Are you really yourself out there?
No, this is not just another piece again discussing the pros and cons of social networking sites and the likes. Rather, say, this one deals with a particular aspect of it; your “digital” identity. With the onslaught of sites like Facebook, MySpace, Hi5, etc., it's more than keeping in touch with acquaintances. Judging by the growth of third-party applications available that range from productivity suites to mindless games, you can literally live your life through these sites (and in fact people do, no kidding) !
The very first cases of digital identity “fraud” were during the initial days of email. When early email service providers like American Online Limited (AOL) and Hotmail sprouted, you needed to have a minimum age of 18 and over to sign up. The rules existed, but not the lengths of implementation (if you don't count the “Accept Agreement” button at the end of the Sign up Form), resulting in teenagers (and tweens) to sign up as well and be one step towards “adulthood”. Needless to say, later providers like Yahoo! and GMail didn't even mention an age barrier as such., and now anyone and everyone with an Internet connection has an email address, regadless of their usage.
Email addresses led to chatrooms, where tweens and teens alike took huge pleasure into getting to discuss much adult issues hitherto unknown to them and that too on a large scale. That led to a rapid increase in paedophiles and the number of victimised children were just as high, if not more. Reports and accounts all bore the same fact; meetings first started through chatrooms and later in person. Although later the international communtiy acknowleged this dilemma and set to combat it, it is totally not stamped out.
Chatrooms were followed by social networking sites, and for a while they just seemed the PERFECT thing to many. You could exercise your own will on who could wish to see your digital “you”, make friends with those you feel you are comfortable with and connect on various issues (even those that sprout up within seconds). Alas, this mirage had to come to an end. Hackers, solely devoted to wreaking havoc throughout social networking sites, did not hesitate any longer to create malicious applications (also called “malware”), to affect thousand of computers across these netwrorking sites. Some of these applications allow the hacker to acquire the password of a victim while monitoring him/her typi-ng in the account password during log-in, thus leading to the most popular reason, “Sorry I couldn't add you in because my account got hacked.” Solution- Resort to strict Privacy Settings of your account and use anti-spam software on your PC. That would keep hackers at bay, atleast for a while.
That was on the “criminal” aspect of identity theft and fraud. But in fact, crimes like these are being commited everyday (albeit on a minor degree) and that too by nearly anyone, and that means YOU as well. In fact this is the very basic reason of creating a digital identity; one that gives you a break away from reality but leads to forcing you to come up with some sort of an alter-ego for yourself. None realise it, but it's always there. Granted, these happened in early chatrooms as well (where people chatted like someone beyond their maturity and age) and even in email addresses (creating IDs like “deviousdevil” by a perfect goody two shoes) but social networking sites just seem to kick it up a notch. Alter-egos led to harmless pranks on each other, then onto shocking in person meetings but now it's all “scams and cons”.
For example, on the Orkut India site, a certain well-known individual “Angie” claimed to have been the love of (atleast) a dozen boys. Angie, supposedly residing in New Delhi (location unknown to these boys, though), was experiencing financial problems and her “boyfriends” (each thinking he was the only one in her digital life) came forward to transfer all they had to her bank account, and she was grateful. In fact, so much that she will be heading by train to Mumbai, just to meet them. The guys (numbskulls) got there (some from distant states like Bangalore) and waited for hours for her to turn up. She didn't and months later when her account suddenly “vanished”, the men realised they had been scammed and to their horror by a male hacker! Angie was real alright, a university student in New Delhi by the name of Anjali, except this hacker had posed as her and even uploaded photos of herself to the account. The hacker provided a reason for this after he was caught- he loved playing jokes!
Incidents like these are countless; but the question remains to be answered, “Are you really yourself out there?'.
By Wahid T. Khan
Result! Result! Result!
Siesta all afternoon and fiesta all night! Life is all about eating, sleeping, partying (and browsing the net) as Kanye would say 'Welcome to the good life'.
It's your summer vacation, life just seems perfect, things cannot get any better.
. . sadly it can get worse. Sorry to ruin your party but guess what is next on the calendar? THE RESULTS!
Exams weren't too long ago and its time for results already. Yea, that's harsh reality for you so go into hiding and change the song to 'Welcome to heart break'. Just kidding! Come on, there is nothing to worry about.
Here are some of the dos and don'ts and people to avoid before and after the results.
As much as you wish this species of annoying people would be extinct but NO somehow they seem to increase every year.
The unknown aunt- it's strange how on the day of the result, this random aunt of yours will call your parents to ask how you did. How does she know? You don't have a clue. You'll never get to see or meet this person. She'll always remain the mysterious curious aunt!
What to do?- just ignore and avoid
Don't take it out on the nails
Miracles do happen
Closing words (cheesy but works!)
By Fariba Rakhsanda
Resident Muscle Man: If you are an Arnold Schwarzenegger wannabe or WWE fan, then this is the job best suited for you. Muscles, literally, is not the requirement here. You will have to have some body-builder cronies and some guts, and of course, desire to do the job. The job responsibility includes protecting the precious tenants, in particular their pretty girls. You will have to take measures so that they don't flirt with outsiders; no suspicious person enters the building, and sometimes threatening evil looking (to you) boys to stay away from the house. Oh yes, sometimes you will have to call rickshaws and carry the bags too. In return, you will get free meals, free pass to play carom, and every mother's blessings.
Slogan man: Your chance for political glory. This is also the most money-spinning job during election season. Nominees hire people to walk in the processions, give occasional slogans and sometimes jump up and down (dance). According to the rates during the last election, you will get about taka 50-100 per hour. If you can perform, other candidates might also hire you.
Be the Mita: the requirements are patience, good sense of humor and ability to say “deal with it yourself” in different ways and senses. Read through different problems, have a laugh, or thank god that you are not one of them, then console the sufferers, tell them that whatever causing them problems are just silly, and in the end advise them to do something about it. Simple. Be an 'extra' in a film: if you have ever seen a Bangladeshi 'social' film, then you know what I am talking about. You are usually the friend of the hero who dies, triggering the hero's vengeance, or the heroine's girlfriend who jokes with the hero or the aforementioned friend's fiancé, or the goon of the villain who falls after getting punched once by the hero, or one of the dancers when the hero and heroine sing at the beach. You are a STAR buddy! Global recession has reached its peak and you need to grab on every chance you can get. Look out for more odd jobs. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go now; I am also applying for the same job as the writer of the last article. And I can count till 32 (because the tallest building in Bangladesh is 32 storied). Am I great, or what?
By Ero Senin
| Issues | The Daily Star Home
© 2009 The Daily Star