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MP3s and the Death of Music

The MP3 is the greatest menace to music today. There’s no doubt about it. It came on the scene in the early 2000s and since then, it has completely changed how the world consumes music. An MP3 provides an easy way to have music as a digital file, an easily produced medium in which music can be shared from peer to peer or over the Internet. Music devices like iPods and Zunes have been created and modified to not only store these MP3s, but to have them available in massive quantities. A volume of music that once filled a bookshelf with vinyl LP’s can now be stored on a smart phone. But how is this a threat to music? Music is swiftly becoming intangible. The experience that physical music provided for a song is becoming eradicated, and with that, music as a personal, tangible experience is dying. Music journalism in physical form is also withering away. The MP3 has caused a decay in music as a tangible entity (CD or magazine) and has replaced it with disposable digital files and erasable pixels on a screen.

Music has always been meant to be experienced. Before music was recorded, you went out to hear music being performed in person, to feel the vibrations going through you, to see the musicians playing, and to be around life and other people partaking in the same environment. When music was recorded onto vinyl, you had to actually sit down or be near the phonograph to listen to the record. You could pull apart the sleeve, lose yourself in the carefully chosen artwork, pour over the liner notes, or simply just lay back and soak in the sound. CDs and cassettes posed a minor disruption to this because while you still get a similar experience, CD players and Walkmans provided portable listening, but to listen to either, you still had …

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…future of popular music will be.

Works Cited

Fogarino, Sam. “Artist Quotes.” Record Store Day, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.

Harvey, Eric. “The Social History of the MP3.” Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media Inc. 24 Aug. 2009. Web. 7 Nov. 2011.

Hogan, Marc. “This Is Not a Mixtape.” Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media Inc. 22 Feb. 2010. Web. 7 Nov. 2011.

McLeese, Don. “Straddling the Cultural Chasm: The Great Divide between Music Criticism and Popular Consumption.” Popular Music

Technology, Criminal Investigations, and Ethics

Abstract This paper discusses several implementations of modern technology in criminal investigations, and the ethical issues that accompany these techniques, focusing on the tradeoff between security and privacy. Specific topics include centralization of information, telecommunications, and general technology. Cases are cited for each topic, as well as a discussion of the ethical issues involved.

With the advent of modern technologies, the face of criminal investigations, and indeed daily life, has been irrevocably altered. In addition to locating criminals with ease, authorities now have the ability to monitor potential criminals before they can commit crimes. However, with an increased ability to detect comes an inevitable tradeoff in privacy. To monitor society as a whole is to monitor both the innocent and the guilty.

Phases of sudden change imply a period of social adaptation, namely debates centered on the 4th amendment and personal privacy. Cases related to the 4th amendment reflect the difficult application of 200 year-old principles to a changing society, while the latter examine the tradeoff between privacy and protection.

Despite a large number of high-profile cases surrounding general technology and criminal investigations, the majority of advancements in the field have been undeniably beneficial to the law enforcement community. Ballistics, the study of dynamics of projectiles, has aided authorities in tracing countless criminals. By maintaining a record of firearm and ammunition types, sources, and characteristics, investigators are given an invaluable tool in collecting information about crimes. The recent advent of DNA testing and analysis allows for incontrovertible identification of individuals. Traces as insubstantial as fingernails, hair, and skin cells can place an individual at the scene of a crime. Police who are equipped with laptop computers can instantly look up the history of a vehicle, including whether it was reported as stolen or owned by an individual with outstanding warrants. Many innovations have indisputably aided criminal investigation without causing controversy. However, there have been a multitude of technologies that have incited oversensitive privacy advocates.

Centralization of information is one concept that has provoked debate. Large databases can contain information about an entire state or country, which has been done for years in paper form. The distinction is that when information takes electronic form, its location is often indeterminate and the data is prone to corruption or piracy. Given the potential to integrate information about an individual into a single record, there is reason to worry about misuse.

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