Instagram announces anti-harassment tools, overtaking Twitter


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


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


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?"


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


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


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


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


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

3061357-inline-i-1-networks (1)

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


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


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

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


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

Vi Hart on shootings, stalkings, and Internetting While Female


Like many youtubers, the incomparable, fast-talking, sharpie-doodling mathematician Vi Hart (previously) was stunned by the Orlando shooting of Christina Grimmie, a Youtube singing star who broke out into the mainstream, and who was murdered by a man who attended her public appearance. Read the rest

W3C DRM working group chairman vetoes work on protecting security researchers and competition


For a year or so, I've been working with the EFF to get the World Wide Web Consortium to take steps to protect security researchers and new market-entrants who run up against the DRM standard they're incorporating into HTML5, the next version of the key web standard. Read the rest

Appeals court: FCC has jurisdiction to impose net neutrality on ISPs


The Federal District Appeals Court has upheld the FCC's jurisdiction to impose net neutrality rules on telcos, leaving intact last year's landmark FCC ruling prohibiting carriers from downgrading the connections to networked services that didn't pay for "premium carriage." Read the rest

Emojibot uses deep learning to synthesize expressive new nonverbal communications


Dango is a personal assistant that feeds its users' messages into a deep-learning neural net to discover new expressive possibilities for emojis, GIFs and stickers, and then suggests never-seen combinations of graphic elements to your text messages that add striking nuances to them. Read the rest

More posts