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Paul Merrell

Can Dweb Save The Internet? 06/03/2019 - 0 views

  • On a mysterious farm just above the Pacific Ocean, the group who built the internet is inviting a small number of friends to a semi-secret gathering. They describe it as a camp "where diverse people can freely exchange ideas about the technologies, laws, markets, and agreements we need to move forward.” Forward indeed.It wasn’t that long ago that the internet was an open network of computers, blogs, sites, and posts.But then something happened -- and the open web was taken over by private, for-profit, closed networks. Facebook isn’t the web. YouTube isn’t the web. Google isn’t the web. They’re for-profit businesses that are looking to sell audiences to advertisers.Brewster Kahle is one of the early web innovators who built the Internet Archive as a public storehouse to protect the web’s history. Along with web luminaries such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf, he is working to protect and rebuild the open nature of the web.advertisementadvertisement“We demonstrated that the web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done,” Berners-Lee told Vanity Fair. The web has “ended up producing -- [through] no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform -- a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.”
  • o, they’re out to fix it, working on what they call the Dweb. The “d” in Dweb stands for distributed. In distributed systems, no one entity has control over the participation of any other entity.Berners-Lee is building a platform called Solid, designed to give people control over their own data. Other global projects also have the goal of taking take back the public web. Mastodon is decentralized Twitter. Peertube is a decentralized alternative to YouTube.This July 18 - 21, web activists plan to convene at the Decentralized Web Summit in San Francisco. Back in 2016, Kahle convened an early group of builders, archivists, policymaker, and journalists. He issued a challenge to  use decentralized technologies to “Lock the Web Open.” It’s hard to imagine he knew then how quickly the web would become a closed network.Last year's Dweb gathering convened more than 900 developers, activists, artists, researchers, lawyers, and students. Kahle opened the gathering by reminding attendees that the web used to be a place where everyone could play. "Today, I no longer feel like a player, I feel like I’m being played. Let’s build a decentralized web, let’s build a system we can depend on, a system that doesn’t feel creepy” he said, according to IEEE Spectrum.With the rising tide of concerns about how social networks have hacked our democracy, Kahle and his Dweb community will gather with increasing urgency around their mission.The internet began with an idealist mission to connect people and information for good. Today's web has yet to achieve that goal, but just maybe Dweb will build an internet more robust and open than the current infrastructure allows. That’s a mission worth fighting for.
Paul Merrell

Facebook's Cryptocurrency: Stop It Before It Starts - Lawfare - 0 views

  • On Tuesday, Facebook announced its forthcoming cryptocurrency, Libra. The company says it intends to integrate it into Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp products. Although Facebook says it’s created an “independent” subsidiary, Calibra, and purports that the currency itself will be controlled by an independent Libra Foundation, the coin really a Facebook project. It is not live yet, giving governments the opportunity to kill this project before it actually gets off the ground and gives rise to cybercriminals that couldn’t capitalize on existing cryptocurrencies. In particular, the IRS and FinCEN should take action now.
Paul Merrell

Facebook unveils cryptocurrency Libra | Time - 0 views

  • As it continues to explore new business models that may work in a world focused on privacy rather than broadly sharing data online, Facebook on Tuesday revealed plans for its own global digital currency, Libra, which aims to allow users to make purchases or send money with close to zero transaction fees. Facebook said it hopes Libra will make it easier for the estimated 1.7 billion unbanked adults worldwide to access banking services and transfer money electronically. “Just as people can use their phones to message friends anywhere in the world today, with Libra, the same can be done with money — instantly, securely and at a low cost,” Facebook said in a Libra white paper.
  • Users will be able to make transactions with Libra by 2020, Facebook says, both through a standalone app called Calibra as well as with Facebook’s own family of apps. Unlike bitcoin and some similar offerings, the price of Libra is tied to low-risk assets, which should prevent the speculative behavior and wild price swings plaguing other digital currencies. The currency will be overseen by the Libra Association, a Switzerland-based collective of more than a dozen companies, including Visa, Uber and Mastercard, each of whom have invested at least $10 million in the technology. Users of Libra will pay $1 to use Libra which will sit in a bank account and earn interest which will pay the Libra Association.
Paul Merrell

Chinese military to replace Windows OS amid fears of US hacking | ZDNet - 0 views

  • Amidst an escalating trade war and political tensions with the US, Beijing officials have decided to develop a custom operating system that will replace the Windows OS on computers used by the Chinese military.
  • Beijing officials are well aware of the US' hefty arsenal of hacking tools, available for anything from smart TVs to Linux servers, and from routers to common desktop operating systems, such as Windows and Mac.Since these leaks have revealed that the US can hack into almost anything, the Chinese government's plan is to adopt a "security by obscurity" approach and run a custom operating system that will make it harder for foreign threat actors -- mainly the US -- to spy on Chinese military operations.
Paul Merrell

Asia Times | Say hello to the Russia-China operating system | Article - 0 views

  • Google cuts Huawei off Android; so Huawei may migrate to Aurora. Call it mobile Eurasia integration; the evolving Russia-China strategic partnership may be on the verge of spawning its own operating system – and that is not a metaphor. Aurora is a mobile operating system currently developed by Russian Open Mobile Platform, based in Moscow. It is based on the Sailfish operating system, designed by Finnish technology company Jolla, which featured a batch of Russians in the development team. Quite a few top coders at Google and Apple also come from the former USSR – exponents of a brilliant scientific academy tradition.
  • Aurora could be regarded as part of Huawei’s fast-evolving Plan B. Huawei is now turbo-charging the development and implementation of its own operating system, HongMeng, a process that started no less than seven years ago. Most of the work on an operating system is writing drivers and APIs (application programming interfaces). Huawei would be able to integrate their code to the Russian system in no time.
  • No Google? Who cares? Tencent, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo are already testing the HongMeng operating system, as part of a batch of one million devices already distributed. HongMeng’s launch is still a closely guarded secret by Huawei, but according to CEO Richard Yu, it could happen even before the end of 2019 for the Chinese market, running on smartphones, computers, TVs and cars. HongMeng is rumored to be 60% faster than Android.
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  • The HongMeng system may also harbor functions dedicated to security and protection of users’ data. That’s what’s scaring Google the most; Huawei developing a software impenetrable to hacking attempts. Google is actively lobbying the Trump administration to add another reprieve – or even abandon the Huawei ban altogether. By now it’s clear Team Trump has decided to wield a trade war as a geopolitical and geoeconomic weapon. They may have not calculated that other Chinese producers have the power to swing markets. Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, for instance, are not (yet) banned in the US market, and combined they sell more than Samsung. They could decide to move to Huawei’s operating system in no time.
  • The existence of Lineage operating system is proof that Huawei is not facing a lot of hurdles developing HongMeng – which will be compatible with all Android apps. There would be no problem to adopt Aurora as well. Huawei will certainly open is own app store to compete with Google Play.
Paul Merrell

Gov. Mills signs nation's strictest internet privacy protection bill - Portland Press H... - 0 views

  • Maine internet service providers will face the strictest consumer privacy protections in the nation under a bill signed Thursday by Gov. Janet Mills, but the new law will almost certainly be challenged in court. Several technology and communication trade groups warned in testimony before the Legislature that the measure may be in conflict with federal law and would likely be the subject of legal action.
  • The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2020, would require providers to ask for permission before they sell or share any of their customers’ data to a third party. The law would also apply to telecommunications companies that provide access to the internet via their cellular networks.
  • The law is modeled on a Federal Communications Commission rule, adopted under the administration of President Obama but overturned by the administration of President Trump in 2017. The rule blocked an ISP from selling a customer’s personal data, which is not prohibited under federal law.
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  • The law is unlike any in the nation, as it requires an ISP to obtain consent from a consumer before sharing any data. Only California has a similar law on the books, but it requires consumers to “opt out”  by asking their ISP to protect their data. Maine’s new law does not allow an ISP to offer a discounted rate to customers who agree to share or sell their data.
Paul Merrell

Google confirms that advanced backdoor came preinstalled on Android devices | Ars Technica - 0 views

  • Criminals in 2017 managed to get an advanced backdoor preinstalled on Android devices before they left the factories of manufacturers, Google researchers confirmed on Thursday. Triada first came to light in 2016 in articles published by Kaspersky here and here, the first of which said the malware was "one of the most advanced mobile Trojans" the security firm's analysts had ever encountered. Once installed, Triada's chief purpose was to install apps that could be used to send spam and display ads. It employed an impressive kit of tools, including rooting exploits that bypassed security protections built into Android and the means to modify the Android OS' all-powerful Zygote process. That meant the malware could directly tamper with every installed app. Triada also connected to no fewer than 17 command and control servers. In July 2017, security firm Dr. Web reported that its researchers had found Triada built into the firmware of several Android devices, including the Leagoo M5 Plus, Leagoo M8, Nomu S10, and Nomu S20. The attackers used the backdoor to surreptitiously download and install modules. Because the backdoor was embedded into one of the OS libraries and located in the system section, it couldn't be deleted using standard methods, the report said. On Thursday, Google confirmed the Dr. Web report, although it stopped short of naming the manufacturers. Thursday's report also said the supply chain attack was pulled off by one or more partners the manufacturers used in preparing the final firmware image used in the affected devices.
Paul Merrell

Trump Declares War On Silicon Valley: DoJ Launches Google Anti-Monopoly Probe | Zero Hedge - 0 views

  • Just before midnight on Friday, at the close of what was a hectic month for markets, WSJ dropped a bombshell of a story: The paper reported that the DoJ has opened an anti-trust investigation of Alphabet Inc., which could "present a major new layer of regulatory scrutiny for the search giant, according to people familiar with the matter." The report was sourced to "people familiar with the matter," but was swiftly corroborated by the New York Times, Bloomberg and others. For months now, the FTC has appeared to be gearing up for a showdown with big tech. The agency - which shares anti-trust authority with the DoJ - has created a new commission that could help undo big-tech tie-ups like Facebook's acquisition of Instagram, and hired lawyers who have advanced new anti-monopoly theories that would help justify the breakup of companies like Amazon. But as it turns out, the Trump administration's first salvo against big tech didn't come from the FTC; instead, this responsibility has been delegated to the DoJ, which has reportedly been tasked with supervising the investigation into Google. That's not super surprising, since the FTC already had its chance to nail Google with an anti-monopoly probe back in 2013. But the agency came up short. From what we can tell, it appears the administration will divvy up responsibility for any future anti-trust investigations between the two agencies, which means the FTC - which is already reportedly preparing to levy a massive fine against Facebook - could end up taking the lead in those cases.
  • Though WSJ didn't specify which aspects of Google's business might come under the microscope, a string of multi-billion-euro fines recently levied by the EU might offer some guidance. The bloc's anti-trust authority, which has been far more eager to take on American tech giants than its American counterpart (for reasons that should be obvious to all), has fined Google over its practice of bundling software with its standard Android license, the way its search engine rankings favor its own product listings, and ways it has harmed competition in the digital advertising market. During the height of the controversy over big tech's abuses of sensitive user data last year, the Verge published a story speculating about how the monopolistic tendencies of each of the dominant Silicon Valley tech giants could be remedied. For Google, the Verge argued, the best remedy would be a ban on acquisitions - a strategy that has been bandied about in Congress.
Paul Merrell

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes calls for the company to be broken up - 0 views

  • show chapters Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes calls for the company to be broken up    15 Hours Ago Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes issued a forceful call for regulators to break up the company he helped build in a New York Times op-ed published Thursday. Hughes, who left Facebook to work for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, said that from his own experience building and working inside the company, Facebook now has more power than a private sector entity is due. While emphasizing his belief that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has good intentions overall, he said the executive has far too much unchecked power, aided by his majority voting stake in the company.
Paul Merrell

Google IO 2019: New privacy options coming to Google Maps, search - Axios - 0 views

  • Alongside new products and features, Google Tuesday announced a series of moves designed to offer users more privacy. The move builds on an announcement last week that it would allow users to automatically delete their location and activity history. Why it matters: The changes come as Google, along with other tech giants including Facebook, is under pressure to give people more control over what personal information online platforms collect and store.
Paul Merrell

Facebook Setting Aside Up To $5 Billion For Privacy Violations : NPR - 1 views

  • Facebook expects to pay a fine of up to $5 billion in a settlement with federal regulators. The tech giant disclosed that figure in its first-quarter 2019 financial results. Facebook has been in negotiations with the Federal Trade Commission following concerns that the company violated a 2011 consent decree. Back then, company leaders promised to give consumers "clear and prominent notice" when sharing their data with others and to get "express consent."
  • But, experts say, Facebook broke its promise. Just one example: giving user data to Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that did work for the 2016 Trump campaign. Facebook estimates the fine will be in the $3 billion to $5 billion range and has set aside $3 billion for payment. "The matter remains unresolved, and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome," the company's statement says.
Paul Merrell

U.S. looking at ways to hold Zuckerberg accountable for Facebook's problems - 0 views

  • Federal regulators are discussing whether and how to hold Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable for the company's history of mismanaging users' private data, two sources familiar with the discussions told NBC News on Thursday.The sources wouldn't elaborate on what measures are specifically under consideration. The Washington Post, which first reported the development, reported that regulators were exploring increased oversight of Zuckerberg's leadership.While Facebook has come under scrutiny for its privacy practices for years, both of the Democratic members of the FTC have said the agency should target individual executives when appropriate.Justin Brookman, a former policy director for technology research at the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, said Thursday night that while the FTC can name individual company leaders if they directed, controlled and knew about any wrongdoing, "they typically only use that authority in fraud-like cases, so far as I can tell."
Paul Merrell

Facebook Quietly Notifies Public That Millions Of Instagram Users Had Passwords Exposed... - 0 views

  • While everyone was focused on the release of the Mueller report Thursday, Facebook quietly notified the public that the passwords of "millions of Instagram users" were stored in an unencrypted format on an internal server, and searchable by any employee.
  • In March, security expert Brian Krebs of KrebsonSecurity noted:  The Facebook source said the investigation so far indicates between 200 million and 600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by more than 20,000 Facebook employees. The source said Facebook is still trying to determine how many passwords were exposed and for how long, but so far the inquiry has uncovered archives with plain text user passwords dating back to 2012. My Facebook insider said access logs showed some 2,000 engineers or developers made approximately nine million internal queries for data elements that contained plain text user passwords. -KrebsonSecurity In short, if you believe Facebook that the passwords were not improperly accessed, rest well. If you don't believe them, and you use your Instagram password for other things, perhaps it's time to think of a new one.  
Paul Merrell

Shocking Leak Reveals Facebook Leveraged User Data To Reward Friends, Punish Enemies | ... - 0 views

  • As traders focused on bank earnings and the outlook for global growth, NBC News wrested the market's attention back toward Facebook by publishing a report on what appears to be the largest leak of internal documents since the data privacy scandal that has dogged the company for more than a year erupted with the first reports about Cambridge Analytica's 'improper' leveraging of Facebook user data to influence elections.
  • Some 4,000 pages of documents shared with the network news organization by a journalist affiliated with the ICIJ, the same organization that helped bring us the Panama Papers leaks, revealed that Facebook had employed sensitive user data as a bargaining chip to attract major advertisers and close other deals between 2011 and 2015, when the company was struggling to cement its business model following its botched 2012 IPO.
  • Facebook essentially offered companies like Amazon unfettered access to its data in exchange for agreeing to advertise on Facebook's platform, according to the documents, only a small fraction of which have been previously reported on. All of this was happening at a time when the company publicly professed to bee safeguarding user data.
Paul Merrell

Millennials lead the mass Facebook exodus | Daily Mail Online - 0 views

  • In 2017, 67 per cent of the total US population over the age of 12 used FacebookThis has dropped to 62 per cent and 61 per cent in 2018 and 2019, respectively The drop-off has been more pronounced in people aged between 12 and 34Sister app Instagram has seen a boost in users who have dropped FacebookThe findings come from a survey of 1,500 social media users in the US
Paul Merrell

Chaos erupts inside Facebook after Apple blocks internal apps: Report - Business Insider - 1 views

  • Facebook's thousands of employees are reportedly unable to use the company's internal iOS apps after it was caught running a data-gathering research app that violated Apple's developer policies. Apple said on Wednesday that it had revoked Facebook's certificates giving it access to a special enterprise program that companies can use to distribute internal apps and tools outside the public App Store. The move has caused internal Facebook apps to stop working, creating a chaotic situation that the company has deemed a critical problem, The Verge reported. Facebook employees reportedly can't open company apps for transportation and the lunch menu, along with beta versions of Facebook apps like Messenger and Instagram.
Paul Merrell

Israel eyes world coalition to force social media platforms to block incitement | The T... - 2 views

  • Israel is aiming to build an international coalition to force the world’s leading social media giants to prevent their platforms from being abused to peddle incitement to terrorism. The move, which was unveiled by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, aims at requiring Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and other social networks to take greater responsibility for such content.
  • While some experts consider the idea unworkable — arguing that the terms of service of such platforms protect them from any legal threat, and that the preventative measures Erdan wants to see introduced are not possible technologically, others say a coalition pushing for change could be effective, and certainly stands more of a chance than an effort led by Israel alone.
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    With social media censorship ramping up in the West, it's good to keep in mind who started it. From 2016.
Paul Merrell

Chinese company LinkSure hopes to deliver free worldwide satellite internet by 2026 - A... - 2 views

  • A Chinese internet technology company has announced a plan to provide free satellite internet worldwide by 2026, joining companies like SpaceX, Facebook and Google in the mission to run a global internet service.
  • Shanghai-based company LinkSure Network, which says its mission is to bridge the world's digital inequalities, unveiled on Tuesday the first satellite in their ambitious plan to ensure that everyone in the world can access the internet free of charge.The plan — dubbed the "LinkSure Swarm Constellation System" — would see 272 satellites set at different orbits and heights in order to span the entire globe.The first satellite, LinkSure No 1, is set to launch in north-west China in 2019 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre as part of the payload on board one of China's Long March rockets.Ten further satellites will be sent into orbit by 2020.
Paul Merrell

Report: Microsoft is scrapping Edge, switching to just another Chrome clone | Ars Technica - 0 views

  • Windows Central reports that Microsoft is planning to replace its Edge browser, which uses Microsoft's own EdgeHTML rendering engine and Chakra JavaScript engine, with a new browser built on Chromium, the open source counterpart to Google's Chrome. The new browser has the codename Anaheim.
Paul Merrell

Sick Of Facebook? Read This. - 2 views

  • In 2012, The Guardian reported on Facebook’s arbitrary and ridiculous nudity and violence guidelines which allow images of crushed limbs but – dear god spare us the image of a woman breastfeeding. Still, people stayed – and Facebook grew. In 2014, Facebook admitted to mind control games via positive or negative emotional content tests on unknowing and unwilling platform users. Still, people stayed – and Facebook grew. Following the 2016 election, Facebook responded to the Harpie shrieks from the corporate Democrats bysetting up a so-called “fake news” task force to weed out those dastardly commies (or socialists or anarchists or leftists or libertarians or dissidents or…). And since then, I’ve watched my reach on Facebook drain like water in a bathtub – hard to notice at first and then a spastic swirl while people bicker about how to plug the drain. And still, we stayed – and the censorship tightened. Roughly a year ago, my show Act Out! reported on both the censorship we were experiencing but also the cramped filter bubbling that Facebook employs in order to keep the undesirables out of everyone’s news feed. Still, I stayed – and the censorship tightened. 2017 into 2018 saw more and more activist organizers, particularly black and brown, thrown into Facebook jail for questioning systemic violence and demanding better. In August, puss bag ass hat in a human suit Alex Jones was banned from Facebook – YouTube, Apple and Twitter followed suit shortly thereafter. Some folks celebrated. Some others of us skipped the party because we could feel what was coming.
  • On Thursday, October 11th of this year, Facebook purged more than 800 pages including The Anti-Media, Police the Police, Free Thought Project and many other social justice and alternative media pages. Their explanation rested on the painfully flimsy foundation of “inauthentic behavior.” Meanwhile, their fake-news checking team is stacked with the likes of the Atlantic Council and the Weekly Standard, neocon junk organizations that peddle such drivel as “The Character Assassination of Brett Kavanaugh.” Soon after, on the Monday before the Midterm elections, Facebook blocked another 115 accounts citing once again, “inauthentic behavior.” Then, in mid November, a massive New York Times piece chronicled Facebook’s long road to not only save its image amid rising authoritarian behavior, but “to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros.” (I consistently find myself waiting for those Soros and Putin checks in the mail that just never appear.)
  • What we need is an open source, non-surveillance platform. And right now, that platform is Minds. Before you ask, I’m not being paid to write that.
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  • Fashioned as an alternative to the closed and creepy Facebook behemoth, Minds advertises itself as “an open source and decentralized social network for Internet freedom.” Minds prides itself on being hands-off with regards to any content that falls in line with what’s permitted by law, which has elicited critiques from some on the left who say Minds is a safe haven for fascists and right-wing extremists. Yet, Ottman has himself stated openly that he wants ideas on content moderation and ways to make Minds a better place for social network users as well as radical content creators. What a few fellow journos and I are calling #MindsShift is an important step in not only moving away from our gagged existence on Facebook but in building a social network that can serve up the real news folks are now aching for.
  • To be clear, we aren’t advocating that you delete your Facebook account – unless you want to. For many, Facebook is still an important tool and our goal is to add to the outreach toolkit, not suppress it. We have set January 1st, 2019 as the ultimate date for this #MindsShift. Several outlets with a combined reach of millions of users will be making the move – and asking their readerships/viewerships to move with them. Along with fellow journalists, I am working with Minds to brainstorm new user-friendly functions and ways to make this #MindsShift a loud and powerful move. We ask that you, the reader, add to the conversation by joining the #MindsShift and spreading the word to your friends and family. (Join Minds via this link) We have created the #MindsShift open group on Minds.com so that you can join and offer up suggestions and ideas to make this platform a new home for radical and progressive media.
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