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Overdue: The Internet Declaration of Independence

Overdue: The Internet Declaration of Independence

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

The U.S. just celebrated Independence Day, when we pause to take stock of what the founders fought for: liberty and justice for the citizenry, which were not necessarily granted to them in the countries from whence they’d come.

There are always fireworks.

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger recently published his proposed Declaration of Digital Independence, and it’s a must-read. “Humanity has been contemptuously used by vast digital empires. Thus it is now necessary to replace these empires with decentralized networks of independent individuals, as in the first decades of the Internet,” he begins, and he does delineate the many abuses of the tech oligarchs, including: Read More...

Libra. In Facebook We Trust?

Libra. In Facebook We Trust?

Facebook announced the soon-to-debut of Libra, its new cryptocurrency, last week, saying that it hoped to bring billions of the unbanked into the digital economy, providing them with basic financial services through their cellphones, eerily echoing Facebook’s original mission to bring the world closer together with its social platform, in case you missed the irony.

We all know how that worked out. Read More...

As the FAANG Founders Turn – On Each Other

As the FAANG Founders Turn – On Each Other

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

You have to give Mark Zuckerberg credit. Love him or hate him, he does act very deliberately, even if you might believe that it is with malice aforethought.

Netflix founder and CEO Reid Hastings resigned from the Facebook board this past week. Peggy Alford, currently senior vice president of Core Markets for PayPal, will be nominated to join the board of directors and become its first black member, but there’s a clear case of missing the forest through the trees here.

Facebook is reportedly spending $1 billion on producing original content. When Hastings joined the board in 2011, he said that he had been trying to figure out how to integrate Facebook and make Netflix more social, so getting on the board was a good deal, according to Business Insider. Read More...

Beware Big Companies ASKING to be Regulated

Beware Big Companies ASKING to be Regulated

In a seeming change of heart, Mark Zuckerberg backs stronger Internet privacy and election laws: ‘We need a more active role for governments’, he said, and no, there wasn’t a sudden rip in the universe. Zuckerberg penned an opinion piece in the Washington Post entitled The internet needs new rules. Let’s start in these four areas, which are harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.

The editorial, no doubt, comes on the heels of the attention that Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon have been getting from Congress and various Presidential candidates, and as a result of the recent announcement that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube execs face jail and multi-billion pound fines over terror videos. “Australia could become the first country to introduce prison terms and fines if firms fail to speedily remove terror videos like the Christchurch massacre live-stream,” reports The Sun. Read More...

Watch Where the Puck Is Going, Not Where It Has Been

Watch Where the Puck Is Going, Not Where It Has Been

The World Wide Web turned 30 this past week. Web creator Tim Berners-Lee marked the occasion by noting that the web is now dysfunctional with ‘perverse’ incentives, while Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg seems to have marked it by announcing Facebook’s new pivot to privacy. Trust us, he did not suddenly have a come to Jesus moment. The only pivot here in his manifesto is away from Facebook’s current town square format into one focused more on the ability to have private messages among people and groups, which is the way that Facebook users had been going anyway.

“I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about,” said Zuckerberg in his manifesto. Read More...

Surveillance Capitalism: We Are Definitely the Product

Surveillance Capitalism: We Are Definitely the Product

The tech cartel has been labeled many things. “Attention Merchants” being one of them. In her new book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Shoshana Zuboff has designated a new category for them: Surveillance Capitalists. “Surveillance capitalism,” she writes, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data.

The Business of the Internet

“When the security expert Bruce Schneier wrote that “surveillance is the business model of the internet,” The Guardian reports, “he was really only hinting at the reality that Zuboff has now illuminated. The combination of state surveillance and its capitalist counterpart means that digital technology is separating the citizens in all societies into two groups: the watchers (invisible, unknown and unaccountable) and the watched. This has profound consequences for democracy because asymmetry of knowledge translates into asymmetries of power. But whereas most democratic societies have at least some degree of oversight of state surveillance, we currently have almost no regulatory oversight of its privatised counterpart. This is intolerable.” Read More...

Is Web 3.0 the Age of Consent?

Is Web 3.0 the Age of Consent?

Web 1.0 was built on smoke and mirrors.

Web 2.0 was built with the user as the product. Read More...

Web 2.0 Is Now Correction 2.0

Web 2.0 Is Now Correction 2.0

i2clipart.com

Apple announced a downturn in expected revenue, and the market choked. Which followed on the heels of the Facebook stock plunge as a result of its myriad privacy issues.

What happened? Let’s look at the Apple playbook: for years, Apple has released a new iOS ahead of the sales of a new phone. The new iOS slows down older phones, in order to induce people to buy the new one. Which might have a few new features, but not enough to warrant the purchase of a new phone, save that the older models are now artificially slower.

Planned obsolescence. Read More...

Big Tech is riding the same rails as robber barons of the past

Big Tech is riding the same rails as robber barons of the past

The Last Spike, 1869.

The tech industry – in particular, the FAANG stocks – have hit a strange inflection point. They’re taking a beating on Wall Street. And Facebook is under attack from all sides.

There was The New York Times piece (Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis), which was written with the assistance of no less than 50 sources.

An international committee of foreign governments has requested that Zuckerberg appear before lawmakers to face inquiries, particularly into disinformation, election meddling and privacy issues. Zuckerberg refused. Read More...

Don’t ask, don’t tell: Have Google and Facebook provided the tools for world censorship?

Don’t ask, don’t tell: Have Google and Facebook provided the tools for world censorship?

The expression may have been around forever, but the tech cartel certainly gives it a new spin.

We know that Google tracks your movements (without your permission), like it or not. Last week, ZDNet reported that an API bug in Google+ exposed 500,000 users. Google admitted that it had suffered a security breach and hadn’t bothered to tell anyone because it wasn’t legally required to. Now the company is shutting down one time potential ‘Facebook killer’ Google Plus, and the wags certainly had a field day with the virtually ignored platform, reporting that G+ users were inconsolable – both of them. Read More...

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