Heros Of The Digital Era


Just read this great article about the group ‘Anonymous’ on the Guardian’s website. Check it out below:

In 2007, the hacktivist collective Anonymous was dubbed the “internet hate machine” by Fox News for their trolling campaigns. Six years later, they are the white knights of the digital realm, seeking justice for the now deceased 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons, an alleged gang rape victim who killed herself after bullying by her Nova Scotian classmates. This is just one of the collective’s high profile causes in the past week, but in terms of good PR and an agency for change, it compares to their actions on Steubenville.

They call it #OpJustice4Rehtaeh on Twitter, and all types of people – from journalists and teens to women who normally wouldn’t associate with Anonymous – have been spreading Anonymous’ related material in the name of Parsons since Tuesday, after news of her mother turning off her daughter’s life support made global headlines.

The concerned non-Canadians and feminists in faraway places that joined in the online protest don’t consider themselves “hacktivists”, nor are they afraid of the FBI or their peers labeling them as terrorist sympathisers. The spooky criminal portrayal of Anonymous has melted from the public consciousness, to be replaced with an image of strangers in pale masks passionate about improving society, one cause at a time. Since Anonymous causes are varied and inspired by current events, jumping on this form of vigilante-motivated activism – or what some would call clicktivism – has never been more popular. Or as in Parsons’ case, as effective.

The goal of #OpJustice4Rehtaeh was to seek justice primarily by getting the Canadian justice and police department to review her case. None of the four teen assailants were convicted despite capturing, and then spreading photographic evidence of their alleged crime at Parsons’ school.

A Change.org petition by Parsons’ mother was heavily circulated, and it hit 100,000 signatures within days. “For the love of God do something”, wrote Parsons’ father on Wednesday in a personal blogpost addressing the justice minister of Nova Scotia. His words validated #OpJustice4Rehtaeh, launched the day before.

Anonymous’ successful leveraging of the press and social media helped them identify the four rapists in just a few hours, which they then threatened to disclose unless their demands were met. No hacking was involved as this time, Anonymous was apparently a friendly tip line.

They were able to get this information so quickly, wrote an Anon on Pastebin, because “dozens of emails were sent to us by kids and adults alike, most of whom had personal relationships with the alleged rapists. Many recalled public confessions made blatantly by these boys in public where they detailed the rape of an inebriated 15-year-old girl.” Why this same information was not sent to the police at the time of the investigation over a year ago is not apparent, though Anonymous hinted it sent this information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in a more recent release.

Despite a Canadian minister previously telling the media the case was closed and would not be reopened, by Thursday the tune had changed, proving the collective’s efforts were not in vain. In addition to submitting new evidence to the RCMP and putting pressure on the Canadian Department of Justice, Anonymous organised a rally outside the Halifax police department on Sunday. Roughly 100 people attended, including Parsons’ mother. Speaking on her behalf as her partner, Jason Barnes told Canada’s Herald News in an interview, “Leah’s been… very happy with the things that Anonymous has done for us and really stepped forward and made this a large enough issue to make people think, and see it.” Out of all the operations recently carried out by Anonymous, #OpJustice4Rehtaeh has had an incredibly high “effect real change” rate of just a few days.

Before you scoff at Anonymous expertly using PR and social media to change the world, consider this: Obama’s technical team for his re-election campaign in 2012 took measures to DDoS-proof their websites as well as avoid Anonymous’ attention at all costs. Anonymous expert and author Gabriella Coleman shared with me a forthcoming report for the Centre for International Governance Innovation which states:

“Anonymous was treated as (potentially) even more of a nuisance than, say, the foreign state hackers who infiltrated the McCain and Obama campaigns in 2008. Had Anonymous successfully accessed servers or DDoS the campaign website, it would likely have ignited colossal media attention and potentially battered the campaign’s reputation. Although this alone would likely not put Obama’s chances for re-election at risk (the team was confident there was no controversial information to leak), a visit from Anonymous was treated as a real possibility and liability.”

Anonymous’ core strength lies in its PR tactics, not its boots-on-the-ground protests or actual hacking skills. Besides #OpJustice4Rehtaeh, in the last week Anonymous attacked North Korean social media accounts, then Israeli websites in solidarity with the Palestinians. While both operations apparently caused no substantial impact (North Korea is still a dictatorship, and Israel hasn’t changed its stance on Palestine), they were both highly publicised, which is enough of a win for the group now primarily concerned with mobilising activists through the spread of information. If fact, Anonymous has been making headlines on an almost weekly basis for over a year now.

Australian security expert Stilgherrian calls this adoption of multiple causes, going beyond Anonymous’s initial defence of internet freedoms, as proof they have become the “Hello Kitty of activism,” but Coleman likens Anonymous’s current, accepting form to something more organic: a fungus. “They refuse to die and they seem to bud in new places and situations,” she explains. “They spore and spread” around the globe because clicktivism is easy and fitting with our already established digital habits.

There isn’t enough bleach on the internet to kill the spread, but it looks like we web citizens wouldn’t want to even if we had enough chemicals. We’ve all been infected in one way or another now, and our participation, however small, has evolved the fungus into something more manageable. Regarding the Parsons case, Anonymous is now withholding the names of the minors involved “out of respect for Rehtaeh’s mother.” The internet’s love machine is a more fitting nickname.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/15/anonymous-digital-culture-protest


Online Relationships

Relationships and online dating have become huge within the last ten years. People have taken advantage of the internet to find that special someone, or just maybe have some fun with someone and nothing serious. People would register on dating websites and find someone that they would stuff in common with. They don’t always turn out to be a happy ending. A documentary called ‘Catfish’ shows you that. A man called Nev Schulman fell in love with a girl he met online called Megan who was actually someone else called Angela.


Someone could just lie about their gender, age and physical appearance. A high court in Boston decided last week that an online relationship may count as a “substantive dating relationship” for the purposes of 209A restraining orders. The court also ruled that a father’s allegation that a 24-year-old man was seeking a consensual sexual relationship with the father’s 16-year-old daughter did not rise to the level of “abuse” required for issuance of a 209A order.

In the case, E.C.O. v. Compton, the father obtained a 209A order against the defendant in the district court. The father alleged that the defendant was a safety risk to the daughter because the defendant intended to “use alcohol with her” and to have sex with her. The daughter had met the defendant during a family vacation in Europe. She initially told the 24-year-old defendant that she was born in 1992, which would have made her 18 or 19 years old. Upon returning home from the vacation, the daughter maintained electronic communication with the defendant through e-mail and social media. During the course of the electronic communications, the daughter admitted to the defendant that she was 16 years old. The pair continued to exchange messages, some of which involved sexual innuendo. The defendant made plans to visit the 16-year-old in the Boston area and suggested a “sneaky sleepover” in a hotel. The parents became aware of the relationship, and the father sought and obtained the 209A order on his daughter’s behalf.

In deciding that there was no basis for issuance or extension of the order, the Supreme Judicial Court reasoned that the defendant was never physically harmful to the daughter and that the daughter, being 16 years old, was legally capable of consenting to sex. Therefore, the court concluded, there was no “abuse” within the meaning of the statute.

The court went on to decide that, while there was no abuse and no basis for extension of the order, there was evidence of a “substantive dating relationship.” It reasoned that the relationship between the daughter and the defendant had lasted three months and involved regular communication. Even though the communication was electronic for most of that time, the pair used “Skype,” which is in real time and “face-to-face.” The communications were intimate and involved discussion of mutual desire to engage in sex.

This decision is another example of how modern technology and social media are transforming both human interaction and the legal landscape. The SJC took this case on its own initiative, and it likely did so in order to weigh in on the “substantive dating relationship” issue. Not only are technology and the Internet affecting the legal definition of “relationships,” but they are also leading to new types of criminal accusations, with law enforcement increasingly using social media and the Internet in criminal investigations.  




“I Could Eat A Horse”

There is a known expression here in Ireland when people would say “I could eat a horse”. Well, people didn’t mean it…literally. When the news was spread about horsemeat in our beef products, it caused a moral panic. And rightly so it did. I don’t think people would like to pay for something they think they’re eating and then find out; there was a positive result of horsemeat instead of beef.


According to the Irish Times, a total of 29 samples, representing seven beef products, have so far tested positive for horse meat in Ireland, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has confirmed.


A total of 957 tests were carried out by industry, 928 samples were found to be negative and 29 samples representing seven products were found to be positive for the presence of horse meat.


The products which tested positive were; Rangeland burgers (up to 30 per cent); Findus Beef Lasagne (60+ per cent); Birds Eye Beef Lasagne and Spaghetti Bolognese (up to 10 per cent); Tesco Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese (up to 60 per cent); Aldi – Today’s Special Beef Lasagne and Today’s Special Beef Bolognese (30 -60 per cent) and Ikea’s beef meatballs (amount to be confirmed).


Test on gelatine and products such as stock cubes and dripping will not be included at this stage, the FSAI said.


Separately, Irish convenience food company Greencore said today new tests on their beef product, which originally tested positive for horse meat, have shown no traces of equine DNA.

Greencore was drawn into the horse meat scandal last month when Asda said it discovered horse DNA in a beef bolognese sauce, which was linked to ABP’s meat plant in Nenagh, Co Tipperary.

However, Greencore said today ABP’s own investigation, which included a testing programme for all raw materials used in the batch in question, tested negative for equine DNA.

ABP Ireland said it was “very disappointed” to be associated with this incident, “but is pleased that the matter has now been brought to a conclusion”.


Source: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2013/0304/breaking39.html

Finalising The Script

We are now finalizing our script for our Multimedia Group Project this year and a lot of work has been done for it. I will be gathering the group’s pieces and putting it together into one file. Can’t wait to do the exhibition already in June! 😀

What Makes A Good Viral?

Define a ‘good viral’. I think a ‘good viral’ is something that is successful online no matter how good or bad you think it is. It could be original or it could be a piss take on something. Some really good virals that stand out for me are Nyan Cat and Chocolate Rain.


Nyan Cat is a hugely successful online video on YouTube with millions of views. It is a cat flying in the air with a rainbow behind it and has a song playing in the background with the word ‘nyan’ being said over again and again. There is even a video with over ten hours of a loop which has over twenty one and a half million views. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZZ7oFKsKzY


Chocolate Rain is another hugely successful online video on YouTube with millions of views. It is an original song by Tay Zonday who sings into a microphone. It has over eighty eight and a half million views.



YouTube is the perfect source to upload your own videos. A lot of videos on YouTube don’t intend on being virals and just want to upload a video. By next week, they could be an internet hit. How amazing is that? Virals can make you become famous within a matter of days. YouTube is a very powerful tool which has lets users around the world upload their own created content.


You may wonder, how do internet virals become successful? They spread through word of mouth, YouTube and through social media. These have helped them gain recognition around the world and gain an online fan base.

The Straight Edge Culture

The subculture that I have chosen to talk about between 1955 – 2000 is the Straight Edge Culture.



It is a subculture centred on hardcore punk music.

People who are straight edge do not smoke, do drugs or consume alcohol.

It was a direct reaction to the sexual revolution, hedonism, and excess associated with punk rock.

The term was coined by the 1980s hardcore punk band Minor Threat in their song “Straight Edge”.



Straight edge grew out of the hardcore punk in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and was partly characterized by shouted rather than sung vocals.

Straight edge individuals of this early era often associated with the original punk ideals such as individualism, disdain for work and school, and live-for-the-moment attitudes.



Here is a list of some straight edge band:

The Modern Lovers (1981)

The Teen Idols (1979)

Minor Threat (1980)

7 Seconds (1980)

Youth Brigade (1981)

Gorilla Biscuits (1987)

Anti-Flag (1988)



The letter X is the most known symbol of straight edge, and is sometimes worn as a marking on the back of both hands, though it can be displayed on other body parts as well. Some followers of straight edge have also incorporated the symbol into clothing and pins.

Later bands have used the X symbol on album covers and other paraphernalia in a variety of ways. The cover of No Apologies by Judge shows two crossed gavels in the X symbol. Other objects that have been used include shovels, baseball bats, and hockey sticks.



CM Punk is the only Straight Edge World Champion in professional wrestling.

He does promos in the ring and says he is ‘better than everyone else’ because of his lifestyle.

He also formed a stable called ’The Straight Edge Society’ and used the motto “I Will Save You”.

My Career and Future

What career are you thinking of?

When people ask me about my career, a lot of things come to mind. First, I absolutely love performing. My life would be very different if I didn’t perform on stage or play music with a band.


When I was in secondary, I had also looked at doing Performing Arts. I can remember emailing one of the lecturers and asking them about the course and I was told I had to audition when I was applying for it and the audition would be that you would read a piece from a selection of four pieces. They had four pieces for boys, and four pieces for girls. I was thinking about doing the piece from Othello which we had, at the time, studied for the Leaving Cert so I was happy that came up. The rest, I did not know what they were. I decided not to do the Performing Arts course because there was a lot of theory which I would see no benefit from. I didn’t really want to learn all about Shakespeare theory and that. I told the lecturer that I perform outside of college and he said that I’m probably better off doing that and best of luck with it.


Second, I could have a career in the Multimedia world as you can see I am writing a blog for one of the subjects in the course. I love graphic design, audio and video editing. In my blog post, I told the world that it is thanks to my aunty that I am in the Multimedia world. I don’t know what else I would have done.


What are your strong points?

In my opinion, my strong points would be performing and working with audio and video. I really enjoy them. I think if you really enjoy something and you’re good at it, keep doing it. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.


Where do you want to be in 5 years time?

If I have to be honest, I would choose performing over the multimedia world any day. I really would love to end up in the West End in London performing and would really love to play Javert in my favourite musical of all time, Les Misérables. It has the most amazing music ever. I’m 99% sure that I won’t end up there but I will work hard and if the chance comes to me, I will take it. I would like to work for TV and movies doing editing. Think it would be really cool to do.


How will you get there year by year?

I plan to get there by just working hard and to keep at it all the time and just wait for what the future has in store for me!