Hungary: Coronavirus law lets PM Viktor Orbán rule by decree, threatens 5 years in prison for 'misinformation' spreaders

Hungary has passed a coronavirus response law that gives sweeping powers to the government. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán can now rule by decree, and there are jail terms of up to five years for anyone accused of spreading “misinformation,” including social media posts. Read the rest

"Overly descriptive" color pallettes

Colors.lol combines two things the web was made for: color scheme generators and uncanny generative text.

Created as a fun way to discover interesting color combinations. Palettes are hand-selected from the Twitter bot @colorschemez. The randomly generated palettes match each color with an adjective from a list of over 20,000 words.

Created by Adam Fuhrer.

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Kevin Kelly on the future of the Internet in China

My friend and Cool Tools partner, Kevin Kelly created a 36-part lecture series about the future for China Mobile. He's running them on his YouTube channel. The first one is about the future of the Internet in China.

There are three big challenges in the Internet space that all countries must face in the near future. China's approach to the challenges will impact not only Chinese Internet users, but potentially all Internet users. What interface follows the smart hone, whether it be AR-enabled glasses, foldable screens, or wearable projectors, will not only be influenced by China's substantial Internet-using population, but also by their manufacturing. Privacy, as it relates to online information collecting and sale, has consequences for broader community standards, and there is no one-size fits all approach to this issue. China must engage their own ethicists, community, government and technologists to develop a solution that works for China. Finally, globalization. Most of China's internet success has been within China, but as China begins to consider how it might attract users from outside its borders, it will need to consider dialing back the protections that have held foreign Internet companies at bay.

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Twitter bans posts that 'dehumanize' people for diseases like coronavirus

No COVID-19 shaming, please.

Twitter announced Thursday it will ban tweets that “dehumanize” people because they have a disease, disability, or because of their age, which happens to correspond to a spike in the number of tweets about the fast-spreading global coronavirus outbreak. Read the rest

Firefox turns on DNS encryption

Firefox announced today that DNS over HTTPS will be on by default in new versions of its browser, adding an extra layer of security for people browsing the information superhighway. Read the rest

'Sandworm' hacking group linked to Russian GRU's Main Center for Special Technology, says U.S.

U.S. State Department blames Russia for cyberattacks that hit neighboring Georgia in October 2019

By identifying Russia's digital assaults on neighbors, US hopes to raise awareness of ongoing GRU attacks on US Read the rest

Facebook: Bloomberg campaign memes won't be classified as political ads

We've written here at Boing Boing before about Mike Bloomberg's awful memes, which the 2020 presidential hopeful's campaign machine crapped out on Facebook and Instagram this week with awful accounts like FuckJerry.

Facebook said Friday it will allow 'influencers' like FuckJerry to produce sponsored content for political campaigns, as long as the posts are clearly identified as ads, but sponsored political content will not be placed in Facebook’s political Ad Library, unless they're "boosted" by the influencer as a paid post, the company announced on Friday. Read the rest

Moscow: Twitter and Facebook fined 4 million rubles each for refusing to store data on Russian citizens in Russia

A court in Moscow today issued fines of 4 million rubles each against Twitter and Facebook for the social media companies' refusal to store data about Russian citizens inside Russia. Read the rest

UK to empower media regulator Ofcom to regulate internet, remove 'harmful' content

The UK government has announced a plan to put media regulator Ofcom in charge of regulating the internet, with a focus on removing illegal content and minimizing “harmful” content. Read the rest

Google and other tech giants want Hong Kong alternative after U.S. blocks undersea cable

• 'U.S. tech giants are considering alternatives to Hong Kong as a global data hub after national security officials upended plans for a trans-Pacific internet link to the territory, according to people familiar with the matter.' —- WSJ Read the rest

Private equity take-over of .ORG domain delayed

Some activists must have been heard, California's Attorney General has delayed the transaction wherein a private equity firm is buying the .ORG tld, seeking more information.

Mashable:

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sent a letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) demanding more information about the private equity takeover of the .org domain registry. The attorney general is seeking answers to 35 questions concerning the sale as well as documents sent between ICANN, private equity firm Ethos Capital, and Public Interest Registry (PIR), which manages the .org domain.

Ethos Capital disclosed last year that it was acquiring PIR from its non-profit parent organization, the Internet Society, for $1.135 billion.

ICANN, the non-profit organization that oversees domain names, disclosed the letter on its website along with its own correspondence with PIR, informing it of the development. Previously, ICANN had until Feb. 17 to approve or deny the sale. According to ICANN, as a result of the California AG’s letter, it’s seeking to delay this deadline until April 20.

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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

What happened to the web in 2014?

André Staltz traces the "web is dead" inflection point to 2014 and the answer is the obvious one: Facebook. The details are more complex, though, and involve Google giving up on its social media efforts, Facebook taking direct control of which websites are exposed to its users, various Facebook publishing schemes (some backed by fraudulent metrics, a la pivot to video), the switch of everything to mobile-first, and (later, in 2018) Amazon achieving a 50% market share for online retail.

There is a tendency at GOOG-FB-AMZN to bypass the Web which is motivated by user experience and efficient communication, not by an agenda to avoid browsers. In the knowledge internet and the commerce internet, being efficient to provide what users want is the goal. In the social internet, the goal is to provide an efficient channel for communication between people. This explains FB’s 10-year strategy with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as the next medium for social interactions through the internet. This strategy would also bypass the Web, proving how more natural social AR would be than social real-time texting in browsers. Already today, most people on the internet communicate with other people via a mobile app, not via a browser.

The Web and the internet have represented freedom: efficient and unsupervised exchange of information between people of all nations. In the Trinet, we will have even more vivid exchange of information between people, but we will sacrifice freedom. Many of us will wake up to the tragedy of this tradeoff only once it is reality.

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Data viz video of the most visited websites from 1996 to 2019

In 1996, AOL and Yahoo! were at the top. Things changed. They can change again.

(Data Is Beautiful) Read the rest

Unintentionally funny voice-over-IP demo from 1978

In 1978, researchers were conducting early experiments in group teleconferencing using packet switching over the ARPANET, which became the basis of the Internet. These "packet speech systems" evolved into the VoIP that we know and love (?) today. Above is a 1979 video from the USC Information Sciences Institute of an experiment involving a "dramatization" of a group teleconference. As /r/ObscureMedia user jetRink posted, "The meeting participants are late, unprepared and frustrated, the audio quality is terrible and nothing is accomplished except the scheduling of another meeting."

Just like today!

For more on this, see Stanford University professor Robert Gray's "History of LPC Digital Speech and its impact on the Internet Protocol." Read the rest

How social media destroyed the web's art communities

Kelsey Ables explains how social media killed art communities. It's not just a statement of fact, but a history of the parts of the web that mainstream users might have only seen in the periphery as it happened, but whose loss is now keenly felt.

And while artists have made their mark on all of the major social-media networks, these new, bigger sites have changed the way we communicate and consume. Algorithms steer us back to similar content in echo chambers that inhibit both critical and creative thinking. Platforms incentivized to keep users scrolling discourage long-looking and render users as passive consumers, rather than active seekers of inspiration. They aren’t a space for productive feedback, either: Art takes on a different tone when it’s surrounded by dog GIFs, political memes, and your cousin’s baby photos.

The blanding out of art hosts like DeviantArt and ConceptArt are the big ticket items, and the decay of tumblr into a "joyless black hole" exemplifies the process. But I feel things on a smaller scale are more instructive. Left unsaid, but also important: when audiences migrated to Facebook and other social media platforms, what was left behind on once-vibrant small community sites often went toxic fast. Read the rest

Internet mostly fake now

When bots finally accounted for half the traffic on the internet, Media Experts speculated that algorithms would start identifying bots as a better advertising target than humans. Max Read points out that fear of "Inversion" is now quaint. Now everything is so fake online that no-one trusts numbers at all.

In the future, when I look back from the high-tech gamer jail in which President PewDiePie will have imprisoned me, I will remember 2018 as the year the internet passed the Inversion, not in some strict numerical sense, since bots already outnumber humans online more years than not, but in the perceptual sense. Everything that once seemed definitively and unquestionably real now seems slightly fake; everything that once seemed slightly fake now has the power and presence of the real. The “fakeness” of the post-Inversion internet is less a calculable falsehood and more a particular quality of experience — the uncanny sense that what you encounter online is not “real” but is also undeniably not “fake,” and indeed may be both at once, or in succession, as you turn it over in your head.

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