ITGS Syllabus

Friday, February 10, 2006

Topic 26

Ability to monitor users (surveillance); concerns of people regarding monitoring by Taro Kondo

Monitoring, which is an essential factor for efficiency through network, can take several forms. Before explaining the numerous types, it is important to note more specificlly the reason behind monitoring.

As the internet started getting widely used, the network became more and more complex, which caused malfunctions once in a while. This included system failure or decrease in speed of running computers. An event which relates to this occurred at the time when people around the world were expecting a millenium. When the timer changed to year 2000, some of the transimissions of data went to wrong directions and a temporary disorder spread. Another case which was rather common, (still happening today) was when numbers of users accessed to the same site, and consequently there was a 'traffic' within the network. This slowed down the transimmisions. In more worse events, there were 'overloads' and servers crashed. That explains why sometimes when you go to certain websites, a page with a white background stating 'access denied' or 'connection cannot be established' pops up.

In order to solve these matters, an idea of 'network monitoring' arose. The concept was that periodically, the monitoring system checks the network and if there is anything wierd going on, it informs the network administrator by either sending an email or some other alarm messege to him/her.

Besides these issues however, other applications of monitoring should be taken into account. The terminology is 'intrusion detection system' (IDS) and what this does is also monitoring, but concentrating more on outside threats to the network. The system activates at times when there are attacks that cannot be blocked by firewall, such as manipulations to computer systems by hackers or automated tools through unauthorized access. The attackers might target vulnerable services and steal private information, set viruses, etc.

For monitoring these kinds of situations, the system used is more complicated than the system for preventing traffics. It has three major components, which are sensors, console and engine. Sensors create security events, console monitors the events, and engine keeps track of the events. The reactive state of IDS due to attacks, is resetting connections and reprogramming the firewall. In addition, it alerts the operators. If the attacks are not apparent and there are just 'holes' in the security, the system records them and sends alerts.

Monitoring without the use of systems is not rare. For example in Limewire, which is a peer-to-peer file sharing program, occasionally members of the police do what is called a 'net-patrol' and they search for any malicious files that are uploaded. These may be files which have spywares attached to them. Not only those, the police look for files which disregard copyrights, such as music created by famous artists or televised movies. The sharing of such files is one of the greatest problems occuring today through the network.

The ethical issue relating to monitoring as a whole, is that people are concerned about their privacy. Especially in the case of manually operated monitoring, the people who monitor are able to see exactly who is sending or receiving what, even the things they are not intending to investigate. So these days under certain laws, the users are set to anonymity, unless they do something bad. Again Limewire as an example, if the police notices an infringement, he contacts most likely the programmer of Limewire to track down the person who violated. Although anonymous, the users will be distinguished somehow, probably by IP, so that in this sort of situation they can be identified. In the entire network, this measure is commonly practiced.


Anonymous said...

This is a well strctured essay with detailed information. However the some of the issues mentioned are a little vague, so maybe they should be made more clear.
Overall, the message and the points can be understood. Good effort.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 7:38:00 PM

Anonymous said...

You discussed the issues related to monitoring policies fairly well. As someone who wrote an essay based essentially on the same things, I have to say I agree that there is a trade-off between monitoring and privacy. Neatly done

Monday, November 27, 2006 7:30:00 PM

Anonymous said...

I knew about the basic concept of monitoring but this essay greatly increased my knowledge. The solutions for the ethical issues especially was outstanding.

Monday, November 27, 2006 7:37:00 PM

Anonymous said...

The good point about this essay is that the writer pointed out clearly both the ethical and social issues regarding monitoring through network. As commented already, the structure is good.
Few grammer errors though

Monday, November 27, 2006 7:37:00 PM

Anonymous said...

A very good essay taro. A very well thought out essay on networking There is a trade off between privacy and privacy some are bad and some are good.

Monday, November 27, 2006 7:45:00 PM

Anonymous said...

It's really scary how much we can be or are monitored. Privacy is a thing that's steadily disappearing with the advancement of technology.

You established some good points on the issue. gj.

Sunday, December 03, 2006 1:22:00 AM

Anonymous said...

I really don't think IP is the right way to find someone because people can hide behind a proxy server or a router. Got to be smart to avoid leaving traces.

Monday, December 04, 2006 7:31:00 PM

HeeJun Son said...

Total surveilling is frightening because it means everything I do is being watched. Like 1984, the George Orwell's book, if everything is being surveilled, it is bad.

Monday, December 11, 2006 10:17:00 PM

harsh said...

Monitoring is not cool man. And it's really scary when you walk on the streets of Akihabara and see the smallest spy cams possible. A pervert could easily install that in a public restroom and see whatever happens in there. And that's like monitoring at it's lowest level.
Monitoring is also done by companies, governments and schools? Do they really have the right to monitor our lives? I guess that's the question we should be asking and I am sure there are two different answers to it. There's always more than one answer and that's makes life complicated.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 2:53:00 AM

Anonymous said...

Monitoring your actions on a network defeats the purpose of privacy completely. It is awfully hard though for someone to keep complete track of your actions without time and effort.
For information on the Access to Information Monitoring Tool, go to

Friday, December 15, 2006 6:33:00 AM

Anonymous said...

Excellent essay. Monitoring is wrong as it defeats the purpose of having privacy. However it is also essential to keep things under control. Such circumstances could have been explained in this essay.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 5:29:00 AM


Blogger akirajackson said...

I think monitering peoples action is important. This is because you can find illegal activities faster before something serious happens. But monitering everything is just a violation of privacy.

January 06, 2007 11:44 PM  
Blogger Juju said...

I dont understand your essay. Are you trying to tell us that people are being monitored? or the services are being monitored? from what i can see you are talking about services being monitored. I dont see any problem with that. and how does that concern other people?

January 07, 2007 9:31 PM  

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