Isn’t Google the internet?

In 2015, two friends and I went on a trip through China and Mongolia. It was a blast. Unfortunately, my Instagram-ing, Face-booking, Gmail-using friend (pictured above on the left) had no knowledge that a multitude of websites and platforms are blocked in China for political purposes by the Great Firewall of China. Somehow her accounts also got hacked during the trip. She was at a bit of a loss, to say the least.

This governmental censorship has prompted media companies to create a kind of intranet, connecting individuals throughout the country via new platforms despite their lack of access to other parts of the web. This process has led to certain innovations, but also has some considerable privacy and monitoring issues. The video below explains it, using corgis.

While all-encompassing, ubiquitous connectivity is convenient for users, platforms like WeChat remain closed and controlled by governments and organisations. As Johnathan Zittrain says, “opportunities for accidents and mischief abound”.

When we talk about open and closed sources that either encourage or limit further creation, we’re generally discussing the role of organisations in controlling media trajectories. Don’t forget to scrutinise the government!

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2 thoughts on “Isn’t Google the internet?

Add yours

  1. That was super informative and eye opening. I had no idea WeChat existed and to be honest I am not too thrilled by its existence. Sure it is impressive how all of these functions operate under one app but my concern lies within the privacy this grants its users. I am not sure I like the idea of the government knowing every minor and major detail about me. It feels as though it is getting to the point where soon they will be thinking for us (facebook ads trying to sell people certain things based on their likes and searches), which will see consumers turn into lifeless drones, dependent on these technologies to meet basic everyday function. To be fair, its not like our private information being sold is an estranged concept today, it is very relevant, but I feel like this just takes it to a whole other level.

    This video about Facebook having information on you (through cookies) regardless of whether or not you have an account is certainly scary; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmBXJBroYcA. It makes me think that we are not that aware about the power of our private information, the big companies are very aware though. It feels like signing a contract to sell your soul to the devil lol, except your soul is your private details.

    Easy to read post and I really enjoyed seeing your personal standpoint and experiences come through your writing. It would be cool to see where you think these kinds of technologies will take us in the future.

    Like

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