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Peak Advertising and the Future of the Web

"Advertising is not well. Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 3, 2014 - 173 comments

Down By Law

ISPs often don't say why a website is blocked and court orders are rarely voluntarily published. So when sites are blocked, it's really hard to find out why. 451 Unavailable is here to help ISPs make it clear why websites are blocked and to encourage courts to publish blocking orders. [more inside]
posted by jenkinsEar on Aug 15, 2013 - 30 comments

"I am absolutely clear that the state has a vital role to play."

Online pornography to be blocked by default in the UK, announces Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech today. Internet users will have to contact their ISPs to opt out of the filter. Possession of pornography depicting rape will also be illegal. Here is the full text of the speech. Coverage by The Independent, the Telegraph, and a shortened video of the speech at the Guardian. [more inside]
posted by Drexen on Jul 22, 2013 - 154 comments

Free Speech on the Internet

The Delete Squad: Google, Twitter, Facebook and the new global battle over the future of free speech.
posted by homunculus on Apr 30, 2013 - 27 comments

A Quiet Opening - North Koreans in a Changing Media Environment

As this research report will show, North Koreans today are learning more about the outside world than at any time since the founding of the country. North Korea is consistently ranked by Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders as the country with the least free media in the world. This ranking reflects the country's complete lack of an independent domestic media, its legal restrictions against accessing foreign media and the harsh punishments it metes out against citizens who violate those restrictions. Yet, since the late 1990s the information environment in North Korea has undergone significant changes. Although the media environment remains extremely restricted by international standards, North Koreans' access to outside media has grown considerably over the past two decades. Many inside the country continue to develop new ways to access information while avoiding the ever-present risk of detection and punishment.
posted by DiesIrae on Dec 11, 2012 - 13 comments

Goodbye and good riddance

At reddit we care deeply about not imposing ours or anyone elses’ opinions on how people use the reddit platform. We are adamant about not limiting the ability to use the reddit platform even when we do not ourselves agree with or condone a specific use. We have very few rules here on reddit; no spamming, no cheating, no personal info, nothing illegal, and no interfering the site's functions. Today we are adding another rule: No suggestive or sexual content featuring minors. - After much complaint, Reddit gets rid of /r/jailbait and selected subreddits with similar content.
posted by Artw on Feb 12, 2012 - 413 comments

Internet wins: SOPA and PIPA both shelved

SOPA and PIPA dropped by Congress. The ideas present in both SOPA and PIPA may return, but both bills in their present form—and with their present names—are probably done for good.
posted by asnider on Jan 20, 2012 - 99 comments

"Because we don't know how to make a wheel that is still generally useful for legitimate wheel applications but useless to bad guys."

Cory Doctorow's 28C3 talk The Coming War on General Purpose Computation (abstract, transcript) warns that "the coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race." [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 4, 2012 - 138 comments

Life will suck if they censor the internet

Get your censor on. GYWO creator David Rees takes on the Stop Online Piracy Act. Meanwhile, a group of 83 prominent Internet inventors and engineers sent an open letter to Congress, stating their opposition to the SOPA and PIPA Internet blacklist bills (previously).
posted by homunculus on Dec 15, 2011 - 81 comments

Why the world is scared of hacktivists

They’re watching. And they can bring you down: Why the world is scared of hacktivists. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Sep 25, 2011 - 94 comments

leakymails.com

Google's Latin America blog reports that millions of websites are blocked because an Argentinean court ordered ISPs to block leakymails.com and leakymails.blogspot.com, which many ISPs implemented by blocking the IP address 216.239.32.2 rather than tweaking their DNS responses.

OpenLeaks' Daniel Domscheit-Berg has claimed he destroyed more than 3,500 unpublished files held by WikiLeaks to protect sources, when he felt WikiLeaks could no longer protect them. Among the files destroyed was supposedly the U.S. government's no-fly list.
posted by jeffburdges on Aug 21, 2011 - 102 comments

Telex

Telex is an interesting proxy-less anti-censorship system designed to combat state-level censorship (pdf). But would it cost too much? Should we really trust "good" state-level actors with our anti-censorship efforts? And might it divert resources from established anonymity projects, like Tor, I2I, Freenet, etc.
posted by jeffburdges on Aug 7, 2011 - 18 comments

Deindividuation and Polarization through Online Anonymity

The Guardian: Online commenting: How the internet created an age of rage
posted by zarq on Jul 25, 2011 - 93 comments

Tightening The Net

Telstra and Optus, two of Australia's biggest ISPs, will start censoring the Internet next month. The two companies will block more than 500 websites.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Jun 22, 2011 - 99 comments

Iranian Internet 2.0: The First Halal Internet

Iran has a conflicting relationship with the internet. On one side, a large portion of the population are online, and even President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a well-publicized blog in 2006 (though it now seems to be offline). Then there was Iran's internet revolution in 2009, when there were country-wide internet censorship that was countered by use of web proxies. Later that same year, a company affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps purchased a majority share in the nation's telecommunications monopoly. The fact that IRGC was involved with a for-profit company was not news, as IRGC has long been involved in Iran's economy, but their role in communications was more troubling. The latest news causing a stir is a "halal" internet for Iran, "an internet that conforms to Islamic principles, to improve its communication and trade links with the world," according to a quote from head of economic affairs with the Iranian presidency, Ali Aqamohammadi. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 31, 2011 - 32 comments

Plan B

How to communicate if the government shuts down the Internet, according to: 1) Wired (wiki) 2) PC World
posted by msalt on Jan 28, 2011 - 63 comments

Maybe they could ban spam too while they're at it.

The British Government wants to ban porn from the internet. The move would force ISPs to block all pornographic content unless users had 'opted in' (providing a handy list of people who wish to view pornography) and is said to be motivated by a desire to combat the early sexualization of children. There is no word on how 'porn' is to be defined.
posted by unSane on Dec 20, 2010 - 136 comments

cleanternet

cleanternet: for a cleaner and safer internet.
posted by homunculus on Apr 25, 2010 - 58 comments

Virulent Discourse

Does the immediacy of the internet tend to make people more bad-tempered and ill-mannered than they would have been otherwise? Theodore Dalrymple seems to think so, but is comment moderation the answer? (via) [more inside]
posted by Secret Life of Gravy on Apr 9, 2010 - 52 comments

Google vs. China

The charges and retaliations seem reminiscent of so much cold war bluster, and indeed this encounter could be the first great clash of the 21st century’s two emergent superpowers—Google and China.
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 25, 2010 - 30 comments

Joining Iran, China and Burma in Joyous Information Purity!

The Australian Federal Government has decided to implement legislation filtering web content at the ISP level, despite ongoing criticism that the filter will do nothing to protect children and is diversion of funds from more fruitful policies, and is fairly simple to circumvent, and ignores peer-to-peer traffic completely. In light of March's leaked ACMA blacklist, many are understandably concerned about the list becoming a political tool. [more inside]
posted by Jilder on Dec 16, 2009 - 23 comments

One giant leap for Chinese Internet Censorship

Chinese news site dispense with user anonymity. Includes an updated list of sites China actively blocks, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (?!? - both links work only outside of China). prev
posted by allkindsoftime on Sep 9, 2009 - 40 comments

Graphic Sexual Horror, a documentary

A new documentary chronicles the rise and fall of Insex.com, one of the early websites. (NSFW) Co-directors Anna Lorentzon and Barbara Bell look at Insex, the people behind it, and the forces that ultimately brought it down. The stuff that Insex did tends to make even hardcore kinksters flinch a bit. However, as one reviewer points out, they at least put the activities into context, showing the performers both in the scenes (which include drowning and suffocation--some of this stuff may really hit some triggers for some people), as opposed to the notorious anti-porn documentary, The Price of Pleasure, which showed sex and kink without exploration of the performers' lives offscreen. One of the most interesting aspects of the film is that they ultimately were shut down not by obscenity laws, but by federal authorities who used the PATRIOT Act to claim that hardcore porn funded terrorism.
posted by Stochastic Jack on Sep 8, 2009 - 99 comments

Whack-a-mole

With the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on Thursday, China's ever-vigilant censors have stepped up the reach of the "Great Firewall," blocking Western sites like Twitter, Flickr, and (just one day after its launch) Microsoft's Bing. via [more inside]
posted by infini on Jun 3, 2009 - 54 comments

The Australian Government's Blacklisted Website List

Wikileaks has posted the complete list of websites that the Australian Government intends to block under its proposed opt-out internet censorship scheme. The Government has flagged plans to expand the blacklist to 10,000 sites or more. [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 on Mar 18, 2009 - 79 comments

Internet Sting

Several British Internet Service Providers have blocked access to a Wikipedia page (NSFW) of the 1977 album Virgin Killers by the German rock group The Scorpions. The Internet Watch Foundation had advised the ISPs that the albums cover featured imagery that was 'potentially illegal' child pornography. The way the ban was enacted has had the side effect of stopping thousands of UK users from editing articles on Wikipedia. Naturally not everyone is happy about this.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 8, 2008 - 102 comments

Experience the censored Chinese internet at home!

China Channel Firefox Add-on: Experience the censored Chinese internet at home! [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Oct 27, 2008 - 15 comments

Stuck in a child’s playground

Is Web2.0 a wash for free speech in China? "Lately I've given a few talks around town titled 'Will the Chinese Communist Party Survive the Internet?' My answer - for the short and medium term at least - is 'yes.'"
posted by Abiezer on Dec 1, 2007 - 13 comments

Access Denied

In the same spirit as the Open Net Initiative and Committee to Protect Bloggers that both track global internet filtering, Sami ben Gharbia's Access Denied Map tries to track the blocking of sites like Blogger, Flickr, YouTube and others by governments, as well as efforts by activists to keep them accessible or to challenge their blockage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 19, 2007 - 5 comments

Cryptome Shutdown

Cryptome Shutdown by Verio/NTT. Who Killed Cryptome.org?
posted by homunculus on May 1, 2007 - 28 comments

We should dig up Nixon and send him over again to fix this

The Great Firewall of China connects to a server within China, and lets you know if your site is blocked or not, per the government's internet censorship.
posted by mathowie on Feb 28, 2007 - 66 comments

Shut Up!

Sheep and Ostriches Closed brothels. Banned books. Closed minds. Internet censorship. Australia, the land of the free.
posted by altman on Jan 20, 2007 - 30 comments

Irrepressible

Irrepressible.info is a new campaign by Amnesty International and The Observer to fight internet censorship. One way to help is by publishing censored material from other websites onto your own.
posted by homunculus on May 28, 2006 - 15 comments

Save the Internet

Save the Internet is a coalition trying to preserve net neutrality and stop Congress from ruining the internet by giving it to the telecommunications industry this Wednesday. (More links, previous discussion, via.)
posted by homunculus on Apr 24, 2006 - 57 comments

NJ Assemblyman Proposes Outlawing Anonymous Internet Flaming

New Jersey Assemblyman Peter Biondi didn't like that he and his friends are getting flamed on the news portal NJ.com by people named, inter alia, "frenchtoast2." So he introduced a bill, and that bill would require "operators of interactive computer services" to make members' real names available upon demand, and allow content providers to be sued for contributory defamation. And he saw that this was good. And that was the first day.
posted by Saucy Intruder on Mar 7, 2006 - 35 comments

Shock and gore, online.

Shock and gore. The people behind "the world's goriest website", why they do it, and what it says about us.
posted by ascullion on Jan 14, 2006 - 48 comments

Some Might Call it Censorship

Google Blocks Abu Ghraib Images
I went to Google Images to search for it. "Abu Ghraib" brought up only photos of the outside of the prison. Not a single photo from the scandal. Next I searched for "Lynndie England", not a single picture. Next I decided to look for "Charles Graner" her boyfriend who was also prominently features in the pictures, nothing.
See for yourself.
posted by destro on Nov 6, 2004 - 71 comments

Iran systematically filters political websites

Iran systematically filters political websites: In contrast with what the Iranaian President had said in the UN summit on Information Technology last year, the OpenNet Initiative, in its latest bulletin, concludes that "Iran is indeed engaged in extensive Internet content filtering beyond just pornography, including many political, religious, social, and blogging websites.
"Most of these censored websites are Iran-specific; very little non-pornographic, "global" content is filtered from Iranian users. "
posted by hoder on Aug 19, 2004 - 8 comments

Net censorship in Iran: myth or reality?

Net censorship in Iran: myth or reality? Over hundred Iranians have the answer on the DailySummit.net, official blog of the World Summit on the Information Society. Would this be enough to embarass the big Iranian delegate in Geneva in front of the world--and the press?
posted by hoder on Dec 9, 2003 - 22 comments

Online dissent in China

China's crackdown on online dissent continues. It's been a year since the arrest of Chinese internet dissident Liu Di. Many of her supporters have signed petitions calling for her release, but last week one of their organizers, essayist Du Daobin, was himself arrested.
posted by homunculus on Nov 7, 2003 - 13 comments

Bush orders guidelines for cyber-war

Bush orders guidelines for cyber-war Is it my old age that makes me wonder what else might be in this secret directive as regards computers and the Net? "First set of rules for attacking enemy computers studied." Perhaps you support the president or you are the enemy (recall: you are with us or against us)....
posted by Postroad on Feb 7, 2003 - 7 comments

Internet Filtering in China

Internet Filtering in China, a report from the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School. There's been "a documentable leap in filtering sophistication since September 2002".
posted by liam on Dec 4, 2002 - 1 comment

It is not a crime to look at bomb-making websites...

It is not a crime to look at bomb-making websites... or so says Lieutenant Jason Ciaschini, police spokesman in Punta Gorda, where a Briton who was using a computer to look at bomb-making websites is now being held at Charlotte County Jail on immigration violations.
Florida police had evacuated the library and arrested him after he looked at bomb-making websites, and found suspicious liquids in his backpack.
"Looking up stuff on the Internet - everybody has freedom to do that," he also said.
posted by Blake on Jul 30, 2002 - 6 comments

Fire at Internet Cafe 'forces' Chinese government to close all 2400 Beijing cafes.

Fire at Internet Cafe 'forces' Chinese government to close all 2400 Beijing cafes. This one has to rank up there with the line from the Good Old Days in which missing Soviet leaders were often described as 'having a cold.' I can't wait for the 2008 Happy Fun Olympics.
posted by mathis23 on Jun 17, 2002 - 7 comments

Iran Online.

Iran Online. Can the opening of a countires 'cyber-borders' contribute to the liberalisation (small 'l') of the society? Iran has a rapidly increasing population, as well as a rapidly increasing online percentage, they have sports sites (they seem to like soccer), portals and the 'IranMania' search engine. Can un-censored access to the internet help build tolerance?
posted by asok on Feb 22, 2002 - 5 comments

Corporate censorship in China

Corporate censorship in China (via slashdot). I guess censorship and collusion in the repression of people is okay if you're making profits for your shareholders. An eye-opening look into the way that corporations are helping to facilitate censorship on the Internet in China. AOL and Yahoo's attitudes to what I thought were universal human rights is nothing short of sickening.
posted by pixelgeek on Feb 18, 2002 - 8 comments

John Ashcroft on web porn:

John Ashcroft on web porn: "I am concerned about obscenity and I'm concerned about obscenity as it relates to our children". I'm curious what those of you who are more on the conservative/libertarian side of things think about this. Are there special exemptions to the concept of free speech when it comes to this type of content? [more]
posted by owillis on Jun 11, 2001 - 40 comments

Most of us are familiar with stories about government suppression of the free flow of information on the Internet - e.g. China's crackdown on internet dissidents; France's tussle with Yahoo over online sales of Nazi memorabilia; and, fresh from yesterday's news, Iran's closure of 400 internet cafes. But did you know there are no web servers to speak of in North Korea? That you need government permission to own a fax machine or modem in Burma? That Somalia has only one ISP? If you can forgive some of its design peculiarities, this Enemies of the Internet report (by Reporters Without Borders) gives a pretty comprehensive rundown of the international state of online freedoms.
posted by varmint on May 14, 2001 - 6 comments

SinoFilter.com

SinoFilter.com Can I resume drinking from the made in China Metafilter coffee mug yet?
posted by ParisParamus on Apr 12, 2001 - 1 comment

Why in hell is the National Acadamy of Science involved in looking for ways to censor the Internet?

Why in hell is the National Acadamy of Science involved in looking for ways to censor the Internet?

Here's an interesting commentary on the fact that all censorship ultimately fails. A great quote: "It amazes me to see parents who support 'family values' demanding government censorship on the Net. In other words, their family values have failed, and they can't control their children, so they expect the government to control the situation for them." (Via GeekPress.)
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jan 8, 2001 - 7 comments

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