Last week has been a traumatic and triumphant week for the city of Boston. From the Boston marathon attack to the capturing of the suspect, it was a week that highlighted humanity’s compassion and love for one another. There were many heroes in light of such devastating tragedy, from the guy with the cowboy hat taking the injured to care, Boston police for protecting the citizens to the citizen that phoned in and helped locate the suspect; it truly has been a hell of a ride.
Amongst these heroes is Technology. Why was technology a hero? Bill Kleyman, a virtualization and cloud solution architect at MTM Technologies believe Technology is a hero because of the amount of new technologies that were at the disposal of the law enforcement officers. In his article, Kleyman compares the technologies that are readily available now to when 9/11 happened and how those became important in the aftermath of helping to identify the suspects
Social Media plays its part.
CCTV helps identify the suspects.
Everyone is a Digital technician.
A method that the investigators used was crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community”. However it was the data that the investigators have crowd source and the investigation itself was not. We learned in class last Thursday the advantage of having a lot of data at disposal. The in class example of Harrah’s loyalty system, which allowed them to have data to correctly guess their target consumer has helped expand the business. Why you need data? It is because by having data one is able to better determine the target audience instead of guessing. This applies to the investigation as well. With crowdsourcing, loads of data are being flooded in that can help investigators with the investigation and help identify those that seems to be suspicious and those that are innocent.
Crowdsourcing – helping to piece together the reality of the bombing
How this runner gets the picture of the Suspect.
A classmate of mine, John Bagamery, also related to the tragic event that took placed (Reverse Network Effects: Can a Network become too big) and discussed the possibility of having a network that is too big and a reverse effect can occur that affects the connection and content. He illustrates the point that when a network gets too big, such as a social site, many people were misinformed after the bombing happened. There were panics all over these sites and fake news begin to travel hard and fast. How many of us were misinformed by hearing about a potential bomb at St. Ignatius via social media like Twitter? It seems technology and its interconnectedness may also negatively affect investigations etc. John’s video in his post also talks about how the government has been reaching out to the data mining companies in trying to figure out activities of the Tsarnaeva brothers.
Phil Simon, a blogger at huffingtonpost.com, posts this question of the “sticky ethcal conumdrum” involving to when do we draw the line between privacy and giving such data to government so that an attack like this can be prevented. He believed that this is a question, “in an era of Big data…. Make answering this question more important than ever.” In addition to this ethical question, apparently there is malware exploiting the tragic event of the Boston Bombing, which is quite infuriating to hear about. Because of advancement in technologies, investigators were able to quickly identify and put this tragic event behind us. However, such event has also raised some questions regarding the line between privacy and big data as well as possible reverse network effect. Technology may still continue to be a double-edged sword, but in the light of the bombing one thing is certain, my (maybe our?) faith in humanity never cease to exist. So lets thank the runners who ran to donate blood, the officers that kept us safe and the citizens that helped one another through this catastrophic week.