from the because-that-works-so-well dept
Reports came out quickly today that the Syrian internet went almost entirely offline. Renesys, who reported this first, also provides some striking graphics on the situation:
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Nov 29th 2012 3:02pm
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Nov 28th 2012 7:26am
It is resolved in the House of Representatives and Senate that they shall not pass any new legislation for a period of 2 years from the date of enactment of this Act that would require individuals or corporations engaged in activities on the Internet to meet additional requirements or activities. After 90 days of passage of this Act no Department or Agency of the United States shall publish new rules or regulations, or finalize or otherwise enforce or give lawful effect to draft rules or regulations affecting the Internet until a period of at least 2 years from the enactment of this legislation has elapsed.Considering the worries that many of us have about bad regulations impacting the internet, you can understand how this might be appealing, but we should at least be careful of any potential unintended consequences, concerning how it might limit good bills to fix bad laws already in place. The language above appears to try to avoid that -- as it clearly allows for fixing some existing legislation so long as it doesn't create new requirements for individuals or companies, but even that could get in the way of potentially useful legislation. Not that I'm recommending this per se, but what if there is an effort to "fix copyright" by going back to a system of requiring registration to get a copyright, rather than automatically placing it on all works once fixed. There are other issues with such a proposal (mainly the Berne Convention), but let's say it was legitimately considered -- and it is an idea that many have suggested would solve a segment of the problems with today's copyright law. Yet, I could see how this moratorium would block that as imposing "additional requirements" for "individuals or corporations engaged in activities on the internet."
by Glyn Moody
Tue, Nov 27th 2012 12:00am
A couple of weeks ago, we worried that Brazil's innovative "Marco Civil", a civil-rights based framework for the Internet, was being gradually subverted as it passed through the legislative process. Sadly, it looks like that subtle attack has been taken to its logical conclusion, as Rick Falkvinge reports:
Yesterday, the Brazilian parliament effectively killed the much-heralded Internet Bill of Rights, the Marco Civil, that had been praised by entrepreneurs and free-speech activists worldwide. This follows a ridiculous watering-down and dumbing-down of the bill, at the request of obsolete industry lobbies.
This is a salutary reminder of the power of lobbyists to attack and destroy even even the most carefully-prepared initiatives. As for the bill's future, Falkvinge is pessimistic:
Marco Civil was shelved indefinitely in yesterday's voting session, unlikely to be revived ever again.
I think it's probably too early to make any definitive pronouncements about what will happen next -- maybe something more can be done, or parts of the text can be salvaged. But if it is indeed the case that the Marco Civil is dead, it will be a real tragedy given the amount of work that went into drafting it, and the widespread hopes that had been riding on it.
by Tim Cushing
Tue, Nov 20th 2012 7:22am
The folks at Denver's ABC-affiliated 7News last night ran a story about the David Petraeus sex scandal, his "mistress," Paula Broadwell, and her biography of Patraeus, All In.
Except instead of pulling an actual copy of the book cover, somebody just ran a Google search and pulled in the first thing they found. Which, unfortunately for 7News, was an altered copy of the book cover.
On the left, here, is the actual book cover. On the right is that image 7News pulled, most likely from a Google search.
Now, this sort of thing could have happened to anybody, but it really shouldn't be happening to professionals. But, as Apple points out, this sort of sloppy work is far from rare and he's got a long, long, incredibly long list of links to prove it (scroll towards the bottom of the page). A combination of careless image sourcing and less-than-thorough copy editing resulted in a situation that was likely much, much funnier to everyone not employed in certain positions at KMGH-TV. The news director has since offered an apology for the "regrettable and embarrassing error" and has promised to take steps to make sure this sort of mistake doesn't happen again.
Well, we'll see. Apple's list contains a lot of repeat offenders. In the meantime, KMGH-TV can be happy it accidentally added a bit of levity to its viewers' lives and added to the pantheon of screw-ups forever enshrined on the web.
Thu, Nov 15th 2012 8:01pm
The decree outlines new protections for the state and its rulers, effectively turning online criticism into an offense punishable by years of jail time, or deportation for foreign nationals. The decree “stipulates penalties of imprisonment on any person publishing any information, news, caricatures or any other kind of pictures that would pose threats to the security of the state and to its highest interests or violate its public order,” according to WAM.Classic authoritarian move. This is somewhat similar to what we've seen in China, as well, and I imagine it will work nearly as well (meaning in large part it won't). That said, there's been a demonstrably different reaction, or at least a difference in the scope of the reaction, in the Arab world. Perhaps that is why, while China has maintained its Great Firewall all this time without massive violent backlash, the Arab World certainly cannot claim the same. Obviously the Arab Spring was about much, much more than laws governing the internet, but those draconian laws are certainly a symptom of the greater disallusionment. While I understand the fear these monarchs have of the internet, there's no denying they are afraid.
Lately, there are signs of trouble all across the Arabian Peninsula. The implementation of strict new rules, like UAE’s new internet clampdown, shows that the monarchies are not blind to the simmering dissent around them. Nowhere is this clearer than in Bahrain, a constitutional monarchy that saw the largest unsuccessful protest on the peninsula last year. Saudi troops helped to quash those demonstrations, but the underlying problem -- a lack of fair political representation -- has not been addressed.I would suggest that you're going to see more revolution in the Middle East as the curtailing of freedom out of fear by governments, such as the UAE's new internet law, continues. When you fear people who are angry about the government not representing them, further silencing those people will only further incense them. Thus far, some of these oil-rich monarchs have survived, occasionally propped up by the West. Fortunately, as the dependency by the West, particularly America, on Middle East oil continues to drop, there will be less reason to help these governments resist their own people.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 12th 2012 3:45pm
This isn't to say (of course) that online polling is always accurate. It still very much depends on methodology (some online polls didn't do very well at all). But, it should put to rest the idea that online polling is inherently flawed or inaccurate.
...some of the most accurate firms were those that conducted their polls online.
The final poll conducted by Google Consumer Surveys had Mr. Obama ahead in the national popular vote by 2.3 percentage points – very close to his actual margin, which was 2.6 percentage points based on ballots counted through Saturday morning.
Ipsos, which conducted online polls for Reuters, came close to the actual results in most places that it surveyed, as did the Canadian online polling firm Angus Reid. Another online polling firm, YouGov, got reasonably good results.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 12th 2012 12:42pm
by Tim Cushing
Thu, Nov 1st 2012 8:43am
Tastemakers heard it, then moguls who were de facto tastemakers, and it spread to listeners who knew nothing about the singer except this beautiful thing she'd written. They fell in love at first listen. They gushed. They sang along. They recorded karaoke videos and public swoon mobs and re-enactments of its summer-love video. They sent it to No. 1 for seemingly the entire summer and sent its singer to what looked an awful lot like dazed stardom.Doesn't all of that sound absolutely horrible? Apparently St. Asaph would prefer Jepsen wallowed in obscurity so that she never had to be disappointed by the fact that she had and lost fame. Instead, it's better if she never had it, if I'm following the logic here correctly.
This sounds counterintuitive; shouldn't it help Jepsen for thousands of people to remix, recreate and otherwise rejoice over her song? But the meme's not about Jepsen; it's about her song, and she is secondary... This is the problem Carly Rae Jepsen's facing: loving "Call Me Maybe" as a meme hasn't made people invested in her as a musician.That may seem unfortunate, but it's hardly unique and it's hardly new. It certainly isn't an "Internet" problem. In fact, throw quotes around "problem" as well. Super-popular pop stars are rarely embraced as artists. They're embraced as temporary phenomena, a momentary distraction to be enjoyed until the next groundswell displaces them.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 24th 2012 9:28am
ISPs may require users to provide identifying information prior to accessing Internet content and services. The collection and preservation of identifying information associated with Internet data, and the disclosure of such information, subject to the appropriate safeguards, could significantly assist investigative and prosecutorial proceedings. In particular, requiring registration for the use of Wi-Fi networks or cybercafes could provide an important data source for criminal investigations. While some countries, such as Egypt, have implemented legislation requiring ISPs to identify users before allowing them Internet access, similar measures may be undertaken by ISPs on a voluntary basis.It seems like it should be a general rule that, if you're supporting something that includes better surveillance tools by saying, "Hey, Egypt -- the same country that recently had the people rise up to force out a dictator, who tried to shut down the internet -- does it!" perhaps you don't have a very good argument.
The development of a universally agreed regulatory framework imposing consistent obligations on all ISPs regarding the type and duration of customer usage data to be retained would be of considerable benefit to law enforcement and intelligence agencies investigating terrorism cases.Also... all that social media stuff going on out there? Scary, scary stuff because terrorists might use it as well. They might publish propaganda on it, and we can't have that:
The promotion of extremist rhetoric encouraging violent acts is also a common trend across the growing range of Internet-based platforms that host user-generated content. Content that might formerly have been distributed to a relatively limited audience, in person or via physical media such as compact discs (CDs) and digital video discs (DVDs), has increasingly migrated to the Internet. Such content may be distributed using a broad range of tools, such as dedicated websites, targeted virtual chat rooms and forums, online magazines, social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and popular video and file-sharing websites, such as YouTube and Rapidshare, respectively. The use of indexing services such as Internet search engines also makes it easier to identify and retrieve terrorism-related content.You hear that? All those internet companies, enabling terrorists. Oh, and they're not just handy for terrorists to promote their propaganda... but to sneak up on the dumb users who reveal important info for terrorists as well:
Particularly in the age of popular social networking media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and blogging platforms, individuals also publish, voluntarily or inadvertently, an unprecedented amount of sensitive information on the Internet. While the intent of those distributing the information may be to provide news or other updates to their audience for informational or social purposes, some of this information may be misappropriated and used for the benefit of criminal activity.Loose fingers on Twitter sink ships, as the saying goes.
In order to provide effective criminal justice responses to threats presented by terrorists using the Internet, States require clear national policies and legislative frameworks. Broadly speaking, such policies and laws will focus on:Nice of them to throw in that last one about human rights... because all of those other ones are really about ways to chip away (often with a pretty big digital bulldozer) at human rights and civil liberties. In providing examples of countries that have put in place good anti-cyber-terrorism laws... they list a who's who of countries with dubious human rights records, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. Oh, and China:(a) Criminalization of unlawful acts carried out by terrorists over the Internet or related services;
(b) Provision of investigative powers for law enforcement agencies engaged in terrorism-related investigations;
(c) Regulation of Internet-related services (e.g. ISPs) and content control;
(d) Facilitation of international cooperation;
(e) Development of specialized judicial or evidential procedures;
(f) Maintenance of international human rights standards.
In the terrorism context, in China there are provisions criminalizing different forms of terrorist activities, including article 120 of the Criminal Law, which criminalizes activities related to organizing, leading and participating in terrorist organizations. This broad criminalization provision covers a wide range of terrorism-related activities, including those carried out over the Internet.Of course, if you also get to define what counts as "terrorism," I imagine such laws can be quite handy in making opposition parties and activists disappear (or at least get them to shut up).
by Cole Stryker
Thu, Oct 11th 2012 2:11pm
I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down... I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.In July 2011, Randi Zuckerberg, then marketing director of Facebook, uttered the words above during a panel discussion hosted by Marie Claire magazine. She couldn't have anticipated the firestorm those few words would generate among those already uncomfortable with the direction the Web had taken in the preceding year.
Explore some core concepts:
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