Social Networks Facilitate Surveillance, Terrorism

The old balance between liberty and security is being played out online. The availability of social network data facilitates state and corporate monitoring as well as more nefarious communication.

What's the Latest Development?


Facebook's new Timeline feature, which encourages you to fill in the gaps between the time you were born and the time you started sharing your life on Facebook, will surely be used by advertisers to learn more about your personal life. Government access to data also worries privacy advocates like Eben Moglen who says: "We are creating systems of comprehensive surveillance in which a billion people are involved and those people’s lives are being lived under a kind of scrutiny which no secret police service is the 20th century could ever have aspired to achieve."

What's the Big Idea?

Using today's easily accessible and powerful communication tools, those with more nefarious intentions are also able to achieve their ends with convenience. For the last ten years, Prof. Gabriel Weimann of the University of Haifa has conducted a study of public sites used by terrorist organization. This is one post he recently found: "I have a kilogram of acetone. I want to know how to make an explosive with it to blow up a military jeep." A response promptly came on how to build a bomb using the liquid explosive.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
Videos
  • Prejudice is typically perpetrated against 'the other', i.e. a group outside our own.
  • But ageism is prejudice against ourselves — at least, the people we will (hopefully!) become.
  • Different generations needs to cooperate now more than ever to solve global problems.


Active ingredient in Roundup found in 95% of studied beers and wines

The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.

(MsMaria/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
  • A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
  • Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists see 'rarest event ever recorded' in search for dark matter

The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Image source: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
  • The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
  • The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Keep reading Show less