Information Technology in a Global Society

ITGS textbook cover Information Technology in a Global Society for the IB Diploma is the first textbook designed specifically for the IB ITGS course. Unlike the general computer science textbooks currently used by many ITGS teachers, this book is written specifically with the IB ITGS course requirements in mind, and covers all components of the new ITGS syllabus (first exams May 2012), including the Higher Level (HL) topics. It is fully illustrated with over 300 photographs, diagrams, and charts.

The book is available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and a variety of book shops.

This site supports the book with additional lesson plans, exercises, links to useful software, and other ITGS teaching resources. You can also view a detailed table of contents and download a free sample chapter.


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Book - No Place to Hide

No Place to Hide

by Glenn Greenwald
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle Edition | Worldwide (free shipping)

Glenn Greenwald was the first journalist to break the story of Edward Snowden, back in 2013. No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State tells the story of secretive meetings arranged with almost paranoid levels of security, of hiding in a Hong Kong hotel room, and of the constant fear of the authorities closing in.

By now the Snowden revelations are well known, but as the 'original' journalist Greenwald is able to provide first person insight into many issues which connect directly with the ITGS syllabus. Privacy, security, surveillance, and the balance between them is a classic debate topic, and one for which No Place to Hide makes ideal background reading.

You can read a longer view on ITGS News


Updated: 2016-11-20
Projecet failure examples

Other examples of project failure

The Canadian Ministry of Children and Family Development may have to abandon a $180 million computer system after a report found flaws in its functionality and usability.

The BBC abandoned its Digital Media Initiative project in 2013 after spending almost £100 million. The project never became operational before it was scrapped.

FirstNet, a $47 billion network designed for police, firefighters, and other emergency responders, is already obsolete before it is completed.


Updated: 2016-11-20
Computer models

Computer models for health care

Various computer models are used to help design new drugs and administer existing drugs and treatments more effectively: Other health models are used to improve our understanding of the human body: Finally, computer models may be used to predict the spread of a certain virus or bacteria, with a view to preventing it:
Updated: 2016-11-20
Traffic control

Traffic control, management and monitoring systems

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is a catch-all phrase that covers various technologies for monitoring, controlling, and managing traffic. Traffic Management, Monitoring and Enforcement (Image gallery) offers some basic information on this technology. The article To fight gridlock, a city synchronizes every red light (NY Times) examines a new $400 million Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control system that is being implemented in Los Angeles. Smart road systems can also be used to identify and fine drivers who break traffic laws (BBC)

Matthew Somerville has created an excellent real-time map of London Underground trains based on Google Maps and Transport for London data. This is a good example of what can be achieved using open government data. There is also a National Rail map.


Updated: 2016-11-20
Database security issues

Database security issues

Unfortunately significant database breaches tend to make the headlines every few months. Examples include:

September 2016: Yahoo confirmed a 'state sponsored' hacker stole personal data from 500 million accounts back in 2014.

September 2016: Talk Talk were fined £400,000 over the theft of more than 150,000 customer details

August 2016: Personal details of up to 2.4 million people may have been stolen from Carphone Warehouse

August 2016: Accounting and payroll software company Sage said its systems were compromised and data for 280 UK businesses may have been stolen.

August 2016: Yahoo investigated a data breach in its MySpace and LinkedIn divisions, after it was claimed 200 million Yahoo IDs were stolen.

June 2016: The personal details of 112,000 French police officers became publicly available after a disgruntled worker for a support company uploaded them to Google Drive.

June 2016: Chinese hackers were suspected of stealing the details of almost 4 million people from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), a branch of the US government

April 2015: the US Office of Personnel Management revealed a hack had exposed 1.1 biometric records to unauthorised access. In September 2015 this number was increased to 5.6 million fingerprints.

The textbook details several cases of lost data by the British government, including the Ministry of Defence's loss of personal data of 600,000 people. Many organisations have lost data, including 132 UK councils, the National Health Service (memory stick left on a train), and even  NASA (stolen laptop). Meanwhile, Computer World reports that over half of UK firms have lost data in security breaches.

Not to be outdone, the HMRC lost sensitive personal data of 25 million people after sending it out, unencrypted, on two CDs - which were subsequently lost.

Under the Data Protection Act, companies can be fined for losing sensitive data, and in a few cases this has happened: Zurich Insurance was fined £2.3m in 2010, Shopacheck was fined for losing data on over half a million customers in 2012, and the NHS was fined £200,000 for losing the data of 3,000 patients in 2013.


Updated: 2016-11-20
Internet backbone

Internet backbone structure and data routing

Greg's Cable Map is a fantastic site with an up to date, interactive map of Internet backbone cables. Current and planned backbone cables can be displayed, and additional information such as landing sites is shown.

TeleGeography's submarine cable maps are simply amazing. Not only do they have a world map (left), but their map gallery contains interactive Internet backbone maps of Latin America, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific region. Each features Internet connectivity statistics about the region's countries. The maps are available in high resolution versions which would look great on a classroom wall.

Finally, Many Possibilities has a regularly updated map of the submarine cables surrounding Africa.

These resources are great for helping students understand the nature of the Internet and how data is routed, which has implications for privacy, security, and reliability. They can be used to supplement the information on page 80 of the book, and with articles such as:

The video The Internet Explained is also useful.


Updated: 2016-11-20
You can view previous updates to the website here.