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

Vi Hart on shootings, stalkings, and Internetting While Female

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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

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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

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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

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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

Internet greybeards and upstarts gather to redecentralize the Internet

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This week, the Internet Archive is hosting a three-day event (which finishes today) called The Decentralized Web Summit, whose goal is to figure out how to build a new Internet that is "locked open," an idea that emerged from Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle's 2015 series of talks and articles about how technologists can build networks and protocols that are resistant to attempt to capture, monopolize and control them. Read the rest

Salt Lake City apartment complex threatens tenants with eviction if they don't "Friend" the building

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The landlords at City Park Apartments stuck memos on their tenants' doors last week, outlining a "Facebook addendum" requiring tenants to Friend the building on Facebook or lose their lease. Read the rest

Tell the EU: don't put price-tags on hyperlinks!

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Ruth writes, "The link tax is back, but we have a chance to stop it. The Save the Link network are pushing back against proposals in the EU for a new hyperlinking fee (AKA 'ancillary copyright') that will affect us all. If lobbyists succeed copyright rules will be extended to hyperlinks - giving publishers the right to charge business fees for linking to content." Read the rest

United Arab Emirates hacked UK journalist

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A new research report from Citizenlab painstaking traces the origins of a series of sophisticated hacking attacks launched at Rori Donaghy, a UK journalist for Middle East Eye who founded the Emirates Center for Human Rights, which reports critically on the autocratic regime that runs the UAE, and 27 other targets. Read the rest

Internet economics 101: "bandwidth hogs" considered harmless

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Big telcos and cable operators demand the right to impose data caps that punish their most enthusiastic customers for using too much Internet (with exceptions to the caps made for services that have paid bribes for "preferred carriage" of course), and they say that it's simple economics: if you use up more of a service, you should pay more for it. Read the rest

DDoSers sell attacks for $5 on Fivver

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Many years ago, EFF co-founder John Gilmore and I were discussing the prevalence of botnets, which are commonly used to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that overwhelm websites with floods of traffic; John said that if the botnets were really on the rise at the reported rate, we should expect to see a massive crash in the price of DDoS services, following simple supply/demand logic. Read the rest

Pastejacking: using malicious javascript to insert sneaky text into pasted terminal commands

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When a computer stops behaving, the solution often involves looking up an obscure command and pasting it into the terminal -- even experienced administrators and programmers aren't immune to this, because remembering the exact syntax for commands you use once every couple years is a choresome task. Read the rest

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