Digital History: Leading the Rise of Mass Communication Essay

Digital History: Leading the Rise of Mass Communication Essay

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Digital History focuses on the period from 1880 -1920 as leading the rise of mass communication, with the introduction of the mass market newspapers. Advertising became popular in the late 1800s, as photography, radio, and movies became part of the mainstream media. Marconi introduced wireless communications in 1895, which lead to commercial radio broadcasting in 1920 and television broadcasts in 1939. However, with the rise of mass media, other issues developed as well, because the tracking and monitoring of people became that much easier. Bentham famously believed that publicity was the key to truth. His ideal was a panoptic universe, where all in the world would believe themselves to be constantly observed, listened to, and monitored (…). Bentham felt that claims to privacy were no more real or substantial than claims to natural rights, which he despised as pernicious fictions. Publicity was the key to truth and human happiness. Nowadays, we are becoming more familiar with the darker side of the panopticon. Another great example of technologies and mass emdia development are seen in the fictional surveillance state of George Orwell’s 1984, or Huxley’s Great New World. Now actually brought to life, it gave us issues such as the surveillance states in Eastern Europe in the second half of the last century. Many people believe that the relentless advance of science and technology in mass media in the recent decades has endangered privacy and brought us to the very brink of this Orwellian nightmare. Technological “progress” may be, at the same time and perhaps more fundamentally, retrogressive from the standpoint of civilization (…). There are five ways in which the development of the mass media can help us to see the downside of...

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In 2010, the Wall Street Journal published a series of articles on what it called “one of the fastest-growing businesses on the Internet . . . the business of spying on Internet users”. The extensive investigative report concluded that “the tracking of consum¬ers has grown both far more pervasive and far more intrusive than is realized by all but a handful of people in the vanguard of the industry”. The investigative series found that the nation’s top 50 websites each installed, on average, 64 different pieces of tracking technology on a visitor’s computer—almost always without warning. Sites aimed at children were even more aggressive in tracking users than those aimed at adults (Stecklow 2010). One of the explanations for this recent growth is because of the Data retention. For the past few decades, there has been a significant proliferation of digital media.

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