Competition can fix Big Tech, but only if we don't make "bigness" a legal requirement

I'm all for making Big Tech small again and fixing the internet so that it's not just five giant websites filled with screenshots from the other four, not to mention doing something about market dominance, corporate bullying, rampant privacy invasions and so on. Read the rest

Big Tech is deleting evidence needed to prosecute war crimes, and governments want them to do more of it

War crimes are among the most grisly and difficult-to-prosecute crimes; and yet, ironically, the criminals have made it easier for prosecutors, by uploading videos celebrating their atrocities to Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Youtube, where they can act as recruiting tools for terrorists and extremists. Read the rest

The Chinafication of the internet continues as the UK proposes blocking any service that hosts "illegal" or "harmful" material

Last year the US Congress passed SESTA/FOSTA, an "anti-sex-trafficking bill" that has resulted in the shuttering of all the services formerly used by sex workers to vet their johns, massively increasing the personal physical risk borne by sex-workers and reinvigorating the dying pimping industry, as sex workers seek out protectors. Read the rest

House Republicans propose poisoning Net Neutrality bill with Article-13-like liability

Last week, House Democrats introduced the Save the Internet Act, to enact the Net Neutrality protections favored by 83% of Americans; in response, Rep Greg Walden (R-OR, @repgregwalden, +1 (541) 776-4646) has proposed legislation rescinding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, "the most important law protecting internet speech", which says that online services are not required to pro-actively censor user postings that might contain illegal speech -- a vital protection that made it possible for sites like this one to have comment sections, and also enabled sites like Youtube and Snapchat to accept photos and videos from the public. Read the rest

Facebook won't accept ads for Hump, Dan Savage's delightful homebrew porno film-festival

Hump is a festival showcasing homemade pornographic shorts (5 minutes or less), created by beloved sex- and relationship-advice columnist Dan Savage (the guy who made Rick Santorum's name synonymous with the residue of lube, semen and fecal matter produced by anal sex; and who created the "It Gets Better and Impeach the Motherfucker Already campaigns). Read the rest

Sex workers pioneered the internet, and now the internet has rejected them

Motherboard's Sofia Barrett-Ibarria talks to sex-worker advocates about the early history of sex-work and the net; after economically sustaining the alt-weekly industry and its excellent local journalism, sex workers found themselves increasingly unwelcome in their ad sections and moved online, pioneering the internet as we know it today. Read the rest

Don't just fine Big Tech for abuses; instead, cut them down to size

My latest Locus Magazine column is Big Tech: We Can Do Better Than Constitutional Monarchies, and it's a warning that the techlash is turning into a devil's bargain, where we make Big Tech pay for a few cosmetic changes that do little to improve bullying, harassment, and disinformation campaigns, and because only Big Tech can afford these useless fripperies, they no longer have to fear being displaced by new challengers with better ways of doing things. Read the rest

The upside of big tech is Russia vs Telegram, but the downside is Cloudflare vs SESTA

Yesterday, I wrote about the way that tech-sector concentration was making it nearly impossible for Russia to block the encrypted messaging service Telegram: because Telegram can serve its traffic through giant cloud providers like Amazon, Russia can only block Telegram by blocking everyone else who uses Amazon. Read the rest

Congress passes FOSTA, Craigslist personals vanish. 'Casual encounters' & 'missed connections' gone.

The personals section of Craigslist was shut down indefinitely by its management on Thursday, a response to Congress’s passage of a law that holds websites liable for users who misuse personal ads.

That means no more "casual encounters" or "missed connections" (or anything under the “personals” umbrella) for anyone until much-further notice. It's all just gone.

Here's what it now reads when you try to click on any of the personals links:

US Congress just passed HR 1865, "FOSTA", seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.

Any tool or service can be misused. We can't take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.

To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

Crazy! This is really happening.

According to Gizmodo, Reddit has shut down several "questionable" subreddits because of the bill too. They are fearing "FOSTA" repercussions as well.

The EFF wrote Wednesday about the bill, saying, "Today was a dark day for the Internet."

Read: How Congress Censored the Internet: In Passing SESTA/FOSTA, Lawmakers Failed to Separate Their Good Intentions from Bad Law

Thanks, K-daddy! Read the rest