Many sites including Twitter, Shopify and Spotify suffering outage. USA Today and Fortune Magazine offer additional details. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the Department of Homeland Security was “monitoring the situation" but that “at this point [we] don’t have any information about who may be responsible for this malicious activity.”
Freedom of speech in the digital age - "Speech that disseminates ideas is more valuable than speech whose purpose is to intimidate others." [more inside]
Or rather, to be scrupulously accurate: We have been parted often since, in fact most of the time, as I live elsewhere, though she has ever been the companion of my heart. But I first knew her as my own on the internet. Making friends on the internet is the closest I have ever come to fulfilling my dream of becoming one of the monks of the B’omarr Order, who keep their brains in jars and the jars on mechanical spider-legs, and who are seen briefly in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi: It is a nearly perfectly unembodied act. Online, we are all Jane Eyre yelling about soul-kindred-ness to one another.
Two days ago, while automatically maintaining and updating TLDR - A Continuously Updated Historical TLD Records Archive, a "new" country unexpectedly provided public access, when North Korea misconfigured its nameserver. In other words, its limited intranet was opened to the internet, and North Korea's DNS "leak" was archived, recording 9 top-level domains with 28 websites, significantly lower than the previously estimated 1,000 to 5,500 websites in 2014. The internet, as accessed by those North Koreans who have or can use computers, is very small. [more inside]
The ruling that state laws trump FCC efforts to expand broadband access means that Pinetops' current service ends October 28, 2016. The city of Wilson, fearing jeopardizing the service they can currently legally offer, won't appeal. Meanwhile, AT&T has something classy to say about a competitor.
"If the internet killed you, I used to joke, then I would be the first to find out. Years later, the joke was running thin. In the last year of my blogging life, my health began to give out....My doctor, dispensing one more course of antibiotics, finally laid it on the line: “Did you really survive HIV to die of the web?” On the costs of the always-connected life: Andrew Sullivan, "I Used to Be a Human Being" (nymag.com).
Over the past few months, LinkNYC has installed hundreds of its free high-speed wi-fi kiosks in Manhattan, and dozens more in Queens and the Bronx. In addition to wi-fi, the kiosks provide USB charging for phones, and—via a small built-in tablet—free phone calls, maps, and access to the web. They'd be supported via advertising on the big HD screens on each side and would cost taxpayers nothing. Or that was the idea, anyway... [more inside]
From deities to data - "For thousands of years humans believed that authority came from the gods. Then, during the modern era, humanism gradually shifted authority from deities to people... Now, a fresh shift is taking place. Just as divine authority was legitimised by religious mythologies, and human authority was legitimised by humanist ideologies, so high-tech gurus and Silicon Valley prophets are creating a new universal narrative that legitimises the authority of algorithms and Big Data." [more inside]
Take a trip down memory lane to the hippest internet café of 1995 (SLYT).
The PT Spermoblast is a tool to mess with (english language) web pages. You order a specific page (form lankly), and the Polymerism serves it to you, with a few minor changes. I used a public domain English word list to seriatim pick words to disendow and put in. The Glenlivat doesn't read any effervescence, it only looks for words on the webpage that appear in its word list. [more inside]
The Cuban CDN El Paquete is a weekly service where someone (typically found through word of mouth) comes to your home with a disk (usually a 1TB external USB drive) containing a weekly download of the most recent films, soap operas, documentaries, sport, music, mobile apps, magazines, and even web sites. [more inside]
Brockville, Ontario is the newest place to add an Internet Purchase Exchange location to their municipality -- this one in a video surveilled section of the police parking lot. The idea seems to be relatively recent, but catching on, starting with one of the first in Mobile, Alabama and now with locations in Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Utah, and across Canada. With over 100 murders now linked to Craigslist, is this an idea whose time has come?
Kashmir, where over 50 civilian protesters have been killed in recent days and where the Indian government has imposed a physical curfew in places to prevent more protests, has also been subjected to a total "e-curfew": both mobile and broadband internet have been shut down by the Indian government, the former for over a month now (link, link, link). [more inside]
Are internet populists ruining democracy for the rest of us? by Vyacheslav W. Polonski, Network scientist, University of Oxford
"Five years ago I wrote something that became kind of popular.... It was bizarre to see my name in pink fonts, being sold as a commodity when the entirety of my work has been against the commodification of feminist ideas and the misuse, appropriation and subsequent lack of credit of feminism of color." (SL Medium, by Flavia Dzodan)
"Biologists have found that human language, like bird song, may evolve to accommodate its environment through acoustic adaptation. In the internet, a similar phenomenon happens to our visual languages: our memes hold something of the digital landscapes they proliferate in. In China, the digitally-active keep folders of 表情 (biǎo qíng) [gifs], which literally means “facial expression.”
An introductory field guide to the Chinese biaoqing.
An introductory field guide to the Chinese biaoqing.
“The point is to spoil it, to create the atmosphere of hate, to make it so stinky that normal people won’t want to touch it” [SLNewYorker]
BBC: "There are strong social divisions in how young people use digital technology, according to international research from the OECD. The economics think tank found that in many countries wealthy and poor pupils spent similar amounts of time online. But richer youngsters were much more likely to use the internet for learning rather than games. The study argues that even with equal access to technology a "digital divide" persists in how the internet is used.""
Verizon to Pay $4.8 Billion for Yahoo’s Core Business [The New York Times] Yahoo was the front door to the web for an early generation of internet users, and its services still attract a billion visitors a month. But the internet is an unforgiving place for yesterday’s great idea, and on Sunday, Yahoo reached the end of the line as an independent company. The board of the Silicon Valley company agreed to sell Yahoo’s core internet operations and land holdings to Verizon for $4.8 billion, according to people briefed on the matter, who were not authorized to speak about the deal before the planned announcement on Monday morning. [more inside]
Stealing Hope: A longread series from the Charleston Post & Courier on a group of "emotional scammers" preying on increasingly desperate adoptive parents. (Design Warning: All Links Contain Autoplaying Animations)
Increasingly, what counts as a fact is merely a view that someone feels to be true. Many newsrooms are in danger of losing what matters most about journalism: the valuable, civic, pounding-the-streets, sifting-the-database, asking-challenging-questions hard graft of uncovering things that someone doesn’t want you to know. Serious, public-interest journalism is demanding, and there is more of a need for it than ever. It helps keep the powerful honest; it helps people make sense of the world and their place in it. Facts and reliable information are essential for the functioning of democracy – and the digital era has made that even more obvious.
If, after the media dubbed Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (YT video, Wikipedia) as "Star Wars" (transcript) in 1983, you might quesiton his concerns triggered from another movie mere months later. But after watching WarGames, he was informed that "the problem is much worse than you think." WarGames was that accurate thanks in part to input in the script from an engineer named Willis Ware, who had concerns about network security (PDF) for decades before the movie. Reagan's fears lead to the first cybersecurity directive from any U.S. President and the first concerns about the NSA's potential role in "data base oversight" (Google books preview), as well as an attempt to regulate teenagers and teenaged technology (Gbp) that impacts US internet use to this day. And then there was the USSR computer program that nearly triggered WWIII. What a year. [more inside]
Even Doing Academic Research On Video Games Puts Me At Risk: On managing personal information in a risky field.
Vitalik Buterin invented the world's hottest new cryptocurrency and inspired a movement — before he'd turned 20 - "I think a large part of the consequence is necessarily going to be disempowering some of these centralized players to some extent because ultimately power is a zero sum game. And if you talk about empowering the little guy, as much as you want to couch it in flowery terminology that makes it sound fluffy and good, you are necessarily disempowering the big guy. And personally I say screw the big guy. They have enough money already." [more inside]
In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
Ever wonder what the Internet might look like in Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings? Wonder no more: THE REALM OF ROUGH TELEPATHY
Why a staggering number of Americans have stopped using the Internet the way they used to Nearly one in two Internet users say privacy and security concerns have now stopped them from doing basic things online — such as posting to social networks, expressing opinions in forums or even buying things from websites, according to a new government survey released Friday. This chilling effect, pulled out of a survey of 41,000 U.S. households who use the Internet, show the insecurity of the Web is beginning to have consequences that stretch beyond the direct fall-out of an individual losing personal data in breach. The research suggests some consumers are reaching a tipping point where they feel they can no longer trust using the Internet for everyday activities.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About How ISIS Uses The Internet by Sheera Frenkel [Buzzfeed] They talk on Telegram and send viruses to their enemies. BuzzFeed News’ Sheera Frenkel looks at how ISIS members and sympathizers around the world use the internet to grow their global network. [more inside]
Free Basics: Facebook's Biggest Setback From Zuckerberg’s vantage point, high above the connected world he had helped create, India was a largely blank map. [more inside]
Civitacampomarano is a small village in the province of Campobasso, Italy, with just 400 souls, mainly elderly. In this village, rich in folk traditions, Internet is a partially unknown world: mobile phones have difficulty working and the data connection is practically nonexistent. [more inside]
Scott Malcomsen has a brand new book: Splinternet; How Geopolitics and Commerce Are Fragmenting the World Wide Web. [more inside]
KC Green, the artist behind the "this is fine" meme, talks about its origin and meaning.
To the immense relief of technical support staff everywhere as well as your Aunt Helen, you can now buy a smartplug for power-cycling your internet router. It seems like router makers are aware you might need this.
How could kids today rebel? Stephen Fry suggests going off the grid.
When Rape Is Broadcast Live On The Internet by Rossalyn Warren [Buzzfeed News] Sexual assault, domestic abuse, and attempted murder are among the crimes recently captured on live video services. BuzzFeed News uncovered one apparent incident of a rape aired in real time and asked what it means for the companies that host this content. [more inside]
"When we punish others, we're advertising our own moral character" is one of the assertions made in this piece on Vox that offers a number of explanations for the question of "why it's so easy to get sucked into fights on the internet."
After leading with a cover story criticizing Xi Jinping (otoh) The Economist has been censored in China; Time too and now Medium. [more inside]
What happens when creating a new AI chatbot is as easy as installing a new app? Hugh Hancock writing on Charles Stross's blog explores the future implications of swarms of artificially intelligent chatbots. [more inside]
Phineas Fisher Hacks Back! Last year, an Italian company best known for selling surveillance software to governments was hacked. Phineas Fisher gives an overview of how he gained access to the Hacking Team's network.
Shoes - ten years ago Liam Kyle Sullivan created "Shoes", one of the first viral hits of the YouTube era featuring his Midwestern teen girl character Kelly. Now he sits down with Vice to talk about YouTube fame, touring, how it came about, and what came after.
THE SECRET RULES OF THE INTERNET: The murky history of moderation, and how it’s shaping the future of free speech [Potentially NSFW - language & content]
The Guardian Investigates What Goes On "Below the Line" Comments allow readers to respond to an article instantly, asking questions, pointing out errors, giving new leads. At their best, comment threads are thoughtful, enlightening, funny: online communities where readers interact with journalists and others in ways that enrich the Guardian’s journalism. But at their worst, they are something else entirely. [more inside]
The memorable URL damn.dog hides a game where you try to guess the titles of WikiHow articles by one of their illustrations.
How an internet mapping glitch turned a random Kansas farm into a digital hell: For the last decade, [Joyce] Taylor and her renters have been visited by all kinds of mysterious trouble. They’ve been accused of being identity thieves, spammers, scammers and fraudsters. They’ve gotten visited by FBI agents, federal marshals, IRS collectors, ambulances searching for suicidal veterans, and police officers searching for runaway children. They’ve found people scrounging around in their barn. The renters have been doxxed, their names and addresses posted on the internet by vigilantes. Once, someone left a broken toilet in the driveway as a strange, indefinite threat. All in all, the residents of the Taylor property have been treated like criminals for a decade. And until I called them this week, they had no idea why.
A draft of a highly anticipated Senate encryption bill was leaked to The Hill late on Thursday night, sparking a swift backlash from technology and privacy groups even before the legislation has been introduced. [more inside]