Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Submission How ISPs Will Royally Sucker the Internet, Thanks to Ad Blocking->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Largely lost in the current controversies about users blocking ads from websites is a dirty little secret — users are about to be played for suckers by the dominant ISPs around the world, and ad blocking will be the "camel's nose under the tent" that makes these ISPs' ultimate wet dreams of total control over Internet content come true at last.
Link to Original Source

Submission Law Enforcement's Love/Hate Relationship with Cloud Auto Backup->

Lauren Weinstein writes: So how was the exonerating video ultimately resurrected? Turns out it was saved up on Google servers via the phone's enabled auto backup system. So the phone's physical vanishing did not prevent the video from being saved to help prevent a serious miscarriage of justice.

Lawyers and law enforcement personnel around the world are probably considering this story carefully tonight, and they're likely to realize that such automatic backup capabilities may be double-edged swords.

On one hand, abusive cops can't depend on destroying evidence by making cellphones disappear or be "accidentally" crushed under a boot. Evidence favorable to the defendant might still be up on cloud servers, ready to reappear at any time.

But this also means that we may likely also expect to see increasing numbers of subpoenas triggered by law enforcement, lawyers, government agencies, and other interested parties, wanting to go on fishing expeditions through suspects' cloud accounts in the hopes of finding incriminating photographic or video evidence that might have been auto-backed up without the knowledge or realization of the suspects.

Link to Original Source

Submission New G+ Community: Social Media Abuse->

Lauren Weinstein writes: This new Google+ community has been created to discuss the scope, issues, contexts, problems, and paths towards solutions associated with the broad range of abuses that can occur on Internet social media platforms. This includes posts, comments, bullying, threats, hate crimes/recruiting, and much more. To what extent can automated algorithms be leveraged to detect and limit the damage done by these kinds of attacks at scale, and how should human-based reporting, flagging, and verifications enter the mix? How does the interplay of free speech, anonymity, corporate responsibility, and government actions such as regulation and censorship complicate possible paths forward? Don't expect this to be a fun discussion. But it's a critically important one for us all.
Link to Original Source

Submission You'll Probably Hate this Posting about Ad Blockers and Ad Blocking->

Lauren Weinstein writes: But we get into trouble rapidly if we try treat all ads and all ad networks as being inherently evil, and the collateral damage to the forces of "goodness and niceness" (as Maxwell Smart used to say) can be devastating.

Because all ad networks and all ads are definitely NOT created equal.

And despite the statements of many ad blocking proponents who claim to only be concerned about "bad" and "misbehaving" ads, or slower page load speeds, or ad-enabled malware, my view is that in most cases these claims — and the circumstances that flow from them — are both cavalier and hypocritical.

Link to Original Source

Submission New Google+ Community: Ad Blocking Policy Discussions->

Lauren Weinstein writes: The widespread use of Web ad blocking technologies carries immense implications for the future of the Web in particular and the Internet in general. While alternative funding models exist for some (especially larger, corporate media) sites, many smaller and/or independent sites do not have alternatives to advertising for even paying their basic bills, risking an enormous loss of diversity on the Web. Let's discuss the issues.
Link to Original Source

Submission Why "Godwin's Law" Doesn't Apply to Donald Trump->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Let's get this straight once and for all: Comparisons between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump do not invoke Godwin's Law.

Godwin's Law applies to discussions where Nazi analogies make no sense. Comparing a strict physical education teacher with Hitler, for example, is an obvious invocation of Godwin's Law.

However, Godwin's Law explicitly does not apply when actual Nazi parallels are in play ...

Link to Original Source

Submission EU Demands Google Forget "The Right To Be Forgotten"->

Lauren Weinstein writes: "We've been deliberating on this issue for a very long time," noted Winston Charrington, Minister of the European Union World Censorship Directorate. "We've come to the conclusion that only by mandating the complete and total global elimination of all references to RTBF can we avoid unnecessary consternation and controversies regarding those aspects of published history — that RTBF requires be deleted from search indexes around the planet. In other words, if you don't even realize that censorship is occurring, how could you ever be upset about it? Doubleplusgood!"
Link to Original Source

Submission Why the "Right To Be Forgotten" is the Worst Kind of Censorship->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Which brings us to the second proviso from the truth about censorship.

In true Orwellian fashion, even better than blocking people from information is preventing them from ever realizing that the forbidden information exists in the first place.

And this is where the so-called "Right To Be Forgotten" (RTBF) comes into play.

The key premise of RTBF is that if you can prevent your population from realizing that particular data exists on the Web — even if they could easily access it given such knowledge — you've achieved censorship Valhalla.

This is why RTBF focuses its death ray on search engines. Governments realize the typical impracticality of excising all copies of information from all possible Internet sources. So they instead order the burning of the search results "index cards" in a deeply disingenuous attempt to fool their populations into not realizing the associated materials exist at all.

Link to Original Source

Submission It's Time to Go Nuclear Against DMCA Abuse->

Lauren Weinstein writes: We must make it expensive with a capital "E" to voluntarily file mass DMCA takedowns that are sloppy, haphazard, and likely to negatively impact significant numbers of innocent parties.

It has to cost. It has to cost big time.

Such abuse has to be made so expensive that even the entertainment industry moguls with the gold-plated toilet seats will start to feel the pain.

Link to Original Source

Submission Sadly, How Windows 10 Reveals Microsoft's Ethics Armageddon->

Lauren Weinstein writes: Yet much as Microsoft was a bit late to realize the Internet's importance many years ago, they're again late to the game, and the pressures they feel are obvious to any perceptive observer.

All of this can help us to understand — but not to excuse — the ethical collapse that Windows 10 appears to represent for a once great company.

And yes, this is very much a matter of ethics, in much the same vein as bait-and-switch artists and underhanded used-car salesmen of popular lore.

These various players — including Microsoft in their handling of Windows 10 — share a common defining characteristic, a shared ethical flaw.

They avoid being up-front and honest with consumers.

The irony is that these ethical lapses are so easily avoided.

Link to Original Source

Submission Windows 10: A Potential Privacy Mess, and Worse->

Lauren Weinstein writes: I had originally been considering accepting Microsoft's offer of a free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. After all, reports have suggested that it's a much more usable system than Windows 8/8.1 — but of course in keeping with the "every other MS release of Windows is a dog" history, that's a pretty low bar.

However, it appears that MS has significantly botched their deployment of Windows 10. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised, even though hope springs eternal.

Since there are so many issues involved, and MS is very aggressively pushing this upgrade, I'm going to run through key points here quickly, and reference other sites' pages that can give you more information right now.

But here's my executive summary: You may want to think twice, or three times, or many more times, about whether or not you wish to accept the Windows 10 free upgrade on your existing Windows 7 or 8/8.1 system.

Link to Original Source

Submission What Google's New Changes to Google+ and YouTube REALLY Mean->

Lauren Weinstein writes: In a pair of blog posts today, Google announced major changes in the operations of their Google+ (G+) and YouTube services:


There are a number of changes noted, but my executive summary would be that Google is ending the enforced connection of Google+ user profiles to other Google services, notably YouTube.

The popular clickbait analysis appearing on many sites today is that this is the death knell of Google+, proof that it cannot compete with Facebook.

This is incorrect.

Taking the longer view — and my experience with networked social media reaches back to the dawn of the ARPANET and the earliest email lists — my own analysis is that the changes are great both for YouTube AND for Google+.

Link to Original Source

Dinosaurs aren't extinct. They've just learned to hide in the trees.