As data breaches and identity thefts are happening left and right, day and night, the best time to secure your Twitter account was yesterday. Here’s four straightforward steps you should take in order to significantly decrease the possibility of your account getting accessed by an outsider. Most of these things are applicable to other online services as well, so once you’re done hardening your Twitter account, take a critical look at your other accounts both on and off social media.
The big five – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google & Microsoft – have got a stranglehold of our digital life. Not just our digital identities, but almost all of our web experiences are reliant or connected to the technologies of these five companies.
Recently, Daniel Oberhaus from Motherboard and then Kashmir Hill from Gizmodo both experimented by completely “quitting” the Big Five, for four and six weeks respectively. Both of their stories are very insightful and definitely recommended reading for anyone. However, quitting the Big Five is exactly the kind of take on privacy that turns many people off from becoming more privacy aware. I’ve seen this happen time and time again in r/privacy, where people who have just tipped their toes in the world on online privacy and security are getting barraged with comments like “LOL IF YOU’RE NOT USING LINUX YOU’RE SCREWED” and “YOU NEED TO QUIT ALL SOCIAL MEDIA AND DELETE ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS EVERY-WHERE“. But if we as a privacy community would dial back our tone just a bit, I think we could do way more good than what we’re doing right now.
All of us are built differently. That’s why our bodies can handle different foods in different ways, different workout routines yield varying results between individuals, and some of us seem to always get the seasonal flu while others stay stuffy-nose-free (seemingly without trying really hard to do so). So figuring out what’s the healthiest – the best – way of eating, exercising and living your life seems like a reasonable and even rational goal.
So how can we figure that out? With DNA testing, or to be more exact, analyzing genome and blood biomarkers. However, this type of testing has some obvious privacy repercussions. Let’s weigh the pros and the cons.
Recently I finished reading an interesting book called “The 48 Laws of Power” by author Robert Greene. Among the “laws” introduced in the book, there’s one called Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following (Law 27), and oh boy did I have a good chuckle reading it. The resemblance between the description of how cults are created and everyone’s favorite premium tech firm, Apple Inc., was so uncanny that I just had to share it. Plus we’ve all seen enough of Cult of Apple references around the Internet to know that maybe there’s something more to this.
So here’s the five easy steps of creating a cult (of Apple), with hefty citations from the aforementioned book.
I’m a bit hesitant to write this, as this post will most definitely be misinterpreted and certain folks will get upset. But this is too good of an example case to pass, so let’s get right on it.
The Police of Finland has been noticeably increasing its presence on social media, especially on Twitter where there’s more than 60 official accounts already. Most of these accounts represent individual police officers, and therefore they’re supposed to represent the official police’s brand and communication, but of course there’s bound to be some personal nuances included in the tweets as well. This personal tone is perfectly normal and only human, but unfortunately it makes them (individuals and the police) a target for a backslash.
And oh boy, they’ve been targeted alright. As of this writing, there’s at least eight parody accounts made of Finnish Police, and most of them have been activated within the last two months. Although parody accounts are accepted in Twitter’s policy and often intended just as harmless fun, I wanted to take a closer look at these eight and see if I could find any interesting details on them.
There were definitely some similarities and other easily connectable dots between the eight that were apparent even after just a quick glance (e.g. multiple mentions of “vihapuhe” = “hate speech”). I realize that by doing this I’m just feeding the trolls, so to speak, but let’s just call this professional curiosity that prompted me to investigate further.
Didn’t see that one coming. Or the fact that I would be writing about, *sigh*, emojis. Those funny yellow faces were cool maybe 10-15 years ago, when they were popularized by MSN Messenger. Sure they’ve been plaguing our text communications more recently too, mainly because of smartphones and IM platforms, but for some reason, a lot has been happening in the emoji-front in 2015. Let’s take a look: