Tag Archive: Internet


Almost three years ago, millions of Internet users joined together to defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a disastrous bill that would have balkanized the Internet in the name of copyright and trademark enforcement. Over the past week, we’ve been tracking a host of revelations about an insidious campaign to accomplish the goals of SOPA by other means. The latest development: Google has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of an overbroad and punitive subpoena seeking an extraordinary quantity of information about the company and its users. The subpoena, Google warns, is based on legal theories that could have disastrous consequences for the open Internet.

The subpoena was issued after months of battles between Google and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. According to the lawsuit, Hood has been using his office to pressure Google to restrict content accessible through the search engine.  Indeed, among other things, he sought “a “24-hour link through which attorneys general[]” can request that links to particular websites be removed from search results “within hours,” presumably without judicial review or an opportunity for operators of the target websites to be heard.”  As Google states, “The Attorney General may prefer a pre-filtered Internet—but the Constitution and Congress have denied him the authority to mandate it.” [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-12i – Michael’s Blog

If you are reading this article on the Internet, stop afterward and think about it. Then scroll to the bottom and read the comments. Then recheck your views.

Chances are your thinking will have changed, especially if you have read a series of insulting, negative, or mocking remarks—as so often you will. Once upon a time, it seemed as if the Internet would be a place of civilized and open debate; now, unedited forums often deteriorate into insult exchanges. Like it or not, this matters: Multiple experiments have shown that perceptions of an article, its writer, or its subject can be profoundly shaped by anonymous online commentary, especially if it is harsh. One group of researchers found that rude comments “not only polarized readers, but they often changed a participant’s interpretation of the news story itself.” A digital analyst at Atlantic Media also discovered that people who read negative comments were more likely to judge that an article was of low quality and, regardless of the content, to doubt the truth of what it stated. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-ZO – Michael’s Blog

The CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, undertaken by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and conducted by global research company Ipsos, reached 23,376 Internet users in 24 countries, and was carried out between October 7, 2014 and November 12, 2014.

The countries included: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Zp – Michael’s Blog

I’ve got nothing against spam…so long as it’s clogging up someone else’s inbox.

But when you waste my time trying to sell me all kinds of crap or, worse, sucker me into wrecking the security of my computer or bank account, I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid you. And I have.

Since I first wrote and advised consumers about spam for Consumer Reports way back in 2002, when spam was still in its infancy, I’ve learned a lot about how to minimize the time spam wastes. For example: [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-RU – Michael’s Blog

Data is a natural consequence of computing, and as search tools get better, it shifts the balance of power towards mass collection and surveillance, renowned security expert Bruce Schneier said at the SOURCE Boston conference on Wednesday.

“Surveillance is the business model of the Internet,” Schneier told attendees. “We build systems that spy on people in exchange for services. Corporations call it marketing.”

The data economy—the growth of mass data collection and tracking—is changing how power is perceived, Schneier said in his keynote speech. The Internet and technology has changed the impact a group can have on others, where dissidents can use the Internet to amplify their voices and extend their reach. Governments already have a lot of power to begin with, so when they take advantage of technology, their power is magnified, he said. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Ii – Michael’s Blog

The Kremlin is worried the West might try to shut off Russia’s access to the global Internet. According to a report by Russian newspaper Vedomosti on Sept 19, the Kremlin might soon deploy a new set of tactics in an effort to defend the country’s “digital sovereignty.”

Vedomosti’s anonymous sources say the Kremlin may require Russian Internet service providers to install “equipment that would make it possible to sever Russia’s access to the global Internet, in the event of an emergency.” According to the newspaper, Russian ISPs might be ordered to kill access to websites hosted in outside of Russia during “military actions” or “serious domestic protests.” [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-GL – Michael’s Blog

Next Wednesday, Sept. 10, if your favorite website seems to load slowly, take a closer look: You might be experiencing the Battle for the Net’s “Internet Slowdown,” a global day of grass-roots action. Protesters won’t actually slow the Internet down, but will place on their websites animated “Loading” graphics (which organizers call “the proverbial ‘spinning wheel of death’”) to symbolize what the Internet might soon look like. As that wheel spins, the rules about how the internet works are being redrawn. Large Internet service providers, or ISPs, like Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon are trying to change the rules that govern your online life.

The fight over these rules is being waged now. These corporate ISPs want to create a two-tiered Internet, where some websites or content providers pay to get preferred access to the public. Large content providers like Netflix, the online streaming movie giant, would pay extra to ensure that their content traveled on the fast lane. But let’s say a startup tried to compete with Netflix. If it couldn’t afford to pay the large ISPs their fees for the fast lane, their service would suffer, and people wouldn’t subscribe. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-CQ – Michael’s Blog

A deputy in the Russian parliament thinks the United States might cut off Russia’s Internet and suggests Russians take measures to get ready for the information blackout.

Ilya Kostunov, the deputy in question, believes the US might want to undermine Russia’s Internet access in order to destabilize the economy and to agitate the social and political sentiment in the country. He has also asked the Ministry of Communications to prepare a contingency “civil defence plan” in case the RuNet goes dark, according to TJournal. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Cu – Michael’s Blog

Google is to demote sites in its search results which don’t use secure connections by default.

Webmasters will have to enable HTTPS, a method of browsing the internet which prevents eavesdroppers from reading the communication between the server and visitor, or risk losing their positions on Google search results to other sites who do. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-q7 – Michael’s Blog

The business lobby often demands that government get out of the way of private corporations, so that competition can flourish and high-quality services can be efficiently delivered to as many consumers as possible. Yet, in an epic fight over telecommunications policy, the paradigm is now being flipped on its head, with corporate forces demanding the government squelch competition and halt the expansion of those high-quality services. Whether and how federal officials act may ultimately shape the future of America’s information economy. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-fR – Michael’s Blog

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