The results of this survey are surprising… and a little disturbing.
A number of geo-location tech companies have set out to map the Australian internet landscape, and the results are surprising… and a little disturbing. Consultant with Esri Australia Simon Jackson has mapped the density of tweets in languages other than English across Australia. The tweets were all sent over a nine-month period, between June 2013 and March 2014. He also mapped the density of tweets containing swear words. You can see the results in an interactive map on The Guardian website. To swap between the language and profanity maps, just click the little gear icon in the top right hand corner of the map.
According to the map’s creator, South Australia has the highest ratio of rude to non-rude tweets, and part of the Illawarra was the rudest suburb in Australia.
Vice is an international magazine which pulls no punches when it comes to publishing controversial stories. To discover which vices Aussies are most interested in looking up, it recently mapped, by state, the weird google searches Australians make.
The research unearthed some unsurprisingly disturbing results. Victorians are Googling heroin, beer, pancakes, kidnapping, vomit, cafes and the television show Two and a Half Men. Queenslanders are more interested in weed, nude beaches, mustaches, sex changes and psychics. Tasmanians are looking up dogs, cats, the moon landing, the apocalypse and male genitalia. South Australians are looking up Masterchef, how to get rich and various disturbing pornography we can’t name on this website. Sydneysiders are looking up lesbians, gay men, jihad, murder, hipsters, hacking and circumcisions. Western Australians are looking for free stuff, weight loss, meth (as in crystal meth), conspiracy theories and interracial sex. The Northern Territory has streamlined itself to drugs, alcohol and steroids. And what about Canberra? They’re only interested in Canberra and catering.
You can read the full breakdown of the weird search terms Australians are looking for in this article from Vice, but be warned, you’ll be getting the uncensored version, and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
Worldwide it gets even weirder, with thousands of people looking up the following disturbing topics:
- How to hide a dead body is searched by an average of 1000 people monthly
- How to get away with murder is searched by an average of 1900 people monthly
- How to make my cat love me is searched by an average of 390 people monthly
- How to have an affair is searched by an average of 5400 people monthly
- Why did I get married is searched by an average of 45,000 people monthly
- How do I use Google is searched by an average of 1000 people monthly
- How do I Google something is searched by an average of 4400 people monthly, using Google
- Why do men have nipples is searched by an average of 18,000 people monthly
These statistics were compiled by Buzzfeed, and you can read more about the weird stuff people search for here.
While the above may seem amusing, it’s a clear indication that what you’re doing online is being captured and manipulated by giant multi-national companies keen to understand what makes you tick.
The recent instances of Facebook manipulating the news feeds of its users to alter their emotions and the dating site OKCupid admitting it deliberately matched incompatible members to obtain data on how well the site was working are, to say the least, worrying. But what is perhaps most concerning is that neither Facebook nor OKCupid seem to be in the least perturbed by this manipulation, suggesting it is indeed only the tip of the iceberg.
Data collection, data matching and algorithms are all part of a ‘black art’, which only a few people truly understand, leaving the average internet user without a hope of knowing whether their information is safe, or to what end it’s being used.
In Australia data matching is nothing new and has been used by Government agencies over the last few years to ascertain who may be making fraudulent benefit claims or submitting false tax returns. Being able to access details from bank accounts, online Government accounts and even who has been selling what on eBay, means that it’s only a matter of time before those who are trying to rort the system are caught out.
So beware, Big Brother, Sister and the rest of the nosey, all-seeing family is watching.
What do you think? Do these surveys of Australian internet usage concern you? Does it worry you to know people are watching, or is it comforting that those doing the wrong thing can be caught out more rapidly?
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