As social media centralized, blogging's core infrastructure has withered

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When "social media" meant "blogs," there were many tools, services and protocols that comprised an infrastructure for federated, open, loosely joined interaction: the rise of the social giants has killed off much of this infrastructure, all but erasing it from our memories. Read the rest

48 hours later, Adblock Plus beats Facebook's adblocker-blocker

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On August 9, Facebook announced that it had defeated adblockers; on August 11, Adblock Plus announced that it had defeated Facebook. Read the rest

International Olympic Committee bans GIFs

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They've "expressly prohibited" turning anything from the Olympics into "animated formats such as animated GIFs (i.e. GIFV), GFY, WebM, or short video formats such as Vines." Read the rest

A profile of Moxie Marlinspike: the seagoing anarchist cryptographer who brought private messaging to millions

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Andy Greenberg's colorful and nuanced profile of Moxie Marlinspike offers some insight into the young, talented cryptographer whose tool, Signal, is now part of both Whatsapp and (shortly) Allo -- an anarchist who walked away from $1M in Twitter payouts after a near-death experience and decided, instead, to build free and open tools to give the entire world the power to keep secrets from the police. Read the rest

Instagram announces anti-harassment tools, overtaking Twitter

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Twitter's openness is its strength, and also its weakness: the ease with which new accounts can be created makes it into an amazing tool for free expression, and also a perfect venue for vicious harassment (see also); but Instagram (a division of Facebook, the home of the walled garden) has announced a suite of anti-harassment tools that seem like they'd be compatible with Twitter, raising the obvious question: why hasn't Twitter already deployed them? Read the rest

Chinese kids brawl with KFC customers as South China Sea online patriotism campaign spills onto the streets

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In the wake of the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that China had been stealing islands in the South China, the Xi Jinping administration's propaganda machine went into overdrive to whip up patriotic sentiment in China, with a massive wave of anti-American and anti-Japanese sentiment. Read the rest

Security researchers: the W3C's DRM needs to be thoroughly audited

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Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), part of a DRM system that's being standardized at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), marks the first instance in which a W3C standard will fall under laws like the DMCA, which let companies threaten security researchers with criminal and civil liability just for disclosing the defects in these products. Read the rest

Viral Chinese video: "Who cares?"

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The day that the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China had been stealing islands in the South China Sea, the Chinese Communist Party Youth League shared this viral video of young Chinese patriots saying "South Sea arbitration, who cares?" Read the rest

Amazon is full of Chinese counterfeits and they're driving out legit goods

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When Amazon decided to allow Chinese sellers to direct-list their products on the service (rather than going through domestic importers), it was seen as a defensive move against Alibaba, their deep-pocketed Chinese rival and vendor of everything from legit gadgets to crime supplies. Read the rest

China bans mentions of newly discovered species of beetle from social media

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The Rhyzodiastes (Temoana) xii is a newly classified species of beetle, indigenous to China's Hainan Island, whose name is a tribute to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Read the rest

Post-Brexit, white-power handbills blanket a north London street

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Twitter user LDLDN posted this image of a racist National Front poster on a lamppost in Camden, a neighborhood in north London -- a relatively affluent, diverse neighborhood dominated by a giant subculture market, two huge train stations (St Pancras and King's Cross), a university, and the British Library. Read the rest

ACLU files a lawsuit to repeal the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, used to prosecute Aaron Swartz

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The ACLU is suing to repeal parts of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a 1980s-vintage hacking law that makes it a felony to "exceed authorization" on a remote computer, and which companies and the US government have used to prosecute researchers who violated websites' terms of service. Read the rest

How to Break Open the Web: a report on the first Decentralized Web Summit

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June's Decentralized Web Summit at San Francisco's Internet Archive was a ground-breaking, three-day combination of workshops, lectures, demos and a hackathon, all aimed at figuring out how to restore the decentralized character of the early internet -- and keep it that way. Read the rest

Moral economy and software development: software without politics is recipe for totalitarianism

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Maciej Cegłowski (previously) keynoted the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics conference with a characteristically brilliant speech about the "moral economy of tech" -- that is, the way that treating social problems like software problems allows techies to absolve themselves of the moral consequences of their actions and the harms that result. Read the rest

Beyond "solutionism": what role can technology play in solving deep social problems

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Ethan Zuckerman -- formerly of Global Voices, now at the MIT Center for Civic Media -- has spent his career trying to find thoughtful, effective ways to use technology as a lever to make positive social change (previously), but that means that he also spends a lot of time in the company of people making dumb, high-profile, destructive suggestions for using technology to "solve" problems in ways that make them much worse. Read the rest

How to protect the future web from its founders' own frailty

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Earlier this month, I gave the afternoon keynote at the Internet Archive's Decentralized Web Summit, and my talk was about how the people who founded the web with the idea of having an open, decentralized system ended up building a system that is increasingly monopolized by a few companies -- and how we can prevent the same things from happening next time.

How it feels to be under DDoS attack

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At this week's O'Reilly Velocity conference in Santa Clara, Artur Bergman, founder and CTO, told the story of how he got involved in starting a denial-of-service-resistant CDN -- a personal story about helping his old company cope with a titanic DDoS attack that brought it and its upstream provider to their knees. Read the rest

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