In January 2020, several European news outlets, including The Daily Telegraph, reported that a famous set of antique jewellery were offered for ransom on the dark web. The diamond studded pieces worth almost a billion dollars were looted from a museum in Dresden in 2019. It was reported that Israeli investigators were offered a few of the pieces as a ransom. The messages on the dark web also claimed that it would be futile to try to identify and locate them. The ransom was also to be paid off in Bitcoin, a digital currency.
The scenarios are examples of measures to protect important information. Whether that information is in the form of spoken word, a document or other important item, the degree of precaution and the level of security measure used depends upon the importance of the concerned item. The challenge to ensure data security has increased manifolds with the advent of cyberspace. The sudden explosion in the amount of personal and organizational digital data along with the necessity to get connected to the outside world has posed an amplified challenge to secure data.
When I was a college student in the early 1990s, the daily bus ride was fun and oftentimes a curious event. Among the regular beggars, singers and pickpockets encountered in the buses and bus terminals were the hawkers for newspapers, cheap magazines, and booklets. They would mix the names and surnames of the people in petty news and try to create the name of a leader or a celebrity. Then they would shout about the fabricated event. If they shouted 'Bhattarai is dead’, people would buy their stuff and would end up realizing that someone called Bhattarai had died in a hospital or a road accident. They mixed common events such as death, marriage, divorce, and illness with the names of the bigwig to create a sensation. But the prospective reader first thought about some big personality and bought the item. By the time they realized, the hawker would have exited the bus and the bus itself would be 3-4 stations down the route. An example of classic, non-digital, pre-internet, pre-social media fake news.
In a 2018 paper published by International Society for Neurofeedback Research (ISNR), Erik Pepers and Richard Harvey have described various symptoms of digital addiction in a sample of undergraduate students. Identified based on the self-declaration based data of the students, the symptoms include increased loneliness, anxiety and depression.
On January 2, the BBC reported about a study regarding the use of artificial intelligence in making medical diagnosis. The tests carried out during the study showed that the AI based computer system outperformed human doctors in diagnosing breast cancer. The computer algorithm outperformed radiologists in reading mammograms and diagnosing correctly.