Category Archives: Internet

The glue that holds the internet together is coming undone

Jonathan Zittrain writes: The internet’s distinct architecture arose from a distinct constraint and a distinct freedom: First, its academically minded designers didn’t have or expect to raise massive amounts of capital to build the network; and second, they didn’t want or expect to make money from their invention. The internet’s framers thus had no money… Read More »

Google to stop selling ads based on your specific web browsing

The Wall Street Journal reports: Google plans to stop selling ads based on individuals’ browsing across multiple websites, a change that could hasten upheaval in the digital advertising industry. The Alphabet Inc. company said Wednesday that it plans next year to stop using or investing in tracking technologies that uniquely identify web users as they… Read More »

The internet rewired our brains. Michael Goldhaber predicted it would

Charlie Warzel writes: Michael Goldhaber is the internet prophet you’ve never heard of. Here’s a short list of things he saw coming: the complete dominance of the internet, increased shamelessness in politics, terrorists co-opting social media, the rise of reality television, personal websites, oversharing, personal essay, fandoms and online influencer culture — along with the… Read More »

The takedown of a dark-web marketplace

Ed Caesar writes: You could buy pretty much any contraband you desired on DarkMarket, an online marketplace that was shuttered last week: illegal drugs, counterfeit passports, malware. The site, a kind of eBay for the dark Web, ran on Tor, the encrypted software that allows users to communicate with one another without betraying their real-life… Read More »

The data economy is facing a social reckoning

MIT Technology Review reports: Each innovation challenges the norms, codes, and values of the society in which it is embedded. The industrial revolution unleashed new forces of productivity but at the cost of inhumane working conditions, leading to the creation of unions, labor laws, and the foundations of the political party structures of modern democracies.… Read More »

Google’s star ethics researcher highlighted the risks of large language models — then she got forced out

MIT Technology Review reports: On the evening of Wednesday, December 2, Timnit Gebru, the co-lead of Google’s ethical AI team, announced via Twitter that the company had forced her out. Gebru, a widely respected leader in AI ethics research, is known for coauthoring a groundbreaking paper that showed facial recognition to be less accurate at… Read More »

Pushed by pandemic, Amazon goes on a hiring spree without equal

The New York Times reports: Amazon has embarked on an extraordinary hiring binge this year, vacuuming up an average of 1,400 new workers a day and solidifying its power as online shopping becomes more entrenched in the coronavirus pandemic. The hiring has taken place at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, at its hundreds of warehouses in… Read More »

Microsoft takes down massive hacking operation that could have affected the election

CNN reports: Microsoft has disrupted a massive hacking operation that it said could have indirectly affected election infrastructure if allowed to continue. The company said Monday it took down the servers behind Trickbot, an enormous malware network that criminals were using to launch other cyberattacks, including a strain of highly potent ransomware. Microsoft said it… Read More »

The supply of disinformation will soon be infinite

Renée DiResta writes: Someday soon, the reading public will miss the days when a bit of detective work could identify completely fictitious authors. Consider the case of “Alice Donovan.” In 2016, a freelance writer by that name emailed the editors of CounterPunch, a left-leaning independent media site, to pitch a story. Her Twitter profile identified… Read More »

A plan to redesign the internet could make apps that no one controls

Will Douglas Heaven writes: In 1996 John Perry Barlow, cofounder of internet rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote “A declaration of the independence of cyberspace.” It begins: “Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I… Read More »

The next big privacy hurdle? Teaching AI to forget

Darren Shou writes: When the European Union enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) a year ago, one of the most revolutionary aspects of the regulation was the “right to be forgotten”—an often-hyped and debated right, sometimes perceived as empowering individuals to request the erasure of their information on the internet, most commonly from search… Read More »

Tech giants led by Amazon, Facebook and Google spent nearly half a billion on lobbying over the past decade

The Washington Post reports: Ten years ago, Google executives rarely spoke to Congress. Amazon employed just two of its own registered lobbyists in Washington. And Facebook had only recently graduated to a real office after running its D.C. operation out of an employee’s living room. Since then, though, these technology companies have evolved into some… Read More »