[laurenlum.travel.blog] “COVID-19, America, and the Dangers of Being Connected”

In Paul Virilio’s Speed and Politics, he describes the open sea to “compensate for every social, religious and moral constraint, for every political and economic oppression, even for the physical laws due to the earth’s gravity, to continental crampedness” (Virilio 65). In many ways, this relates to how many viewed the Internet at the time of its introduction to people’s home machines. The Internet was supposed to represent a rebirth for information; it would allow people to access any type of knowledge that they wanted, connect individuals from across the country, and serve as a medium to share your ideas and stories. And it certainly has, allowing information to travel at an unprecedented rate and people to connect from all over the world.

This can be compared to the shifting paradigm of the Renaissance. With the advances in transportation and spread of information, the world became more connected during the Renaissance. Just as the Internet represented a rebirth of information, the Renaissance experienced a rebirth of thought that was reflected in art, architecture, innovations, and many other establishments.

But the ‘open sea’, as Virilio describes, does not only free people from oppression and physical barriers; the open sea “became the right to crime, to a violence that was also freed from every constraint” (Virilio 65). The freedom of the open sea did not just serve as a medium for free travel and thought, but an expansion of violence and war. The changes of the Renaissance reflects this as well; along with innovations in medicine, art forms, and transportation, there were innovations in war. Weapons became deadlier, easier to use, and more indiscriminate with who they targeted. 

The expansion of the Internet and the freedom of knowledge is no exception to this behavior, and the way America is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic reflects it. America has fairly liberal laws on Internet usage, and while this has allowed the spread of ideas and knowledge, it has been just as good at spreading disinformation. During this pandemic, many people have been helped by looking at trustworthy websites (such as the Center for Disease Control’s website) to learn more about how to stay safe and how to avoid endangering themselves and others. But many have turned to the Internet to look for what they want to hear; that the disease is fake, that it is a conspiracy, that the virus is ‘not as lethal’ as the CDC warns. This type of information, found in tabloids and conspiracy videos and certain online communities, is just as proliferous as information from reputable sources. This type of misinformation is not without consequence; with armed protests happening in many cities and groups of people refusing to quarantine, these people pose a serious threat to all Americans. In one of his notebooks, da Vinci wrote, “Let no man who is not a mathematician read the elements of my work” (da Vinci 9). As elitist and highbrow as it sounds, it has some truth given our current situation- many times people will read legitimate information, but will not have the proper background to realize its legitimacy or use it in a productive way.

This severe response and militant disbelief serves as a haunting reflection of what the open Internet serves for in democratic countries. Compared to other countries, America’s internet is relatively ‘free’, and government censorship is limited. In response, the media and the Internet has been flooded with misinformation and biased pieces that are passed off as ‘news’. Instead of using technology to get educated, most people use our many sources of information to confirm their long-standing biases. This is a stark contrast to authoritarian-ruled countries like China, where the Internet is heavily censored and technology is used as a government tool to control their population. This heavily controlled Internet is easily able to control massive groups of people by only allowing government-approved ‘truths’. And while this does not fit the idea of the ‘open sea’ as Virilio imagined it, this type of control has worked frighteningly well during the COVID-19 pandemic with many areas of China having quarantine restrictions lifted already.

While the outbreak is far from over, I hope America’s response will put our usage of the Internet in speculation again. This incident, and many incidents before now, have shown that misinformation is extremely dangerous, and that the spread of conspiracies and biased articles have deadly consequences. Only by addressing these problems can we prove that the Internet can be used as a free, open medium to spread thoughts and knowledge instead of being a favorable tool to control the public.


Your depiction of the situation is excellent — but I am more reserved about your conclusions.

You may also be interested to read Elizabeth Eisenstein’s fine history of the printing press. Similar misinformation occurred during the early expansion of this technology.

Misinformation is not extremely dangerous — nuclear weapons are still more dangerous.

Misinformation may not even be the problem at all, but rather illiteracy (cf. your Da Vinci quote). Please note that it took several hundred years for even a modicum of literacy to become widespread (in early US history, literacy was a requirement to vote — but AFAIK that typically meant nothing more than the ability to sign your own name).

Also: the history of copyright law also plays a significant role.

Finally, you may also be interested to read some of my own work regarding “retard media” — a good starting point might be How to define “retard media”.

Keep it up! 😀

[2020-04-29 09:19 UTC]


#copyright, #da-vinci, #information, #information-literacy, #literacy, #media-literacy, #misinformation, #online-literacy, #printing-press, #propaganda, #publishing, #rational-media, #renaissance, #retard-media

Media + Information Literacy (MIL) learning activities all make use of low key smartphone technology — a fun and dynamic approach that brings excitement to any youth training

Keywords: africa , curricula , learning interventions , media and information literacy , milli , multiplier , namibia

The lead-up to the production of the media clips is where the real learning happens. What makes good news? What agendas can be behind news? What is propaganda and how do I recognize it? What are the risks with consuming and sharing news via social media? All training nurtures critical thinking and critical awareness.

Raising awareness about the existence of ‘online bubbles’ and ‘echo chambers’ forms part of that. It looks at the agendas of online actors, and how they, through the use of algorithms, present you with news and adverts that will fit your interest. It results in a limited view on the bigger issue.Most youth in Namibia do not shop online. Therefore the online commercial world will not find an easy entry point to target the individual with advertisements. But this might change.


#advertising, #africa, #bubble, #echo-chamber, #echo-chambers, #education, #information-literacy, #literacy, #media, #media-literacy, #namibia, #online-literacy, #propaganda, #training

[accuwebhosting.com] “The Importance of SSL Certificates to Search Engines”


SSL is an abbreviation of Secure Socket Layer while TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. These are the two most often used protocols today. The common factor between them is that they serve as a security layer (individually) between your computer and the server. Every website that begins with HTTPS makes use of SSL/TLS.

Another fancy name for SSL Certificate is Digital Certificate, but its job description is simple – creating a secure connection between your browser and the server SSL certificates come as tiny data files hosted on the server of the website. They are typically encrypted so that the information contained therein about your website isn’t available just to anyone.

Besides establishing a secure link between HTTPS and your site, they provide authentication, which is also essential for a secure connection. Basically, SSL Certificate is tasked with a majority of the security responsibilities taking place between you and the server, including moving your site HTTP to an HTTPS web address. Are you familiar with that tiny padlock at the start of the address in the address bar? That’s the SSL Certificate trying to secure the website. Whenever you see this padlock, know that the information transmitted between you and the server is safe. Every bit of data transmitted is first encrypted through SSL encryption to render it senseless to the prying eyes of intruders.

The biggest worry about browsing the internet is not about unknowingly downloading some malware but rather, someone reading those private details you transmit to the guy on another end. This is where the importance of the SSL Certificate becomes apparent, it will encrypt your information while on transit so that only you and the receiver can read it. And when you add hackers in the mix, the need for encrypting your information becomes even more necessary.

As aforementioned, the SSL Certificate’s primary job is to protect all communications taking place between the server and the client. With an SSL Certificate installed on a website, all information exchanged between the user and the server is encrypted. This means it will protect you from hackers while securing your passwords, your identity, credit card information, and other private information at the same.

Establishing the integrity of a website is just as important as being mindful of what you share on it. You will be shocked by how easily people lose money through phishing attacks. For instance, if someone emailed you a link of fake imitation of your bank’s website, if you are not knowledgeable about phishing, you would more than glad to surrender your banking information to the attacker. However, SSL Certificates tries to help us by flagging such fake sites and keeping us away from trouble before we do anything regrettable.

Before installing an SSL Certificate on your website, you need to complete the verification procedure set by CA (Certificate authority). The authority will eventually verify your identity, organization, among other essential details. Your website will be given an HTTPS address once you’ve been proven to be authentic. Why is this bothersome process even necessary? Well, it is aimed at preventing a faker from creating a website that imitates yours for malicious reasons.

Google made it clear back in 2014 that sites with SSL Certificates would rank higher on organic search results than those without. This was based on the assumption, which is just a fact by the way, that sites without SSL Certificates tend to fail to deliver good visitors experience. However, this doesn’t mean you are certainly assured that your site will rank highly simply because it has an SSL Certificate; other factors like SEO may influence your ranking. Google clarified that sites with SSL Certificates would enjoy benefits that won’t be available to those without the certificate.

By now, every user of the internet knows a thing or two about the precautions that need to be taken while surfing the internet, more so precautions regarding private information. At times, some organizations are reckless enough to lose a lot of customer information to hackers. SSL Certificate serves to provide standard security that can help stop such incidents by encrypting information shared between the user and the server. Every bit of information is essential, mainly if it can be used to uniquely identify an individual (often referred to as personal data).

We mentioned that Google is committed to make SSL Certificates mandatory. We also mentioned how these certificates help ensure the safety of internet users. Google sought to improve these measures skipping harmful websites by not displaying them in the search results and warning the users about every such website they try to open them. The same applies to malware prone websites. If Google detects malware on your site, they will blacklist your site on the spot, remove it from the organic search results, and warn internet users about it.

Because it is the most popular search engine on the planet, Google tries to play its leading role tune the ranking of websites and ensure security at the same time. The search engine regularly makes changes to its algorithm to improve the ranking and security factors. There are numerous search engines on the internet, but Google stands out of the park with its ability to effectively rank your website based on security and UX (user design).

Both HTTP and HTTPS are underlying protocols that the World Wide Web uses to define how information is transferred between servers and web browsers. Users are encouraged to switch from HTTP to HTTPS for various reasons. The reason is that the HTTPS protocol is very much like an improved version of HTTP, meaning better security and an array of their nice features that aren’t readily available on its older cousin. There are other considerable differences between the two, all of which are critical to your overall safety on the web. For instance:

All these are an effort to show you the link between three things: your safety, HTTPS/HTTP, and SSL Certificates and why Google pushes webmasters to uphold the utmost security standards for them to rank well on the search engines’ organic search results. Yet many sites continue to flaunt even the most basic standards set by Google. As a result, a typical day sees tons of websites closed.

As a webmaster, you have plenty to dread. If by any chance, Google blacklists your website, it will mean your reputation and sales are broken forever. If you are not operating without an SSL Certificate, you should start to forget about getting any significant traffic on your website. And if you are still lagging in upgrading from HTTP to HTTPS, it means your website isn’t secure at all, hence good customer experience is not assured – that’s one of the sins Google frowns upon and won’t hesitate to deliver punishment.

It doesn’t matter how minimalistic your site is (your excuse could be: Okay guys, I’m just dealing in word content over here, no need for high security – WRONG), as long as you are handling some sensitive data, securing your site with an SSL Certificate is a must.

Both HTTP and HTTPS are underlying protocols that the World Wide Web uses to define how information is transferred between servers and web browsers. Users are encouraged to switch from HTTP to HTTPS for various reasons. The reason is that the HTTPS protocol is very much like an improved version of HTTPS, meaning better security and an array of their nice features that aren’t readily available on its older cousin.
There are other considerable differences between the two, all of which are critical to your overall safety on the web.

The biggest difference between HTTP and HTTPS is the SSL Certificate. If your website was based on HTTP but you installed the SSL Certificate, it would effectively start to load on HTTPS. Hence, it won’t be much of a stretch if you said HTTPS is an improved HTTPS. More broadly, we describe HTTPS as a secured improvement of the HTTPS. Now that you know the basic technical information about SSL Certificates, let’s look at main reasons why you need it on your website. There are three primary reasons why having the SSL Certificate on your website is one of the best ideas you will ever make.

You can only hope that the visitor landing on your site and getting greeted with “Not Secure” label is knowledgeable and has an idea why the label would appear there, otherwise, the non-technical visitor will think your site has been hacked or is source of some sort of dangerous malware. This will certainly affect your bounce rate as many visitors will leave immediately as they arrive on your website.

No one wants basic web security measures to negatively affect their brand’s reputation and success. The easiest way of avoiding the needless inconveniences that come with web security measures is to switch from the insecure HTTP to the secure HTTPS. The switch comes with numerous benefits including boosting your rankings on Google and ensuring security on your website. But this doesn’t mean the implementation process will be all easy – switching from HTTP to HTTPS is complex, costly, and often risk-prone. If you look at the benefits it comes with, however, you will be more than willing to do all it takes to have it in place.

Which other search engines (besides Google) do you consider — and for which characteristics do you feel they stand out better than Google? (FYI, I found this blog post using a search engine other than Google’s)


[2020-04-09 11:33 UTC]

#ad, #ads, #bullshit, #certificate, #certificates, #google, #marketing, #paid, #propaganda, #seo, #sponsor, #sponsored, #ssl