During the Pandemic, the FCC Must Provide Internet for All

from Wired IF ANYONE BELIEVED access to the internet was not essential prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, nobody is saying that today. With ongoing stay-at-home orders in most states, high-speed broadband internet access has become a necessity to learn, work, engage in commerce and culture, keep abreast of news about the virus, and stay connected to neighbors, friends, and family. Yet nearly a third of American households do not have this critical service, either because it is not available to them, or, as is more often the case, they cannot afford it. Lifeline is a government program that seeks to […]

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Hacker Eva Galperin Has a Plan to Eradicate Stalkerware

from Wired Over the last year, Eva Galperin says she’s learned the signs: the survivors of domestic abuse who come to her describing how their tormentors seem to know everyone they’ve called, texted, and even what they discussed in their most private conversations. How their abusers seem to know where they’ve been and sometimes even turn up at those locations to menace them. How they flaunt photos mysteriously obtained from the victim’s phone, sometimes using them for harassment or blackmail. And how none of the usual remedies to suspected hacking—changing passwords, setting up two-factor authentication—seem to help. The reason those […]

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The Google Tax

from Seth’s Blog Actually, there are two. The first is the tax we each pay so that companies can bid against each other to buy traffic from Google. Because their revenue model is (cleverly) built on both direct marketing and an auction, they are able to keep a significant portion of the margin from many industries. They’ve become the internet’s landlord. The difference between a successful business in New York and an unsuccessful one is just a few percentage points–the successful ones pay 95% of their profit to landlords, while the unsuccessful ones pay 105%. More here.

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China’s TikTok Blazes New Ground. That Could Doom It.

from NYTs American leaders have effectively thrown Huawei and a handful of Chinese surveillance technology companies out of the country, warning darkly of the national security and privacy threats of installing Made-in-China products into sensitive parts of the nation’s electronic infrastructure. Now they have cast their fearful gaze on a new Chinese target: the dancing and singing teens and tweens of TikTok. A secretive federal panel with a national security focus is reviewing the purchase of TikTok two years ago by a Chinese company called Bytedance, The New York Times and othersreported last week. Three senators have asked the Trump […]

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There’s Another Big Reason Why You Should Ditch Chrome For Firefox

from Fast Company It’s not paranoia: You are being followed. Marketers are embedding dozens of trackers per website to follow your online wanderings and build up ad-targeting profiles. While the dominant browser, Google Chrome, takes a timid approach to these trackers, Apple and now Mozilla are attacking them head on. Firefox first started blocking all trackers by default in its experimental browsers in July and in a wide release in September. Since then, Firefox has blocked 450 billion tracking attempts, says Selena Deckelmann, the senior director of Firefox browser engineering at Mozilla. That comes out to 175 trackers per Firefox […]

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It’s Time to Push Tech Forward, and Rebuild What It Broke

from Wired In 1904, a group of Canadian workers began the hard slog of constructing the world’s longest bridge, across the Saint Lawrence River just south of the city of Quebec. It was a wildly ambitious project. And it wasn’t just for the Quebecois: Railroads were revolutionizing commerce and communications, and the bridge would connect people and allow trains to run from New Brunswick in the east to Winnipeg in the west. The river was 190 feet deep at the center, and ice piled high above the water’s surface in the winter. Nothing about the bridge’s construction would be easy. […]

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Inside The Bizarre World of Internet Trolls and Propagandists

from TED Journalist Andrew Marantz spent three years embedded in the world of internet trolls and social media propagandists, seeking out the people who are propelling fringe talking points into the heart of conversation online and trying to understand how they’re making their ideas spread. Go down the rabbit hole of online propaganda and misinformation — and learn we can start to make the internet less toxic. ? More here.

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The Media’s Post-Advertising Future Is Also Its Past

from The Atlantic It’s my holiday tradition to bring tidings of discomfort and sorrow to my colleagues in the news business. One year ago, I described the media apocalypse coming for both digital upstarts and legacy brands. Vice and BuzzFeed had slashed their revenue projections by hundreds of millions of dollars, while TheNew York Times had announced a steep decline in advertising. Twelve months later, it’s end times all over again. There have been layoffs across Vox Media, Vice, and BuzzFeed (and dubious talk of an emergency merger). Mic, once valued at $100 million, fired most of its staff and sold for $5 million. Verizon took a nearly $5 billion write-down on its digital media unit, which […]

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A Breach That Ripples Far Beyond Facebook

from NYTs If I did not need Facebook to do my job, I would be deleting it right now. While everyone was riveted by the drama over Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s potential confirmation to the Supreme Court, Facebook dropped a bombshell: Hackers had broken into at least 50 million of its accounts. The company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and his deputy, Sheryl Sandberg, were among the victims, according to my colleagues Mike Isaac and Sheera Frenkel. For the past year, I have been covering technology in India, which has more Facebook users than any other country. Before that, I was […]

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Introducing the Internet Bill of Rights

from NYTs Should American citizens get a new Bill of Rights for the internet? Given all the damage that giant tech companies have done of late, including the disaster of the week — a breach at Facebook that exposed tens of millions of accounts and maybe lots more — many Democrats think the answer is yes. In an interview with me this week, Nancy Pelosi even suggested that a new agency could be created to manage tech’s growing impact. “Something needs to be done,” she told me, to “protect the privacy of the American people” and “come up with overarching […]

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Brett Kavanaugh And The Information Terrorists Trying To Reshape America

from Wired SINCE THE ADVENT of Donald Trump’s candidacy, there’s been a ton of focus on botnets and sockpuppets—automated and semiautomated social media accounts that use disinformation to manipulate public opinion. But the spotlight on bots has overshadowed the importance of the people who often initiate the flood and flow of information, and how the narratives they build over time influence how we see politics, ourselves, and the world around us. Last month, the attorney of Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault at a long-ago high school party, revealed […]

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This New Tech Makes It Harder For ISPs To Spy On You

from Fast Company With the exception–perhaps–of your therapist or significant other, no one has more power to learn your secrets than your internet service provider. An ISP can see every website that you choose to access. And with the scrapping of Obama-era privacy regulations last year, the U.S. federal government has no rules against ISPs collecting and selling your information to marketers. But new tech fixes are plugging the privacy holes that the government won’t. The effort began in April, when Firefox browser maker Mozilla and content delivery network Cloudflare rolled out measures to block one of the easiest ways […]

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If You Haven’t Already Switched To Firefox, Do It Now

from Fast Company This week, Mozilla announced that its browser Firefox will start blocking all cross-site third-party trackers–the cookies hiding in the background that follow your clicks across the web, reporting your activity to advertisers as you move between websites. Including these settings, by default, is the best way to protect users from inadvertently giving third parties data about users’ behavior. Just as people tend not to read long privacy policies, they also shouldn’t be expected to change the settings to disable third-party trackers on every single site they visit. As Mozilla’s head of product strategy Nick Nguyen writes on […]

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Calif. Senate Approves Net Neutrality Rules, Sends Bill To Governor

from ars technica The California Senate today voted to approve the toughest state-level net neutrality bill in the US, one day after the California Assembly took the same action. With both legislative houses having approved the bill, California Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30 to sign it into law. The final vote was 27-12, with all 26 Democratic senators and Republican Senator Ling Ling Chang voting in favor. All 12 no votes came from Republican senators. In the Assembly yesterday, six Republicans joined 55 Democrats to pass the bill in a 61-18 vote. More here.

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YouTube, the Great Radicalizer

from NYTs At one point during the 2016 presidential election campaign, I watched a bunch of videos of Donald Trump rallies on YouTube. I was writing an article about his appeal to his voter base and wanted to confirm a few quotations. Soon I noticed something peculiar. YouTube started to recommend and “autoplay” videos for me that featured white supremacist rants, Holocaust denials and other disturbing content. Since I was not in the habit of watching extreme right-wing fare on YouTube, I was curious whether this was an exclusively right-wing phenomenon. So I created another YouTube account and started watching […]

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A Ruling Over Embedded Tweets Could Change Online Publishing

from Wired ONE OF THE most ubiquitous features of the internet is the ability to link to content elsewhere. Everything is connected via billions of links and embeds to blogs, articles, and social media. But a federal judge’s ruling threatens that ecosystem. Katherine Forrest, a Southern District of New York judge, ruled Thursday that embedding a tweet containing an image in a webpage could be considered copyright infringement. The decision can be appealed, but if it stands and is adopted by other courts, it could change the way online publishing functions. Here’s what happened: In 2016 Justin Goldman took a […]

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US Federal Court Rejects Global Search Order

from EFF After years of litigation in two countries, a federal court in the US has weighed in on a thorny question: Does Google US have to obey a Canadian court order requiring Google to take down information around the world, ignoring contrary rules in other jurisdictions? According to the Northern District of California, the answer is no. The case is Google v. Equustek, and it’s part of a growing trend in which courts around the world order companies to take actions far beyond the borders those courts usually respect. It started as a simple dispute in Canada between British […]

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Career Experts Make Over These Mediocre LinkedIn Profiles

from Fast Company Meet Sarah Sedo, who according to her LinkedIn profile is a food service manager at The Big Carrot. If you’ve never heard of The Big Carrot and aren’t sure what a food service manager does, Sedo’s profile won’t enlighten you right away–because, as personal branding expert and Fast Companycontributor Kristi A. Dosh points out, “Sarah has allowed LinkedIn to automatically populate it with her current job.” That’s a common mistake, says Dosh. “The headline, to me, is your chance to showcase your personal brand and really stand out in search results.” Those are two distinct yet related […]

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The Alternative Facts of Cable Companies

from Backchannel Cable companies have bad reputations for customer service, and sometimes they rename themselves to divert attention and get a fresh start. Comcast’s “Xfinity” rebranding in 2010 has now been followed by Charter’s renaming of itself—after a megamerger with Time Warner Cable last year—as “Spectrum.” But changing your name doesn’t mean that you aren’t liable for misbehavior under your previous moniker. This is what Charter…er, Spectrum… found recently when, following a lengthy investigation, New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, filed an extraordinary lawsuit against the company. Based on the company’s own documents and statements, it appears that just about everything it has […]

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