Jerktech: Silicon Valley's most shameful export

Jerktech is the very apt epithet for the class of "disruptive" startups that sell things that don't belong to them, like parking spots and restaurant reservations, simply raising the prices of them and making access to public resources a factor of your disposable income.

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Fake Google subdomain certificates found in the wild

An Indian certificate authority in the Microsoft root of trust has been caught issuing fake Google subdomain certificates that would allow nearly undetectable eavesdropping on "secure" connections to services like Google Docs.

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Kremlin offers Silicon Valley a Russian Internet with Chinese characteristics

A new Russian law requires companies to store Russians’ data within Russia’s borders, out of reach of the NSA, and in reach of Russia’s own secret police. It’s China all over again, writes Cory Doctorow.

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"Personal Internet security" is a team sport


My latest column in Locus magazine, Security in Numbers, looks at the impossibility of being secure on your own -- if you use the Internet to talk to other people, they have to care about security, too.

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Microsoft non-pologizes for misleading judge, seizing No-IP's DNS


Yesterday, Microsoft convinced a judge to let it take over No-IP's DNS service, shutting down name service for many websites, in order to stop a malware attack. Today, the company fake-pologized.

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Brazil's Internet-enabled activism kicks all kinds of ass


Airshowfan writes, "Over the past several years, various citizen groups in Brazil have used the power of online crowdsourcing in creative ways to tackle social problems large and small."

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Facebook's massive psychology experiment likely illegal


Researchers from Facebook, Cornell and UCSF published a paper describing a mass-scale experiment in which Facebook users' pages were manipulated to see if this could induce and spread certain emotional states.

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Bffbot1 loves you as only an algorithmic entity can


@bffbot1 is the latest weird-ass crazy awesome Twitterbot from Shardcore.

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Jo Walton talks science fiction, research, & collaborating with readers

David writes, "I host the literary radio show Between The Covers (KBOO 90.7FM/PDX) and my most recent guest was Jo Walton (MP3), who has been profiled multiple times on Boing Boing. We talk about her most recent book, My Real Children, about why George Eliot even though she preceded the beginnings of science fiction nevertheless has a science fictional mind, about the particularly obstacles women writers of science fiction and fantasy face, about the writing terminology Jo Walton has invented and why, and how she uses her online fan community as a vital resource for research when she writes."

Jo Walton : My Real Children

Charlie Stross on the stop/go nature of technological change

Charlie Stross's keynote speech to the Yet Another Perl Conference is an inspired riff on the weird, gradual-then-sudden nature of technological change. As Charlie points out, almost everything today -- including the people -- was around 20 years ago, and most of what's around now will be around in 20 years. But there will be some changes that would shock your boots off. Improbably, he manages to tie this all into perl programming, which, apparently, is the future of smart sidewalks. Charlie's thoughtfully provided a transcript of his talk, and there's a video for those who prefer to hear his rather good comic delivery.

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HTML head-tag earrings


Etsy seller Nights Requiem makes these $5, 10mm <head>/</head> earrings with antiqued silver bezels (there's also a $5.50 14mm version). (via Geekymerch)

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Nominate for the EFF Pioneer Award

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has opened the nominations for the 2014 Pioneer Award, which celebrates people who have contributed substantially to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications. Anyone can nominate, and the winners will be chosen by an independent and august jury. I am enduringly proud to have received the Pioneer Award, along with such luminaries as Limor "Lady Ada" Fried, Bruce Shneier, Bunnie Huang and Aaron Swartz.

Bittorrent Sync seeks alpha testers

Bittorrent Sync is a Dropbox-like service through which the bittorrent protocol is used to synchronize all your devices. I recently used it to receive a large file from a friend in Los Angeles, and I was amazed and delighted by the speed an ease with which it came down. Bittorrent is calling for alpha testers to help it refine the product for its official launch.

Correction: An earlier version of this story got it wrong. I misremembered how the Bittorrent Sync product worked and erroneously believed that it used a cloud of bittorrent users to cooperatively share synch duties for one another.

It's exciting to see a more decentralized, redundant approach to cloud computing. Of all the resources we use with our computers, bandwidth is the scarcest and most fraught (since it's controlled by evil phone companies and mined by lawless spies). Storage, meanwhile, is fantastically abundant -- hard drives get so much cheaper so much faster that it's sometimes mindboggling. Many of us have storage to spare, and swapping that for cloud-based storage for backup, sharing and collaboration makes good sense.

The Bittorrent Sync architecture is reminiscent of the Freenet Project, a classic censorship-resistant file-sharing technology. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

How city governments can help make Net Neutrality a reality


Cable lobbyist-turned-FCC-Chairman Tom Wheeler can promise to override state laws prohibiting publicly owned ISPs, but it doesn't matter if all the big cities are locked into ten-year franchise agreements with cable and phone companies. As an Electronic Frontier Foundation editorial points out, US mayors can and should take steps to make municipal broadband a reality, putting competitive pressure on America's foot-dragging, worst-of-breed ISPs. Many cities are sitting on a gold-mine of "dark fiber" that can be lit up to provide blazing-fast connections, and even in places where state law prohibits municipal Internet service, there are loopholes, like the one that Chattanooga, TN used to light up a gigabit network that's 100 times faster than most Americans can get.

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Gangs run mass-scale romance cons with phished dating-site logins


Netcraft reports on a rising tide of automated phishing deployed against online dating sites; crooks steal accounts, strike up romantic relationships with their victims, then run 419-style cons on them. Using dating sites as part of a con isn't new, but using stolen accounts to do it is, especially at scale. The phishing kits are easy to deploy and are used to capture credentials for dating sites including match.com, Christian Mingle, POF (PlentyOfFish), eHarmony, Chemistry.com, SeniorPeopleMeet, Zoosk and Lavalife. Interestingly, the phishing kits found in the wild now disproportionately seek logins for dating sites, as compared to banking sites and other traditional fraud targets.

Criminals launch mass phishing attacks against online dating sites [Paul Mutton/Netcraft]

(via /.)

(Image: ...And Then Sometimes Valentine's Day Sucks!, Jackie, CC-BY)