Articles by date

07 June 2015

Online advertising: Internet users are increasingly blocking ads, including on their mobiles (The Economist)

In advertising, an old adage holds, half the money spent is wasted; the problem is that no one knows which half. This should be less of a problem in online advertising, since readers' tastes and habits can be tracked, and ads tailored accordingly. But consumers are increasingly using software that blocks advertising on the websites they visit. If current trends continue, the saying in the industry may well become that half the ads aimed at consumers never reach their screens. This puts at risk online publishing's dominant business model, in which consumers get content and services free in return for granting advertisers access to their eyeballs.

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Going for a song: the hidden history of music piracy by Stephen Witt (The Observer)

I am a member of the pirate generation. When I arrived at college in 1997, I had never heard of an MP3. By the end of my first term, I had filled my 2GB hard drive with hundreds of bootlegged songs. By graduation, I had six 20GB drives, all full. By 2005, when I moved to New York, I had collected 1,500GB of music, nearly 15,000 albums worth. It took an hour just to cue up my library, and if you ordered the songs alphabetically by artist, you'd have to listen for a year and a half to get from Abba to ZZ Top.

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06 June 2015

U.S. Was Warned of System Open to Cyberattacks (New York Times)

The inspector general at the Office of Personnel Management, which keeps the records and security clearance information for millions of current and retired federal employees, issued a report in November that essentially described the agency's computer security system as a Chinese hacker's dream.

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US government responds to latest hack: give us more power over data collection (The Guardian)

Congressional leaders are warning the latest major government data hack proves the Senate should hand the US government greater cybersecurity powers - even as the stalled legislation to do so would place even more consumer data into the hands of the same government that could not secure its existing information.

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Cyberwar: hacking attacks between nations are difficult to prove (The Guardian)

It is a story that is becoming all-too-familiar: the US government had to admit on Thursday that one of its key personnel databases, containing the records of up to 4 million staff, had been compromised in a large-scale hacking attack. Officials speaking off the record laid the blame at China's door, though did not immediately provide any evidence for this claim.

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Apple and Google set their sights on their next battleground: your home (Washington Post)

Visions of the smart home -- a house that can set its own thermostat, schedule its own lights and preheat its own ovens -- are fast-becoming a reality. The technology is becoming smaller, faster and cheaper, opening new opportunities for transforming everyday objects.

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Fighting online abuse of children has driven it underground - report (The Guardian)

A pan-European drive to use the financial system to fight online child abuse has succeeded in reducing sales of child abuse material using conventional payment systems - but research suggests that abusers have been driven underground, turning to anonymiser technologies to evade law enforcement, and bitcoin to pay for material.

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Singaporeans Eschew Adult Content Online, Avast Says (Wall Street Journal)

Singaporeans are just not very interested in accessing adult content online.

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05 June 2015

COE: ICANN should strengthen its mechanisms to respect human rights (Council of Europe)

The Council of Europe has called upon its 47 member states to ensure that ICANN creates adequate mechanisms to identify, prevent and mitigate possible breaches to human rights in its work, notably the rights to freedom of expression and privacy.

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Data Breach Linked to China Exposes Millions of U.S. Workers (New York Times)

The Obama administration on Thursday announced what appeared to be one of the largest breaches of federal employees' data, involving at least four million current and former government workers in an intrusion that officials said apparently originated in China.

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A key US bill cracking down on patent trolls just got closer to becoming law (Washington Post)

More than a year after Senate leaders thwarted an update to the nation's patent system, a new bill targeting so-called patent trolls has cleared a key hurdle in the chamber, paving the way for a vote on the Senate floor. Here's everything you need to know.

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The real winners in the fight over US government surveillance (Washington Post)

After the Senate passed legislation aimed at reforming a program that collected data about the phone calls of millions of Americans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) quoted an Associated Press headline calling the bill a "victory for Edward Snowden" and added his own twist: "It is also a resounding victory for those currently plotting attacks against the homeland," he said.

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Internet of Things Spending to Reach 1.7 Trillion by 2020 (ClickZ)

The worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) market will grow from $655.8 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020, according to research company International Data Corporation.

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Hunting for Hackers, N.S.A. Secretly Expands Internet Spying at U.S. Border (New York Times)

Without public notice or debate, the Obama administration has expanded the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance of Americans' international Internet traffic to search for evidence of malicious computer hacking, according to classified N.S.A. documents.

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Sharing Data, but Not Happily (New York Times)

Should consumers be able to control how companies collect and use their personal data?

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Pirate Bay Block Doesn't Boost Sales, Research Shows (TorrentFreak)

New research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that the UK Pirate Bay blockade had no affect on legal consumption. Instead, visitors switched to alternative sites, Pirate Bay mirrors, or started using VPNs. However, the same research also reveals that blocking several major pirate sites at once does boost the use of paid legal services such as Netflix.

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Glenn Greenwald says Australia is 'one of most aggressive' in mass surveillance (The Guardian)

Australia is one of the most aggressive countries in the world in terms of mass surveillance and its techniques could be the subject of future leaks, journalist Glenn Greenwald, who first reported on the Edward Snowden revelations for the Guardian, has said.

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Hardcore internet pornography 'most prominent sexual educator' for young people, experts say (ABC News)

"Some boys or girls, they expect that sex is violent -- [that] it is OK to use chains or whips, to hurt someone."

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04 June 2015

In Pushing for Revised Surveillance Program, Obama Strikes His Own Balance (New York Times)

For more than six years, President Obama has directed his national security team to chase terrorists around the globe by scooping up vast amounts of telephone records with a program that was conceived and put in place by his predecessor after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

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The Myth of a Borderless Internet: Where you are changes what you can see online: Americans can see tweets that Pakistanis can't. (The Atlantic)

Almost a decade ago now, McDonald's made a seemingly innocuous decision. On the side of Happy Meals distributed in Morocco in 2008, it put a small map of the region. The map showed a border between the disputed territory of Western Sahara and Morocco -- a vision of reality that differed from, among other accounts, Morocco's official stance.

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Global smartphone subscriptions to double by 2020 - Ericsson (Reuters)

Global subscriptions for smartphones will more than double by 2020, helping mobile data traffic to ninefold, the world's largest telecoms network gear maker Ericsson predicted on Wednesday.

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Mobile phone access in Africa set to double in next five years (Reuters)

Eighty percent of sub-Saharan Africa's 800 million people should have access to mobile telephones by the end of the decade, double the current rate, although government help is needed to reach far-flung areas, industry body group GSMA said Wednesday.

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Google Takes MPAA to Court Over Secret Censorship Plans (TorrentFreak)

Hoping to find out more about the secret Internet censorship plans Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood was pushing, Google is now taking the MPAA to court. After several subpoenas remained largely unanswered, the search giant is now asking a New York federal court to ensure that the MPAA other parties hand over the requested information.

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Russia Orders ISPs to Block The Pirate Bay (TorrentFreak)

Following a European trend, the Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor has ordered local ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay. Without a separate court order, two domain names of the popular torrent site have been added to the national blocklist.

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03 June 2015

Study: Nearly third of US teens changed health habits based on online search (Washington Post)

Some good news about teens and the Internet: Many switch to healthier habits after consulting the Web.

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