A recent TV ad for Cheerios depits a heartwarming family vignette: An adorable tyke asks her mother if the cereal is good for the heart, her mother says yes, and the dad wakes up from his nap to find a pile of Cheerios on his chest. But the fact that the mother is white, the dad is black and the child mixed-race has touched off a firestorm of criticism that one media critic described as "a progressive-looking commercial collides with the ugliness of the Internet." Parent company General Mills says it is has no plans to stop airing the spot or to take it down from its YouTube channel. [more inside]
How the feminist internet utopia failed, and we ended up with speculative realism. Contemporary mass culture equates anonymity with secrecy or downright negative intent, not harmless experimentation. Who lies about who they are online? Pedophiles, scammers, hackers, bullies, Wikileaks. Anonymity has turned from thrilling to terrifying. 1:1 self-to-body ratio is a moral mandate. It’s no wonder that nailing down objective reality seems so attractive.
Washington Post: NSA and FBI are mining data from nine major tech companies in formerly secret program. Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple are being monitored, with Dropbox "coming soon". The program, called PRISM, is reportedly the most prolific contributor to the President's Daily Brief.
Jail for sharing HBO Go passwords New York Times tech journalist Jenna Wortham made a confession that could be used to send her to prison for a year or more. What was the startling criminal admission? She uses someone else’s password to sign into the cable-subscriber-only HBO Go app to watch ‘Game of Thrones.’
Abbi Jacobson got a letter in the mail, sent from Lt. Joseph O. Matthews, addressed to his wife, and was sent to her exact MacDougal Street address 70 years ago. [more inside]
I turned around to face an approaching figure. It was Larry Page, naked, save for a pair of eyeglasses. “Welcome to Google Island. I hope my nudity doesn’t bother you. We’re completely committed to openness here. Search history. Health data. Your genetic blueprint. One way to express this is by removing clothes to foster experimentation. It’s something I learned at Burning Man,” he said.
A Logic Named Joe is a short science-fiction story by Murray Leinster. Published in 1946, the story depicts data-mining, massively networked computers, search engines, privacy/censorship filters and internet porn. Read it here.
The end of , the beginning of Blink... The Evolution of the Web, in a Blink
How can a company that earns no money be worth a billion dollars? How you answer that question will determine whether you believe that what is now occurring in the office parks and strip-mall coffee shops of the San Francisco Peninsula is the last gasp of another speculative financial bubble or the early articulations of a new world order.
Security alert: notes from the frontline of the war in cyberspace Jon Ronson interviews Andrew Auernheimer aka weev, Kim Dotcom, 'Troy' from Anonymous and Mercedes Haefer
EFF's Who Has Your Back? for 2013. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published the 2013 edition of their analysis of how well your private data is protected from the government by about a dozen big internet companies. Also available as pdf. Focused on the US, but may apply elsewhere, too.
"It's a been a year now since I 'surfed the web' or 'checked my email' or 'liked' anything with a figurative rather than literal thumbs up. I've managed to stay disconnected, just like I planned. I'm internet free. And now I'm supposed to tell you how it solved all my problems. I'm supposed to be enlightened. I'm supposed to be more 'real,' now. More perfect." Paul Miller is back on the Internet after spending a year offline. (previously)
The Delete Squad: Google, Twitter, Facebook and the new global battle over the future of free speech.
DANZA DID IT! Free Propadanza for Tony Danza. Call the hotline! "Fanza" fan art galleries. Spread Danza. Tony Danza.
Paul F. Tompkins and Allison Brie talk Community and Mad Men and then they create unsexy gifs and imitate various internet memes.
The Internet is cat; books are dog. "We're reading dogs and clicking cats."
The ACLU reports that the IRS claims in an internal document that it has the authority to access citizens' online communications without a warrant. The IRS claimed in a 2009 document that "the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications." It still retains that position even after the 2010 case of US v Warshak which determined that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications. [more inside]
Will online education dampen the college experience? Yes. Will it be worth it? Well... [more inside]
What is the Internet anyway? What is Internet, anyway? What is the Internet? What is the Internet, really? [more inside]
How stores spy on you: Many retailers are snooping more than ever Gaze trackers are hidden in tiny holes in the shelving and detect which brands you’re looking at and how long for each. There are even mannequins whose eyes are cameras...Cisco is testing a system [that] automatically detects your mobile device and connects you to the retailer’s free Wi-Fi network. "Once the customer gets on the network, he has opted in, and the privacy concerns are allayed..." [via] [more inside]
Income At Home, Herbalife, and the $8 billion pyramid. Exposing the iconic brand behind Scamworld’s most visible ‘biz opp’. [Previously 1, 2]
One insider's view of the mobile phone & internet revolution in the UK, 1992-2002. Featuring awkwardly stages pictures of the author, Simon Robinson, with Atomic Kitten.
About a week ago a series of tweets began to appear promoting a new TEDx conference taking place with all the normal social media bluster and back-patting - but was it? The event's isolated location should've set off warning bells (previously) when the tweets from "TedxSummerisle" because increasingly worrisome as the conference tumblr began posting videos with titles like "Our Friends the Bees, and Nanotech" and "The Secret Science of the Ancients". (via)
The Nielsen Family Is Dead. Nielsen Now Tracks (Almost) Everything You Buy: Credit, Debit and Bank Data Now Combined With TV, Online Viewing. Nielsen Offers Focus on ‘Zero-TV’ Homes. Nielsen Agrees to Expand Definition of TV Viewing. The 23,000 U.S. homes Nielsen currently samples are going to see some changes this year. [more inside]
"While playing around with the Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE) we discovered an amazing number of open embedded devices on the Internet. " After completing the scan of roughly one hundred thousand IP addresses, we realized the number of insecure devices must be at least one hundred thousand. Starting with one device and assuming a scan speed of ten IP addresses per second, it should find the next open device within one hour. The scan rate would be doubled if we deployed a scanner to the newly found device. After doubling the scan rate in this way about 16.5 times, all unprotected devices would be found; this would take only 16.5 hours. Additionally, with one hundred thousand devices scanning at ten probes per second we would have a distributed port scanner to port scan the entire IPv4 Internet within one hour. [more inside]
Global Internet Porn Habits: An interactive map that lets you see the most commonly searched porn terms by state or country. No porn images, but obviously porn-related language and the word porn in the URL, so whether it is SFW is up to you.
Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does.
It’s not often that one has the opportunity to be the target of a cyber and kinetic attack at the same time. But that is exactly what’s happened to me and my Web site over the past 24 hours. On Thursday afternoon, my site was the target of a fairly massive denial of service attack. That attack was punctuated by a visit from a heavily armed local police unit that was tricked into responding to a 911 call spoofed to look like it came from my home. Well, as one gamer enthusiast who follows me on Twitter remarked, I guess I’ve now “unlocked that level.” ~ KrebsonSecurity
"Relatives don’t really show me any examples, but there was a point where my daughter, who is about to turn 20, when she was in her early teens, she thought it was a hoot when she was mad at me to compare me to Hitler. She’d look at me with a very mischievous look and say, 'You know, you’re acting just like Hilter.'"
In the Internet era, a very few companies control our information destiny. In this talk, and in her new book "Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age," Susan Crawford—a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and a former special assistant to President Obama for science, technology and innovation policy—demonstrates how deregulatory changes in policy have created a communications crisis in America. The consequences: Tens of millions of Americans are being left behind, people pay too much for too little Internet access, and speeds are slow. But everyday people can change this story - and what happens in the year ahead could change the game for good.
A ~40 minute lecture with questions afterward.[more inside]
With a database of over 5,000 scientists, from Nobel prize winners to postdocs and PhD students, Sense About Science works in partnership with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to change public discussions about science and evidence. They make these scientists available for questions from civic organizations and the public looking for scientific advice from experts, campaign for the promotion of scientific principles in public policy, and publish neat guides to understanding science intended for laypeople. [more inside]
An Autopsy of a Dead Social Network: analyzing the collapse of Friendster. (Summary; full paper available at arXiv.)
Visitors to, and other non-residents in, North Korea are now able to tweet and instagram, as mobile data services are gradually opened up. (Probably) the first tweet sent in this way appeared earlier today. [more inside]
"Its not like we all sat in silence and stared blankly at our TVs waiting for the Internet to show up. We have probably always had vernacular webs of communication." Digital studies scholar Robert Glenn Howard talks about vaccines, the Christian right [PDF], AC/DC guitar tutorials and other "born-digital folklore" on the "vernacular web."
New anti-piracy system will hit U.S. Internet users next week. And here's a primer on the Copyright Alerts System (CAS) or six strikes system, also from the Daily Dot.
As Microsoft prepares to retire its unfashionable Hotmail in favor of Outlook.com this summer, let's remember the viral marketing revolution that Hotmail invented. Journey back seventeen years to Hotmail's origins, the birth of the dot.com millionaire, and the boozy optimism of a pre-crash web industry in full-growth mode (Wired, December 1998) .
The Princess and the Trolls: The Heartrending Legend of Adalia Rose. A six year old with progeria, the internet, well-meaning adults, and a bunch of not so well-meaning ones, plus facebook and youtube, create the usual storm.
Come into my igloo: online dating as eight year old. Virtual worlds like Fantage are fun, innocent, bright-colored versions of the massively-multiplayer online games that teenagers and adults play. They also unintentionally function as online dating sites for the elementary and middle school set. [more inside]
"Pop quiz: what is the favorite social networking site of Americans under age 25? If you guessed Facebook you are way behind the eight-ball, because Tumblr now enjoys more regular visits from the youth of America." Tumblr is not what you think. "Tumblr provides its users with the oldest privacy-control strategy on the Internet: security through obscurity and multiple pseudonymity [... it] proves that the issue is less about public vs. private and more about whether you are findable and identifiable by people who actually know you in real life."
To understand what is at stake we need to make our way through the rhetorical smog. For months prior to the WCIT, the Euro-American press trumpeted warnings that this was to be an epochal clash between upholders of an open Internet and would-be government usurpers, led by authoritarian states like Russia, Iran and China. The terms of reference were set so rigidly that one European telecom company executive called it a campaign of “propaganda warfare” (2). ~ Masters of the Internet, Le Monde Diplomatique
Thanks to the Archive Team's rescue of Geocities (previously), you can now stroll down memory lane with One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age Photo Op, a Tumblr of Geocities screenshots generated in Netscape 4.51.
telegeography.com has a nice gallery of zoomable maps of global telecommunications and IT infrastructure, such as submarine cables (1 2), and internet backbones.