Digital Security in Everyday Life

Throughout the time I have spent in this course, I have come to a better understanding of digital security. While I have been educated growing up on the likelihood of having personal information compromised, this class has provided relevant insights through the means of articles like, “Protecting yourself online isn’t as easy as it used to be, but it can be done” by Dan Gillmor.

In this piece, Gillmor provides advice for the average person in today’s world. First, he suggests updated software on devices. He states that outdated versions of Google Chrome or other browsers can leave holes in digital security.

Just two weeks ago, my debit card information was stollen. Thankfully, I was notified through an automated text sent by my credit union only moments after an attempted transaction over $2,000 for a hotel room in Singapore. Since I rarely use my debit card in everyday life, and have used it primarily for online shopping, I knew this was likely a matter of digital security.

I have known that I have outdated software for a while. Not long ago, I contacted Apple about an issue and they suggested I update my OS on my MacBook. I believe that updating my OS could likely help prevent such situations from happening in the future.

However, I do not think there are many other precautions which I need to take. It is rare that I would have such vital information through my computer. Thankfully, my credit union has my confidence in keeping my account safe from fraudulent purchases. If I had several credit cards or stored other important data on my MacBook, I would consider taking more precautions. At the moment, I think it is wisest to remain minimal in the information I choose to put on my computer.

In terms of social media, I try to limit what I post and put out there. For instance, when Facebook asked me to add my phone number, I was hesitant to do so. I don’t use Facebook nearly as often as I once did when I was younger, so the thought of adding my current phone number to my account wasn’t appealing. I had also been aware of the many scares surrounding Facebook’s lack of privacy. After I discovered that the Messenger mobile app was recording some users’ phone conversations, I deleted the app just as a safety precaution. I have even considered deleting my Facebook altogether, but have kept my account open for the sake of sentimentality.

As for other the social networks I am active on, they do not require personal information. Twitter and Instagram are only concerned with tweets and photos, and have never asked for my phone number – although I would be less hesitant to provide it for either service. I have never heard of privacy concerns surrounding either app, although I could imagine that location tracking could be a potential issue. I have allowed both apps to track my location, but I believe it only does so when I am posting a photo or tagging a location in a tweet.

For the moment, I can keep calm and know there is no urgent need to be concerned about my privacy. Since I do not have any credit cards or personal information uploaded online, there is little to no threat for my security.


Wikipedia Hands-On: “The Iron Giant”

Growing up with Wikipedia, I have used the site numerous times, largely out of personal interest and not academic interest. Over that time, I have attempted to edit a Wikipedia page out of curiosity, but I had no idea what I was doing. With the help of this course, I have figured out how to edit a Wikipedia page, adding relevant information while providing citations for references.

The most difficult part of this semester-long assignment was finding the right subject matter to research. It seems that every noteworthy topic has a page on Wikipedia with posted information going into great detail. Eventually, I found a page with a topic I knew a lot about, and felt contributing to the topic might be beneficial for others to read. I decided to edit the page for The Iron Giant, an animated film which released in 1999.

Before making changes, I wrote on the “Talk” page and suggested the edits I wanted to make, including citations for my sources. I did not receive feedback but knew that the information I wanted to include was worth making edits.

My suggested edits on the “Talk” page

Even though it appeared that the page had plenty of information documented, as shown through the revision history, there was still room for edits. Before I added my changes, the most recent edit took place on September 26, 2019.

The frequent edits recorded on the revision history page for “The Iron Giant”

As shown, a minute after I made my first edit I was told by a user called “Masem” that I had incorrectly formatted my citations. Afterwards, I went back and revised what I wrote to fit the standard for Wikipedia.

Before I made any edits, this is how the “Legacy” section appeared:

After I published two sentences, one to the end of the “Legacy” section and one to the end of the “Signature Edition” section, this is how they appeared:

The first edit was in relation to a topic that had already been referenced on the page. I provided additional information on the consequence of the Iron Giant’s part in the film “Ready Player One.” I wrote, “The inclusion of the Iron Giant in the film sparked controversy as the character was depicted using his arms as guns in a battle sequence, despite the original 1999 film establishing that the character resists violence.” I used a reputable film site called Indie Wire as a source.

Secondly, I added to the “Signature Edition” section and included information about a book that had been published based on the film. I wrote, “Coinciding with the release of the ‘Signature Edition’, in March 2016 it was announced that ‘The Art of The Iron Giant’ would be written by Ramin Zahed and published by Insight Editions, featuring concept art and other materials from the film.” I received my information from an online press release that had been published on a site called Cartoon Brew, which is a reputable online publisher for news related to the animation industry.

After I made my edits, I waited for feedback or objections from the page’s moderators or others who might be following the page for The Iron Giant. I had a feeling my edits wouldn’t be rejected, although I thought it was possible they might be moved to other sections. I was not fully confident they belonged in the sections where I had written them.

This process made me feel more connected to the Wikipedia database, as I now have knowledge as to how to access and engage with material. However, I also felt uncomfortable because the process of editing feels eerily anonymous. Other editors do not feature their full names as I was told I have to for this specific course. The quick response after my initial edit came from an editor only a minute after I published my change. Overall, I liked having something to contribute to a page that I know I would have been interested in having read on my own.


Extra Credit: The “Grandmother Problem”

Everyone has family or friends on social media who share questionable content that masquerades as factual and legitimate information. Often, articles based around the topic of politics appeal to far left or far right beliefs and receive traction on Facebook or Twitter.

Although I grew up in Los Angeles, I have some family who live in Illinois. An uncle in a small Illinois town who I am friends with on Facebook has had a habit of posting links to such articles. For this prompt, I decided to respond to something that he shared.

I replied through a direct message saying, “Hey, I hope you’re doing well. I just wanted to let you know the piece you posted earlier is actually from a bad source. I usually wouldn’t reach out but felt the need to mention it. I think we can agree that most major news publishers have an agenda, and that it isn’t much better than the average blogger writing articles without citing sources. Since we’re family, I hope you can trust that I wanted to reach out with your best interest in mind.”

After a few hours, I received a response saying, “Hey Timothy, glad you said something! I unfollowed the page and took down the post. Let me know if you see anything ever again. And always send articles you find if you see anything interesting!!”

I was grateful he was understanding, and even took some action. Although, I don’t think he knew how to take down the post in question as I actually saw he had shared it again. I continued to send him links to Facebook pages with more trustworthy news sources. In this case, I think this was the most I was able to do.


The Impact of Law on Media

Since I have grown up with social media, I am familiar with some of the laws which have been explored throughout this module. Many laws and stipulations appear to be hassles toward audiences but safe choices for companies. As far as personal experience goes, even I have faced a copyright strike from a studio for a YouTube video. After editing a short video related to Star Wars, I was notified through email that my upload was never published because it contained music by John Williams. This was the message shown on the video. It should be noted that YouTube is the only platform in which this happens frequently. Other video upload sites such as Vimeo or Daily Motion do not have this kind of attention from studios, and have some copyrighted content uploaded regularly.

While such issues are irritating, I can understand the order they try to keep. I am sure that in some cases, these automated copyright strikes have saved people from being sued by companies for using their property. Even though most of the time they are simply treated as annoyances, I think there is more good than harm that has come from them.

Around the time I started college, I also began writing a personal blog I created through WordPress. I was aware of the bloggers’ rights, such as the fact that bloggers can be journalists, and vice versa. While I was maintaining my blog, I was also writing for my community college’s newspaper. At one point, I wrote an editorial piece for the paper which I shared to my personal blog as well.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this would not have been an option to share my work on a personal website, if I was employed by a company that I had written the article for. The fact that it was a school paper meant that I owned my work.

Apart from these instances, I have not run into any potential situations that might impact me as a content creator. However, the issues of censorship and net neutrality continue to be concerning for anyone who uses the internet.

According to How the EU’s Copyright Filters Will Make it Trivial For Anyone to Censor the Internet by Cory Doctorow, YouTube’s automated copyright system could be just the start of something much worse. Doctorow states that it is possible for the system to be messed with by the wrong person, blacklisting content they wrongly claim ownership to.

If one person can be censored wrongly, then anyone can be censored wrongly. This brings up the potential for targeted attacks, whether they be at a political figure or any innocent person. The weaponization of these systems meant to block licensed content is worrying for anyone who posts original work.

At the moment, I do not feel the need to change my online habits because I have been thoughtful on what I should and should not post, partly based on the lessons I have learned. While I recognize the high possibility of these issues becoming more problematic than ever before, I remain skeptical whether that will be in my lifetime. If such issues arise as predicted by Doctorow in his article, I believe there will be massive backlash that will work to fix such problems.


Encouraging Non-Biased News Sharing

The issue of “fake news” and unreliable sources has become relevant in regards to everyday social media usage. A family member can share an article which aligns with their political views, and assume it to be true because the author shares their thoughts on an issue. Such mundane status updates or tweets can seem harmless when you notice them for what they are. But, no one can calculate the exact amount of harm they might cause.

Rather than unfriend or ignore such people, those of us who recognize the error of such posts should be willing to start a dialogue about the problem. Everyone wants unbiased, honest journalism that doesn’t take sides, no matter how controversial the topic matter. We should point out to those who share false political stories or propaganda pieces that they are joining into something that is contrary to this mentality. Rather than posting unbiased news, they are posting news that they tend to agree with and have a specific point through sharing. For them to understand this dilemma, we should give an example of the situation by altering the political views of a person sharing news so that their beliefs do not match their own. This can spark self-awareness and allow space for them to process their own actions.

After giving room for this thought to cross their mind, we should expand to how this can affect the impact a story has. Rather than sharing an urgent, real world story with their family and friends on Facebook or Twitter with good intentions to help educate others, they are posting something that might spread a false perception of reality. Whether or not it is in align with the specific person’s political preferences, they should come to understand their means of educating others is based in an inauthentic article.

The lack of credibility in the shared piece reflects on the person, which puts their own ideas into question. If they truly believe in a political figure or a law, or any political matter, they should be willing to find credible pieces that they likely believe are available somewhere. Rather than using questionable sources, they should be encouraged to pursue credible publishers.


A Curation on the Depiction of Bruce Lee in “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”

Ever since the release of Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” the internet has been ablaze with backlash in the form of thought pieces and hot takes regarding the depiction of Bruce Lee. Portrayed by Mike Moh, Bruce Lee is a character who appears briefly in the film. Tarantino was criticized heavily online as he wrote Lee to act more like a caricature rather than the man himself. This is a sample selection of the various takes from people which were published shortly after the film’s release.

  1. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’s Bruce Lee Actor Responds To Outrage
    In this video report by Looper on YouTube, the controversy surrounding Bruce Lee is summarized just like any news article, but with footage of the scene and the director himself. This 3 minute video encapsulates the entire story, including Bruce Lee’s daughter Sharon’s statements, Tarantino’s response, and Mike Moh’s thoughts.

  2. The Many Controversies Of ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,’ Explained
    In an opinion piece by Dani Di Placido on Forbes, he articulates the various controversies that came out of “Once Upon A Time,” specifically highlighting the backlash to Bruce Lee’s depiction. “Tarantino’s comments made in defense of the controversial scene do not acknowledge the ambiguity, the director instead choosing to double down, making the claim that Lee was “kind of an arrogant guy,” and that his scripted boasts were accurate.”

  3. Actor Terry Crews responds to Bruce Lee controversy in a tweet
    Through the form of a tweet which soon went viral, actor Terry Crews (@terrycrews) calls out the historically inaccurate representation of Bruce Lee, saying: “Once upon a time… in HOLLYWOOD… pot smoking white boys dreamed of kicking Bruce Lee’s ass… so they wrote it, performed it and filmed it like it actually happened…! But Bruce… we love you and know the truth— God bless your soul.”
  4. How the Bruce Lee scene in ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ fails
    In an opinion piece on Medium written by Kyle Kizu, he addresses his own personal grievance as an average audience member with Mike Moh’s performance of Bruce Lee.
  5. Bruce Lee’s family calls ‘Once Upon a Time’ ‘a mockery.’ Is it insult or homage?
    This article by Asian film reporter Jen Yamato of the Los Angeles Times was among the first pieces on the subject to go viral. Her inclusion of several links and quotes makes the piece a convenient way to learn about the story.


Bruce Lee Actor Felt “So Conflicted” About His Role

This past summer, Quentin Tarantino released his ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which stirred controversy as an actor who portrays Bruce Lee in a scene that feels like a mockery toward Lee’s legacy. In a piece written by Yohana Desta for Vanity Fair titled Once Upon a Time’s Bruce Lee Actor Was “So Conflicted” About Fight Scene, she states that actor Mike Moh understood backlash from Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee toward his role. The article links to various sources, such as Shannon Lee’s interview with Vanity Fair, titled Bruce Lee’s Daughter Has More Questions About Quentin Tarantino’s “Troubling” Depiction of Her Father

As a whole, the article draws from numerous sources, providing many reference points for readers to go to and learn more about the story. The quality of the article is unaffected, as it is not dependent on prior knowledge that a reader may or may not have. Instead, links are spread throughout the piece. The writer describes backstory which the audience might not be aware of. For instance, Desta also links to an LA Times article as she first mentions the backlash that Tarantino’s film faced. This was unnecessary to link to, but it is helpful information for a reader to have easy access to, validating the premise.

The author does not fail to address any questions that are critical to the subject matter. However, it is immediately clear with the piece that the author might have some bias. Throughout my research into this controversy, it has been common for writers to be Asian, and therefore feel more personally about the issue than other people might. Since there is a formulated opinion, it can be obvious what thoughts the writer has regarding the topic. Yet, it does not affect the overall piece, since the primary focus are the statements by Moh.

In the piece, Mike Moh says, “I can see how people might think Bruce got beat because of the impact with the car—but you give me five more seconds and Bruce would have won. So I know people are going to be up in arms about it, but when I went into my deep dive of studying Bruce, he more than anybody wanted people to know he’s human. And I think I respect him more knowing that he had these challenges, these obstacles, just like everybody.” These comments are extremely interesting, as it tells that Moh was self-aware when the film was made. But, it also comes across like he might be backtracking, feeling bad for offending so many in his first major part in a studio film. This is in no reference to the author’s language used to depict his comments, but it is not hard for a reader to access this might be her opinion as she includes Moh’s statements in a very cut and dry way. One might even assume the headline’s way of quoting Moh’s words, “so conflicted” could come off as sarcasm.

This story deserves an A in the author’s display of media literacy. A wide range of film news sites and other sources are used, such as the LA times and Birth.Movies.Death as well as past articles by Vanity Fair. It is surprising to read an article that links to websites aside from the one it was published through.


The Bruce Lee Scene Controversy: Contrasting News Articles and Opinion Pieces


Why the Bruce Lee Fight in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Has Become the Movie’s Most Controversial Scene by Gabrielle Bruney, Esquire

In this piece, Bruney responds to the controversial scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with a clear voice of her own. While most of the piece summarizes the scenario, it ends with a few paragraphs from a definitive point of view, bringing closure to the story. Bruney writes, “(Bruce Lee’s) legacy is worthy of the respectful good taste with which Tarantino treats the other real-life figures that appear in the film.” This direct statement causes the article to be about something more than just the story it’s reporting on. Instead, this piece qualifies as a personal take, as the closing paragraph sums up the writer’s thoughts on the issue.


Why Are You Laughing at Bruce Lee? by Walter Chaw, Vulture

When news is reported, the story’s title is typically a direct statement. Since this is an opinion piece, Chaw headlines his story with a question, calling out the audiences who saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood who were not offended by a specific scene. Although this snarky opening line isn’t reflective of the article as a whole, Chaw comes with his own personal take on the matter. He writes, “Growing up as a Chinese kid in a predominantly white area, one of the most common ways people mocked me was by mimicking the noises Lee made.” The writer shares this personal information about his identity and upbringing which informs this opinion. He calls out this portrayal of Lee as racism toward Asians in general, and states that the film in question only joined along in the mockery.


Controversial ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Bruce Lee scene was changed after Brad Pitt expressed concerns by Will Lavin, NME

While this article provides some commentary on the controversial scene, it does not come from a place of personal perspective on part of the author. Instead, this article focuses on a specific topic from an unbiased standing. Lavin does not have a distinct voice in his writing as he reports on direct facts surrounding the story that had gone viral on social media. Rather than adding his own take and contributing to the story, he simply reports on everything that had happened. According to this report, the scene had already been altered before it was in the film, as actor Brad Pitt had his own concerns playing the character who fights Bruce Lee.


Quentin Tarantino Defends Portrayal of Bruce Lee in ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ by Dino-Ray Ramos, Deadline

As reported by Hollywood studio news site, Deadline, this article simply reports the facts regarding the Bruce Lee scene controversy. Featuring updated quotes from director Quentin Tarantino, he expresses that he did not have bad intent from a racial standpoint. His quotes provide a commentary apart from the article itself. Instead of a story with this expressed view, the article takes a distant, non-biased approach. In response to the controversy and opinion pieces written about his film, Tarantino said in an interview, “If you ask me the question, ‘Who would win in a fight: Bruce Lee or Dracula?’ It’s the same question. It’s a fictional character. If I say Cliff can beat Bruce Lee up, he’s a fictional character so he could beat Bruce Lee up.” If he had written this article instead of Ramos, it would qualify as opinion. Since Ramos hardly has his own voice in this piece, it is a news article.


The Backlash Against the Portrayal of Bruce Lee in “Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood”

This summer, Quentin Tarantino released his ninth film, “Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood” which received many positive reviews, several of which noting the same criticism. During a short scene featuring a cameo by an actor portraying Bruce Lee, there are remarks made that turn his career into a throwaway gag. Many people spoke up about this, calling it distasteful and dishonest to Lee’s legacy. Even Bruce Lee’s daughter spoke out against Tarantino’s portrayal of her dad, saying in an article on The Wrap that it was “disheartening.”

In response to backlash in a Variety piece, Tarantino said that Lee was, “kind of an arrogant guy.” The director defended his decision to write Bruce Lee in the way he did, but this refusal to even apologize has only added fuel to the fire. I found this story to be sad when I saw it, partly because I really enjoyed this film and didn’t think much of the scene at the center of the controversy. As a young white male, I feel a responsibility to be educated on such issues. Right now, it seems that representation and accurate on-screen depictions of real people and other cultures is “in reach” in terms of matters I can learn more about. My initial indifference made me interested in reading the many takes from film journalists, along with Lee’s daughter.


Timothy’s 24-Hour Media Consumption

A few years ago, I gave myself the challenge to not use my computer in the morning, unless it was absolutely necessary. However, I inevitably still use my iPhone throughout the day. While being on my computer set a specific mood for the day, being on my phone hasn’t done that, because it’s easier to glance at and put away a moment later. In fact, waking up and checking various apps has been a helpful means to ready myself for the day. Instead of reading the newspaper during breakfast like people used to, we can access news on our devices.

8:30 a.m. 

After my alarm went off, I woke up and checked Twitter to see if there were any major news stories that occurred over the night since I went to bed. There were no big trending topics that weren’t trending the day before. I proceeded to check my Gmail and then Reddit. Finally, I checked Instagram and got up to get ready for the day. There wasn’t much new on any of the platforms. This routine has become somewhat of an OCD tendency to do first thing every morning, to have a sense of being in the loop and not isolated.

9:25 a.m.

After I got ready, I received a text message about new Star Wars footage that had debuted at D23, a promotional Disney convention held near Disneyland. The link I was sent came from Twitter, so I was directed to the app and watched this quick 10 second clip.

9:35 a.m.

I proceeded to check my YouTube app’s subscriptions to see if there were any new uploads but I didn’t watch anything that was posted.

10:00 a.m.

As per normal, I ate breakfast and made coffee while listening to a few podcasts through the Podcast App. This particular morning, I listened to the new episode of Write Along, a podcast featuring writing advice.

10:30 a.m.

Afterwards, I noticed on my Spotify app that another podcast I used to listen to often had an episode posted about the ongoing Spider-Man/Sony/Disney negotiations. The podcast is called Slash Film Daily, which is run by a film news website based largely in Los Angeles, but has contributors across the country. I listened to it for about 15 minutes before turning it off and continuing about my day.

10:50 a.m.

Unlike most mornings, I turned on my computer because I remembered I had a few assignments due that night on Canvas.

11:30 a.m.

As I worked on some quick “first week” type assignments, I checked Twitter to see if there had been any interesting news, film-wise or in the world. However, it was a pretty quiet Friday. Usually, big studio stories are announced earlier in the week as many people in the industry have three-day weekends and deals are typically reported on Monday through Thursday.

12:41 p.m.

Among the many blogs I follow, one I read from time to time is The Gospel Coalition, a Christian-based blog which posts theological articles covering a variety of topics. I read an interview that had been posted from someone in my church.

1:30 p.m.

Following lunch, I went back to working on some Canvas assignments as to avoid any course work over the coming weekend.

2:50 p.m.

Having completed my homework for the week on Canvas, I gave myself a break and got off my computer for a while to hang out with friends.

6:00 p.m.

When I returned home, I did my morning routine again, checking Twitter and Reddit. I proceeded to check Gmail and then Instagram to watch a few Instastories and keep up to date with other friends and people I follow.

7:00 p.m.

To close out my day, I went on Amazon Prime Video to find something to watch. As per normal, I spent way too long of a time deciding what to watch, but I eventually settled on We Own The Night, a Joaquin Phoenix film.

7:21 p.m.

As I watched the film, I multitasked and looked up Twitter. I saw an article shared by EaterLA and clicked on it. A well-known San Fransisco coffee shop would soon be opening a shop in Downtown LA.

9:34 p.m.

Before I went to bed, I spent some more time browsing multiple film news publishers such as The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.


Overall, I think my news sources are trustworthy. Slash Film Daily often relies on other reports from sites such as The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, which get their information directly from industry insiders and press releases. I would rate all of my sources a 9/10 as even the most reputable sites can make mistakes. Generally, they have been reliable sites to follow for film news.