We lost the fight for balance in the EU's Copyright Directive, but here's what we won

The fight over the EU's Copyright Directive was the biggest fight in European political history: more than 100,000 people marched against it in 50 cities; more than 5,000,000 people signed a petition against it, and ultimately the Directive only squeaked into law because (Jesus Fucking Christ I can't believe I'm about to type this) five Swedish MEPs got confused pressed the wrong button (seriously kill me now). Read the rest

Peak Indifference: are we reaching climate's denial/nihilism tipping point?

I use the idea of peak indifference to describe the moment when activists no longer have to try to convince people that a problem is real (the problem does that itself, by ruining ever-more-people's lives), and then the job switched to convincing people that it's not too late to do something about it (if the day you finally decide to take rhino population declines seriously is the day they announce there's only one rhino left, there's a powerful temptation to shoot that rhino and find out what it tastes like). Read the rest

Vast majority of Americans and Europeans believe ad-targeting and feed customization are immoral

An RSA survey of 6,000 US and EU adults found that only a minority (48%) believes there is any ethical way to use personal data (that figure rises to 60% when considering US respondents alone); 57% believe that data-breaches are the fault of companies for gathering and retaining data, not the hackers who release it; only 17% believe that ad customization is moral; and only 24% believe that newsfeed customization is moral. Read the rest

Peak indifference: "extreme weather events" drive record US acceptance of climate change as an immediate problem

Peak indifference is the moment at which a far-off problem becomes so obvious that the number of people alarmed about it begins to grow of its own accord; a new Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication survey finds that 46% of Americans believe that they are living through adverse effects from climate change right now (up 9% in a year) and 72% of Americans say climate change is '"extremely," "very," or "somewhat" important to them personally' (the highest figure ever recorded); 57% acknowledge the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change (also the highest level ever). Read the rest

The glass is half-full (of bile over Facebook's business-model)

While it's true that the Pew Center found that most US Facebook users don't understand how they're being tracked and targeted, the more important fact is that the number of Americans who do understand this, hate it and are deleting their Facebook accounts because of it is growing fast. Read the rest

Peak indifference has arrived: a majority of Republicans say climate change is real

Five years ago, I coined the term "peak indifference" to describe a moment when a public health problem -- like climate change, tobacco use, surveillance capitalism, or monopolism -- reaches a tipping point: the moment when the consequences of actions taken a long time ago and very far away start to be felt so widely that the number of people who believe there is a problem starts to grow of its own accord. It's not the moment when a majority of people agree that the problem is real, but it is the moment at which the denial of the realness of the problem reaches its peak, and begins a long, inevitable decline. Read the rest

Happy Day Against DRM! How We'll Hill-Climb Our Way to Glory!

On this International Day Against DRM, I've published an editorial for EFF Deeplinks setting out a theory of change for getting us to a world without Digital Rights Management, where all our devices obey us instead of betraying us. Read the rest

Record numbers of Americans believe climate change is real, and a majority understand that humans are to blame

Amidst a global heatwave, some good news from the National Surveys on Energy and the Environment: a record-setting 73% of Americans believe that climate change is real and 60% believe humans are "at least partially responsible" for this fact. It's the peak indifference moment, when the fight shifts from convincing people that there is a problem to convincing them that it's not too late to do something about it. Read the rest

People don't care about "Net Neutrality": they care about "internet freedom" which is the same as "freedom"

Why do 87% of Americans hold a favorable view of Net Neutrality? Not because the vast majority of the country has become wonkishly interested in the intersection of competition policy and telcoms regulation: it's because they care about the internet. Read the rest

Happy Data Privacy Day! A turning point for anonymity, privacy, and the tools that deliver them

Last week, we celebrated Data Privacy day. Everything we do online—whether on a computer or on a mobile device—is being tracked, traced, compiled, crunched, bought and sold by familiar tech-titans like Google, Facebook, Verizon and hundreds of lesser known data brokers who help advertisers build frighteningly detailed digital profiles of users by harvesting data from a variety of sources, including customer databases and online platforms. After I lecture to my students on this topic, rattling off a dozen mechanisms by which corporations and governments can spy and pry on us, threating both anonymity and privacy, their reaction is usually either indifference (because, you know, they think they have nothing to hide) or for those that I’ve convinced they should care, some measure of despair.

Burger King's Net Neutrality/Whopper Neutrality video is surprisingly excellent and says something about mainstreaming of net policy

Burger King's video on "Whopper Neutrality" (see Carla's earlier post) -- an analogy to explain Net Neutrality that's also obviously a marketing campaign for Burger King -- is a surprisingly great explainer, but even more importantly, it's an important bellwether for corporate America's perception of public support for Net Neutrality. Read the rest

The Internet of Shit is so manifestly insecure that people are staying away from it in droves

In Deloitte's new 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, the company notes that "connected home systems—a category that includes home security, thermostats, and lighting—continue to lag behind other connected devices such as entertainment systems and connected vehicles," which the report attributes to "concerns about security and privacy." Read the rest

Spanish tech activists publish a "how-to guide for preserving fundamental rights on the Internet"

As the Spanish government was hacking the Catalonian independence movement, shutting down the .cat top-level domain, and engaging mass-blocking of websites and apps to control information about yesterday's referendum on Catalonian independence, the Xnet collective published a basic (but wide-ranging) guide to "preserving fundamental rights on the Internet," suitable for anyone living under the kind of state suppression that Spain underwent. Read the rest

Swedish transport agency breach exposes millions, from spies to confidential informants

The Swedish Transportstyrelsen (Transport Agency) botched its outsourcing to IBM, uploading its records to IBM's cloud and then emailing cleartext copies to marketing managers, unvetted IBM employees in the Czech Republic and others. Read the rest

Americans sent the FCC 1.6 million pro-Net Neutrality comments yesterday

Yesterday's Net Neutrality day marked unprecedented public participation in the formerly fatally dull realm of telcoms policy, as 1.6 million Americans sent the FCC comments supporting Net Neutrality. Read the rest

IBM reports data breaches were up 566% (4B docs!) last year

Information security is a race between peak indifference to surveillance and the point of no return for data-collection and retention. Read the rest

The Carbon Bubble is about to pop

Despite Trump's denial of climate change the the ghastly attacks on climate science and mitigation in the new proposed budget, the Carbon Bubble -- which overprices hydrocarbons and the industries that rely on them, as though we'll be burning all of them with impunity -- is about to pop. Read the rest

More posts