Martha Brushaber

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Wiki Post #1: Simulating Detroit, A City with Crimes and Cars, but No Races

Summary of Game Micropolis, formerly known as SimCity, is a game that allows the player to design and build a city. It was created in 1985, but wasn’t released until 1989. In the game people are allowed to choose specifically what certain areas of land will be used for, such as commercial, residential, or industrial. After buildings have been put into place, the residents in the game will decide to live there or create business there based on economic, geographic, and other factors. These include things such as crime rate, traffic levels, and what other buildings are around. As the player builds up their city they could face natural disasters including tornados, earthquakes, flooding, and fires. The player goes through different scenarios that take place in different cities around the world, and they must overcome them to stay in the game.

Summary of Article: In the article Simulating Detroit a City with Crimes and Cars, but No Races, by Mark Sample, it clearly talks about the issue of the game Mircopolis as it portrays the city of Detroit is historically inaccurate. The game scenario for Detroit tells the player that the automobile industry is failing and they must rebuild the city or else the crime rates will continue to increase, but not mentioned were increased unemployment rates and race issues. The game simulates riots and businesses going under, but race is never a factor mentioned. During the time period portrayed in this game, 1970s, race was a far more influential factor on society’s issues than the automobile industry. The author of this article argues that the race issues within the city should have been apparent to the scenario. He explains that it focuses too much on crime being the issue stressed in Detroit for this game. The history of the city that the author was hoping that the game would accurately capture was the 1967 12th Street race riot. This riot led to police raiding and after hours bar that was popular to activists in the Black Power movement. The governor at the time, George Romney, had to call in the National Guard. This riot left dozens dead, businesses destroyed, and thousands of people were arrested. This is the true reason riots were occurring in the city of Detroit during this time period. Race and class issues were a huge impact. The author explains how the game emphasizes similar events in the game. Mobs and looting are destroying the city in the scenario, and the National Guard may have to step in. Not once does it mention race, and the mobs portrayed in the game are just abstract.

Importance of the Game: Although the game portrayed multiple cities at different points in history or the future, it appears that Detroit was the closest one to being realistic. The author of the article argues the point that the game fails to mention a huge social issue at the time the Detroit scenario is portrayed. Game players were able to rebuild build the industry of the city in order to save it. This brought a whole new idea to gaming by introducing a game where winning wasn’t the goal. The goal was to allow the player to strategize how to save a city. During the Detroit scenario players were saving the city from the crime that had erupted from failing auto industry. Though the city was known for its automobile industry during that time period, it is apparent that race was a bigger issue. Players of the game are still able to learn the importance of problem solving with this game, but the political and social lessons from the history of Detroit were left out.

Comments on Game: The comments on the Detroit feature of the game were in agreement and some in disagreement with the author of this article. Some mention that it was common of that time period of game making to turn the issue of “race” into a simpler version, “crime”. This allowed for the concept of the game to be simple, and less questions would be asked about the game. Others mentioned that not using race as the real cause for the struggle of Detroit would cause ignorance with its users. On the contrary, it was argued that it is assumed by gaming companies that the players of their games already come to the table with knowledge of the history behind an issue. The author’s opinion is valid in that it fails to leave out a huge part of history. Not a lot of video games are accurate or realistic though. I personally think it would cause a public uproar if race was included within the concept of the Detroit scenario.

Works Cited Sample, Mark. "Simulating Detroit, A City with Cars and Crime but No Races." Play The Past RSS. N.p., 14 Feb. 2012. Web. 11 June 2015.

"SimCity." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 11 June 2015

Wiki Post #2

SOPA – Stop Online Piracy Act

SOPA was a piece of legislation introduced in the United States that would allow U.S. law enforcement to have a more of an ability to stop online copyright infringement and online trafficking of counterfeit goods. The law coming from this bill would hold a maximum penalty of five years in prison for those individuals who participate in unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content. Also, included in the provisions of this bill would be requesting court orders to block advertising networks and payment facilities from doing business with infringing websites. This would also require internet service providers to block access to any of these websites. This piece of legislation was deemed important for the intellectual property market and the jobs and revenue that stem from that. It would also help the enforcement of copyright laws, especially in relation to foreign owned and operated websites.

PIPA (Protect IP) The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or Protect IP, was a proposed law that would allow the US government and those who held copyrights to limit the access to certain websites which sold counterfeit or infringing goods.

Anonymous This group of online hackers lives to cause controversy on the internet while hacking websites. This international group is made up from a loosely-associated “hacktivists.” Their motives come mainly from government and religious issues. They are known for hacking multiple websites including those in regards to anti-digital piracy, Westboro Baptist Church, and corporations such as PayPal. In recent light to everything happening with ISIS, they have also created over 10,000 fake Twitter accounts related to ISIS. Their attacks on the internet are for purposes of protest, pranks, and general hacks. Some people may describe their work as clever, but others would describe it as outright cruel.

How do groups of hackers, like Anonymous, relate to movements to protect online privacy?

Anonymous is in full support of online privacy because it allows them to keep functioning without getting caught every single time they hack something. They have the ability to hack websites that deal with anti-online privacy. Anonymous members believe they are doing the right thing by exposing those who are doing the wrong thing on the internet. Although, sometimes their work seems a bit skeptical. Through their hacking routines they have caused much damage to many websites and this has caused the government as well as those companies a huge financial loss. Anonymous will do anything to stay alive and they are completely for protecting online privacy. One of their attempts to protect online privacy was in September of 2010. They launched attacks on Aiplex Software Company to shut down their website. This company was working with others to combat websites who provided pirated content. Anonymous decided shut down their website in retaliation. SOPA and PIPA are also pieces of legislation that Anonymous would be completely against.

How do these readings relate to and illuminate the recent events surrounding Edward Snowden?

Edward Snowden is a former CIA employee who released confidential information to the public about the United States National Security Agency (NSA). He disclosed to the public that the government was “spying” on them. The government has numerous global surveillance programs and Edward Snowden revealed this to the public. It has sparked much controversy about government secrecy, mass security, and the balance between national security and information privacy. With that being said, these readings relate to him almost completely. I can see a connection between Edward Snowden and Anonymous. Anonymous functions to reveal information to the public and light fires on the web to cause controversy. Edward Snowden essentially hacked the government. These two are completely for online privacy. The government is going about their surveillance for the intelligence purposes. I personally feel better if the government monitors almost every move made on the internet. If they are able to filter activity and look for warning signs of terrorism, it could really be helpful. This would also help them catch big time criminals who may be involved in using the internet in their drug trafficking or counterfeit goods sales. Snowden saw their spying activities as wrong and the public needed to know. It is almost a better thing that the public is now aware of this because it might deter some activity from taking place on the internet.

Work Cited

"Anonymous." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 June 2015.

“Edward Snowden.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 June 2015.

Harvey, Jason. "A Technical Examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP." Blog.reddit. N.p., 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 30 June 2015

"PROTECT IP Act." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 June 2015.

"Stop Online Piracy Act." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 June 2015.