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]
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]
Europe's top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), has struck down the 15-year-old Safe Harbour agreement that allowed the free flow of information between the US and EU.
Fresh from The Intercept (that fearless vanguard of journalism helmed by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras): disturbing documents exposing the unfathomable reach of the United Kingdom's GCHQ in its quest for total awareness of global internet traffic. A hundred billion user actions logged per day. A "Black Hole" database of 1.1 trillion logs. Frightening programs like KARMA POLICE, MEMORY HOLE, and MUTANT BROTH that correlate the kilo-crore corpus -- IP addresses, cookies, forum posts, search histories, emails, and passwords all compiled and cross-referenced into a real-time "diary" that gives penetrating insight into the relationships, beliefs, and desires of every web user on the planet. Internal documents suggest only widespread encryption can threaten the regime -- a movement the UK is determined to subdue (previously). [more inside]
The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has issued a subpoena to Reason magazine, in order to identify anonymous commenters mouthing off about a federal judge. Ken White at Popehat broke the story. [more inside]
The Solace of Oblivion by Jeffrey Toobin [The New Yorker] "In Europe, the right to be forgotten trumps the Internet."
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio actually makes a case against austerity and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
Popular “prediction market” Intrade is shutting its doors to US Customers, following a suit (filed post-election fortunately) by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. Some see this as inevitable, given their history of dissembling to regulators. Other (predictably) see it as another restriction of internet freedom. [more inside]
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.
The Obama White House formally speaks out against SOPA, PIPA. The Obama White House has come out against the Stop Online Piracy Act. The move has -- unsurprisingly -- drawn responses from the MPAA, RIAA, and other interested parties.
"In almost all cases it is not possible to bring a civil action against" a website that hosts your nude images posted without your consent.
This past July, Forbes blogger Kashmir Hill posted a three-part series about "online defamation and involuntary nudity." The first entry focused on an offender: Hunter Moore, owner of IsAnyoneUp.com (Link is NSFW.) The second entry focused on a victim: Paul Syiek, whose company was defamed by a disgruntled ex-employee on the consumer website Rip-off Report. The third profiled a Senior Copyright attorney at Microsoft, Colette Vogele, who co-founded a side project this year to help victims: WithoutMyConsent.org. [more inside]
Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
Today a California appeals court ruled that free online porn is not unfair competition to pay sites.
Law professor Susan Crawford takes a moment to explain to all of us why we should be wary of Verizon's decision to suspend FiOS rollout across the country and the resulting likely domination of the high-speed internet access biz by the cable companies in a short (for a legal journal) paper in the Yale Law and Policy Review. [more inside]
Despite very strong denials last week from Google and Verizon that they were not discussing ways around Net Neutrality, Google and Verizon held a conference today to announce their agreement to the establishment of price-tiered network services, dividing the current Internet into a "neutral public Internet" that remains "open" (and which preserves access to YouTube and other Google properties), and a set of paid, priority channels that Verizon and other telecoms can use to deliver certain other types of content at higher prices, particularly over cell networks and whatever future infrastructure the Internet will be carried over.
Online Talk, Suicides and a Thorny Court Case A Minnesota nurse named William Mechert-Dinkel is charged with aiding in the suicides of a woman in Canada and a man in the UK. He assumed the name Li Do and trolled online for depressed people to encourage in (ultimately one way) suicide pacts. Caught in part by the efforts of a concerned retiree in the UK, his case brings up issues of not just jurisdiction but also of free speech. Somewhat related and previously.
Internet television host Revision3 was the victim of a denial of service attack this weekend. The source of the attack? None other than RIAA and MPAA-funded MediaDefender.
Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright A fascinating illustrated historical tour, looking at how different technologies have shaped how we think about copyright and intellectual property.
Wael Abbas is an Egyptian blogger and anti-torture activist who recently won a journalism award for his documenting police brutality in Egypt, which led to the conviction of two police officers. In Egypt, blogging can get you arrested, and Abbas has taken enormous risks. But now YouTube has removed his videos and suspended his account after receiving complaints (possibly from the Egyptian government) about their graphic content, and Yahoo has disabled his email account. Evidently YouTube is not the ally human rights advocates had hoped it would be.
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.
9/11 changed everything? And the NSA is only looking at overseas and terrorist-related phone and internet records?
to gather information about Americans' phone records --... the NSA had approached the company (Qwest) about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records. ...Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts. ... -- The Administration's crimes and illegal spying on all of us and Quest's punishment for not going along with their plans.
What's the Big Secret? Four surveillance experts try to figure out what the NSA's superclassified wiretapping program really is (hint: it may have something to do with the filters). They don't seem to realize that this kind of reckless public discussion means some Americans are going to die. [Via Threat Level.]
Brent Kovar got investors and employees to believe his invention was the next big thing, but nobody's ever seen it. Mister Kovar had also been appointed in 2003 to the Business Advisory Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee by then-Congressional Majority Leader Tom Delay. Apparently, a DC-9 they co-owned (painted to resemble aircraft from the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security) was busted in Mexico with 5.5 tons of cocaine on board. First link via fark
"Guantanamo Unclassified." Adel Hamad, a 48-year-old Sudanese elementary-school teacher, has been held at Guantanamo for five years without charge or evidence of a crime. His lawyers have been unable to convince a federal court to review his case, so they started started Project Hamad and posted a short movie about him online. This is an example of how human rights activists can use YouTube to bring their cases to the public.
While Courtney pulled an Albini, Jeff handed out the bread. Are the peasants acting like emperors, or do they still want something shiny, aluminum, plastic, and digital? Debacle or cage, something's got to give (pdf). Alternatively, you can just roll your own.
DHS's CyberStorm-- --Recognizing the imminent threat hippies and assorted leftists obviously pose to us all, a massive cyber terror simulation (international and involving 115 organizations) recently came to light: ...The attack scenario detailed in the presentation is a meticulously plotted parade of cyber horribles led by a "well financed" band of leftist radicals who object to U.S. imperialism, aided by sympathetic independent actors. At the top of the pyramid is the Worldwide Anti-Globalization Alliance, which sets things off by calling for cyber sit-ins and denial-of-service attacks against U.S. interests. WAGA's radical arm, the villainous Black Hood Society, ratchets up the tension on day one by probing SCADA computerized control systems and military networks ...
Wikipedia wrangling once more: the entire German edition was shut down this week over the contents of a single entry. The parents of the article's subject, a German hacker who died in 1998 under mysterious circumstances, are displeased with his real name being disclosed in the encyclopedia. It is now back online; however, the future of the family's efforts is currently unclear, not only due to the German order's debatable validity in the US - but also because the order was, initially at least, mistakenly addressed to St. Petersburg, Russia, instead of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Nissan.com belongs to Nissan Computer Corp., owned by Uzi Nissan in Raleigh, N.C. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has been in a protracted legal battle with Nissan Computer Corp. for control of the domain name and 10 million dollars. Now comes the mind-blowing coincidence: back in the day, Gateway, Inc. (then Gateway 2000, Inc.) was suing Gateway.com, Inc., owned by Alan Clegg, also of Raleigh, for control of gateway.com. They eventually settled out of court.)
Microsoft, AOL, Earthlink, Yahoo sue hundreds in six lawsuits More here (registration req'd). Nation's largest spammers targeted in first lawsuits under Congressional Anti-Spam Legislation.
Here's an interesting story for people who like to write and post stuff on the internet Judge Diana Lewis of Circuit Court in West Palm Beach issued an order that forbids Mr. Max to write about Ms. Johnson. That prohibition is not limited to his website. She ruled on May 6, before Mr. Max was notified of the suit and without holding a hearing. She told Mr. Max that he could not use "Katy" on his site. Nor could he use Ms. Johnson's last name, full name or the words "Miss Vermont." The judge also prohibited Mr. Max from "disclosing any stories, facts or information, notwithstanding its truth, about any intimate or sexual acts engaged in by" Ms. Johnson. Finally, Judge Lewis ordered Mr. Max to sever the virtual remains of his relationship with Ms. Johnson. He is no longer allowed to link to her Web site. ... All this as a result of a lawsuit in which Ms. Johnson maintained that Mr. Max had invaded her privacy by publishing accurate information about her.
This short bit of info from the lawyers who apparently are going to be investigating verisign for the New York Attorney General. many a person seems to have had issues with verisign. those in NY who have had problems with are encouraged to speak up.
Federal judge rules Morpheus, Grokster not liable for Internet piracy. Well that is until the big pocketed music industry finds a favorable judge and wins the appeal.
Blawgs: Blogs from the legal world. Lessig is not the only lawyer sharing his expertise in the blog format. Blawgs range from individual lawyers (Ernie the Attorney) to entire firms using a collaborative format to focus on a single practice area (such as the Supreme Court). "Almost every law firm is trying to build a knowledge management system for itself to take advantage of the expertise within the firm," Svenson says. "But with blawgs, it happens organically. If you gave your lawyers their own blawgs, pretty soon everyone within the firm could see who knows the most about different topics." Are knowledge management systems feasible or practical yet?
This new RIAA lawsuit really frosts my cookies! I can't believe the Recording Industry Ass. of America has the balls to think they can censor the Internet, but they contend that "As a matter of fact, copyright itself was written into the Constitution before the Framers ever even got to the first 10 amendments." Therefore, the RIAA reserves for itself the right to determine which Internet websites you may view. Please discuss.
FBI enforcing the bandwidth CAP. With broadband caps spreading across North America, I wonder if we will see more stories like this, as users find they want to use more than 4 to 6 gigs a month.
Congress is legislating free speech on the internet again. Passed shortly after the Communications Decency Act was thrown out by the Supreme Court, the Child Online Protection Act isn't as broad as the CDA but does it still go too far in an effort to protect children? Shouldn't parents be responsible for their own children?
As usual, when it's the U.S. turn, they play by different rules How come Russian and Scandinavian hackers can be charged under U.S. law for activities done in their home countries, yet when an American company gets a very reasonable request (IP tracking that it is done for web banners anyway) from a judge overseas, the U.S. grabs the free speech / local law argument.
Congress on Thursday chose not to extend a 1998 ban on taxes that target the Internet, meaning that, theoretically, state and local governments could begin imposing Internet taxes on Monday.
Congress on Thursday chose not to extend a 1998 ban on taxes that target the Internet, meaning that, theoretically, state and local governments could begin imposing Internet taxes on Monday. Wow, we've been watching over our shoulders for terrorist and congress slips us a fast one!
Silicon Valley backs Senate bill that would allow companies to report computer network attacks to the government without having to worry about the public finding out. The reasoning: it would encourage more companies to report the problems and help the government track down the culprits. A similar bill is in the House.
What Would This Do To the 'Net? Would such legislation be Constitutional?
There will always be a lawyer. "Internet intoxication"? This is worse than twinkies.
House Republican introduces resolution to protect ISPs from criminal liability for third party content. Californian David Dreier's proposal isn't an actual bill but would put the House on record as supporting such protections.
Oh shit, oh piss, oh dear. Judge rules domain names are not property. We had enough problems with this in the last decade with 800-numbers. <sigh>
Because nothing says "You Suck!" quite like a website. "Sucks sites" and how to run them without getting sued...
Another day, another piece of unconstitutional net-censorship legislation in Congress. And this time it's authored by your pal and mine, John "Watch Out for Charlies!" McCain. Perhaps we should start a deadpool for all these bills, giving out some cash to whoever guesses the dates on which the courts throw them out?
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