"Sarah Jeong"

Biden says Section 230 tech liability shield should end for Facebook, Zuckerberg should be subject to civil liability

Former Vice President and current 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden says U.S. Section 230 should be immediately revoked for Facebook and other social media platforms, and that Mark Zuckerberg should be submitted to civil liability. Read the rest

Thangrycat: a deadly Cisco vulnerability named after an emoji ???

Thangrycat is a newly disclosed vulnerability in Cisco routers that allows attackers to subvert the router's trusted computing module, which allows malicious software to run undetectably and makes it virtually impossible to eliminate malware once it has been installed. Read the rest

Jeff Bezos’ investigator suspects 'a government agency' intercepted Amazon CEO's text messages

A Washington Post reporter said Thursday night that an investigator working for Jeff Bezos believes 'a government agency' accessed the Amazon CEO's texts and intimate photos.

Facebook hired GOP oppo firm to smear protesters by linking them to George Soros, an anti-Semitic trope: NYT

We are watching Facebook unravel in real time. I hope. Read the rest

A new, free edition Sarah Jeong's "The Internet of Garbage"

Journalist Sarah Jeong (previously) was just appointed to the New York Times's editorial board, prompting garbage people to dig through her twitter for old posts that could be made to seem offensive out of context in the hopes of getting her fired. Read the rest

Copyright law a poor shield against online harassment

Sarah Jeong's book The Internet of Garbage was first published in 2015. Then a timely primer about online harassment, the structure of the internet, and why corporate policies can't and won't deal with it, things have since changed: everything is now worse. The Verge is publishing a new edition, The Internet of Garbage 1.5 [Amazon], which they're also giving away as a free-of-charge eBook. This excerpt about copyright law and harassment—especially the complex dangers of using the former to counteract the latter—is an excellent taster.

When people are harassed on the internet, the instinctive feeling of those targeted is that the internet is out of control and must be reined in. The most prominent and broad regulation of the internet is through copyright, as publicized in the thousands of lawsuits that the Recording Industry Association of America launched against individual downloaders, the subpoenas the RIAA issued to the ISPs to unmask downloaders, and the RIAA and MPAA’s massive lawsuits against the Napsters, Groksters, and even YouTubes of the world.

In our mass cultural consciousness, we have absorbed the overall success of the RIAA and the MPAA in these suits, and have come to believe that copyright law is how one successfully manages to reach through a computer screen and punch someone else in the face.

Read the rest

Pounded in the butt by my own dark SEO: the weird, true story of #Cockygate

Back in May, indy romance author Faleena Hopkins embarked on a second career as a trademark troll, threatening to sue peers who use the word "cocky" in the titles of their romance novels, forcing people to take down books they'd written. Read the rest

In less than 24 HOURS, an EU committee votes on whether to mass-censor the global internet

We've got less than a day until the key vote on the wording of the new EU Copyright Directive, when members of the EU's legislative committee will vote on whether to include controversial mass censorship language in the proposal that the parliament will vote on. Read the rest

Why you couldn't quit Facebook

I tried to quit Facebook, but couldn't, not really, not yet. We know that in some respects we can't quit, because it keeps profiles on everyone anyway, but there's more to it than that. It's got its hooks deep into our relationships with friends and families. As Sarah Jeong writes, it performs work for us.

Facebook had replaced much of the emotional labor of social networking that consumed previous generations. We have forgotten (or perhaps never noticed) how many hours our parents spent keeping their address books up to date, knocking on doors to make sure everyone in the neighborhood was invited to the weekend BBQ, doing the rounds of phone calls with relatives, clipping out interesting newspaper articles and mailing them to a friend, putting together the cards for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and more. We don’t think about what it’s like to carefully file business cards alphabetically in a Rolodex. People spent a lot of time on these sorts of things, once, because the less of that work you did, the less of a social network you had. ...

It’s hard to pin down what Facebook is because the platform replaces labor that was previously invisible. We have a hard time figuring out what Facebook actually is because we have a hard time admitting that at least part of what it supplanted is emotional labor — hard and valuable work that no one wants to admit was work to begin with.

To leave Facebook is to create work for friends and family. Read the rest

The oil industry just told a judge that climate change is undeniably real, but they still found a way to weasel

Judge William Alsup in San Francisco is presiding over a case in which California cities are suing the big oil companies over the climate-related disasters they're experiencing; Judge Alsup asked for a "tutorial" session in which experts for both sides would be asked to explain the underlying science, something he's done in earlier cases that turned on technical questions, including a DACA case and a case on lidar and self-driving cars. Read the rest

Progressive Democrats in rural red districts are getting funded by lefty Silicon Valley techies

Maciej Ceglowski (previously) is one of Silicon Valley's sharpest critics, admonishing technologists for failing to consider ethics as they build and deploy products; one of his post-Trump initiatives is the Great Slate, a fundraising effort that urges techies to contribute to the campaigns of Democratic hopefuls in "less-affluent, often rural Republican-leaning districts," where the DCCC won't direct resources because candidates can't raise money of their own. Read the rest

Infosec vs. its predators

Pundits suggest the "Weinstein moment" — a broader, deeper awareness of abusive conduct, sexual harassment and criminal sexuality — is already fading without significant change. Few of the offenders face consequences worse than losing a gig, and yesterday we learned The New York Times isn't even up to that, letting its celebrity groper keep his job and trotting out Executive Editor Dean Baquet to dismiss his admitted behavior as merely "offensive." Sarah Jeong looks at another example: the hacker community, which did a surprisingly good job of outing its "missing stairs" but has trouble banishing them for good.

In information security, as in many other industries where the accused is a prominent figure, accusations can turn into a competition of social capital, and the accused almost always wins out over their accusers. But in this community, giving an accused rapist a pass has often been framed as a moral imperative with four words: “He does good work.” The assumption is that talent is scarce and sexual misconduct must be tolerated for the good of society. Little to no consideration is given to what we lose from disbelieving victims — their technical and social contributions, any future contributions by people who quite reasonably decide to avoid a toxic culture, and even beyond that, the quiet erosion of trust among bystanders. Complicity leaves a stain on us all.

Read the rest

Rogue One is a movie about internet freedom

Sarah Jeong is right (as usual): Rogue One is about internet freedom, a movie about the struggle to upload a large file under time-constraint in a post-Net-Neutrality dystopia where Dropbox is a distant memory and you can't just email a file to yourself for later reference. Read the rest

Motherboard's excellent, accessible guide to internet security

The Motherboard Guide To Not Getting Hacked is an excellent adjunct to existing guides (I like EFF's Surveillance Self-Defense and The Cryptoparty Handbook) to defending yourself against criminals, stalkers, cops, and other potential intruders into your digital life. Read the rest

Mastodon - like Twitter, without Nazis

Sarah Jeong of Motherboard says Mastodon is a "kinder, nicer, decentralized open source version of Twitter." I hope she's right! (I'm frauenfelder at Mastodon.cloud.)

Snip:

Privacy settings are more flexible than they are on Twitter—privacy is set on a per-post basis, a little similar to how it is on Facebook.

I could make it so all of my posts are private by default, but I don't have to choose between having a public or a private account.

The really interesting nuance here is between "Public" and "Unlisted." An unlisted post is viewable to the public, but it doesn't post to the local or federated timelines.

Read the rest

Echoing Infowars, Trump lies that 'very dishonest' U.S. press are covering up terror attacks

President Donald Trump went full Alex Jones Infowars conspiracy theory wingnut today, saying the American news media are conspiring to cover up a vast series of Islamic terrorist attacks in which innocent God-fearin' Americans have been killed.

Statements like this from authoritarian leaders are the sort of thing you hear when a regime is preparing to institute martial law. Perhaps that is where America is now headed. Hope not.

Today's wackadoodle Trump camp statement was yet another nutty lie, just like Trump's long-running racist birther campaign against President Barack Obama, whom we miss terribly, please for the love of God make this descent into national insanity stop. Read the rest

How defunding Planned Parenthood killed Star Wars' Old Republic

Sarah Jeong continues her brilliant, obsessive tear through the Star Wars canon (here's yesterday's post on the difficulties of the Warsverse's storage media and IT systems), this time looking at the outsized role that the lack of obstetric care plays in the collapse of the Old Republic and the rise of the Empire. Read the rest

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