Tag Archives | Internet

Leave Facebook if you don’t want to be spied on, warns EU

Sean MacEntee (CC BY 2.0)

Sean MacEntee (CC BY 2.0)

Samuel Gibbs Via The Guardian:

The European Commission has warned EU citizens that they should close their Facebook accounts if they want to keep information private from US security services, finding that current Safe Harbour legislation does not protect citizen’s data.

The comments were made by EC attorney Bernhard Schima in a case brought by privacy campaigner Maximilian Schrems, looking at whether the data of EU citizens should be considered safe if sent to the US in a post-Snowden revelation landscape.

“You might consider closing your Facebook account, if you have one,” Schima told attorney general Yves Bot in a hearing of the case at the European court of justice in Luxembourg.

When asked directly, the commission could not confirm to the court that the Safe Harbour rules provide adequate protection of EU citizens’ data as it currently stands.

The US no longer qualifies

The case, dubbed “the Facebook data privacy case”, concerns the current Safe Harbour framework, which covers the transmission of EU citizens’ data across the Atlantic to the US.

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Unraveling the Internet’s oldest and weirdest mystery

Photo via NASA/Wikipedia (PD) | Xpicto/Wikipedia (CC-BY-SA-2.5)

Photo via NASA/Wikipedia (PD) | Xpicto/Wikipedia (CC-BY-SA-2.5)

Via Kevin Morris at The Kernel:

Spam. It’s the Internet’s most resilient parasite. Millions of messages pollute the Web’s pipes every day. Grow a monster penis. Lose 20 pounds. Help out an African prince. You know the drill.

A lot of it is garbled junk, sentences that read like a computer ingested the Oxford English Dictionary and vomited it back out. The results are bizarre and often unintentionally hilarious, a favorite subject of forwarded emails or, in the age of Twitter, cult celebrity. Spam account @Horse_ebooks boasts 192,000 followers, thanks entirely to the seemingly accidental and absurdist poetry of its tweets.

But back in 1996, users of the proto-Web community Usenet got spammed with messages that reached an almost transcendent level of bizarre—a weirdness so precise it implied the influence of a very human intelligence. “Markovian Parallax Denigrate,” read the title of each post, followed by a mountain of seemingly meaningless word spew:

jitterbugging McKinley Abe break Newtonian inferring caw update Cohen
air collaborate rue sportswriting rococo invocate tousle shadflower
Debby Stirling pathogenesis escritoire adventitious novo ITT most
chairperson Dwight Hertzog different pinpoint dunk McKinley pendant
firelight Uranus episodic medicine ditty craggy flogging variac
brotherhood Webb impromptu file countenance inheritance cohesion
refrigerate morphine napkin inland Janeiro nameable yearbook hark

According to later accounts, hundreds of these messages flooded Usenet discussion groups on Aug.

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Google Is Considering Ranking Websites Based on Truthfulness

One of the questions we are asked all the time is “why should I trust a site called ‘disinformation’?” Once we’ve explained that one shouldn’t necessarily trust any news source and should always question the inherent biases of the writers and editors, whether mainstream (e.g. New York Times) or fringe (e.g InfoWars) and that we try to expose our visitors to as many, often conflicting, views as possible, the questioner usually feels fortified for a round of news consumption via disinformation and many other sites/sources.

all the news

One wonders, however, if Google’s purported new search algorithm will divine “truthfulness” in our approach, or will instead just act as a mirror of the mainstream media’s mantra of “all the news that’s fit to print” (to quote the Gray Lady). New Scientist reports on Google’s worrisome new approach:

The internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free “news” stories spread like wildfire.

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After I “Discovered” an Abandoned Town and My Film Went Viral

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It was 4:47pm in San Diego on October 1, 2014. A YouTube user named trixxie62 subscribed to my channel, sending an email notification to my inbox. This triggered my phone’s “new email” ringtone. Several minutes later another one came in. Then another. After that I was receiving a new subscriber every 1-2 minutes, far exceeding the usual 1-3 per week.

Upon checking around I found that Roadtrippers.com had included my film in a story on their website and social media pages. The story was receiving more Facebook Likes and Comments than any other Roadtrippers story in weeks. It seemed like an exciting moment. But things were about to take an unexpected turn.

Very often you can read stories about people who were perceived to have said something dumb, hateful or untrue, then they pay for it by being called out on social media and in the news. While I can’t particularly speak to never saying anything “dumb,” I can confirm that I did not say anything hateful or untrue.… Read the rest

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Google Becomes Ministry of Truth

Carlos Luna (CC BY 2.0)

Carlos Luna (CC BY 2.0)

There’s no way this can go horribly wrong, right?

Jon Rappoport via War is Crime:

“…if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.” (George Orwell,1984)

The New Scientist has the stunning story (2/28/15, “Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links,” by Hal Hodson):

“The internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free ‘news’ stories spread like wildfire. Google has devised a fix — rank websites according to their truthfulness.”

Great idea, right? Sure it is.

The author of the article lets the cat out of the bag right away with his comment about “anti-vaccination” websites. These sites will obviously be shoved into obscurity by Google because they’re “garbage”…whereas “truthful” pro-vaccine sites will dominate top ranked pages on the search engine.

This is wonderful if you believe what the CDC tells you about vaccine safety and efficacy.

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The Hilarious and Disturbing History of Shaye St. John

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 6.47.06 PM

The Internet is home to some of the strangest and most wonderful oddities. It’s also filled with opportunists who try to capitalize on trends, eventually transforming once original ideas into kitsch filled circle jerks. That’s why it’s especially captivating to come across something wholly original. And the story of Shaye St. John is just that: captivating.

Many of you already know about Shaye’s horrendous past and have most likely seen many of her videos. But for those of you that haven’t, prepare to be disturbed, but strangely intrigued. Shaye St. John’s videos seem to be a mash-up of Lynchian uncomfortableness, Tim and Eric’s humor, with a bit of Harmony Korine’s oft-used lo-fi shock value. She is the brainchild of the late comedian, Eric Fournier.

Shaye St. John was once a supermodel who was hit by a train (car? I’ve heard both versions) that horribly disfigured her face and resulted in the amputation of both her arms and legs. This didn’t hold Shaye back, though, and she rebuilt herself with mannequin parts and covered her disfigured face with a mask.… Read the rest

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How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

Glenn Greenwald writes at the Intercept:

One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses.

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The World’s Email Encryption Software Relies on One Guy, Who is Going Broke

Via Julia Angwin at ProPublica:

Update, Feb. 5, 2015, 8:10 p.m.: After this article appeared, Werner Koch informed us that last week he was awarded a one-time grant of $60,000 from Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative. Werner told us he only received permission to disclose it after our article published. Meanwhile, since our story was posted, donations flooded Werner’s website donation page and he reached his funding goal of $137,000. In addition, Facebook and the online payment processor Stripe each pledged to donate $50,000 a year to Koch’s project.

The man who built the free email encryption software used by whistleblower Edward Snowden, as well as hundreds of thousands of journalists, dissidents and security-minded people around the world, is running out of money to keep his project alive.

Werner Koch wrote the software, known as Gnu Privacy Guard, in 1997, and since then has been almost single-handedly keeping it alive with patches and updates from his home in Erkrath, Germany.

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