Spammers, false profiles and virtual holograms

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Spammers, false profiles and virtual holograms Powered By Docstoc
					Spammers,	
  false	
  profiles	
  and	
  virtual	
  holograms	
  
We	
  must	
  rethink	
  our	
  identity	
  in	
  order	
  to	
  live	
  in	
  this	
  cyberculture	
  

January	
  19,	
  2012,	
  10:02	
  PM	
  	
  

By	
  Ricardo	
  Murer	
  
B.S.	
  in	
  Computer	
  Science	
  (USP)	
  and	
  Master's	
  Degree	
  in	
  Communications	
  (USP).	
  
Specialist	
  in	
  digital	
  strategy	
  and	
  new	
  technologies.	
  
Follow@rdmurer	
  

There	
  was	
  a	
  digital	
  time	
  when	
  no	
  one	
  liked	
  to	
  disclose	
  their	
  own	
  identity	
  in	
  the	
  world	
  
wide	
  web,	
  the	
  so	
  called	
  Internet,	
  where	
  everyone	
  had	
  a	
  nickname.	
  People	
  would	
  
always	
  use	
  an	
  avatar	
  to	
  enter	
  a	
  virtual	
  community	
  or	
  chat	
  rooms	
  to	
  converse,	
  or	
  
comment	
  on	
  any	
  issues	
  in	
  the	
  discussion	
  forums.	
  	
  

A	
  time	
  when	
  the	
  greatest	
  challenge	
  of	
  the	
  portals	
  and	
  emerging	
  virtual	
  businesses	
  
was	
  to	
  find	
  out	
  who	
  were	
  those	
  thousands	
  of	
  people	
  accessing	
  daily	
  this	
  or	
  that	
  
virtual	
  service.	
  	
  The	
  story	
  is	
  different	
  today.	
  	
  

A	
  new	
  generation	
  is	
  running	
  the	
  Internet.	
  A	
  generation	
  that	
  seeks	
  autonomy	
  and	
  has	
  
its	
  own	
  voice,	
  and	
  new	
  relationship	
  codes.	
  A	
  more	
  personalized	
  generation,	
  
individualistic,	
  that	
  posts	
  their	
  own	
  photos	
  without	
  fear	
  of	
  showing	
  their	
  faces	
  in	
  
cyberspace.	
  	
  

We	
  live	
  the	
  new	
  era	
  of	
  the	
  social	
  networks,	
  where	
  one	
  must	
  present	
  a	
  club	
  card	
  
before	
  given	
  entry.	
  To	
  join	
  the	
  club	
  people	
  must	
  be	
  exactly	
  who	
  they	
  are.	
  Well,	
  more	
  
or	
  less.	
  	
  

Wendi	
  Deng	
  Murdoch's	
  recent	
  false	
  profile	
  case	
  on	
  Twitter	
  raises	
  a	
  natural	
  question:	
  
How	
  much	
  falseness	
  is	
  there	
  in	
  the	
  virtual	
  world?	
  The	
  event	
  is	
  even	
  more	
  symbolic	
  
because	
  the	
  said	
  Wendi	
  Deng's	
  account	
  had	
  received	
  Twitter's	
  own	
  "authenticity	
  
seal"!	
  Some	
  recent	
  statistics	
  reveal	
  that	
  there	
  are	
  about	
  10%	
  of	
  false	
  accounts	
  in	
  
Facebook,	
  and	
  approximately	
  25%	
  false	
  accounts	
  in	
  Twitter	
  (data	
  from	
  fiverr	
  and	
  
internetevolution).	
  	
  

On	
  one	
  hand,	
  false	
  profiles	
  represent	
  a	
  real	
  danger	
  to	
  social	
  networks	
  as	
  they	
  
directly	
  affect	
  the	
  credibility	
  of	
  the	
  services.	
  On	
  the	
  other	
  hand,	
  users	
  do	
  not	
  have	
  
the	
  means	
  to	
  double	
  check	
  an	
  identity,	
  which	
  would	
  only	
  be	
  possible	
  by	
  having	
  a	
  real	
  
meeting	
  with	
  the	
  person,	
  in	
  other	
  words,	
  go	
  from	
  cyberspace	
  into	
  reality.	
  	
  

In	
  fact,	
  any	
  youth	
  with	
  some	
  image	
  editing	
  knowledge,	
  good	
  imagination	
  and	
  
patience	
  can	
  create	
  tens	
  of	
  false	
  profiles	
  in	
  any	
  social	
  network	
  in	
  an	
  hour.	
  Email	
  
accounts	
  or	
  mobile	
  phone	
  numbers	
  continue	
  to	
  be	
  the	
  criteria	
  adopted	
  to	
  confirm	
  
an	
  identity.	
  unfortunately,	
  a	
  criteria	
  that	
  is	
  weak	
  and	
  easy	
  to	
  spoof.	
  

However,	
  nothing	
  compares	
  to	
  the	
  art	
  of	
  mass	
  deception	
  of	
  spammers.	
  In	
  spite	
  of	
  
global	
  efforts	
  to	
  deter	
  them	
  we	
  continue	
  to	
  receive	
  hundreds	
  of	
  emails	
  daily	
  with	
  



	
                                                                 1	
  
false	
  messages	
  sent	
  by	
  zombie	
  servers	
  spread	
  across	
  the	
  globe,	
  at	
  the	
  service	
  of	
  
criminal	
  organizations	
  or	
  hackers	
  specialized	
  in	
  creating	
  false	
  identities.	
  	
  

Computers	
  do	
  not	
  have	
  any	
  valuable	
  judgment	
  and	
  act	
  accordingly	
  to	
  any	
  
programming	
  they	
  receive.	
  How	
  can	
  one	
  know	
  for	
  sure	
  that	
  the	
  Federal	
  Treasury	
  
really	
  sent	
  you	
  an	
  email?	
  Who	
  is	
  who	
  in	
  the	
  programmable,	
  deletable	
  and	
  fluid	
  
virtual	
  space	
  after	
  all?	
  	
  

It	
  is	
  certain	
  that	
  the	
  virtual	
  world	
  has	
  turned	
  our	
  identities	
  into	
  something	
  imprecise,	
  
ambiguous	
  and	
  questionable.	
  By	
  searching	
  for	
  an	
  unanimous	
  relationship	
  between	
  
the	
  real	
  and	
  virtual	
  personae,	
  the	
  social	
  networks	
  have	
  managed	
  just	
  the	
  opposite:	
  
to	
  strengthen	
  the	
  game	
  of	
  shadows,	
  introducing	
  authentic	
  profiles	
  and	
  virtual	
  
holograms	
  into	
  the	
  same	
  believable	
  environment.	
  	
  

Bruce	
  Sterling	
  in	
  his	
  book	
  titled	
  “The	
  hacker	
  crackdown”	
  wrote:	
  "In	
  spite	
  of	
  it	
  not	
  
being	
  exactly	
  real,	
  cyberspace	
  is	
  a	
  real	
  place.	
  Things	
  take	
  place	
  there	
  and	
  with	
  very	
  
real	
  consequences".	
  	
  

Perhaps	
  it	
  is	
  just	
  that	
  then,	
  that	
  living	
  in	
  this	
  new	
  culture,	
  or	
  cyberculture	
  if	
  you	
  like,	
  
means	
  accepting	
  the	
  game	
  of	
  shadows,	
  the	
  clichés,	
  threading	
  on	
  country	
  populated	
  
by	
  cyborgs,	
  images	
  and	
  fabricated	
  facts,	
  chatting	
  with	
  bots	
  that	
  have	
  artificial	
  
intelligence,	
  and	
  setting	
  virtual	
  dates	
  with	
  people	
  we	
  will	
  never	
  see	
  in	
  real	
  life.	
  
Reality?	
  What	
  is	
  reality,	
  really?	
  

	
  




	
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