Tag Archives | Internet

NSA’s Desperation for Secrecy Leads to Stupidity, Alienating the Hacker Community

nsa_General_Keith_B._Alexander_in_service_uniform
via chycho

In 2012 we witnessed NSA’s Director Gen. Keith Alexander put on a black t-shirt and jeans and head out to DEF CON, “one of the world’s largest annual hacker conventions”, in search of the youngest and brightest minds in our society to join his ilk:

“‘In this room, this room right here, is the talent our nation needs to secure cyberspace,’ Alexander told the standing-room-only audience at DefCon, a grassroots gathering in Las Vegas expected to draw a record 16,000 attendees this year. ‘We need great talent. We don’t pay as high as everybody else, but we’re fun to be around.’”

DEF CON 20 By General Keith B Alexander Shared Values Shared Response [sic]

We all know that top government officials lie, this should be obvious to everyone, especially after watching the “National Director of Intelligence James Clapper commit perjury when he testified before the Senate” when he stated that the NSA does “not wittingly” spy on Americans, but the lies that Gen.

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Father of the Web Tim Berners-Lee: The Integrity of the Internet Must Be Protected

Pic: Cellanr (CC)

Pic: Cellanr (CC)

Der Spiegel interviews Tim Berners-Lee, the man widely credited as the father of the internet. Among other things, Berners-Lee is hard at work on a web version of the Magna Carta.

Via Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You and others are launching a global campaign to ensure the legal protection of Web users’ rights internationally. What would you include in your personal Magna Charta for the Web?

Berners-Lee: First, I would like us to have that conversation together. That is why we created webwewant.org. I want us to use this year to define the values that we as Web users are going to insist on. I would like every country to debate what that means in terms of their existing laws. In what areas must we enhance our regulations to guarantee fundamental rights on the Internet? The right to privacy must be in there, the right not to be spied on and the right not to be blocked.

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Viewing The World Through The Lens Of Artificial Idiocy

road_testVia the Guardian Tom Chatfield on gazing at reality through computers’ data-crunching models:

When Facebook asks me what I “like”, it’s making the convenient assumption that I feel one of two ways about everything in the world – indifferent or affectionate. When it aggregates the results of mine and a billion other responses, marvellous insights emerge. But these remain based on a model of preference that might kindly be called moronic.

Similarly, every measurement embodies a series of choices: what to include, what to exclude. If a computer could learn to recognise images of cats with absolute accuracy, would that mean it knew what a cat was? Not unless you redefined cats as silent, immobile, odourless sequences of information describing two-dimensional images. If a computer could learn to identify you with absolute accuracy via surreptitiously scraped data from your social media presence, phone calls and banking activities, would that mean it knew what it means to be you?

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The Coming Backlash Against Silicon Valley

facebookVia the Economist, Adrian Wooldridge on seeing the giant tech corporations for what they really are:

Geeks have turned out to be some of the most ruthless capitalists around. A few years ago the new economy was a wide-open frontier. Today it is dominated by a handful of tightly held oligopolies. Google and Apple provide over 90% of the operating systems for smartphones. Facebook counts more than half of North Americans and Europeans as its customers.

The lords of cyberspace have done everything possible to reduce their earthly costs. They employ remarkably few people: with a market cap of $290 billion Google is about six times bigger than GM but employs only around a fifth as many workers.

At the same time the tech tycoons have displayed a banker-like enthusiasm for hoovering up public subsidies and then avoiding taxes. The American government laid the foundations of the tech revolution by investing heavily in the creation of everything from the internet to digital personal assistants.

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ASMR: When Sounds Tickle Your Brain


Do you have a little brain quirk that puts you in happy trance whenever you hear certain, soft sounds? Well, you’re in for a treat, because it’s a “thing,” and there are YouTube channels just for you. “For some percentage of readers,” writes Loz Blain of Gizmag, “this article could make a major positive impact on your life…”

Despite the very official-sounding name ascribed to it, there is no science to prove the existence of the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR. We have no idea what percentage of people have the ability to experience it, where it comes from, what it’s for or what brain mechanics are involved.

But if you’re lucky enough to be able to feel it, there’s a growing and thriving community out there producing thousands of free samples of canned pleasure and relaxation.

Let me start from my personal experience. As a schoolboy, I had a particular French teacher whose voice would put me into a trance.… Read the rest

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Skynet Has Arrived? European Union Unveils RoboEarth, An Internet Just For Robots

tape_robotScientists have created a network which various smart devices and artificial intelligences will use autonomously to share information and learn from each other – increasing their capabilities. Should we just surrender now? The BBC reports:

A world wide web for robots to learn from each other and share information is being shown off for the first time. The system has been developed by research scientists from Philips and five European universities including Eindhoven.

It is the culmination of a four-year project, funded by the European Union. The eventual aim is that both robots and humans will be able to upload information to the cloud-based database, which would act as a kind of common brain for machines.

“At its core RoboEarth is a world wide web for robots: a giant network and database repository where robots can share information and learn from each other,” said Rene van de Molengraft, the RoboEarth project leader.

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Traditional Exorcists Lambast Skype Exorcisms As A Sham

scary computerIs a war brewing between old-guard exorcists and the new breed offering cheap and easy demonic removal over the internet? Vocativ writes:

“They just can’t be done that way,” says Reverend Isaac Kramer, director of the International Catholic Association of Exorcists. “If a person is fully possessed, the demon will not let them sit in front of the computer screen to be exorcised. They’re going to throw the computer screen across the room.”

Larson isn’t the first to champion the Skype exorcism. In 2010, famous Israeli Kabaalist Rabbi HaRav David Batzri attempted to exorcise a Brazilian man possessed by a “dybbuk,” a demon, over Skype.

The Internet-ization of exorcisms has made the ritual one that scam artists and “self-identified” exorcists have used to make fast cash. Websites such as ExorcismTraining.net offer online exorcisms to demon-ridden customers. Want to self-treat? They have a beginners’ training pack for $29.95 so you can teach yourself to exorcise in just four weeks.

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Inside China’s Internet Addiction Rehab Camps

internet addictionThe New York Times has a short film exploring life inside one of China's hundreds of boot-camp-style treatment centers for electronics-addled youth who spend night and day gaming online, in some cases allegedly wearing diapers to avoid taking bathroom breaks. The camp director compares the internet to "electronic heroin" and warns that the teens "know the internet inside and out, but nothing about human beings." Questions abound: Is China at the forefront of what will become a global epidemic of Compulsive Internet Use? Are computers being scapegoated for problems that are in fact more subtle and complex? Could you survive several months cold turkey?
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A Washington D.C. Court Gutted Net Neutrality Yesterday

admin-ajax.phpFree market enterprise means that internet telecoms are free to choose what they do and don’t want to allow you to see. The Los Angeles Times writes:

Today’s ruling from a Washington appeals court striking down the FCC’s rules protecting the open net was worse than the most dire forecasts. It was “even more emphatic and disastrous than anyone expected,” in the words of one veteran advocate for network neutrality.

The Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit thoroughly eviscerated the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to prevent Internet service providers from playing favorites among websites.

“AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast will be able to deliver some sites and services more quickly and reliably than others for any reason,” telecommunications lawyer Marvin Ammori (he’s the man quoted above) observed even before the ruling came down.”

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World Post: The Website for the One Percent

Nicolas Berggruen. Photo: Angélica Martínez (CC)

Nicolas Berggruen. Photo: Angélica Martínez (CC)

Although World Post is being touted as the website that billionaires will patronize, I have a feeling that unless it’s made as exclusive (as in keeping the 99% out) as powerbroker meetings like the World Economic Forum in Davos where it will officially launch, then it may not actually be intended for the so-called one percent. From The Guardian:

The 1% are about to get their own publication. The digital media titan Arianna Huffington and the billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen on Wednesday announced the launch of World Post, a comment and news website that looks set to become a platform for some of the most powerful people on the planet.

Inevitably, the World Post will be launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this month. Many of its contributors including former British prime minister Tony Blair, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Google’s Eric Schmidt are regulars at the annual jamboree for the world’s most connected people.

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