The Internet is Just a Prototype The week in hyperlinks

A weekly reading list to stimulate thoughts about the (digitised) world you might (or might not) want to live in.

Here’s a collection of links to articles that caught my eye this past week. They offer data about the world we presently live in, and hints about the one we might wish to pass on to future generations.

You can join my email discussion group The Internet is Just a Prototype by paying to get in as a patron of my more benevolent public works. I am only offering a limited number of paid places; most people are invite only.

T-ant-T: meet the exploding ants of Borneo – The Guardian

“Exploding ants are a rarity and the Colobopsis explodens ant is the first new species to be found since 1935, with the finding published in the journal Zookeys.” — There’s no such thing as “digital ecology”, we’re all part of the same universe, even if we put a VR headset on. These natural systems have evolved over aeons. Are we missing “exploding ants” in the virtual, whose individual sacrifice keeps us all safer in the net?

Data firm leaks 48 million user profiles it scraped from Facebook, LinkedIn, others — ZD Net

“A sample consumer profile (since removed) on the company’s website purports to additionally include a person’s location, email addresses, IP addresses (which can in some cases identify a person’s location), phone numbers, postal addresses, salary, employer and job title, and other precise markers. (Editor’s note: we have also removed a link to the sample profile once we learned that the profile contained real information on an individual.)” — You can’t make this stuff up!

How Wikipedia Lies — Eric Zuesse, Washington’s Blog

“The problem here, shown by Wikipedia’s hiding that the U.S. Government shot down Flight 93, isn’t that the CIA edits Wikipedia, but that the Deep State, in effect, publishes Wikipedia.”

What’s not included in Facebook’s ‘download your data’ — Wired

The Exxon Valdez of privacy spills personal data onto everyone and everything… except you: “Download Your Data is particularly spotty when it comes to the information Facebook taps to display ads. Typically, Facebook uses information it collects or buys to place users into categories that advertisers can target. This can include data a user provides explicitly (your age), implicitly (which browser you use) or unknowingly (information on purchases from loyalty cards).”

Artificial Intelligence Defines the Political News Narrative — Breaking All The Rules

“Artificial Intelligence is a polite idiom for tightening chains without the appearance of a lock and key. People live for using the latest apps and go the distance to avoid the responsibility of challenging their current brainwashing. The internet has allowed news reporting to be a democratic function as citizen journalists joined the ranks. AI is designed to censor the pursuit of the truth. Do not be fooled. Bots are meant to dumb down the public, even more.”

Licence to blog: Will ‘Swahili WikiLeaks’ have to close? — BBC News

“Mr Mushi and his co-founder, whose site has been dubbed the “Swahili WikiLeaks”, are currently dealing with three cases in court in relation to charges of obstruction of investigation after they refused to hand over details of their users to Tanzanian authorities under an existing law.” — The US 1st Amendment is looking like a rather good thing, as 8chan saves he world.

Facebook Shares Sink On Report Cyber Criminals Are Hawking Stolen Identities On Its Platform — ZeroHedge

“Meanwhile, even as most hedge funds are again getting slammed on today’s stock drop, at least one person is making money on the news: yesterday, Jeffrey Gundlach unveiled his Ira Sohn trade reco: go long oil, and short Facebook, arguing that Zuckerberg’s apology sounded disingenuous and that “one more scandal could inspire lawmakers to pass restrictive regulations that could seriously harm Facebook’s profitability.””

Ultrasonic Signals Are The Wild West Of Wireless Tech — Wired

“The researchers are relieved that the most abusable elements of ultrasonic cross-device tracking don’t seem to be gaining popularity right now. But overall, companies are increasingly finding proximity-related uses for ultrasounds and implementing them more and more. Without widespread collaboration on a robust standard, ultrasonic services could quickly become a massive security and privacy problem.”

The Way Ahead: New Power Synthecracy — Connectivist

“The shortest introduction to my idea is that it applies the remarkable recent success of the “deep Neural Networks” in AI (derived from parallel pattern recognition in the brain) to an organizational structure to interconnect PEOPLE more successfully, than the ‘old power’ hierarchies. It is a well known way to innovate: use a recipe in one knowledge field in quite another field of practice or scientific discipline. That is what I did: throw a powertool over a fence into a field where it can be welcomed since there is a big need for it.”

WhatsApp raises minimum age to 16 in Europe ahead of GDPR — TechCrunch

“We’ve asked WhatsApp whether it will cross-check users’ accounts with Facebook accounts and data holdings to try to verify a teen really is 16, for example, but nothing in its FAQ on the topic suggests it plans to carry out any active enforcement at all … And it will likely be up to parents to try to actively enforce the limit — by reporting their own underage WhatApp-using kids to the company (which would then have to close the account). Clearly few parents would relish the prospect of doing that.”

The Sane Society — Wikiquote

“The Sane Society (1955) by Erich Fromm is a summation of his social and political philosophy wherein he critiques and psychoanalyzes the modern industrial capitalist society and its necessarily alienated, commercialized and conformed citizenry. Rather than explaining pathologies of individuals, he analyzes the pathologies of society contributing to the sickness of individuals. He counters many of Freud’s conclusions and argues from a perspective of Marxist humanism.”

Cracking The Crypto War — Wired

“Ray Ozzie thinks he has an approach for accessing encrypted devices that attains the impossible: It satisfies both law enforcement and privacy purists.”

vs Ray Ozzie’s Key-Escrow Proposal Does Not Solve The Encryption Debate — It Makes It Worse — The Centre for Internet and Society (title speaks for itself!)

Europe fires back at ICANN’s delusional plan to overhaul Whois for GDPR by next, er, year — The Register

“What makes ICANN’s delusional behavior all the more remarkable is that its CEO – who started the job two years ago – was himself a European regulator.” — The American-centric organisation get a shock to discover there is a world (and enforceable law and fines) beyond its shores. Did anyone tell them that the Internet is global, or do they just go to the rest of the world for expensive tropical trips and nothing else?

The Blowback Against Facebook, Google And Amazon Is Just Beginning — ZeroHedge

“The blowback is just getting started, as people awaken to the dangers posed by these fast-metastasizing tech quasi-monopolies. The most dangerous dynamics in America are the erosion of the mechanics of democracy by wealth/corporate power, and the erosion of middle-class employment in favor of maximizing corporate profits by any means available. This is how we end up with a neofeudal society that benefits the Protected Few at the expense of the powerless, exploited Many. Facebook, Google and Amazon are each accelerating this erosion not by accident, but as a direct consequence of their business model and sources of profit.”

Why We Need The Balls to Invest in Sex Tech — Tech Trends

“But if you think that this potential for “demonstration and communication” stops at sex toys, think again. “There will be a specific area of the site where you can sell any perfectly ordinary household good or product as long as you integrate it, entertainingly, in a real-world sex scenario. The chair they’re using, the necklace she’s wearing, the clothes they’re taking off, the beer he’s drinking. For brands brave enough to do this the viral engagement possibilities are enormous.”” — I would adjust the language a bit, there…
Google’s Walled Garden: Are We Being Pushed Out of Our Own Digital Backyards? — Moz

“As Google replaces that content and sends more clicks back to themselves, I do believe that the fundamental pact that Google’s success was built on is gradually being broken. Google’s garden was built on our collective property, and it does feel like we’re slowly being herded out of our own backyards.”

Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future — Medium

“You actually see it over and over again. Blockchain systems are supposed to be more trustworthy, but in fact they are the least trustworthy systems in the world.”

Facebook confesses: Buckle up, there’s plenty more privacy lapses where that came from — The Register

Is it just me, or is there a bit of a trend here. Smoke… fire?

Took an ancestry DNA test? You might be a ‘genetic informant’ unleashing secrets about your relatives — USA Today

““People don’t realize that unlike most medical tests where you find out information, it isn’t just about you,” said Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University’s School of Medicine.” — So if my brother uploads his DNA, and my mother, and my father…

On Twitter:

“This is the best GDPR joke. All other GDPR jokes (are there any?) can not compare (as they may not exist).”

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