signatures
Whitfield Diffie and also Martin Hellman throughout 1976, were the first that explained the idea of an electronic digital unique structure. It was while they simply conjectured in these kinds of techniques, and quickly after, Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir, along with Len Adleman conceived the RSA protocol. This could be utilized to create ancient electronic digital signatures. Ddespite the fact that simply being a proof-of-concept, the “plain” RSA signatures are not secure. The initial extensively advertised software package to provide digital signature had been Lotus. It was introduced throughout 1989, and is usually employed by the RSA algorithm.
To make RSA unique tips, create an RSA essential set containing the modulus d that’s the product of two large primes. Also imagine the integers:
e as well as d such that e d = 1 (mod f(n))
The actual signer’s general public essential is made of n and also e, and the signer’s solution key is made up of d. For an indication, there is a communication m, and the sign computes
s = md (mod n)
To ensure, the receiver checks that
s e = m (mod n).
While noted before, this kind of basic structure just isn’t really protected. In order to avoid episodes, one can very first, and then can implement a new cryptographic hash function for the communication m. And then he can apply the RSA formula described previously mentioned to the result. This strategy might be established secure inside so-called arbitrary prediction model.
Some other digital camera unique strategies have been quickly created soon after RSA. The primary are Lamport signatures, Merkle signatures (also known as “Merkle trees” or perhaps “Hash trees”), and Rabin signatures.
Inside 1988, Shafi Goldwasser, Silvio Micali, and Ronald Rivest took over as very first to carefully outline the protection specifications associated with digital trademark strategies. They defined any pecking order regarding attack models regarding unique schemes, and also found the GMR personal structure, the first that can be which may prevent perhaps an existential forgery in opposition to a new chosen information invasion.

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The majority of early on personal plans had been of the comparable type: they call for conditions trapdoor permutation, such as the RSA perform, or perhaps in true with the Rabin personal system, computing rectangular modulo amalgamated n. A trapdoor permutation family is a family group associated with permutations, particular by a parameter, that is simple to work out inside the forward route, yet is hard in order to figure out inside the invert path with no by now knowing the private essential. Even so, for every parameter there is a “trapdoor” (exclusive important) that if identified, quickly decrypts what it’s all about. Trapdoor permutations may very well be public-key security techniques, in which the parameter will be the open public essential and the trapdoor will be the key, and also where encrypting corresponds to computing the particular onward direction of the permutation, whilst decrypting corresponds for the change direction. Trapdoor combining can even be seen as electronic digital personal schemes, where computing the opposite direction with the entire secret key is thought of as signing, and research the actual forwards course is performed to verify signatures. Because of this messages, electronic digital signatures are often called determined by public-key cryptosystems, in which deciding upon is equivalent to decryption and verification is the same as encrypted shield, however this isn’t the only method electronic signatures are usually calculated.
Employed immediately, such a unique system is actually at risk of a new key-only existential forgery attack. To make a forgery, the particular attacker choices any haphazard trademark s and uses the confirmation process to look for the communication m equivalent compared to that signature. Used, nevertheless, this sort of unique isn’t used right, but alternatively, the material to become signed can be initial hash to generate a short digest that’s then closed. This forgery assault next, only generates the actual hash function output which refers to s, and not a message that leads for its benefit (which does not cause an attack). Within the random oracle model, this specific hash-and-decrypt form of unique is existentially un-forgeable, actually in opposition to a chosen-message assault.
There are several top reasons to sign this type of hash (or perhaps message absorb) instead of the entire record.
For performance: The trademark will probably be much quicker thereby save time considering that hashing is mostly considerably quicker than putting your signature on in practice.
For being compatible: Mail messages are normally little bit guitar strings, however, many signature strategies run on other areas (including, in the case of RSA, amounts modulo an amalgamated number n). A new hash perform may be used to convert an haphazard feedback into the appropriate file format.
With regard to ethics: Without the hash operate, the words “to end up being signed” might have to end up being divided (divided) in prevents sufficiently small for your unique system to do something on them straight. Nonetheless, the particular device in the agreed upon blocks is not able to acknowledge if every one of them is present and in the proper get.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF DIGITAL SIGNATURES
The main benefit thing about public-key cryptography can be the increase in security, as well as comfort. This is because the private keys never need to be transported or exposed to any person. In a very secret-key technique as comparison, the secrets recommendations should be carried (both physically and through a conversation station), and there might be a possibility that the opponent could find the secret during their transmitting.
Another significant benefit from public-key programs is that they provide one way functions with regard to digital signatures. Validation by the way of using secret-key systems requires only the expressing associate of the key. But sometimes it needs interaction of a third party as well. Therefore, a new mailer can be easily repudiated by a previously authenticated concept. This is through proclaiming how the discussed solution ended up being for some reason affected by the events revealing the secrets. As an example, the particular Kerberos secret-key authentication method consists of a new central repository that maintains replicates in the solution recommendations of most consumers. This way an attack on the databases will allow widespread forgery. Public-key authentication, conversely, stops this sort of repudiation; every single individual offers single obligation regarding safeguarding his / her individual crucial. This particular residence associated with public-key authentication is frequently named non-repudiation.
A problem with using public-key cryptography pertaining to encryption is actually rate: you’ll find well-liked secret-key encryption techniques which are drastically more quickly as compared to any kind of available today public-key file encryption strategy. On the other hand, public-key cryptography works extremely well using secret-key cryptography for the greatest involving all possible. For encryption, the very best option would be to combine public- and secret-key methods to achieve the two security benefits of public-key programs and the velocity benefits of secret-key systems. Your public-key technique may be used to defend the key which is used to ensure the bulk of personal files or even communication. Such a process is known as digital camera envelope..
Public-key cryptography may be susceptible to impersonation, nevertheless, even though users’ exclusive recommendations usually are not obtainable. A successful invasion with a qualifications specialist enables an adversary in order to impersonate anyone the particular adversary selects to by using a public-key qualification from your jeopardized expert to situation an integral in the adversary’s option to the category of yet another person.
In several conditions, public-key cryptography is not required along with secret-key cryptography on its own is risk. This consists of situations where protected secret-key arrangement may take spot, for example through consumer’s conference within an individual. It also includes conditions in which a one expert understands and also manages all of the recommendations. As an example, a new closed financial program. Since the management knows everybody’s keys already, there’s not a lot advantages for it to get “public”. Furthermore, in public-key cryptography it is normally not needed in single-user surroundings. For instance, if you want to keep the data protected, you can do so with any kind of secret-key file encryption algorithm employing, declare, your individual security password because magic formula essential. Generally, public-key cryptography is best suited with an available multi-user natural environment.
Public-key cryptography just isn’t meant to exchange secret-key cryptography, but instead to be able to dietary supplement the idea, to restore safer. The initial way of using public-key methods ended up being for risk-free crucial exchange, in the otherwise secret-key system, which is nonetheless among its major capabilities. Secret-key cryptography remains vitally important and is also the subject of a lot continuing review as well as investigation. A few secret-key cryptosystems are usually discussed inside the areas about prevent ciphers along with flow ciphers.
 

Effectiveness of Digital Forensic in Unveiling Financial Crime

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Abstract

 

This research will focus on the effectiveness of digital forensic in unveiling financial crime. Financial crime is becoming more massive globally, particularly in Indonesia. At this time, the sophistication of information technology makes financial crime in both government and corporations are increasing that significantly affect the business process. Forensic accounting is the forefront to understand the financial crime flow as well as this profession been experienced with information system analysis skills. Several public accountant firms provide the forensic services in Indonesia, but I will study at big four public accounting firms (KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, and Ernst and Young), which already been experienced in handling the significant financial crime issues in Indonesia. This research will cover their procedures in investigating using a well-structured interview to collect some information which is relevant to financial crime investigation.

Introduction

 

Forensic accounting is an accounting application that applies financial skills and focuses on investigative mentality to undisclosed issues, by collecting some relevant evidence (Arokiasamy and Cristal, 2009). The demand for forensic accounting is increasing in the modern business. Forensic accounting emerges from both technical error or fraud that deliberately perpetrated by the human. Forensic accounting is a new business in Indonesia, and the public accounting firms who offer forensic services are still limited.

Singleton and Singleton (2010) assert that a forensic accountant, as a profession, handles corporate investigations, tackles criminal litigation and support, insurance claims, and assistance in compliance with the regulations. Presently, forensic accounting offers comprehensive services and one of the modern advisory industries in Indonesia.

Financial crime has emerged as a serious issue over three decades. This concern arises due to the impact of financial crime may generate a significant threat to the nations’ economic and interrupt the development. The financial crime relates to white-collar crime, corporation crime, occupational crime, and economic crime. International Compliance Association (2013, online) asserts that financial crime could involve money laundering, corruption, terrorist financing, and dishonesty or fraud crimes. However, other new topics in forensics such as digital fraud and corruption or bribery are alerted by several parties.

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Financial crime is a big issue in Indonesia, and the government has been starting to eradicate this issue. It begins with establishing regulation, laws, and further investigations. Align with this the public accounting firms offer advisory services in forensics since the commercial sectors are probably involved in some criminal cases. In this case, the role of digital forensics is necessary to combat the danger of financial crime. However, the investigation of financial crime is complicated since the financial crime may be perpetrated by using information technology. This method might be more effective than using manual examination. This concern leads to comprehensive research about the digital forensic procedures in mitigating financial crimes and assessed whether the procedures are effective within the big-four public accounting firms in Indonesia.

Literature Review

The Emergence of Digital Forensic Tools

Digital forensics is a process using computer or software program to collect data and information that can be used as evidence. Investigation technique is changing today, some manual actions are gradually being handled by digital forensics. The capability of forensic technologies in data storage has improved significantly while the costs related to this are becoming more economical. Moreover, the forensic technologies advancement can collect data from new devices (i.e. laptop, tablet, etc.) becomes simpler then forensic technology is being expected to play a vital role in fraud investigation today (Kok, 2018, online).

Computer forensics is classified as IT and law-enforcement subject (Kearns, 2015). However, accountants can also be a vital resource. Accountants, in particularly auditors, are familiar with accounting information system, internal controls, competent in analytical skills. For these reasons, accountants may combine the knowledge in accounting or audit with information system and technology. The accountants can investigate significant financial data and trace the unauthorized financial activities (Kearns, 2015).

The Disadvantages of Digital Forensic Tools

A digital forensic tool is designed to assist the forensic accountant analysing big data and to speed up the completion and accuracy of investigations. However, the tools have a problem that there are significant differences in task performance and knowledge requirements for the completion of an investigation. For example, computer forensics requires knowledge of computing systems, log files, graphics and other formats, and other non-accounting knowledge (Cusack and Ahokovi, 2016).

Although the modernization of investigation of financial crimes using computer forensic is happening, the disadvantage is unavoidable. Digital forensics may be hacked, or it contains a bug. Garfinkel (2007) mentioned that a software bug is a weakness in a computer program generates unexpected results or may have unintended ways. Moreover, computer viruses may distract the investigation performance for forensic accountants and possibly will delete some significant electronic evidence.

Another challenge in the automation of investigation is that an automated process cannot work in all cases; automated tools can miss some evidence. If the evidence disappears, forensic accountants are not able to conclude an investigation. In mitigating this challenge, it must be checked further how well-automated tools work and in what conditions they can be utilized. Once a performance automated machines are built based on the investigation goals, weakness in automated tools may be addressed or improved.

Financial Crimes

Financial and economic crimes can widely consist of some activities that are dealing with fraud and manipulation of the stock market or money laundering (ACIC, 2018, online). The economic globalisation as supported by new technology may create new opportunities for organized crime to get profits. While there are some agreements between several countries about money laundering, tax evasion and corruption, the financial crimes still exist. Financial crime, which known as financial abuse, is a non-violent crime but results in a significant loss by financial fraud. Financial crime consists of (Aslani et al., 2011):

corruption and bribery

tax evasion

capital flight

smuggling

bank fraud

insurance fraud

organized crime

terrorism financing

pyramid schemes

money laundering

Impact of Financial Crimes

Financial crimes endanger not the only individual member of a society but also attack the wealth of nations, injustice, and in extreme case people moral. Moreover, financial system abuse has a negative impact on the economic performance, bad governance, and trust from global society. IMF (2001) argues that financial system abuse may have other macroeconomic consequences. For example, it can inflate the local currency exchange rates and the volatility of international capital flow (IMF, 2001). In this era, the abuse of the financial systems results the collection of tax and law enforcement are more complicated. Another extreme case is that terrorism can emerge because the terrorists may acquire the fund from parties who commit financial abuse.

Research Design

A research design is necessary to assist a researcher in collecting and analysing data, and the model will determine the next step of the research process (Bryman and Bell, 2015, p49). In brief, research designs discuss five types (Bryman and Bell, 2015, p53-72):

Table 1: Summary of Research Design

No

Type

Characteristic

1

Experimental design

Scarce in business research, due to the requisite level of control when dealing with organizational behaviour

2

Cross-sectional design

More than one case, at a single point of time, quantitative data, detecting the patterns of association.

3

Longitudinal design

Normally covers a long-time period

4

Case study design

Focus either on a single case or multiple-case study

5

Comparative design

Using more or less identical methods on two or more contrasting cases

Based on the above characteristics, this research will be proper to use comparative as research design. Each forensic division at public accounting firms in Indonesia may have different approaches and significant cases to be investigated thus some components need to be compared and considered during the research.

Qualitative research must have credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability (Guba, 1985). The credibility of this research will create an indicator in selecting participants that represent their involvement in responding to the problem of financial crimes investigation. Respondent should experience in forensics division at big-four public accounting firms for more than one year and frequently use digital forensics as a tool in the investigation.

Confirmability refers to the level that might be confirmed by other parties in other researches. In this research, the researcher attempts to present the conceptual framework including disclosing of earlier studies which relevant to this research. Data and information will be acquired directly from the employees of accounting firms thus the accuracy and completeness of information can be confirmed.

Dependability of this research will be developed by explaining the objective and the method of collecting data to the employees as respondents thus they can offer accurate information to this research. This explanation will also present the trustworthiness of research.

The transferability of this research looks at previous studies and other relevant researches. Thus the argument of this research can be found in other research contexts.

Research Question

The competent forensic accountants perform the financial crime investigation. However, the modernization in technology makes forensic accountants gradually rely on using digital forensic tools to unveil the type of financial crimes instead of using manual tools. In this research, respondents will answer what method they use in investigating financial crimes, familiarity with digital forensics, and how they can conclude the result if using digital forensics method.

On the other hand, involving digital tools might have a risk, for example losing some vital evidence. Moreover, bug or virus might be other reason to distract the investigation of financial crimes. If forensic accountants have missed the critical evidence, or in extreme case, the pieces of evidence are possibly hacked, the firms’ reputation will be doubtful.

This research will also consider the distraction or disadvantages by using digital forensic in investigating financial crimes and how significant they can distract the performance of investigation. These issues will be critically analysed to observe the effectiveness of practical digital forensics in the investigation of financial crime with theoretical developments and with the results of recent studies.

Methodology Research

Based on earlier studies, digital forensics may be reliable in financial crimes investigation and more effective in generating the investigation results. A comparative design is required for the case, in a qualitative study employing investigation financial crimes procedures. The best way to collect data is through a structured interview. However, there are two options:

A single case study of one public accountant firm in Indonesia. This research method provides more detail research information in one firm. However, each public accountant firm may have different tools and procedures to investigate, and it is predicted that the research result may not be objective, limited for generalization.

A comparative study of four public accountant firms in Indonesia. This method may enable the researcher to gather different perspective from some respondents thus the massive scope of generalization will be achievable.

Research Plan

This research covers a structured-interview skill which face-to-face interview is required. The information needed is susceptible and limited to specific purposes thus the researcher is required to use a planned-sequence question. The research plan is described as below:

Table 2: Research Timeline

No

Week Number

January

February

March

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

4

1

2

3

4

5

1

Literature review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

Develop interview questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Finalization of interview questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Meeting with supervisor

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

Conduct interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

Analysis of interview result

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

Research conclusion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

Discussion with supervisor about the result

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethical Consideration

This research may have moral issues; therefore the researcher should ensure that the adverse effect of the study should be minimized. Bryman and Bell (2015, p135-143) explain at least four ethical principles, such as: harmful for respondents, lack of informed consent, privacy, and deceptive action. The researcher should ensure that there will be no violation against ethical principles. To achieve, the steps are:

 Respondents will be sought by direct interview to the firm.

 Respondents may be asked to fill the written approval thus they recognize that the information given is complete.

Respondents will not be asked about their names. Moreover, the investigation procedures will not be shared with other firms since those are sensitive.

The researcher will ensure that the information given in the research report is free from misleading.

Summary

This result of this research can be used by other researchers to support the research which dealing with digital forensic accounting. Further steps needed to complete this research consist of enhancing relevant literature and design related questions on interviews that to be circulated to participants.

References

Arokiasamy, L., and Cristal-Lee, S. (2009) Forensic accounting: Public acceptance towards occurrence of fraud detection. International Journal of Business and Management, pp. 145-160

Aslani, M., Lotfaliyan,F., Shafiei, P. and Ghasemi, M. (2011) The Role of Auditing Profession in Fighting Against Economic and Financial Crimes, Vol 25, pp. 152-153

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (2018) Financial Crimes, available from https://www.acic.gov.au/about-crime/crime-types/financial-crimes, accessed on 29 October 2018

Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2015) Business Research Method, 4th edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Cusack, B. and Ahokov, T. (2016) Improving Forensic Software Tools Performance in Detecting Fraud for Financial Statements, pp. 17-24

Garfinkel, S. (2007). Anti-Forensics: Techniques, Detection and Countermeasures. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Information Warfare & Security, California, Academic Conferences Limited, pp. 77-84

Guba, E.G. (1981) Criteria for assessing the trustworthiness of naturalistic inquiries, Educational Communication and Technology Journal, pp. 75-91

International Compliance Association (2013) An Introduction to Financial Crime, 2 May 2013, available from https://www.int-comp.org/insight/2013/may/02/an-introduction-to-financial-crime, accessed on 26 October 2018

International Monetary Fund (2001) Background Paper: Financial System Abuse, Financial Crime and Money Laundering, pp. 6-9

Kearns, G.S. (2015) Journal of Digital Forensics, Security, and Law – Computer Forensic Project for Accountants, Vol 10, No 3, pp. 9

Kok, L.C. (2018) The Business Times, Forensics Technologies to Mitigate Risks of Financial Crime, available from https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/authors/lem-chin-kok, accessed on 5 November 2018

Singleton, T.W. and Singleton, A.J. (2010) Fraud Auditing and Forensic Accounting, 4th edition, New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons Inc., pp. 21-22

 

The Impact of Digital Media on Gender Identity

The impact of digital media on gender identity

Of the numerous impacts on how we see people, digital media are the most inescapable and is a standout amongst the other sources.

Woven all through our day to day lives, media imply their messages into our awareness every step of the way. All types of media convey pictures of the genders, a significant number of which sustain unlikely stereotypes and constraining discernments. Three topics depict how media speak about gender. In the first place, ladies are underrepresented which dishonestly infers that men are the social standard and ladies are irrelevant or undetectable. Second, people are depicted in stereotypical ways that reflect and support socially embraced perspectives of gender. Third, portrayals of connections among people underline conventional jobs and standardize viciousness against ladies. We will think about every one of these subjects in this essay.

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As a rule, media keeps on introducing women and men in stereotyped ways that limit our impression of human potential outcomes. Normally men are depicted as dynamic, bold, amazing, explicitly forceful and to a great extent uninvolved in human connections. Similarly as’ predictable with social perspectives of gender are delineations of women as gender objects who are normally youthful, thin, lovely, inactive, subordinate, and frequently bumbling and stupid. Female characters commit their essential energies to enhancing their appearances and dealing with homes and individuals. Since media infest our lives, the manners in which they distort sexual orientations may contort how we see ourselves and what we see as ordinary and attractive for people.

As indicated by J. A. Doyle (1989, p. 111), whose exploration centres around masculinity, youngsters’ TV regularly demonstrates guys as “aggressive, prevailing, and occupied with exercises from which they get rewards from others for their ‘manly’ achievements.” Relatedly, late examinations uncover that the lion’s share of men on prime-time TV are autonomous, forceful, and in control (McCauley, Thangavelu, and Rozin, 1988). TV programming for all ages excessively portrays men as genuine certain, able, ground-breaking, and in high-status ‘positions. Delicacy in men, which was quickly obvious during the 1970s, has subsided as set up male characters are redrawn to be progressively extreme and removed from others (Boyer, 1986). Very well known movies, for example, Lethal Weapon, Predator, Days of Thunder, Total Recall, Robocop Die Hard, and Die Harder star men who exemplify the generalisation of extraordinary manliness in Media,and at that point strengthen long-standing social beliefs of manliness:’ Men are displayed as hard, intense, autonomous, explicitly forceful, unafraid, unaware of feelings, and-most importantly not the slightest bit feminine.

Similarly fascinating is the way guys are not displayed. J. D. Brown and K. Campbell (1986) report that men are only from time to time demonstrated doing housework. (Doyle,1989) takes note of that young men and men are once in a while displayed thinking about others. B. Horovitz (1989) points out they are regularly spoken to as uninterested in and clumsy at homemaking, cooking, and youngster care. Each season’s new promotions for cooking and cleaning supplies incorporate a few that cartoon men as awkward jokesters, who are oafs in the kitchen and no better at dealing with kids. While kids’ books have made a constrained endeavour to delineate ladies occupied with exercises outside of the home there has been minimal parallel exertion to demonstrate men engaged with family and home life. When somebody is demonstrated dealing with a kid, it is normally the mother, not the dad. This sustains a negative generalisation of men as coldblooded and uninvolved in family life.

Media’s pictures of ladies additionally reflect social generalisations that withdraw particularly from reality. As we have just observed, young ladies and ladies are significantly underrepresented. In prime-time TV in 1987, completely 66% of the talking were for men.

 Ladies are depicted as essentially more youthful and more slender than ladies in the populace all in all, and most are delineated as latent, subject to men, and enmeshed seeing someone or housework (Davis, 1990). The necessities of youth and excellence in ladies even impact news appears, where female commentators are relied upon to be more youthful, all the more physically appealing, and less candid than guys (Craft, 1988; Sanders 6, Rock, 1988). In spite of instructors’ analysis of unavoidable outcomes that debilitate young ladies from achievement in math and science, that generalisation was drastically repeated in 1992 when Mattel offered another talking Barbie doll. What did she say? “Math class is extreme,” a message that fortifies the generalisation that ladies can’t do math (“Mattel Offers Trade-In,” 1992). From youngsters’ modifying in which the few existing female characters ordinarily invest their energy watching guys get things done (Feldman and Brown, 1984; Woodman, 1991), to MTV, which routinely pictures ladies fulfilling men’s sexual dreams (Pareles, 1990; Texier, 1990), media emphasise the social picture of women as needy, fancy items whose essential capacities are to look great, please men, and stay unobtrusively on the fringe of life.

Media have made two images: great women and awful ones. These total inverses are frequently compared against one another to sensationalise contrasts in the outcomes that come upon great and awful women. Great women are entirely, respectful, and concentrated on home, family and thinking about others. Subordinate to men, they are typically given a role as unfortunate casualties, blessed messengers, saints, and faithful spouses and partners. Every so often, ladies who withdraw from conventional jobs are depicted decidedly, however this is done either by making their profession lives imperceptible, as with Claire Huxtable, or by softening and feminizing working ladies to make them progressively steady with customary perspectives of womanliness. For example, in the first content, Cagney and Lacey were considered as solid, free ladies who considered their work important and did it well. It took 6 years for journalists Barbara Corday and Barbara Avedon to pitch the content to CBS, and still, at the end of the day they needed to consent to stifle Cagney’s and Lacey’s

capacities to assuage maker Barney Rosenzweig, who griped, “These ladies aren’t sufficiently delicate. These ladies aren’t sufficiently ladylike” (Faludi, 1991, p. 150). While female watchers composed a great many letters lauding the show, male officials at CBS kept on constraining writ-ers to make the characters gentler, progressively delicate, and less beyond any doubt of themselves (Faludi, 1991, p. 152). The changing of Cagney and Lacey delineates the journalistic prejudice’s supportive of ladies who are generally female and who are not very capable, excessively ground-breaking, or excessively certain. The standard is by all accounts that a lady might be solid and effective if and just on the off chance that she likewise embodies customary generalisations of womanliness subservience, latency, excellence, and a character connected to at least one man.

The other picture of ladies the media offer us is the malicious sister of the great shut-in Versions of this picture are the witch, powerful, prostitute, or non-woman, who is spoken to as hard, chilly, forceful everything a decent lady shouldn’t be. Representing the abhorrent lady is Alex in Fatal Attraction, which netted more than $100 million in its initial four months (Faludi, 1991, p. 113). However Alex was just an outrageous adaptation of how terrible ladies are commonly depicted. In kids’ writing, we experience witches and mean stepmothers as lowlifes, with excellent and inactive females like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty as they are great partners.

Prime-time TV positively depicts pretty, sustaining, other-centered ladies, for example, Claire Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” whose vocation as a lawyer never entered storylines as much as her commitment in family matters. Expectation in “Thirty something” is a blessed messenger, resolved to spouse Michael and little girl Janey. In the accounts composed for every one of the characters when the show was being developed, every single male character were characterised as far as their vocation objectives, convictions, and exercises. Expectation’s life story comprised of one line: “Expectation is hitched to Michael” (Faludi, 1991, p. 162). Expectation embodies the customary lady, to such an extent in reality that in one scene she alludes to herself as June Cleaver and calls Michael “Ward,” along these lines repeating the conventional group of the 1950s as exemplified in “Abandon It to Beaver” (Faludi, 1991, p. 161). In the interim, prime-time commonly speaks to eager, free ladies as forlorn, upset old maids who are contrasts to “great” ladies.

Given media’s clichéd depictions of ladies and men, we shouldn’t be shocked to find that connections among ladies and men are likewise delineated in manners that fortify generalisations. Four topics show how media reflect and advance conventional courses of action be-tween the genders.

Ladies’ reliance/men’s autonomy. Walt Disney’s honour winning energised film The Little Mermaid strikingly exemplifies females’ reliance on guys for character. In this element film, the mermaid truly

surrenders her way of life as a mermaid so as to end up adequate to her human sweetheart. In this current kids’ story, we see an especially clear delineation of the uneven connection among ladies and men that is all the more quietly passed on in other media creations. Indeed, even the Smurfs, indistinct little creatures who have no conspicuous gender, mirror the male-female, prevailing compliant jobs. The female smurf, in contrast to her male sidekick,’ who have names, is called just Smurfette, making her sole character a minute connection to male smurfs. The male strength and female subservience design that penetrates intervened portrayals of connections is no mishap Beginning in 1991, TV officials intentionally and deliberately embraced an approach of having overwhelming male characters in all Saturday morning youngsters’ customising (Carter, 1991).

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Ladies, and additionally minorities, are thrown in help jobs instead of driving ones in the two youngsters’ shows and the advertisements blended inside them (O’Connor 1989). Examinations of MTV uncovered that it depicts females as inactive and hanging tight for men’s consideration, while guys are appeared, misusing or coordinating ladies (Brown, Campbell, and Fisher, 1986). In rap music recordings, where African-American people star men rule ladies, whose essential job is as objects of male wants (Pareles, 1990; Texier, 1990). News programs that have male and female has routinely given the female a role as respectful to her male associate (Craft, 1988; Sanders and rock, 1988). Ads, as well, show control signs that resound the male predominance/female subservience design.

Web based dating destinations are Internet instruments intended to encourage “associations” between clients who are looking for sentimental and additionally sexual accomplices. Some well known models incorporate eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, Match.com, and Lavalife. Web based dating profiles are a helpful object of investigation for various reasons. Their utilisation has turned out to be progressively well known, particularly among more youthful Internet clients, as shown by the plenty of explicit or specialty locales that have jumped up (Whitty, 2007b). There is substantially less disgrace joined to internet dating than previously, and this is a sort of self-sustaining marvel in that the more worthy the training turns into, the more individuals partake—making a “minimum amount.” Paap and Raybeck (2005) contend that an expansion in the pace of our Western, industrialised way of life has diminished the shame appended to publicising oneself to outsiders either in print or on the web. In a recent report by Brym and Lenton (2001), the analysts found that “1.1 to 1.2 million Canadians [had] as of now visited a web based dating webpage” (p. 3), and that the “showcase” indicated potential for development to more than 2 million. By 2010, Canadians were among the most dynamic clients of dating locales around the world (Oliveira, 2010).

The look for a mate has lately progressed toward becoming “increasingly more confused … Increasing geographic and word related portability has implied access to less steady relational systems,” incorporating diminishing affiliations with religious organizations (Paap and Raybeck, 2005, pp. 4– 5). The quantity of single individuals has likewise expanded, in the U.K. furthermore, in the United States and additionally in Canada, growing the “showcase” for web based dating administrations (Brym and Lenton, 2001; Hardey, 2004; Jagger, 1998; Shalom, 1997). However “single individuals are progressively portable because of the requests of the activity advertise, so it is increasingly troublesome for them to meet individuals for dating” (Brym and Lenton, 2001, p. 3). This is maybe why, on the Nerve site, two of the classifications from which clients could choose were “eager to move” and “goes to.”

It is conceivable that web based dating, and self-publicizing for sentiment all in all, could be “a ‘characteristic’ reaction to a specific setup of societally-forced, present day life conditions—time-constrained, work-focused, mass-intervened” (Coupland, 1996, p. 190). Brym and Lenton (2001) found that “profession and time weights are expanding, so individuals are searching for progressively proficient methods for meeting others for cozy connections” (p. 3). As a gathering, online daters were not—in any examination—observed to be any less socially canny, or undoubtedly less qualified, than non-clients; in actuality, “in Canada, Internet clients are more youthful, better instructed, bound to be utilised in the paid work power, and bound to win [a] higher salary than Canadians when all is said in done” (p. 3). Their explanations behind utilising dating locales incorporate expanding their choices and meeting more individuals with comparative interests (Whitty, 2007b); discovering accomplices for long haul connections or easygoing sex; accommodation (working around troublesome calendars or occupied lives); and as an increasingly tasteful substitute for the “standard thing” methods for meeting individuals, for example, bars (Whitty and Carr, 2006). Be that as it may, regardless of whether web based dating, with its guarantee of extended “decision” of accomplices, really yields more positive outcomes than “conventional” rehearses is questionable (Wu and Chiou, 2009).

Encouraged by the vehicle of the Internet, dating notices have experienced a huge change amid around the last 15 to 20 years. They currently highlight significantly more content and more often than just a photograph. Arrangements of “check the container” questions can get rid of the requirement for express orders, for example, “Single White Female”. This entangles the way toward developing a gendered picture for the dating commercial centre, since clients can never again depend on flagging comprehensively utilising a moderately basic code. Rather, they are bound to tailor their profiles to explicit crowds.

The Internet as a medium has given another field to social communication and along these lines unavoidably for the advancement of sentimental connections. As sites have been created to encourage this, an evident logic of “more data is better” has prompted an adaptable interface that can bolster pictures and furthermore considerably more content, and in this manner a significantly more intricate cluster of expository gadgets. Site clients are “creators” of virtual variants of themselves, amassing each as a bricolage of references to sorts and social antiquities. Another type of proficiency is required with respect to the two authors and perusers so as to effectively develop and translate these writings, which are very thought to be, all around “worked,” and re-worked and reconsidered after some time.

 

 

References

 

Brown, J. D., & Campbell, K (1986). Race and gender in music videos: The same beat but a different drummer. Journal of Communication, 36, 94- 106.

Brown, J. D., Campbell, K., & Fisher, L. (1986). American adolescents and music videos: Why do they watch? 9-22

Brownmiller, S. (1975). Against our wills: Men, women, and rape. New York

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Carter, B. (1991, May 1). Children’s TV, where boys are king. New York Times, pp. Al, L18.

Coupland, Justine. (1996). Dating advertisements: Discourses of the commodified self. Discourse and Society, 7(2), 187–207.

Craft, C. (1988). Too old, too ugly, and not deferential to men An anchorwoman’s courageous baffle against sex discrimination. Rockland, CA: prima.

Davis, D. M. (1990). Portrayals of women in prune-tune network television: Some demographic characteristics. Sex Roles, 23, 32.5332. Demare, D., Briere, J., & Lips, H, M. (1988). Violent pornography and self-reported likelihood of sexual aggression. Journal of Research in Personality, 22, 140-153.

Doyle, J. A. (1989). 111W le experience (2nd ed.). Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown.

Faludi, S. (1991). Backlash: The undeclared war against American women.

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Hardey, Michael. (2004). Mediated relationships: Authenticity and the possibility of romance. Information, Communication & Society, 7(2), 207–222.

Horovitz, B. (1989, August 10). In iv commercials, men are often the butt of the jokes. Pkiladelpkia Inquirer, pp. 5b, 61

Jagger, Elizabeth. (1998). Marketing the self, buying an other: Dating in a postmodern, consumer society. Sociology, 32, 795–814.

McCauley, C., Thangavelu, K., & Rozin, p (1988). Sex stereotyping of occupations in relation to television representations and- census facts. Basic and Applied Social Psycholgi,10 197-212.

O’Connor, J. J. (1989, June 6). What are commercials selling to children? New York Times, p. 28.

Paap, Kris, & Raybeck, Douglas. (2005). A differently gendered landscape: Gender and agency in the web-based personals. Electronic Journal of Sociology.

Pareles, J. (1990, October 21). The women who talk back in rap. New York Times. fp. H83. H86.

Sanders, M., & Rock, M. (1988). Waiting for prime time: The women of television news. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Scott, R., & Tetreault, L. (1987). Attitudes of rapists and other violent offenders toward women. Journal of Social Psychology, 124, 375-380. Scully, D. (1990). Understanding sexual violence; A study of convicted rap ists. Boston, MA: Unwin Hymen.

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Texier, C. (1990, April 22). Have women surrendered in MTV’s battle of the sexes? New York Times, pp. H29, H31.

Whitty, Monica. (2007b). Introduction. In M. T. Whitty, A. J. Baker, & J. A. Inman (Eds.), Online matchmaking (pp. 1–14). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wu, Pai-Lu, & Chiou, Wen-Bin. (2009). More options lead to more searching and worse choices in finding partners for romantic relationships online: An experimental study. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12, 315–318.

Impact of Digital Technologies on Communication

Abstract
The present age in which we live has seen a massive proliferation of digital communication technologies and pervasive computing devices which have made an impact on all aspects of the way people live. Individual life styles have been changed and by extension, the society at large has evolved with changes being noticed in societal culture. Technology has brought about changes to the way people work, enjoy their leisure activities, get educated and interact with each other. Because the digital mediums for communications have become affordable and readily available to all, the manner in which individuals interact with others at the personal or business levels have also been transformed. Face –to- face meetings and interactions are becoming rather infrequent, with such meetings being reserved for special occasions and for special people. On the other hand, finding new people to interact with especially over the internet has never been easier. The neighbourhood has experienced changes with residents preferring to stay at home while keeping in touch with their community on the cyberspace. An individual can assume a different identity and experience a different reality in virtual space which can make it possible for them to take risks in relationships. The peripheral relationships of the virtual space can sometimes develop into friendships which can result in interactions in the physical space. Relationships which may have never developed or which may have disintegrated are made possible and kept alive through the use of digital technologies including the mobile phone, the internet and the fax. The community to which one belongs is not necessarily the physical neighbourhood but it may be a global virtual community. This paper attempts to take a look at the changing nature of interpersonal communications in the digital age which has transformed interpersonal relationships and the society at large.

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The electronic revolution and the digital age of communications started off at the end of the twentieth century with many advances taking place in the fields of telecommunications, computers, digital technology and information technology. The digital revolution resulted in the availability of devices such as the mobile phone, the personal digital assistant or the PDA, satellite communications and the digital television. Internet and the World Wide Web, with its email and conferencing capabilities, as well as the wireless local loop came to be widely used around the world. The availability and proliferation of these devices meant that individuals and the society at large were shaped by the possibilities for new forms of social interactions and social group formations through the medium of the available technologies. It was now possible to have a different sort of a community which could support rapid interactions using mobile and telephone conversation, email, SMS messages, teleconferencing and videoconferencing, with participants either being on the move or living in geographically distant areas. Enhancements in technology meant that leisure activities were shifted to the home and it was not essential to go to the pub in order to fulfil a desire for social interaction (Wong, 2004). The availability of the handheld internet capable mobile phones has also brought further changes to society and the manner in which individuals interact because it is now possible to communicate through a number of mediums regardless of where an individual may be. Although the costs of having access to the digital communications and computing technologies had created a digital divide, the situation is getting better by the day with mass production resulting in reduced prices for hardware and a larger base of subscribers reducing charges for digital network connectivity. The availability of the digital devices of the pervasive computing age has meant that the manner in which individuals interact has also changed because, although it is very easy to contact others, non-verbal signals are diminished as a result of the relatively higher costs associated with video communications. Also, the geographic distances between those involved in interactions may mean that there is a limited understanding of the overall picture associated with the locality or region and the communicators may not be in synchronism with each other. Usually physical proximity had been a requirement for individuals to initiate and maintain interactions and a stable dwelling place was required for the more intricate social interactions to be possible. However, the cyberspace has made it possible for an individual to have a permanent virtual address regardless of their physical whereabouts and this personal space is accessible as long as an individual has the capacity for accessing the internet (Geser, 2004, Pp 1-5). The added capabilities related to communications that have been made possible by digital technology have meant that new commonalities can now be found relatively easily in order to drive interpersonal communications. This is, however, an evolving process and commonalities that have been developed as a result of personal interactions, culture, language, former association related to work or education as well as possibilities for mutual gain etc are still the drivers for the initiation of interpersonal communications. It is the length of interactions and the possibilities related to physical proximity as well as future interests that are the main drivers for more complex forms of interactions which can be aided by digital technology. Interpersonal bonds of solidarity and cooperation can be established with geographically distant groups and this process has been assisted by the availability of mobile devices which are an advanced evolution of the fixed line telephone as well as the internet. Whereas the fixed line telephone was more attuned to reinforcing the social integration of fixed and stable settings, the mobile phone provides greater freedom. The Theory of Communicative Action by Habermas states that society consists of participants who are attempting to reach a consensus. In the past, the participants in a society were restricted to those who lived within close geographic proximity because they were the only participants who could attempt to reach a consensus. However, the digital age has now made it possible for participants from anywhere to attempt a consensus if desired and the concept of society, friendship and acquaintances for an individual has been very much extended (Alexander, 2002, Chapter 4).
Most of the communication that takes place using digital medium is not rich if the message is based on email, SMS or voice only communications. Media is ranked on its ability to carry information and hence the ability of a message to develop or change understanding within a period of time. Face-to-face communications are the richest form of communications while faxes, emails, written text and telephone conversations are considered to be less rich. Participants in interpersonal communications now have a choice related to the medium which they can utilise for their interactions and most initial or routine communications are usually conducted most effortlessly using the less rich digital mediums. With the continued evolution of digital technologies, the richer media will become more widely available and participants to interpersonal communications will be increasingly able to indulge in richer interactions effortlessly. Emotion is present in the less rich media which is prevalent today but it is embedded in text and symbols which need to be studied and deciphered. Individuals who have been used to the richer communications have to learn the intricacies of the new digital media in order to learn to express themselves better. The generation which was born in the digital age or the Cyber Kids seem to be more capable of interacting adequately on the new mediums as compared to the older generation. Richer experiences in communication are only undertaken if the participants have a desire to indulge in such interactions due to having a common past or the initial digital contacts seem to hold promise. Hence, on the surface there is an impression that the society has become more reserved with less socialising but there can be a lot of communication or activity that is not visible. Email communications encourages critical thinking on the basis of a greater level of equality because the social context cues are not present in the message. Social construction of reality and social structure is therefore moving towards a greater level of equality in being able to communicate and interact widely because of the availability of digital technologies at least at the initial levels of contact. There are no preferred hours for contact with the electronic text communications and it is considered to be acceptable to send in a message at any time which can be viewed and considered by the recipient. In the past, individuals thought it appropriate to meet in the most appropriate settings for an occasion that could enhance communications. Today they are likely to consider what medium they should select in order to communicate. The decision to select a medium for communication is likely to be based on how well the participants in the communication know each other and their experience with a medium. Social influence with participants in communications is likely to increase with the time that the participants have known each other. The use of email or electronic text can have subliminal messages attached to the text and may convey informality, urgency, authority as well as legitimacy, much like the body language in face-to-face communications. The ability to use web cams and add instant pictures to communications over the internet or when using a mobile phone can add to the level of richness and information that is being exchanged. Scanned documents containing handwriting or sketches attached to email text also add to the information content, but there can be doubts about their authenticity unless they can be verified. Because the existing knowledge base of an individual is employed in critically evaluating lean messages, therefore less rich messages can become meaningful if there have been previous inputs about the communicator. As a result of the massive proliferation of digital technologies, the society at large has started to use these technologies as a matter of habit, transforming the manner in which individuals interact (Alexander, 2002, Chapter 5).
Digital wireless communication technologies have been the greatest drivers for change and spatial mobility. The number of mobile phones has far exceeded the number of television sets and even the least developed African nations now have more mobile wireless phones then land lines. The capabilities associated with the modern mobile phones are being constantly enhanced and they are very likely to become mobile devices with multimedia capabilities that are able to replace mobile computers with a capability for exchanging voice, text, pictures and a lot of other content in the digital format. The feature rich prevalence of mobile phone technology is the highest in Japan which leads Europe and the United States. Those who are introduced to mobile phones gradually progress from emergency and routine use to the more expressive use for communications. Many “grooming calls” are made every day in order to maintain relationships which would have not been possible without the technology. These calls are made to confirm that a relationship exists by expressing solidarity, sympathy, concern and affection. The cell phone is used along with a variety of other media including email, SMS, snail mail and face-to-face meetings. Social contacts for otherwise well adjusted individuals are possible even during absence due to work or other causes. Hence, established relationships can be continued and new ones formed quickly if there is a basis for their formation. Switching off a mobile phone may be an expression for indicating the importance that is attached to individuals who are in the current interaction. On the other hand, cell phones also enable the user to control relationships by being able to make choices related to friends. All digital technologies permit an ability to control communications along with making interpersonal communications more effortless. Unlike email communication, the mobile phone is less likely to assist in the creation of new relationships and mostly assists in the maintenance of the existing ones. Communalistic relationships that have existed are easily perpetuated over the mobile phones which can also be used for spontaneous gossip at all times. Women tend to use the phone much more often in order to spontaneously contact their friends then men. Mobile phones can act as an umbilical cord and present an alternative to the traditional ways of passing time. Older people usually prefer voice calls while younger people tend to use the text messaging feature of their mobile to keep up with their group using special symbolic and linguistic language. The mobile phone may be used for short business conversations and long personal intimate conversations with a higher level of certainty about the identity of the communication partner then can be possible with email. Role switching is possible with an office worker acting as a mother using the mobile from her office. The ability to selectively receive calls provides a high level of control on who is admitted to the inner circle of friends. However, having a mobile means that there is a responsibility for being available and answering to those who attempt to initiate a contact, although the owner can switch off if they so desire, causing concern amongst those who may have tried to initiate a contact. Communication is, therefore, made possible when it may not have occurred due to the efforts that may have been involved in contacting an individual. In Japan, SMS messages are used to form complex and peripheral relationships in which individuals never meet and virtual girlfriends can be introduced through a phone, replacing friends in real life. However, such peripheral friendships mean that there is a tendency towards the development of a very formal society with individuals finding it difficult to form real relationships. Cell phones also make it possible to have fluid arrangements and have meetings at short notice. In South Korea, it is common for workers to have spontaneous parties after work that are arranged through the cell. Nomadic intimacy is made possible for individuals who are constantly on the move including sailors or international business people who can contact their friends at any port of call. In studies undertaken in Japan evidence has been recorded that the Cyber Kid generation which was born after 1985 with internet phones and modern digital communications may be loosing the traditional Japanese virtue of giving due regard to context and situation when communicating. Their preferred interpersonal communication technology is the internet capable mobile phone and this requires whatever is to be said to be communicated regardless of the situation. This is in stark contrast to the pre-war generation whose preferred method of communications is to have face-to-face meetings and written letters with all the regard for the person and the complexities of a situation. Hence, there is ample evidence that the evolving digital technologies have changed the manner in which individuals conduct interpersonal communications around the world (Geser, 2004, Pp14 -16) and (Wong, 2004, Pp 75-81).
Because of the widespread use of the text-only digital communication technologies that are the most prevalent in the present age, the personality of the communicators changes when they enter the virtual space and send email or other text messages. Along with the personality of the parties to the interpersonal communications, the reality also changes from physical reality to virtual reality. Much more freedom is available on the internet when using email communications because it is possible to hide the physical identity of the communicators. Risks can be taken with what is being said and discussed. The virtual space provides an opportunity to interact with individuals of many different cultures and social backgrounds. The symbols and the text messages are easier to understand if the participants in the communications that are taking place in Cyberspace have a common understanding of the use of language and symbols as well as the expectations that are associated with the conduct of interactions. The electronic medium which may have been selected imposes selectivity by amplifying or reducing various phenomenon of the world, but the choice of the medium says something about the kind of personality that the communicator wants to present. If sufficient effort is invested, casual encounters over the internet can develop into intimate relationships. This is, however, more likely in a situation where there is little of interest that is available in the immediate physical world. Because there is a growing trend for the modern digital communications technologies to be widely adopted by businesses and the society at large, the chances of physical interactions becomes diminished as compared to interactions on the virtual space. Hence, the manner in which interactions and communications used to take place in a society at large is changed by technology and so also is the manner in which relationships are formed and maintained (Leaning, 2004). Digital divides exist between users and non-users of a technology as well as the experienced users and those who are the relatively new users of a digital communication medium. Digital divides can also exist because of culture, limited earnings and levels of education. Women have a tendency of using the phone more frequently and a lower tendency to use the internet. New immigrants in countries with a well developed digital communications infrastructure, especially women have a tendency to shy away from using the communications technologies that are widely available and tend not to have access to computers, resulting in loneliness and a lowered capacity to integrate. Internet and mobile phone users and non-users are not the same set of people and tend to have infrequent communication between each other. The society, however, has a preference for a proliferation of the internet over the mobile phone with governments attempting to promote the proliferation of internet connections rather then subsidising mobile phone connectivity. Hence, interpersonal communication has indeed been transformed by digital technologies and those without access to these technologies have difficulties assimilating and interacting with others in a society (Rice, 2003).
The neighbourhood today is no longer the place that it used to be. Studies have indicated that in North America, many neighbourhood communities do not interact across racial lines. As an example, African-Americans and White Americans who live in the Nashville area do not interact across racial lines, preferring instead to develop relations with friends outside the neighbourhood (Wellman, 2001, Pp 16). The community of workers that work for the same employer do not live in the same neighbourhood and car, plane, fax, mobile as well as the internet permit relationships to be maintained outside of a neighbourhood. Hence, a change has occurred in the society as a result of technology. Cheap transportation technologies and not just digital technologies have made interactions at the local level unnecessary and individuals are constantly on the move, changing their residence every so often. Neighbourhood ties are, therefore, weak ties and stronger ties are with family and old friends from the younger years. These ties are maintained through digital technologies and not as a result of interactions arising out of living near by. The cities are very large settlements of people who are more interested in seeing to their economic success by working at well paid jobs and living in decent neighbourhoods. It is the communication technologies which make the modern lifestyle possible unlike the olden days when it was just not possibly have the freedoms that are available today. Community has, therefore, left the neighbourhood and may even exist globally. Community interactions do not take place in public places but have moved inside the home where emailing and phone calling as well as the use of web cams keeps the interpersonal relationships alive. The trend for neighbourhood socialising is on the decline not just in the Americas, but also in Japan and the Middle East. Although informal ties can exist with thousands of people, relatively few are close ties that are actively maintained. Technology provides an enhancement of choices related to the milieus in which individuals can participate. Most ties are now maintained with individuals who have shared interests and the personal support group could be widely dispersed. The choices related to the ability to select those in close relationships were simply not available in the past without the digital communication technologies. Parents and children often provide the strongest support in a family, although they rarely live close by when the siblings have grown. Communities are in constant flux and the migration from third world countries into the developed world has meant that there is a trend towards global interpersonal communications or contacts with friends or acquaintances of the same background. The internet has become an integral part of daily life and has broadened the community. Initial contacts by email can result in phone contacts or face-to-face meetings. Internet groups do provide support to members, especially those who may be somewhat isolated in a new locality and this support has been known to reduce depression. Support is still provided to people who have weak ties with online communities and stronger ties are possible especially amongst those people who have previously met. Groups of people interacting over the internet can get more personal or intimate with the passage of time. High bandwidth wireless has made it possible to assume an internet identity which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, a new city, a hotel room or a new office and old relationships are maintained even with movements over vast distances. The power of the computer mediated person-to-person contact is set to increase with a tendency to invisibly maintain and strengthen community links of choice (Wellman, 2001, Pp 30-45), (Alexander, 2002, Chapter 6) and (Sessions, 2000).
It can, therefore, be safely concluded that the evolving digital communications technologies have indeed transformed the way in which interpersonal communications are conducted and maintained, with even more surprises lying ahead. Because of changes that have taken place in personal communications, the society at large and its culture is also being transformed (Wellman, 2001), (Sessions, 2000) and (Wong, 2004).
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What a Digital Forensics Investigator should know about Steganalysis of Digital Content

Table of Contents

Introduction

Background

Aim, Objectives and Research questions

Literature Review

Digital Steganography

What a digital forensics Investigator should know about steganalysis of digital content?

Steganalysis

Digital Forensics

Digital Security Issues

Legal Issues and Challenges

Discussion

Conclusion

References

Background

Internet has been explicitly used for transfer of data and information from one place to another place. Data transfer can be done between families, friends, corporates and different groups in a legal manner. However, there can be illegal way too for data transfer. Therefore, this can be threat-full for society and corporates. Steganography deals with secrecy and communication conversion into hidden format (Lin 2018). The word steganography has been derived from Greek word ‘steganos’ and ‘graphein’ means masked writing. Steganography include various techniques that are not directly linked to computer. In computer science, steganography has been refereed to hiding data with non-secret data. Steganography is based on a fact that files and data can be altered without losing its originality so that human senses cannot distinguish changes.

Figure 1: Simple presentation of the principle of steganography

(Source: Cogranne, Sedighi and Fridrich, 2017)

The above figure represents an example of steganography. A carrier image is chosen and the secret message is embedded into carrier using stenographic algorithm so that it does not change the original image. The resultant new image is the stego-image that is not visible different from original. This technique has been different from cryptography as the resultant image is visible for the user. In case of cryptography, resultant data is encrypted into a packet with a key that cannot be accessed by any user (Cogranne, Sedighi and Fridrich, 2017). There are various classification of steganography. The below figure describes about classification of steganography.

Figure 2: Classification of steganography

(Source: Manimegalai et al. 2014)

Technical steganography focuses on scientific approaches for hiding a message including the use of undetectable ink or microdots.

Forensic science is a technology developed for uncovering scientific evidence in variety of fields. Digital forensics refers to investigating crimes with proper possibility of digital evidence. It is use of scientific driven and proven methods towards preservation, identification, collection and interpretation of data arranged from digital sources to restrict criminal activities and planned illegal works (Manimegalai et al. 2014). Computer crimes have been increased in recent years that have been creating bug challenges in the market. Therefore, digital forensics is an investigation of crime in an organization done by criminal. Digital forensics is done to examine and resolve the flaws in the steganography. Various criminals are using steganography for transferring hidden messages for increasing crime. Therefore, digital forensics investigators need to know details about steganalysis. 

 

 

 

Aim, Objectives and Research questions

The aim of the research is about what a digital forensics Investigator should know about steganalysis of digital of digital content.

The objectives of the research have been mentioned below:

To investigate issues in steganography

To implement steganalysis for defeating steganography

To identify what a digital forensics Investigator should know about steganalysis of digital of digital content

The research questions are mentioned below:

What are the issues in steganography?

How to defeat steganography using steganalysis?

What a digital forensics Investigator should know about steganalysis of digital of digital content?

Digital Steganography

Technology has been helping in hiding messages easily and efficiently in the modern computer age. Computerized tools have been helping in encoding messages and hide within another file. According to Srivastava et al. (2018), steganography is an art of concealing existence of information technology within carriers. The goal of the technology is that the message exists in first place that helps in intercepting file would not be able to view the hidden message in the carrier. Steganography help in hiding the existence of message, cryptography helps in making it impossible to understand for outsiders.

There are three types of steganography techniques that has been discussed below:

Injection techniques: Concealing of data in original files have been occurring in computer applications. IS conferences and journals have been routinely instructing authors for removing identified data in order not to compromise in blind review process (Chaumont 2018). The general view of the webpage does not include content, however, source view reveals tag. Therefore, utilizing space without any kind of alteration to carrier file as there is a limited space.

Substitution Techniques:Limited volume of data and information of carrier file has been replaced with coded representation of hidden message in substitution techniques. In this technique a Least Significant Bit (LSB) has been taken with binary representation of each picture element in graphic element.

10010101 00001101 11001001

10010110 00001111 11001010

10011111 00010000 11001011

The LSB algorithm can hide the following nine bits 101101101 by changing the last bit in each octet as needed. This results in

10010101 00001100 11001001

10010111 00001110 11001011

10011111 00010000 11001011

This example represents about the process of hiding nine bits of information and algorithm needed for changing four of nine least significant bits in these nine bytes. Changing last bit helps in creating small change in color of a pixel. Therefore, change in image is not perceptible in front of human eye (Yu, Cheng and Zhang 2016).

Figure 3: Block diagram of Steganography

(Source: Boroumand and Fridrich, 2017)

File Creation:In final stage, stego message has been used for generating a completely new file. Using Spam Mimic, a short message used to hide in text which appears to be a spam. Therefore, a normal might understand this message as spam and ignore the same. However, the receiver can decode the message. However, this technique has been inefficient as evidenced by modification of three words “steganography is interesting” to text with a word count of 574.

Figure 4: Steganographic Procedure

(Source: Boroumand and Fridrich, 2017)

What a digital forensics Investigator should know about steganalysis of digital content?

Steganalysis

Steganalysis is process of detecting small changes in patterns of a file that helps in detecting presence of hidden messages (Boroumand and Fridrich, 2017). There are various types of steganalysis as mentioned below:

Stego only attack- stego object has been available during analysis;

Known cover attack- stego object and cover have been available both;

Chosen stego attack- the stego object and algorithm have been available for analysis;

Chosen message attack- a regular message has been selected and converted to stego message for further analysis;

Known stego attack- the algorithm, stego message and cover message have been available for analysis.

However, steganalysis has been becoming more efficient in the market.  The complexity level of process has been reduced gradually. Therefore, detection of steganography has been based on comparison of stego file with help of detection files.  The size of the detection file has been larger in size than that of stego file (Li, Huang and Shi, 2012).  Therefore, original files are not available in the public sources. Various steganography techniques have been increased in their size of the digital carrier file.  The stego message structure has been superimposed on digital carrier data with proper analysis of properties.

Digital Forensics

Digital Forensics has been focusing in preservation of digital evidence. As commented by Song et al. (2017), digital forensics have been use of keywords, validation, identification and documentation of digital proof depicted from digital sources. The computing world has helped in the enhancement of digital media in the world.  Advanced crime scene investigation is done to look at and resolve the imperfections in the steganography (Sushith and Keerthana 2018). The use of the digital communication has been helping in enhancing the media over the internet.  Therefore, there has been various threats in the data transfer. Digital forensics deals with the investigation of threats and risks s involved in the digital world over the internet. Digital forensic experts have an idea of different type of steganalysis that have been helping in detecting several hidden messages. 

There have been various approaches to the implementation of digital forensics in the steganalysis. Some of them are discussed below:

Detection of software:

There are various cases in which steganography software itself discover its presence in the computer for investigation. The steganography application fingerprint database (SAFDB) include identification information on 625 applications that are linked with steganography. The National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) helps in maintaining a list of digital signatures in National Software Reference Library in which steganography software include (AL-Salhi and Lu 2016). However, traces might be found in windows registry even after removal of software. After installation of steganography software, harmful intent can be assumed until it is proven.

Detecting pairs of carrier files and stego files:

However, if some of files are deleted, it can be recovered from Recycle Bin or other file recovery software. Accordingly, advanced legal sciences is an examination of wrongdoing in an association done by criminal. Different offenders are utilizing steganography for exchanging concealed messages for expanding wrongdoing. Thusly, an advanced crime scene investigation needs to know insights about steganalysis.

Using Keywords:

There is another method of detection by using keywords for file names and content in program files. Therefore, list needs to be specific in related to steganography. For example, searching term “steg” can be used for detecting steganography (Shih 2017). Therefore, effectiveness process has been false positives and negatives depending on keyword dictionary. Most of stenographic tools used to target specific applications in the past.

Physical crime scene investigation:

The last one is the physical crime scene investigation that can be useful for gathering information.  There are various passwords used for tools printed on notes and stuck under environmental objects which helps in generating clues for potential passwords.

Digital Security Issues

Steganography tools have been used in order to maintain a legitimate approach to the security of corporate information during transfer. Steganography tools have been becoming widely available and easier to use in illicit use with legitimate use as a new challenge. There have been various cases in which unapproved applications have been installed by employees of various organizations.  These applications include instant messaging clients, screen savers and other peer-to-peer software (Song et al. 2015). It is use of scientific driven and proven methods towards preservation, identification, collection and interpretation of data derived from digital sources to restrict criminal activities and planned illegal works. Computer crimes have been increased in recent years that have been creating bug challenges in the market. Acceptable use polices have been excluded from steganography software as it is not included under banned software for legitimate issues.

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The use of intrusion software helps in detecting abnormal transfer of graphics files. Most of the business practices do not include high level of graphic file use and traffic over internet have been increased. Information exchange should be possible between families, companions, corporates and distinctive gatherings in a lawful way. In any case, there can be illicit much too for information exchange. Accordingly, this can be risk full for society and corporates. Steganography manages mystery and correspondence change into shrouded design. Steganography incorporate different procedures that are not straightforwardly connected to PC. Therefore, the use of the stego files over the internet can be a great for the organization.  The stego files have been detected in the networked computers that can be isolated within emails.

Steganography has been a threat to the security for an organization.  The hidden message in the content material cannot be read by naked human eyes. Therefore, there might be illegal information being sent to the organization without any permit (Dutta 2016). Therefore, there is a need of proper monitoring and checking of messages being send in and out of the organization.  Therefore, both active and passive tools are required for monitoring the stenographic activates in the organizations.

Legal Issues and Challenges

Various laws have been involving in the technological aspect of the steganography that are difficult for enact in the Internet age. There are various stenographic internet communications that are done at international borders in which no jurisdictions are imposed. In 1952, The US enacted Section 1343 of the Federal Criminal Code that include wire fraud provision (Wu, Zhong and Liu 2016). This act has been linked with the Internet. Court orders have been approved on the telephonic conversations as this order has been applied on mobile communications only. As argued by Alattar, Memon and Heitzenrater (2015), criminals have been easily bypassing this law by using disposable phones. Several technologies including voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been creating new challenges. Internet Telephony helps in breaking phone conversations into data packets and send them over internet. Therefore, for monitoring this kind of traffic include various destinations. Therefore, monitoring this traffic various central locations have been able to set up their voice streams in copying their intended destinations. Therefore, it might be effective in monitoring right after starting point. All packets are transferred to its required destinations.

There has been a critical balance between loss of personal privacy and different society. Various groups including American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have been opposing law enforcement monitoring of communications (Xia et al. 2014). The position of ACLU on technology and privacy in the US has been a risk for surveillance society. The size of the detection file has been larger in size than that of stego file.  Therefore, original files are not available in the public sources. Various steganography techniques have been increased in their size of the digital carrier file. There has been another problem with the new legislation (Denemark, Boroumand and Fridrich 2016). This law has been amended in 2004 as in its real form various technology including steganography has been prohibited. However, the government have tried to mention different approaches in the encryption technology.

Measurable science is an innovation produced for revealing logical proof in assortment of fields. Advanced legal sciences allude to exploring wrongdoings with appropriate plausibility of computerized proof. It is the utilization of logical driven and demonstrated strategies towards safeguarding, approval, recognizable proof, gathering and understanding of information got from computerized sources to confine criminal exercises and arranged illicit works. PC wrongdoings have been expanded as of late that have been making bug difficulties in the market. Accordingly, advanced legal sciences are an examination of wrongdoing in an association done by criminal. Advanced crime scene investigation is done to look at and resolve the imperfections in the steganography (Sushith and Keerthana 2018). Different offenders are utilizing steganography for exchanging concealed messages for expanding wrongdoing. Thusly, an advanced crime scene investigation needs to know insights about steganalysis.

With the improvement of PC and growing its use in various everyday issues and work, the issue of data security has turned out to be progressively vital. One of the grounds examined in data security is the trading of data through the cover media. To this end, diverse strategies, for example, cryptography, steganography, coding, and so on have been utilized (Dang-Nguyen et al. 2015). Most steganography employments have been done on pictures, video cuts, writings, music and sounds. Nowadays, utilizing a mix of steganography and alternate techniques, data security has enhanced significantly.

Steganography apparatuses have been utilized with the end goal to keep up an authentic way to deal with the security of corporate data amid exchange. Steganography instruments have been winding up generally accessible and less demanding to use in unlawful use with authentic use as another test. There have been different cases in which unapproved applications have been introduced by workers of different associations (Farid 2018). These applications incorporate texting customers, screen savers and other shared programming. It is the utilization of logical driven and demonstrated strategies towards protection, approval, distinguishing proof, gathering and translation of information got from computerized sources to confine criminal exercises and arranged unlawful works. PC wrongdoings have been expanded as of late that have been making bug difficulties in the market. Adequate utilize polices have been prohibited from steganography programming as it does not fall under restricted programming for genuine issues.

The utilization of interruption programming helps in recognizing irregular exchange of designs records. A large portion of the business rehearses do exclude abnormal state of realistic record utilize and movement over web have been expanded. In this way, the utilization of the stego records over the web can be an incredible for the association (Bossler et al. 2017). The stego records have been distinguished in the organized PCs that can be disconnected inside messages.

Steganography has been a danger to the security for an association. The shrouded message in the substance material cannot be perused by exposed human eyes. In this way, there may be unlawful data being sent to the association with no allow. Along these lines, there is a need of appropriate observing and checking of messages being send all through the association. In this way, both dynamic and aloof devices are required for checking the stenographic enacts in the associations.

The majority of the ways to deal with steganography make them thing in like manner that they shroud the mystery message in physical protest which is sent. The accompanying figure demonstrates the steganography procedure of the cover picture being passed into the inserting capacity with the message to encode bringing about a steganographic picture containing the covered-up message. A key is regularly used to secure the shrouded message. This key is typically a secret phrase, so this key is used to scramble and decode the message when the installing. Insider facts can be covered up inside a wide range of cover data: content, pictures, sound, video and then some. Notwithstanding, there are apparatuses accessible to store insider facts inside a cover source (Watson and Dehghantanha 2016).

Web has been unequivocally utilized for exchange of information and data starting with one place then onto the next place. Information exchange should be possible between families, companions, corporates and distinctive gatherings in a lawful way. In any case, there can be illicit much too for information exchange. Accordingly, this can be risk full for society and corporates. Steganography manages mystery and correspondence change into shrouded design (Bossler et al. 2017). Steganography incorporate different procedures that are not straightforwardly connected to PC. In software engineering, steganography has been refereed to concealing information with non-mystery information. Steganography depends on a reality that documents and information can be adjusted without losing its inventiveness so human faculties cannot recognize changes.

It can be concluded that use of steganography has been helping in sending secret and hidden message with the help of carrier file. Steganography refers to sending hidden message without getting detected with naked human eyes. Steganalysis helps in detecting errors in the steganography. The techniques used in the steganalysis have been discussed in the report. The need of knowledge related to steganalysis by digital forensic experts have been discussed in the report.

Alattar, A.M., Memon, N.D. and Heitzenrater, C.D., (2015). Media Watermarking, Security, and Forensics 2015. Proc. of S3PIE-IS&T Vol, 9409, [online] pp.940901-1. Available at: https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie/9409/940901/Front-Matter-Volume-9409/10.1117/12.2192149.full?SSO=1. [Accessed 8 Apr 2018]

AL-Salhi, Y.E. and Lu, S., 2016. Quantum image steganography and steganalysis based on LSQu-blocks image information concealing algorithm. International Journal of Theoretical Physics, 55(8), [online] pp.3722-3736. Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10773-016-3001-3. [Accessed 8 Apr 2018]

Boroumand, M. and Fridrich, J., (2017), June. Nonlinear feature normalization in steganalysis. In Proceedings of the 5th ACM Workshop on Information Hiding and Multimedia Security [online] (pp. 45-54). ACM. Available at: http://ws2.binghamton.edu/fridrich/Research/nonlinear-feature-normalization.pdf. [Accessed 8 Apr 2018]

Bossler, A., Holt, T.J. and Seigfried-Spellar, K.C., (2017). Cybercrime and digital forensics: An introduction. Routledge. Available at: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781315296975. [Accessed 8 Apr 2018]

Chaumont, M., (2018), January. The emergence of Deep Learning in steganography and steganalysis. [online] In Journée” Stéganalyse: Enjeux et Méthodes”, labelisée par le GDR ISIS et le pré-GDR sécurité. Available at: https://hal-lirmm.ccsd.cnrs.fr/lirmm-01777391/document. [Accessed 8 Apr 2018]

Cogranne, R., Sedighi, V. and Fridrich, J., (2017), March. Practical strategies for content-adaptive batch steganography and pooled steganalysis. In Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP), 2017 IEEE International Conference on [online](pp. 2122-2126). IEEE. Available at: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01915645/document. [Accessed 8 Apr 2018]

Dang-Nguyen, D.T., Pasquini, C., Conotter, V. and Boato, G., (2015), March. RAISE: a raw images dataset for digital image forensics. In Proceedings of the 6th ACM Multimedia Systems Conference [online] (pp. 219-224). ACM. Available at: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2713194. [Accessed 19 Oct 2018]

Denemark, T.D., Boroumand, M. and Fridrich, J., (2016). Steganalysis features for content-adaptive JPEG steganography. IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, 11(8), [online] pp.1736-1746. Available at: http://millenniumsoftsol.com/courses/IEEETitles/Dotnet/Steganalysis-features-for-content.pdf. [Accessed 12 Oct 2018]

Dutta, S., (2016). Exploring Different Techniques in Steganography and Steganalysis. ASIAN JOURNAL FOR CONVERGENCE IN TECHNOLOGY (AJCT)-UGC LISTED, [online] 2. Available at: http://asianssr.org/index.php/ajct/article/view/487. [Accessed 9 Nov 2018]

Farid, H., (2018). Digital forensics in a post-truth age. Forensic science international, 289, [online] pp.268-269. Available at: https://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/farid/downloads/publications/fsi18.pdf. [Accessed 11 Nov 2018]

Li, B., He, J., Huang, J. and Shi, Y.Q., (2011). A survey on image steganography and steganalysis. Journal of Information Hiding and Multimedia Signal Processing, 2(2), [online] pp.142-172. Available at: http://bit.kuas.edu.tw/~jihmsp/2011/vol2/JIH-MSP-2011-03-005.pdf. [Accessed 8 Apr 2018]

Song, X., Liu, F., Chen, L., Yang, C. and Luo, X., (2017). Optimal Gabor Filters for Steganalysis of Content-Adaptive JPEG Steganography. KSII Transactions on Internet and Information Systems (TIIS), 11(1), [online] pp.552-569. Available at: http://www.dbpia.co.kr/Journal/ArticleDetail/NODE07102372. [Accessed 8 Apr 2018]

Li, E. and Yu, J., (2017). A Forensic Mobile Application Designed for both Steganalysis and Steganography in Digital Images. Electronic Imaging, 2017(6), [online] pp.84-89. Available at: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/ist/ei/2017/00002017/00000006/art00012?crawler=true&mimetype=application/pdf. [Accessed 10 Nov 2018]

Lin, X., (2018). Steganography and Steganalysis. In Introductory Computer Forensics [online] (pp. 557-577). Springer, Cham. Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-00581-8_21. [Accessed 20 Oct 2018]

Manimegalai, P., Gomathi, K.S., Ponniselvi, D. and Santha, M., (2014). The Image Steganography And Steganalysis Based On Peak-Shaped Technique For Mp3 Audio And Video. International Journal of Computer Science and Mobile Computing, 3, [online] pp.300-308. Available at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/32817700/V3I1201453.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1544511320&Signature=rCAQkBesg3cTJr2aS0%2FTvWDLvok%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DTHE_IMAGE_STEGANOGRAPHY_AND_STEGANALYSIS.pdf. [Accessed 12 Oct 2018]

Shih, F.Y., (2017). Digital watermarking and steganography: fundamentals and techniques. [online] CRC press. Available at: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781498738774. [Accessed 26 oct 2018]

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Srivastava, S., Thakral, P., Bansal, V. and Shandil, V., (2018). A Novel Image Steganography and Steganalysis Technique Based on Pattern Searching. In Optical and Wireless Technologies [online] (pp. 531-537). Springer, Singapore. Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-10-7395-3_59. [Accessed 28 Apr 2018]

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Watson, S. and Dehghantanha, A., (2016). Digital forensics: the missing piece of the internet of things promise. Computer Fraud & Security, 2016(6), [online] pp.5-8. Available at: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/39539/7/IoT%20Forensics%20in%20CFS%20format.pdf. [Accessed 17 Nov 2018]

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Annotated Bibliography: Memes in Digital Culture

                                Shifman, L. (2014) ‘Defining Internet Memes’, In: Shifman, L. Memes in Digital Culture. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, pp. 34 – 54

In this chapter, Shifman aims to describe what a ‘meme’ essentially is. To do this, he draws on Dawkins’ categorisation of memes (1982, cited in Shifman, 2014).

Expanding on these 3 positions, Shifman notes that the Mentalist Drivenmemes are ideas constructed in one’s mind, which are then transported or spread across digital culture with the use of vehicles such as images, texts, rituals, or idols. Essentially, memes here are ideas and the vehicles of distribution are tangible modes. This school of thought was also endorsed by Daniel Dennett (1995) (cited in Shifman, 2014).

Alternately, the Behaviour Drivenmemes saw ideas and its vehicle as one entity. Thus, the meme only serves its purpose when it is encoded, and as such cannot exist in the outside world devoid of its vehicle. Shifman notes that, by defining memes as a concrete body, it’s easier to empirically study their evolution and dissemination.

In contrast, the ‘Inclusive Memetic Approach’ takes on a broader definition. Presented by Susan Blackmore in “The Meme Machine” (1999, cited in Shifman, 2014), it summarises that any information that can be imitated can be referred to as a ‘meme’. The drawback of such an approach is the very nature of its vast inclusivity, which presents a challenge to it serving an analytical purpose.

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Instead, Shifman took on a different approach in his attempt at defining memes. Building on the ‘mentalist driven’ approach, he breaks down memes into 3 dimensions that can be imitated – form, stance, and the content itself. While ‘content’ essentially relates to the ideas in the text, and ‘form’ can be described as the vehicle it uses (images, text, videos, etc.), it is the ‘stance’ that Shifman introduced to better understand the coded information in memes, how the text is positioned, who the intended receiver is, and who the potential proponents could be.

He further breaks down this third dimension into 3 sub-categories: participation structures, keying, and communication functions. These sub-dimensions draw on ideas taken from Susan Phillips, Erving Goffman, Shoshanna Blum-Kulka, and Roman Jakobson. (cited in Shifman, 2014, pp. 40-41).

To this, Shifman found it necessary to form a standalone definition for ‘Internet memes.’ According to him, such memes can be defined as “digital items sharing common characteristics of content, form, and/or stance were created with awareness of each other, and were circulated, imitated, and/or transformed via the Internet by many users.” (2014, p. 41).

This chapter is highly useful in the understanding of the proliferation of memes in general. It helps to lay a foundation on which we can analyse and distinguish between different forms of memes, and how they go on to become a digital phenom.

Shifman, L. (2014) ‘When Memes Go Digital’, In: Shifman, L. Memes in Digital Culture. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, pp. 17 – 35

This chapter of Shifman’s book expands on the proliferation of memes on the World Wide Web. Drawing from Dawkins’ analysis, where he defines successful memes as having 3 basic properties; Shifman explains how these properties are enhanced by the Internet (Dawkins, 1982, cited in Shifman, 2014).

First, the longevity of a meme increases as information can be stored indefinitely in the digital realm (read archives and cloud). Secondly, it’s copy fidelity, i.e., its accuracy, increases as there is no information loss in the process of reproduction in digital form. Finally, what Dawkins referred to as fecundity or “number of copies made in a time unit” (Shifman, 2014, p. 17) increases due to the swiftness and multiplicity that Internet facilitates.

In this section, Shifman further tries to define attributes that can be attached to memes in digital culture. He notices that through time, memes expand from bein shared on a micro level, to eventually crossing borders, and thus leading to information dissemination on a macro-level. He also notes that digital media allows memes to not just be replicated by directly copying context, but they are also subsequently “repackaged” by changing both content and form (2014, p. 19). He also notes that the success of a meme or its acceptability in social and digital culture, in turn, form an integral part in the selection and spread of certain memes.

This spread in the digital realm soon infiltrates our “real” world, a phenomenon that Shifman tags as “hypermemetic”. (2014, p. 23).

This source helps us grasp how a term that existed in the pre-Internet era is still relevant in modern times, how it shapes our interaction, and what motivates us to participate in the shared understanding or spreading of such forms of information through digital media.

 

Gal, Noam, Shifman, Limor & Kampf, Zohar, (2016). ‘It Gets Better’: Internet Memes and the Construction of Collective Identity. New Media & Society, 18(8), pp.1698–1714.

 

This article chose to focus on a body of 200 viral meme videos titled, “It Gets Better”, to understand how Internet users respond to LGBTQ themes, to what extent they accept or imitate the relayed information, and to what degree they altered the context presented in the original meme.

To do this, the authors analysed theories surrounding identity construction, the nature of participatory culture, and various Internet memes whose central themes focused on LGBTQ rights. They built upon the understanding of memes as previously underlined by Shifman (2013) and Dawkins (1976) (cited in Gal, Noam, Shifman, Limor & Kampf, Zohar, 2016, p. 1700).

Subsequently, they took a two-fold quantitative and qualitative approach, using the former to analyse content, and the latter to critically analyse the narrative approaches taken by this meme body. They noted that the inclusive nature of digital media, and the public stage it provides, helped these minorities voice their struggles and find solidarity with those who shared similar experiences.

This article is a valuable source for not only understanding how memes in digital media help construct socio-cultural identity and influences behaviour, but also relays how using multiple research approaches can help us effectively deconstruct and analyse a body of work.

Seiffert-Brockmann, Jens, Diehl, Trevor & Dobusch, Leonhard, (2018). ‘Memes as Games: The Evolution of a Digital Discourse Online’. New Media & Society, 20(8), pp.2862–2879.

This source creates a theoretical framework to better understand how some memes are used in digital culture to propagate political debates. To analyse the vast array of memes that float through this space, the researchers categorised memes into 3 major types based on the logic of communication employed; these being – “wasteful play online, social media political expression, and cultural evolution.” (2018, p. 2862).

They note that the ease of access and multiplicities with regards to the means and the platforms on which they can be shared has allowed, “citizens a means to undermine elite

influence of mass media (Benkler and Nissenbaum, 2006), mobilize political movements,

and voice political dissent (Bennett, 2012; Hristova, 2014; Milner, 2013; Mina, 2014)” (cited in Seiffert-Brockmann, Jens, Diehl, Trevor & Dobusch, Leonhard, 2018).

As with the previous article, the authors build upon the definition of memes provided by Dawkins and Shifman to create their theoretical outline. They go on to trace the evolution of memes from being mere “games”(2018, p.2865), that indulge in playfulness and create a sense of shared interest, to something that facilitates “social media political expression” (2018, p.2865), essentially building online political identities based on pre-existing beliefs. Finally, it leads to cultural evolution, wherein the meme proliferates into the real world and has wider implications on socio-political structures, discourse, and inadvertently, audience beliefs.

Like with the previous article, this source helps users gain insights into the way memes evolve from merely being ideas in the digital realm to socio-cultural identities in the real world. By using methodological tools of analysis, and providing detailed references and inferences, it helps outlines a clear path of a meme’s influence on political-identity construction.

Shifman, L. (2014) ‘When Internet Memes Go Global’, In: Shifman, L. Memes in Digital Culture. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, pp. 151 – 170

In this final article, Shifman explores how memes cross borders to have wider impacts on global discourse.

Shifman focuses on the idea of “glocalisation” a term coined by Roland Robertson (cited in Shifman, 2014), which suggest that local forces combine pre-existing beliefs and norms with foreign ideas and policies to create what he calls “multifaceted, hybrid cultures” (2014, p. 154).

To further understand how memes can have a global impact on a multilingual digital sphere, he coined the term ‘user generated globalisation’– “a process in which memes are translated, customized, and distributed across the globe by ordinary Internet users.” (2014, p 155).

But doing case studies on various English jokes across the internet, Shifman and his peers concluded, that while the basic format remained the same, certain details and context were changed during translation into different languages, to keep in tune with local culture and understanding.

Referencing the chapter “When Memes Go Digital” (2014, p. 17 -35), he reiterates that while each recreation of a meme presents the creator’s individual identity and beliefs, it also shows membership to a shared group of people who draw upon the understanding of the original meme to create their own versions.

Shifman’s views help us understand why memes form a big part of our digital discourse, and despite socio-cultural differences, a shared appreciation of ideas can lead to the dissemination of memes that are relevant in the global landscape.