Blogpost 6

Pros and Cons of Online Surveillance; The Webcam Story.

Internet or online surveillance has been described as “the monitoring of activities of an individual, group or groups of people” (Mobbs, 2003). One central method for online surveillance, which is on the rise across the globe, is using webcams for surveillance within the home; in order to provide a sense of security and privacy. Of course, online surveillance can be used for a number of other reasons and in many different ways; such as police looking for criminals through CCTV cameras or for journalistic reasons. However, I have chosen to discuss, in this blog post, some of the advantages and disadvantages of online surveillance through the use of webcams in people’s homes. I have chosen to discuss this aspect of online surveillance as it relates the most to myself as my family and I use our home webcam frequently, and also because it has recently been on the news.

One technique, which is becoming increasingly popular around the world, is using a webcam as a surveillance method to capture footage within your house. This is one advantage of online surveillance; the webcams can be used to monitor your household when it is empty in order to capture any unusual activity, if it were to occur. For example, it could be useful in catching burglars or any other inappropriate activity within the home. Using webcams to monitor also gives homeowners a sense of security and privacy, another advantage of online surveillance. Using these cameras to survey gives the owners the confidence that activity will be caught on camera, allowing them to phone the police or take the appropriate action. Therefore, online surveillance allows people to feel their homes are more secure and privatized, even when they are not in, and also allows the houses to be monitored, encouraging the safety of the residents.


Figure 1: Webcam on Laptop.

On the other hand, online surveillance also has its disadvantages. While using webcams as a surveillance method has been on the increase, so has the number of webcams which are being hacked. These cameras are being used with the intention to provide security, however, more increasingly, they are instead providing surveillance footage that everyone can view online (Smith, 2014). This is the first disadvantage of surveillance; the recordings captured can be streamed to everyone online due to the cameras being hacked, which is a severe invasion of privacy. This makes me slightly worried as my brother uses the webcam a lot to Skype his friends and I am wary that he could be being watched. My anxieties were heightened when the Daily Mail reported about a website which is showing footage stolen from hacked webcams. The people behind this are hacking webcams which are connected to the internet and are being used as surveillance tools or for other online reasons (Gordon, 2014). They are able to hack these cameras as the owners have not changed the default password on their computer or laptop. The website is now showing recordings from over 73,000 different webcams around the world which highlights how severe this problem is. Since reading about this report, I have ensured that the password on my home computer has been changed so there is less chance of it being hacked and we can ensure our privacy.

I have included the link to the BBC News website where a charity warns about these webcam hackers and a girl from Glasgow tells her story:

Overall, there are both advantages and disadvantages of online surveillance; obviously, there are many others that this blog has not mentioned due to the word limit. As mentioned previously, I wanted to focus on the use of webcams as an online surveillance technique within the home as it was in the news recently and relates most to myself. However, I have acknowledged that online surveillance can be used for many other reasons and in many other ways, such as CCTV cameras within the public domain.

If you are using webcams for surveillance within your home, just remember someone could be watching, so take precaution.


Dancter. (2009). Webcam on Laptop. Retrieved from

Gordon, J. (2014). Is this creepy website live-streaming YOUR living room? 73,000 webcams now viewable to anyone because their owners haven’t set a password. Mail Online. Retrieved from

Mobbs, P. (2003). Privacy and Surveillance. Retrieved from

Smith. (2014). Peeping into 73,000 unsecured security cameras thanks to default passwords. Retrieved from



Blogpost 5

Digital Citizenship: Health and Wellness

Citizenship can be described as “the quality of an individual’s response to membership in a community”. Hence, this is the same for digital citizenship within a digital community (Heick, 2013). The idea of digital citizenship is quickly increasing around the world and relates to how we should act online and what we should teach the next generation. There is much discussion on how people can abuse technology because they are unaware of how to use it properly, so digital citizenship can teach them how to use it appropriately (Ribble, 2014). There are nine elements involved in digital citizenship and this blog will focus on and discuss the ‘digital health and wellness’ aspect. This factor involves using technology in a safe and responsible way, in order to avoid physical and psychological health problems.

One main factor involved with the health and wellness aspect of digital citizenship is ergonomics; physically using the computer in a safe manner. The aim of ergonomics is to eliminate distress and injuries related to the overworking of muscles and the repetition of work (CDC, 2014). This can involve sitting up with a straight back, keeping a safe distance from the computer screen and sitting for short periods of time. If you are not aware of and do not follow these factors then you can cause yourself physical pain such as arthritis, back strain or eye problems. Personally, I can relate to this aspect of health and wellbeing as I get bad back pain if I sit in the one position at the computer for too long and also suffer from eye strain. Therefore, I need to be aware of ergonomics in order to avoid these problems. One statistic regarding office workers states that their day involves being sat in front of a computer screen for 95% of their day, which highlights the importance of digital citizens being aware of ergonomics (OSHA, 2010).


Figure 1: Safety Awareness Campaign – Ergonomics 101.

In addition to the physical problems you can suffer from when using technology, there are also psychological issues to be aware of. It is claimed that internet addiction is now categorised worldwide as a severe problem and can include; online relationship addiction, internet obsession and “information overload” (Vogel, 2013). Internet addiction is one of the most common psychological problems and can cause serious lack of sleep, behavioural issues and academic troubles. However, Digital Citizenship involves its users being instructed on how to keep safe when using technology (Ribble, 2014). Although, I do not personally suffer from internet addiction, I do get distracted a lot by social networking sites when studying or doing University work, and have to switch my phone off to concentrate.

This video, from YouTube, expands on the different factors involved with internet addiction and should give a further understanding on the topic:

Overall, digital health and wellness is just one specific part of Digital Citizenship as a whole. It covers both the physical (ergonomics) and psychological aspects of using technology. It is important to follow and adhere to the information involved with digital health and wellness in order to avoid dangers when using technology in the Digital Citizenship community.


CDC. (2014). Workplace Safety and Health Topics: Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders. Retrieved from

Ergonomics-info. (2010). Ergonomics in the Workplace. Retrieved from

Heick, T. (2013). The Definition of Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. (2013). Safety Awareness Campaign – Ergonomics 101. Retrieved from

Nsdcni. (2011). Digital Health and Wellness. Retrieved from

Ribble, M. (2014). Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from

Vogel, P. (2013). Digital Health and Wellness. Retrieved from

Blogpost 4

Remix Culture: Pros and Cons

Remix culture is becoming increasingly popular with YouTube being the main ground for remixers to show off their work and become ‘famous’. Remixing has been explained as reconstructing, editing and combing original pieces of work to make something which is completely new as well as finding new ways of expression (Jessell, 2013). This can include items such as mash-ups, spoofs and fan fiction which can be created by anyone who has a personal computer and internet access (Gasser & Ernst, 2006). Making this new content available online has many advantages and disadvantages which this blog will discuss with mention to the ethical issues of this up and coming remix culture.


Figure 1: Online-videomarketing.

Making your remixes available online can be beneficial as it can help in showcasing specific people or items, such as a band or a musician, and can make them known to a wider audience. An example of this would be a remix artist taking a well – known song and changing it up which, in turn, has benefits for both the remixer and the original artist (Woodring, 2011). If the remix artist makes his work freely available online for others to see then it gives him visibility as they are being able to exhibit their work while also giving the original artist more exposure. In relation to this idea, when I was listening to the radio a few months ago I heard a remix of a song which I used to really like. This remix reminded me of how good the original song was and also made me aware of this new artist which highlights the benefits mentioned above. The song, which I will link below, was ‘Rhythm of the night’ originally by Corona, released in 1994 and remixed by Bastille in 2014.

Bastille: Of the night –

There are, however, some disadvantages of allowing others to freely view your remixed content online. If you make your work widely available online there is a chance of being accused of copyright if you do not have permission from the original artist to use their work. Copyright law is a major ethical issue when it comes to remixing content and legal action can be taken in some of these circumstances. One example of remixing which can face legal action is mash – ups. A mash – up is usually in reference to a video or a website which uses various different sources to create something new and unique. This type of remix faces the risk of being illegal if the remix artist uses large parts of the original work without gaining permission from either the original artist or from a license such as Creative Commons (O’Brien & Fitzgerald, 2006). Under the copyright law, the court have to take into consideration what a ‘large part’ of the original work is based on its importance to the overall content. Therefore, if you are making your content freely available online, you must ensure you have certain permission to be using the authentic work or there could be serious consequences.

When searching for mash-ups online for my blog, I realised there were thousands of different remixes, which highlighted to me just how vast this remix culture is. One example of a movie mash-up which I found on YouTube can be seen here, 2013 Movie Trailer Mashup:

In conclusion, there are many advantages and disadvantages of making your content freely available online and this blog post just touches on these. Showcasing your remixes online is a good way to enhance creativity and make your work known while still heightening publicity for the original artist. However, you must be aware of the copyright standards when using other people’s work and ensure permission is gained before remixing. You don’t want your hard work going to waste.


BastilleVEVO. (2013). Bastille – Of the night. Retrieved from

Gasser, U., & Ernst, S. (2006). From Shakespeare to DJ Danger Mouse: A Quick Look at Copyright and User Creativity in the Digital Age. Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2006-05. Retrieved from

Jessell, M. (2013). Remix Culture: Rethinking what we call original content. Retrieved from

O’Brien, D., & Fitzgerald, B. (2006). Mashups, remixes and copyright law. Retrieved from

The Sleepy Skunk. (2013). 2013 Movie Trailer Mashup. Retrieved from

Wermenbol, L. (2014). Online-videomarketing. Retrieved from

Woodring, T. (2011). Remixes are good for you. Retrieved from