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The Internet Explained and Endangered

There are a lot of ideas about what the internet is. This is probably the best explanation out here.

The internet thrives based on the flow of information. You want information to flow more broadly, rather than to hoard it. Historical economics is based on worlds of scarcity, and in worlds of scarcity it makes sense to hoard resources, as they are valuable by themselves. Yet, in worlds of abundance you want the opposite. You want abundant or infinite resources to flow freely because they do something special: they increase the value of everything else around them.

Mike Masnick Tech Dirt 03/05/2015

We can embrace the original peer to peer design of the internet, or sink into a quagmire of thought control promoted by companies whose goal is to own you.

The poster child for the new control is Facebook’s Internet.org. Doc Searls notes:

Internet.org calls itself “a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, non-profits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have Internet access.” But what it offers is not the Internet, but a sphinctered fraction of it: Facebook plus a few chosen others.

Doc Searls

Over at Wired is this article about the folks who are the recipients of this Zuckerberg largesse questioning and rejecting Internet.org.
Backlash Against Facebook’s Free Internet Service Grows

The Last thing we need is to welcome newcomers to the web through Facebook.

Quote of the day

One of the maxims of a free press is that news is what someone somewhere doesn’t want you to print: everything else is advertising

Without fear or favour: why we broke the spy story

17,701,711 users

17,701,711 users That is how many folks are using AdBlock Plus in Firefox
Firefox Most Popular Extensions List
Seventeen Million, seven hundred one thousand, seven hundred eleven users
meanwhile advertisers are paying for ads nobody sees……..

SMART is Not

“Smart” is the new black. Smart Phones, Smart TV, Smart Cars. Smart is Hot! Smart is not.

Surveillance Monitoring and Reporting Tools is what SMART really is.

Your Smart Phone is a Three Way calling Device. You, who you are calling, and the Government. When you consider that your smart phone is CC’ing every thing you do to spy agencies both domestic and foreign from who you call, who calls you, time, date, duration, location, and content, in voice, text, and internet access. From the OS that runs your Phone to the Latest App, you are being spied on. From Rooms in switching offices, to taps in routers, and cables both on the ground and buried in the ocean, you are being watched.

The Telcos are the only business that violates customer privacy and personal information to anybody with a request. No other business shares information about their customers if they hope to sell them again.

Your Smart Car is tracking you as well. ON Star and similar systems track you in real time, not only by location, but also reporting speed, direction, engine and braking data, which insurance companies love in denying claims. More of these systems are coming online everyday. They are being marketed as “Safety Features”.

Your Smart TV. A recent report shows that LG’s Smart TV is not only reporting what you watch, but also reports the contents of any connected devices on your TV.

LG Smart TVs logging USB filenames and viewing info to LG servers
LG investigates Smart TV ‘unauthorised spying’ claim

It is only a matter of time before other Smart Products are outed as fellow travelers in the New World Order of SMART.

Not only is LG unapologetic about this, but actually Promotes it! This nugget is from Doc Searls over at the Project VRM Blog:

If you want to really hate LG — a company you barely cared about until now, watch this. It’s a promotional video for “LG Smart AD,” which “provides the smartest way to reach your targeted audiences across the borders and connected devices with excitement powered by LG’s world best 3D and HD home entertainment technology” and “enables publishers to maximize revenues through worldwide ad networks, intelligent platform to boost CPM and the remarkable ecosystem.”

Your Internet connection is compromised. From Your ISP, who in most cases is a Phone Company, who for some reason wants you to use their outgoing mail servers for your email. You can route around this. Your Browser, whose default settings phone home in the case of Google, Firefox, IE and others, and allow sites to track your activity, interrogate your computer, set cookies, take part of your hard drive for what is known as local storage, but in reality are data mining tools for third party actors, whose motives are at best are suspect(targeted/relevant advertising my aching asshole), and at worst another database for plundering by governmental agencies, under the rubric of National Security.

The latest Smart Tech being flogged is Cloud Computing. Really, Move all of your data to the Cloud! We will manage and back it Up. You can access it from anywhere with an Internet connection! HELLO? what part of this makes any sense? Trusting your information, individual, business, commercial or proprietary to companies who do not encrypt if or offer encrypted connections. Or even worse using your phone company to manage your cloud.

Edward Snowden’s disclosures have galvanized world governments, organizations, and individuals into speaking up. Curiously, the American public, whose tax dollars are funding these 4th Amendment violations are for the most part silent.

Let’s Recap SMART Tech Does Not Make You Smarter! It does make you a bigger target.

Bonus Link: Surveillance is not about protecting us. It’s about control.

Advertising Rights Management ARM

When you venture out on the web, and go places like here, you are a guest. Normally guests are treated with respect, and are not subject to ID checks, cavity searches, pickpocketing or data theft.

Commercial websites do not treat you like a guest, but rather squeeze you for every morsel of information they can grab from your computer to sell you shit you can probably do without.

Advertisers, Marketeers, and websites that are supported by advertisers think that your personal information from your IP address to your browser history, cookies, Local Storage Objects and other information on your personal computer is theirs for the taking.

Cookies are not required to build or present webpages.

Anybody who tells you that they are required is lying.

The current scheme is having a Third Party manage advertising is what is creating this crisis in privacy.

You have the choice to deny info thieves anything but what you choose to share.

Privacy is not the default setting in your browsers. Although that is changing. But there are things that you can add to deny data collection, tracking and restrict invasion of your privacy.

I like to call it Advertiser Rights Management. ARM
Here are a few things that you can add to your browser to take back your privacy
My personal favorites are
AdBlock Plus
AVG Do Not Track
Albine Do Not Track Me

This is your internet. Take it back from the pricks who think that you are fodder for marketing.

How the GAP bitchslapped Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell recently posted an article making the argument that Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, and the internet)could not create social change. His argument used the Greensboro civil rights sit in campaign of 1960 as his definition of social change. He forgot to mention that it took till 1964 for the Civil Rights Act to become law. That he uses Civil Rights as the poster child for social change, points out his profound ignorance of what social change is, and the role that the internet plays.

He tries to back pedal by acknowledging that Facebook and Twitter do create change, but he continues to beat the drum that unless it happens in meat space and involves blood, it is not social change.

“This is the second crucial distinction between traditional activism and its online variant: social media are not about this kind of hierarchical organization. Facebook and the like are tools for building networks, which are the opposite, in structure and character, of hierarchies. Unlike hierarchies, with their rules and procedures, networks aren’t controlled by a single central authority. Decisions are made through consensus, and the ties that bind people to the group are loose.”

Malcolm hasn’t figured out that central authority went out the window with the second website.

One of the more noteworthy things he said above, “Decisions are made through consensus, and the ties that bind people to the group are loose.” Sort of like a democracy, rather than a totalitarian system., and sums up nicely what electronic activism is.

How the GAP bitchslapped Malcolm Gladwell

No better example of electronic activism and network power than the curious case of the GAP a clothing retailer, and their new logo. Really ya can’t make this stuff up. The GAP used central authority to change its logo. Well folks used their network weak ties to comment on this change. Result? No new logo.

That a protest over a logo for a clothing company can be used to refute Gladwell’s argument is just elegant.
Electronic Activism is not about profound social change, despite Gladwell’s yearning for an electronic Great White Father, to lead the Facebookers and twitters to the promised land of Hierarchy with him in a supporting role.

Electronic Activism is first and foremost about self interest. My likes, My dislikes, and folks who share them. We are at the same time, leaders and followers. This is the bit that the Gladwells just don’t get. This is not a binary world anymore. The kids are growing up. It may just have been a logo today, but it is gonna get interesting tomorrow.

Bonus Link Interview with the New Gap Logo

Social Networks and Privacy #FAIL

There is no privacy on the internet. You post it, it becomes fair game and part of someone’s database by the time you finish reading this sentence. Social Networks have never been about privacy. N E V E R.

Think about it for just a moment. You are reading this because you pay for an internet connection. Lord only knows how you ended up here. Somebody offers you a place to post information about yourself, photos, and text, for Free. Do you really believe that there is a web fairy footing the bill to allow you to share this information to only a small group of ‘friends’?
There are no privacy controls that will ever work on any computer that is publicly accessible on the Internet. Not for long.

Facebook’s latest foray into privacy controls has created an entire cottage industry of explanations and step by step guides to actually afford you a virtual fig leaf. Good Luck with that. That may last until the next brain fart from Facebook Central.

Facebook is the poster child for OPM Other People’s Money and Other People’s Material A sort of New Math for the Advertising Targeting Complex.
Facebook uses Other People’s Material (yours) to populate their site. You lost control of your material and privacy as soon as you set up an account.
Exhibit 1.

Sharing Your Content and Information

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
Source Facebook Terms

First they say that you own your material, then they tell you that you have given them a ‘royalty free world wide license’ to use any of it in anyway they want.

They use Other People’s Money to support themselves until they get enough advertisers to sign up to pay the bills. In order to get advertisers to buy in, they need to use Other Peoples Material to chum the waters. At the end of the day you and your material are bait for advertisers, to try to sell you shit.

There is no Privacy in Social Networks.
Social Networks are not about privacy. They are Social as in Pregnancy. There is no ‘a little bit pregnant’. This is why I laugh my ass off when I read postings like this,Facebook’s Privacy Move Violates Contract With Users
What bullshit! As I mentioned above, you have no privacy, nor do you have any control over the shifting sands of this weeks privacy rights to the material that you post there.  The author goes on about the dangers of this network and makes a leap that there is some contract about your use of their service giving you any privacy. Privacy settings are a Virtual Figleaf so you are not Socially Nude. And only show up in your browser, while in the back room, all your data is being collated, strained, prioritized, and shoveled into the sweaty hands of advertisers. Facebook makes no money by keeping things private.
Facebook, like the rest of the Social Networks are using Advertisers who should have more sense, building the Internet version of magazines. Having the ability to corral ‘users’ into smaller and smaller boxes to shoot ads at, is the electronic Midway Carnaval, and you are all rubes.
Social Networks and Privacy is an Oxymoron
Regardless of what sort of pixie dust you are snorting, Eric Schmidt of Google is right in telling you, If you want to keep things private, keep them off the internet.

Variety’s Paywall Bailout Lottery

Paywalls are the last Bailouts for content industries attempting to maintain solvency on the internet. News and media organizations of all sorts, from hard news, specialty publications, audio and video industries are discovering that content surrounded by advertising may have kept the printing presses running, but the internet isn’t buying.

Paying for content on the internet is like trying to get folks to pay for air. Here is a hint on that uphill battle, We are already paying a subscription to our Internet Service Provider. With that we have the run of the internet seeing what we can find, on our schedule, and can converse or even become a publisher ourselves) The internet is not an exclusive monologue broadcast medium. Speaking Truth to Power is not confined to Editorial Conference rooms, nor does it require a staff of hundreds. An internet connection and a keyboard gives a guy in a trailer park the same chance that a mega corporation has of reaching an audience.

There are a number of publications that are web subscription only and are still in business, notably the Wall Street Journal, whose focus is on financial news that is vital to its readership. There are others but share a common set of factors. They are niche publications, provide information that is relevant, timely and authoritative.

News Print publications are taking the largest beatings due to the changing nature of searching, accessing and interacting with news. An exclusive story used to have shelf life measured in days, now it is measured in minutes for the slower stories. News organizations shot themselves by going online without a paywall from day one. These organizations devalued their offerings with the first steps on the internet without a subscription service. Nor have they made a good case for subscriptions since.

Variety is the latest entrant into the Paywall Bailout Lottery. Variety is a trade publication that reports on the arts in film, television, theater, and music. It was arguably the premier publication in its field. There are however hundreds of niche sites that focus on these areas. Like all publications that are struggling, they have to offer something extra to get you to sign up. Variety’s solution:

One fee now provides access to all Variety products, including the print editions of Daily Variety and weekly Variety, as well as Variety.com and Digital Variety. Currently, the introductory subscription rate is $248 annually. Once a person subscribes, all Variety content is accessible on any platform.
Source Variety.com

P.S. Following the link above will count against you: “Nonsubscribers may access only five pages of content in any given month.”
This is a ballsy experiment. Not only are they attempting to support their online efforts, but are trying to keep their printing presses rolling. There is probably something about the Ad Sales department selling two ad spots(online and print) for the same money. Further devaluing their desirability and decreasing their income.

They may not have gotten the memo that folks who digest news online are the last in line to have their mailboxes filled with the same news.

Consent will be required for cookies in Europe

A step in the right direction.
Consent will be required for cookies in Europe | Pinsent Masons LLP
Cookies are not a required part of any website’s functionality. Anybody who says they are is:
1. Lying, 2. is too fucking lazy to use log files, 3. has ulterior motives to sell your ass to the first available marketeer with a checkbook.

Judith Krug – Rest in Peace

Judith F. Krug, who led the campaign by libraries against efforts to ban books, including helping found Banned Books Week, then fought laws and regulations to limit children’s access to the Internet, died Saturday in Evanston, Ill. She was 69.

Source NYT

She should be missed by everyone who believes in freedom of access to information.