Articles by date
04 October 2015
Adblockers and Innovative Ad Companies are Working Together to Build a More Privacy-Friendly Web (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Apple's recently-announced support for adblockers on iOS 9 provoked dramatic debate between those who were celebrating the news, and those who were angry over what they see as the company undermining the primary business model for online publishing and journalism.
The Dark Web Dilemma: Tor, Anonymity and Online Policing (Global Commission on Internet Governance)
Online anonymity-granting systems such as The Onion Router (Tor) network can be used for both good and ill. The Dark Web is possible only because of online anonymity. Illegal markets, trolls and online child abuse rings proliferate due to the technology of Tor and other similar systems. However, the anonymity provided by such systems gives cover for people in repressive regimes that need the protection of technology in order to surf the Web, access censored content and otherwise exercise their genuine right to free expression.
Thousands of "Spies" Are Watching Trackerless Torrents (TorrentFreak)
BitTorrent is a very efficient way to share large files, but not a very private one. It's commonly known that anti-piracy outfits monitor users through public trackers. However, new research reveals that BitTorrent's DHT is also full of "spies" who actively harvest IP-addresses.
Australian businesses are turning their backs on bitcoin, as signs grow that the cryptocurrency's mainstream appeal is fading.
02 October 2015
How our love affair with ad-blocking risks giving Internet providers even more power (Washington Post)
Apple recently began allowing customers to download and install ad-blocking apps on their iPhones, sparking a big debate about the future of the Internet and the ethics of blocking online advertisements. Although ads support everything from social networks to search engines and newspapers, they can also be annoying, intrusive and a drain on your device.
01 October 2015
Facebook is not planning to make its users pay £5.99 [or $5.99 for US users] to keep their status updates private. Is this news? It may be to the people who've been sharing a hoax claiming the opposite.
Google and Microsoft agree to lawsuit truce (BBC News)
Eighteen lawsuits had been active between the companies, relating to uses of technologies in mobile phones, wifi and other areas.
How Many Websites Are There? (The Atlantic)
Most webpages die after a couple of months. The average lifespan is something like 100 days. That's longer than it used to be. In the late 1990s, the typical webpage lasted for around 44 days.
30 September 2015
We've all been there: we want to shop online, find a new recipe for supper, catch up on the latest news or watch a video - only to be dazzled by a moving, blinking or flashing advert. These "autoplaying" ads are annoying for most internet users, but for those with disabilities or long-term conditions, they make those websites largely inaccessible.
Why it's so hard to kill Facebook privacy hoaxes (The Guardian)
Facebook privacy hoaxes just won't die. It seems like every few months, some extended family member or high school "friend" will post a big block of legalese-style text, urging others to share it in their own feeds with a promise that it will somehow protect their privacy.
29 September 2015
India's mobile phone dreams become nightmare of dropped calls (Washington Post)
In the past decade, nearly 1 billion people have been connected to wireless phone service as part of India's mobile communications revolution , making it the second-largest mobile phone market in the world. But a recent combination of rapidly rising growth and bad infrastructure has turned India's dreams of wireless phone expansion into something of a nightmare.
The .hiv gTLD has found a new home with Uniregistry agreeing to take over the reins and agreeing to continue the gTLD's role in raising awareness and funds for HIV and AIDS causes. It is anticipated the takeover will be concluded prior to 1 December - World AIDS Day.
28 September 2015
With one million people expected to seek asylum in Europe this year and governments arguing over how to cope, thousands of volunteers are taking to the Internet to offer refugees shelter free of charge.
Free pornography is ever more plentiful online. The right response involves better sex education (The Economist)
In the 1990s, when the internet was for nerds, as many as half of all web searches were for sexually explicit material. That share has fallen -- but only because everything from home-buying to job-hunting has moved online. Pornography still accounts for more than a tenth of all searches. The number of porn pages is estimated at 700m-800m; one of the biggest sites claims to get 80 billion video views a year.
There is, alas, no such thing as a free lunch. What's even more depressing is that there is no such thing as a free internet service. Most people nowadays probably understand that in relation to, say, social networking services, if the service is "free" then the users (or, more precisely, their personal data) are the product. But this also applies to stuff that you haven't signed up for - websites that you browse, for example. The site may be free to view, but there's often a hidden cost.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced plans to help bring the internet to UN refugee camps.
F.T.C. Is Said to Investigate Claims That Google Used Android to Promote Its Products (New York Times)
Google's regulatory problems have stretched across the globe. Now, they are coming back home.
From the outside, it looks like an enormous grey warehouse. Inside, there is a hint of the movie Bladerunner: long cavernous corridors, spinning computer servers with flashing blue lights and the hum of giant fans. There is also a long perimeter fence. Is its job to thwart corporate spies? No - it keeps out the moose.
Urgent action needed to combat online violence against women & girls, says new UN report: Millions affected globally, but most countries still failing to effectively address growing problem (International Telecommunication Union)
A new report released today by the United Nations Broadband Commission reveals that almost three quarters of women online have been exposed to some form of cyber violence, and urges governments and industry to work harder and more effectively together to better protect the growing number of women and girls who are victims of online threats and harassment.
27 September 2015
To Unite the Earth, Connect It by Bono and Mark Zuckerberg (New York Times)
Seventy years ago, the United Nations was formed as the expression of a simple choice: cooperation instead of war. Humanity would stand as one against conflict, poverty and disease. All the world's voices would be heard.
When Microsoft business unit managers calculate their profits or losses each quarter, they consider more than just sales and expenses. They also factor in the price of carbon.
26 September 2015
The internet blew the porn industry's business model apart. Its response holds lessons for other media firms (The Economist)
It was 2012, and Fabian Thylmann's goal was world domination. The man who had put together Manwin, an emerging online-pornography giant, now controlled most of the top ten porn "tubes" -- aggregators that, like YouTube, contain thousands of videos and are wildly popular, because much of their content is free. If he could get hold of the two biggest, XVideos and XHamster, he could put it all behind a pay barrier and build an online porn empire. If competitors emerged, he would buy them, too. What antitrust authority would rein in a monopolist in a business that upstanding people pretend does not exist?
Porn sites hit by malware hidden in adverts (BBC News)
Security firm Malwarebytes says a campaign of malware hidden inside online ads which hit search engine Yahoo earlier this year has now also appeared on adult websites.
Obama and Xi Jinping of China Agree to Steps on Cybertheft (New York Times)
President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China took their first concrete steps on Friday toward reining in the rising threat of cyberattacks between the world's two largest economies, pledging that their governments would refrain from computer-enabled theft of intellectual property for commercial gain even as Mr. Obama suggested that he might still impose sanctions if rampant Chinese hacking persisted.
Facebook is at the center of a huge privacy controversy. For once, it isn't Facebook's fault. (Washington Post)
The Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice, the European Union's closest equivalent to the U.S. Supreme Court, has just made a key finding in a court case involving Facebook. If the court follows his recommendation - which it does 80 percent of the time - either the U.S. will have to change its laws on surveillance or companies like Facebook and Google will find their European business models undermined.