Facebook is desperate to ensure that the Internet never takes hold in developing nations -- they want a walled garden that they get to own and operate.
They've been experimenting with "zero rating," where they bribe mobile phone carriers in poor countries not to charge for the services that Facebook anoints. This has been extensively tried and evaluated, and it does virtually nothing to get poor people online -- rather, it's used by the wealthy to offset their mobile bills on their commutes, between wifi (that is, real Internet access).
There was a popular uprising in India in response to this, analogous to the USA's SOPA fight, in which Indian net activists rejected zero-rating in favor of better telcoms regulation, more competition, and an end to corrupt practices in mobile services.
India's telcoms regulator eventually took notice, banning Facebook's zero-rating partners from favoring its services. In response, Facebook's taken out huge, full-page ads rubbishing Net Neutrality, full of FUD worthy of 1990s-era Microsoft.
In a new paper in Progress, Oxford economist Vuk Vukovic argues that the key to re-election in local politics is to be just corrupt enough: giving lucrative contracts and other benefits to special interests who’ll fund your next campaign, but not so much that the people refuse to vote for you.
Xnet, a wonderful Spanish activist group, has created the Anti-Corruption Complaint Box, a whistleblowing platform for the city of Barcelona that allows people to file anonymous claims in a Globalleaks repository, with their anonymity protected by Tor.
The new data-sharing rules enacted by the Obama administration will allow the NSA to lawfully share the unredacted, full take of its surveillance databases with sixteen other US government agencies — meaning that, for example, Trump’s door-to-door deportation squads could use that data to figure out who’s doors to break down, and his Muslim surveillance […]
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]
Using my iPhone while it’s charging is always a hassle. With tucked-away outlets and the meager length of included lightning cables, comfortable scrolling while plugged in is annoying. These 10-Ft MFi-Certified Lightning Cables are super convenient and probably the best iPhone accessory purchase I’ve made.At over three times the length of normal cables, these reach anywhere you […]