Articles by date
27 September 2017
There is a narrative emerging around Facebook that implies the social-networking giant cannot prevent the spread of fake news, Russian political messages, and ads targeting hate groups on its platform. Like Dr. Frankenstein, Facebook created a monster! The algorithms have already won! Facebook’s sheer scale means it could never successfully police the gazillion pieces of content its 2 billion users create and share every second. We are doomed to live in a dystopian post-truth world of propaganda, dark ads, and artificial intelligence.
As Google Fights Fake News, Voices on the Margins Raise Alarm (New York Times)
When David North, the editorial chairman of the World Socialist Web Site, noticed a drop in the site’s traffic in April, he initially chalked it up to news fatigue over President Trump or a shift in political consciousness.
24 September 2017
Facebook can't hide behind algorithms (BBC News)
If Facebook’s algorithms were executives, the public would be demanding their heads on a stick, such was the ugly incompetence on display this week.
A “category one” cyber-attack, the most serious tier possible, will happen “sometime in the next few years”, a director of the National Cybersecurity Centre has warned.
Cyber-security - what are the risks from increased connectivity? (Economist Intelligence Unit Perspectives)
Cyber-security practices in critical infrastructure traditionally relied upon isolation of the operational networks from the enterprise environment and the outside world to avoid attacks and minimise incidents. Today, that approach is no longer tenable as increased connectivity and converged platforms have blurred that divide.
In his wonderful book The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began, the literary historian Stephen Greenblatt traces the origins of the Renaissance back to the rediscovery of a 2,000-year-old poem by Lucretius, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things). The book is a riveting explanation of how a huge cultural shift can ultimately spring from faint stirrings in the undergrowth.
London's Uber ban is a message to a reckless tech ethos (The Observer)
It was an extraordinary decision for Transport for London (TfL) to announce on Friday that it would not be renewing Uber’s private hire operator licence, effectively banning the service after 30 September. But the ruling was an indictment of Uber the company rather than the broader ride-hailing concept or labour model, and judges the embattled platform on a tumultuous past rather than its promise of new beginnings.
22 September 2017
In Series of Raids on Catalan Offices, Spanish Police Raid .CAT, Arresting and Now Releasing Director Masoliver
The Spanish government is getting heavy with Catalonians due to the upcoming referendum on independence, aiming to stop the referendum. Police raided numerous government offices among others Wednesday in the Spanish state of Catalan, one of those being Fundació puntCAT, the registry for .cat. As part of the raids police arrested Fundació puntCAT’s Director of Innovation and Information Systems Pep Masoliver on charges of embezzlement, trespass and disobedience. Masoliver was released Friday morning. Although the conditions of his release aren't yet known.
The alt-right neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, is back online using a .is domain name, the ccTLD for Iceland. But the .is registry, ISNIC, doesn’t appear too happy with a report saying they’re looking into their options as to how to deal with the issue.
There is growing concern among global net users about fake news online, according to a BBC World Service poll.
Facebook to Turn Over Russian-Linked Ads to Congress (New York Times)
Under growing pressure from Congress and the public to reveal more about the spread of covert Russian propaganda on Facebook, the company said on Thursday that it was turning over more than 3,000 Russia-linked ads to Congressional committees investigating the Kremlin’s influence operation during the 2016 presidential campaign.
21 September 2017
4 domain name registration myths debunked: Getting a domain name doesn't have to be complicated or expensive
The internet is generally the first place people look for information on just about everything. That’s why when you register a domain name, or several, it’s an important step for making sure businesses can be found — even without a website. To help eliminate some of the most frequently encountered misconceptions about domain name registration, Verisign addressed a few popular myths:
Europe Renews Offensive on Silicon Valley With Tax Reforms (New York Times)
The European Union’s offensive against Silicon Valley looks as though it is likely to resume, as officials in Brussels consider a raft of proposals aimed at increasing the amount of tax paid by digital titans like Facebook and Amazon.
Internet Giants Face New Political Resistance in Washington (New York Times)
Last month, Facebook and Google came out forcefully against a bill that would hold companies accountable for hosting sex trafficking on their websites. They said that while they worked hard to combat sex trafficking, changing the law “jeopardizes bedrock principles of a free and open internet” that have been crucial to innovation for decades.
The long read - Facebook's war on free will: How technology is making our minds redundant (The Guardian)
All the values that Silicon Valley professes are the values of the 60s. The big tech companies present themselves as platforms for personal liberation. Everyone has the right to speak their mind on social media, to fulfil their intellectual and democratic potential, to express their individuality. Where television had been a passive medium that rendered citizens inert, Facebook is participatory and empowering. It allows users to read widely, think for themselves and form their own opinions.
Facebook will add more human reviewers to its advertising system after admitting it failed to prevent, or even notice, anti-Semitic targeting on the network.
Perception plays a big role when digital platforms jockey for brand ad dollars. Notions like “everyone’s on Facebook … except for high schoolers, who are all on Snapchat … but everyone’s leaving Snapchat for Instagram” can make marketers pause when deciding how to map out their budget allocations.
The stark warning that more online jihadist propaganda is accessed from Britain than anywhere else in Europe provides more evidence on the eve of a New York summit between Theresa May and the tech giants that governments are not winning the battle against online extremism.
Removing extremist content from the internet within a few hours of it appearing poses “an enormous technological and scientific challenge”, Google’s general counsel will say later on Wednesday to European leaders who want it taken down quicker.
20 September 2017
Tech Giants Feel the Pressure Worldwide (New York Times)
For a long time, American technology giants have received a chilly reception from skeptical audiences in Europe, including from government regulators, while at home, companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon have been largely lauded for their innovation and their astonishing growth.
UK prime minister calls on internet firms to remove extremist content within two hours (The Guardian)
Theresa May is to urge internet companies to take down extremist content being shared by terrorist groups within two hours, during a summit with the French president and the Italian prime minister.
Google launches UK 'anti-terror fund' (BBC News)
Google has announced it will give a total of £1m ($1.3m) to fund projects that help counter extremism in the UK.
How the Internet Kept Humming During 2 Hurricanes (New York Times)
At one node of the industrial backbone that keeps the internet running, employees sheltered from the worst of Hurricane Irma in a stairwell of a seven-story building in downtown Miami. When the power had gone out, diesel generators instantly kicked in to keep the lights on and prevent the internet from going down.
Spanish police raided the offices of the .cat registry Wednesday morning seizing all their computers, according to InternetNews.me, apparently in retaliation for some .cat domain names being used to host websites for the Catalan independence referendum scheduled for 1 October.
The alt-right neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, has finally found a home, for the time being at least. The website has reappeared with a .is domain name, Iceland’s ccTLD. The Daily Stormer has been booted by quite a few domain name companies, from registries to registrars and even Cloudflare.