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David Glance
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The business of MOOCs: how to profit from giving away something for free
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David Glance

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The Gumtree PayPal Scam: Spotting Internet scammers is harder than you think

In the UK, the Office of Fair Trading estimated that in 2006, 3.2 million adults fell prey to mass marketed scams and lost 3.5 billion GBP. In Australia, consumers are estimated to have lost $1b in 2008. It is easy to believe that society is becoming more sophisticated in identifying the ways of Internet scammers and therefore would be less vulnerable however, scammers are becoming more sophisticated and consumers’ increased dependence on the Internet increases their exposure to a wider variety of scams.

This vulnerability to scammers was recently brought home to me when an acquaintance nearly fell victim to a scammer when trying to sell a car on the ad site Gumtree. What was intriguing about the entire incident was the level of sophistication in the build up to the actual sting which involved sending money via Western Union to a “courier”. The scammer had used a variety of techniques to establish credibility. They firstly engaged in a series of communications via SMS and then email asking for more details including photos of the interior of the car. The back story was also designed to elicit trust by the scammer claiming to be a “researcher” engaged in research “out of town”. The icing on this however was the scammer sending a photograph of their Victorian driving license which looked genuine. It is likely that scammers have crafted their art by trial-and-error rather than being based on a deep understanding of psychology but the end result is comprehensive in its use of behavioural theory nonetheless.

Read More:

https://theconversation.edu.au/the-gumtree-paypal-scam-spotting-internet-scammers-is-harder-than-you-think-11553
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Internet activist Aaron Swartz’s death is a tragedy for all of us

Everything about the suicide last friday of 26 year old Internet activist Aaron Swartz is tragic. Not only to those that knew him or knew of his actions but those who have discovered this only now through his death. Although battling with depression, a major contributory factor in his death was his ongoing prosecution by the US Attorney’s office over the illegal download of millions of academic articles hosted by the journal archive JSTOR. Swartz was originally planning on making the articles freely available through file sharing because he objected to JSTOR’s policy of charging for access of articles even when they were officially in the public domain.

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https://theconversation.edu.au/internet-activist-aaron-swartzs-death-is-a-tragedy-for-all-of-us-11577
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Tech New Years Resolutions: FitBit and Inbox Zero

It is that time of year where, amongst other things, we will all be formulating our New Year Resolutions that are always as aspirational as they are sadly fleeting. In one survey) the top resolutions where to “lose weight and get fit” and “get organised“. Only 8% of those making resolutions however claimed to be successful in carrying them out. Part of the problem is that we don’t follow the golden rules of setting goals. Our resolutions are too general and usually unrealistic. We also don’t think about the means of attaining those goals. Joining a gym to get fit for example doesn’t work for the majority of people and 60% of gym memberships go unused).

In the case of getting fit and losing weight, it is possible to improve our chances of sustaining an increase in activity if it is integrated into our daily lives and demands only small but frequent adjustments to what we normally do. Another essential ingredient to this is to be able to measure this activity to provide the motivation to continue.




http://theconversation.edu.au/tech-new-years-resolutions-fitbit-and-inbox-zero-11457
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UWA academic, all-things-tech culture writer and software developer.
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