Mozilla pulls a popular paywall circumvention tool from Firefox add-ons store

Bypass Paywalls is a popular extension for Firefox and Chrome that does what the name implies: allows your browser to manipulate its cookies so that websites with "soft paywalls" that allow a small number of free articles can't accurately determine if you've already exceeded your limit. Read the rest

Assessing Snowden's legacy, five years on

Five and a half years ago, Edward Snowden put his life on the line, gave up his country, and went into exile, just to reveal that he had been part of a widespread, illegal mass-surveillance program within the US government -- an illegal enterprise that the most senior spies in the nation had routinely lied about (including lying to Congress), and that had distorted the internet, suborning the titans of surveillance capitalism and pressing them into service as part of a program of national surveillance unlike any the world has ever seen. Read the rest

Jay Rosen's "Letter to My Network: Join The Correspondent"

This is for everyone who follows me on social media, or who has read my press criticism. All my former students. Fans of my blog, PressThink. Anyone who owns my book. Anyone who's heard me speak. It is a personal statement, from me to them.

I have never asked you for anything. Except maybe to read this, or share that. I don't push products, or join campaigns. But today, after 32 years as an observer and critic of the press, I am breaking with that policy. Breaking it in half. Read the rest

The market failed rural kids: poor rural broadband has created a "homework gap"

America's commitment to market-based broadband -- fueled by telcom millions pumped into campaigns against public broadband provision -- has left rural Americans without access to the broadband they need to fully participate in twenty-first century life, with students among the hardest-hit victims of broadband deprivation. Read the rest

The internet is made up of revolutionary technologies, but isn't revolutionary

My latest Locus Magazine column is What the Internet Is For: it describes the revolutionary principle (end-to-end communications) and technologies (general purpose computers, strong cryptography) that undergird the net, but also cautions that these are, themselves, not sufficient to revolutionize the world. Read the rest

Facebook blames malicious browser plugins for leak of 81,000 users' private messages and offer of account data for 120,000,000 users

A user called FBSaler is offering personal data for Facebook users at $0.10 each, claiming to have account data from 120,000,000 users to offer; to prove that they have the goods, they've dumped the private messages sent by 81,000 Facebook users; and account data from 176,000. Read the rest

China Telecom has been using poisoned internet routes to suck up massive amounts of US and Canadian internet traffic

In a new paper published in the journal Military Cyber Affairs researchers from the US Naval War College and Tel Aviv University document the use of BGP spoofing by China Telecom to redirect massive swathes of internet traffic through the company's routers as part of state military and commercial espionage efforts. Read the rest

Democrats unveil "Internet Bill of Rights": transparency, privacy, control, notification, Net Neutrality, competition, accountability

The Democrats' newly unveiled "Internet Bill of Rights" enumerates ten rights that the party says it will enshrine in law, ranging from Net Neutrality to data portability to timely notification of breaches to opt-in for data collection, the right to see the data held on you by surveillance capitalists, rights to privacy and to be free from surveillance-driven discrimination, pro-competitive measures and so forth. Read the rest

Standard Notes: free, open, cross-platform, encrypted, eternal note-taking app

With Evernote's business on the rocks, a lot of people are waking up to the fact that commercial, proprietary cloud systems work great (easy, well-supported) but fail badly (lock-in, sudden bankruptcy, loss of years' worth of important data). 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

Chinese slackers embrace "fat otaku happiness"

Feizhai kuaile ("fat otaku happiness") is a semi-ironic term used by young Chinese people on social media to celebrate slacking off with sedentary activities and high-calorie snacks, which are given ironic nicknames (pizza is "fat happy pancake" and Coke is "fat happy water"). Read the rest

Twitter suspends academic who quoted feminist STEM research

MIT Comparative Media Studies researcher/instructor Chris Peterson is an adrent supporter of the Math Prize for Girls, and as part of his work with the organization, he's learned about the way that STEM fields were once considered inherently feminine, while the higher-status humanities were dominated by men -- it's the subject of some outstanding feminist scholarship by Professor Maria Charles. Read the rest

Hank Green's "An Absolutely Remarkable Thing": aliens vs social media fame vs polarization

Hank Green (previously) is one half of the famous and much-loved Vlog Brothers; while his brother John Green (previously) is well-known for his novels, Hank hasn't ventured into fiction -- until now. His debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a deceptively romp-y novel about mysterious samurai alien robot statues appearing all at once, everywhere that has hidden and absolutely remarkable depths.

The most popular "privacy" tool in Apple's Mac App Store was stealing users' browsing history and sending it to China

Apple pioneered the idea of "app stores," where operating system vendors got to decide who could distribute software that ran on their platforms, arguing that these "curated" stores would ensure high quality and protect users from malicious and inferior code. 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

Meet the astounding Mozilla fellows for 2018

Mozilla's annual fellowships fund 10-12 months' of work by people who "put individuals in control of their personal data," "help connect the unconnected," "keep artificial intelligence accountable," and "make scientific research more open." This year's fellows are a particularly impressive lot. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

From Tahrir to Trump: how the internet became the dictators' home turf

Zeynep Tufekci (previously) leads Tech Review's politics issue with the best overview of the forces that have combined to make the internet so hospitable to totalitarians and racist pigs. Read the rest

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