U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move likely to please international critics but alarm many business leaders and others who rely on smooth functioning of the Web.
Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance last year.
The practical consequences of the decision were not immediately clear, but it could alleviate rising global complaints that the United States essentially controls the Web and takes advantage of its oversight role to help spy on the rest of the world.
It sounds like the stuff of science fiction: seven keys, held by individuals from all over the world, that together control security at the core of the web. James Ball joins a private ceremony, and finds the reality is rather closer to The Office than The Matrix
What these men and women control is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. This is the internet’s version of a telephone directory - a series of registers linking web addresses to a series of numbers, called IP addresses. Without these addresses, you would need to know a long sequence of numbers for every site you wanted to visit.
read more @ The Guardian
In yet another instance of science belatedly confirming what common sense has already told us, a new paper from researchers at three Canadian universities concludes that Internet trolls aren’t just mean — they’re sadists and psychopaths.
The paper, published last week in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, surveyed a group of several hundred on their Internet behaviors and personal traits. It found that trolling correlated with higher rates of sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism, a certain lack of scruples when it comes to deceiving or manipulating other people.
“… it might be said that online trolls are prototypical everyday sadists,” the paper rules.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been “trolled” online before. For those of you that have not, know first that you are living a blessed existence — and second, that online “trolls” are frequently anonymous people who provoke discord and discomfort online, often just because they can. (This Know Your Meme post sums the “subculture” up pretty well.)
My surprise, let me show you it.
I know what you’re thinking, but this is not a joke. Its Io9, not the Onion, and the National Security Agency webpage for kids is real.
About 18 percent of drug users in America used product purchased from Silk Road before it was shut down, according to a study set to be published in the journal Addiction and highlighted by DailyDot. The overwhelming majority of users in the US, UK, and Australia went on Silk Road to buy MDMA, more so than marijuana.
Silk Road was a broad-based black market for selling drugs and fake documents that ran for three years and was accessible via the Tor network until the FBI seized the domain and shut down the site in October. The founder, known as Dread Pirate Roberts, was arrested and charged with, among other things, attempting to contract a murderer to kill a former Silk Road employee.
One hundred years ago Thursday, one man sent a letter that would transform the telephone industry. The letter gave rise to the country’s last and most powerful monopoly. And like the Internet of this century, it gave millions of ordinary people the chance to stay in touch more easily than they ever had before.
The letter’s author was Nathan C. Kingsbury — a vice president of AT&T many have since forgotten. But his 1913 correspondence rapidly made its way from Kingsbury’s desk to the attorney general’s, and soon after, to President Woodrow Wilson’s.
Wilson’s administration was threatening a legal assault on AT&T. The telephone company had been aggressively buying up its competitors around the country — maybe too many. Perhaps AT&T should be broken up, Wilson mused. Perhaps the government should take control.
Then came Kingsbury’s letter. In under 900 words, Kingsbury smoothed everything over. It produced a miraculous result in Wilson and his deputy in the Justice Department.
“I gain the impression more and more from week to week that the businessmen of the country are sincerely desirous of conforming with the law,” Wilson gushed, “and it is very gratifying to have the occasion, as in this instance, to deal with them in complete frankness and to be able to show them that all that we desire is an opportunity to cooperate with them.”
The White House’s antitrust concerns were resolved practically overnight.
Five true tales of internet stupidity brought to us by XJ Selman
Despite the fact that we are nearly done with the year 2013, there are still some companies that A) think that social media is a thing very few people pay attention to and B) are content to hire teenage interns and/or burgeoning sociopaths to maintain their online presence.
While I’m impressed by this artificial intelligence technology, its shocking how many sexual predators there are out there who target unsuspecting children. Make no mistake, I’m glad they created this thing, despite what it reveals about how depraved people can be. Maybe law enforcement here in the US could use similar software to catch child predators here.
A Dutch organization called Terre des Hommes has identified some 1,000 alleged child-sex predators by luring them in with a computer-animated prepubescent Philippine girl on Internet chat rooms. The online victimization of children, it would appear, is far worse than imagined.
The virtual girl, named Sweetie, was created by TDH Netherlands to notify the public — and police organizations — about how frequently children in developing countries are being victimized online.
HONG KONG — The police in Beijing have formally arrested a prominent Chinese businessman who turned his energies and wealth to supporting human rights causes, his lawyer said on Monday. The arrest of the businessman, Wang Gongquan, was another step in the Communist Party’s drive to deter dissent, supporters said. Notice of the decision comes a day before China is scheduled to defend its human rights record at a United Nations hearing.
Mr. Wang’s lawyer, Chen Youxi, said in a brief telephone interview that a police officer had called him to say that on Sunday Mr. Wang had been formally arrested on charges of “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” Mr. Wang was detained on the same charges last month, and the decision to formally arrest him will give the police more time to hold him and to build a case, on that or other charges.
Wang is the second prominent user of the Twitter-like service, Sina Weibo, to be arrested under new Internet restrictions. Charles Xue was arrested in August on sex crimes charged, and appeared a month later on national TV to recant his outspoken criticism of the government on Weibo.
Meanwhile, the state TV office has told local broadcasters to significantly reduce the number of foreign-made TV shows and boost the amount of “morally beneficial” programming. It’s another sign of the new Party leadership’s plan to circle the wagons and fend off liberalizing attitudes and influences.
When China’s Sichuan province was hit by a major earthquake in April 2012, users of China’s Twitter clone, Sina Weibo, lit up the Internet with tweets about the disaster.
In 2011, when one of China’s high speed trains crashed into another train, and plunged off a viaduct in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, killed 40, hundreds of Weibo users tweeted photos and accusations that authorities were trying to cover up malfeasance by burying some of the damaged cars.
Earlier this month, Typhoon Fitow flooded Yuyao, a medium-sized city in Zhejiang. Sina Weibo was comparatively quiet, probably because of new government efforts to stifle expression on the service.
But that was then. On Oct. 7, Typhoon Fitow hit China’s eastern coast, bringing the heaviest rainfall in a century down on Yuyao, a city of over 800,000 people in wealthy Zhejiang province. More than 70 percent of the city’s downtown lay submerged, according to state media. Authorities immediately dispatched disaster relief teams after the flood hit, providing emergency generators for hospitals and feeding displaced locals, though some residents in rural parts of Yuyao reportedly went days without aid. But, oddly, they didn’t take to Weibo to gripe. With Yuyao, China’s once-powerful social media seems to have lost its voice. While the 2012 Sichuan Earthquake, which killed at least 180 people, drew an estimated 5 million comments on Weibo, the flooding in Yuyao generated only an estimated 170,000 posts on the same platform.
What happened? An ongoing government crackdown on online expression — including a Sep. 9 law that expands the definition of defamation to include vaguely defined “online rumors” read 5,000 times or shared more than 500 times — has raised the stakes for online expression. Meanwhile, Beijing is trying to bolster trust in traditional media, which it largely controls. To do this, it is trying to sideline influential Weibo users like investor Charles Xue (11.9 million followers) and former Google China chief Kai-Fu Lee (51.8 million followers), both of whom have commented frequently on politics and current affairs.
Xue was detained in August, accused of sex crimes. He later appeared on national TV, apologizing for “spreading rumors” and overstepping his responsibilities as a citizen. techinasia.com His arrest and recantation was to serve as an example for other, less influential micro-bloggers. Don’t criticize the government, or else.