Archiv der Kategorie: english

Indirect tweeting

The idea of using microblogs in political campaigns in Germany was inspired by Barack Obama’s virtual campaigning during the 2008 presidential elections in the USA. Thus, the first german elections where Twitter was used as a political tool were the electoral campaigns in Hessia in early 2009. During these elections, all mayor parties used Twitter for political outreach and social-democratic candidate Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel (@tsghessen) made himself a brand by establishing the credibility of twittering himself. His authenticity was later damaged, when one of his campaigning advisers updated his own account and @tsghessen with the exact same tweet within a very short time.

This poses the question if politicians can delegate the use of mircoblogs, or tweet via ghostwriter and still be ‚authentic‘. Depending on the rank of twittering politicians, it might be near to impossible for some of them to regularly tweet themselves and thus, to maintain public interest over time. Given these presuppositions, delegating the use of Twitter or tweeting indirectly can be the obvious choice for public actors to make. One possible option to increase transparency would be, though, to indicate the origins of tweets by adding hints to updates by the staff. In doing so, the accounts in question would still be able to communicate with the public in the name of its owner, but in the same time, the public would be informed about the origin of tweets.

Cyberwar: When Freedom is just another Word for Nothing left to fear

When I first thought about this headline, I was thinking about a catchy phrase to begin with, but actually it fits really well to the topic of cyberwar. Round about one week ago, we had an interesting discussion in Phillipp Müller’s class concerning security in network societies and cyberwar as such. Some aspects of this new kind of war and warfare are unique, closely related to the blessings of todays internet and have risen as the web grew and became more important .

First of all, this new kind of war does not necessarily have to be led by states or state-level actors. Virtually anyone with -enough motivation and skill to create (or buy/lend) a botnet- can theoretically launch a denial of service-attack on any agent who is present in the web. Those targets can be nationstates like Estonia, but they don’t have to be, which means that whole wars can be engaged by and between small networks of people who have the capacities (e.g. botnets) to do so.  Also, in theese possible wars it seems that aggressive actions are fairily easy to perform while the defence against those (broadening of bandwidth etc…) might end up as a state-only option because they actually have the capacity to act accordingly. Assuming this scenario to be realistic, it will lead to interesting situations between private cyberwar-actors similiar to game-theory, prisoner’s dilemma etc.

The other thing, that really got me thinking is the combination of this anyone-can-join -situation with the anonymity of the web. In this new kind of war, destructive groups and persons can perform attacks on virtually anyone without a realistic chance of being ‚caught‘ and being brought to justice. From a rogue person’s point of view, cyberwar really is what this article’s headline implies: an opportinity to do/assault whatever/whoever you want whenever you want without the fear (or even possibility) of retaliation. Theese attacks cannot be tracked back properly and thus, the only working countermeasure is to get rid of the original attack, but that’s it.

Having said that, it really is a brave new world that we live in, and in which we are highly dependent on both the responsibillity of those  in power and our latest anti-botware programmes.