While I agree with almost every main points made by Evgeny Morozov in his latest opinion piece “Who’s the true enemy of internet freedom – China, Russia, or the US?” that rightly criticizes the “the aggressive efforts of Washington to exploit the fact that so much of the world’s communications infrastructure is run by Silicon Valley”, I do not like the negative tone and its overall conclusion. In this essay, I want to strike a more positive tone not only to stay more hopeful, but also introduce a notion that digital sovereignty can promote internet freedom and cyber trust, with the cases such as Finland and Sweden. Continue reading
All too often the cyber-attacks or cyber-spying (cyber espionage) activities are reported as country-based aggregated numbers, showing China, the U.S., etc. as the most active countries. These reports should be normalized by “factoring out the size of the domain when you wish to compare“. This blog post demonstrates how it can be done using the pyCountrySize project that I have developed on the cyber incidents of one indicator in the Akamai’s Internet attack traffic report and the Ghostnet incident (a cyber-spying event).
This blog post documents my preliminary work of extracting and repackaging the Country Size data sets for python users (pyCountrySize). It currently contains country-size indicators of Population (in millions, LP from IMF WEO), Economy Size (in billions, PPPGDP from IMF WEO), Internet Population (in millions, derived from the IMF WEO population dataset and ITU Internet penetration rates), and Internet Hosts (in millions, extracted from CIA the World Factbook). This post will demonstrate how it can be used in python, how it can be used to conduct meaningful cross-country comparisons, and how it can be applied to Internet-related data sets in a systematic fashion to ask and answer the question regarding fair (more equal or more proportional) distribution of Internet resources and responsibilities. The results should not only put China and the U.S. in their places but also open new spaces for us to look for better ideas among countries beyond them. Continue reading
Thanks to the kind invitation by associate research fellow with tenure Dr. Tyng-Ruey Chuang at the Institute of Information Science, I will give a research seminar talk on Tuesday, 23 December 2014, titled “Big data industry of online expressions and attention“. Continue reading
Thanks to the kind invitation by the Department of Media and Communication, City University of Hong Kong, I will give a talk on Monday, 15 December 2014, titled “Chinese Internet: A Cultural Sphere, National Sphere, or Transnational Public Sphere”, as one of the research seminars. Continue reading
Normally I avoid the U.S. vs China comparison mainly because the comparison can sometimes be contrived, misleading, or simply partial. Still, I made an initial comparative analysis of the U.S. and China on the topic of “Public Trust in Government”. The essay is published here by China-US Focus I believe it is an interesting and adequate comparison because both are big countries with different levels of governments, and it is interesting to compare how Internet play a role in terms of varied levels of trust in their respective local vs. central/federal governments. Ultimately, it is a social communication and political communication question on how a political system can scale at different levels with different outcomes.
The main argument:
The relationship between the central and local governments in China has been an interesting research topic, Lieberthal (1992) called it “fragmented authoritarianism” and Landry (2008) conceptualized it as “decentralized authoritarianism”. I would like to argue that the role of Internet has been instrumental to centralize the control by the central government so that the fragmented and decentralized local powers can be monitored and disciplined.
Researchers and users may feel frustrated or even powerless when they encounter machines/systems such as search engines. They are like a black boxes, controlled by big companies. Not valued corporate users who get paid premium service, not Google engineers who know more about the data and algorithm, we normal users know little about the inner working inside. In this blog post I will argue that, even if the search engine companies prevent us from knowing the inner working of the black box, we can still *steer* the outcomes by creatively and systematically feeding the new inputs based on what we know from the outputs. The whole process is theoretically supported by the scientific theory of control theory, the science/engineering work that help human beings to steer a car, fly an airplane, etc. so that we can harness the power of *engines* without knowing the inner working of engines. Continue reading