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Roman Larenas
Vana Derohanessian
English 115
26 October 2014
The Filtering of Media: The Vulnerability of America
When it began we know not, whether it came yesterday or yesteryear, trivial to our
greyed vision only lit by small intangible cybernetic world we ignore it. But what is it? An alert,
a notification, an announcement; an alert of what? Eyes trudging focus to the obstruction, gears
slowly turn, and fingers, cold to the touch, crack as they begin their trek. Blurred lines appears,
something wither too long to read or dry to swallow therefore we reluctantly agree. The screen
returns at the way it once was, fingers freeze in place, eyes blur out once again; a scenery devoid
of life. A society either slow in wit to understand, too busy to pay any attention, or too
preoccupied with reading the latest misguided information; ignoring the contract they had just
signed, they reluctantly agree. Drowning themselves in a glass of water they bring others with
them, but is it truly their fault; lost within a maze of information not realizing that it may be that
the maze may not have an exit.
The idea of someone having control over what we watch every day it not a novel idea, as
many prior to us have forewarned our generation to beware. One of more notable work would be
George Orwells Animal Farm published on 1945, Orwell warned the people of a Big Brother
watching over, covering eyes to what he doesnt want them to see. He revels this Big Brother
although at first it may seem to be building society, it will may one day be the driving force to
destroy it. Though in some places, such as in America, this may sound farfetched if some told us
that our own government was a Big Brother, there are those whom truly believe in this as a

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fact. Hence the hype about the NSA, the CIA, and FBI watching over the American populous.
Though some were later reported to be true to an extent, other claims were either denied or
simply ignored. Why ignored, because the peculiar thing about privacy is that even privacy
wants its own privacy; meaning the American people want their own privacy from wondering
eyes, but the government also has data that itself does not want to be revealed. Loose lips sink
ships although this phrase was devised for the people during World War II (WWII) so no one
would reveal information on American forces and production, it can also be applied to this
context as well for if America had all its information open sourced, this information would be
available to all. To get a rough idea on how many people that would be, in an census taken by the
United States Department of Commerce in 1984, only small percent about 8.2 had access to a
computer in their own homes, by 1997 the number jumped to 36.6 percent now with 18 percent
of the population also having access to the internet. Concluding with the latest year 2011,
because a census is taken approximately about every ten years, about 75.6 percent had a
computer with 71.7 percent having access to the internet in their own homes. With this only
being to homes and not public computers also, it can be safe to say that majority of the populous,
especially those in major cities, would have some sort of access to the information. With this
many people having access to the internet the government cannot just have classified information
floating around, therefore it requires some manner of trafficking the large amount data being
uploaded and downloaded. Although a percentage, most likely the majority, will ignore the data
if they do not understand it.
When it comes to legal text, people have the audacious tenacity to not read it, hire
someone to read it, read and not understand, or the smallest percentage who would read and
comprehend the text. In an extremely small survey I opened up to the many Facebook users at

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my university, out of the twenty-nine that students eighty-six percent voted the Terms and
Conditions were too long to read therefore they just agreed with whatever this contract stated, ten
percent stated they understood some of it and reluctantly agreed, and only three percent read all
of the legal binding contract and understood. Although this survey was with only twenty-nine
students, it does coincide with other surveys with the majority not understanding and the
minority understanding. Though why is it that the majority does not understand and why is it that
they feel fine to simply agree. Could it be that most Americans are just slower when it comes to
legal binding documents, because as most should know an agreement is the equivalent of a
signature. So if the time comes where the company exercises some of the power stated within the
contract, most people seem surprised at first and then they protest. Not realizing that the floor
they stand on is shaky because they did agree with it in the first place, and not reading the fine
print was their own demise. Though some may argue, they did read the small print, but they do
not recall allowing to do that. Which is true but what most forget or simply do not understand is
between the lines there is a finer print. If statement A is agreeable and statement B is also agreed
upon therefore it is only logical that statement C should also be valid. Any corporation or
establishment knows this and use it to their advantage. If we use a plethora immense diction, a
microscopic font, phrases that have double entendre (meaning), and make it as long and dry most
people would agree. Allowing themselves the privilege to add as many rights as they desire, with
limits of course as they do not want to raise eye brows.
Though why is it that the passage is titled the vulnerability of America and not the
vulnerability of American people? It would be simple to say that it is only the individuals who
are at fault, to point our fingers and simply walk away, but its not as easy as that anymore. Look
at the brands, where was it developed, majority are foreign companies. Bounded by only some

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national laws and some international laws, they are free to open share a software with as many
countries as they would like. Not only are we trusting complete strangers thousands of miles
away from ourselves with our rights but we do so gladly. Remember in the previous paragraph I
mentioned that companies are free to add whatever they want, so long as they do not trip
suspicion. A person may be reading intently at first but time passes by, they pay less and less
attention, ending the document with a simple skimming over; skipping the vital parts where it
indicates that the user must also download another software before using the software, a fatal
mistake especially when it comes to the cybernetic world whom is filled with danger.
Vulnerability, also known as a worm, is different from a computer virus, in the sense its much
worse, they are open ended they change at any second whether to terminate data or change form
so you simply dont see them anymore. In 2008 America suffered what was known as the worst
breach in security when a worm called agent.btz buried itself through all the American firewall,
taking the government about fourteen months to get rid of it only to find out three years later that
it had come back. Although this was a planted worm, an attack is also possible through the users.
Recently Microsoft sent an email to the majority of its users stating that they had a breach in
security, affecting majority of their users operating systems. This bug not only affects the users
computer but Microsoft stated that if the user does not update this with the patches being sent not
only could it damage their computer, it may also allow the attacker to user the computer as a
stepping stone to their main goal, the main computer. Hugh Westrup in the year 2010, the bug
came out nineteen years ago, published an article titled Worm Infestation, in which he states that
it is because many of the users ignored the Microsoft bulletin or owned an illegal copied version
which does not have the bulletin update, allowing the bug to grow. Westrup explains this is
possible by the way worms are designed, so adding on to my earlier definition, not only is a

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worm a hole in security but it can replicate and send itself to other computers. Though some may
claim doing all that the manufactures says and it was a package from the manufactures that
started the problem in the first place. Leaving the remaining question is whether whose fault is it,
the manufactures or the users.
The answer can vary as there are many variables which can change the answer. Not could
the manufactures rush out an untested product, which is common as the demand for technology
grows but the supply does not catch up, but it can also be the users inability to read the summary
of the changes being made to a computer. The third more probable cause would be
misinformation. At some point when the internet was still very limited, ironically, answers were
a bit more reliable than it is today, due to the peoples myths about technology were still not
posted to the internet. As social media makes texts shorter and shorter a lot of the information is
lost, people look for convenience reading a title and assuming the rest of the content. For
example although Facebooks Messenger app has been on the market since 2011 many think it is
a new product. The reason why is because of all the attention it has been receiving lately. When a
user opens Facebooks Messenger app they, depending on their phone, will see a list of
permissions or notification pop ups requesting the users permission. The list includes permission
to record audio, take pictures and/or videos, access to your personal contacts, directly call phone
numbers, and receive text messages. Which seems like the standard for most social media, but
because of a few Huffington Post blogs and articles that went viral, people believe this allows
Facebook complete access over their phone. As time passed by more bloggers, news reporters,
experts started to debunk the myths, but many still refuse to download the app, although it is now
mandatory if a person would wish to chat through the mobile app. The reason is that people are
lost with so much information coming towards them, at one side the majority social media saying

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one thing and on the other a few other people, some not really known, which side is correct.
Again the answer can vary as a few times social media can send out the correct messages to the
users to change, and also since we are human, mistakes should be expected. Though what would
happen say if it was the manufactures fault, can a person really blame them?
It is safe to say that if signing without reading is a terrible slip up that a person can make,
but can a person blame the manufacture for errors or damages. The answer is yes, but as
mentioned before the odds a person would get their point across is low, because the person must
agree with 100 percent of their conditions if they wish to use their software. Any damages made
while using the product is not really the manufactures fault and it will even say so on the terms
and conditions. It is the users fault for not reading; suppose that the Messenger App really did
allow Facebook complete control, those who read and did their study would not download it.
While those who just pressed agree and ignored any problems until they arose, will be hard
pressed as they allowed Facebook to do what it had intended in the first place. Though what can
be expected of those who continue to choose to ignore this problem? A world of hurt, a tightness
of chest will come as the thought, I could have avoided this if only I read.
The future murky, foreign to our everyday lives we will desperately fight back, knowing
that soon it will be too late. We sweat profusely at the thought of a dictator taking our rights, not
realizing we may have already given them away; signing our well-being to a foreign being.
Though what of the future, if we the light of today were to go away, what will be of tomorrow. It
too will follow, whether into obscurity or wellness, it will follow. So if not for ourselves why not
for those who will come after us. I am not advocating to leave our devices, but simply start
reading meaning of having one. At one point our only source of information was to read,

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therefore why not continue to read. The future is calling, asking to help them in this tiny way.
Should you answer, I am not one to judge, but please help the future one step at a time.

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Work Cited
Custers, Bart, Simone van der Hof, and Bart Schermer. Privacy Expectations of Social Media
Users: The Role of Informed Consent in Privacy Policies. Policy & Internet, 6.3 (2014):
How Turla and Worst Breach of U.S. Military Computers in History Are Connected. PR
Newswire, (2014):
Westrup, Hugh. Worm Infestation. Current Science 96.2 (2010): 6-7. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.
Computer and Internet Use in the United States U.S. Census Bureau. Dept. of Commerce.
Web. May 2013